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My fourth year as a mom

It’s my fourth day in Japan, attempting to have a somewhat ‘normal’ holiday with my husband and two kids. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy traveling with 2 toddlers, but we were determined! We packed light, left the stroller at home, and managed to fit 1 week’s worth of luggage and toys into a large bag, 1 handcarry size and 1 backpack.

20160506-HOLIDAY_JAPAN-051Alex and I have been relatively easygoing when it comes to raising our kids. We are not the super strict type of parent who must get their kid to bed by a certain time or the kind who whips out a hand sanitizer at every given opportunity (yup, we let them pick their food off the floor and eat it, if the floor looks relatively clean).

So I thought that this holiday would be pretty relaxing with not that much of an agenda. After all, I managed a company holiday with my kids when they were much younger… clingy baby and all.

Four days into my holiday, I find myself screaming at the kids… “Eat this… NO, don’t eat that! Don’t roll on the ground! Don’t pull your sister’s hair! Stop pinching your brother!” Yup, I’ve turned into a machine that barks orders every few minutes. (occassionally, the poor husband is also at the receiving end of these orders). Coincidentally, it’s also Mother’s Day today, and my 4th year of being a mom.

20160507-HOLIDAY_JAPAN-302But suddenly, these frustrations turn into little moments of joy when Krysta suddenly bursts into random phrases that sound like broken Japanese. Or when Kyle does a happy dance in the middle of a street as he hears buskers singing K-pop.

It’s at these times I realize I need to cherish the litte happy moments more than dwelling on the frustrations I feel. I’m just going to enjoy the next few days, and even if Kyle only decides to eat a diet of white rice and biscuits, I won’t get upset. I won’t complain as well when my needs are not met because it won’t be fair for Alex to deal with 2 toddlers and 1 adult who is never satisfied.

Enjoy the journey, not just the destinaton.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone.

20160506-HOLIDAY_JAPAN-011

 

Monday Blues

There are days when you just get home from work, and all you want to do is continue working because the tasks never end. And yet you feel tired and a split second later, tell yourself, that work can wait till tomorrow. It feels like an almost vicious cycle…. even if this whole entrepreneurship journey started as a passion because you love your job. It has been a little like that lately… I even notice myself looking a little more grumpy in the mirror with more wrinkles.

Strangely enough, I come alive when it’s time to photograph a family or a couple. Adrenaline kicks in and I am in my ‘zone’… all energetic once again. Perhaps it’s the curse of the artistic entrepreneur – you get excited doing all these creative work, but the daily routine ‘business’ tasks bog you down. I feel stressed and worry about a lot of things. I feel sorry for my staff who sometimes sees a really serious, grouchy and stressed personality at the office! (Love you all, keep being your cheerful selves!).

Guess it’s not easy writing something like this, being authentic to yourself and others. But in order to be true to my soul, I have to be honest about everything. So this is my way of speaking to myself and saying, that maybe, I just need to look up and lighten up a bit.

I must say that coming home to two small smiley (one very drooly) beings makes me really really happy. Their hugs makes the world a lot better again. So tonight, the hubby and I decided to bring them out for a weekday ice-cream treat (ok, only one can truly enjoy that, since the other is too young to eat ice-cream). Simple pleasures in life of just being in the moment.

And since every post is better with photos, here’s a few images that we took from a day out with the kids at the local fire station visit last week.

20150815_IBU_FIRE_STATION_VISIT_10 20150815_IBU_FIRE_STATION_VISIT_50 20150815_IBU_FIRE_STATION_VISIT_54

 

Couldn’t have done it without teamwork

The past few weeks have been hectic, to say the least. On the 9th of October, I delivered a beautiful baby boy, whom we named Kyle Ezra Lam. My birth story is really a huge testimony unto God but I’ll save that for another blog post! And just last week, my dad fell ill, was hospitalised and passed away at the age of 81. I have been emotionally and physically drained from all that running around AND recovering from a c-sec operation. Before going on maternity leave, I hardly had time to rest because September was a busy month with 10 wedding shoots, lots of lifestyle shoots, a photography exhibition at Art Square in Bangsar, and an Ibu Tots fair at Publika.

It’s times like these that make me even more thankful for a wonderful team of people who have walked alongside me. Without them, everything wouldn’t have been possible.

Diane – For holding the fort when it comes to enquiries, communication with so many different clients and all with their own different needs, and for making time despite all of my demands to even do family shoots. Juggling this role is a really difficult and extremely time consuming one, but you never complained and you give 110% all the time. Thanks also for coming to take photos of my dad’s funeral last week.

Weiming, Nigel & Jamie – My core photography team! For tirelessly working on wedding shoots especially, editing till your eyes go a little blurry from seeing thousands of photos and creating albums and slideshows diligently. You guys (and gal!) are the backbone to Stories. People usually only see what happens in the forefront during a shoot, but they don’t see the hours of dedication that you guys put into every single image that comes back after that. I am so proud of all of you and how well you’ve done. I am especially pleased whenever I see beautiful images coming back after every single wedding.

Weiming, you are juggling many roles as well, but what I admire most is your sense of excellence that you place on everything you do. You always want to give your best, not just to the work that you do, but to the things you hold dear to your heart. Nigel, I love your can-do attitude, and really easy-going nature that makes you such a joy to work with! Jamie… you add fun and laughter to the team and always welcome a challenge, even though I sometimes place you in difficult situations! 

Chi Yin – Though you are new to the team, but your dedication, hard work and efficiency can be seen clearly! Keep up the good work in shooting videos and editing them!

Johan & Ben – Your support through the years has really humbled me. I appreciate everything you have done for the team and for your ideas, energy and always giving your all! You are like family, no matter how far we go, the bond is always there.

Delvin, Nick, Felicia, Wee Liem, Joshua, King, Lester and many more – An amazing video team that always strives for excellence. A special mention to Delvin, Nick and Felicia especially as they have been really hardworking the past few weeks. Thank you for your contribution! Love all of your work!

Sara, our intern – Every little thing you do is a big contribution to us. Hope you are learning heaps and enjoy working with us!

And finally, my husband Alex – you are my everything. Enough said!

I look forward to more years of shooting together, and creating magic behind the camera!

If you’d like to read more about the team, please check out everyone’s profiles and work here.

Stories_teamoct2014A few of the team members here – (Left to right): Sara, Jamie, Nigel, Grace, Weiming, Chi Yin & Diane

ArtSquareExhibition01Art Square Exhibition of my images

20140920_IBU_TOTS_FAIR_004Ibu Tots Fair at Publika. 

20140920_IBU_TOTS_FAIR_09120140920_IBU_TOTS_FAIR_00920141009_KYLE_BIRTH_02The arrival of my 2nd child, Kyle Ezra Lam.  

 

Time and The Notion of Success

Recently, a series of events has caused me to think about life, our notion of success and what we do with our time. I came across this post by one of my favourite photographers Jasmine Star, where she talked about the notion of busyness, and how oftentimes, we equate it with success.

“Oh, you’re busy? Your business must be very successful then!”

But she pointed out in her post that rest and relaxation are equal indicators of success… that it is important to have a work-life balance and have time for friends and family members.

A week ago, Alex and I started the first of a series of parenting classes conducted by our church. In this course, we watched a DVD with real, parenting issues as brought up by Nicky and Sila, the trainers. Then we discussed these issues between us and also in a small group setting. Through this course, we were reminded that children really need to feel loved and that one of the ways of filling their emotional tank is to spend intentional time with them.

One of the pitfalls of running your own business is the need to ‘constantly’ work 24-7. There were days when Alex and I would be sitting in bed, but both still replying emails or doing some form of work. It came to a point that I thought it was really unhealthy and we needed to set aside boundaries for ourselves. How easy it is to let time slide by, just doing things that consume us at that point in time, but not really things that are truly important!

In the video for the 1st week, a dad related the story of how he used to tell bedtime stories to his daughter, but every so often, his phone would ring, and she would plead with him to just ignore it and finish the story. He would say, “This is important…” and then one phone call led to another and another, and then half an hour later, he would come back to her room with her fast asleep with the light still on and the book next to her head. But now, if you ask him, he can’t remember a single one of those calls that were ‘truly’ important, or what the content of them were.

It is really my heart’s desire to set aside time for the things that matter in life. The thing is that busyness will always be there. It will always consume us and before we know it, a day has gone by, and then a week, and then a month, or a year. If I don’t make intentional time for my family, or for friends, I’ll soon discover that all I ever did was being ‘busy’ with daily life and tasks.

To end this post, I’d just like to share a little video that Alex and I made. The journey of being a parent has been really amazing and one that we wouldn’t trade for the world. I used to think that being pregnant was a bit of a nuisance and a necessary ‘evil’, especially as a photographer. But after going through it with my first child, I realized there is no real convenient time to be pregnant. It shouldn’t be thought of as a burden, but as a gift. A beautiful gift from God.

Trailer: Krysta+Kyle from Stories on Vimeo.

7 Years and Going Strong…

I was woken up this morning by a whatsapp message from my father-in-law – “Wishing u both Happy Anniversary today. Have a memorable day of reflection of all the happy events gone by n look forward to many years of happiness ahead. Leave Krysta with us n go enjoy the evening.”

Instinctively, I looked at the date on my phone… was it really August the 12th? I had forgotten completely about our wedding anniversary. I even had to take a few seconds to calculate how many years we’ve been married.

Uh oh… it’s started! The years of being together, always having the other person there, and never really stopping to think about celebrating special events. 

I never used to think much about celebrating events like Valentine’s Day or Wedding Anniversaries. But today, a thought flashed through my head, “Perhaps it’s there to remind us to never take the other person for granted. Ever.”

So today, I am grateful for our 7 years of marriage.

I am thankful that I have a wonderful husband who supports me emotionally through all my ups and downs (especially dealing with my worry-wart nature).

I am grateful that he always makes an effort to work on our relationship, especially during the days when we irritate each other so much.

I am amazed at how he loves my family through his actions… by going out of his way to fix my sister’s audio-visual system in her home or changing my dad’s diapers when it’s needed.

I am proud that he is a wonderful son to his own family, making special effort to bring every member of his family out on personal ‘dates’ so he can spend time with them intentionally.

My heart swells when I see him love Krysta with all his heart, how he would uncomplainingly wake up in the middle of the night when she cries, how he makes her giggle during playtime, and how he carries her through all our travels, sometimes for hours in his arms.

I am blessed.

Family-camerons

Taken during a recent family holiday in Cameron Highlands.