We've reached the close of another year. And what a year 2009 has been.
To echo how another friend had described his year, this year has been a game of two halves. One half was played in a little town 160km east of Melbourne city, Australia. And the other half played out here at home, in Singapore.
I think it's worthwhile to look back on the things we've achieved, reflect on the events that have shaped this family, and give thanks for the rich blessings we've received that testify to the Lord's goodness in our lives.
After spending a month with us in Australia, little D's paternal grandparents were treated to a nice dinner at Dorbo's, a Malaysian-Chinese restaurant near Uncle K's place, before returning to Singapore. At dinner, we announced to Grandpa and Grandma that the trouble is about to double. ("Trouble" is the nickname we affectionately give to our little tyke. Heh.)
They did a double-take, and laughed and told little D to prepare to be a good big brother.
This was a day that we won't soon forget. We were warned well ahead to expect scorching weather with temperatures rising to 46 degrees Celsius, and woke to news that bushfires had started raging close to home.
The severity and the casualty from those fires made international headlines, and put Gippsland on the map for many people who didn't know where it was before.
I remember how the morning blue sky soon turned to a dusky orangey night when the Gippsland fires became so widespread it covered the sky in its smog. We learnt later that our friends the Hardings lost their home in South Traralgon, and we grieved with them.
Through the ordeal, they thanked God for keeping their lives intact and are now well on their way to having their beautiful home rebuilt. We're ever so inspired by their faith.
My year on no-pay leave winds to an end, and we spend many happy hours saying our teary farewells to new-found friends in Australia. Even now, D will look at the pictures we took at Wilsons' Prom, in Sydney, at playgroup, with friends and tell me what a good time he had in Australia.
I miss my friends Audrey, Mei, Suryani, and Melissa just to name a few. And little D misses Moncidel, Ayla and other little ones at Gymbaroo, swimming class, and playgroup.
I'm thankful for the chance to be a stay-home mom, learning to cook dinner every day, and thinking up ingenious ways to keep very lively toddler engaged - including making a card-board dump truck for his playgroup's dress-up day, and making home-made playdough of both the edible and inedible varieties.
We pack up, and depart for Singapore. Little G is 24 weeks inside my ever expanding tummy.
Little D goes through a turbulent two months back in Singapore, adjusting to having mommy return to the workplace, daddy not being around, and mommy's ever expanding tummy.
Woke up at 5a.m. with strong and frequent contractions. Made it to the hospital in time - just 2cm dilated - and asked for epidural immediately.
Little G S Koh arrived at 10.50am, a big bundle of joy at 52cm and 3.5kg. We are so thankful to God for entrusting us to be parents of another little boy.
I begin my maternity leave utterly grateful that I delivered not just a healthy baby, but also 90 days of active service during which I completed a draft report on infusing literacy in Primary 3 Science lessons. =)
E and I are five years old as husband and wife. What a ride! I am so thankful that God's given me a husband who knows when to indulge me and pamper me, at the same time who knows when not to take my nonsense because he expects better of me.
Even though we are apart and I miss him so, it just makes him coming home and spending time with me ever so precious. We thank God for news that he received a year-long hospital placement in JB next year. It means Daddy gets to be home every weekend!
19, 24, 25 Decemeber
Probably my best decision during maternity leave is to serve in the church's christmas outreach performance aptly titled "The Great Big Christmas Giveaway".
Even though it meant night after night of tireless rehearsals, and fighting off the flu bug to sing, the experience of ministering to pre-believers through song is unparalleled.
After one of our performances, the four of us (C, Joy, Jill & I) stood outside, just praying and thanking God. When suddenly, we were awash in His presence, an ineffably sweet, sweet presence that left us all speechless.
I suddenly understood that the mystery behind Christmas is, truly, the BIGGEST, and the GREATEST GIVEAWAY of all. Note the pun on the word Giveaway. The same gift to mankind - a little babe lying in a manger - also reveals the greatest secret of all: that through this spotless lamb we can have eternal life, for he was born to pay to price for all our sins.
Our eldest turns three.
In a year, little D has learnt to swim with floats on, say all kinds of precocious and unexpected things like "The husky took it! Naughty husky!".
He is also starting to learn to sing in tune, and loves to sing himself to sleep at night. He has gained quite a repertoire of children's hits too. His favorites include:
- Incy Wincy Spider
- Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
- Do- A Deer A Female Deer
- Steve Green's Do Not Be Overcome By Evil
- When I am Afraid I will Trust in Him
- "And BINGO was his name O!"
- Meatball Song
- Somewhere Over the Rainbow
- Spongebob Squarepants Theme Song
- The Best Day Ever by SpongeBob Squarepants
- From the Rising of the Sun
- Bob the Builder Theme Song
- Polly Put the Kettle On
Here's to more adventures next year!