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Contentment and Mocha Chia Seed Pudding

Contentment. I think that pretty much describes my life at the moment. From my university days to work, I have not felt this sense of contentment before. It’s difficult to describe but I want to document this so I can reflect back on these early days of being a parent.

It’s not as if my life is very exciting at the moment. It’s 24/7 and tiring. Sometimes, dare I say, even mundane. Feed, play, sleep. Add in changing diapers, playing with Asher, cooking, cleaning, groceries..etc, it’s routine at best. There are bad days and good days but mostly good.

The definition of exciting perhaps changed for me. Asher’s ability to grasp items, laugh, stretch, flip…etc these normal developmental milestones of most children amazes me. Even though I work with children pretty much most of my life, I am still in awe by how the brain develops and pretty much how we develop from a tiny newborn to an infant and so forth. It’s like watching everything I know comes to life.

I never thought I will be “that” mother. The kind of mother who secretly gushes about her own child and totally in love with him. The sort of mum who eagerly play and could spend hours gazing into the eyes of her child.

I love my husband but loving Asher is a different kind of ballpark sort of love altogether.

Gone were the days of rushing from one appointment to another. My working days were crammed of work, gym, cooking and social events. Yet now, I’m lucky if I have a 10 minute decent shower, have dinner at 7:30pm or drink my coffee/tea hot.

Although I have my new identity as a mum, I realised that I have to take time out for myself too. Just some quiet few minutes to say a prayer, and good decent exercise. Daily brisks walks with my hubby every evening, with Asher in the pram or carrier; gym 3x a week with a mix of metcon, konga and boxing plus mums and bubs swim class. It’s a far stretch from my 6-7 hrs workout each week pre pregnancy.

At the moment, I am loving quick and healthy snacks. My bliss balls, yogurt, nuts are all handy to have in the pantry and fridge. I’m also finding chia seeds pudding irresistible when I have the sweet tooth. If only I can have Asher sleeping until I have a chance to finish my hot tea and a quick snack… it NEVER happened.

Mocha Chia Seed Pudding 
1 cup of chia seeds
1 cup of almond milk
1/4 cup of espresso coffee
2 tsp of cacao powder
1 tsp of honey

Combine everything, fridge overnight. Serve with yogurt and fruit for a sweet treat or just eat it by itself by the spoonful when you have 2 seconds.

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Family…and Lemon and Pistachio Cake

I love my family.

They say you don’t know how much your parents love you until you become a parent yourself. In my case, I have the blessings of having a pair of loving parents and grandmother. As a child, my parents worked hard for our future and I was under the care of my grandmother for many years. Growing up, I received comments and questions about why my parents are always too busy to attend school events and why do I have “two homes” (I stayed with my grandmother on weekdays and with my parents on weekends). Looking back, it just means I have more people loving me.

How a person parent is also a reflection on how you are parented. For some people, it is not doing what your parents have done. For others, it may come as a surprise that you suddenly sound like your own mother and you actually believe in it. I work in the field of families and this topic has been a hot topic in supervision for years. For myself, I believe I’m a bit of both. While I love spending time with my grandmother and having a special bond with her, I do wish my parents were around just a tad more (I do understand why they had to do what they had to do).

Which is why it is even more special that my family made this big 12 weeks trip to me with us. It is a big sacrifice my family made- not just financially, but they had to step out of their comfort zone to join us. It simply made me realise what made me.. me… The “togetherness”, loyalty and more importantly values. I am raised to believe in the value of being a “family” and family supports each other unconditionally. It made sense why confinement is so important now. It’s not just about the mother’s health, but it embraces family helping family. Perhaps over the past 13ish years being in Australia has diluted this in me just a tad. I was getting used to being independent and being an individual. This 12 weeks has certainly reunited me to the feelings of belongings.

I sent my family to the airport this morning. There were no tears. Just a lot of goodbyes and see you again in three months. Returning home however, was a different story. My house seems too quiet now. Tomorrow morning, my mum will not be in the kitchen with her bright smile asking if Asher slept well.  During Asher’s play time, my dad won’t be here to read him “real estate news” nor will my grandmother be teasing him with her black gloves. Usually there will be 3 loving adults taking turns cuddling him, but from now on, it would be me and hubby mainly. I feel a sense of sadness but also readiness- I’m physically healed now and have settled into motherhood.

From the bottom of my heart, I really would like to raise Asher to know his roots. I want him to know how much joy he has brought my family, but also I hope that the values of loyalty, togetherness and hardworking goes through. I hope to raise him to know what “family” means.

At least we have technology to aid us. With FaceTime, Asher will get to see my parents and grandmother alot more than what we could 14 years ago. The past 12 weeks has humbled me and certainly made me crave family even more.

Asher is now 11 weeks ago and how much he has grown. He laughs and giggle, he raise his head up during tummy time and loves his baths now. I cannot believe that just a mere 11 weeks ago, he was a newborn and now.. he is an infant. I’m adjusting much better to motherhood and has a flexible routine.

I guess I want to share a recipe that brings people together today. A Lemon and Pistachio cake. I made this cake before Asher was born and love the simplicity of this. It uses a mixture of pistachios and almond meal- which gives it a nutty texture.

Lemon and Pistachio Cake (Donna Hay June/July 2013)
150 grams unsalted butter
1/4 caster sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon rind
1 tsp vanilla paste
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups of almond meal and 1 cup of pistachio meal
honey for drizzling

Pre heat oven to 160C. Line loaf time with baking paper hanging over the sides. Beat butter, sugar, rind and vanilla in a mixer for 10 minutes or till pale and creamy. Scrape sides and beat in eggs one by one. Fold through both nut meals. Spoon mixture into tin and bake for 1 hour till a skewer comes out with only a few crumbs on it. Cool. Drizzle with warm honey to serve.

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