Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Our 1st Xmas Tree

There's something bright and cheery about a Christmas tree, each time I see one I go oooh and aaah so much that Hubs has to drag me away from them. So as much as I love Christmas and think that it's the season of goodwill and peace on earth, we don't celebrate religiously and I've always felt that giving presents to each other is getting sucked into the whole festive commercialism thingy.

But then this year, after seeing Bubs look so fascinated with all the Christmas trees, I decided how bad could it be to let him experience a little joy and magic  at magic. So yes, like the cop-out I am, I got Bubs a tree this year, yay!

Check out this fabulous tree at -  all shimmery and bling-y stuff. They have fully decorated trees for sale at around RM4k. Eeeeps!

The decorations are all sooo pretty. I was going nuts over picking each other until I saw the price tags attached to these. I don't think these would last a minute at our place with an eager beaver toddler constantly trying to "help" us rearrange all the ornaments.

And so we got a tree. If you look closely, you can spot the tree fairy troll wrestling with the branches to get them set up properly and shedding faux pine fir all over the floor.

Bubs approved ornaments - kid friendly as in cutesy and fun for Bubs to play around with and cheap enough for me to not care if he damages them.

Never met a sequin that I don't like.

The bottom of the tree has a huge gap between the pine fir and the hideous metal stands so I bought wrapping paper (the cheapskate in me bought non festive ones so I can reuse them once Xmas is over - some of you might recognise the gift wrap from me in future pressies :P ) and wrapped a whole bunch of empty boxes.

Bubs went berserk - he thought all the presents were for him and kept singing the happy birthday song over and over as he begged me to let him tear them apart. How do you explain to a 2 year old that Mummy is too cheapskate to buy anymore Christmas decorations for the bottom of the tree? In the end, I gave up and lied to him that those pressies are for Santa Claus and he'll get angry if you unwrap them.

Ta-daaaa - our tree! It's very sparsely decorated but I plan to make it a family tradition to add new ornaments every year so i don't want to go overboard with it this year. The look on Bub's face when Hubs flipped on the lights was nothing short of amazing: the sheer, unadulterated joy made it all so worth it. He loved it so much that come bedtime, he was crying because he didn't want to say goodnight to the tree. We'd to console him by letting him pick out a stuffed gingerbread man to tuck into bed with him.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Chew Jetty Part II

Since the last time we were at Chew Jetty and we only took a few photos before it started pouring cats and dogs, we went there again this time to take more. Bubs had a whale of a time tearing up and down the weathered wooden planks though I admit every time I heard a creak, my heart skipped a beat.

There are little convenience shops selling anything from cigarettes to bottled water.

Old fashioned bicycles for rent.

Wooden houses with Chinese calligraphy on red banners.

Another piece of street art by Ernest Zacharevic. Somehow the weathered paint seems to add more character to it.

All that walking about meant that we deserve a yummy treat for breakfast. Everyone (excluded Bubs) had a banana leaf wrapped packet ... or two ... or three ... of the famous Beach Street nasi lemak. If the scoopful of tear inducing spicy sambal and steaming hot coconut rice aren't enough to sate your hunger, you could always opt for extras like fried chicken and curry squid.

Met up again with the glowing and 8 months preggers Glam Girl. That girl doesn't let pregnancy cramp her style at all, gorgeous, I tell you.

Have I ever mentioned that it's near to impossible to walk into Daiso and come out empty handed?

These Hello Kitty face towels and dish cloths were practically screaming my name. I wisely showed restraint.

Though I couldn't say no to some pieces of Japanese crockery.Did you guys have a good weekend?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Of Durians and Weekends

Bubs and I were thrilled when we realised that durians are back in season again. A friend knows of my love for this thorny fruit and pleasantly surprised me with durians from his dad's orchard, musang kings no less!

The only issue?

No one knew how to open them. Pfffffft ...

Hubs doesn't eat durians so he couldn't care less about opening them. My durians always come nearly packed in plastic containers. Bubs knows to stay faaaaar away from them after getting his fingers pricked.

Luckily Mum-In-Law came to the rescue. She made opening them look like a piece of durian cake.

Tools of the trade: a piece of thick cloth (she pooh poohed away my offer of oven mitts), a giant knife and newspaper to cover the floor.

Cut a small slit into the thorny husk then prise the durian apart until you see this.  Salivate a little at the sight of creamy, pale gold fruit nestled inside.

Sorry, I'm anal about eating durian with my hands. I prefer using a spoon.

It's been a while since I last posted a photo of my Dad. He still likes his blue shirts. He wears them so much that once a waitress asked him if it was some kind of uniform.

Bubs is at the self feeding stage and he eats with an adult spoon, no less! The way he eats is a lil intense, look at those jaws stretching wide open - reminds me of a baby shark.

Fascinated by Dad's jasmine flower bud tea.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Beating the Monday Office Blues: Bubs

The most common excuse for Asian parents to tell their children why they have to go to work? To earn money and buy you milk. Love you, Bubs!

ps - I found an online tip that it's easier for babies to learn how to drink from a shot glass so we've pretty much been letting him drink his milk from one. Rest assured, no vodka in it ;)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Little Lies

Did your parents ever lie to you when you were a child?

I hated medicines when I was ill (til this day, the idea of taking liquid medicines makes my stomach turn) and my parents told me that the medicine tastes sweet as the doctor doses it with sugar. How do they know this? They've seen the doctor buy sugar for his medicines. I think I believed this one for quite a while.

Most Chinese babies have Mongolian spots on their bums. My mum told me that whenever a baby is born, the doctors would dangle them up by one leg and smack their bum to make them cry so they can breathe. The doctor's smack would then leave a bruise there. The sad part? I actually believed this until I was pregnant. I was earnestly describing to Hubs how the doctor would lift out the baby out into the air to smack and Hubs was looking at me incredulously.

Me: "So it's not true???"
Hubs *facepalms*

Being a mummy now, I've found myself resorting to telling mistruths.

He hates his vegs with a passion. It's almost cute - if I wasn't at the brink of despair - to see him carefully digging with his spoon, removing all vestiges of anything green and heaping them onto my plate instead.

So I told him that if he wants to grow tall and be able to press the highest button on the lift (probably his lifelong ambition, lol), he has to eat his greens. His little eyes grew as wide as buttons, thought about it for a while before opening his mouth and shoveling down his vegs.

He repeats it now like a chant, "eat veggie, grow tall, press lift button, toot" ;)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Needing a Break

From work that is!

Things have been so crazy lately and stressed out from working through nights for the past week so I was thrilled when I found a small pile of fashion glossies for me at my desk one morning.

Australian fashion magazines is this thing between this really sweet colleague located in Sydney and me. He knows how much I miss reading Madison so each time he or someone from the Sydney office is dropping by Penang, he gets me a copy. There's something relaxing about curling up in bed and devouring magazines from cover to cover. Am I the only one that actually enjoys inhaling in the crisp, fresh scent of new pages?

Hubs dropped by the office to surprise me with a cup of Starbucks Christmas edition peppermint mocha frapp. There is no better balm to soothe frazzled nerves than peppermint and chocolate, mmmmm ...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Dear Bubs: 26 months

Dear Bubs,

I'm in awe of how fast you're picking up things from us and the people around you. When you see other children doing something, you immediately want to do the same. We were at a book store and you saw a little boy perched at the edge of the magazine rack reading a book. You picked up a book, sat next to the boy and stared at him, imitating him so perfectly that we wanted to giggle.

Your memory can put Daddy's and mine to shame. Daddy charged your iPod touch and left it somewhere in his study but couldn't find it. You were asking for it but we kept fobbing you off with excuses while we were searching high and low for it for days. I jokingly asked you, "Bubs, did you see where the iPod was?" We stared in disbelief when you went to the recliner and dug it out from under a pile of cushions even though you hadn't seen it in 2 whole days!

When you were a baby, I read forums about how babies on a balanced, fruit and veggie heavy diet grow up to eating any kind of (healthy) food on their plate, they eschewed sweet stuff to the point they actually spat out ice cream because it was too sweet for them. So I embraced this concept and made you lots of fruit and veggies purees when you were weaning. Even the very first food you ate was a mashed up avocado.

Ironically, you despise most veggies now. When you see something suspiciously green in your bowl, you say "Mai veggie (no veggies)" and push the bowl back to us. It takes a LOT of coaxing to get you to eat anything green and leafy. Spit out ice cream? Hah. You fight with us for it like there's no tomorrow when we share a bowl together.  Food wise - you inherited my sweet tooth for sure.

Before you were born, Daddy and I agreed that we'd speak to you in English and Por Por and Gong Gong (paternal grandparents) would speak to you in Mandarin so you could pick up a couple of languages. While we know that you can understand when spoken to and you can speak short sentences in each language, you surprised us by being able to do simple translations. You asked Por Por for a glass of "soya bean milk" in English. When Lau Mah (Great Grandma) who speaks no English asked what were you drinking, you replied "tau chooi" (soya bean milk in Teochew).

Once I asked you in English, "Where does Uncle How live?" I didn't quite expect you to know the answer because I've never told you where he lives but you answered swiftly "ket lah poh" (Kuala Lumpur). I'm still a little astounded that you managed to translate what Por Por has been teaching you in Mandarin to be able to understand my question in English. I think you're bilingual (still on the fence about that) but you are very used to us speaking a fixed language to you. I tested you the other day by speaking to you in Mandarin. Though you understood, you gave me a mummy's-being-very-weird smile.

You now recognise all the letters of the alphabet, know most of your colours and count from 1 to 10. Your favourite thing to do now is to push the buttons on the lift and you're quite adept at holding onto your ring float in the pool while kicking your legs to move around fearlessly. Hoping that you'd take to swimming a lot faster than I did!
You can sing the alphabet, a few nursery rhymes like Baa Baa Black Sheep, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and of course, your own variations ;) Your favourite song currently is Jason Mraz's I Won't Give Up which you call as "Daddy's Song" because Daddy has been playing this song repeatedly and you occasionally shout out smatterings of the song "skies get rough", "I won't give up". What you lack in tune, you definitely make up with gusto.

Now that your hand eye coordination has improved, you really enjoy having us sit next to you and build stuff with Duplo. You can now fix the blocks together. I'm still undecided if we should add more Duplo blocks for you or if should we get Lego for you (please don't eat them). We've also tried stringing wooden beads together. I'm terrible when it comes to arts and crafts so I'm hoping it's something we can learn together along the way.

You've lost most of your baby fat and the only squishy thing left are your chipmunk cheeks. My heart sings each time I see them wobble when you run and sometimes I wish you weren't growing up so fast. I love how you look at Daddy and me with wonder in your innocent eyes and wish we could freeze frame time for a little longer.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Rainy Day at the Chew Jetty and an Icy Dessert

Ching, Hub's sister, is a huge photography enthusiast so I sweet talked her into taking a family portrait at the Chew Jetty.

There are a handful of century-old clan jetties left in Penang on stilts in the sea. The pier, jetty and houses are all primarily made from wood, forming tiny clusters on narrow, well weathered walkways. On the outside, the houses remain untouched by time but look a little closer and you'll spot modern amenities like LCD TVs, Astro satellite dishes, fridges and air conditioning.

I was terrified that, Bubs who's a whirlwind on two chubby little legs, might fall into the muddy sea.

Me: "What if he falls in?"
Hubs: "You jump in and save him."
Me: "But I'm a poor swimmer. I only know how to swim in a pool, not the open sea!"
Hubs: "Same wan, it's all water right?"
Someone remind me again why did I marry the useless fella?

We only took a couple of photos before it started pouring down so heavily that we decided it'd be better to stay put under the awning and wait for the rain to stop. Bubs had a blast - it was like an adventure for him. Playing in the rain with an umbrella, reaching out to touch the rain drops, strong wind blowing in his face, thunder and lightning crackling above us. Glad that at least one of us had fun that day!

After that wet and muddy ordeal - pot holes, rain and cars splashing are never a good combination, I figured we all deserved a sweet treat at Tong Pak Fu, Gurney Plaza. Asian dessert bars are mushrooming all over in Penang which the sweet tooth in me is rejoicing.

We had a plate of black sesame sticky rice balls. Not a huge fan of this as it tasted slightly bitter to my uncultured taste buds (to me, lots of sugar = GOOD) and it was served steaming hot. We left this to Hubs who polished this off.

The durian icy desserts are touted as the must have and subject to availability. There were two types offered: D24 and some other durian type which they ran out of so we had the D24 durian snowy ice something. I was fascinated by the shaved ice which was served in intricate lacy folds - sooo pretty! The snowy ice thingy was nice for durian lovers (Ching, Bubs and me) but a turn off for Hubs who took one mouth, scrunched up his face and pushed the plate away.
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