Babywearing Talk at ibu House


I was invited by the ladies of the Gentle Birthing Group at ibu House to conduct another babywearing talk there on February 8, 2010. I know, it was quite some time ago, and I totally wanted to write about it the moment I came home, but I didn't want the entry to be without images, so I waited till I got some pics (thanks, Rayhana!), and here I am finally writing about it :) There was a bigger turnout than the previous talk, and we even had vendors attend this time! I really hope the attendees managed to learn more about babywearing, and most of all, that they had lots of fun!

I gave an introductory talk to babywearing, which included topics like the benefits of babywearing, types of carriers, demonstrations of using carriers, and tips on successful and safe babywearing. Then we had a lively Q & A session where mothers asked for personalized tips and opinions on successful babywearing. The energy in the room was fantastic - mothers, mothers-to-be, and even grandmothers, mingled and chatted, and the children were playing with toys, or in the case of Afraz and Aqil, dozing off in a sling and on the floor, respectively.

I would like to thank ibu House for providing the space for me to conduct this talk. For more information about ibu, please visit www.ibufamily.org. It is a fabulous resource for parents in and around KL.

I would also like to thank the Gentle Birthing Group KL, which is a wonderful group of parents who are proponents of gentle birth and natural lifestyle choices. They are the main reason why birthing mothers in KL now have the option of having a water birth! Their Facebook group can be found here:
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=60608451197

Thanks to all the vendors who attended - it was so great to have you all there to provide the attendees with the opportunity to touch, and try, your carriers. I really appreciate your attendance!
Jumpsacbaby: http://www.jumpsacbaby.com
LittlePods: http://www.littlepods.com
Tiny Tapir: http://www.tinytapir.com

FYI, I am available to conduct talks about babywearing, breastfeeding, tandem nursing, cloth diapering and other topics for your group or organization. Feel free to contact me for details!

Demonstrating a Peekaroobaby POUCH

Demonstrating a Jumpsacbaby RING SLING

Joanne of Littlepods demonstrating her Soft-Structured Carrier (SSC)

  
Syazrina of Jumpsacbay demonstrating her SSC


 
My favorite carrier - a WRAP or "Simple Piece of Cloth (SPOC)"

  
Doing a "Front cross carry" with my 4meter Vatanai Maruyama WRAP. It's easier than it looks! 


Hands-free and happy!

 

Activity-filled weekends are the best!

This past weekend was a flurry of activity, and I absolutely loved it! My husband is outstation, so it was just my parents, myself and the kids. As it goes with my cheapo attitude (I tend to be very...err...budget-conscious), our choices of activities were either cheap or free. Except for food. As a family, we always splurge on food. Life is too short for cheap, unsatisfying meals!

Anyway, first stop on Saturday was Petrosains. For just RM12 per person (for adults, that is. Kids entered free), it was a pretty entertaining 3 hours that we spend there. I used to go there when I was younger. Well, not young young, since I drove myself there *LOL* Aqil had a pretty good time as well, and that's what matters! Afraz, of course, was just happy to be worn and be walked around all day ;)

We then went for dinner at Moussandra, a really nice Mediterranean restaurant in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. My parents have been raving about Mediterranean food since they returned from their second honeymoon in  Greece, so I searched for Greek restaurants in KL and came upon Moussandra. The food was delish!!! I had the Moussaka, whereas the other people in our party (my SIL's parents joined us) had Seafood Paella, Rack of Lamb and Kebab. Of course we also had an array of tapas to share. For dessert, I had the creme brulee...and it was a perfect end to the feast. I highly recommend Moussandra and look forward to going there again!

After some coffee and a Skype-ing sesh with my bro and SIL at Aunty Azra & Uncle Shukri's place, we headed home. Obviously, the kids fell fast asleep during the drive (thankfully!). It was great that they had enough sleep that night because the following day was planned to be loaded with fun fun fun!

The next day we went for a swim! After our short vacay last month, it was clear that Aqil enjoys playing in swimming pools (every time he takes a bath, he says he is swimming...never mind that he is in 4 inches of water). My little cousins (who are also our new neighbors!) joined Aqil in the water, so we had lots of fun. Afraz stayed with my Dad because he (Afraz, not my Dad) has developed a fear of water. God forbid we ever pass by a water fountain - he goes absolutely berserk!

As we left the pool, Aqil told me he was hungry. He sure wasn't kidding - as we ate later, he finished a plate of rice, some noodles and some bread...and still mentioned he was hungry as we put him back in his stroller!

Anyway, suffice to say, we had a fantastic weekend :D

Here are a few photos from our weekend:
 

So shallow, but it matters to me!

My roots are showing.

I'm Asian. My hair is light-ish brown. My real hair is black. So, my roots are showing. And I'm quite upset!

The truth is, no one quite cares because, being an Asian living in an Asian country, everybody knows that I could not possibly be an actually light-brown-haired girl. But its not the roots themselves that are bothering me, per se. What's truly bothering me is the fact that it is such an obvious manifestation of the lack of time I have for myself.

However, with my parents now back from their posting overseas (read: my most trustworthy and reliable babysitters are home!), I look forward to having more me-time. And what does that mean? I get to blow the dust off my hair coloring kit and get my dye on! Let's hope this glam mama can say bye-bye to awful roots by this time next week.

*This unabashedly shallow post was brought to you by a brief moment of insecurity following a day of watching young, perfectly-coiffed girls prancing about The Curve while my hair was an absolute mess.

MIA due to sickness

...but I managed to accomplish bits and pieces here and there :D

I'm not the type who can sit still, which is why I loathe being sick. I absolutely must do something, anything, during every second of my waking hours. Between my iPhone, knitting and a penchant for singing, I've found a few things to do in the in-between time that I have between chores and caring for the kids. Another favorite is day-dreaming...and planning for making the come true!

What am I going on about? Well, I am a huge fan of Imogen Heap - I'm guessing that most of you haven't heard of her (and if you have, its likely for her crazy - but awesome - awards show dresses) - but I have always been a fan. I remember being 17 and listening to her songs before going out on dates to calm my nerves, and in the car when I'm feeling stressed (although back then she was in the duo Frou Frou).

Recently I found out via FB that she is on tour - and Singapore is one of her stops! I'd be way more excited if she were going to be in Malaysia, but Singapore is as close as she'll ever be for me to able to see her. So in a rare moment of doing something purely for myself, I roped my parents and kids into a mini vacation to Singapore, with Imogen Heap's show being the highlight of the trip (for me) and a trip to Universal Studios being a highlight of the trip for the kids (had to assuage my guilt in some way!). My parents are purely there because they love their only daughter to bits and would do anything for me, bless them.

Other than that, through my parents' huge amount of frequent-flier miles (hmm, wonder how they got all those points *LOL*), the kids and I are tagging along to my dad's work trip to Hong Kong! So I will be going there in about a month or so :D Hong Kong Disneyland, here I come!

I feel so blessed right now to be have the opportunity to do all this. For a long time it seemed like I was just not allowing myself to enjoy life, like I couldn't permit myself to be overly happy with anything. I can't put my finger on what exactly was causing it, but the past few months have seen me consciously making the effort to allow myself to be happy, and darn, with all the good fortune coming way, it seems this new way of thinking is really working out for me!

So this mama is going places, and trying to be glam getting there ;D

P.s: If you have any recs for must-see places in Singapore and HK, feel free to comment!
P.p.s: If you are a fan of Imogen Heap, let's go to her gig together!

Co-sleeping - my history and how it shaped my future

Today I was abruptly awoken from my deep slumber by the wonderful sound of my toddler's screaming. To be fair, he apparently had a nightmare of some sort involving cars. Sigh. The joy of co-sleeping! Obviously, his baby brother also woke up, and began crying because it was way too early in the morning and such an unpleasant way to greet the new day. At that point, I was like "How in the heck did my parents co-sleep with us for 10 years???".

Yep, you read that right. My brother and I slept in the same room as our parents full-time till we were 10! And even though we each moved into our own rooms after that (on our own accord), we would still fall asleep in our parent's room from time to time, usually after we'd fallen asleep watching a movie. Heck, after we had gotten married to our respective spouses, we pulled them in with us! Haha, that's right, folks! My DH and SIL have slept in the same room as their in-laws, and both not only seem OK with it, but really enjoyed it too. You'll see why when you read on.

I know it sounds pretty crazy, especially in today's world where babies are put in separate rooms from birth onwards, but co-sleeping helped form a very important foundation in our relationship with our parents. To this day we are close to our parents, have a very open line of communication with them, and most importantly, we have high self-esteem and healthy self confidence because our parents always trusted us to make our own decisions (in this case, where we chose to sleep).

For obvious reasons, co-sleeping made us a tight-knit family. We are both close to our parents, and consider them our friends as well as paternal and maternal figures. We are definitely attached to each other, which is not something I see often with my friends' families, where every family member kind of lives their own separate lives, and they only meet each other on special occasions, and even then they dread having to attend!

The long chats in those twilight moments between wake and sleep have also helped to open the doors of communication between us. We know we can talk to our parents about anything. I can honestly say that I have never had to sneak out of the house, or lie to my parents all the time, because I know I can talk to them and can rely on them to set up an open discussion instead of an authoritarian, "because I said so" kind of patronizing approach.

Their open discussion and "family meeting" approach to parenting and making decisions also helped in my challenging teen years, where I was itching to argue about everything and was trying to establish my independence and individuality. By talking with me instead of talking at me, my parents managed appeal to the calmer, pragmatic side of me. Due to my dad's busy work schedule, family meetings were usually at night, and would extend long into the night as I fell asleep, still protesting. I appreciate that they allowed me to stay there in their room, taking up what I now know is precious time that could have been spent without arguing with a loud, obnoxious adolescent!

Being able to choose where we want to sleep was just one of the early seeds of independence that our parents sowed (yes, I know it doesn't seem like the two correlate, but they do!). Freedom of choice is a big deal in our house. We chose where we wanted to sleep when we were younger, but now freedom of choice extends to our academic decisions (both of us were encouraged to study any field we wanted, which we did...not we are both doing our post-grad studies, totally happy with what we are studying!) as well as our choice of occupation, spouses, parenting styles, financial decisions, etc etc. My parents are always there for us, almost like a safety net of sorts, but they never lord over us or breath down our necks, telling us what to do. And I appreciate the no-strings-attached freedom to make my own decision, a seed planted long ago when I was just a baby myself.

These are just some of the reasons I chose to co-sleep with my children. I'll definitely be talking more about our particular situation soon :) But for now I'll let this be a shout-out to my awesome parents - HOLLA! Y'all are awesome, and thanks for choosing to co-sleep. I know you didn't do it to be "AP" (attached parents) but that's exactly what you are, and what I am now, and for that I'm eternally grateful. Stay glam, Mom and Dad!

Do you blog on weekends?

I find it more difficult to find time to blog on weekends. How about you?

Weekends are crazy for me - I have class on Saturday, and Sunday is family day. By the time the kids are in bed (the usual time I would blog), I am just as exhausted as they are! So I can never find the time energy to blog. I suppose I should just be satisfied with writing a short post or two on weekends, rather than commit to longer posts that I usually end up doing. Or maybe I should write the bulk of my posts off-line on weekdays and just paste post them on my blog on weekends.

I just wanted to jot this down because I'm genuinely curious...some mamas have great, long posts even on weekends! I admire the commitment, ladies!

I've been up to something... ;)

For the past few months I've been contemplating on becoming a WAHM - like properly, with products and services to offer. So here I shall inform you, that I've neglected to update this blog of mine for the past couple of days because I've been working on my WAHM blog! As of right now, I'm calling it Glam Mama Store - not an awfully inspired title, but gets the point across, yes? I'm hesitant to officially announce it since its not fully ready yet - I've still got a lot to do in preparation. But I'm proud to say I've got a few clients already :D

What do I offer? Mostly its graphic design stuff for print and web use. Birth announcements, birthday invites (or e-vites), flyers, and even restaurant menus. I'm working on blog graphics as well, like headers and backgrounds. This is something I've done as a hobby, for personal use mostly, and I'd like to be able to turn this hobby into a profession.

I'm also offering my speaking services - I've been asked to speak for a lot of organizations, so I might as well make it "official". Some of the topics I've had experience with is (of course), babywearing, cloth diapering, and style. But I'd love to conduct talks on other topics, like breastfeeding (especially tandem nursing and nursing in style) and style during pregnancy. I love giving talks and sharing my experience with people!

Other than that, I'm offering my writing services. I can write pretty much anything, so that will provide a lot of variety in my "job" :) Freelancing is fun (and it is what I've been doing these days) , but having to search and bid for employers all the time seems like a waste of time. I'd rather this be a smaller part of my business, but with clients searching for me because they already like my writing style.

And last, but definitely not least, I am planning on selling some knitted stuff on there :D Since this one is the most time-consuming, I'm concentrating on the other aspects of the business first.

While doing all this, I've finally decided to seriously work on my book. I've always wanted to write a book, and I've come to a realization that its now or never, because there will never be a "right" time to do it.

So, that's what I've been up to lately :) There's a lot for me to learn still about being a WAHM, and I look forward to sharing those experiences with you. Do wish this mama good luck on this exciting (albeit tiring) journey!

Notes on our family vacation

Allow me, for a moment, to indulge in some vacation pics and stories ;) Here are some choice situations with Aqil, who kept us entertained throughout the weekend.

At a barbeque dinner, Aqil (without telling anyone!) went up the stage to do the limbo. Haha…so confident! Since he didn’t tell us he wanted to go up, we couldn’t even take a picture.
Not only that, but since he is now apparently a big shot celebrity, I am not allowed to speak to him while he is chatting up girls – without even looking at me, he said “Mom, I’m busy.”
 
I am still amazed by how much he is grown. In my mind he is still the little baby I used to have to carry around all night because he just won’t stay asleep. Now he’s big enough that, on vacation, he happily fell asleep in the hotel crib (I really didn’t think he would). 

Here are other funny bits from our vacation (because, as they say, pictures speak a thousand words):

 
A sign that we will not have a normal family picture anytime soon, because I apparently gave birth to a lion.

 
About to throw a tantrum...

 
And throwing a tantrum!

 
The kids couldn't take their eyes off of the performances on stage.


Glam Mama’s Makeup Bag … on vacation

I just came home from a short and sweet weekend vacation. We had fun at the beach, at the swimming pool, and visiting hubby’s relatives. The kids definitely enjoyed the change in scenery! As with all vacations, we took a bucketload of photographs…which meant that this mama had to be camera-ready always.
However, with the kids’ stuff taking up all the space in our bags, it doesn’t leave much room for an arsenal of makeup and “face-paint” tools. So here’s what I manage to stuff in a teeny-tiny makeup bag, and it’s enough to do several make-up looks for day or night.
1.       Foundation
I use Bobbi Brown cream foundation. I love the texture because it’s great for my combination skin. Always bring your “usual” foundation when you go on vacation. This is not the time to try something new, only to find that you have an allergic reaction to it (this happened to a friend of mine) or it doesn’t suit your skin type or skin tone.
2.       Concealer
I use a concealer kit by Benefit called “Realness of Concealness”…it has an under-eye and eyelid concealer that works wonders as a base for my eye makeup. I also use the under-eye concealer to cover up any blemishes, because a flawless base is the key to looking fresh and polished.
3.       Blusher
I love cheek stains! I think that powder blushers tend to be too harsh for day time, although its great for nighttime looks. On vacation, though, I always bring a cheek stain because its so natural-looking for day-time use, and you can put on a few more layers for nighttime looks. My favorites are Benefit’s Benetint, and the stick cheek stain by Bobbi Brown.
4.       Eyeliner
Other than foundation, eyeliner is KEY to any makeup look. For Asian eyes, especially, eyeliners help to make eyes look rested. Without eyeliner, I know my eyes look so tired and they kinda fade in pictures. Since eyeliner pencils are small, I always bring one neutral color, and one bright color. Don’t be afraid of brightly colored eyeliners! Used sparingly, they are a nice alternative to eyeshadow. I brought a moss-green, subtle, eyeliner along with a black kohl eyeliner from Sephora. For daytime, I just line my eyes along the lash line for a subtle look. For nighttime, I piled on the black eyeliner, adding a flick at the end for a mod 60s eye look.
5.       Mascara
Using mascara will help open up your eyes a bit, especially if your eyelashes are sparse (like mine). Waterproof mascara is a must when on vacation! Believe it or not, my favorite mascara is super-cheap (RM5!) and I bought it at Daiso. Hahaha! I’m saying bye-bye to expensive mascaras that aren’t even as good as my cheapo, made-in-Japan, no-brand mascara ;D
6.       Lip gloss
While lipsticks are great for nighttime looks, its difficult to apply on-the-go. That’s why I love pigmented lip gloss – they have just the right amount of color to make sure your lips are “dressed”  for day time. However, if you do have evening plans, it would be a good idea to bring a favorite, neutral lip color – something rose-hued is flattering for most skin tones, and is hard to get wrong if you’re in a rush.
7.       Eyeshadow
I put this last because I almost forgot to put it in this list, hehe. A  vacation is not the time to try out new eyeshadow looks. Bring a neutral eyeshadow compact, and perhaps a gunmetal gray or black eyeshadow just in case you want to go “smokey-eyed” for an evening.

 
Daytime look - see the green eyeliner? You don't need to be Boy George to play with bright eyeliners ;)




Nighttime look for 70s-themed event - note the emphasis on eyeliner here too. Easy shortcut to a glam look.

I hope this helps you mamas when you’re traveling and want to look good for your vacation pictures! I truly believe that less is more when it comes to makeup, and with kids hounding you while you’re getting ready, less is more practical too!