Monday, February 16, 2015

Life Lately: Flood N Family Time

"Don't just sit there and wait for life to take you to your destination. Be proactive and drive to where you want to be." --- That thought crossed my mind when I was looking through pictures taken from the previous two weeks.
In any situation , there is still something to be grateful for. Even if you wake up to this view off muddy river right in front of your doorstep... And inside your house.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start with Xein's second birthday party that was held about two weeks ago. Xein's parents are our friends and they held the celebration on the second floor of their fried chicken restaurant, Sawung Petok. Sawung means house, and petok could be meant as chicken, so the restaurant's name means The House of Chicken. It was the first time Michael attended a birthday party and he was the only two-year-old there who had not gone to school yet, so he was a little bit confused. Michael is rather quite by nature, so he just walked around other little children and adults, noticing things, sometimes his eyes would scan the room to look for me, but as long as I was still in sight somewhere, he was content being with other children. Finally he came over to where I sat with other parents and asked to sit with us to eat some soup, holding his own spoon. One thing that we are very grateful for is that unlike most children his age, Michael enjoys eating and we have little difficulties to make him eat nutritious food.
Several of the parents happened to be our friends, so Hubby and I had a good time catching up, eating fried chicken and ribs and vegetable dishes and soup served on the long table. Christine, our hostess, made sure that food was in abundance and stream of one delicious dish after another continuously brought out from the kitchen. The children ate sweets and savory snacks and drank chocolate milk and played with pool full of rubber balls, swing, and there was a baloon maker that was hired for the afternoon to make baloon in various shapes for the children: rabbit, motorcycle, flower. Very creative!
In the middle is Xein's parents with his elder sister, Angie.
At the office, I was given this goodie bag from a coworker, Ms. Lucy. I wondered what's inside?
Ms. Lucy just got back from business trip to Bangkok, and over there she was tempted to buy these two pairs of pink beauties: a pair of plastic wedges and a pair of gliterry rubber flat shoes. The catch? She's not the pink nor girlie girl type. "I didn't know what came over me that I bought these," she said. Pink is my signature color and everybody knows I love anything with glitters, so she gave them to me. Thank you!!
What I love most is because the wedges are very comfortable and they are plastic, so they will work very well for this rainiy season.
The rubber flats have thick soles which make them extremely comfortable, they have subtle glitters all over, and look at the lovely heart-shaped and flower details on the inner and outer soles. Cute! My Mom, who happened to come for a week's visit to Jakarta, tried them on and liked them, so I gave the flats to her and keep the wedges.
I also received another package of gift last week: an exquisite baby pink flanel blanket in king size (I forgot to take picture) and these two nautical-style, white and blue giant towels. They are thick and fluffy and I love the cheerful summer colors. These will be perfect to replace my old, tattered towels! My old towels were a nice baby pink, but over the years of wear, the pretty color had faded to be a whisper of yellowish pink. Not pretty anymore!
I have been having problem with migraine whenever I get my period for years. Finally I couldn't take it anymore and brought up the topic to my high school chat group. Some of them recommend this royal jelly products called High Desert, and I'm giving it a try. It seemed to give me good result, so I decided to become a member of their multilevel marketing program. Not because I want to become an active seller, but so that I can get their member discount, because these were pretty expensive. Well, I am a frugal gal, but I'm willing to pay more to invest in my health. Let's see if this is going to work! I also noticed that after two weeks, my skin allergy reduced significantly, so I think it's a good investment.
When Mom was visiting, she told Michael that later on, when Grandpa is coming to town, they will take Michael to the mall to ride the choo-choo train. Michael was pretty excited to hear that because he is crazy about trains nowadays. Then we received bad news that Dad's cell phone was stolen.
Mom said to Michael: "Grandpa's cell phone had been stolen by a bad person." Michael thought for a moment with solem expression, then he said something unexpectedly, "Not going to ride choo-choo train, then." Mom didn't understand, so she asked; "Who's not going to ride the choo-choo train, dear?" And Michael answered, "Me not going with Grandma and Grandpa. Grandpa will need the money to buy new cell phone." When Mom told me the little exchange, and told me how thoughtful Michael is, I made a promise there and then that I would take him to ride the choo-choo train this upcoming Saturday! And we did!
Here's a cute little story. When leaving home, Michael suddenly turned around and ran to the small table where we keep our landline phone, Hubby's junk drawer, plates with keys and coins, etc. He grabbed a coin worth 50 cents, and held it tight in his little palms. I asked him, "Son, why are you holding a 50-cent coin in your palm?" And he answered, "To pay for the train ticket, Mommy!" I almost burst out laughing, but then thought the better of it. When we reached the mall, he strolled proudly to the ticket booth lady and handed her his sole coin. "I'd like to ride on the train, please. Here's the money for ticket." The lady and I exchanged amused, conspiratory wink, then she took his money and gave him the ticket. Of course, I paid in full amount after that! I wish I had recorded that little exchange on video with my iPhone. It was so cute!
Michael rode the train twice. Once with Grandma, once by himself. Then he wanted to ride on the small car toy attached to the grocery cart, so Mom and I decided to make a quick visit to the grocery store with the funny cart. A slight incident happened after we're done with the shopping. Another boy about Michael's age wanted to use the car-shopping cart. However, instead of waiting until I got the chance to open the lock and let him out, the child just push Michael and hit him from the outside! Michael never had that experience before, so he just looked at the child with bewilderment. He wasn't scared, and it wouldn't hurt him, because the child was smaller, but he was confused, because all his other friends were nothing like this one. What infuriated me was that the mother just stood there watching with proud face that his son was a bully. I told the child kindly but firmly, "Wait your turn, boy. Be patient, OK!" Then I opened the lock and let Michael out.
Revenge is sweet because when the child got inside the car and his mother started pushing the cart, he started to cry of fright and his mother looked panic trying to get him out. I know it was a childish and unkind thing to do, but I couldn't help myself. I started laughing out loud! Turned out that the little bully was not so brave afterall and the proud mom totally lost her proud composure! The mother gave me an icy glare, which I returned with a laughing, mischievous smile, and she grabbed her child and went away, abandoning the cart altogether.
It's sad that a mother will let her child to be a bully. It's dangerous, too, because Michael is quite big for his age, and imagine what could have happened if he was a boy with hot temper. The little boy could be smacked down!  The mother should realize that not only her child being a bully is not cool, but he might risked being hit back by other children who would not take his attack too kindly.
I made a mental note to myself to have a little talk with Michael about this incident. I don't want my son to be a bully, but I don't want him to be bullied, either. Do you have similar experience with bullying? Please share in the comment. Any good advise regarding this matter would be highly appreciated.

Now let me tell you the story of the flood. Every year the road in front of our house is flooded, but we never imagine that this year the water will really flow inside the house! It was a disaster, because it was no clean, clear water, but muddy, dirty water and it also brought lots of insects, cockroaches, and other things. Luckily our house is a two-storey house so we just unplug all electricities downstairs and moved all the living essentials upstairs. The water only subsided two days later, and the smell was unbearable!

Despite the flood, we still have many things to be thankful for. The Lord blessed us abundantly. We still have electricity and running water, also food and drinking water. The utility company shut down power at surrounding neighborhood, but since we live near the City Mayor's house, the electricity is still on. I didn't shower for one full day, because the flood surface was so high, I was afraid using too much water just in case it cannot go down the drainage properly and stay in our plumbing system.

They say that you reap what you sow. Hubby and I have always been kind to  our local helpers and people who work in our neighborhood as garderners, drivers, and security personnels. During the flood, they all came to our house to help moving up furnitures and stuff. They didn't have anything to eat, because they usually eat from local street sellers, and they all closed down because of the flood for two days. We have lots of food, so we shared with them. We gave them instant noodles, eggs, bottled water, bread, rice, and some frozen food. After the flood, they showed up again on our doorstpes, helping my husband cleaning the first floor with desinfectant and rubbing alcohol.

Also, we used the time to play with our son. He was a bit bored, but he was happy to have both Mommy and Daddy at home for three straight days. I wore rubber boots when I wanted to go downstairs, to avoid the risk of get electrocuted, but the rubber boots that I prepared for Hubby turned out to be too small for him, so I told him not to get downstairs at all. Little did I know that late at night he forced to go down in his too-small boots just to get some toys for our son. He hurt his feet, of couse. Poor man.

On the third day the water subsided, and Hubby led the cleaning team to scrub all the floors and desinfected everything that was covered with flood water. We threw away many things, including five big boxes full with old books and comic books and clothes that we planned to sort later. Well, no need to sort them now, they have turned into muddy porridge-like mess! I guess it's a blessing in disguise since we had kept postponing to sort them, and now the decision had been made for us by the flood! Haha!
I was having a migraine on the cleaning day, so I just stayed upstairs with Michael while Hubby did the heavy cleaning. That man of mine even went out and bought me my favorite black Toblerone chocolate! Am I a lucky wife, or what!
I'm linking up to these wonderful Ladies:



Motherhood Is (Not) Easy

Some time ago, Marissa Mayer said that baby is easy, and the nation was in an uproar. She received a lot of hate comments, too. Well, I don't think baby is easy, but I won't say that it's the most difficult thing in the world, either. Some might argue that a child is assigned by God to be our responsibility. Yes. True. But isn't that the case with everything that God gave us? Like... Well, our job. Our role as a daughter. A wife. A teacher. A doctor. A secretary. A homemaker. A nurse. The planet Earth. All things are gifts from God, that we should take care of and be responsible for. Well, of course, family is one thing from God that we love most and we deem as most important. Well, second, after God, of course.

Comparing raising a child to let's say, leading a nation, is pointless. It's like comparing Jane Eyre to Gone With The Wind. Which one is better between the two books? Who can say? I can say that raising children is the most difficult thing I've ever done. I can say it's the most difficult thing for me. But I cannot say that raising children is the most difficult thing in the world, because everybody in the world has different experience. Have I ever lead a nation? Or running a multibillion dollar company? Nope. So I cannot say that raising a child is more challenging than Obama's job or Marissa Mayer's job. I've never been in their shoes. Only they can say whether or not raising their children is the most difficult thing in the world. ^__^
With that spirit in mind, allow me to share with you some things that I have learned being a relatively new mother...

Agenda and to-do-list is a must

My life is so much more detailed now with a full-time job, a husband, a baby, and a home to take care of, with little tasks scattered all over the week, month and year. I have secretaries at the office to remind me what meetings I need to attend, I don't have one for my home and family life. Well, this agenda is my secretary. Sort of. Every night I list things to be done the next day, whether professional or personal, and scratch them off once they're done. I found that without to-do-list, I tend to forget things - like bringing extra snacks for work that I don't need to buy them from the overpriced convenience store - and the day turned out to be not-very-productive. Also, I have more peace of mind and brain capacity to think of other more important things when I know that I don't need to remember my to-do-list in my head, because they all are already written in my agenda. And yes, I used 2014 agenda in this picture because my 2015 one is not as cute as this one. Basically I just use any notebook available for my agenda. Nothing fancy.

Healthy groceries are no longer a future plan. It's already here!

My grocery list used to consist of frozen food and MSG-packed snacks like potato chips, cheetos, and instant noodles. Now take a look at my cart! It's packed full with seasonal fruits and vegetables: bananas, tomatoes, papaya, avocado, watercrest, carrots, apples, pears, potatoes, broccolis. I bought ground chicken meat, fish, chicken liver and chicken feet to make broth and homemade food for my baby. I cook fresh baby food everyday from scratch, using a crockpot. Yes, chicken feet and liver. Babies, and adults too, eat them in Asia. I was raised on them when I was a baby. I use chicken feet to make broth. This is not America. ^__^  On occassion I bought ground beef, but red meat is expensive and not very healthy, so I rarely cook beef. My son eats two kinds of veggies everyday: green and red. And one kind of fruit. Fresh fruit is kind of expensive, so I buy any kind of fruit that is in season with lower price, instead of "exotic" fruit. They're just as tasty and nutritious!

I read stories about Bambi and Panda about three times a day, at least three times a week. It's been going for ... well, about eighteen months now. You do the math.

I read stories to my son on a regular basis. It's one of resolutions, as well, as you can read here. He has two favorite books, one in English, one in Indonesian. I think he has memorized them, because I get creative and change the sentences, he will protest and make funny protesting voices. Mommy is bored with Bambi, but Michael is obviously has not.

Cuteness and motherhood do go hand in hand.

See this picture? You are never too old to carry a Hello Kitty purse. Never. I am a mid thirty mom with a child, and I still rock cute things like cartoon T-shirt, sequin, and Hello Kitty! They make Mommy happy, and when Mommy is happy, she can function soooooo much better!

A selfie-lover is what a selfie-lover does.

I love taking pictures of myself with my iPhone. Whether in front of a mirror or not. Being a mother and carrying a child in one hand have not changed that. In fact, I incorporate Baby Michael into that habit. We are making memories! Haha!

Me-time reduced by 50% once I got married. After baby, it reduced even more to almost non-existent.

Baby Michael sleeps at eight everynight. But after that, my "big baby" needs attention, too. On rare evenings when he sleeps in early, I can steal some me-time for myself. Like, eating a bag Gardetto's on my own. Gardetto's original was my favorite snack in the US. I almost flipped over when I saw them at a high-end grocery store downtown. They're pretty expensive here, so I only bought one. And sorry, Hubby, when it comes to this overpriced, long-coveted, long-missed Gardetto's, it's one woman's for her own! So I waited until Hubby fall asleep before having my late-night affair with my Gardetto and curl up in front of my laptop reading my favorite blogs! ^__^
You CAN stay fashionable after babies. You just have to make an effort for it, and being smart about it.

I prepare one week outfits on Sundays. I start with the purse, then I organized my outfits and accessories around it. It's easier and only takes about twenty minutes. Sometimes I will carry the same purse for two weeks in a row, so I don't need to change accessories and shoes. It's a big time saver and keeps my mornings sane and fun, knowing full well that I'd already laid out what I was going to wear for the whole week.  Also, Hubby loves it when his wife looks well groomed and presentable. It doesn't have to be so difficult, expensive, nor time-consuming to look nice everyday. Your family deserves to see Mommy looking her best.

You can live your child with a sitter once in a while to have date nights with your husband. The children will turn out fine. 

Hubby and I have date nights about once a month. It could be Satuday evening, or it could be Friday night. This is a picture of us after dinner on Valentine's day last year. We believe it's important to keep the sparks and romance alive in our marriage. Marriage itself is hardwork, so it needs recharging once in a while! If you feel guilty leaving your child with a sitter, do tell yourself that one of the best gifts you can give to your child is a stable, loving, strong, and happy marriage. It's true. My parents give me that.

I love Hello Kitty and puppies and think they are super cute. But not as cute as the scenes I captured here...

A picture of topless Calvin Klein underwear model? Sexy. But as I am now a mother, this picture here is much much sexier... Yep, a father who is willing to spend time playing with his child is ultra sexy!

Even when you carry a strapping one-year-old boy who gets bigger and heavier everyday, you can still wear heels.

Some mothers still wear stilettos. I go with shorter heels or wedges, because it's more realistic - and less painful - for me.

So, is motherhood easy? Well... sometimes it is, sometimes it's not.
Is it enjoyable? Well... when the baby is being sweet and cuddly, yes it is very enjoyable to kiss him and hug him and squeeze him. When he screams and yells and hits your face with his little hands (it ouch even if he's small), and spits out his food on you and refuses to eat for two straight days, it's not so enjoyable.

But is it beautiful? It definitely is. Very, very beautiful. And I will not change having my son with anything and everything in this world.

I'm linking up to these wonderful Ladies:



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