8 years after ‘I do’

It was late. I was tired. I was hungry. I had a long day. By the time he picked me up for dinner, it was about 9pm.

We went to TGIF, where I ranted about my day to him as we ate. He seemed a little quieter than usual, but then again, it could be because I was ranting nonstop.

Once we finished our main dishes, he asked if I would like to order dessert. Normally I would jump at that, but on that night, I was physically tired and mentally exhausted, and I felt full enough, so I uncharacteristically passed.

I later found out that that made him a bit more nervous. But he nevertheless bravely began his speech. He said he was sorry he had been unable to get me fancy gifts. He bought me something, and he really hoped that I would like it. I prepared my own expectations, and told myself not to show any signs of disappointment if I indeed did not like the gift. After all, it’s the heart and thought that mattered.

But all my own thoughts evaporated when he put a blue Tiffany & Co box on the table.

Oh. Ma. Gawd.

I think at this point he continued on with his well-prepared speech, but honestly, I can’t recall any of it. I only remember feeling utterly shocked, and I couldn’t take my eyes away from the box. I knew what was inside. My heart was beating wildly. I wasn’t sure if I was ready.

Then the question came.

“Will you marry me?”

Silence.

I looked at him. I looked at the box. I looked at him. And all I could say was, “Really? Are you serious?”

Unlike most girls who fawned and cried and screamed ‘YES!!!’ immediately, I had so many things run through my mind in those few seconds. My answer would be a very important one. It was not going to be just a one-word reply. It was going to be a big decision. For life.

I took a deep breath, and said yes. And he visibly relaxed as he put the (slightly oversized) ring into my shaking finger.

That was the beginning of our journey, which was solidified by our wedding a year later. We said our vows, making a big commitment. For life.

hennat

It’s been 8 years since we said ‘I do’. So many things have happened in our relationship.

In my husband’s words, we have lost our firstborn, we have welcomed and are raising a cheerful toddler, and we are now expecting another baby. We have been poor, and then been rich, and then poor again. Hopefully, we are on our way to being rich again *finger crossed*.

We have fought without words, fought with words, and fought on iMessage (which works brilliantly for us by the way).

We have been through quite a rough trail. Honestly, were there moments where I actually thought of bailing? Yes. But the commitment of love means that I will choose to hold on even when I want to flee.

Marriage is a lot of hard work. It is choosing to listen to your spouse when all you want to do is scroll your Facebook timeline (again, my husband’s words). It is choosing to be interested in your spouse’s day even though yours was as sucky as hell. It is choosing to spend time together even though you really crave for some me time after being hounded by a relentless toddler the whole day. It is swallowing down your temporary anger and resentment, and choosing to be kind instead. It is choosing not to keep scores, and to go the extra mile instead.

It is choosing to accept each other in every way, and not be on the lookout for ‘someone better’. It is choosing to overlook and forgive. It is choosing to remember the good times more than the bad times. It is choosing to see things from your spouse’s perspective, especially when you are blinded by rage. It is choosing to hold each other’s hands, and say again and again, ‘I will walk this road with you.’

Feelings come and feelings go. Butterflies appear in your stomach and vanish all the time. Falling in love is easy. Staying in love is the real deal.

So how do we stay in love?

We’ve only been married for 8 years. That’s a short time when measured against the years of life. But so far, staying in love to me means making choices and decisions every day.

Choose to remember our vows. Choose to remember what attracted us to each other in the first place. Choose to close an eye on the irritating habits. Choose to talk things out even when it’s difficult. Choose to solve issues even when we don’t want to. Choose to be fair. Choose to be kind. Choose to hold on when times are rough. Choose to create fond memories together. Choose to be completely honest. Choose to say sorry. Choose to dream together.

For better, for worse.

Happy 8th anniversary to my dearest husband. I love you more today than yesterday, despite all your disgusting habits. *winks*

 

Love,

Nat

Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask

Earlier this year I went to Seoul, South Korea, and, being in the land of beauty, I knew I had to pick up some face care products. So I did some research, and one of the products I decided to get was this Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask.

It is made from clean Jeju volcanic ingredients (like hardened lava), to remove sebum, treat blemishes and purify the skin.

I heard a lot of good things about this, so I was more than excited to try it out. And I love it!

As my TV job requires me to put on a ton of makeup, I really need a good clay mask to cleanse out all impurities, tighten my pores, restore and brighten my skin. This clay mask glides on my skin so smoothly, which makes application a joy! It also doesn’t sting my face, which is a big bonus. And once I wash it off, I could see an immediate difference – my skin looks brighter, and it feels so much softer and smoother.

Since becoming a mom, time for masks is a luxury though, so I usually just quickly slap on this mask while I’m in the shower and let it dry as much as it can for about 5 minutes before rinsing it off. I try to use it at least once every week… if I remember haha.

Have you tried this mask before? Let me know if you like it!

 

Love,

Nat

All The Saints Of Our Lives

Last weekend was the celebration of my church’s 15th anniversary.

The organising team spent one month planning and preparing for the two events – the main one being our gala dinner slash awards night to appreciate our leaders and ministry members on Saturday, and then our actual Sunday service. The bigger focus went to the gala dinner, and it was the hardest, because the goal was that the staff team would do everything, so that our volunteers and church members could just sit back and enjoy.

chckl

Picture from CHCKL 

This was the first project I embarked on since joining the church staff team as a part-timer, and also the first time I was part of a organising committee actually. It was really stretching. Not only was I doing this on top of my news reading schedule, I also had to take on things that I wasn’t even sure if I could handle.

I had to help with the conceptualising, planning and supervising of all the videos for the weekend, which probably amounted to about seven or eight. At times I felt that this was so out of my league, but I just had to rely on my guts, instinct, and feels.

I also oversaw the performances for the gala night, although most of my focus went to the drama skit. I wrote the script, did the casting, went through practices with the team, and made sure everything would be OK. It was way more stressful than just acting a role I tell you.

I also decided to appoint different presenters for every award given out. Which meant I had to script their lines a la Oscars style. And we had 11 awards. By the end of it, my brain was fried.

During rehearsals, I had to ensure that everybody knew what to do, especially the stage managers, so that everything would flow well that night.

I also appointed myself as the emcee of the night, because I thought, since I pretty much arranged the flow of the night, I might as well just do it, rather than having to brief and ensure another emcee knew what was going on. (But I am glad I did it, because I really had a lot of fun. Emceeing for church is always a joy!)

In the midst of all this, I was also in my first trimester. So it was a little challenging. My morning/evening sickness was quite bad, that sometimes I struggled to go for rehearsals and even work. And by the end of the day, I would be flat out.

Sometimes late at night, I would suddenly panic, wondering if I over-exerted myself, wondering if baby was OK.

But seeing how the gala night turned out, and how the Sunday service went well, it was all worth it. The team I worked with was more than fabulous, and so very excellent.

anniversarycake

Picture from CHCKL

It was truly an honour and my privilege to be able to be part of this big celebration. Thank you CHCKL for believing in me more than I believe in myself. Thank you for helping me discover so much about myself. Thank you for journeying through life with me for the past 11 years. Happy 15th anniversary!

And big love to all the saints of our lives, for all the days of our lives!

 

Love,

Nat

Things Amy Says

Amy is now at the age where she begins to say the funniest things.

Example #1: 

She plays and laughs and everyone laughs with her.

Amy: Amy soooooo happy!!!

Me: You’re so happy?

Amy: The end!

Me: The end?

Amy: Correct!

Me: …

Background commentary: My bedtime stories to her always end with “Amy / so-and-so is soooo happy! The end!”. So now every time she hears “so happy” she says “the end”. 

Example #2: 

Since Amy was born, I made it a point not to say things like “shame shame” when she’s naked, because I didn’t want her to start yelling “shame shame” whenever she sees me naked.

Unfortunately, she has learned to say “bogel” (naked in Malay).

So now, whenever she is naked:

Amy: Amy bogel!!!!!

Or when her papa is changing:

Amy: Papa bogel!!!!

Or when I am changing:

Amy: Mama bogel!!!!!

And if I ignore, she would repeat that 10 times and it gets louder each time.

Note to self: It may not be a good idea to bring her into fitting rooms with me at the malls.

Number 3: How I found out

big sis

The first thought I had was, OMG!

And I jumped and shrieked for joy in my mind. But on the outside, I was still quite composed haha.

In this post, I shared that the hubby and I felt that it was time for us to try for another baby. So we did. But we weren’t very uh, diligent, if you get what I mean. Only once. *tries to be cryptic*

So I told him, well, if we do get pregnant, we are very very lucky. I kinda didn’t really expect to get pregnant from that once, but since we did try, there was that possibility.

We continued life like normal for the next few weeks. I had my period symptoms, but no period.

But again I thought, we might not be so lucky. Even though, deep within, I kinda suspected maybe we were.

Still I put off the pregnancy test, for a few reasons. 1) It’s more accurate when I’m further along anyway. 2) I was nervous. I was nervous about getting pregnant. I was nervous about not getting pregnant. I didn’t know what I want and I didn’t know how to feel about both. Some days I really REALLY wanted to have another baby. Some days I think, maybe we were not ready.

Finally. After being late for about a week, and after feeling hungry all the time, and after feeling tired all the time, and after feeling irrationally irritable sometimes, and after feeling a bit of the pregnancy symptoms (i.e. dizzy when I stood up quickly, heightened sense of smell, other physical symptoms), I decided to just get that dang pregnancy test done, so at least I would know if I could still eat sashimi.

No more sashimi.

Yup. Definitely no more sashimi.

And a few weeks later, we saw its little heartbeat.

I am super happy and am so grateful that God has given us another baby! But almost immediately after seeing that positive line, I was washed over by fear and worry too.

Medically, I am considered a high risk mother. Mentally, I remember having and losing Alexa. Emotionally, I can still feel the pain.

Many around me expect me not to be as worried this time around, since Amy was born alive and well. I guess in a sense it’s true. Every time I look at Amy, I remember God’s promises and assurances. Still, I can’t explain the fear that still grips my heart. I guess the fact remains that Alexa happened.

I laid my hands on my belly and prayed for baby number three, confessing that this baby will be well and healthy, that he/she will develop and grow normally and healthily, and he/she will be born alive and well, and he/she will be a great sibling to Amy.

I wish I could be a carefree mom, chilling and relaxing since this is already my third pregnancy. Oh well. It will no doubt be another battle of my mind throughout this journey, but I will do it. And with God by my side, I will believe for another victory.

If you could pray and confess along with me, I would very much appreciate that.

I’m now entering my second trimester. This being my third pregnancy, it’s really not easy to conceal anymore; I look like I’m 5 months pregnant. But like my MIL said, why would I want to hide? Being pregnant is a happy news! I agree. 🙂

This pregnancy saw the return of my evening sickness. I was very nauseous in the evenings, and many nights I couldn’t really down my dinner. Fortunately though, there was no throwing up. The fatigue was also quite bad. And weirdly enough, every time I thought about social media, I felt nauseous too! Haha! That explains why I was relatively absent from social media for the past weeks.

My cravings went haywire too. I would very specifically want to eat iced desserts, or salty snacks, or spicy food.

Sometimes I would feel a tad guilty for not giving baby number three enough attention, as Amy is more than a handful. Then the hubby said, how would you give baby number three attention??

Well, I don’t know… Maybe more tummy rubs, more talking to baby, and just more daydreaming about baby??

I have been telling Amy that she’s going to be a big sister, and that there is a baby in mama’s stomach. She could repeat that, but I doubt she understands what that means.

I look at her and feel so much love. Then I wonder if I would be able to love baby number three the same. Or if I would love Amy less when baby comes. But a lot of my mama friends have assured me that I won’t. Somehow, I would be able to increase my capacity to love instead.

I love having babies. If only the journey of being pregnant was not so harrowing and tough emotionally, I would love to keep getting pregnant haha.

But for now…

Father I pray for baby number three. Thank You so so much for giving me this gift of life. I pray that baby number three will continue to grow and develop healthily and normally, that this pregnancy will be smooth and free from complications, that baby number three will be born alive and well at full term. Amen. 

 
Love,

Nat

Thou shall not lie… to your kids

A few nights ago, the hubby told me that a friend of his was telling him how exasperated she was because her young son has started lying to her. She was incredulous; where did he learn to lie at such a young age? (I think he is 3 or 4 years old) She said she and her husband never told him lies, so how did he pick up this bad habit?

My first response was that kids don’t need to be taught how to do wrong. The sinful nature is within each and every one of us and we would somehow know how to do wrong things even without being taught.

However, after thinking about it more, I turned to my hubby and said, “Actually it is not true that parents do not teach their kids how to lie.”

Think about it. How many times have your parents told you a “white lie” when you were growing up?

For example:

“If you’re naughty again, the policeman will come here and catch you.”

“If you are good, I will buy you all the toys you want.”

These lies may not be big, bad lies. But they are lies nevertheless.

And I do not blame parents (or even grandparents). Because sometimes it’s easier to throw out these white lies to get the kid to behave, rather than spend a long time explaining and disciplining.

But here’s the thing:

Your children see what you do more than they hear what you say, and they follow your actions more than obey your words.

So if you tell them “do not lie”, but they see you doing it all the time to them, guess what they would do?

They can’t differentiate a white lie and a bad lie. A lie is a lie. If you said you will get them that toy but you didn’t, it’s a lie. If you said you will let them watch the iPad if they finish their dinner but you didn’t, it’s a lie.

And once you have made that first lie, it breaks their trust in you. They will now know that your word is not your bond. They will have that feeling of “Yea whatevs, that’s what my dad or my mom said, but they always say that. Pfft.”

That is why, as far as I am able, I am determined not to bluff Amy in any way. Every reward that I dangle in front of her, or any threat that I make, I have to follow through. Which is why I do not threaten lightly, and I do not offer a reward easily.

If I tell her, “If you throw down the toy again, you cannot play with it today”, then I have to make sure I follow through if she throws it down again.

If I promise her that she “can watch iPad if you let mummy shower you now”, then I have to honour my word, even if she forgets about it after shower.

If you don’t think you can carry out a particular threat, then do not even say it! Resist all temptation and swallow it back down. For example, “If you are naughty, I will burn all your toys!”

Number one, I don’t think you would actually burn all the toys, which would then make your statement a lie, and then cause your kid to undermine you.

Number two, if you do burn all the toys, I think it’s too harsh an action and your kid would probably think you are mad. And think of all the money you just burned.

Finally, never assume that your kid doesn’t understand what you are saying anyway and therefore you don’t really have to follow through. Your kid is smarter than you think, and from as young as they are, they are already learning values and principles from you.

 

Love,

Nat

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