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to Kirsten with love

to Kirsten with love

Happy 5th, Kirsten!


Hey baby girl,

I’m just about getting used to the idea that you and me, we’re going to be the only girls around here.

Did you know that when mommy was pregnant with you, I was really sure you were a boy (I had it in my head that I’d have two boys first, followed by two girls – that went pffffttt really quick!). We even called you Travis for a couple of months until we found out that you were really a girl. That afternoon, I sat in the doctor’s office and I suddenly knew that one day, I’d be really glad you turned out to be a girl. I was right about that part.

I’d tell you that you’re special but you already know that.

I like that about you, the quiet self-assured confidence without being braggy or obnoxious. You’ve always been the strong, independent, cool-without-even-trying sort. I knew it the first day you went to preschool. You gave me a kiss, then took your little school bag and skipped into school at 18 months old like you’ve done it your whole life. You make friends so naturally and it’s such a joy to be around you.

You’re equally comfortable playing dress up in your frilly gowns and simulating a game of marvel super heroes with your big brother. That sweet, girly, dainty side and the fearless warrior princess side all mixed in together so perfectly in one awesome little package.

You’re a great little sister to Truett and a wonderful big sister to Finn. It’s clear that they both adore you in their own way. You’re like the glue that holds them together, keeping balance to the force. I have a feeling baby Theo is going to love you to bits, he’s a lucky little fella to have you as his big sister.

You’ve always been my easiest kid. You learnt to sleep on your own in the cot at 8 weeks old, practically skipped the entire terrible two phase, try your best to be a good kid and you want to do the right thing all the time. I know we don’t get to have as much alone girl time as I’d like to. Sometimes baby Finn wakes up and cries while we’re halfway into our snuggly reading time and you’d look disappointed but you’ll always tell me that baby Finn needs me more and that it’s ok, you can wait because you’re a big girl now.

Remember the time you asked me who I loved the most? “Um…DADDY!” I said, half in jest. You looked so heartbroken. “Why don’t you love all of us as much as daddy?” you asked.

I do. There are 5 people in this world that I love the most and you’re one of them. I love daddy differently but you kids are the beat of my heart. One day, when you have your own kids, you’ll figure out how much mommy loves you but till then, trust me when I say that I love you with everything that I’ve got.

Have a wonderful 5th birthday, my princess.


– Mom

to Kirsten with love

Four looks good on you

kirsten 4

We had a mini-celebration for Kirsten’s fourth birthday over the weekend and I swear these birthday things are rolling around faster and faster. I can’t believe she’s already 4. Seriously, 4! One moment she was stealing my heart with her squishy baby char siew bao face and now she’s full of 4-year-old radness. Putting together her own outfits (often better than I can), making wisecracks, coming up with harebrained ideas – it’s like she’s got a whole psychedelic mind of her own!

You know what? It’s amazing to have boys (and by golly, I love my boys to bits) but it’s a whole other thing to have a girl.

Even way back before I had kids, I’ve always wanted a girl. And you know how it’s like when you want something really, really badly and finally you get it and you realize that holy smokes, it’s even better than you imagined it to be (which didn’t seem possible because it had maxed out the awesomeness scale in your head but then you’re like *mind blown* and you get a brand new super scale).

It was that way when I had her.

As I inhaled her chubby cheeks, a reel of Gilmore Girls mother-daughter moments started playing in my head and I knew she was everything I ever wanted. We would have girly tea parties together, shop for pretty dresses together, stand in line for Minnie Mouse autographs together, get matchy-matchy mani-pedis together. And one day, we would sit down in a hip cafe, have coffee and talk about cute boys like a couple of giggly teenagers while the boys went out into the woods catch gross insects or build campfires or do whatever it is boys do that involve dirt and muscles.

In short, I guess what I mean to say is that I’m positively in love with my little girl.

Sometimes I’m hanging out with her and I just want to pinch myself because I feel like I’m right smack in the middle of everything I could ever hope for. That these little moments are the ones I’ll spend the rest of my life remembering. And I’d force myself to stop and take it all in – the way she laughed, the way she tucked that stray strand of hair behind her ear only to have it fall right back out again, the way her eyes twinkled when we talked about which princess has the nicest tiara (Ariel, obviously). I didn’t think I’d ever want to be involved in a conversation discussing the merits of twirly things on tiaras but there I was, enjoying every moment of it.

Happy birthday, my sweet, sweet princess. 4 looks stunning on you.

to Kirsten with love

Happy birthday, not-so-baby girl.

It seems like Kirsten has grown up a lot this trip. The last time we were on holiday, she was still in her baby mode, but this time, she’s behaving like a total big girl.

Like when we ran out of milk midway, she didn’t fuss or have a meltdown like she normally would and just went, “It’s ok, I can sleep without milk. Mommy will get milk for me when we go home right?” Or when we lost her duck (again), she borrowed one end of Tru’s blanket and went right to sleep.

And then we realized that amidst all the travel and excitement, we totally forgot that it was her birthday on Friday.

We did throw her a rather massive combined birthday bash with Truett, so on Friday we gave her a hug, wished her Happy Birthday and it was more like “yay, congrats, you’re finally 3!”


All this while, we’ve suspected that she’s advanced for her age, but there was this babyness to her that made her seem so little at the same time.

Well, that babyness is almost totally gone now.

At 3 years old, she’s incredibly comfortable mixing with bigger kids. When we were at one of the playgrounds in Gold Coast, there were a bunch of 8 to 10-year-olds at the slide and both her and Truett just fit right in, playing with them like friends. Before long, we realized that she was ordering them around, telling each one it was their turn to go down. Strangely, the bigger kids didn’t seem to mind.

She’s very expressive, which is something I hope never goes away. She dances in the street when she hears music, yells at the top of her lungs when she feels like it (she obviously got this from the husband) and goes “WOW THAT”S SO AWESOME” at stuff we often take for granted.

She’s also exceedingly girly. If she could choose, she’d be walking around in an explosion of pinkness all the time. We saw a girl dressed in a glittery tutu skirt and Kirsten just stood and stared at her for a long time before exclaiming “I think that’s a princess!” That sort of made me want to go right out to buy her a glittery tutu.

And the thing I love the most is how she makes us smile whenever we’re upset or down. She’ll make funny faces and laugh that infectious giggle, which is irresistible. People always say that kids are a bundle of joy and I guess that’s what they mean.

I usually get a little nostalgic during their birthdays, but if this is any indication of what the rest of her third year will be like, I’m really looking forward to it.

Happy birthday, my princess!

to Kirsten with love

Happy birthday, Princess.

To my Special Angel Princess,

Happy Birthday! Considering that this is only the second time you’re having a birthday, you rock it like a pro. You soak up all the attention and beam from ear to ear every time we sing you the Birthday Song – I’ve lost count after 35 times.

It feels a little weird that you’re just only turning 2 because it seems like you’ve been 2 for the longest time. It doesn’t bother you that you’re way shorter than everyone your age and the doctor says your height is only in the 10th percentile for 2-year-olds. But that’s cool because inside that tiny body is a big girl.

Your vocabulary is astounding and thanks to your grammar police of a brother, you’re pretty sharp in that department too. I’d love to take credit for that but sometimes, I don’t even know how you pick up words like consolidate and devastating. My money is on Disney Junior but then again, you listen to our conversations and surprise us by asking very insightful questions.

This time last year, I was so sure you were going to be the sweet, demure type. You used to sit quietly and observe all the action around you but in the past 12 months, you’ve somehow managed to find a way to be part of the action. You instigate your brother to climb the grilles and throw all the rice on the floor. And then you make him giggle at how hilarious it is.

When we’re out shopping, you couldn’t care less that we’re not behind you. We’ve tried hiding behind pillars while following you at a distance and you’ve never once turned back to look for us. One time at Ikea, you realized that we were nowhere to be found and you continued sauntering around holding your doggie plushie without a care in the world. Even though you couldn’t see me, I was following close enough to hear you tell your dog “See, we got no more mommy and daddy already, they’re lost. It’s ok, I bring you go kai kai.” In contrast, your brother watches us like a hawk to make sure we’re always within sight so he doesn’t get lost.

I suppose it’s a good thing that you’d be able to survive even if you got lost, but please don’t. Mommy needs you more than you know.

I love everything about you (yes, even the intentional shrieking you’ve perfected just to get your way), but the one thing I love most is how you immediately rush to the rescue every time you see someone hurting. You want to go hug the hobo sleeping at the void deck because he’s sick and you offer your last french fries to the troubadour along the sidewalk. Ok, so I exploit it once in a while to get extra hugs and kisses but that’s pretty much fair play for being your mother.

Have a smashing year ahead, baby girl. And always remember that Daddy and Mommy loves you an awful lot.

how i pretend to be a cool mum, precious moments, to Kirsten with love, to Truett with love

Level up: Baking badges acquired

If you’ve been following me on Facebook and Twitter, you’ll know that I attempted to bake a batch of 50 cupcakes for the kids’ combined birthday party yesterday. It was a big deal because I’m not the baking sort. In fact, I’ve never baked anything in my life, unless you count baked beans, which I basically pour out from a can and put in the microwave.

My original plan was to buy 50 cupcakes from the store but I got to browsing these really pretty cupcakes online and the kids were all like “I want mommy to make.”

Ok kids, challenge accepted.

I mean, anyone can buy cupcakes from a store right but I’m going to be the mom that makes these babies with my own hands. Also partly because my mom is like a baking guru and she helped out a little (ok she did like 28% of the work). The kids contributed another 7%.

They wore their little aprons and helped to pour stuff into the mixer, all pleased to be making their own birthday cupcakes.

We spent all of Friday afternoon mixing, stirring, scooping and arranging little cups as the aroma of freshly baked cupcakes filled the kitchen. Now I know why people bake – there’s a profound sense of satisfaction to be making something so yummy from scratch. Like it’s just a bunch of flour and eggs on the table and then voila, cupcakes! We even made 2 different flavors, chocolate and carrot cake topped with ganache and cream cheese icing.

But then the proof of the pudding (or in this case, cupcake) is in the eating, so here’s the final product.









Word on the street is that they taste pretty good too. Well, at least, the kids seemed to love it.

I guess this means I’ve earned my baking badges and I can go back to buying cupcakes from the store next year.

PS. The three winners have been announced for the Child Label giveaway. Thanks for your support!

to Kirsten with love

A letter to my lamb chops

To my juicy little lamb chops,

Momma meant to write you a letter for your 18th month but as you will eventually come to realize, I’m not very good with dates so I’m just going to call it a letter for your 19th month 9th day, just because.

That’s also way cooler, depending on how you look at it because very few people get letters for being 19 months and 9 days. Half full, baby, always half full.

You’ve finally reached the point where I want you to stop growing and stay exactly the way you are for the next 25 years. Ok no, I take that back. Grow to the point where you outgrow your terrible twos, then stop. I’m really hoping that’s tomorrow. When you’re not upset or screamy, you’re easily the sweetest baby in the world and that’s saying a lot because I’ve seen many sweet babies in my time.

1. You always wake up with a smile. I don’t know how you do it but every single morning, you wake up with a sleepy grin and a “good morning mommy” that always makes me feel less crabby.

2. You get real upset when others cry, which makes you so susceptible to emotional blackmail. Like when you refuse to hug me, all it takes is for me to pretend to cry and you come running with arms wide open. Some might call this exploitative and I would agree, but since this phase is probably not going to last very long, I am going to milk it for all it’s worth.

3. You’re absolutely fearless. I’ve never seen you afraid of anything at all. Not of heights, speed, water, insects, lizards, roaches or slimy worms.

4. You’re so excited about everything. Who wants to go to the park? YAYYY GO PARK! Who wants to go swimming? YAYY GO SWIMMING! Who wants to have lunch? YAYY HAVE LUNCH! Who wants to sleep? YAYY SLEEP!

5. You’re obliging to the point that your brother uses you as his props for all his bizarre games. One day you’re a tree, then a cat, then a rock, then his slave.

I’m just glad you’re mine.