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The little sister got married last month in Singapore. Already naturally photogenic, she looked even more like an absolute princess in her wedding dress. The wedding was beautiful and simple, and the day went perfectly! I shed so many tears, it was a bit embarrassing!

My favorite quote from the marriage sermon was from Proverbs 4:23 “above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.” Such a perfect reminder for all of us in the audience, too!

Benji was the Paige Boy and looked waaay too cute (in my very biased opinion of course).

Congrats, little Eu n Song, and God bless your marriage!!

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Now that Benji is sleeping through the night again (Praise the Lord!!), I have more time and energy to do stuff for me!! The blog was left quite unattended for a few months, and now it’s time to do a quick round-up of what we’ve been up to the last few months. I’ve decided to write more down whenever possible, to keep the memories alive and eventually publish a journal for Benj for his 18th or 21st birthday.

November

We celebrated Benji’s first birthday! The Koreans do a big celebration for their kids’ 1st birthdays, a tradition called Dol. Typically, the kid and parents wear the traditional Korean outfit, a Hanbok. Other rituals include prayers, giving of Korean cakes to friends and relatives, song and dance, as well as a fortune telling ritual of predicting a child’s future career by getting him/her to pick an object from a few placed in their reach. But because Benji is only half-Korean (technically, half Korean-American), and his dad (the Korean) does not really care for traditions, we only incorporated the hanbok and fortune telling ritual for fun. 🙂 We laid out a pair of sunglasses, a spatula, a stethoscope, a pen, and a book.

You must be dying to know what he picked: a pair of sunglasses! Which was meant to be a symbol for superstar. The next Psy, perhaps? The weather was quite warm that day, but we still had a great time celebrating it with a lovely barbecue at a nearby park.

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Oh, I also made my first cake. The cake recipe was taken from here (allergy-free recipe) (I’ve also made cupcakes from it for my coworkers, who have since demanded I share the recipe with them and made them a few times for their family/friends!!). And the actual cake idea was taken from this website. Overall, the exercise was a bit stressful since it was my first attempt at a cake, but thankfully everything went okay and the cake turned out yummy and almost like how it was supposed to look!

Two days later, Benji started walking on his own…and since then, it’s been mayhem!!

December

We were extremely busy with Christmas and hanging out at various parks with friends. We even made it to the beach once!

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January

Singapore!! Benji’s dad had to attend a conference in the States, and because peak season travel tickets to the US was ridiculously exorbitant, I decided to go to Singapore instead so the fam and friends could hang out with Benji (and me). It was a fantastic trip. I had a bit more freedom this trip than last because I’m no longer breastfeeding and my kind parents were more than happy to babysit him in the day and night while I went off shopping and meeting friends for coffees/late dinners. (Thank you, mom n dad!!!)

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After we returned from overseas, Benji, Bry, and I went for a short overnight trip to the Mornington Peninsula. We also went to the aquarium with some friends!

We’re really having fun with Benji these days, especially at the parks and playgrounds (and the beach!).20130131-134612.jpg

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This has been our best Melbourne summer yet.

Metamorphic.

This is how I’d like to describe my 2012. I had to grow quickly into the shoes of a mother, and then a mother who also worked outside the home. Spiritually, I found myself being transformed by His word and yearning to be more and more a disciple of Christ than being just a “Christian.” I have met some godly people this year who have been role models, and who have helped me with my Christian walk, encouraging me to press on when the going was difficult. 2012 was filled with lots of joy and love, as well as disappointments, challenges, and anxieties. Through it all, I had to shed old perspectives and adopt new ways of thinking and living. Hopefully, I have inched slightly closer to what God has willed for me in my life.

Next year is already looking to be another exciting one. I’d like to continue this metamorphosis, and think this is quite apt as my overarching verse:

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

How would you sum up your 2012?

I’m still here and present. The last month has been another crazy one; in a span of just two weeks, I got to know of two friends from separate social circles who lost their loved ones; one of them is a very young lady in her early 30s who passed away of cancer. We also got news that another family friend’s teenage daughter was diagnosed with a pretty malignant form of brain tumor/cancer.

News like that recalibrate my sense of reality and life, and makes me question what my purpose is on this earth, if there is one. I wonder about God’s plan, and His sovereignty. I’m tempted to ask a series of “why”s. It makes me wonder, too, if all the pain that life could potentially bring or eventually brings, can be masked by the joys we do experience. As a mom, I have asked the question multiple times, of what my child’s future would behold.

So bear with me while I am still mourning with my friends. I encourage you to read “A grief observed” by C.S. Lewis, who in his book raised some hard, philosophical questions about his faith in the time of grief over the death of his wife. I’m only a quarter way through but have found it really enlightening.

Me and my good friend, Sonya with our little dudes, in Seoul.

Was just looking through photos from our trip through Asia and smiled when I saw this. It’s one of my favorites. It captured so well how we were feeling then: simply joyous to have gotten the rare chance to catch up with each other and finally meet the other’s kid.

Ah, fond memories.

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Benji getting “babysat” by his grandparents from Los Angeles

This morning, a good friend who lives in Vancouver posted a link on Facebook to this magazine article on the NYTimes titled “Skype Projections and Family Reunions.” In a nutshell, the article was about using Skype to help unite and photograph families spread around the globe in a single family portrait. This idea/project was cleverly devised by a Singaporean photographer based in New York who first experimented it with his own family who still lives in Singapore. Since both Bry and I live overseas from our home countries (USA and Singapore respectively), I was able to completely relate to this article and how virtual media has helped create this bridge for us with our families. What a great idea, isn’t it???

Thanks to Skype and Google chat, our families are able to have face-to-face time on video chat with Benji and “interact” with him. In fact, there have been a couple times when Benji’s grandparents were able to successfully “babysit” him for us by entertaining him on Skype, while we cleaned up the house! For us, there is no escape from social media. Facebook, Flickr, Skype, Youtube, and even this blog serve as a tool to connect with our families and friends. Yes, I do worry about privacy sometimes and have to be very careful about not leaving too much personal information online. We have also left our Flickr and Youtube accounts strictly for family and personal friends to visit. But overall, it is too difficult to put too much red tape around as some of our families aren’t very internet savvy.

Do you use social media and the internet to connect with your loved ones?

Both Benji and I caught the flu/cold bug a couple weeks ago. Things started getting better but after my first day at work, the bug attacked me again – this time even more debilitating than before. For the most part, Benji’s condition remains stable and I’m hoping it stays that way.

Staying healthy is so important especially when your little one depends so much on you to provide care, affection, and education. I haven’t been able to give Benji any hugs or kisses, or play with him for fear of getting him sick again. I’ve also been feeling bad headaches, body aches, and drowsiness, which impede me from properly looking after Benji.

Thankfully, Bry has a rather flexible work schedule and has been able to work from home and watch the little guy while I rest. The silver lining in all this is Bry gaining more experience taking care of him and get to know Benji’s habits better without me. You see, when I’m around, I tend to do most things and tell Bry what Benji wants, not giving him a real chance to discover his son for himself. This might ring true for lots of dads, who want to have a bigger role in their kids’ lives but get sidelined by the moms who, generally and stereotypically speaking, tend to be more sensitive to their kids’ needs and wants and therefore get to them first.

Bry has also stepped up to take care of business around the house like doing the laundry, dishes, and also grocery shopping (not that he didn’t do them before; he’s just doing a lot more now). Yesterday, he even took the little guy for his vaccinations, today, and brought him out for his daycare orientation.

I’m grateful to have a husband who enjoys being such a hands-on daddy. Now, can I get better already! 🙂

In your household, do both parents have an equal relationship with your kid? How difficult is child rearing when you’re not in tip-top condition yourself?