To have a sibling

What do you do when your child is jealous of another sibling?

Amy has sometimes been having bouts of jealousy. It is not all the time, but sometimes she gets upset. She gets upset when I carry Alistair. She gets upset when I feed him. She would demand that I put him down and carry her instead, or play with her instead.

At times I am able to reason with her. At times I am able to distract her. But sometimes I have to just let her cry. And sometimes I would end up scolding her.

One night, while I was putting her to bed and was in the midst of telling her stories, I could hear Alistair crying really loudly downstairs. My in-laws were tending to him, so I continued telling Amy stories. Unfortunately, Alistair’s crying did not stop, but only grew louder. I couldn’t concentrate on my storytelling.

Finally, I couldn’t take it any more, and I looked at Amy with pleading eyes. “Amy, Alistair is crying really badly downstairs. I think Mama needs to go down to see what is wrong. Mama will get yeh yeh to come up and tell you stories OK? He will tell you the story of the eagle that catches the little black chicken OK? (it’s one of the stories he always tells her)”

Her brows furrowed as if she was in deep thought, just for a second, before she put on a big smile and said, “Yeh yeh tell story about robot who is looking for apple tree!”

I breathed a sigh of relief. “OK I’ll tell yeh yeh to tell you story of the robot who is looking for apple tree.”

I kissed her forehead and thanked her for being such an understanding sister. As I walked out of the room door, I stole a glance at her, and saw that she was looking at me walk out. My heart ached a little, yet, I was also immensely proud of her.

She is not even 3 years old. I know it takes a lot from her to share her mama and to be a big sis.

How do I choose between my children? How do I give the same of myself to both when they both need me? It seems as though whatever I do, I can’t escape the mummy guilt.

But I remind myself: very soon, Alistair will be bigger and they will be able to play together. They will read together. They will laugh together. They will fight together (please let this be few and far in between. Yeah right.). They will grow together. They will have each other.

The relationship between siblings will never be the same as the relationship between a parent and a child. A sibling can journey life with you in a way that a parent can never do.

I pray that they will have a strong sister-brother relationship. That they will love each other and always protect each other. That they will be kind to each other and always be genuine and sincere. That they will support each other through ups and downs, and walk through life together.

 

Love,

Natalie

One More Day

Pictures from City Harvest Church KL 

I always feel that it’s a privilege to be able to be part of my church’s drama productions.

My passion for acting has grown over the years. I get very excited every time I learn something new or when I get a new “revelation” about acting. Acting, to me, is now more than just being on stage and getting the limelight. Acting is now about being committed to telling someone else’s story, and conveying the message to the audience.

Recently, more than just acting, I got to be more involved in terms of conceptualizing, planning, scripting and training. And I love it. If acting is about one character’s story, being involved in the entire process is about telling the entire story as a whole. How do I even begin to explain the excitement that it gives me?

“One More Day” was the Easter drama at my church last month. The story carried a certain heaviness as it centred around a man who was approaching death. It was inspired by Mitch Albom’s “Tuesdays with Morrie”.

Being entrusted to train my drama ministry members is a great pleasure as well. Even though they see me as the one teaching them, I find myself learning more every time I teach. As I try to share with them whatever I have learned through training workshops and books and observation, my own understanding about the craft and art of acting becomes clearer and stronger.

I am extremely proud of how far the actors have come, from the crazy rehearsals to the actual performance. They had a lot of pressure and a lack of time, but still they delivered beautifully.

We are now working on another upcoming drama production, and this time, we have a lot of new and young cast. I am excited to get another chance to teach and be involved in this whole process of storytelling, and I will definitely miss it when it ends.

 

Love,

Natalie

The launch of The White Atelier

Last weekend was a memorable weekend, as we celebrated the launch of Careen’s bridal boutique, The White Atelier!

I still remember our talks from years back, when she shared about her little dream of having her own boutique. At that time, it was nothing but an idea and she had no idea (pun unintended) if it would ever happen. But look at her today! I’m so proud of her, and am so inspired too.

The White Atelier offers more than just beautiful gowns at a beautiful place; most importantly, it offers brides-to-be a beautiful experience.

Sorry I don’t have a lot of pictures. In fact, I didn’t even take any pictures. All the pictures in this post are from Captured Gladness haha #failblogger

 

For more on The White Atelier, check out their website and their Instagram. And no, this is not a sponsored post. I just feel that, good things must share!

I am very blessed to be surrounded by women of great courage, strength, perseverance and faith. Looking at the picture above, every woman there has an inspiring story to tell, and most of them have impacted me one way or another.

The next few weeks will be extremely busy for me, and something exciting is coming up! Will talk more about that when the time is right.

Have a great week, and keep chasing your dreams!

 

Love,

Natalie

Life with two kids

(First of all, excuse the quality of my pictures… My camera is not with my at the moment so I could only resort to iPhone pictures hehe)

So… Life with two kids. How is it? Definitely looks nice and fun on Instagram. But what is it like exactly?

Scenario #1

I rushed home from work because Alistair had refused bottle and was now hungry and crying for milk. But the moment I parked my car and got out, Amy greeted me at the door, jumping and shouting “Mama’s home!!! Mama!!!!” Then she promptly took some toys and asked me to play with her. But Alistair was crying. And hungry. I had to tell her, “Mama needs to feed Alistair first OK?” and looked as her face fell. My heart ached.

Scenario #2

Since Alistair is still an infant, he sleeps all the time. Now he has a bit more awake time, but normally it lasts about an hour or so only, and half of that usually goes to feeding time. So any time to play with him is precious. Finally, he was awake. I really wanted to play with him, so I walked over to his cot and carried him up. The moment she saw me walk over, Amy said, “Mama come sit down and play Lego with me.” I told her, OK, let’s play together with Alistair. She had the most innocent expression on her face as she pointed to the cot, “Mama put baby Alistair down. Mama put baby Alistair down here in the cot.” My heart was torn.

Scenario #3

It was bedtime. I was tucking Amy in and telling her bedtime stories, but suddenly my father-in-law came up to tell me that Alistair was crying for milk already. So, I had to leave Amy to feed him. Amy cried and cried and cried. My heart broke.

Scenario #4

It was bedtime. I was tucking Amy in and telling her bedtime stories. Again, Alistair started crying for milk before Amy fell asleep. I told her I needed to go downstairs to feed Alistair, and she could choose to sleep with papa or yeh yeh (grandpa) first. She said, “Um… Papa! OK mama go down. Mama go down feed Alistair.” My heart warmed.

 

Scenario #5

We took the kids out for a meal and did a little shopping together. It was chaotic. Madness. Tiring. But at the end of the day, the hubby and I looked at each other and said, “That is parenthood!” Our hearts were blessed.

Scenario #6

We took the kids out for a meal with friends. It was strangely peaceful. Amy behaved so well throughout the dinner. Alistair slept through. The hubby and I looked at each other and said, “Wow. Unbelievable.” Thank You God.

Scenario #7

I had finally rocked Alistair to sleep! My arms and back were starting to hurt because I had been carrying him for almost two hours. But now, he was finally sleeping! I put him down and sat myself down on the couch, ready to rest a little. Then Amy threw her toys down. Or laughed super loudly at ‘Angry Birds’. Or threw a tantrum. And Alistair woke up. And I had to do it all over again.

Scenario #8

Alistair had finished feeding, so I was carrying him and trying to burp him. I also took the chance (as always) to smell him and kiss him and enjoy him. Then, suddenly, Amy fell down from the couch and landed on the floor. She cried in pain. I was shocked and quickly put Alistair down in the cot so that I could attend to Amy. Alistair was shocked, and cried. I now had two crying babies.

Scenario #9

Alistair was chilling by himself in the cot, staring and talking to the ceiling fan. Amy was playing by herself nearby, with toys and books. I was relaxing by myself with my drink and book. This might only last for 5 minutes, but it was bliss anyhow.

Scenario #10

Life was all about schedules. When to feed Alistair, when to feed Amy, when to cut Alistair’s nails, when to cut Amy’s nails, when to bathe Alistair, when to shower Amy, when to wash the bottles, when to shower myself, when to take Amy up for nap, when to change their diapers, etc.

Scenario #11

Amy asked me to tell her stories, and I said, “Why don’t you tell Alistair stories?” She promptly turned to Alistair who was in the cot, and told him her own made-up stories.

“Once upon a time, there was Mr Sun. Mr Sun was in the sky, and then the dark clouds came and covered Mr Sun. Oh no, it’s dark. Oh no, it’s raining. Everybody ran away. Mr Sun fought with the dark clouds. He fought and pushed and fought and pushed, and finally, he pushed the dark clouds away. Hurray! Mr Sun is back in the sky! The end!”

That was actually the story I told her and she could recite it totally now. Sometimes she would replace Mr Sun with TV. Or Monkey. Or whatever she fancied at that moment.

Scenario #12

Alistair was protesting and complaining and crying a little in his cot, but nobody was attending to him because everyone was busy with something or another. Amy climbed up a stool, sat on it and pat Alistair, saying, “OK K K K K… it’s OK K K K…”

And then she looked at me as I approached her, “Mama sit down here. Mama sit down here, rock baby Alistair.”

 

There are so many other scenarios. Some of them make me laugh. Some of them make me want to cry. Some of them make me say “Oh help me God.” Some of them make me say “Oh thank You so much God.”

Life with two kids is definitely a handful. When the days get crazy, I’ll take a deep breath and remind myself to take one hour at a time (haha). But most of the time, I find myself smiling at the both of them, and giving thanks to God for blessing me with these two little munchkins.

 

Love,

Natalie

Movie review: Beauty and the Beast

Featured image from movies.disney.co.uk

Oh. My. Goodness.

Have you watched ‘Beauty and the Beast’ the live-action movie? I confess: even as I sat there in the cinema, waiting for the movie to start, I was nervous. What if it screwed up? ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is such a classic and one of the best Disney cartoons to me. What if my expectations are too high for this new movie, and it falls flat?

I went to the movie not knowing what to expect at all. I hardly watched any trailers or teasers, and did not read much about it. So I really did not know how the movie would be, except that it would probably be exactly like the cartoon.

Well it was exactly like the cartoon, and more!

Picture from Elite Daily

Firstly, I think the cast were perfect. Emma Watson was Belle incarnate, and she can sing! Dan Stevens’ voice was on-point for the Beast. I say voice because we hardly see his face, all covered in that Beast costume haha. But even with the costume, he managed to bring out the Beast’s expressions and emotions so well. Even I fell in love with the Beast OK! Oh, I must also mention Luke Evans because I think he made such a great Gaston.

And the other big names: Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Emma Thompson as Mrs Potts, and Ewan McGregor as Lumiere… Perfect!

New songs were added, and they are beautiful, thanks to Disney powerhouse songwriter Alan Menken. With a classic like ‘Beauty and the Beast’, it can be hard to introduce new scores that somehow flow with its well-loved songs. But Menken did it somehow. I love the new additions, ‘Evermore’, ‘Days In The Sun’, and ‘How Does A Moment Last Forever’!

These songs were used to show a different side to the characters that we already love and know so well. I really like how the team added some backstories to the characters, and how they built on the relationships, i.e., the love story between Belle and the Beast, the Beast’s love for books, Belle’s childhood story, the Beast’s childhood story, etc. It made the characters even more relatable and lovable.

I think the team really succeeded in making ‘Beauty and the Beast’ real. With an animated movie, it can be more exaggerated and, well, fairy-tale-ish. But through this live-action movie, they managed to make it more real without compromising the magic.

Oh, even as I type this, I feel like watching the movie again!

The only part of the movie that felt a little bit of a drag to me was the ‘Be Our Guest’ scene. Somehow, I did not feel any magic from that scene. But other than that, it’s all love from me!

Overall, I would sum it up like this:

My heart skipped a beat every time they sang a song. I had a silly grin on my face when Belle and Beast fell in love. When the credits rolled I wanted to squeal with delight and stand and clap.

And now that I’m home, I find myself listening and re-listening to the soundtrack.

I WANNA WATCH IT AGAIN.

 

 

Love,

Natalie

Inner beauty: Summer & Peach

Fancy some fancy underwear?

Summer & Peach is Malaysia’s first online multi-label lingerie store carrying designer brands from all across the globe. They are currently known for offering beautiful bralettes.

What are bralettes? They are basically fashionable innerwear that can also be worn as outerwear.

It’s a more ‘laid back’ and ‘show off’ kind of lingerie, instead of the conventional ‘hide it’ and ‘tolerate it’ underwear we were used to.

You can pair bralettes with loose tank tops, sheer tops, jackets etc. In fact, just do a search on Pinterest and you can find so much inspiration on pairings!

All my life I’ve only known push-up or heavy-padded bras. It’s hard to find comfortable lingerie that do not look ugly and that uh, complement the girls. So what happens is that most women look forward to taking off their bras at the end of the day to have a little breathing space!

But bralettes are so comfortable, you won’t even remember you are wearing anything. Plus, it’s breathable and suitable for the crazy hot and humid Malaysian weather.

Another issue I had with bras: it’s hard to find the right size!

According to an international survey, about 60-80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size. Until today, I have no idea if I’m wearing the right size. And even when you think you’ve found your size, it might differ with every brand or design, so it’s a pain!

Bralettes though are elastic, so it hugs our curves well and makes fitting easy because it only comes in S, M, and L sizes. Not complicated at all! Bralettes also provide a reasonable amount of support, and allow our breasts to take on a more natural shape compared to the generic bra.

At Summer & Peach, they actually offer one free exchange and return, so customers can try and exchange if they got the wrong size. So much easier than having to come out from the fitting room and looking at the shop promoter and sheepishly asking them for yet another size to try on… (and feeling like you’re being judged for your size hmmph)

Summer & Peach offers lingerie curated by women, for women, with love. Their mission is to let women discover a whole new world of lingerie, and that there are many ways to wear lingerie and there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

I love browsing through their website and also their Instagram feed – so classy and elegant, just like how a woman should feel 🙂

OK if you’re like me, I’m sure you’re asking this question: if bralettes are not padded, won’t the nipples peep through??

Most of the bralettes are Summer & Peach are lined, and you shouldn’t have any problem if you’re not wearing tight tops. Some of their bralettes are cleverly constructed to conceal nipples to some extend, but if you want more security, you can use nipple tape. The good news, however, is Summer & Peach will be bringing in a new collection of padded bralettes soon!

I’ve got the Alana Bralette and just looking at it makes me happy already. Seriously. You might think that underwear is over-rated (see what I did there?), but sometimes it’s the little things that can change how you feel entirely. There really is a big difference between putting on an ugly, uncomfortable bra and a beautiful, comfortable one!

Especially now when my body is still recovering post-partum, and I constantly have spit-ups (and sometimes poop) on me, and my hair is going crazy, and I feel so yucks… Being able to put on beautiful bras make me happy. #easily pleased

So girls, go check out Summer & Peach. They offer free shipping for purchases over RM300, and also free exchange (as I mentioned above).

You can also follow them on their Facebook and Instagram.

Enjoy!

 

Love,

Natalie

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