And now you are one

Dearest Sían, 
You, my darling girl, are one today.

And oh my, how this year flew past. I remember how I was listening to music as I lay on the table while Dr. Lopez carefully pulled you out. Daddy saw you first, with your amazing full head of hair and long legs. And then they gave you to me. And I cried. I cried because you were so tiny. I cried because I waited nine long months for you to come, in fact, I waited my whole life to meet my little girl. I cried because I finally got to see who this little person was moving inside of me. And my baby girl, you were so beautiful. You still are.

Your pixie features captured everyone right away, and all of a sudden this little person grasped everyone around her tiny fingers and you know what?  I think you still do.  You are everyone's ray of sunshine, Síani, and with that smile of yours, you will always be. 

❤ I love that you sleep! Oh my, do you sleep. From the first night, till the next few days, till weeks and months after. And now a year later, your favourite part of bedtime is climbing into that cot of yours. 

❤ I love that you already know what you don't like. You push things away when you don't want something, you cry when you want attention, and you smile when you get what you want. You are so independent but too small to be on her own. I want to treasure this moment for as long as it lasts. 

❤ I love that you are feisty.  One day you still hold that strength in you and stand up for yourself. Don't let anyone take that away from you. 

❤ I love that you love your brother so much. He is the only one who can make you laugh wholeheartedly. He's the only one who gets you so happy that your whole body jumps with excitement. I hope this is the beginning of the most special relationship you will always treasure. 

❤ I love that you are such a happy baby. Even when you are not feeling well or extremely tired, you smile. You smile at everyone, you know? One day, that smile of yours will brighten someones day. I know it always brightens mine. 

❤ I love your little toes. Your little fingers. Your little tummy. Your little button nose. Your little curls. Everything about you I love unconditionally. I wish I could hold onto this past year a little longer. But I know every year will make me love you even more, if that is even possible. My heart feels like it will burst if I love you any more. 

❤ I love your big front teeth and your gapped smile. You have five teeth now. And I love how you scrunch your nose up and show them to me with your silly smile. 

❤ I hate leaving you in the morning. You now make it harder than it has ever been, how you grab hold of my arms so tightly, how you cry as if I'm going to leave you forever, how you look as me as though you will never see me again. It breaks my heart every single day. And I always drive off with my heart dragging behind the car. 

❤  I hate that I miss so much. The year has gone so quickly, but I feel like there has been so much I haven't been there for. Mummy works hard for your future, and I promise you that I will make sure that the time we have is quality over quantity. 

Happy first, my sweet sunshine. To many more years with the brightness that you bring into our lives. 
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Just what I needed to see

I started this long, insightful post at midnight last night. I became this angst ridden person writing about desires as deep as my sleep should have been. My computer quickly shut tight before that publish button was pressed in a hurry, leaving these daydreams seen through thousands of letters typed on the screen only with my eyes. Leaving it in a folder for me to return to once my head was clear of all the murkiness that hovered over me.

I wrote about how I was dreaming about all the things I could have had. I wrote about how I sometimes thought about how I would have been somewhere else in my life if I turned another direction, walked a different path. I wrote about the places I'd be, the things I'd have, the things that would have made me into that person I always wondered about. I titled it ' Everything that I am not'.

Then tonight, before I scurried over to my drafts folder, I saw this. 

So I let go, deleted my post and wrote this one.

And I feel much better for it.
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you are five today

Dear Cameron, 

You are five today. 

The big FIVE.

You woke up this morning by my side and as I started singing happy birthday, you looked confused and asked me why your voice was still the same as when you were four. You ran into my bed and asked Daddy why you hadn't grown overnight because you were the same size as you were when you were four. As if all of a sudden, after one sleep, you thought you would grow bigger because you turned five. Well, my boy, it is as if I closed my eyes after one long sleep and found you as this big five year old. As if you grew overnight, when I wasn't watching, like a time lapse capture highlighting critical moments in double speed. But I have been watching. You must know that I have been doing that. 

☆ I love that you are way beyond your years. I often wonder what goes through that clever mind of yours. I can see how fast your thoughts move, sometimes your words have a hard time catching up with your thoughts. 

☆ I love that you are caring and loving. You look after your sister and you always make sure she is safe. There are moments you argue with her, not realising how small she really is but you love with all your heart and it's amazing to see. I hope you always treat her with as much love. 

☆ I love that you correct me when I'm wrong. And boy, you love doing so. You also love being right. At five, you are confident in your doings. 

☆ I love that you read so well. You sometimes pretend to be too tired to read but it doesn't take much for your love for books to outweighs your exhaustion.

☆ I love that you have memorised words to the rock songs that Daddy is teaching you. There are not many five year olds I know who sing along to these songs word for word. It shows that you pay attention even if I think you are not. 

☆ I love that you talk so much. Yes, sometimes, I tell you to slow down. Sometimes I ask you to stop. But never stop, my boy, because your consistent chatter shows me that your intelligence is constantly developing. 

☆ I love that you are an observer. You watch people and you scope out the situation that you are surrounded in. You are aware and extremely cautious of your surroundings. 

☆ I still love the way you smell in the morning. I always wish for this smell to stay forever. I'm so happy that I still have this to hold onto.

☆ I love looking back at your baby pictures and remembering how you were. I love knowing that my memories of you grow all the time. Next year, I'll have another thousand pictures I can stare at. I will never tire of staring at you. 

☆ I love that you understand what secrets are. And I most especially love that you share yours with me. I hope you realise that you can always share your secrets with me. 

☆ I love how you run out of the front door and yell "Muuuummmmyyyyy" as I get home after a long day at work. My days are hard without you two but your happiness in welcoming me home always makes it better. I love how you are always excited to see us. 

☆ I love your craziness. Your silliness. Your grumpiness. Your happiness. 

☆ I love that I have this to write you every year. I love how some things are constant. But I also love how you are changing every year. Every day. Every minute. 

Another year. Another year of all this love I have for you.

Happy fifth, my big, big boy. 

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Today I watched parents say goodbye to their boy. I watched them quietly stare at their son lying in a white, shiny casket and all I could do was look away, walk away with a heavy heart. I listened to them speak of their loss, I held my tears back as they shed theirs. I listened to each drowned out word, how every muffled syllable echoed their grief. In a large room with over two hundred people, the silence was deafening. 

Its been a sad day. 

But yet, I rushed home, eager and excited to see my children.  I smiled and my heart skipped a beat when they reached out to welcome me home. I kissed their heads as if I had never kissed them before. I cuddled them till they couldn't breathe. And when I had them in my arms, I held them just that little bit longer. I forget how blessed I am to come home to them at the end of a long day, blessed to read them books at night before bed, blessed to pull the covers over their little bodies and extremely blessed to watch them flutter their little eyes as they sleep. In this time, I realise how lucky I am to have these moments when they've suddenly been stripped from others so drastically.

Who am I to complain about not having enough hours when some people have lost all?

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September blues

I miss myself. 
How I'd kick my feet up and read a book.
How I'd play Billie Holiday in the evenings with a glass of red wine.
How time was distributed equally between family, friends and myself.
How my fingers felt with paints all over them.
The way they felt after the pencil left a dent from drawing.
How I spent three hours in the morning working out.
How I seemed to have plenty of things to blog about.
And how I was getting quite good at keeping this space up to date.
How I took lots of photos.
How I dreamt of other things except work.
And how I had that extra large glass of vodka with friends with no guilt.
Why is this guilt even here? 

I miss seeing the kids all day.
How I had them by my side while I worked.
How I was there for every 'first'. So far I've missed most of hers.
How I ate lunch with them and not at my desk.
How I never counted hours before I saw them.
And how I didn't have to miss them so much.

It's been six months. 
So perhaps it's the six month blues.
So maybe this is all it is. 
Or maybe I just need a break. 

Because I'm tired. Really f**king tired.

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when all of a sudden breathing isn't an option

Over a month since I last blogged. 
Absolutely ridiculous. 

I wish I could say the same about my life. Okay maybe, ridiculous may be the right word.
Ridiculously overwhelming. In a good way. In an amazing way.

 However with this sense of overwhelming excitement  comes non existent breathing space. So non existent, my little one laughed for the first time without me there.  It's a killer, you know, this feeling of guilt. But in as much as my guilt washes over me, showing my children that doing what you love is so important that it overshadows the guilt. Chasing dreams, catching them and relishing in them is something to teach them. Goals, achievement, passion, and  hard work. These are what I want my children to see when they look at me. At the end of the day, as much as my dreams are mine to achieve, they are also for them to aspire to. 

p.s. i've really neglected my little online space. who knows when I'll ever get back up to how it used to be. :(

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When push goes to shove

The day I took this photo, I was embracing change. Change in my body, change in my life and most importantly change in my state of mind. On this day, I ran till my body told me to stop. And it stopped early but I listened. I walked till I knew I had to sit down and man, did my body insist. But what I didn't know was that a few days after this run, my life would hit a complete crossroad and change would be bigger than I ever expected.

I stood at this intersection where motherhood and career pointing in different directions. A choice I've never had to make, a choice that came natural when we decided to leave England. After all, moving was one of the biggest adjustments I had to make in that time of my life, how could I balance anything else? I know I didn't need anything else. But now, I've settled into my comfort zone. My office sits two seconds away from my children's bedrooms, site visits are done on my schedules, meetings are set on convenience. But they say the magic happens outside comfort zones. And I believe them. 

So I'm stepping out. I'm stepping forward and I'm running towards the magic. I've said yes to an amazing job opportunity into a career that I've worked my butt off for. As much as my company has taught me many things, I needed to let it sit back for awhile because of the stagnant waters it was sitting in. There is always room to learn more, grow more, BE MORE. And to me, the decision wasn't about choosing motherhood over my career, I was about deciding how to unite the two pathways together and cement them into my life as one. The decision has become about learning that each one matters just as much as the other. 

And I'm okay with it. After all, who doesn't want to chase after magic?

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a new role

Life has been pretty hectic with a newborn and a four year old. But I'm getting there. 
New changes on the blog, fresh starts, and hopefully more posts when I get time to breathe. Two months into two thousand and thirteen and I think I got it. 

I think.

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that bed

I slept on a carved narra wood daybed that my grandfather was born on with a solihia base that a little foam mattress sat on. It was the only thing that was constant in all our moves. It was the one thing that was mine when the walls of a new bedroom knew nothing of myhistory or had none of my secrets to keep.On nights the nightmares came, the bed allowed space for my little brother to keep me company when I couldn't bear to be alone. It was the bed secrets were shared on, the one I laid on when phone calls lasted seven hours or more, the bed my best friends and I sat on when we told our stories of our first kiss. It was the bed where I spent nights hiding under the covers reading my Sweet Valley High books and it was the bed that kept me safe when my heart was broken numerous times holding my tears in its comforting space.

And now it sits in my little girl's nursery waiting to create new memories for this little one to keep. It waits to hold her in its space as she grows with it, perhaps one day her long legs will reach the end of the bed. Mine never did. It waits to hold her as she laughs, cries, and dreams on it. And I'm sure it'll keep her secrets the way it has mine.

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on that one day in London

The streets are bright and busy. The summer sun leaves shadows on the architecture, with buildings reflecting the rays before it begins to set at nine thirty in the evening. I cross Hyde Park Corner and decide to walk into the park instead of taking that bloody number ten bus down Kensington High street at rush hour. The skaters are out weaving their way on their roller blades down the path, mummies and nannies pushing their prams, people sitting out on the grass soaking in every inch of the rare sunshine we have been getting. The Serpentine glistens as the ducks flap their way across it. Should I keep walking? I stop for a 99 flake from a ice cream truck further down and feel like a little girl walking down through the park past Kensington Palace. I want to hold this moment forever. 

Another summer day and I can’t wait to get out of this stuffy office as my desk piles up with purchase orders and invoices. I’m also tired from that long shift at the pub last night. Perhaps those two wind down large glasses of wine at one in the morning wasn’t a great idea. The back roads of Great Portland Street are lined with smokers and delivery vans as I walk towards Regents Park just for me to breathe in that ‘me’ time. A nice cigarette, my bacon and egg sambo and my music. Just for this hour. Thank goodness for this greenery in the middle of the city, an hour just to escape, an hour to pretend I am lying on the beach somewhere in the Mediterranean. Sleeves and trouser legs rolled up, as if my skin would brown with the London sunshine. Who was I kidding? But it felt good. And every person on their lunch break sitting on their own patch of green felt exactly the same way I did. 

The streets are cold and misty, that crisp breeze gently wisps through my cardigan. Springtime tulips are coming out as I cross Brook Green park to catch my tube at Hammersmith station. The local Starbucks is packed but I stop for my chai soy latte, daydreaming while I watch people cross the broadway, each rushing to where they have to be. The pie shop next door whiffs its smell across the station. Should I stop for one? No time, have to get to class. Ah shit. I missed the train anyway. Bloody District line. Shouldn’t have gotten that latte.  

My front door never felt so far away. It’s freezing. I bloody hate winter. Shit. I wore the wrong shoes. My toes feel like they are falling off. Fuck. I dropped my glove and now it is all wet. I shouldn't have taken them off on the tube. Dammit. I should have remembered to bring my umbrella to shield me from this pathetic excuse for snow. Why did I choose to live five blocks away from the tube station in the middle of Chiswisk? There aren’t even any buses to take me closer to my flat. Bloody Stanford Brook. Did I mention I hate winter? 

That bottle of wine warms us up as we sit in Boheme Kitchen in the heart of Soho just before Christmas. V and I on our second bottle of some fabulous New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  The cinnamon smell from the mulled wine hovers throughout and my cheeks are flushed from the warmth in the pub. Are the heaters turned on too high? Or perhaps its the wine? We walk out as the cold stops my breath for a minute. It’s sharp but kind as the wine circulates my blood. I watch my husband and V skip down Old Compton Road, arm in arm, like a pair of old friends when in fact they just met. This is what it’s all about. This is what London is. It’s as if I’ve literally frozen and life moves amazingly fast around me, with traces of light following everyones footsteps. This is my London and I’m in it. And then I run down the road to catch up as we walk through the doors of Bar Soho to grab ourselves vodka mojitos in the middle of a winter evening that I actually love.
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the girl with the bump

I'm not one to show off my body in bikinis to post online. 
I'm usually the one hiding behind someone so my legs aren't on show.
Or the one breathing in so much you would think I actually stopped breathing completely.
Or even the one who has mastered the shoulder pose to make my arms look skinnier.
But these photos.... 
Well, I'm not embarrassed nor am I even that tad bit ashamed of posting them here.
 In all honesty, I have never been prouder of my pregnant body. I'm not even that slightly embarrassed to share them because they are beautiful memories of who I was when I carried my little girl. What my body represented as my skin stretched to its utmost capacity.
 They are my memories of aches and pains, sleepless nights, my nine months between her and I. 
We shared that together. 
And I'd like to remember it  forever.

p h o t o s  b y:  h y l t o n  l e  r o u x

Peep this post for my first self-portrait post that I geared myself up to post online shot in the exact same space.
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my two thousand twelve

... I watched my younger brother buckle at his knees as he watched his bride to be walk down that aisle.
... And a week later I watched an old friend marry her best friend and at the same time ran around for our catering company's first destination wedding.
... I marvelled on the inside as people stood in front of my art up on those walls
... That project up on the mountains was completed and I walked away proud of what was achieved.
... I visited an old childhood playground and watched my little boy's eyes as he stood wondrously watching the life moving around him.
... I had that one night with the girls. That one night you look back onto and fall into fits of laughter from just remembering. 
... wWe fell into an inconvenience that found us moving out of our home for a few months. it was a true test of patience and understanding.
... and looking back, it turned out to be the worst month of two thousand and twelve.
... I picked bright pink flowers in a quiet hidden corner of my village.
... I went to my first burlesque show in the most unexpected place with some of my favourite people.
... I worked on my first shop window for my design company.
...We started april on an island, in a beach hut, with a thatched roof, by the sea. I couldn't have asked for anything more. 
... My husband and I got silly drunk, like teenagers, for the last time together this year. You know,  the fall-on-the- sand kind of drunk. 
... I spent a day teaching underprivileged kids how to play football.
... And didn't realise that it would the last time on the pitch for nine months as my little bean began to grow.
... I spent the first few days on an island with two girlfriends. Mystical and quiet. Waterfalls and white sand. The perfect start to my pregnancy.
... Five days into the month, one of my best friends came to visit me. And ten days went way too quickly.
... We moved back into our house. 
... I dreamt of travelling. I dreamt of London. I dreamt of New York. I dreamt of LA. I dreamt of getting out of Manila. 
... I dwelled on what wasn't happening in my life over what was.
... I welcomed by goddaughter and my cousin home for two months. 
... I spent a rainy weekend up on the mountain with a friend, eating cheese and truffle oil in a secret garden surrounded by lilypads and frogs.
... My husband premiered his second season of his cooking show.
... And with that came photo-shoots with the family.
... My little boy started big school.  And wore my school colours. 
... We found out that pink, pigtails and dresses were in our future. 
... I joined in on my third August Break.
... But lost my way after I lost my engagement ring. 
... It began with me saying goodbyes, again.
... I accepted the way things were.
... And allowed this month to be one where my feet were put up on the couch as my belly grew bigger each day.
... My baby became a little boy as he turned four.
... And on one ordinary afternoon after school, we painted animals together.
... I began planning the nursery
... We had a wonderful Sunday, just the three of us....
... And realised that my family, at this point, is what mattered the most. 
... I sat by the pool with the sunshine scorching on my skin, embracing each of these moments with grace.
... I celebrated at my baby shower and was reminded about unconditional love.
...Which I tend to forget when life turns the other way.
... I danced with friends at an afternoon event that played some of my favourite beats.
... I waddled.
... I ached.
... I cried.
... I laughed.
... I was nine months pregnant.
... I became a mother of two.
... And I could not explain how my heart felt like it would explode.
... I held my sleeping son's head on my shoulder as I nursed my daughter. 
... And I never knew what contentment felt like until I looked at both my children lying next to each other. 
... I've also realised that with two children comes patience. The fact that it has taken me a week to write this makes me realise that I can't just sit and do what I want to do when I want to do it.
... I accepted that two thousand and twelve wasn't exactly what I had planned out, nowhere near it  but I have opened my eyes to the fact that things change in the last minute. 
... I am allowing my two thousand and thirteen to be open, to be unconstrained, to be mine in whatever way it comes. 
So two thousand and thirteen, I'm ready for you.

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