Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Reflections on 2014

It's two days to the new year. We're at the end of 2014 - that time of the year again - bus stop time, when I stop to look back and then look ahead.

It's always good to look back...to reflect on all that has happened and given thanks, then look ahead with anticipation and great expectations of what God is going to do. 

Kid by kid...

The year 2014 - Isaac has grown a LOT! I'm always amazed at how a child grows in the first year of life. In just one year, they grow from a tiny little newborn that's seemingly incapable of anything else besides pooping, suckling and crying (and driving me absolutely mad!) to a boisterous toddler who's still capable of driving me mad but in different ways. Isaac walked at 12.5 months. He loves to kai kai and protests when he's left behind. He also loves playing with his older siblings who adore him. No longer stuck to me like a koala, he will push me away to walk out the door by himself when he sees everyone putting on shoes. I'm beginning to feel redundant. Though he's getting rather heavy to lug around, I do miss having him in my sling.

my boys - Isaac is all bigger while Joseph is leaner and taller.
Joseph has made leaps and bounds in mastering the chinese language this year. Exam-wise, he's not amongst the top students but that's irrelevant to me. He can now read and write simple essays and tutor Joy. Most importantly, he's happy to be in a chinese school and no longer calls himself an English boy. Joe loves his sports. He enjoys his badminton training in school and futsal with the Dreamlions on Sundays. Since his swimming coach left for further studies, Joe has stopped swimming lessons but still practices under daaling's watchful eye. He's also made some inroads in piano playing. We're very inconsistent with teaching him and getting him to practice but he can still play some simple songs now. Next year, he hopes to pick up drums.

Joy-Anne completed kindergarten this year with flying colours and is all ready for her next stage of life - primary school. She's grown much taller such that her school uniform was quite a mini skirt by the end of the school year. Joy is a wonderful 大姐. She takes very good care of Isabel and Isaac when I need to cook and clean. She can also help me with the laundry - folding, separating and putting away. Her drawings look like mine when I was her age. This year, she's also graduated to the bigger 16" wheel bicycle and is learning to swim. She can hold her breath underwater to play paper-scissor-stone underwater with Joe. She loves singing (especially right in Joseph's ear which greatly annoys him) and got to do a solo part in the children's church Christmas musical. Her tooth 21 finally erupted (61 was prematurely extracted due to non-vitality) but both central incisors are rotated exactly like mine pre-orthodontic treatment, much to my dismay. She'll definitely need braces.

Isabel's most significant growth this year is in her speech development. At the beginning of this year, she was still in baby language and often incomprehensible. She called the playground chicham. Now, she speaks clearly in complete sentences. I'm most amused when she sings the songs she learns from children's church, complete with actions. She's also matured into a loving and protective older sister to Isaac instead of the jealous sibling who smacked and pinched him. Physically she's also grown much taller and put on at least 3kg this year.

My greatest sense of satisfaction comes from seeing my family well-fed, healthy and happy. I'm used to my dual roll as almost-full-time-homemaker and part-time-dentist now. Daaling is also great at handling 4 kids by now. I no longer worry if the kids are ok when I have to leave them to go to work. I used to worry. Now I tell myself to just go and let it go. They're smiling and clothed when I get back and that's all that matters. 

We give thanks for a healthy year. There were no health issues and we visited the doctor maybe just twice for Isaac and once for Isabel. It was nothing major.   

Daaling and I did a fair amount of counselling this year. Pre-marital, divorce, break-up..... there's joys and heartaches. It has strengthened our own marriage in the process. But my heart aches for a friend who is going through a painful divorce. It really sucks. 

I know the year 2014 has been a painful one for many people - heartaches and tragic losses. This country I call home often seems to be getting from bad to worse in many aspects. But we're still here to stay. We believe God has placed us here and we will stay to hopefully make a difference. 

We look forward to 2015 with much anticipation. I believe God is gonna do greater things in our lives. As the children grow, the challenge is to teach them God's word and ways and to live it out. Daaling and I also strive to exercise regularly and eat healthily. Salads are our daily staples. As we get older and move into our late-30s, I realize how much more important it is to exercise and eat clean. I still indulge my sweet tooth and satisfy my chocolate cravings (no, I'm not pregnant and never again will be) but I balance it with the mountains of vegetables and exercise. Exercise is a necessity.

I'm thankful for love and life. All good things come from our Heavenly Father and we must never take anything for granted. I am loved. You are loved!

Blessed New Year 2015!

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