About death.

Lately there’s so much devastated news I don’t even know where to begin. The worst was today, when the new of the big C diagnosed to one of my loved one’s family. It just hit way too close to home. And it got me thinking about death itself.

I’ve read ‘when breath becomes air’, ‘being mortal’ and lately ‘the bright hour’. I don’t know why, and I can’t explain why I’m drawn to reading morbid books about life & death. They weren’t easy read for sure, but I find the rawness, real, thought-provoking, inspiration and strength are a comfort to my inner self to grapple with my own mortality.

Maybe I just needed to know there’s more to life than sweating over spilled milk (from my kids)?
Maybe I just needed it to remind myself how lucky I am to be experiencing all the little mundane things that we take for granted?
Or Maybe, just maybe I would like to prepare for it if it ever… ?(I was too young to understand when death took my dad away when I was 4)

What I’ve realized is, as life experience & relationship builds up, the reality of our own (& our loved one) vulnerability & fragility as human beings can set it, and it’s pretty scary, as death (and road to death) is unknown.

Today when I got home, I gave my kids the tightest hugs. Afraid to let go… because this moment, this very moment is so precious that it breaks my heart. Here I am sitting down, writing this, hugging and sniffing my daughter’s mini bolster that she’d left out on the sofa. I vowed to myself, from this moment, I will soak up this life of mine, the good moment and the bad moment, because life is just too fragile to be wasted.

 

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Kids update 2019.

Happy new year!
We had been busy catching up with friends and spending time with the family. My kids are now aged 6.5 & 2.5 year now I feel these are the best years yet! Though they bicker/fight/argue a lot (like every 5 mins), I told myself to cherish these moments before it slipped by.

JH just enter Primary 1 and all are new and charming to him. He’s been conversing a lot of interesting topic and thoughts, though we’re still figuring out ways to manage his sensitivity. But all in all, he’s a bright & lovely kid.

Surprisingly, he did pretty okay with his first week at school. No tears, no tantrums and rejection. In fact, I had taken a day off on the first day of school, he’s assured me that he doesn’t need me to be there. When I keep asking him if he knows which gate to go to after school to wait for his transported, his response was: “I know mommy, you’ve said that many times already!”.

D1 – he forgot to bring out his snacks that we prepare for him during break time.
D2 – he forgot to pass the immunization form to his class teacher.
D3 – he forgot to bring his shoes down, as he was pressing the lift button for me. Also this day, we wrote a ‘to do list’ & stick it in his pencil box., so that he’ll remember to: 1. pass the immunization form to his class teacher; 2. show the receipt of the books that I have already purchased to teacher; 3. bring out his food during snack time.

Junna started potty training on 24/11/2018. She started slow, as we weren’t home much. So after a few weeks of hit & miss, on 15/12/2018m she successfully peed 7 times in the potty all by herself! I was really taken by surprise. Started diaper-less at school on 2/9/2018. Gah…. they really are growing up fast!

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Little things that I want to ingrain in my memory:

  1. Eating fruits together on our wooden floor. I will feed them alternatively while they play/chat/read.
  2. Lullaby songs (sound track include:
  3. Bed time stories.
  4. Family hugs.
  5. When both of them kiss me good night on the cheeks together.
  6. Putting hair gel/powder on like it’s a big thing.

This year, I want to do more of the above and add on the list. I also want to spend more one on one time with each of them so they’re able to get our undivided attention. I try to see pass the everyday bickering/whinging/fighting/shouting and soak in all the other sweet moments instead. I particularly remember one Saturday rainy evening and the kids went cycling/scooting at the covered courtyard at our condo. Moments like this is so rare and magical and my hear grew SO big watching them playing together.

Reflection. Revelation. Resolution.

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Looking back at my blog, I’ve not been keeping this blog for the longest time. I post less than the years before. Probably due to the 2 weeks Europe trip, there’s been lots of to-do list, chores, work, and mommy’s duty that I’m constantly running to fulfill. Even when I’m relaxing, I’m thinking about the next task that I need to manage, the next chores that I need to complete. I’m becoming a machine, running around from the moment I wake up to the moment I fell asleep, so much so that I’ve forgotten how to enjoy the moment. I’ve come to this realization when hubs brought me for a surprise movie after work, instead of savoring the moment, my mind starts to scramble and I got antsy worrying for the kids, as well as the chores that I set out to do (i.e. getting the school uniform).

I’ve also realized that I start getting impatient, easily annoyed especially when it comes to the kids. I yelled, I screamed and I’m constantly rushing them that I get so frustrated and I let it out on my kids. I can see myself turning into someone that I loathe and I started to ask myself, how does all the Instagram mommy do it? Their life seems flawless – obedient kids, astounding well being, houses that seems magically clean 24/7. And I feel so awful soon after.

In December, I came across 3 things that made me discover a new revelation and made me embark on the journey of mindfulness:

  1. This video
  2. This tweet
  3. This magazine

And so, I started these 3 routines:

Writing morning pages.
Social Media Detox.
Meditation.

And it helps. I started to write, remind myself to be grateful for the little things (again), be in the moment and celebrate each milestone (instead of losses), one day at a time. Cutting off social media gained me so much time to indulge in reading, spending quality time with kids. Although I don’t see myself gaining much from meditation, I do want to continue it as a motivation to keep me calm and focus.

As we’re coming to an end of year 2018, there will not be any resolution but to continue these routines of mindfulness and hopefully I (& my family) see a better version of myself in this coming new year.

 

 

Bucket Reading List:

While I’m on the book fever streak, I’m listing down my bucket reading list for 2018-2019. Can’t wait to devour these…

  1. Night by Elie Wiesel
  2. The Pharmacist of Auschwitz: The Untold Story by Patricia Posner
  3. A gift of Hope: A Moving and Inspirational True Story by Danielle Steel
  4. The girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee
  5. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
  6. The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs
  7. There are no Grown-Ups by Pamela Druckerman
  8. Stephen Hawking: His life and work by Kitty Ferguson
  9. Educated by Tara Westover
  10. Alibaba: The House that Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark
  11. How to be a Happier Parent: Raising a Family, Having a Life, and Loving (Almost) Every Minute by KJ Dell’Antonia
  12. Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear by Kim Brooks
  13. The life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo

 

Reading, lately.

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

Undenied, Elon Musk is one who has a genius mind . I am dumbfounded by how a person has a dream to ‘die on Mars’. Besides unfolding the success of his life stories, the book did not fail to highlight several life event that plunges Musk to the lowest point in his life. Like all successful Siliccon Valley startup billionaire, he’s hard headed, stubborn and is beyond comprehension. But I guess that’s what lead him to create battery cars and commercialising space transport.

I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai & Christina Lamb

Most of us get to live our lives taking education for granted. I for one are ashamed that my son at times refuse to attend school and finds school homework burdensome. Malala Yousafzai, a Pashtun girl from Pakistan’s Swat Valley started fighting for girl’s education when she was 10. I am touched by the love for his country and her unwavering faith to God. Reading through the pages, I was horrified by the violent experience she lived through and impressed with her determination to kept going despite the circumstances and risk she and her family have to go through. I’m glad I picked this book up in the airport during my flight to Singapore.

Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson

The highlight of reading this book is not so much about the ways to practise zero waste lifestyle, but more on how Bea Johnson who used to live her life lavishly as a typical American household that enjoyed materialistic possession. Throughout the writings, her voice, her act, she has inspired a global movement towards living more sustainably and responsibly.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Doubt as the biggest scam in Silicon Valley, this book narrates the true accounts of rise and fall of Theranos,  a biomedical start up that aims to commercialize a revolutionary household box that could administer a number of medical tests—all with a single prick. This book narrates a riveting story of one of the biggest corporate fraud, which involved venture capitalist investors such as Rupert Murdoch, Carlos Slim Helú, and the family of Betsy DeVos raising almost a billion dollars; and signed contracts with Walgreens and Safeway all by lying to them. Trust me, once you pick this book up, you can’t seem to put it down. It’s so good that it almost felt like fiction.

 

 

The story of Tulips Clinic.

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5 years ago, I enrolled myself to take up MA in Project Management. 3 years ago, I submitted my Thesis and graduated with 1st class Honors. I remember spending a long long time thinking about my Thesis title. I struggled, as I knew that if I don’t pick a topic that I believed in, I will never be able to complete it whole hearted-ly.

The topic of my Thesis was “Quality of Healthcare Interior Design and its Role in Patient Healing and Staff Efficiency.” I will not elaborate on the details of the 300 pages long thesis, but what I wanted to note was looking back, I am so grateful that I’ve decide to put my heart and soul in writing, discovering, findings and experimenting the effect of Interior Design and the Healthcare Environment. Being an interior designer and healthcare facility planner in the past has instill me the ethos that patients and clinical staff deserves better healthcare environments, simply because thoughtful designed healthcare facilities have numerous positive outcomes, ranging from staff productivity and efficiency, to the healing time of a patient, as well as the overall experience. Patients’ needs and comfort, along with ease of use for maintenance and staff, are essential to recovery. Today, it gives me so much joy and satisfaction to be able to design and create a patient-friendly healthcare environment for a GP clinic locally.

Believe in what you do, believe it whole hearted-ly, because one day, dreams do come true. I would like to thank Tulips Clinic and the people behind it for providing me the opportunity to design a better healthcare environment for patients and family. Design does make a Difference.

 

 

 

Taking it slow.

IMG_20180726_092242_556Last Sunday, our day started at 10am. Junna and myself had been taking turns fallen sick and I just couldn’t make myself get out of the bed any earlier than that. JH wakes up before everybody else (about 7am) and he independently did his drawing in his room. Sunday usually are full of chores: Groceries, Sunday School, Chores, Errands … but this Sunday, we took our time. We made scramble egg, marmalade toast, assortment of cereals. Instead of rushing and ushering… we just took our time and it was really nice.

 

HFMD 2.0

Never in my wildest dream that our household could encounter HFMD twice! 2 years ago, both JH & hubbs been through the disease and it was excruciating! Having a normal flu and cough sucks. Having fever is awful. Having HFMD is indeed devastating! Physically it hurts (so bad); Mentally it breaks my heart not able to touch my kids (especially when Junna keep come running towards me for a hug); Emotionally I’m beyond touched that hubbs took over all of my mommy duties + taking care of me. I love my husband x100 times more during the fateful period.

  1. hubbs preps breakfast and lunch for me that I have in isolation in the room.
  2. During the isolation, I manage to catch up on some reading. Hubbs bought me ‘Bad Blood’ and it was sooooo good.
  3. Hubbs took a couple days off to take care of baby girl as I was in isolation mode.
  4. Spend loads of time doing house chores, making meals and lots of antiseptic cleaning (we were so paranoid that we dettol wipe all surfaces, door knobs, switches and of course the floor every single time I touches it.)
  5. Watching kids from a distance while having my mask and gloves on. It was dreadful!

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If the’re anything that made me realized from this sickness is that…. we often take those little things for granted: holding hands, hugs, kisses, cuddles. A week of quarantine also made me realized that we do not spend enough time with the kids. Also, moments at the park with Junna makes me realized that we do not spend enough time with the kids. If we’re not careful, we will miss their childhood in the blink of an eye.

Happy 2nd Bithday, baby girl.

Lately, I’ve been reminiscing the earlier days when my baby pea was much much smaller, (and tamer :P). Today, she’s attending preschool and I’m pretty sure she would soon be crowned the loudest, feistiest (but cute) little terror. Sometime I wonder where did my sweet little baby pea go? Well, the universal truth is, our little girl has grown up. At two, she has become this spunky little person that’s spirited, persistent and dogged. In short, yes, she’s shown every signs of unladylike behavior and somewhat tom-boyishness gesture. I admire her courage, at the same time I’m fearful for her fearlessness. It’s scary that I can already imagine her personality and how she’s eager to go full on and take on the world. Very strong-willed child this one, as compared to her brother who’s Ohh-so-gentle.

Happy belated birthday little baby girl. This post came a little late, but I want you to know that you have all the qualities that I dreamt of you to have, which is why I want you to remember this…

My dearest baby girl,
Be loud, but be heard.
Have courage, but be kind.
Be strong, but embrace empathy at the same time.
Be mighty, with confidence (inside out).
Be assertive, but be nice.
Be stubborn, for the right reason.
Be a fighter, for the right cause.
Be tough, no matter how many time you need to pick yourself up.
Shine on, the world is waiting for you.

Love, mommy.