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

‘Alexa’ on BFM

Alexa would have turned four this week.

Time flies.

I would like to think of my book as a birthday present for her.

When we were still in the planning stages of the book, the hubby told me that I would have to go all out to promote it, since I was self-publishing.

I told him at that time, that I didn’t know how to promote it. For one, this book is about a story that is so close to my heart. In fact, it is a story about my heart! Because I was so raw and open in the book, I feel very vulnerable and nervous about others reading it.

Secondly, this book is not like a happy book that I can promote along the lines of “Christmas is coming! Still thinking of a perfect gift for your loved ones? Grab this book today!”

And finally, I’ve never been good at promoting anything especially when it comes to myself (for talent jobs) or anything that I am selling.

But I figured I got to do it anyway. Because, what is the use of writing and publishing this book, but not letting people know that it exists? And how would it help people if they do not know that it exists?

So recently, I was on BFM to talk about the book. I felt quite calm about it because I used to work on BFM and I know the person who was going to interview me. At the same time I was quite nervous because I didn’t know what he would ask me and how I would feel talking about it. In any case, I am glad I did it.

Here’s the interview if you missed it.

If you would like to buy a copy of the book, you can purchase one here.

 

Love,

Natalie

Things Amy says #3

I confess: iNanny is my favourite Nanny. And I’ve always felt that she has been quite a good nanny because:

1) I get a tantrum-less toddler for at least 30 minutes;

2) I get to do my own things for that 30 minutes;

3) it stops her from jumping all over the couch or climbing the stairs nonstop or throwing her toys all around the floor or destroying something;

4) she learns a LOT from the videos, i.e. ABCs, nursery rhymes, language, planets and the solar system, etc.

However, lately I’ve been imposing a new rule of no gadgets during sleep time, whether afternoon nap time or bed time. Because there are no gadgets, the sleep routine now consists of book-reading and storytelling.

Amy has a very good memory. She can memorize the words on every page of the books we read to her, and can even recite stories that I made up (but of course, that meant I had read and told her the stories again and again and again and again and again…).

Recently, I caught her reciting a story that I often told her, only she has slightly modified it (those with exclamation marks were shouted at the top of her lungs. The more exclamation marks, the louder it was):

Amy’s story #1:

One day, Papa Night Owl saw Little Night Owl, and said “Night Owl, it’s time to go outside.”

Night Owl said, “I don’t want to go outside! I wanna eat orange!”

Papa Night Owl said, “I don’t want to eat orange! I want to go out!”

Night Owl said, “I don’t want to go out!! I want to stay in the room!!!”

Makes no sense, unless you’ve been listening to the conversations we’ve been having in our house. Haha.

Amy’s story #2 (in reference to Peppa Pig): 

There is Daddy Pig, Mummy Pig, Peppa Pig and Baby George.

Baby George cries all the time.

Baby George dowan to be happy. 

Amy’s story #3: 

Where is Baby Alistair?

Is he behind the door? No!

Is he under the bed? No!

Is he at the playground? No!

Baby Alistair cries all the time. 

***

She cracks me up!

I can learn a thing or two about creativity from her. In a child’s mind, nothing needs to be logical or rational, and that is the beauty of imagination. Often, that is also how great stories come about! I’m looking forward to hearing more stories from her!

 

Love,

Natalie

The fate of the seconds

Just realised that my last update was quite awhile!

Lately, I’ve rediscovered the joy of journaling the old fashioned way – through pen and paper. In this case, a notebook. I’ve almost forgot the joy of keeping some thoughts private 😛

Growing up, I had always been journaling and, although I have kinda lost ALL my journals, it was fun reading back some of them years ago. So, I thought, why not restart my habit? It’s also a good place for me to jot down random ideas without being judged haha. Anyway, the real reason I decided to get journaling again was because I received a really pretty notebook for my birthday and I didn’t know what to do with it but I didn’t want to discard it nor did I want to leave it to rot somewhere, so… yeah.

Now on to the other thing I’ve been up to: mothering my little baby and toddler. But what I really want to talk about is: the fate of the seconds.

Amy was my first child (not including Alexa, you get what I mean). With her, everything was more carefully planned and more excitedly put together. I would spend hours researching the best activities and games to do with your newborn, 1 month old, 2 month old, etc. I would carefully select toys that would best encourage her sensory development. I would sing to her and tell her stories, and try to be the best perfect mother I could be.

Then came Alistair. The poor second. I would put him down in his cot and encourage him to look at the ceiling fan to entertain himself. I would let him play with the handkerchief to develop his sensory development. And I would turn on the nursery rhymes channel on TV for Amy, and let Alistair listen to it too to ‘kill two birds with one stone’.

He is so neglected, poor boy.

But like my friend said, that’s why the seconds are always the survivors. Haha.

Then again, besides the fact that second-time mothers are generally more calm and relaxed, we are also much busier and tied up with the first ones. Amy is such a handful! Thank God Alistair is a happy boy with an calm temperament. One strong-willed child in one household is more than enough thank you very much phew.

But all is not lost for the seconds. Because they have a relatively more calm and relaxed mom (haha), they get to enjoy more freedom. Their needs are met quicker and better too, because by now, mothers already know the basic needs of a baby.

I am also able to enjoy Alistair more because I feel more in control. Bathing him is a breeze, changing him is easy, playing with him is fun and breastfeeding him is relaxing (although also tiring due to the hours).

Compared to when Amy was a baby, I was a total mess then! I was easily worried and scared, and it didn’t help that she was an angry, demanding baby (sorry Amy, I know you might read this years later… but it’s the truth)

But I wouldn’t change a thing. I love everything about Amy, even though she drives me up the wall constantly. And I love everything about Alistair. I do feel like sometimes I need to clone myself or divide myself, and when I couldn’t, the mom guilt hits. But I’ve learned to take things easy and just enjoy every minute I have with the both of them.

 

Love,

Natalie

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