The 3 Year Mark Recap: To Stay or Not To Stay?

My life in a photo

My life in a photo

Zoie turns 3 in just over a month’s time.

And this means we would have been in Sydney, Australia for almost 3 years (come June). It seems almost surreal, really, to think that Nic’s PhD journey is almost all done!

And the one thing I’ve not really bothered thinking too much of, has now come back to me in full force. To stay or not to stay, that is the question.

It’s a tough choice. All our family, our friends, our work, our church is back in Singapore. There in Singapore lies our ties, and the fact we can get the $1 cup of teh-tarik at the food centre and that $3 bowl of yummy bak chor mee. I miss church back home, miss the style of worship, I miss our weekly cell group meetings, I miss hanging out with the “gang” which has since about doubled in size (no) thanks to the number of kids between us!

And yet, there’s Australia. No doubt it has won our hearts… but perhaps the bigger pull factor is that it has won the hearts of our kids. Jayvon, being 8, has the most vivid memory of life back in Singapore. He misses the arcade back there, he misses the extended family, and he has told us on more than one occasion that he would LOVE to go back…. If he didn’t have to go to Primary School. Hahaha! (Like I said, he has memory – and those 2 months in Primary 1 has given him the shudders of the weekly spelling quizzes). Life here is so much simpler. Hardly any homework. He is in Year 3, which is his NAPLAN year, and in a recent meeting that his form teacher had with the parents, one asked how they could help the kid to get ready for NAPLAN… and the teacher’s reply was, “Don’t worry about it.” And then she moved on to the next question.

Yup, I can see all my Singaporean friends’ jaws dropping collectively right now. I feel you. I was flabbergasted too! Haha!

Jayvon, having struggled through his awkward Kindy start, and an equally challenging Year 1 & 2, has finally found his footing, learning how to balance work and play, how to work hard (he proudly tells me his accomplishments in the classroom) and play hard (for the FIRST time since we’ve come, he received 2 play date invites this year from 2 different classmates, and he was ecstatic!)

Xavier has started Kindy this year, and with his older brother in the same school, he has it MUCH easier. He has taken to hanging with Jayvon about every break that they have (much to Jayvon’s irritation cos Xavier “doesn’t let him have fun with his own friends”) but it’s been almost 2 months since the start, and Xavier’s breakthrough was in playing ball with his own classmate just last week – instead of running after Jayvon.

Zoie is enjoying herself in her childcare, having older brothers mean she enjoys playing with the older kids – and they enjoy having her too. She has her heart set on dance lessons next term, so we shall see. Haha!

They speak with an Aussie-twang (Xavier & Zoie being the most pronounced of the lot), they have the palate of Aussies (Jayvon has recently taken to asking for carrot and cucumber sticks for his recess breaks. Like… WHAT?), they can spend all day at the beach, and all in all they’ve assimilated to the Aussie way of life much, much better than Nic and me. Well, better than me anyhow. Haha!

I’ve had so many people ask me “Are you staying on in Australia?” “Are you going back to Singapore?” and if I were very honest, my answer to you then really depends on where I am in that mental battle! Hahaha! Some days I feel like we should just all go back to Singapore. It’s so much easier with friends and family around. I miss not having a regular monthly salary. I am sick of struggling with the budget all the time. I want to buy nice things for my kids. Then other days, I feel like we should just stay on in Australia. There’s so much more to offer the kids here. They have so much fun here. It’d be almost too cruel to subject them to the Primary school education back in Singapore, and to study Chinese – ohemgee, it might kill us all! Then another day, I’d be pro-Singapore once again. I would meet random strangers who gush about how they love Singapore, and I would agree. The level of security, how I can bring the kids out on my own and walk back with them at 9 p.m. without having to constantly look over my shoulder. How they would miss out on having fun with their aunties and grandparents. How they would miss out on church back home. And my job! How could I not go back to work at CHC? But then Australia tugs at my heart-strings again… and it continues.

In other words, I am still struggling. Still praying about the best decision for not just me and Nic, but for our three kids. And I know of people who’re very “for” one decision or the other, but the truth is, there is so much to weigh, that I feel it deserves a lot more thought and prayer.

I don’t envy other parents who might be in this same situation, thinking of whether or not to uproot their kids for a chance at a better life. I just think our decision was made harder – because we’ve already uprooted them once, three years ago, and if this next move is going to be easy for them.

Till then, there’s at least a year more to Nic finally graduating. A year more for me to enjoy my status as a stay at home mom, and to spend time with the trio.

Goodbye 2015… Hallo 2016!

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It’s been a while since my last post, as I get all busy with the kids and life. Before I head on to reminisce the old and welcome the new, here’s my very own, very quirky New Year greeting (taken at the Twelve Apostles)

Happy new year, and may you have the strength and grace to get through it (especially if you are a parent haha!)

Birth Story – Revisited

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The trio

Three kids. Three kids, each with their distinct personality, preference, and pointed opinions. They’ve all grown immensely since the time we packed up and left Singapore, and it’s been three long years, but yet it also seems like yesterday (as clichéd as that sounds!)

In fact, when Deborah of Owls Well invited me to post about my birth story, I readily agreed, but GOSH… it’s been a while! Haha! I had a fun time re-reading my old blog posts about Jayvon, Xavier and Zoie’s birth stories.

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Can you guess who this is? ;)

I think being my very first birth experience, Jay’s birth story holds a special place in my heart. Here’s his story with my personal edits/thoughts (in red!)

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Jayvon’s Birth Story – Looking back at 7 years ago!

Well, my gynae gave me the option, as I went for my last checkup on a week earlier (on 17 Jan) and asked if I wanted to WAIT (i.e. just go about my normal everyday life till my water bag bursts and the contractions really start) or INDUCE. Well, with hardly any hesitation, I chose to go for an induced birth – cos the thought of just WAITING & WAITING… and more importantly, NOT KNOWING WHEN would gnaw at me more than just doing it! So we decided to admit me into KKH on 23 Jan (which was the date of my expected delivery anyhow, a full 40 weeks!)
7 years later, and reading many horror stories about friends having their water bag burst in malls and restaurants, hearing accounts of births in cars and taxis… I stand by this decision. In fact, ALL three of my kids were induced too! Haha! Xavier was at 37 weeks, and there wasn’t much choice for my gynae to induce me cos I was admitted the night before with cramps and was ALREADY hooked up to the epidural. We had to leave for Sydney, and wanted Zoie to be at least 4 weeks old, so she too was induced at 37-38 weeks.
I had my last cell group meeting on the 19th, and I still remember before the meeting closed, Wenling led the members and prayed for me & the baby… And I recall telling her, after she finished praying… that the words “labour pains” almost brought tears to my eyes! The worst part about it was the anticipation of the pain that was to come. Have you seen those drama serials of how labouring women were SCREAMING as they rushed to the hospital in cabs? Gosh – I was seriously freaking out as I thought about the pain to come. And so it shouldn’t come as a surprise, I chose to go for an epidural. And even then, the pain of administering the epidural was horrifying in itself! (I told you I had a LOW threshold of pain … and an over-active imagination! Haha…)
Three kids later… that threshold of pain hasn’t increased AT ALL. Haha!
The morning itself, we had to reach KKH between 6 to 7am. My dad offered to drive us there, and we stopped by Kallang MacDonald’s… my last breakfast: Sausage MacMuffin with Egg Meal!
Then we reached KKH, and went directly to the Delivery Suite to be admitted. The mid-wife assigned to care for me (I forgot her name, unfortunately! But she was real sweet and made my time there very comfy) helped me to settle in and I waited for the anesthesiologist to come to administer my epidural.
All this while? No pain.
My gynae also came to examine me and told me for first-time mothers, labour would generally be 12-18 hours long. So she predicted I’d give birth by dinner time, or if all was smooth, by an early dinner.
I remember thinking… “What?! I can’t eat till then? Nooooooo…. Come out at lunch please Jayvon!” 
When the anesthesiologist came in, I braced myself for the PAIN to come. I half-thought I had to be pinned to the bed to prevent me from moving or squirming during the administering, so imagine my surprise when the doctor just told me to sit up on side of the bed, hug a pillow and bend forward. I thought… “What? No one to help me? Restrain me? What if I squirm???” And then my mid-wife came over and gently laid her hand on my wrist. So it was just all up to me to not move! Where was Nic all through this? The doctor dismissed him! Till now, we’re not too sure why he couldn’t see this part, cos he stayed throughout the delivery but I suspect… the doctor did it to minimize my whining! (I mean, I don’t know the doctor that well to be all whiney, so I had to keep SOME semblance of bravery) Haha!!!
The thought of the epidural still sends shivers down my spine (no pun intended), and I honestly don’t know how I managed to do it!
Anyhow by about 930am, I was nicely settled in and the inducement began… I was watching ChannelNewsAsia (saw the news of Heath Ledger’s sudden passing) (Heath Ledger!! :( ) and dozing off and chatting with Nic all throughout.
At about 3pm, my mid-wife taught me how to push and they found that my epidural was “too good”… that is, I really felt zero pain though my contractions were getting nearer and nearer, and the doctor had to reduce my dosage by half – cos they told me that I had to “feel the pain” in order to know when to push. So every 15 minutes, the mid-wife would ask me, “Got pain?” Pain, to me, was that kind of gut-wrenching, scream-out-loud kind of PAIN. All I had was stomach cramps and I could feel my stomach clenching but it was not painful at all, hardly what anyone would describe as pain. But at about 4 pm, as I learnt how to push, the top of my baby’s head could be seen and so the gynae was called in.
All it took was THREE PUSHES after that, and at 4.23 pm, I saw my little prince for the very first time. I never expected my labour to be so quick – cos *ahem* we didn’t take the time to attend any prenatal classes whatsoever…So it is really grace, grace.
Reading back, I am amazed. In Nic’s account, Jayvon literally “flew out” at that third push. Haha! He was as ready to get living as I was to get him out of my body!

Babies, babies, babies… I must admit  I have a soft spot when it comes to babies.

So I know the big question is… Number 4? Well…….

 

NO THANK YOU. ’nuff said.

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This post is part of the ‘Birth Stories’ Blog Train hosted by Owls Well. To read other exciting birth stories please click on the picture below.

11866474_10153411125380202_4867820037871610566_nIf you would like to travel to the previous stops on this Blog Train and read more interesting birth stories, you can start with this one here by Shermeen over at Meeningfully.

At next week’s stop we will be visiting Daddy Andy who will share from a father’s perspective at SengKangBabies.com. His blog tries to share kids-friendly stuffs in Singapore and blog motto is “We bring you fun!”. Andy and spouse planned for two but ended up with four. (Yes, you read that right – they have 4 kids!)

October Blitz

And now we’re nearing the end of the month of October, and the final giveaway here on the blog.

While we’ve celebrated and pampered us ladies in the last 2 weeks, it is fitting that we end off with a giveaway for the little precious ones in our lives! I love this little bundle that I’ve put together, and it will be a treat for that special little boy or girl in your life :)

Here’s what one lucky reader stands to win:

#1: A Bamboo Dinner Set from bobo & boo.

If you want to minimise your family’s exposure to toxins, as well as your carbon footprint, bobo & boo is right up your alley. This high quality, BPA-free and eco-friendly dinnerware set is a perfect option for meal times! Each set comes with a bowl, plate, cup, spoon and fork, and available in 4 colours. Here, the winner has the option to go with either the Green or the Yellow set! Check them out on Facebook too!

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#2: Scentsy Buddy Clip, from Victoria’s Scentsational Wick-Less Wax.

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These cute buddy clips were recently launched by Scentsy on 1 October. My daughter loves her Buddies, and I reckon she will enjoy bringing them along to childcare too. I have Lenny the Lamb & Scout the Dragon for my younger kids, and they love it! Each Buddy Clip comes with a pretty rugged clip to attach to any backpack, car seat or stroller, and has its own unique scent as well! And now that we recently acquired the “full-size” Bandit the Horse and Bubbles the Octopus buddies for Zoie’s ever-growing collection, she is now loving the “baby” Buddy Clips for those too! Well, if you have a Scentsy addiction love too, Victoria will gladly help you with that! ;) Shop for the full range of Scentsy products, and don’t forget to check out the newly expanded kids’ range too!

#3: $25 Store Voucher from Mini Trendsetters

I have three kids. They grow out of their clothes so fast, it’s amazing. And painful for my wallet. And if that sounds familiar to you too, check out Angie’s store for some amazing designs! One of my favourite in their collection has to be this skulls and bones scarf! Follow them on Facebook too!

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#4: $25 Store Voucher from Made In Wonderland

Alice is the wonderful brains (and sewing hands) behind Made in Wonderland, and you can check her out on Facebook too. I love the bright and sunny fabrics she uses, and you can created a customised piece for that little one in your life!

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#5: A WetBag

This is from my personal stash, a result of going crazy in my last trip back to Singapore. I have a huge love for wet bags, and it is such an awesome invention. It’s lined with plastic on the inside, and a funky design on the outside. It keeps wet and dirty clothes in, without dripping water every where else. Plus, it’s machine washable! Perfect for beach days and pool days! Winner can choose from the small selection of wet bags I have (all brand new, and unused), each with a retail price of over $30.

So that’s it – 5 gorgeous items for that special little boy or girl in your life, with a retail value of more than $120!

Alright, now that you know the goodies, here’s the drill:

  • This giveaway is only for Australian residents only.
  • To win, simply comment on this blog post, and tell me, of the items listed in this Giveaway, what is the one thing you’d absolutely LOVE to try and have for yourself, and why? The most creative answer will win!
  • Don’t forget to leave your email so I can contact you if you’re the lucky winner!
  • I’ve listed the Facebook Pages of the companies involved in this giveaway – please send some love their way too, by visiting, liking or sharing their Pages. Remember, they are regular Aussies trying to provide for their families too!
  • Giveaway ends on 6/11, midnight, and winner will be decided shortly after.

Here’s the Rafflecopter app with all the info. And don’t forget to check back next week for another round of giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October Blitz – Giveaway Week 2!

And we’re back with the second week of giveaway!

Thanks for the awesome response from last week’s giveaway. Isn’t it amazing how many small businesses there are out there?

I’ve got yet another pampering bundle for the ladies out there! Are you ready to see what you might win? Here you go!

PAMPERING WOMEN BUNDLE – Week 2

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#1:  A $50 voucher from Missy Stella Australia

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Yes, this is my own clothing shop, and I’ve had the pleasure of partnering with my friends back in Singapore to bring some Singapore-style Down Under! Shop from our range of gorgeous dresses, funky tops and versatile skirts!

#2: Classic Gold Earrings with Diamond Ice Dots from Style Dots Australia

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A brand new company that just launched in Australia a few weeks back.

I haven’t had the chance to try out the bling…but I am LOVING the concept. Basic, timeless pieces that you can jazz up and add your own spin and personality to, with “dots”? Sounds awesome! Well, you can kick start your Style Dots journey with this gorgeous piece, generously sponsored by Tina! Have you seen the stuff? What’s your favourite? My personal favourite (and something I am saving towards) will have to be this beautiful Classic Triple Necklace.

#3: Body Scrub from Senegence

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Give your body a well-deserved pamper with the SeneGence SeneDerm Body Scrub. Suitable for all skin types, this scrub is gentle yet effective enough, and helps to keep skin smooth for better moisture absorption.

This product is kindly sponsored by Jacinta, and she will be happy to share with you more about SeneGence’s range, including their waterproof, kiss-proof, smudge-proof LipSense that lasts and lasts and lasts! I just put an order in, cos it sounds amazing! Can’t wait to try it!

 

 

#4: Younique 3D+ Mascara & Moodstruck Precision Pencil
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Yes! Naomi has generously sponsored not just one set for Week 1’s giveaway – she’s put up TWO of these Younique bundles! I am blown away by how many comments I read about people wanting to try out the awesome lash-extending va-va-va-voom mascara, and I am happy we’ll have another happy camper this week!

#5: Sample pack of Vanimelda‘s pack of 10 tea lights

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I am a huge lover of aromatherapy, and I’ve used Laura’s Vanimelda holistic soy melts – and love them! This is a great little sample pack to have a try of the various blends she offers. Their soy wax is free from GMO material, contains no paraffin and no additives and is kosher certified. Check out the gorgeous range of candles, accessories, oil burners – and these would be a special treat for Christmas! Plus, you will be supporting an Aussie and her family this Christmas!

Alright, now that you know the goodies, here’s the drill:

  • This giveaway is only for Australian residents only.
  • To win, simply comment on this blog post, and tell me, of the items listed in this Giveaway, what is the one thing you’d absolutely LOVE to try and have for yourself, and why? The most creative answer will win!
  • Don’t forget to leave your email so I can contact you if you’re the lucky winner!
  • I’ve listed the Facebook Pages of the companies involved in this giveaway – please send some love their way too, by visiting, liking or sharing their Pages. Remember, they are regular Aussies trying to provide for their families too!
  • Giveaway ends on 19/10, midnight, and winner will be decided shortly after.

Here’s the Rafflecopter app with all the info. And don’t forget to check back next week for another round of giveaway! Total retail value of this pack is more than A$150. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway