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Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of 2011

Wishing everyone lots to eat for 2012... and lots to wear

Wow, another year drawing to a close.  It really doesn't seem long at all that I was summing up 2010 and saying that for me, it was all about Jo Ern.  Well 2011 would have been similar if my company didn't go bust on me. It's the first time I've been jobless since entering the working world.  Luckily the job market was good and I managed to find employment within a month.  One month out of work, two months without a paycheque.  I was down to my final RM50!  Foremost lesson learnt is... from a financial standpoint I need to work quite a few more years before even thinking of retiring.  Heh.

Besides that personal blip, the year was focused on Jo Ern again!  I need new hobbies perhaps?  But I don't WANT any... hehe.  A quick recap: I breastfed her exclusively till 13+ months, freezer stocks were enough to last her till about 15 months and thereafter formula was slowly introduced.  Stopped pumping at 17 months in September and direct feeding at 19 months.  Over-achieved on my initial goal of 1 year... it just happened that the environment was conducive and people around already knew what I was doing, so might as well go on a little more.  When I finally stopped, ahhh what freedom!  The best was freedom from the stress of being stuck in KL city traffic jams when I'm desperately overdue for the next pumping session!  What I really question is if I can do this again for another baby...

No new resolutions or goals for 2012,  I do feel that having Jo Ern is completely and exactly what I want, at least for now.  I shall sit back and enjoy my little girl.  She always has new tricks up her sleeve so it's not same old, same old at all.  What remains constant is, this cutie-pie is my pride and joy.  Happy new year 2012, everyone!

Right, now it's time to oi-oi

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New smile

So she was smiling like this for the camera last month.  Now she's smiling like this instead:

Wait, I smile nicely first

Smile nicely again

Guess it's an improvement! I suppose before I know it, she'll have her own Facebook page with pictures in poses that seem strange to me...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Appetite improving!

Ahm this big piece of chick-chick

Jo Ern is getting a little greedy these days, yay!  Take out biscuits, fruit and snacks and she's there demanding 'MUM MUM!'.  If you ignore her she goes 'ARK ARK!' (her first word for 'eat') to reinforce her point.  The other night I was eating some dried preserved fruit when she came and demanded some.  I'm not letting her have such non-nutritious stuff yet so quickly kept it away.  Later I wondered how come she was so quiet - turned out she'd knocked over the container, spilling its contents on the floor and there she was busy stuffing the preserved fruit into her mouth!

She still needs lots of distractions to eat her breakfast oats, lunch/dinner rice and to drink her twice-daily milk.  But she does ask for food even so - usually 'gee' for veggie and 'chick-chick' for chicken or anything resembling chicken. 

Her recent visit to the paed showed her weight climbing towards average.  Hope she gets to average soon!  Lalalala.....

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ipoh trip Days 2&3

Woke up and had a BIG breakfast.  :) The provided (for 10pax) buffet breakfast was surprisingly good, almost at 5-star hotel standard.

We headed off to Seenivasagam park.  No particular reason for choosing this park, it's just somewhere we used to go as kids and it's somewhere our kids can play in now.  It was rather hot, as open-air parks are.  It didn't quite live up to our memories haha.  My camera battery died so no more photos after this park.

Rock rock rock...

This one also can rock rock

The next day it was off to the caves.  I was keen on the tortoise pond.  We got there and.... hey where are all the giant tortoises??  The pond used to be full of tortoises from giant to tiny!  While there are still quite a number, it's way fewer and the largest are only large-sized not giant-sized. 

Wow got so many turtle

We were entertained by a psycho tortoise that chased other tortoises and very aggressively bit them on the leg and even head.  Who says tortoises are mild creatures?! (OK I keep wanting to type 'turtle' coz that's what Jo Ern calls them!  But the signboard at the temple does say 'Tortoise Pond'.)

I am psycho, yes I am

Smile!

OK guess Ipoh doesn't have all that much to offer!  We did eat A LOT and enjoyed spending time together.  Which is what's important. :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ipoh trip Day 1

So we went to Ipoh for a family holiday last weekend.  Well why not?  Hehe.  Ipoh fulfils our basic criteria - not too far, not on a hill in case got landslide, it had things to see and eat, and we found an apartment with 5 rooms.  

Before Ipoh though, the Sungkai hot springs! With hubby's driving, reached there in less than 1.5 hours.  Now this wasn't bad at all.  There are multiple pools for various purposes, ranging from swimming to a nice warm dip to hot enough for serious boiling action!  The landscaping was nicely done and amenities were pretty decent.  Prices of food sold were reasonable.  It's best not to set expectations too high though... hubby's verdict of the place was 'nothing special' (I shall ask him to take me to a 'special' place one day!).

Hello from the hot springs!

Make my egg well done, Papa

Go walk-walk a bit while kakak waits for the eggs

Whoaa the water in the fountain behind me is super-hot!

Ahhh finally... the eggs are ready! *poke poke*

Oh the eggs. Strangely they were very hot and remained so for a VERY long time!  They were sold at RM2.50 for 5 and came with a packet of soy sauce, in a styrofoam bowl with a plastic fork.  The basket to boil them in is provided.

And everyone thought I couldn't walk on this path!

The reflexology path had some hot water piped in, not too much, just enough to heat the stones up a little.  I thought that was perfect.

Mummy... I also want to dip my feet in the water

I dipped my feet in various pools.  The water was way too hot for a little girl though!  I couldn't keep my feet in for more than a few seconds although some people did soak for quite some time.  There were a couple of pools where people went whole-body in - would have liked to try but they were rather crowded when I noticed them.  Each pool isn't big at all.

Yayy I get some dipping action at last!

I liked this big hot-water pool best.  Big enough to swim in, not too hot to stay in.  Wouldn't have minded staying longer but we did have to get out for lunch.  One feature we didn't try was the private jacuzzi at RM75 per hour.  Entrance to the hot springs is RM12 per adult and RM10 for kids above 3.  Of course, would have been more worth the money to stay the whole day!

Went to Sungkai town for lunch at Choy Kee (good food, good price) and went on to Ipoh.  Apartment was nice at Ritz Garden, RM630 per night (recording this for myself hehe). 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mess monster

Mess monster?  Nope, that's not ME

I did throw all these bricks onto the floor... but I help clean up k?

Don't worry, I will keep ALL the bricks using my brick tube

Well... since they are already on the floor... might as well kick them around a bit

Jo Ern is actually rather tidy.  I can't put something in the middle of the floor coz she will put that object back into its place.  While packing for our recent family holiday I purposely left my specs case out so that I'd remember to pack my specs the next morning.  Next thing I knew, she had tucked the specs case neatly in my bag pocket!  Then while on holiday some of us kicked off our shoes round the shoe rack. She picked them all up and piled them ON the rack.  I pulled over some stools from the dining table to the living room, she pushed them back to the dining table.

My mom calls this one a 'kay poh chi'.  Good thing she got more of Papa's tidy genes than Mummy's UNtidy ones!

Monday, December 5, 2011

First formal photoshoot

Last weekend we went for a photoshoot session with my online coupon.  Thought it was a good deal at RM160 for a 2-hour session, but there were better ones appearing later.  So how was it?  Argghhh not so good!  I'd hoped for a nice family shot or one with Jo Ern and me.  And I'd EXPECTED nice ones of Jo Ern by herself, maybe a nice one with hubby (well that's coz I'm the least photogenic hehe). 

What's this?  Why do we have sit here so long?

The problem was, Jo Ern refused to smile!  She had the same deer-in-the-headlights look for 90% of the session.  Different dresses, different props but the same facial expression on the model!  Either she was staring serious-faced at the photographer or totally engrossed in the prop and not looking up.  This was despite me, the maid and hubby calling out to her from behind the photographer.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that the photos taken during the two brief times she did smile would come out nicely.  She bawled at one time - who knows we might pick one of those too.

Can we go home now?

We didn't stay for the full 2 hours since all of us were getting tired.  After we got home, Jo Ern was playing and laughing the rest of the day!!  *arrrgggh*

In hindsight, I should have brought out my handphone or the iPad for her to play.  She has such a cheeky grin upon sighting these 'forbidden' items.  Ah well, at the very least it was an interesting experience.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Eating out with Jo Ern

We had dinner at The Ship with Jo Ern recently.  From the moment we sat down, she got busy.  First she rearranged the salt and pepper pots, the plates, the cutlery.  She moved on to the vase, plucked pieces off the leaf and orchids and stuffed some into her mouth.  Then she wanted to climb onto the table and tried to climb onto the top of the seat.  All this activity before even the bread rolls arrived!

A short pause to share my bread roll. Then she started removing her shoes, throwing them onto the floor, climbing down to the floor to retrieve them, throwing them onto the seat, climbing back onto the seat herself and putting the shoes back on.  And repeat, repeat, repeat.  Hubby asked, a little triumphantly (I've always maintained kids are not naughty until they know they're not supposed to do something and still do it.  Hubby had thought kids are naughty if they cry a lot or didn't want to do what you want them to do...), "Now tell me if she is being naughty or what?!"  I said,"At least she's entertaining herself and not disturbing our meal!"  Jo Ern isn't too interested in eating and we can't expect her to sit quietly with her hands in her lap.

Erm but I agreed with hubby we should ban her from eating out with us heh.  She eventually got bored of playing with her shoes and started crawling around under the table.  Then she demanded to go walk-walk. Luckily we'd about finished eating by then!

I shall dismantle this leaf and put the bits in my mouth

Can reach more things if I climb up onto the table

Couple of weeks later, we headed to Avanti for dinner, conveniently forgetting that Jo Ern was supposed to be banned from such trips.  :)  I'd called beforehand for a table and there were baby chair and kiddy setting ready.  Jo Ern was delighted to have her personal plate and cutlery, arranging them and putting cutlery into her mouth.  The bread basket arrived almost immediately.  She had fun eating the long breadsticks and later with the various dips (I'd first placed them out of her reach or she'd have messed things up).  Ahh what a difference in behaviour from that at The Ship!  I do think the reason is she was kept busy with this time.  We finished the meal in peace, what bliss.

Now, must think of other eating places we can take her to!  We try not to bring the maid when food is on the pricy side heh.  For now I can only think of other places with bread baskets...

Oh what's that the waiter is bringing?

3 different breads with 3 different dips. Wow!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Take 'to-to'

I do hope she outgrows this soon!  When she sees the camera, she gets all excited and says 'to-to'.  She sits on my lap a while to view the photos already taken. But when I ask her to take some photos, she goes and smiles like this:

I smile nicely already, take photo!

Oh dear, what a dreadful smile!  We try again ok?

Wait wait I'm not ready yet

OK ready! Take photo now!

*faint*

Monday, November 21, 2011

Want carryyyyy....

The last day at Hanoi didn't really count.  Our flight was at 9am so we woke up early, collected our packed breakfast and headed for the airport.  Just a few more pictures of our trip.  Throughout, this Jo Ern didn't want to walk and wanted to be carried.  Especially by me.  Even when hubby was carrying her, she would stretch out her arms to me and call 'Mum-meee!'  Then when I got tired, put her down and sat on the ground myself, she would be CLIMBING onto me!

In the cave with nice formations:

Mum-meee, want carryyyy....

While waiting for the small boat to take us on the Halong bay cruise:

Mummyy, carryyyy....

At the oyster farm gift shop:

Mummy carry...

Want carryyy!

OK I definitely need a rest from going on holiday!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Hanoi Day 3

Woke up and without getting out of bed, pulled back the curtains and had a lovely view of sky, sea and islands. Ahhhh. Climbed on the top deck for a short stroll before sitting down to breakfast.  One couple was late, we didn't notice and thought there were 2 extra fried eggs, and calmly helped ourselves to 1 extra for Jo Ern.  Hehee.  Well we didn't know they'd fried exactly 1 egg per paying passenger!  Luckily when the couple finally emerged, they didn't make a fuss and just helped themselves to more bread.

After breakfast was a visit to a pearl farm. Quite informative and seeing the end-to-end process was interesting.  Of course it as pretty much an excuse to try to get some sales.  I noticed NOBODY bought anything!  And was thinking that if this was a group of Asians, sure people would be buying this and that!  The mother-of-pearl deco and pearl jewellery didn't seem too expensive, just that I'm not really into pearls. 

Are we buying this thing?

Wow these are big plates. Must be for big eaters

Back to the ship for the cruise back to the mainland.  Pity we had to check out soon after the pearl farm visit, or it'd have been really nice lying in bed and enjoying the scenery.  Anyway, enjoyed the same scenery from the top deck. Reached the mainland in time for lunch - overall the food on this trip wasn't great.  Jo Ern accepted a few spoonfuls.  Hubby said she'd be a few pounds lighter after this holiday!

Reached the hotel after 4 hours... a quick shower and then out to the streets for our last night in Hanoi.  We had seafood at a roadside hawker again.  This time we were more aware of what we were ordering so didn't get a surprise when the bill came!  Jo Ern... aiyo this kid. There was a small boy (belonging to the hawker) sitting on a step behind us eating some bread from a bag.  He left for a while and Jo Ern swooped in on that bag.  Hubby managed to stop her but she kept going at that bag.  Luckily a relative of that boy noticed and pinched off some bread for her.
 
These were plain boiled, but the chilli dip was good

Jo Ern with her ill-gotten bread...
This bread is nice. Want some?

We walked around after the seafood, had some more street food and shopped a bit.  Noticed that Vietnamese seem to love children.  Various vendors were interested in playing with Jo Ern!  They happily posed with her, wanted to carry her, handed her assorted things to play with.

Yay Mummy is buying me this cute baby turtle

Hey, who's this person...

Went to bed early again.  Haha what to do, Jo Ern K.O.-ed in hubby's arms already.  This little one fusses about eating but she's hardly any trouble when it comes to sleeping.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hanoi Day 2

Off to Halong Bay! We had time for the included breakfast.  (What a steal, RM80+ a night for a nice room and breakfast!)  Hmm most of the food items were Vietnamese and a bit strange.  But ok la, there was more than enough to eat.  Jo Ern didn't eat much, the trend for the whole duration of this trip.

It was a 3-hour bus journey to Halong bay excluding the 20-min stop.  Jo Ern got a bit restless, started arching her back and demanding to 'walk-walk'. Luckily this didn't escalate into a tantrum!  The snacks I brought helped to distract her.

Don't wanna sit here. Wanna go walk-walk

The 20-min stop was at a souvenir place.  Of course things were overpriced and I didn't bother buying any.  But there were some nice things here, like cushion covers, that I wished I could have gotten at decent prices!  Didn't see them at normal shops later.

Oo what's this?

This one I know! Kish! Ish!

Finally, Halong bay! Was it nice? Well, yes. It's a little like island hopping in Krabi which we did recently, but better. There are way more islands and it is a much larger area.  Pictures don't do the place justice coz it's a different feeling when you're SURROUNDED by beautiful scenery.

Our ship looked like this at Halong Bay

Room and bathroom size were quite decent.  We got a triple room for the price of a double. Heh, travelling with a little child has its benefits! 

I claim this bed for tonight

One problem was, it was hot as normal for sun-kissed sea outings.  The other guests had brought sunblock and beach stuff.  We, we'd planned for cooler weather and brought sweaters, jeans and long-sleeved shirts!  Haha.  Well I did have ONE pair of shorts, boxers for sleeping in.  No choice but to wear it out hehe.
 
Why Mummy wearing pyjamas outside?

The cruise included a trip to Sung Sot, a cave with nicely-lit stalactites/stalagmites and other interesting structures inside.  Quite good.  But there were 50 steps to climb to get in!  Good for me that hubby carried Jo Ern all the way phew.  I got myself up with quite a bit of huffing, puffing and rest stops. :)  There were lots of other groups there but Jo Ern was the only small child there. So she got lots of attention.  From one lady who went 'Ola! ola baby!' behind us for quite some time, to another who passed by and then did a double-take when she saw Jo Ern.  Then she waved and made funny faces for quite some time too, heh.

This cave is interesting. But must carry me, don't wanna walk

Hubby: My gym sessions are paying off! But legs quite tired also...

After the cave visit was kayaking.  Now this was fun!  We should have gotten someone to take pictures.  Jo Ern absolutely refused to wear a life jacket though  I let her take it off as it was probably too big to be of any use anyway.  Hubby rowed from the back seat, I sat in front with Jo Ern and rowed and steered a bit.  Jo Ern got over her crying fit over the life jacket once we started rowing.  She likes water and enjoyed dabbling her hands into the water. Again we attracted attention - cries of 'Ooo! Look at the baby!!'.  Heh.

This life jacket is ugly and it's cramping my style. Take it off!

We didn't dare stay out long as it wasn't too safe for Jo Ern.  Especially when this little one was busy 'helping' to row, taking off her shoes and dipping them into the water, climbing up to dip her FEET into the water.  We sat back on the boat to wait for the others.  One of the vendors gave Jo Ern a chocolate wafer (a cheapo Cloud9, but still it was a nice unexpected gift) which she put into her mouth immediately, wrapper included. I unwrapped it for her and she just ate and ate.  Hmm the junkier the food, the more the kid likes it!

This is good food!

Coz later when we returned to the boat for a buffet dinner, she reverted to her usual 'don't-want-to-eat' self.  She kicked up a fuss in the dining room and we had to take our food outside to avoid disturbing the others.  It was nice eating out there though, to the sound of water gently lapping the boat.

I'm all full now, thank you!

Spent some time on the top deck since it as still early.  There was a karaoke session on.  The other guests were all Caucasions except for 2 locals - from US, Peru, different countries in Europe.  Tourism is definitely thriving here.   

Hmm sumbathe? But it's all dark

We couldn't keep our eyes open too long and retired to bed about 9pm.  Zzzzzz....