Friday, August 26, 2016

How I Miss Travelling

After being cooped up at home for months (reasons being are because baby is still too small to go out much, I was mostly tired and sleepy during the day, it's not easy for me to breastfeed baby in public places, etc.), one of the things that I miss doing the most at the moment is TRAVELLING!

My body and mind crave well deserved holiday be it just a short break somewhere in Malaysia or better still, overseas! I miss sightseeing so much. I just yearn for a good relaxing holiday with my husband... but we still don't know when we get to enjoy one, especially with two kids in tow now.

Sightseeing in Cameron Highlands, Pahang, last year.

Actually, traveling with Naomi these days is considered okay and manageable. She is not as hyper as when she was younger and in fact, it is quite enjoyable to go out exploring new places with her nowadays because she is funny and can understand a lot of things. She also behaves fairly well during a long road trip.

One kid is pretty much settled.. Then... Here comes the baby!

Brennan in August 2016.

Baby Brennan is quite the opposite of his sister during a car ride. I am not happy to say this but so far, this fella is rather a difficult baby to tag along in a car ride, even in a short one. Unlike Baby Naomi who just chilled or slept her way through when we placed her in her car seat, her brother cries a lot in the car. He cries when he is sleepy or restless in the car. He gets very angry when I don't carry or feed him fast enough. His deafening crying spells often give us headaches and occasionally almost make me vomit blood in the car. Haha. Not to mention, breastfeeding him on-the-go and in public has proven to be challenging for a breastfeeding noob like me.

Some time ago, I found this hilarious yet apt meme in my Facebook news-feed. This perfectly pictures what I did to my husband before we had our children.

Me before children.
Image source: Facebook.

LINE's Moon (pictured above) was really me whenever my husband went to Mamak stall for yumcha with his friends or had to travel long distance for work before we had kids. Now that we have an infant, I have to think 510 times before taking my husband's offer to go out for just a couple of hours. Going out with the baby is troublesome but heading out without him is also worrisome. So conflicted, huh? #lifeasaMom To those who don't understand Bahasa Melayu/Indonesia, the aforementioned image basically depicts an overly attached spouse.

πŸ˜†

Speaking about traveling in Malaysia, thus far, I have visited few places in the largest state in Peninsular Malaysia, Pahang, namely Bukit Tinggi, Genting Highlands, Cameron Highlands and Bentong. However, there are some other places like Cherating Beach, Fraser's Hills and Kuantan in Pahang that one day I would love to explore with my family.

Road trip with Naomi to Bentong, Pahang, in March 2016.

In case you plan to visit Kuantan, the state capital of Pahang; following is the list of the Top Five hotels in town, handpicked by Traveloka, which you can consider for your stay there.

1. Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort
Address: Jalan Telok Chempedak 25050, Kuantan
**  This hotel is still under renovation until early 2017 for a more appealing place to rest for its guests.

2The Zenith Hotel
Address: Putra Square 6, Putra Square

3. Eastern Pavilion Boutique Resort & Spa Cherating
Address: Mukim Sungai Karang Lot 1303, Cherating

4. Swiss-Garden Beach Resort Kuantan
Address: Mukim Sungai Karang 2656-2657, Balok Beach, Beserah,

5. M.S Garden Hotel
Address: Lorong Gambut Lot 5 & 10, Off Jalan Beserah

If you think this list isn’t enough, check out here for more hotel options.

OK, I am off to texting a long message to my husband to ask him when and where exactly our next short holiday will take place.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The River is Calling: Checking Out River Safari

This is a super belated post. I meant to blog about our family holiday to River Safari in Singapore last year; however due to 1001 reasons, this post has yet to see the light in my blog until now. 

In September last year we went to Singapore with my parents and in-laws for sightseeing. On the first day of our trip, we checked out Singapore's awe-inspiring Gardens by the Bay. After exploring this award-winning horticultural attraction, I was simply dog-tired to do anything else in Singapore because 3 y/o Naomi then was too hyperactive and very difficult to handle. I even let go my desire to stuff my face with a huge bowl of Singapore Dry Yong Tau Foo with Bee Hoon which I craved for years. Furthermore, her stroller was left at home which caused unnecessary extra stress to the supposedly relaxing holiday. As such, right after we had our late lunch in one of Gardens by the Bay's restaurants, we decided to go back to Johor Bahru (JB) for dinner. As staying in a hotel in JB is much cheaper and it's quite convenient to travel from JB to Singapore by car and vice versa, we booked our hotel in JB. You can use HotelsCombined to compare and get the best hotel deals from all the top travel sites.

On the next morning, after having our breakfast in JB, we headed back to Singapore for our next little adventure in River Safari. I remember that morning I had body aches from running around and carrying a very active Energizer Bunny in Gardens by the Bay. I really think on top of keeping a packet of wet wipes, we should also throw Counterpain or Salonpas into our handbag when holidaying with toddler.


OTW to Singapore again.

We arrived at Singapore's River Safari at around 11am. Although River Safari is nestled in between the famous Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, I purposely didn't buy the multi-park tickets because I knew I would be exhausted after just visiting this river-themed wildlife park with Naomi. Singapore Zoo and Night Safari - next time OK


Hello again, Singapore!

Thank God, River Safari provides nice and sturdy strollers for rent at SGD 9 each. The stroller rental fee was rather expensive for us indeed (if you convert SGD to RM) but we rented one anyway. The stroller we rented was truly our lifesaver of the day. What would we do without you, dearest stroller? 


Little tourist.

River Safari is one of the world's largest repositories of river dwelling animals. Not only visitors can experience close encounters with aquatic inhabitants from iconic rivers around the world, we could also discover the terrestrial animals surrounding these rivers.

Our journey in River Safari began with Mississippi River's walk-through exhibits which house the unusual spatula-snouted Mississippi paddlefish and the alligator gar.


Let's start!

Fun Fact #1: Alligator gar is a prehistoric-looking river monster that has been around for 100 million years. 


The ancient fish: Alligator Gar.

Then, we continued our walk to see some of the Mekong River's largest fish. 


Sweating Naomi was sweating.

Fun Fact #2: Do you know that the giant freshwater stingray was thought to be a myth until two decades ago? No? Me neither.. Until I read about it in River Safari's brochure. 

After checking out the unique collections from this river-themed zoo, we said "Ni Hao!" to Singapore's very own giant pandas in the Giant Panda Forest. We literally took our sweet time here because we were too engrossed viewing the pandas and taking photos with them. Also, we purposely chilled around the Pandas' exhibit because the area is air-conditioned. It's so shiok to relax in an air-conditioned space on a very hot day.


Not sure this was Kai Kai or Jia Jia.

Fun Fact #3: Pandas can live up to 30 years in safe places like zoos.

To me, this zone is more like a place where the main characters of Kung Fu Panda came into life. We briefly met Po and Master Shifu look-alikes here. 


Master Shifu? Is it you?

Fun Fact #4: Red Panda is more closely related to raccoon and weasel rather than giant panda.


When my Panda eyes were not so severe.

Next, we saw a locally-born polar bear swimming in his exhibit that's built to resemble the Arctic Habitat.


Inuka, the star of the Frozen Tundra.

Done feasting our eyes with some of the World's colorful, endangered and largest river creatures, we took a delightful cruise along the Upper Seletar Reservoir to spot some wildlife animals like giraffe, elephants and many more.


Me and my Dad: While waiting for our boat ride.

The guided cruise was a 15 minutes boat ride and somehow I enjoyed it very much. Naomi was too young to be interested or recognize many animals by name then. Needless to say, she was not too amused with the boat ride. But we were! In fact, my Mom took quite a number of photos when we were on the cruise. 


I love cruising on a boat.

I actually also planned to take the boat ride for the Amazon River Quest but last year Naomi was too short to take the ride so we had to scrap this idea and just enjoyed the River Safari Cruise. 


Giraffe spotted.

Before we called it a day, we spent nearly half an hour observing manatees and other enormous fish such as the giant catfish and arapaima swimming inside the World's largest freshwater aquarium. 


The graceful swimmer.

There's something about manatees that was so captivating to us. My Dad, who normally just admires captive animals in less than a minute, stood in front of this huge aquarium maybe for five minutes mesmerizing the manatees. As expected, Naomi could not care less with these marine mammals, desperately wanted to get out of her stroller then got real busy running around in front of the massive fish tank.


 I used to believe they were mermaids. LOL.

Fun Fact #5: Manatees are herbivores and like to graze on the sea floor and feed on sea grass. Hence, they are sometimes called sea cows.

Just before we left River Safari I remember passing by the giant river otters but was too tired by that time so I didn't take any proper photos of them.


Cute magnet souvenirs that my husband bought.

That's all about our day trip to River Safari. Overall, we had a good time in River Safari and I definitely recommend you to visit this place with your kids if you have the chance. Going forward, I aim to bring my kids to visit Singapore Zoo and Night Safari when Baby #3 is older.

Singapore's River Safari
Address: 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826
Single Ticket Rate: SGD 30 (adult) and SGD 20 (child)
Opening Hours:10am - 7pm daily

Friday, August 5, 2016

Things My Kid Says #3

Naomi is turning 4 next month and she is indeed a very chatty and bubbly little girl. However, she is actually quite a temperamental and impatient kid too given that she is evidently a very structured and perfectionist Virgo child. I guess sooner or later my husband and I will need to start reading stuff like "Taming Perfectionism in Children" or "Helping Your Perfectionist Kid Find Balance".

😱

Nowadays, Naomi can understand a lot of things including our instructions, sing a number of nursery songs, and loves to express her feelings through words more. Naomi has excellent memory and her vocabulary in three languages has definitely improved tremendously of late (sometimes she surprises us with her new lines!).

1. Bake the Cake

Last Sunday evening, I was baking some cupcakes in hurry. I was rushing in completing my bakes because it was almost dinner time and Brennan was crying. Sadly, Naomi who always gets very happy every time I bake didn't get the chance to be involved in my baking session last week because I just wanted to get the cake batter done ASAP and pop the cupcakes in the oven.

πŸ’: Naomi, you go play with Papa, please. Mommy is busy now.
πŸ‘§: No, I don't want.

By this time, she already dragged the dining table chair next to me so she could she what I was doing in the kitchen. She followed me wherever I went in the kitchen. When I ignored her, she started grabbing random things on the kitchen's counter-top and playing with the kitchen's cabinets' doors. She even put the cake batter that I accidentally dropped on the kitchen's counter-top into her mouth. Gah.

My kepo gal.

I was so engrossed placing some cake batter into the cupcake tins real quickly and didn't really bother Naomi who was chirping next to me.

All of sudden, she gazed at me and softly told me this.

πŸ‘§: I love you, Mommy.
πŸ’: *I froze, intently looked back at her and... was speechless*

Hashtag of the day: #heartmelt 

2. Harry or Heli?

My husband was on Harry Potter marathon for almost a week a couple weeks back. Naomi was obviously not interested with movies like this because she only loves watching cartoons. However, she was with us in the room, playing with her Lego and other toys, when we were watching Harry Potter 1 all the way to 7B.

One evening when she just came back from day care, she was playing with her Lego in the living room. I sat down with her to see what she was doing.

πŸ‘§: *Showing me her Lego bricks* Mommy, you see.
πŸ’: Yes? What is it?
πŸ‘§: He-li-po-te.
πŸ’: Huh? What?
πŸ‘§: He-li. Po-te.
πŸ’: What?? Why are you suddenly saying Harry Potter? There is no Harry Potter Lego here.
πŸ‘§: No, you see. He-li-po-te.
πŸ’: *Silent for few minutes while trying to think* Ahhhh... Helicopter, you mean. Yes, yes.. Helicopter!
πŸ‘§: He-li-ko-te. *pointing at the Helicopter building instructions paper*

Naomi indeed has a set of Lego bricks that she can turn into a small green helicopter. She was referring to that. Apparently.

3. Shut up, Baby!

Two nights ago, Naomi was chilling in our bed. She was watching Oggy and the Cockroaches before she slept.

Her brother happened to be so awake and cried loudly. My husband tried to console him but this little man was inconsolable. His cry went from loud to very loud within seconds and it's somewhat annoying.

Naomi the Big Sis.

Naomi turned her head to her baby brother, walked towards him and bent in front of Baby Brennan before she told him this:

πŸ‘§: STOP!

πŸ‘ΆπŸ»*stopped his crying fit, hyperventilated then stared at his big sister for a moment*

Done passing her very important message, Naomi walked away then continued watching her cartoons.

πŸ‘ΆπŸ»: WA WA WA WA... *carried on crying*

I suppose a kid as young as Naomi also knows the joy of watching her favorite cartoon peacefully, eh?