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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.

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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? 

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It feels glorious to be home. Singapore has changed so much since I last visited just 13 months ago. Here is the city skyline that warms my heart and fills me with pride everyone I see it. Even though I had no part to play in Singapore’s current first world status and wealth, I couldn’t be more proud to be Singaporean.
Sometimes I feel somewhat sad that I won’t get to raise Benji – who currently is of Australian citizenship – in my home country because in all likelihood we won’t be settling down here. But I will share with him as much as possible about this great city state to help him understand and appreciate one part of his family’s history and roots.
It has been an amazing past week hanging out with my family and friends. Everyone loves a baby, and I’m lucky that three of my grandparents are still alive to get to see Benji. It’s really cool to get to see the different generations hang out. One of my grandmas teared when she met him; I know they were of joy coz I’m the daughter of her favorite son and to be able see the offsprings from his line is especially precious to her. Sigh.

I realize this is a rather disjointed post. So many thoughts are swirling in my mind; it’s hard to concisely and properly sum it all up in a short post.

Another 8 more days before we leave for Australia. Time, please slow down!

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Thanks to Benji, my in laws decided to take a family vacation together in Seoul to see this town and, visit the extended family most of whom live here, while also getting to spend time with Benji. My sister in law and her husband flew in from Hawaii where they live, my parents in law came from Los Angeles, and us, flew in from Canada via Japan. It has been a pretty crazy trip so far, getting chauffeured around this town in a van: all 8 of us (baby included and the driver, Bry’s uncle who kindly volunteered to do this) to see as many tourist sights as possible plus squeeze in engagements with the extended family who my in laws don’t get to see very much.
It is interesting traveling with so many people from different generations. I must admit there were some trying moments but for the most part I’m really enjoying the trip.
Above is a photo taken at one of the family lunches. Typical Korean meal with tons of little dishes. And having the meal seated on the floor.
More updates later.

Let me start by wishing a very HAPPY (belated) MOTHER’S DAY to all reading this post who are moms. It has been an incredible journey for me these last few months and I’m sure all of you can say the same, at whichever point you are.

An update on Benji’s ‘clicky’ hip: The X-ray showed no hip/pelvic dislocation. Praise God!!! What a relief! We found it out yesterday, a day after the testing and, yes, that meant so much to us especially since we are now really nearing the end of our stay here in Vancouver. We can now concentrate on preparing for our move back to Melbourne, Australia AND focus on enjoying the last couple weeks here.

My folks have also left after over two weeks of vacation here. Having lived far away from home for so many years, I have missed almost every mother’s day celebrations with her, so it was special to get to spend my first Mother’s Day celebrating her, as the family also did for me. Not forgetting my aunt who visited; she is also my godmother, who spoiled me when I was growing up…and continues to do so now.  We spent the beautiful sunny day at Stanley Park, and I got to bake my latest favorite dessert: chocolate quinoa cake.

I truly love my family, and look forward to seeing them soon when we travel to Singapore en route back to Melbourne in June. 🙂

PS: My internet has NOT been working right the last few days hence the reduction in blog posts and lack of photos in them. Grr.

PPS: Was supposed to end this post on a sunny note so here it is: with Benji’s hip checking out fine, we are also able to now go on to tackle his weight gain and eczema full-time! 🙂