Monday, April 29, 2013

4 months - when going to the hospital can bring good news too

my baby boy,


you have made many marvellous milestones, such as bring able to clasp your hands together, to turning your head back, as though in search of something. once, you even unintentionally rolled over! mama and papa continue to be amazed by how God helps you to grow and pick up new skills. you seem to have found your feet, and you are always rubbing them together. toys appeal to you now, and you jump into excited fits when we start to read a book together :)


we can't quite imagine life without you, because you have brought so much joy to us with your constant smiles and funny antics.

this month, i do not have much to say about your milestones, because all that is etched on my mind is what happened recently. 

you fell sick. you have never been entirely, completely healthy since you were born (who is? such is the result of sin in this world :(  ) but this recent bout of cough really caught us by surprise and made us worry and fear, alot. for once, i truly experienced the worry of how you may never recover. initially, when we first saw the doctor, i was not extremely worried. you had no fever, and you will still active, although the phlegm caused you some breathing difficulties every now and then. days passed, and you soon got a runny nose, and your cough never went away. this added to my worries. 

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when feeding you medicine :( :(

we went to see the pd again, and to our dismay, she diagnosed you with bronchitis! for a little one like you, with an illness that already sounds like a mouthful, it was very very worrying. before we left the clinic, we had to sit through 5 minutes of the nebulizer. as i held you in one hand, the other holding the nebulizer, my heart ached. i felt guilty, as though i did not take proper care of you, and at the same time, sad that you had to be subjected to something like that at such a young age. we returned home with an array of medication, including antibiotics :(

our worries mounted when yiyi reminded me to look out for chest retractions. i studied your chest and oh dear, there were retractions indeed. unsure if that was what she meant, i sent her a video and she confirmed with yi zhang that they were something serious. subcostal retractions, they call it. a google search was enough to send chills down my spine, because that meant that you were having acute respiratory difficulties. "i think you should go to the hospital..." were yiyi's words, and my heart sank :( 

at the same time, i was thoroughly confounded. although you were still coughing and sometimes gasping for breath, you were at times happy and you could sleep through the night. what's going on? is there something really serious that i did not pick up? baby, are you that tough, that even when you are SO sick, you can still seem ok?

off to the hospital (children's emergency) we went. junior doctor examined your lungs, and said that they were fine. huh? what about the retractions, we asked. she frowned and told us that she would check with the senior doctor. senior doctor came in, clearly knowing what she was doing. to our surprise, she said you had no bronchitis, and that you did not require any other medication besides nose drops!

going to the hospital can bring good news too. 

what is the purpose behind this? God has put this into our family's lives that we may learn how important it is to trust in Him. to make mama realise that it is not the doctor or the medication that is going to make you better. to teach us how to suffer long, and to cling unto God in such a time of desperation. and to help us realise how many prayer warriors stand by us, making their supplications known unto the King of kings, on our behalf. we are truly blessed, Ezra, that we are under the care of God Almighty. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

the hands-on brother

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we kinda liked the dining table from star living, as mentioned here, but it was a little too small. PP and i were looking for a versatile dining table that could open up to fit more guests and this was a perfect match :) however, it seemed a little too common. thank God for a fantastic younger brother who really went all out to customise it for us! our inspirations came from herehere and here :)

colour dipping, is what it's called :)

first, he tried it out on a small portion of the table. (and even took a snapshot to show me!)

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taped half of the table legs with masking tape and newspaper..

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sanded and primed them..

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before painting them many times over :)IMG 1221

it looks easy, and the tutorials online make it look so simple, but it is actually very tedious work! he even offered to paint the sides of the table top, and the outcome was really fabulous :)



my brother's labour of love was a big big help when i was heavily pregnant and now the dining table fits seamlessly in our house! even our carpenter, Mr A, asked us where we got it from! thank you so much brother :) you really went the extra mile and made sure that the paint job was done to perfection. your masterpiece is going to stay in our home for many many years to come!

Monday, April 15, 2013

tots on parenting #3

the privilege of a Christian mother (words of wisdom from popo)

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the privilege of a Christian mother is prayer. in times of desperation, when we are alone at home, helpless with no one to give us a hand in looking after a helpless baby, we know we have a Heavenly Father who is only a prayer away. Yes, He is watching over us all the time, but prayer reveals how much we need Him and trust Him to provide for what we need. 

my mother has touched me very much recently, with her words of wisdom and sweet gestures of love. according to her, she says she is also still learning till now, and how i have so much to learn from her! she shared how she had to take care of us (3 little ones, oldest being 8) in the past, and how she would be busy from daybreak till dawn. even going to the toilet was a challenge! how den, i asked. and she said, 

i just had to keep praying and praying.

this is a privilege that Christian mothers have, and it is such a means of grace to us! without God, who can I look to? who can I commit my cares to? who will understand my needs? I thank God that I am a Christian mother, and with this means of grace, may I accomplish what He desires me to do! 

ezra's one-month-old thank you favours


we have been blessed by the love of many who showed their support in different gestures since Ezra was born. some have been patient with us, some pray for us. one sweet sunday school boy has constantly been praying for good health for ezra! wow. some keep us in their thoughts, offer words of advice, others shower us with hand-made cards and thoughtful gifts. thank God for all these people, who are blessings sent from God.

while we do not like to stick to tradition and give cake vouchers/gifts for the sake of the one-month celebration, we are grateful to these people. we hence wanted to do a little something, as a token of appreciation. here's what we came up with, by God's provision. 


materials needed:

- a badge front (in this case we got someone to laser cut some wood pieces) 

- badge pins

- foam double sided tape

- glue 

- a card with a heart-felt note

thank God that it was relatively easy to stick everything together and we completed these (100+ pieces!) rather promptly :)

front of the card


back of the card


the card is an adaptation of our wedding card, which we felt was meaningful because truly, by God's leading, we are on to another phase in this journey of life :)



we felt that this would be a nice souvenir for everyone to have, to point people to our Creator as we celebrate the 1 month of life God has given to Ezra. truly a.t.w.o.s.l.u :) 

All the way our Saviour leads us...

Sunday, April 07, 2013

three months

IMG 2320your cheeks are so round they look like you have two fishballs tucked in them :)

baby dear, 

you are three months old, a wonderful milestone! thank God for His goodness, in sustaining you day by day, feed by feed. 


the highlight of this month is definitely your smile, that you dish out so unreservedly to everyone around you :) all you have to do is flash that sweet smile, and it brightens up everyone's day, including mine :) i thank God that even though you are young, still a baby, you have already been used by God to bring joy to others. and i pray it will continue to be so! 


you have learnt to recognise people, and the best thing about that, is how you smile the moment you see me! it is almost a certainty that when i smile at you, i get a smile in return, even when you are fussing about something :) im so blessed to be your mummy, you are truly a gift from God. this is the month where you have started to learn how to relate to others, whether it be your grandmas, grandpas, aunties, uncles, even mama's and papa's friends. you're truly blessed - there are so many people who love you very much!



you are becoming a real chatterbox. we hear less and less of your crying, as you learn to express yourself in other ways. though no proper words are used, we get an idea of what you are try to express through your facial expressions and tone. it's a joy listening to you. you may feel very vexed as we crack up in laughter while you are complaining away. that's because you do sound very adorable!


bathtimes remain your favourite :) the sound of water splashing is enough to make you squirm in joy. you get so excited to go into the water that you start fussing when we shampoo your hair. speaking of your hair, it is getting longer and longer! papa and mama are reluctant to give you a haircut, but we probably have to do so soon. how we will miss your glorious head of golden brown hair, which so many are enamoured with. auntie ying even says you look like a korean pop star?!!?


there were some feeding hiccups this month. one moment you seem really hungry, the other moment you just don't want to feed. we have resorted to so many means just to get you to drink your milk... rocking you to make you drowsy, turning on the aircon, distracting you, suspecting that you are teething. you are so easily distracted by everything, from the sound of the traffic to mummy's sneezing. sometimes, even when mama and papa talk, you stop to eavesdrop hehe! at the end of it all, i must say that your feeding has been something that i have learnt to commit to God, because i have so little control over it. there have been times that mama just loses patience and gets tired of trying. yet, thank God that He always works it out well day by day. i am learning not to fret so much, and just pray with you at the start of each feed, that you will drink your milk with less discomfort. you seem to have lost weight. we miss your tummy :/ 

all in all, it is amazing how God has seen us through the past 3 months. when i look at you, it is unbelievable to see how much you have grown. we are thankful for that, but it is truly not by our own efforts that you grow day by day. 

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Tuesday, April 02, 2013

tots on parenting #2

4loving how E brings so many smiles to those around him!

i wonder if it is part of maternal instinct but sometimes, i do find myself becoming protective and possessive of Ezra. On one hand, i DO love it that people adore him so much and surround him. On the other hand, there is an occasional sense of apprehension. (oh, do be careful with my son! are you sure what you are doing is best for him? why must you suggest such a thing about my parenting?)

I guess the first part of this apprehension and defensiveness comes from my pride. I do not like others to tell me what to do. The second part of it comes from my selfishness. Baby E is my son and i wish for others to realise that. The last part comes from my responsibility as a mother to protect him and desire what is best for him. The first two parts need to be reigned in, while the last part needs to controlled and presented with love and tactfulness. Only that way, can Ezra, and we as a family, become a blessing to others!


also loving how others (gong gong included!) can make him smile so much!

designing a showroom vs building a home

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long before PP and i got our keys, we were already planning what we wanted in our house. PP's criteria was simple: he just needed a toothbrush and a bed -_- i, on the other hand, am alittle more complicated :) 

nonetheless, we were sure that a house was after all, a place to live in. yes, the houses we see on interior design magazines look so pristine, but eventually, we fell into a pattern where decisions were based more on what we needed and less on how it would look. of course, if it fulfilled both that would definitely be a bonus! :)

hence, we took time to consider each portion of the house and what function we wanted them to have. 

living room + study area

what's your living room like? in singapore, im pretty certain 9 out of 10 houses would have the television as the central focus in the living room. hence the popular concept of feature walls, with sofas adjusted such that they face the television. we were not avid TV fans, and a living room should after all, be for living. this would be the place where we chat, relax after a meal, read, and fellowship. our living room therefore does not have a television or a feature wall. it does, however, have a desk space for an iMac which is versatile and serves the functions we require. any storage is always good :) so we tucked a full length cabinet at the corner, for things such as paper, cartridges, chargers, wires and random everyday things that we want to keep hidden, and yet access easily. 

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since the living room would probably be the place we spend our days, it was best if the space was bigger. in truth, it was tiny! we decided to knock down one wall, to open up the space, and combine the living with the study. we wanted the space to be as open, clean and as "airy" as possible. some tips i picked up along the way: 

1) align the bulky furniture, like cupboards, shelves and tables along the sides of the walls. walls were very precious when we were doing our space planning. it was like fitting a jigsaw, to see what ought to be placed against the wall and what did not. 

2) buy low-lying furniture (sofa, coffee table, beds...) 

3) put the tall and bulky furniture (like full length cabinets etc) in corners so they don't interrupt the visual space. 

4) think before hand what kind of wires need to be concealed! for us, we forgot entirely about the internet modem and all the wires, which do a fantastic job at cluttering up the space. thank God we found appropriate furniture to conceal them eventually!

5) choose warm colours, both for the walls and the furniture. they really do wonders in opening up the space!

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the open space would be lovely to welcome visitors and for baby E to run around next time :) it would hopefully also be a place for schooling, learning and crafting - how convenient that the bomb shelter was right there and by painting the door with chalkboard paint, it could serve as a magnetic doodle board! we got the paint from art friend at bouna vistathis and this are the popular brands and you can usually also find them at home-fix or diy stores. we asked the painter if there was need to sandpaper the door to smoothen the surface and he said no. cant give any feedback on how it is yet though, yet to use it :)

the brick walls (increasingly common nowadays, but still a feature we love) were immaculately put up by our contractor, Mr L. He has an eye for detail and any wet works and tiling done by him is excellent. he completed the wet works within a few days, beyond our expected timeline. the bricks (purchased by him for our behalf) are from Craftstone and we chose the lightest shade (Austin). all we had to do was select from a catalogue and he did the rest. he did recommend for us to go to the showroom to take a look but since we were sure we wanted the lightest shade, our decision making was easy. 

dining area 

meal times, i read in this book (which btw is a good book about motherhood!), are precious times to spend as a family, to communicate and to promote fellowship. it was definitely a tradition we wanted to keep. we decided to maximise the space by building a settee against the wall (ah, hidden storage). in future if there were gatherings, the table could be moved away for more space. it was long enough to seat more people at the dining area if necessary, and at the same time, accommodated a pull out tray for our printer.  (see photo below) sadly, though this was really nifty, we realised we forgot to consider how the dining table would block the opening of the cabinet, making it tough to access the printer :( well, we shall have to make adjustments in future! here are some more printer storage ideas :)

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at first, i was really keen on this dining table (seen at star living) - so affordable, scandinavian and chic! yet, it seemed rather small. the pricing was really attractive, and had the exact feel we wanted! but since dining together was a priority in our family, a larger dining space would be better. 


thank God for a fabulous brother who gamely agreed to customise an IKEA table for us. the outcome was fantastic! another post on that later :) 


the less clutter in these places, the better. an ideal bedroom in our opinion should consist only of the wardrobe and the bed. as i took time to think, i realised it would be nice to read there too. when i was young, i used to adore reading so much that i would hide books under my pillows and in the nooks of my bed, and whip out the books to read in semi-darkness. haha! we therefore set aside a space which could ideally, be the future reading corner for baby E, and had some built-in top hung bookshelves in our room :) 

there is a long corridor leading into our room, and the best way to maximise the space was to build bookshelves on top. inspiration from here



of course, there were many more practical decisions we had to make. although grills were ugly, they were necessary. cost was also something we always had to keep in mind :)

now, looking back, we are especially thankful and pleased. this is our home, a unique home built to suit our needs, based on our lifestyle. even if we engage the best designer who uses the best materials, he will never be able to build this home for us, for it is, at the end of the day, constituted by our family. this is where we will spend our days worshipping God and seeking to please Him even in everyday routines. after living here for almost a month, PP and i feel very blessed to have a place we can call home! of course, with a home comes vacuuming, mopping, cleaning, wiping etc..... but that is part of the blessing as well :p