Life

Hi again…

Oh well well it’s been too long.

So where do I start?

Hmmmm.. Ok I think I know..

So, I kicked off 2019 with a resolution: limiting my social media activity (Instagram). I challenged myself. It was hard, to be honest. Scrolling on social media was like a habit to me that eventually becomes an addiction. I was shocked shocked that my iPhone stats reported that I spent 8 hours (everyday) on the phone and I can confirm that at least half of those times was spent on Instagram only. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s a very good platform. I also have a business that’s very Instagram-driven. We started as a small business on Instagram so needless to say it’s helped our business grow. Personally, it has connected me with a lot of friends. I’m happy that I can still keep in touch with some old friends and those whom I can’t meet everyday. I also meet some great new friends through Instagram and I really love that.

My first born, Abigail, one day sat next to me as I was scrolling down the Instagram. She was there for a while and suddenly said

“Mama, why are you always checking people’s life on Instagram and why you always want to share everything on Instagram?”

I was slapped. This kid, you know. She’s witty like that. I hate it sometimes (well, many times haha!). But let’s be fair, she’s right. So I put down my phone but that didn’t really stop me.

Until I reached the point that I felt unhealthy. It got very toxic to me because I started comparing myself with some friends. I start comparing everything I have with theirs. I got nosey with people’s life. I started scrutinising their life, which was certainly none of my business. Yes, I was a stalker (haha!). I wanted to know what’s going on in their life. Sometimes I pitied what’s happening to them, I judged their decisions, or merely gave unessential comments over something. There are also times, I want their life. They are prettier, cooler, happier, etc etc. “Envy” is too harsh a word that could describe. I’m embarrassed to admit that I actually do envy (many times). And the bad news is, it affects my mood in real life, too. I got competitive sometimes. “Comparison is the thief of joy” is indeed true. When I was done comparing myself and feeling either inferior or superior, I started making justification, which later I knew from my husband that justification is just another form comparison. The deceiving kind of comparison. Haha!

I want to start new year with a new me, a healthier me, a happier me, a more loving-me. I wanted to practice generosity and positive mind. I don’t want to destroy myself with negativity. Most of all, I want to be more present, with my children, my husband, and myself. I want to make time for what really matters.

What I did at first was just limiting my time on Instagram, 1 hour each day max. I didn’t post as much and as often as I did last year. The impact was quite good, actually. I could get things done faster (haha!). I also dug through piles of my long-abandoned books and actually finish reading some of them. Both Abigail and Benaya are happier (or so I hope) because no camera following them as often (I am a mamarazzi just so you know) and they don’t get to hear me saying “wait a minute I need to post this on Instagram first. I’ll come right away after this” all the time as I was checking videos of photos of them and thinking for the best captions. It wasn’t easy slowing down from Instagram, it takes practice and commitment. And finally I can say that it was liberating… And the good news is (or bad news?) the Instagram app stop working on my phone since two weeks ago. So initially, there was some problem with my phone’s memory. I deleted some apps (including Instagram) and couldn’t seem to download the app again. Maybe it’s a sign that I have to take this Instagram-free life to another level. Of course I can always check in my account on my husband’s phone but I hesitated. We’ll see if I can survive.

Fingers crossed! Also, I hope this also means I can write more here. Oh I miss writing a long post like this one and it actually feels good.

Life

My son Benaya

Benaya my second born. He’s 10.5 months now, time flies just like that. This time last year I was in my third trimester and very very pregnant. I remembered every single detail of this pregnancy. With him, my morning sickness was really bad, it didn’t stop until I was 20 weeks along. Just like first pregnancy, I didn’t really have food cravings. But because the nausea was very very bad, the only food that was okay during the first trimester was spinach soup. So I remember I ate spinach food every single day. It’s not that I really like spinach soup but that’s the only food that he approved. It got better after 20 weeks when my normal taste bud was back in function. He was one little kicker and he liked to wake me up every day at 3-4 am with those strong little kicks jumps and rolls inside the womb. Second pregnancy is more challenging physically. I got tired very easily and joints-pain here and there. I had some kind of pelvic problems that made it so difficult for me to get up every morning, but I was so unstoppable. Benaya liked when her mama moved around, went here and there, did a lot of things. I was craving for more and more DIY ideas that time around. Aside from designing stuff for Linoluna, I managed to make some crocheted stuff (blankets, baby beanies, baby onesies, cushion, bunting, etc), nursery mobile, and even tried my luck on baking. I remembered my baby bump was very very big and laying low. Everyone thought I was carrying twins. I also remembered those times I was really really worried when my third trimester blood-test came with not-so-good result that I had some bacteria infections. I was so scared and phoned my doctor crying. Turned out the result was not accurate. I took blood-test again and no infection and I cried again, happy cry this time (I cry a lot during both pregnancies, blame the hormones, haha.) He would kick and dance inside when I was singing, also when Abigail and papa tried to make conversation with him. My skin was at its best when I was pregnant with him although I didn’t do anything much to it.

Now he’s almost 11 months and will turn 1 year old in a blink of an eye. He’s so smiley and bubbly. He’s the loudest and funniest in the family, also the most outgoing. He likes tickle game a lot. And when he laughs, it cracks the whole room. He likes to explore, he’s so restless and unstoppable. He’s always on the move. Mama is his favourite person like no one else and currently, he wouldn’t let me be out of his sight. And the way he looks at me always melts my heart. He loves when I’m singing. He takes every conversation seriously. His eyes would shine so bright every time we talk to him. Mama loves you Benaya. We all love you!

D-I-Y & Crafts

Art at home: Kandinsky concentric circles

This girl is very into art. She actually loves various things but art and craft is her favourite of all. And I love her for her enthusiasm and her persistence in every activities. Every morning as I shower her before school, she always asks “mama, what are we going to do this afternoon after school?” So, I have to come up with ideas everyday as per her request. Well there are times that she’s just tired and wants to have some times of her own and I’ll just let her because that means rest for mama, too. Haha! But that one afternoon, I offered her the idea to make this Kandinsky concentric circles. To my surprise, she really enjoyed this. I let her decide the colours and everything and she came up with rainbow colours (she’s always about rainbows and unicorns). I helped her make the straight lines and divide the paper into nine sections. She made the rest: draw the circles and paint them in colours.

Doing art with kids is really fun. It’s good for their soul and to stimulate their brain. She is very persistent and she knows what she wants to do. Sometimes I have to guide her but most of the times she wants to do things by herself. We did this while Benaya is taking a nap and it was a good mommy-daughter time. Sometimes she talks a looottt while doing this (about school, friends, or some random things) but some other times she needs concentration and I need to keep my mouth sealed as she said “quiet mama, I need to focus”. haha. She doesn’t want to be disturbed and I respect her decision. It’s really very important to give children exposure to many different things since early age, as long as they do it without pressure. The long-term goal is that she finds her passion and be really good at it.

So here’s the result:

P.S: the paints are Crayola washable paints.

siblings love

Two peas in a pod

They really look alike, don’t they? Haha.

These two are my source of headaches and happiness in equal measure. Before I was pregnant with Benaya I’ve always wondered how can I ever love another baby as much as I love Abigail. I simply had no idea whether my heart could hold just the same amount of love. During the last days of my pregnancy, I remembered that I often cried at night (probably that’s because of the pregancy hormone haha) staring at Abigail while she was sleeping. I was so scared that she wouldn’t be able to accept the fact that she had to share her mother to her brother. And I was afraid my heart couldn’t handle loving both. However, it’s true what they say that “Love doesn’t divide, it just multiplies”. I didn’t know how much my heart could handle until I had them both. Abigail was so smitten with baby Benaya and she loved him so much although now she doesn’t think he’s cute anymore because he can already respond when he doesn’t like what she’s doing, usually in the loudest voice ever haha. These two like to annoy each other and very easily get annoyed by each other, sometimes it drives me crazy as a mother! Our house is always so loud, messy and chaotic. However, it’s also the cutest to see the bond between these two. Every morning as they wake up they would come to each other and play (until one cries, of course) and every night before sleep they like to share some laughs together. They also already have some sort of inside jokes that I don’t really understand but Benaya would really laugh so hard whenever Abigail does something.

I can’t wait to see them grow together, create childhood memories, and as they are older they will protect each other. Siblings are best friends for life. Mama loves you, kiddos!

Cooking

Recipe: Carrot Cake

This year I challenge myself to bake more often. It’s really fun! I don’t really fancy cooking but baking is another story. That’s maybe because I’m a sweet-tooth myself and this will surely satisfy my own cravings. Haha. Also Abigail enjoys the baking session a lot so it doubles the fun! I hope this little moment is something she will remember in the future.

So, this time it’s another uncomplicated recipe: carrot cake. I love carrot cake so much! And it leaves less guilt afterwards, haha. I tried it twice: first attempt was not a success but second attempt was quite a satisfactory. It’s moist and burst in flavour! Carrot, walnut and cinnamon create a perfect combination and I’m salivating as I’m writing now, haha! Well, some recipes I found online said that adding pineapple will make it extra moist. I should try it next time. But this one is already a good one. It’s our new favourite. Our as in my husband and I. Let’s hope Abigail will enjoy it as much as her parents do. She only loves the cake batter and cream cheese, in fact. Haha!

Let’s jump to the recipe, shall we?

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large carrots, grated
  • 1 cup walnuts

Cream cheese frosting:

  • 8 ounces block cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Directions: 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F, grease the pan with butter and drizzle some flour.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon –> (Dry ingredients)
  • In a different bowl whisk the vegetable oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract –> (Wet ingredients)
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined
  • Fold the grated carrots and walnuts to the mix above.
  • Spread the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 45-55 minutes (always check with the toothpick).
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool.
  • Make the frosting: beat the cream cheese and butter on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar (gradually), vanilla extract, and salt. Beat on low speed.
  • Spread the frosting on the cake. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes before serving.
  • Carrot cake ready to serve. Enjoy!