No problem, happy new year!

cny greeting

This year we had a very simple cny. I guess with baby josh now, it’s slightly harder for us to travel around.

Still, it was good catching up with family and friends. And the feasting was a nice change from my confinement diet.

We also took time to pop by the Botanic Gardens for a picnic over the weekend. It was nice to stumble upon their new old-school swings installed at the frangipani garden. And the kids managed to check out the orchid garden, which had free entry for the weekend (and also for this weekend too!)

Botanic Garden retro swings

JJ had fun eating cookies. We would set him a quota of five different cookies, and he would conveniently lose count. Oh well at least we tried…

The funniest moment had to be when he heard this phrase “no problem”. He repeated it to himself and then waving his hand and shaking his head, added “I don’t want problem.”

Of course we all rolled on the floor laughing till our cookie-filled bellies shook.

Ahh JJ, what would we do without you?

Here’s wishing you all a new year with “no problems!”

CNY in pictures

It’s Chinese new year. The colour of the moment, of course, is red.

Day 01: By some grace, we managed to pull together some matching outfits for JJ and Vera. Mostly gifts or hand-me-downs. We also managed to take some family pics in the morn.

Big sister struts confidently ahead, with little brother in tow. They each must have their own bag of Mandarin oranges, or else…a fight will break loose.

Day 02 (a): Thought bubble / Why are we waiting?

Managed to spend a perfectly cool morning at Gardens by the Bay, catching up with friends. It’s our first time there.

Day 02 (b): Gathering at our marriage mentors’ house. Check out how fruitful we have been since our marriage prep days years back! (God is good!)

Day 03: Visited the kids’ godpa and godma. JJ, as usual, wanted to “draw-draw” on the whiteboard. Vera was pretty pleased to be able to carry baby Elizabeth (only 2 months old!) Vera has been practising carrying and cradling her doggy soft toy at home, saying that it’s her baby…Now she finally gets to carry a real one!

All in all, I’m pretty thankful this Chinese New Year. Shuffling the kids from place to place is always a challenge, not to mention keeping them happy and limiting the snack level without causing a meltdown. For us, keeping it simple and always allowing them to have a break in the day to nap and recharge (for us too) does wonders.

Hope you enjoyed your CNY with your loved ones too! 🙂

This post is linked to Mum in the making’s Grateful Gatherings.

Confessions of the kum kind

I have to confess, I’m the scrooge of CNY (Chinese new year). And it’s not because I need to part with good money as I obediently follow the chinese tradition of giving hongbaos (red packets) to younger ones. (Anyway now that we’ve got another kid, we technically get more hongbaos back compared with last year. But that’s besides the point.)

So I’m a CNY grump. I get sulky at the thought of having to buy new clothes to wear, just because I MUST. (It’s supposedly auspicious.) So…I don’t. I refuse to succumb to the fact that I need to accumulate lots of baked goods, look better than usual, get my nails done, doll up the kids, just because tradition says I have to. And recently, I asked myself that thousand-dollar question (yes, that’s about the total amount we spend every CNY in hongbaos)…Why do I feel this way?

Why do I grumble when this festive once-a-year season draws near? Why do I get angsty that I have to put on my best clothes? When there’s so much cookies, cakes and bak kwa (the chinese version of jerky) to gobble up and devour? When all manner of family suddenly swings by in flocks?

It doesn’t make sense, does it? Unless of course one considers the amount of spring-cleaning required around the house.

Perhaps I’ve forgotten the reason behind the tradition of exchanging hongbaos and kum (mandarin oranges) – the endless cycle of giving and receiving.

Perhaps I’ve allowed my new year greetings to become a little empty and insincere. Like I’m just saying it because it’s the right thing to say. And in the hustle and bustle of giving out hongbaos (did I leave anyone out?), I haven’t bothered to stop to think about the person I’m greeting, and ask ‘How are you doing?’

Perhaps I miss being that little girl who used to receive hongbaos with glee, who used to love shopping for new clothes with mum, dad and big brother, and who used to run around like a wild chicken playing hide-and-seek with her cousins.

Along the way of growing up and becoming a parent, I’ve stopped loving this season, and I think it’s because I’ve chosen to dwell on the negatives. I’ve chosen to see everything as a chore, as mindless tradition.

So when Jus of Mum in the Making said she was starting a new weekly link-up called ‘Grateful Gatherings’, I decided to switch gears a little. There’s something about the word ‘grateful’ — it makes you stop in your tracks of negative thought and count your blessings, all the good stuff, and even the notsogood stuff that you’ve managed to pull through and survive.

I’m gonna look at CNY again. This time, with a grateful heart. Here are the things I’m thankful for…

~~~

1. My little girl gets to dress up like a princess.

2. We get to take funny family pics while the parents are busy whipping up a wholesome meal in the kitchen.

CNY-family

 3. Vera gets to juice mandarin oranges with her mouth and fingers.

orange

4. JJ gets to play with red packets, for the very first time! Oh yes, and kum.

5. Vera gets to eat all sorts of buttery, chocolatey yummies, AND make new friends while eating buttery, chocolatey yummies.

making friends

6. Vera gets to visit ah-ma-nai-nai (god-grandma) and jump on her bed for a change.

cny-visiting

7. The reunion with family, good friends, good food, and learning to live in harmony once again. Isn’t this the main reason we celebrate? To leave old grudges and bad feelings behind, and start anew, afresh, and with a newfound appreciation for life and family.

~~~

YES, I think I’m grateful for CNY this year. And who knows maybe next year, I’ll dump the grump in me, and actually like this festive season. (Erm, I’ll keep you posted on that one.) 😉

What are you grateful for this season? Join us by linking up to Grateful Gatherings…

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