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Early Bedtimes

I have been going to bed before 10pm for more than a month now…..  No prizes for guessing the reason correctly.. 

Last November I managed to get Meimei to return to her own bedroom… by buying her Sofia bedsheets! I was soooooo happy but sadly it didn’t last…. A few weeks later, she wanted to sleep on my bed again…. and this time she wanted me to stay in bed with her too! *CRY CRY CRY*

What, that would mean I wouldn’t have any me-time! How to read my books, watch tv, zuobo???!? Luckily at that time I had just finished watching a long drama (The Legend of Mi Yue, very nice!) and was still recuperating and had no desire to ‘chase’ any drama again in the near future. Anyway I had no choice but to give in to Meimei….

So, the kids go to bed by 9.30pm every night. While Meimei waits on my bed, I take my shower and then immediately reports back to her… Since I wake up at 5.30am every morning, I am too tired to get out of bed after waiting for her to fall asleep. Actually most nights I KO while she is still rolling around and talking to her doll. 

While it feels restrictive to have to be in bed with her so early every night, the bonus is I feel more rested and happier to wake up in the morning. Now I am up around 5.30am and have more time to exercise. I am trying to lose weight so an early bedtime is helping in many ways. Yesterday (Sunday) I got up at 5am and went for a 2-hour run! 😀 So far I have lost 2+ kg in four weeks… Jia you Jia you!

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School Routine

Basically, the original routine which I had planned for schooldays FAILED. Firstly, the kids didn’t like having to wake up so early. It was very, very rushed to send them in to bed by 8.30pm, so they were going to bed late AND waking up early. Mornings were a big rush too, in order to accomplish so many things. Which meant we were rushing in the mornings and rushing in the evenings. All the time I had with Kor Kor was spent rushing. It got so bad that Kor Kor requested to stop going to the playground. He wanted to just lounge around at home and read his books and fool around.

I fought it at first. Playground time very important!! But I soon surrendered. It was already very challenging to make them hurry, what more hurry to go somewhere he did not wish to go! And indeed, our mornings improved tremendously. So much more relaxing! Kor Kor was right. Sometimes (often?) we should follow children’s instincts.

But I was not ready to give up their playground time yet. Decided to let them play at the playground on the way home after fetching Kor Kor in the evening. 30 minutes is better than nothing! Of course, it means their bedtime would be pushed back… they now go to bed between 9pm and 9.30pm… But I console myself that Kor Kor is older now and can handle a later bedtime, while the younger two can nap in the afternoon. 

So far, this routine has worked brilliantly. The kids really enjoy their daily playground time, and because we are there so regularly nowadays, they have made new friends too. 

As our mornings are more relaxed now, I have also managed to start exercising every morning. I wake up at 6am, prepare breakfast, eat mine, and go out for a run while they are still sleeping. Usually, when I come back 30-40 minutes later, they still haven’t woken up haha. I then prepare some fruits for them and myself, do some lunch prep, take a shower while they eat breakfast. Then Kor Kor reads/plays a while, dilly-dally a bit, and we start our homework session around 9am. (Didi and Meimei eat more slowly, so they continue eating while we do work.)

Actually there isn’t much homework. He just brings home the work he doesn’t manage to complete in class, plus we prepare for spelling tests (weekly for English, fortnightly for Chinese). I also read to Kor Kor during our 45-minute session. I limit it to 45 minutes, six days a week. Sometimes, he hasn’t fully mastered the spelling lists, but I decide to let it go. He then continues doing whatever he wants while I prepare a simple lunch. By 11.45am we are out of the house.

After school, it’s playground, dinner, shower, milk and short bedtime reading by Daddu, then off to bed. I am glad Kor Kor has been quite responsible in packing his schoolbag every evening. He then leaves any homework etc on his study desk to do the next morning. 

That’s our life for now! Hope you are also doing well in your primary school life : )

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When Mummy Is Sick… Updated Version!

On Sunday afternoon I started feeling unwell, headache and sore throat. Carried on in slow-mo, luckily there wasn’t much to do as it was a weekend and Hubby would buy dinner back. But by evening, I was feeling terrible. Was going to nap for 30 minutes before sending meimei to bed, then Hubby said he would do it and told me to go to bed. Yay! So, I slept from 7pm to 7.30am. (Of course I didn’t get up at 6am to prepare big breakfast… I am not a masochist!)

But, I was still not well in the morning, and Hubby had to go to work. Good thing was, after giving the kids a simple breakfast (bread with cheese and their morning milk), I lay down on the sofa and napped for two hours! The kids played on their own without disturbing me at all! This was so different from what happened exactly two years ago, heehee. Then I got up to serve lunch… which was the same as two years ago, LOL. Hurray for processed convenience food! #noguilt.

After lunch, it was their nap/quiet time, so I took another nap. Then it was time to go out for our afternoon appointment, luckily I was feeling better by then. Truly, it’s so much faster to recover when one gets sufficient rest! Thank you, Hubby and kids!

Didi made this for me amd kept asking me to lie down : )

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Finally, Kitchen!

I have always admired pretty kitchens, like the one over at Mum in the Making. (Actually, not just her kitchen! Her whole house more like it.)

But you know, some people just don’t have the eye for decor… *hand up* Other than regretting not putting more thought into the decor when we bought the flat, I had no idea how I could possibly transform my kitchen. 

Until Kor Kor’s birthday this year. I was just trying my best to tidy and clean the house, and decided to buy a few new rugs for the kitchen. (Used to use old towels as rugs.)

  
That is when I realize that firstly, a few small touches are all that’s needed to give the kitchen a fresh look. And secondly, while I am envious of prettily done up places, my personal preference is for minimalist and uncluttered – I prefer to keep most things in the cabinets. 

 

A clock and a basket for bananas – which can’t really be kept in cabinets, right?

 
Actually, I do keep the basket back in the cabinet when we finish the bananas hee.

At the other end of the countertop is my chopping boards. That’s all

Minute changes, but it makes a great difference to how I feel while working in the kitchen. And given the proportion of time I (and thus the kids) spend here, a happy kitchen is important! 😀

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How To Make More Hours

Was just reading my old posts on routine, and wow, life of a mother of three young kids was really horrid. How did I survive! Routine 5.0 was written more than one year ago, and my life has got so much better as the kids get older. Just a couple of weeks ago I got to sleep in till about 8am everyday!

BUT. Kor Kor is starting primary school in a month’s time. Worse, he is in the afternoon session, so it’s like he hardly get any time at home. So I decided to revamp our routine to maximize what time we have. I still really hope to include outdoor/ playground time, library visits, early bedtime, free play!

Routine for school term from Jan 2016 onwards:

630am Breakfast and wash up

730am Playground & me reading to them

9am Home, showers

930am Free play and homework if any 

1050am Lunch

1130am Get ready for school

1150am Go out 

1230pm Home with the younger two

1pm Nap/quiet time

3pm Snack

6pm Go out to fetch Kor Kor

640pm Dinner

730pm Shower

8pm Milk & bedtime reading

830pm Bedtime

I have started waking up around 6am to prepare breakfast. The boys use an alarm clock to wake up at 630am. They need some help waking up earlier mainly because recently they have been playing and talking till very late after lights out. But it’s ok, they are slowly adjusting to it – forced to wake up early means they KO faster at night and it’s getting easier for them to pop out of bed in the morning. 

We have also been doing early lunches for two weeks and trying out new menus. Instead of the previous three dishes, I am trying to cook a one-pot rice dish and a veg. This will give me more free time with the kids in the morning… since I won’t see Kor Kor the whole afternoon!!

But not rigidly following the schedule yet. Definitely more than an hour at the playground now…. Enjoy while they can! And still going out with friends and for lessons on weekdays… Lessons will be changed to the weekend from Jan onwards. Not looking forward to busy weekends!!

The biggest problem now is how do I survive the early start to the day……. Just this morning I threw away (figuratively) the alarm clock cos had to get up 5-6 times to attend to the kids last night. Plus I am really very night owl… Been reading up on this and of course gonna keep trying… 

Wish me luck!!

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The Boys’ Bedroom

  
Ta-ta! Finally the boys’ bedroom is all done up. This room has gone through so many transformations since we bought the flat in 2008. It started off as a storeroom when it was just Hubby and me. Then when Kor Kor was five months old, I cleared out the room and moved his cot over, and it has been his bedroom since then. Didi moved in with Kor Kor when he was 18 months old, in anticipation of Meimei’s arrival. (He was previously sleeping in another bedroom which is now Meimei’s bedroom.)

Wow. I didn’t realize the boys have been sharing a room for three years!! Time flies! Haha, anyway, in short I have been shifting the furniture around and adding small pieces of new furniture throughout the past few years. And finally, as Kor Kor is starting primary school and needs a wardrobe with hanging space, we got the boys a new wardrobe. 

There used to be a reading nook which I just did up not too long ago. I liked the reading nook and the idea of having a reading nook. But it’s just a nice thing.. especially since there are many other places for the boys to read anyway! (How about the good, old sofa?? Heehee.) Given the space constraints, I decided on functionality and neatness over loveliness. 

Basic criteria – other than the two beds, there must be sufficient storage space for the boys to keep their personal belongings. I also want them to have a big desk each, for them to do their homework or drawing or whatever they want to do. Often Kor Kor sits at his desk to read too. 

 

Having their own spaces provides ample opportunities to teach tidiness.

  

Still much room for improvrment, but at least can see quite a lot of the desk top


This 5 x 5 shelf from IKEA, placed opposite the beds, is a permanent fixture, as it is way too big and heavy for me to shift around! 

  
The salesperson at the first furniture shop we visited seemed quite incredulous about my preference for a symmetrical wardrobe. But hey, we found it at the second shop we tried – Furniture Mart! 

 

In addition to the hanging space, each boy gets two drawers – one for clothes and one for their personal stuff.


So, this is where the boys will grow up.. till they move out to their own houses 😊

 

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Not Looking Forward

It has been two weeks since we returned from Perth, one week since the birthday celebration. It’s time to get back on track. Been very slack about outdoor time…waking up early… getting the kids to do chores… reading to the kids… personal diet and exercise…….. 😣

But seriously very sian about it. Once I start, there’s going to be no break till the next school holidays in March. And who knows what’s the holidays going to be like with a primary school going kid?? Will there be tons of homework, projects, field trips, whatnots…?? Now our weekends are free, except for inline skating classes which are flexible (can go for any of the six timings each weekend, or not go at all. It’s pay only if you go.) Next year, Kor Kor will be in the afternoon session (double sian!!), so his wushu and swimming lessons will be weekend classes instead. Plus the weekly visits to my in-laws……. weekend is gone………. *cry*

I guess (hope!) my weekday afternoons will be more relaxed with one kid out of the house. But I am quite sad that Kor Kor will have very little free time in future… After breakfast, he has only a couple of hours before we have to eat lunch, so that we can be out of the house by 12nn as school starts at 12.10pm. When he comes back from school, it will be dinner time followed by bath and bedtime. Early bedtime is still important even though he’s in the afternoon session and can sleep in if he so wishes. And that couple of hours includes homework and revision time if necessary. AHHHHHHHH…..! 

That’s why in order to maximize his time, I have to wake up earlier to prepare breakfast. Cannot sleep in on weekends either because of wushu and swimming. This is devastating because now that Meimei is older, I actually can continue to sleep even when all the three kids are up and about. They are content to play until I wake up to make milk and breakfast for them. Sigh. 

The worst is, I am feeling tired all the time. OK, truthfully, I only feel tired during the day. Very energetic at night. Once the kids go to bed. Ha! I am tired even when we stay at home the whole day, no outings, no adventurous hiking, no sun, no major housecleaning.. just the usual cooking and cleaning. Before I went for a checkup a few months ago, I was worried that this lethargy might be a symptom of a serious health issue. Turned out I am perfectly healthy. Cholesterol, blood pressure, all good. Not even anemic. Then what on earth is wrong with me! I drink coffee every morning and often a bottle of chicken essence at midday. 

But I think I need to solve this problem. Since coffee + chicken essence is not sufficient, I shall start taking supplements. Ginseng, vitamin B, something, anything. Oh yes and I need to resume exercising. That should help too. Only when I am more energetic can I be a better mother and do more things with the kids. And be better-tempered too. I must, I must!!