Welcome to 2015!

My 2013 was horrible for the most obvious reason (mother’s death, for the uninitiated) but last year really blew for many of my friends, and for Malaysia’s aviation industry. There were quite a few good-riddance-to-this-rubbish-year posts on my FB news feed, and I’m glad for them, at least, that we have reached 2015.

For us, 2014 was largely a calm year. A winding down from the emotional roller coaster that was 2013. There were a few points for anxiety – the sale of my mother’s home being one, haggling with financial institutions on two continents, being another – but on the grand scheme of things, they proved paltry compared to the addition to our family. Atticus signaled a new chapter to our family life in late November — and a welcome focal point. We rounded off the year largely sleep deprived while being surrounded by family, and feeling older, slightly melancholy and stressed, but not sad. And after the sorrow of 2013, being not sad was a great step forward.

There was a study on “workplace happiness” conducted in Singapore between April and August last year. And the grand reveal was that Singaporeans are Under Happy – that vague, lukewarm, non-committal, soggy middle ground between the state of being Happy and being Unhappy. Under Happy was last year’s Meh, and the punchline for many Singaporeans still secretly seething about being ranked the Least Emotional Country in the World in 2012.

And it got me thinking. Although I had many things I’d been grateful for, and felt largely content with my lot in life, there was still a lot of Meh left in me last year. I’m wondering if it’s a self preservation thing, or the natural trajectory one follows after being shot out of the Emo canon that was 2013. Numbness is comforting. It allows one to function well and to even feel episodes of muted happiness. But although a bland life can be a happy one, happiness isn’t blandness.

I know this is a blog largely about my children and a little about my personal life. But some of the things I keep circling in this blog seems to be Life organisation and finding the Happy – whether it’s about some habit tracking app I find useful, or whether it’s about reflecting on my list of gratitudes every Thursday. I know I probably appear to be overthinking things, or maybe I’ve reached some kind of 40%-life crisis that induces me to contemplate my life and purpose. Perhaps I’m still trying to define myself, since I’ve currently parked my Career Woman persona. Or my cousin’s and mother’s early deaths have shaken me to the very core, and what you see here are the aftershocks.

Or perhaps, if I can indulge in some hubris, my soul resonates with the likes of W.H. Auden, who observed that “between the ages of twenty and forty we are engaged in the process of discovering who we are…”

I don’t know. I just know that I’m searching for… something. Every New Year, I pounce on the chance to reinvent myself to some extent, and this year is no different.

I had started out last year reading Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project, and then got sidetracked. I had planned to explore my year like she did with a theme for each month, but that intention got seriously derailed by January, when I decluttered the house (just like in her book) for our anticipated move (which didn’t happen), only to pack her book in the process in one of 70 boxes now sitting in a storage unit four suburbs away.

Oops.

Anyhoo, I’ve gotten hold of an electronic copy and I’m trying her book out again. This is my Eat Pray Love, except I don’t have to leave my husband and children, and swan off to India to learn how to meditate. I’m still plotting my game plan for 2015 in between innumerous breastfeeds and rocking and shushing and diapering and cleaning and cooking and soothing and playing and including… so wish me luck.

What are your New Year resolutions, by the way? Made any this year, or cannot be bothered?

Categories: Looking Around and Looking Within, Organisation and Obsessions | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Atticus is one month old

Yes, it’s gone by pretty quick – mostly because we’ve had three lots of family come through (Brisbane, Singapore and a surprise one from Adelaide/Brunei). And then there was the Christmas week. And then just like that, the little man is a whole new moon bigger.

But to be very honest, our days have lengthened of late. Sometimes, I count the hours, the minutes, and they pass all too slowly. We’ve hit that awful phase of endless crying for no good reason – or rather, the stretches in which Atticus refuses to be comforted or settled are getting longer and longer. It feels like the crying:sleeping ratio is about 3:1, with some eating, weeing, pooing, burping, and fluffing in between.

At least with Arddun, she slept lots during the day because she was so terribly jaundiced and groggy. Atticus isn’t orange. But he isn’t sleeping.

The mind knows that this is normal; newborns are all over the place. Their body clocks are erratic, and there seems to be a developmental milestone that goes hand in hand with yelling till their little heads turn purple with fury. But emotionally, mentally, spiritually… we are feeling our age. The idea of accidentally falling pregnant with a third is starting to terrify me enough to want to run out and tie tubes.

But he can also be such a cute kid.

So let me start with the honest portrait. This is Atticus for majority of the day, at present:

Atticus yelling his head off

He doesn’t have a piddly cry either. He’s LOUD, make no mistake of that.

But then he can also look at me like this:

Atticus one month picture smiling

“Oh hello, it’s you! You’re a sight for sore eyes!”

And he also smells so, soooo good. I’m convinced it’s God’s way of building in self preservation for the poor tykes.

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Those pouty lips are definitely his father’s. I think the flat nose is, regrettably, mine.

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There’s no sweeter baby than a peacefully sleeping baby. Especially after 5 hours of fussing.

Categories: Moments and Milestones | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Christmas 2014

I’m finding it more challenging to photograph our family’s shenanigans lately. Still to master the art of farfing DSLR camera settings with one free hand only. Yes, Atticus’s feeds are inversely proportionate to my success rate for capturing the moment.

Nevertheless, I tried. With any and every camera within grabbing/lurching distance.

Christmas lights montage 2014

Cruised around the neighbourhood on Christmas Eve to marvel over some serious Christmas lights displays

Christmas window montage

One home converted their living room into a miniature Christmas display village. Awesome effort. Even had an electric train.

Opening presents on Christmas day

The only (lousy) shot I managed to take of Arddun opening her presents on Christmas day

Getting ready for Christmas lunch

Raymond BBQing in the background while we get ready to tuck in

Christmas lunch at the Kirkies

Enjoying our non-Christmas-on-Christmas-Day lunch at the Kirkies

Tony posing with Pavlova

Tony makes beautiful Pavlovas. This one disappeared very soon after this pic was taken

Atticus crying while wearing Christmas onesie 2014

Atticus’s First Christmas. Spent mostly sleeping and occasionally yelling his precious head off

Arddun having a laugh with daddy Christmas 2014

Sharing a private joke with her daddy

Arddun close up Christmas day 2014

Merry Christmas, baby girl

Categories: Moments and Milestones | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ten Years

Ten years ago,

Kiss at wedding

We chose each other to be family

Since then, we’ve cooked in three kitchens

Kitchens montage

Travelled to Singapore so many times we’ve lost count

Singapore montage

Gallivanted through parts of Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales

Travel montage

Farewelled two loved onesPhotos of Mum and Cuz

Made two beautiful babies

Children montage

Loved and laughed

couple montage

We didn’t get much chance to make it a big celebration this anniversary. Visits from family overseas and interstate was one reason. And then there was the rather tiny matter of birthing a whole other human being and being severely sleep-deprived as a result.

And yes, part of me wants to knuckle down and get real Deep and Meaningful about my marriage at this time of year. Part of me wants the big fanfare to mark this significant milestone. Ten years! It should mean something. I want to tell him how he’s changed me. I want to tell him how I never want some things about him to ever change. I want to tell you that there were rough bits and boring bits and tough bits, but they were few and far, faaar between the absolute comfort and joy and love and certainty and assurance I get to enjoy every day. Every. Day.

It’s been a real privilege being a wife and from that, a mother. Ten years! Thank you, God.

Bouquet of red roses

120 red roses over 10 years

Arddun playing with knife and fork

Some percussion entertainment while we wait for our anniversary lunch to arrive

Arddun close up

Atticus sleeping in capsule

Sleeping prince while we wait for the food to arrive

Arddun's apple juice

Arddun’s la-di-da apple juice

 

Arddun's gourmet carbonara lunch

Arddun’s gourmet carbonara lunch

Tony with long glass of beer

The man whose name I took as my own

Long glass of beer

Enjoying a long glass of ice cold

Close up of Tony's ring

 

Happy 10th Anniversary, Tony. I love you.

Photo of Tony Velle silhouette

Categories: Moments and Milestones | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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