Tuesday, 15 December 2015


When I was a little girl, my mom decided to start a little Christmas tradition for me. Each Christmas, a new angel was hung up on the Christmas tree, a marker of how many Christmases I've seen in my lifetime.

When I had our eldest son, I decided to continue the tradition but I had no idea how. I wanted to do a play on his Chinese zodiac--the Dragon--but where in the world would I find dragon ornaments, let alone ones for Christmas?

By his third Christmas, I solved it. I'd been browsing various tutorials and tips on fun and educational activities to do with kids. Mostly for homeshooling moms but while I have no desire to homeschool my kids, I found great value in what these mothers shared. And there I found it: do-it-yourself white clay.

His blank, white clay ornaments have been waiting in a small box since last year. This year, I finally got around to painting them. I'm quite proud of my creations, to be honest, especially since it has been a very long time since I have done anything of this sort.

Kian is a little luckier than his big brother since I already figured out what to do for their ornaments by the time he was born. So here are the completed ornaments so far plus one work in progress. Kian, being born in the Year of the Sheep will have sheep-themed ornaments while Llew has his dragon-themed ornaments.

Since this is not my typical type of artwork, I give massive thanks to artists from DeviantArt for ideas on what to do for the ornaments. I'm still in the process of properly tracing the artist for each of these pieces. I kind of feel like those old time art students who would make multiple copies of their master's work in the attempt to learn their techniques.


From left to right:

This ram is based on the myth of the sheep with the golden-fleece. We thought it would be an appropriate introduction for Kian's first Christmas ornament.

Llew's first ornament is my take on the Apocalypse Dragon from the iOS game, Dragonvale. When Llew was born in 2012, talk of the coming apocalypse was all the rage and we thought it would make a great insider joke to include this dragon in his line up of dragon ornaments.

The second dragon is Toothless from "How to Train Your Dragon". He isn't so addicted to it yet but he enjoys the movie well enough.

Last is an artist's rendition of the literary version of Falkor from "The Neverending Story". Contrary to the movie version that looked more like a dog, Falkor is supposed to look somewhat like an Asian dragon with a long, snake-like body and an equally almost serpentine head. I have to put on the final washes and varnish before I can consider this one completed.

For the white clay, I can't remember anymore where I got the recipe from but here it is below. I'll edit when I find the source. ^_^

1 c baking soda
1/2 c corn starch
3/4 c warm water

Mix the dry ingredients together and stir in the water. Mix over medium heat until it starts to bubble and come away from the pan. When it has started to dry and resemble soft play dough, take it off the heat and let it cool. Knead to soften and make more pliable. Store in an air tight container.

It's supposed to be safe to bake but I just let my work air dry on a baking sheet.

Just to end my own story of Christmas tradition, I decided to hang up my last angel the year of Llew's first Christmas. And next I need to talk to my husband about something we can put up as our own marker for how many Christmases we've spent as husband and wife. ^_~

Monday, 14 December 2015

Being Mama


Last week, I failed my kids in the most horrible way possible.

It was one of those bold yet bad moves, really. My older son was sitting by himself in the back row of our car and I was in the middle row with our younger son. At night. That time when at least one of them (read: the younger one) should be sleeping.

You can already see where this is going. I didn't. This story has the benefit of hindsight.

The Internet connection failed us. YouTube (see the next mistake right there?) wouldn't load properly. I was nursing our younger son. The older one started screaming for me to fix the iPad. I asked him calmly to wait. At first. Then he started screaming louder and louder until he began to cry.

I kept asking him to wait. I had hoped to put the younger one to sleep so I could give him my full attention.

See that right there? It was one mistake after another. Again, hindsight.

He began crying for Mama. I asked him to wait just a little longer but my patience was wearing thin because the child in my arms still hadn't fallen asleep. I began to tell him off for screaming. In my dangerously calm tone--the one he knew means trouble.

Finally I was able to put the younger one down. (Allow me to diverge from the conversation a moment to yes, confirm that the child was out of his seat. In fact, neither child was strapped in at this point. If our laws were more stringent about this they and I probably would have been better trained with the whole car seat matter. But that is for another time.) I turn and fix the YouTube connection, finally.

But he kept crying. And forcing coughs to get more attention. But mostly crying. For me to hold him. He'd gotten upset and he needed me to hold him.

And I told him to wait. Again. Over and over. Wait, wait, wait.

Toddlers aren't good at that, usually, especially not mine. Not this little boy who would freak out if his toy train derails or falls apart when his bike gets stuck on something. (We are working on this.)

So yes, he fell apart. And when he did, his younger brother did, too. Oh how they cried, screamed, and wailed for most of the ride home! It was excruciating and broke my heart. The older one begging me to put down the younger one so he could cuddle with me for comfort. The younger one wailing because he couldn't fall asleep in his car seat and needed me to hold and nurse him to sleep.

Surely the Lord must have been with me at that moment, holding me together that I would not fall apart along with my two sons. Surely he must have been there when I remembered: I am your mother. I can do this. I can keep you both calm and comforted.

So I did. I hugged both of them tightly and whispered, "Shhh...Mama's here...shhh..."

Over and over and over.


And just like that, the struggling, the tears, the screams...they died down. Both boys closed their eyes and leaned against me. Calmed and comforted.


I failed them in the most horrible way. I forgot my power as a mother. I forgot that if I panicked with them, they will be lost.

I keep feeling guilt over that and thinking I traumatised them for life. But both boys, they continue to cling to me, letting me know that even when I am at my weakest, they love me and find strength in me.

Mother, Mommy, Mama.

This is to remind myself that I am theirs and I will always have the power to soothe my sons. I just have to remember and believe.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

December Daily Photo

Late post but I guess it's better than not managing to fulfill this particular goal I set.

I asked to get a new camera early this year because I wanted to re-train my photography skills. I've gotten rusty, I admit, and my eye isn't as sharp or quick as it used to be. So I have set out to take daily photos again.

For this challenge, I'll be editing them into squares, Instagram style. There will be no filters, just editing for size. I'm doing it this way mostly to get some kind of uniformity to the format. At some point I'll be able to figure out how to properly do it. For now, this is how it will be.

These are the photos for December 1 and December 2. Tomorrow, the regular daily (hopefully) posting of the photos I've taken will begin. ^_^

The story behind both photos:

We began putting up the Christmas decorations late November but with a toddler, an infant, and life in general going on, it's taking a bit of time to put things together.

My son decided things weren't being put up fast enough so he decided to help. And we all know what that is like, right? ^_~

I only just realised that my hand shook when I took this photo. I'll get there eventually, balancing quick focusing with speed in capturing the moment.

This could be my favourite shot among all the ones I took today mainly because I can see how well he was trying to focus on getting the ornament to hang properly on the branch.


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