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Being a working mom

Ever since I delivered baby Krysta mid December, I have discovered the joys of motherhood. Everyday, my heart swells with even more love for this cute little baby of mine, especially so when she looks adoringly into my eyes and coos in her baby language telling me all sorts of things that happened in that day. Six diaper changes, lots of good yummy milk, and recently… her first overseas trip to Krabi, at 2 months old! While I was out shooting, Alex, my husband, was the baby sitter to Krysta!

* Krysta’s newborn photos, when she was 14 days old. 

Though I have tried to stay away from work and enjoy my maternity leave, I realized I can’t ‘stay’ still… in fact, I didn’t really observe most of the confinement practices (to the horror of some people). By the first week of her birth, after the C-section, I was up and about, attending Christmas events and even brought her for a theatre production at church. While on maternity leave, I was still replying work emails, meeting up with potential clients, skyping, and blogging. I now completely understand how difficult it is for working moms to balance between working at home and taking care of a child. All I can say is… thank God for the help of my maid, and the pacifier!

Now that I have officially starting working and shooting, I hope that the transition is not too difficult. I am a little concerned about being away from her for some of my outstation shoot jobs, especially since I am still breastfeeding, but I guess I’ll jump over that hurdle once I get to it.

* Krysta looking really happy at getting her very first ang pau for Chinese New Year!

I know the blog has been silent for 2 weeks, so here’s a teaser image from the recent pre-wedding session at Krabi, Thailand for Nicholas and Lina… my first client after delivery! More to come later!


Life, Love and Death

Video from KarmaTube

My sister shared this video with me recently. It was really sad and yet heart-warming to listen to this true story about a couple’s love for each other. If you’re super Malaysian like me, it’s pretty hard to understand the thick accent, so you need to listen really carefully to catch what they are saying. I don’t think it was just my pregnancy hormones, but I cried when I watched this video.

Everyone wants to be loved.

Everyone wants to feel a love so deep, so true, so faithful and so everlasting in life.

In some ways, I feel blessed. I have this amazing relationship with Alex and I can truly say that I love this man so much, much more today than the day I  married him 6 years ago. He’s traveling a lot this month, leaving me alone for days at a time. Even before he leaves, I start missing him already… sometimes I think I might have attachment issues. But this time alone makes me think about life…and also death.

I pray that God will allow us to grow old together, experience many wonders together, build a beautiful family and go on many adventures together. I think about all those newspaper articles where I read of people going through accidents and losing a loved one before their time is up, or people suffering from terminal illnesses. It really saddens me.

Alex is always very candid about this issue – if God takes him back early, it’s always because He allows it for a reason. And he always jokes… “I’ll allow you to marry again!”

Our conversations always end up the same… I argue with him that it’s better if God allowed me to go first, then I don’t have to suffer the agony of being here on earth without him.

Sigh. Who can predict the future? How will I know how much time I have with my loved ones? All that matters is today.

Show them love. Unabashed, not holding back, wholehearted.

Happy birthday papa!

My dad turns 79 today. It almost felt like yesterday that I sat on his lap as a child. I remember those moments when I refused to go to bed at night even when I was exhausted – I would pretend to be awake in front of the TV, but then he knew better. There were times when he picked me up and carried me up the stairs to my bedroom, and I was probably about 20+kg at that time! Not a bad feat for a 5 foot man whose frame is pretty small too.

I also remember moments when I was studying for my exams and would stress out completely about it, but his words to me were… “Just do your best.” He was proud when I did well, but when I didn’t do so well, he would just say, “Just do better next time.”

My dad loved playing golf. Once, he got a hole-in-one and proudly hung his certificate on the wall of our home to show it off to everyone. There was one time too, when he swung his golf club a little over-enthusiastically inside our living room and accidentally knocked the chandelier, breaking it into a million pieces! (don’t ask me why he was doing that INSIDE the living room).

Unfortunately for my mum, my dad was a typical old-school ‘man’ who never really lifted a finger in the kitchen. My mum was a great cook but the kitchen was her domain, so she never got much help there. My mum’s a workaholic (just like how I am now!) so I do remember instances when he would lecture her into taking things easy and not stress out in the kitchen. Especially after she began having heart palpitations, but would still wake up at 5am to make hundreds of Chinese New Year cookies to fulfill the orders made by friends and neighbours.

Since I am the 3rd and final child in the family (with a huge age gap between my 2 older siblings!), I got away with a lot of things and was pampered as I was growing up. I used it to my advantage a lot (and also, though embarrassing to admit, I had temper tantrums too when I didn’t get my way). I don’t remember the rotan (cane) very much, like how my other siblings described their childhood, but now that I think back about it, I must have been a handful.

Due to my dad’s Alzheimer’s, I don’t really talk very much about these things to him anymore. He doesn’t realize it’s his birthday today, but just because he doesn’t remember, doesn’t mean that he cannot feel. So we’ll pop a small candle on Alex’s home made brownie later and sing a birthday song to him.

* Photos by Anna-Rina


Waiting to say “I Do!”

A few weeks ago, I heard this question posed over the radio… “Is it ok to marry someone who loves you less than you do?” Reminds me of some stories I heard through friends, of couples who have been together for years, the sparks are almost gone, but one party feels obligated to get married because of the years of relationship. Or one person who threatens to commit suicide if the other party doesn’t commit to a lifetime together.

Not everyone’s relationship is as dramatic as that, but that question got me thinking… how do you define the quantity of love? It seems like a slightly airy-fairy topic to me, because my partner may think that he loves me with all his heart, but I may not think his love is as intense as he describes it. It also depends on each person’s love language. If you have never heard of this concept before, do read the book or do this free quiz to find out what your love language is!

Looking back at my pre-married life of relationships with other guys, I do admit, there were times I was heartbroken when I sensed my love was a one way street… and then there were other times that I broke the other person’s heart because I didn’t ‘love’ him enough, even after years of being together.

Deep down, somehow, I just knew that I hadn’t found the right person.

One that I could truly say I loved with all my heart, and knew without a shadow of a doubt that he felt the same way towards me. (despite our differences in love languages!)

The issue of security remains something every woman struggles with. Breaking up with someone when you’re 23 or 32 makes a huge difference. So I can totally understand why some women opt to marry someone whom they know is 2nd best for them, just because they don’t want to be alone in life.

So, to wait, or not… ?

It’s a risk everyone takes, but personally, I think, if you’ve said the vows, commit to your decision, make it work, and don’t ever live in regret.

Expectations and changes in life

We sat quietly for 10 minutes, penning our thoughts on a piece of 4R sized paper. It felt strange doing this exercise, yet at the same time, we knew that it would benefit the both of us.

1. I expect him to travel with me on life’s adventures, always.
2. I expect him to be the spiritual leader for the family.
3. He must be financially wise.
4. He must love my family too.
5. He should take good care of his health and physical appearance too.
6. I expect him to be loving, even when I am 80…

The list went on and on. I don’t think I am being unrealistic, but practical.

We shared our list. I am amused that one of his requirements is for me to have better memory. Like remembering to trip the meter after I pump petrol (one little thing that irks him a lot!).

Years ago, before we got married, we created a similar list. Except, I am pretty sure this new one is shorter. I guess you learn to adapt to one another as time goes by. You learn to compromise on some expectations and other times, to reflect on how you can change yourself as a person.

Someone told me once, men always go into marriage expecting their wives to never change. Women go into marriage, expecting their husbands to change.

I guess a lot of arguments stem from mismatched and unfulfilled expectations from both parties. Most times, we think the problem is with the other person, never with us (gasp, how could you suggest that!). 

Six years down the road, and we’re still learning to adapt to one another. Yes, there’s friction, but I think I can safely say, I’m darn happy. 

Photo credit: Anna-Rina