Sunday, December 30, 2012

Baby Naomi on BabyTalk Malaysia Magazine

I'm a one proud Mom. Baby Naomi's photo is featured on BabyTalk Malaysia magazine and I can't stop smiling to learn that she is crowned as one of the winners of the magazine's January 2013 issue's Cute Snaps - Little Stars section.

Can you spot Baby Naomi in the above picture? 
It was taken when she's one month old.

P/S: I purposely bought two exemplars of this magazine just now. One for me and another one is for my parents in Indonesia. They couldn't be more proud for their first grandchild too when I broke this news to them!

Happy New Year, peeps!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Choosing the Right Disposable Diaper: Tips and Some Brands Comparison

One product that every parent could not escape from buying regularly once they have a baby is disposable baby diaper. I keep bags of diaper stocks in my house as running out of disposable diapers in one day is unimaginable to me. My husband and I started buying few brands of diaper on sale since I was about seven months pregnant.

Back then, one thing that we didn't really take into consideration before when purchasing diapers was the fact that not every diaper brand works for all babies. Some babies are fine with wearing any diaper brands and some can easily experience skin redness/red marks on their diaper area due to some particular diaper brands. My baby happens to fall in the second category. Needless to say, the husband and I had to 'dump' or 'sit' almost full bags of diaper that we've just opened simply because we noticed our baby's diaper area gets red too often after using specific diaper brands - even after we apply some nappy cream to protect it.

The following are some popular diaper brands (available in Malaysia) that we've used and short reviews on each diaper brand. Please note that the below is based on our personal experience; thus, the brand that may works wonder on our baby may not do the same favour on yours and the brand that may not do so well on our baby's diaper area might just treat your baby's okay.

1. Pet Pet


The first time we decided to use Pet Pet diapers was actually quite accidental. My Mother-in-Law happened to bring home two bags of Pet Pet newborn diapers when my husband roped her assistance in buying disposable diapers for newborn. In the end, my husband and I exclusively used Pet Pet newborn diapers for more than a month on baby Naomi and we didn't encountered much problem with the brand. Pet Pet diaper is kind of thin so we need to change it regularly as it gets wet pretty fast. When Naomi was still a newborn, I didn't mind using this brand even for night use because Naomi woke up almost every 2-3 hours for feeding anyway. Every time she woke up, I used that opportunity to check and change her diaper too. Another good thing about this brand is that it's very affordable.

Recently, we bought a bag of M size Pet Pet diaper again, intended for Naomi's day use, and so far I love this diaper brand.

2. Mamy Poko


No question, Mamy Poko is one of the superior baby diaper brands in the market and after using it, I must agree with what the market says. The price of this brand is more on the high side but I think it is a good investment. Every time I see redness on my baby's diaper area after using other diaper brand, I quickly let my baby wear Mamy Poko diaper to avoid further red marks. This diaper's material is soft, comfortable and has excellent absorbency ability. For the past couple of months, I always use Mamy Poko diapers on my baby at night so she can sleep longer as Mamy Poko diaper absorbs lots of urine and doesn't leak easily. One drawback of this brand is that Mamy Poko diaper is kind of bulky on baby's between-the-legs.

3. Drypers


My husband and I started using this local diaper brand after seeing our Sisters-in-Law using this brand on their babies for quite some time. One of them recommended me to try this brand because it is relatively cheap and good in quality. The diaper itself is quite thin in design and gets wet pretty fast so it's best used on baby during the day - not so good for baby's night sleep. I tried this brand on baby Naomi for few weeks when she was younger but Naomi's diaper area often got red after using this brand, so I stopped using this brand for a while. Recently, I began purchasing this brand again after receiving some sample from a supermarket. I put Drypers on Naomi for two days and she had no problem at all with redness on her skin. Guess her skin is less sensitive as she grows older? Anyway, Drypers is always a good option for day use and of course, the price or freebies promotion that it often offers in the market is so tempting!

4. Whoopee


When my husband and I checked out the Parenthood Expo in Kuala Lumpur few months ago, we saw lots of people buying this diaper brand. It was on promotion so my husband immediately bought 2 bags of this diaper brand at the Expo. I tried using the S size Whoopee diaper on Naomi when she was around one-month old but I was really disappointed to find red marks on her diaper area. I let Naomi to wear Whoopee diaper again for few more times but I always discovered the same red marks on her diaper area and she got a little bit fussy too. Not long, I decided to stop using Whoopee diapers on her again and now we have almost one full bag of Whoopee diaper sitting quietly at our room. I think this diaper's material is not stretchy enough and a little bit 'stiff' as well. This said, I guess I won't be making any further Whoopee diaper purchase in the near future.

5. Pampers


On one weekend, my husband and I took a stroll at a local supermarket. When we were browsing baby disposable diaper at the baby stuff department, suddenly my husband came to me carrying a bag of Pampers diaper and said "Hey, should we try this classic brand? It's on sale. Super cheap." I replied, "Why not?". The packaging says "Up to 12 hours dryness" so I thought Pampers should do the justice alright when used at night and might be a good alternative for Mamy Poko. In the beginning, unlike Mamy Poko, I was quite surprised to see that Pampers diaper is rather thin for type of diaper that guarantees baby's good night sleep. However, it seems that its thinness doesn't mean it doesn't absorb lots of urine. Apparently, it does and I am quite pleased with its soft material that doesn't cause red marks on Naomi's diaper area. Other good things about Pampers diapers are its smaller size of soft re-attachable tape that makes the tape readjustments on baby's body a whole lot easier and the diaper design is not as bulky as Mamy Poko on baby's between-the-legs.

6. BabyLove


Based on my blog readers' recommendations (see their comments below this post), I finally tried using BabyLove diapers on baby Naomi last week. This diaper brand didn't cause any red marks on my baby's diaper area. It's soft, not very thick in design, not bulky on baby's between-the-legs and absolutely good to be used at night.

7. Diapex Easy



I heard of Diapex brand for a long time already but in the beginning, I always underestimated this brand. Whenever I heard the name of this diaper brand, I always associated it with some familiar women sanitary brand like Kotex and Softex... Got it? Thus, I never actually bought this diaper brand before. Anyway, my prejudice about this brand was all wrong. I had the chance to try Diapex Easy on Baby Naomi and I loved it. I think Diapex is one of very good diaper brands available in the market. Diapex Easy is suitable to be put on babies for their day use, like Pet Pet or Drypers. It's not too thick so it gets wets rather fast. I love this brand's diaper because it's affordable, has stretchy and soft material and doesn't leave red marks on Baby Naomi's diaper area especially her thighs.

8. Diapex Premium


I've tested Diapex Premium diaper on my baby and I fell in love with it. This diaper brand like the affordable version of Mami Poko and BabyLove. It's great to be used for babies at night. It's thick, not bulky on baby's between-the-legs, soft and stretchy plus I find that the animal face cartoons that decorate every piece of Diapex Premium diaper are not boring (for Mommy to see!). I am totally going to switch to this brand for Baby Naomi's diaper use at night.

9. Huggies Dry


In the past few months, I have been buying Huggies Dry for Baby Naomi. What I like about Huggies Dry is the fact that it doesn't cause any red marks on my baby's diaper area and this diaper is not as bulky as compared to Mamy Poko. However, I find that it's absorption level is just average, hence I would suggest using Huggies Dry for day time. Also, Huggies Dry is sold at really affordable price, despite its long-established brand in the diaper market, and often gives away lots of cool stuff as part of its promotion activities. So far, I've gotten fold-able plastic pool and float for Baby Naomi from Huggies Dry!

Further, here are some simple regimes that I always do on my baby to prevent red marks and rashes on her diaper area:

  1. I slather Bepanthen nappy care ointment on my baby's diaper area almost after each diaper change. I also apply the ointment on the red marks too whenever I see one.
  2. I use baby powder on my baby's bottom every time I change her diaper to ensure that her bottom is always dry and fresh before putting on a new diaper. 
  3. I check my baby's diaper frequently and change the disposable diaper almost once every 4 hours or every time it feels rather 'heavy' or 'full' to avoid skin redness on her buttocks, thighs and genital area. Also, I immediately change my baby's diaper whenever it becomes soiled.
  4. I do consider changing the diaper brand whenever I notice that some particular diaper brands don't work so well on my baby. Seemingly, some parents have better luck with one brand of disposable diaper over another anyway.
  5. I use fragrance-free and alcohol-free baby wipes to clean my baby's bottom area.

Last but not least, let me know if you know any diaper brand worth trying! I'd love to know and hear your experience too on this topic.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Baby Naomi and I wish everyone in this planet a very "Merry Christmas!"

Naomi's first Christmas! 

 Naomi and Mommy wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!

My baby santa.

God Bless!

Friday, December 21, 2012

An Update: Life as a Full Stay-at-Home-Mother Thus Far

In July, I wrote that there were some major adjustments I had to encounter in becoming a full-time Staying-at-Home Mother (SAHM). One blog reader asks me, since it is December already, how is my life as a full-time SAHM now?

14 December 2012: My baby and I.

The following describes my life now.

Routine

Every morning, day and night, I pretty much do the exact same things. It is just that the hours, the minutes and the seconds that I do those repeat activities everyday are not exactly the same. I wake up in the morning when my baby wakes up. Whenever she makes noises in early morning; I hastily jump out of my bed, lift her up from her baby cot and put her near to my chest. With my eyes half opened, I breastfeed her to mark her brand new day. Then my daily routines would be followed with changing her diaper, rocking my baby to sleep again, taking a shower, feeding her, cleaning her bottles, bathing her, eating my breakfast, playing with her, trying to make her take her nap, doing my laundry, cleaning the house, feeding her again, eating lunch, carrying my baby and so on until about 12 midnight when my baby turns to bed. When the next morning breaks, I do the above again. Boring?

How about the husband? On weekdays, he has to help himself for breakfast, or sometimes even prepares one for his wife too before leaving for work. I seldom cook lunch and dinner because my kind Mother-in-Law (MIL), fortunately, is willing to cook extra food for my husband and me.

Busy

The SAHM job is just never ending. I barely sleep or rest until midnight. Since my baby is a light sleeper, she sleeps very little during the day so I have to quickly complete my house chores or do my own things like blogging when she takes her nap. By the time I am done with the house chores or probably finished with one blog post and plan to take nap when baby is still napping – usually she wakes up!

Really, I can’t accept the “Oh that woman stays at home and probably doesn’t do anything all day long” line that people punch on SAHMs. It is rude and baseless.

Tired

Being a SAHM is tiring too. Don’t you think so? I hardly get a short decent break that I need.

In the beginning, there were times when I felt like stopping random people I met in the street, mall or restaurants and asked them if they could work in my house, even for a couple of hours. “Please somebody help me so I can catch up with my sleep!” It was evident that sleep deprivation had its effects on my brain. However, after two months’ time, life as a Mom with a newborn gets better because the baby’s schedules are more predictable so it is easier for the two of us to get along.

Another instance, when I am so down with cruel flu bugs like this very moment, I cannot rest well. Nobody can take the turn with me in taking care of my baby so I can rest my body – MIL happens to be not available, husband is in the office, my own parents are in Indonesia, no domestic helper around. In short, I have to survive on my own. Can you get the picture on how hard it is to function like normal after swallowing those flu meds containing sedatives?

In times like this, I do envy my husband. When he’s sick, he can take MC from his work and rest at home for the whole day. How about me? Can I take MC too and sleep the whole day so my body could recuperate? What will happen to our house and baby if I rest on my bed for the whole day? Mommy just can’t fall sick.

On weekends, luckily the husband is more involved with looking after the baby and doing some household works too so at least I can have few hours for myself. Can’t complain.

Happy

The decision in raising my own baby right since her birthday was right for me. I have no regret on this. Some relatives might look down on me because I am jobless and choose to stay at home just to be with my baby. Amazingly, I don’t bother about their two-cents anymore and my chest is so full of pride because I am always there to ensure my baby’s well-being. I don’t mother my baby on weekend basis and I don’t miss her milestones. Whenever my baby hits her fantastic development milestones, I get to know first and see it with my own eyes. I don’t need somebody else reports to me saying that “Hey, guess what – Your baby now can hold stuff on her tiny little fingers”. Instead, I am the one who reports this kind of news to the interested parties.

Seriously, I could not be more proud and happier looking at my healthy and happy baby. Being a full-time Mom is indeed challenging, busy, stressful and etcetera but everything is worth the pain. The feeling looking at my baby’s smile, especially when her beautiful eyes meet mine, is surreal.

Confused

The husband tempts me to get back to work when I am ready. MIL asked me few times on when I will be back to work. I tell them I don’t know because the truth is I have no slightest idea about it just yet. I can’t entertain the thoughts of leaving my baby on someone else’s hands at the moment. Being separated from my baby for a half-day, the whole day or worse, the whole week is unthinkable. I think I’d get crazy missing her hair’s smell, longing to carry her tiny body near to my body or kiss her chubby cheeks. Although, I must say that the thoughts of having my fixed income and financial independence back are really lucrative but for the time being, I’d rather be a little poorer as long as I can make sure that my baby is okay every day.

On another note, being SAHM sometimes means that we’ve got to be ready to be cooped up in the house for the whole day doing many things that seem to be endless. Days seems to get by faster. Life can get a bit boring on certain aspects and I get lonely too. I miss the adult interactions on most days so if time permits, my baby and I’d spend our whole afternoon in my MIL’s house. To conclude, I have no concrete plan for future now. I am just living every moment of my new life as a Mom and I never stop venturing the opportunities to be able to earn money while mothering my child full time, hopefully when my baby gets a bit older. One thing for sure, I have no regret on always being there for my baby.

Yet again, the above are my personal takes and I am doing what I think I need to do. Everyone has different situation, values and opinion. Just do what you think is right for you. Family versus career is always a tricky choice for most women on the whole planet Earth.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Making M&M's Butter Cookies

Christmas is around the corner and this means baking time!

I love baking cookies during Christmas. Why? Because it reminds my of my childhood Christmas memories back in Indonesia when my Mom, sister and I got busy in the kitchen making tons of butter cookies and sugar cookies. My Mom's kitchen was full of wonderful cookies aroma baking in the oven and it was really one of the oh-so-happy moments in welcoming Christmas!

Last Sunday, I thought of kicking off my Christmas 2012's baking frenzy by baking M&M's butter cookies. I used the basic recipe of Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies that I've used for a couple of times before. I replaced the chocolate chips with a handful of rainbow M&M's chocolate candies and some chopped white chocolate.

My freshly baked M&M's Butter Cookies.

In my opinion, the cookies taste better with M&M's than the usual chocolate chips. You should give this recipe a try!

Finally, I have some Christmas baking ideas that keep flying around in my head for quite some time now but I am waiting for the right time to actually materialize them. Can't wait to be busy baking again!

Baby Milestones at 2 Months and 3 Weeks Old

Another 6 more days and Naomi is going to turn 3 months old!

Naomi is now aware of her hands and vigorously inspects her hands like a mini Sherlock Holmes, but minus the detective's magnifying glass of course.

13 December 2012: Examining her hand.

Her hands are now strong enough to grasp a baby toy or teether when I put it onto one of her hands.

12 December 2012: Grasping her brand new colourful teether.

She loves pulling her shirt, bibs, blanket and other clothes too.

14 December 2012: Mom, look at me.. I can pull my bibs like this!

And she constantly puts everything she can grasp or pull into her mouth.

12 December 2012: This teether tastes so darn good. 
Too bad y'all are too old to do this.

Lastly, here's my favourite photo taken this week.

13 December 2012: Baby and Daddy's bonding time.

Have a good weekend, everyone. Christmas is coming soon!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

She's Gone

12.12.12 was the day I lost my much beloved Grandma, one very important figure in my life. She was 97. She passed away in her sleep after battling with her weakened old body for much too long. She died of natural causes, they say.

I thought I could be with her forever for she's been relatively healthy for almost one century. Truth is, nobody lives forever.

I regret I was not by her side on her last days with us. I regret Naomi didn't have the chance to meet her great-grandmother.

29 April 2012: The very last photo of my Grandma I took during my last visit to Indonesia.

No perfect words could describe how I miss her now. I miss hearing her voice. I miss her sweet smile. I miss her smell. I miss holding her frail arms to help her walk or climb the steps. I miss sharing my freshly baked home-made cakes or cookies with her. I miss having small talks or just simple conversations with her like "Have you eaten? What did you eat just now?". I even miss just looking at her, for no reason.

Realizing that I won't be able to see her again whenever I come home to Indonesia is really painful.

However, I guess it's time to let go as she is surely in a better place now - together with her son, my late uncle whom she'd missed so very much.

Now, I wish nothing but the best for her, wherever she is.

Losing two close family members in less than two months time is indeed not easy to cope with.

P/S: Emak, why did you have to go so soon? Don't you know I still want to buy you a big jar of Regal Marie Biscuits, a pack of Vanilla Gold Roast Cereal Mix, a box of Genji Strawberry Pie, some mochi and dried fruits. All of them are your favourites... 

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Many Faces of Baby Naomi

It's Monday again and I can really feel the Monday blues that comes with Monday every week even though I don't check into the office anymore. Bummer.

With this, I thought of sharing some cute snaps of baby Naomi that my husband and I managed to capture last week and over the weekend.

Let's begin with Naomi's sleepy face. I remember taking the below sleepy picture of her and then, right after I took her picture, her eyes were wide open. In the end, she didn't take her afternoon nap as I wished.

7 December 2012: Acting sleepy.

Moving on, this is the photo of Naomi sucking her fingers again. Sometimes she uses this tactic to briefly calm herself.

7 December 2012: An unbreakable habit.

Finally, I mentioned that Naomi now smiles back at us when we talk to her, didn't I? The following are the samples of her ear-to-ear smiles that we'd usually get when we call her name, talk to her or sing to her - provided if she's in a good mood. She'd even throw her killer smiles at strangers when random people start talking to her at public places. Such a little magnet.

 9 December 2012: My best friend says that
 the way Naomi smiles mimics my Dad's.
.
 9 December 2012: Naomi says, 
"Daddy called my names many times and I smiled back at him."

9 December 2012: Baa!


I guess the above photos define the term of "baby equals to little bundle of joy" pretty well, eh?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Bump in Style

I was browsing some local baby magazines in a book store last night and how surprised I was to learn that the pregnant photo of mine that I sent to Parenthood Magazine Malaysia when I was about 8.5 months pregnant appears in the magazine's Bump in Style section.

I won this month's pregnant photo contest and now the picture of me and my very pregnant belly is in the magazine's December 2012 issue!

Yep, the left picture is mine.

I am so happy!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Christmas Tree is Up!

It's 20 days into this year's Christmas Day and finally, our very first Christmas tree at home is up!

To me, Christmas is probably my favourite time of the year!

Our Christmas tree is actually a small artificial Christmas tree that I bought at 70% discount earlier this year at a local supermarket. Back then, our new house was not even ready yet but I already made plan in putting up a Christmas tree in our new home once Christmas arrives.

Last night, my husband and I shopped a little bit of Christmas tree's decorations and lights. It's been a really long time since I had a Christmas tree at home. When I was a kid, my parents' house in Indonesia had a decorated artificial Christmas tree too and I remember my Mom put the tree up on few Christmases. Unfortunately, rats ate our Christmas tree when she kept it in the store room. Since then, my Mom stopped buying Christmas tree and I never saw any Christmas tree at home again, until this year.

Seriously, I long for those cosy and happy atmospheres of the festive season that Christmas brings so I guess I should start listening to some popular Christmas carols on my iTunes now!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Naomi: 2 Months Old

My baby is now a little over two months old already!

She has grown really chubby and I actually like it! I always find chubby babies very cute and adorable.

Pretty baby on Sunday!

Anyway, at about 10 weeks old, my baby now holds her head a little steadier, recognizes my face and voice (and possibly my motherly smell too!), sucks her fingers a lot, smiles back at us when we talk or sing to her (but not yet giggling), sleeps longer at night (if we're lucky, my husband and I would get 6-7 hours uninterrupted night sleep), blows bubbles, drools (now I know why they invented those cute bibs!), coos, enjoys her morning and evening warm baths very much, loves looking at colourful baby toys in front of her (preferably with chime or soft music) and occasionally, is able to briefly hold a baby toy that I place the toy on one of her hands. Her schedules now are quite predictable to me and I hope they continue this way.

Let's vote!
Between 1-10, what is my cuteness rating? Mama says I'm at 11.

By this time, I have found out that my baby is one really strong-willed baby and has bad temper too. She has to have what she wants at that very moment, or she'd burst those loud angry cries, anytime and anywhere.

Until now, I still feed my baby with both breast milk and formula milk. I think I can produce more breast milk than the first month of my baby's arrival and nowadays, I try to breastfeed my baby directly as often as possible instead of expressing my breast milk. However, I don't know why, in the past few days my baby has started to refuse my breasts during nursing time and I find this experience rather distressing and am actually scared if one day, she totally refuses breastfeeding at all since I don't plan to stop breastfeeding just yet. I pray that this problem is only temporary!

** Health record:
Current weight: 6 kg.
Current height: 62 cm.

Let's Vingle!

Looks like Christmas came early for me. Yesterday, I received the present that I won from Vingle giveaway held recently and I was totally ecstatic to open the package. There were very cute organic baby rattle, baby milk bath powder, face serum and belly butter inside the box. The contents of the box were aimed for my baby (except for the face serum and belly butter) and now I would like to represent my baby in expressing the ultimate joy in receiving the gifts from Vingle. Thank you, Vingle! Both baby and I love the present that you carefully chose for us!

The cool organic baby stuff I won from the recent Vingle's giveaway!

Thank you again, Vingle! 
Baby Naomi loves the adorable baby rattle from you!

But wait, before I continue - do you know what Vingle is in the first place?


Vingle is an online community where everyone around the globe shares their thoughts and passions, in any language! Not only you can enjoy looking at the photos and videos of various topics that other Vinglers post in the website, but you can also comment at what other people post in the website and remake the posts that people create in your own language! Best of all, you can directly contribute to the community by sharing stuff that of your interest. If the topic/category (we vinglers prefer to call this party) that you desire is not listed in Vingle yet, you could buzz Vingle's team to request a specific party and they'd promptly make that particular topic available for you. Isn't this fabulous?

I myself have been a regular contributor and fan of Vingle since its first inception. What I contribute in Vingle's website are mostly cards under baby, baking, food and parenting parties. As a reader, I am mostly entertained reading the photographyflowersfunny and webtoon/webcomic cards that other Vinglers post in the website on daily basis. Find me in Vingle here.

After reading this post, please don't forget to hop over to Vingle website, join the Vingle's playground and meet me there as a new Vingler! It's easy and free!

Moving on, do stay connected with Vingle through Facebook and Twitter too.

Finally, speaking of giveaways - you might want to constantly watch Vingle's space to see if they are holding more cool world-wide giveaways soon and stand yourself a chance to win fantastic prize from Vingle, if any!

Meanwhile, let's keep vingling!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Little Start

Last Sunday, my husband decided to buy and plant some carpet grass to start a mini garden in our new house. Before this, we've always stalled our gardening work because I told my husband many times that I wanted to create an immaculate and neat mini Japanese garden in our home. I want to start my very own mini garden that can make me proud; thus, I needed time to plan for one. Truth is, due to million other things that go straight to the top of my to-do-list every single day, I never found the time to actually do some proper legwork in the internet on how to start a simple small Japanese garden.

In the end, rather than leaving the small lot for our garden totally empty and deserted, I said OK to my husband when he told me that maybe we should just plant some grass and put some pots of flowers in the garden first.

Our unfinished gardening work.

Maybe now I should just say, "Until then, my dream Japanese garden!"

Monday, November 26, 2012

Making Pork Ribs and Vegetables Soup

My Mother-in-Law went to Bali over the weekend so last night I cooked dinner for my husband and Father-in-Law. Yesterday evening, I posted the photo of the clear soup I was making on my Instagram account. I thought nobody would be interested in its recipe; however, this morning, a fellow blogger asked for this soup's ingredients so I thought I might as well share the recipe in my blog. 

This Chinese-style soup recipe is actually my Mother-in-Law's. She cooks this soup almost every week and I can see why she cooks this so often - the soup is full of nutrition, refreshing and delish. It is seasoning free. The sweet and salty tastes of this soup naturally come from the varieties of vegetables I put into the pot. The savoury taste obviously comes from the pork ribs that go into the soup. No MSG needed! 

Please note that unlike my recipes for baking, the ingredients stated below are just my rough estimates. I didn't really measure the exact ingredients I used for boiling the soup as long as I achieved the balance of everything. I thickly cut all the vegetables that I used for the soup so they are not mashed after boiling them for about 45 mins to 1 hour.

My boiling pork ribs and vegetables clear soup. 
In this picture, I haven't put the tomatoes and sweet onions into the pot.

Pork Ribs and Vegetables Soup

Ingredients:

  • 250gr Pork ribs (paiku/排骨), cleaned
  • 2 Sweet corns, thickly cut
  • 1 Carrot, peeled and thickly cut
  • 1 Potato, peeled and halved
  • 1 Tomato, halved
  • 4-5 Thick slices of zha cai, cleaned (this pickled vegetable is very salty so make sure to wash it with lots of water before cooking it)
  • 1/2 Sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 Medium bowls of water

Tutorials:

  1. In a large pot, boil water, pork ribs and sweet corns for 10-15 minutes on large fire.
  2. Once the pork ribs and sweet corns are almost fully cooked, put the cut zha cai, carrots, potatoes and sliced sweet onions into the boiling soup. 
  3. Reduce the heat by boiling the soup on small fire and bring the soup to simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Don't forget to add a little bit of water every once in a while when boiling the soup to maintain the amount of the water/soup in the pot. 
  4. Add the halved tomatoes into the soup and bring the soup to simmer again for about 15 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat and serve the soup warm.

Normally, after meal, we only drink the nutritious soup and don't really eat the boiled ingredients but I always eat the sweet corns and carrots too!

P/S: Thank you, my husband for teaching me how to make this soup for the first time.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Rain on Saturday Morning

I love waking up on Saturday morning and realizing that there is a bonus of the day too -- RAIN! Knowing that the weekend is here, I heart spending my Saturday morning by sleeping in at least until the brunch time. The weather and the smell of rain outside are just too soothing to nestle my head deeper into my pillow. But this very morning, I was not able to do so. My baby's screams woke me up from the Technicolor dream I was having. Moments later, before I was even fully awake, I already knew that my time to snuggle under my warm blanket was up and it's time for Mama to be on the roll again.

The rain drops from my balcony.

So what's my plan on today's rainy Saturday?

Ummm.. Just hanging out at home with my girl like usual - and this includes bathing, feeding, holding, playing and singing to her some kiddie songs that she doesn't even understand yet, etc. until the husband gets home from his half-day work today (and then we'd take turn in looking after the baby so I can do some other things around the house). Moving on, in the late afternoon, probably the three of us will have some grocery shopping in the nearby supermarket. *I hope later my baby won't make a 'crying' scene that makes everyone in the supermarket looks at us again, just like the other day.*

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fingers Sucking

On the early days, my baby used to put her fingers, hand or fist into her mouth when she was hungry. Thus, I took this gesture as one of the cues that her feeding time had come. These days, my baby sucks her fingers more often and mostly after she has been fed.

Something new?

It all started about one week ago when I noticed that my baby began to put her tiny fingers into her mouth and sucking them. In the beginning, I found her new habit quite cute and even considered this as a milestone. However, after some time I feel that her fingers sucking habit is too much. Sometimes she rejects her pacifier and chooses to put her fingers into her mouth instead. When I try to put her left fingers away from her mouth, she'd immediately put her right fingers into her mouth. Many times, she sucks her fingers until my husband and I can hear the loud sucking sounds she makes. This said, I have stopped putting her baby mittens on her hands again.

Nyamm... My tiny fingers actually taste like WOW!

Some family members advised me to persistently stop my baby putting her fingers into her mouth whenever she does so; else, it is going to be harder for me to wean this habit off or worse, she'd carry this habit until she is older. However, some other sources say that it is perfectly normal for newborns to suck their fingers because sucking is actually their inborn reflex and naturally provides comforts on babies.

I am confused.

Anyway, I don't want my kid to carry her fingers-sucking habit all the way until her primary school years. Therefore, whenever I see my baby sucking her fingers, I try my best to stop it or replace her fingers with the pacifier - although it is hard.

On another note, my girl is two-months old tomorrow!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Loving Instagram

I first started using Instagram few months ago and I think I am now hooked to it, badly.

I think this mobile app is amazingly cool and functions like a practical photo-blog. With my iPhone, I can snap photos, filter them to easily change their feel and look then instantly post them on my Instagram account. If I want to, I could also simultaneously share my Instagram photos to my Twitter or Facebook account.

Back then, my favourite objects to share on my Instagram account were food. Nowadays, my objects are mostly my daughter.

14 November 2012: Father and daughter teaming up.

15 November 2012: Not a happy girl today.

I am so addicted to Instagram that I think I post my baby's photos every day or more like whenever I can get good access to the internet. But yes, I guess I am also that typical new Mom who relentlessly takes pictures of my baby and broadcasts her babyhood cuteness to the whole world as often as possible. Duh!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Naomi's First Toy

My husband and I have yet to buy lots of infant toys for Naomi. When I was very pregnant, we saw some cute soft toys and purchased them but had not introduced them to our baby because obviously she's not ready for these. All the while, we thought our newborn won't be able to enjoy toys (and that's why we haven't bought her any toys yet) because she's still less than 2 months old but I guess we're wrong.

Naomi and her first infant toy.

Yesterday, my Sister-in-Law handed her pre-loved mobile infant toy over to Naomi as my nieces are way too old for this toy now. When my husband and I reached home, we immediately tried to hang the colourful toy above Naomi's crib and put her inside her crib to see her reaction on her new toy. I was so amazed looking at how amused my baby was with her new toy just seconds after we placed the toy in her crib and turned its music on so the mini animal dolls could spin slowly too. Naomi could not stop staring at the spinning animal dolls, smiling, making cute noises and moving her feet joyfully.

However, every time the music was off and the animal dolls stopped spinning, she was not a happy girl and started making attention-grabbing sounds so my husband or I would play the toy's music for her again. For the first few times, I happily turned the music on for her again but after a while, I began to feel that this toy can be mildly annoying too, especially for adults.

At night, my husband decided to take the toy off Naomi's crib because it seems like this toy excites her very much. Given Naomi's infamous sleeping schedule history, we think that it's best to use this toy during the day because if she gets too excited with her new mobile toy, it may take longer time for her to fall sleep or have more trouble settling down, hence, give more problems to her parents at night. Furthermore, I don't think I'd have the patience and energy to turn the toy's music on over and over again at night or during the wee hours whenever it stops playing the music.

Nevertheless, it's been so much fun to see Naomi gets very excited with her first infant toy and I must say, during the day, this toy does buy me some time as it keeps Naomi busy and entertained while I'm trying to do something else.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Daddy, New Mom, Baby and the Housework

Having a baby around is so much fun. Baby brings tremendous joy to the family. No doubt about that. My husband always says that a home just feels different with a kid or baby around. Anyone who is blessed with a baby in their house would know how as parents we feel so grateful because we are entrusted with this tiny cute human being that resembles us and our partner so much. On the flip side, raising a baby involves a lot of work. No question about this. All parents would know this too.

Since I became a Mom, a stay-at-home Mom (SAHM) to be specific, I realize that being a mother is a huge responsibility. Balancing housework and parenting is NOT easy. The role is full time, the learning and work are never ending but I must also say that the reward from seeing my baby all smiling, healthy and happy is priceless.


A dose of baby cuteness is all the parents' need for energy booster.

When it comes to taking care of the house, before I had my baby, I preferred my house or my room to be clean all the time. I am the type who could spot a speck of dust on my desk or a strain of hair on the floor and would immediately clean it after that. However, these days, maintaining a perfectly pristine home with a baby around is kind of unrealistic for me, especially without a helper around. I barely have the time and energy to clean the house any more so sometimes, I just close one eye on the dusty floor or wet toilet in the house.

The only time when I could actually complete my housework peacefully is when my baby is asleep. However, with a light sleeper baby like mine, the pressure in completing my housework is multiplied. I can barely hang my clothes to dry in one shot, wash the dirty dishes at one go, let alone thoroughly clean the house or cooking. Three quarter of my 24 hours, I am wired to attend my baby. By the time I want to continue my pending housework, the sun is already set and my body is so exhausted. Having a good one hour or two without interruption to sit down in front of my laptop and start typing my blog post like now rarely happens. With that, I feel that the husband's active role in helping around the house and with the baby is extremely important.

One proud Papa!

The more I think about how my husband has helped me cope with my new life with our new baby so far, the more I appreciate all the little and simple things that he does for us every single day, such as:
  • Preparing breakfast for two when I could not wake up earlier than him because I just had my ‘good-night’ sleep at 4am or 5 am
  • Buying me lunch/dinner because I don’t have the time to cook lunch/dinner
  • Not scolding me for sleeping in until 9am or 10am after my extended shift with the baby the night before
  • Dealing with the baby’s poop and cleaning her bottom when the baby happens to do her deed in front of him
  • Taking over the crying baby at 4am when my head starts getting heavier and I am ready to pass out in any second
  • Feeding (and burping) the baby at 6am or 7am so I can sleep longer
  • Calming and soothing the crying and screaming baby when I fail to do so
  • Playing with the baby while I shower
  • Holding the baby at night although he himself is tired from work so I can just take my much needed break for a while
  • Checking the hot water supply inside the thermos and refilling the hot water whenever it is empty without me asking him to do so
  • Attending the baby so I can finish drying the clothes in the drying rack
  • Mopping the floor while I sweep the floor (and the baby is asleep)
  • Collecting the dirty laundry and throwing them into the washing machine while I am trying to lull the baby to sleep
  • Giving me a back massage whenever I moan from my back pain from holding my baby for too long
  •  And so many more.

My husband patiently talks to our baby when she refuses to sleep.

As a woman, wife and new mother I consider myself very lucky to have a husband who is very involved with baby and doesn't hesitate in assuming the household responsibilities too in spite of his busy and stressful work during the day. Therefore, I just can’t imagine a life with a man who thinks that it’s only mother who is in-charge of the baby and doesn't even bother to lift a finger around the house just because he is the breadwinner.

In conclusion, if you have a problem in sharing the parenting and household responsibilities with your spouse, I guess you’d need to address these matters openly and start developing a plan that would work best for everyone. Let's stop thinking that being a SAHM is easy just because a SAHM doesn't have to go to the office every morning and contribute to the family financially. SAHMs trade in their career for their family and they don’t decide to do this overnight. If you still don’t believe me, I challenge you to live this SAHM role for a week, or better still - a month, and we’ll compare notes after that. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Recap

In the last couple of weeks, you see no blog updates from me. It's not because I was lazy to update this blog but I've been really crazy busy during this period.

To begin with, my husband, our baby and I finally moved into our new home in end of October. You know how painful and stressful it is to move into a new house - packing, unpacking, transporting our stuff, arranging truckload of goods in the new home, cleaning and more cleaning and the list goes on... On top of that, we got our newborn to take care of too. Then, when we're pretty much settled in the new house, we got no internet line at home. My husband applied new phone and internet lines to Telekom Malaysia but our application was not successful because they got no telecom service yet within our brand new residential area. Strange news from Telekom Malaysia, considering that our residential area is actually in town, not in some ulu or remote part of Seremban. Moving on, when my husband ultimately got the internet line subscription from Maxis, which is not so fantastic but visibly better than nothing, my laptop was sent for repair for a few days. I only got it back yesterday evening. In a nutshell, these are some of the reasons of my vacuum from the blogosphere lately.

On last Sunday afternoon, after a week staying in our new house, I had the chance to test my very own kitchen, especially the new oven. Despite being so tired and sleepy all the time, given my hectic schedule as a Mom of a newborn, I forced myself to bake something quick over the weekend. My pick was the Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies that I've previously experimented few months earlier. This said, my burning desire to bake again had finally been expressed!

My first bake after baby.

As for our Little Naomi, in the past weeks, she has clearly grown chubbier and starts babbling more often, especially when we try to talk to her.

My 6 weeks old little girl.

Last but not least, most of the time, both my husband and I are still in heavy sleep-deprived state because Naomi only starts sleeping soundly at 4am or 5am on daily basis. Our new sleeping routines are just insane! Seemingly, sleeping schedule wise, Naomi doesn't suit us yet but we suit her.

Anyhow, we are loving our new home.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Confinement Period

When I was pregnant, I dreaded the forthcoming Chinese confinement period that I would have to go through once I gave birth to my baby. Back then, I discussed my Mother-in-Law many times that I didn't want to observe strict Chinese confinement practices but she seemed to be so adamant about the whole traditional post-natal confinement concept, commonly practised by Chinese women in Malaysia. Hence, I was so stressed out thinking about how I'd survive my confinement period long before I had to do it and my husband needed to bring this topic up to my Gynae during one of my antenatal visits.

I was lucky that my Gynae gave my husband and I clear understanding that a new mother doesn't have to go through strict traditional confinement practices that she is not comfortable practising. She emphasized that it is  paramount important to stay mentally and physically well after labour by eating healthily as per normal, maintaining a hygienic lifestyle as usual and having enough rest. In addition, my Gynae explained that not practising strict traditional confinement rules, in medical logic, would not result in mother's health problems when she gets older nor issues in conceiving another baby. However, in order to avoid clashes with the confinement nanny, which in this case is usually the Mother-in-Law, the husband has to take more active role in bridging any differences between his wife and Mom so both ladies are happy during the confinement period. In principle, the new mother has to enjoy her confinement period while recuperating from childbirth.

The next day after I gave birth to my baby, my parents from Indonesia came to see us. My mother acted as my main confinement nanny for 10 days until she left Malaysia. When she was around, I ate home cooked Indonesian food that my Mom prepared. She did not allow me eating shrimps and anchovies as she worried that my episiotomy wound would be itchy if I ate those food. This theory is not scientifically proven but I did it anyway.

During my early confinement days, my Mother-in-Law tried to cook some gingery confinement dish for me but every time I had to eat it, it took me almost one hour to eat the food and I had to ask my husband to help me finish it. In the end, I could not finish the food and my Mother-in-Law was not so happy with it. Moving forward, I politely told her that perhaps it's best if I could just eat normal food so I can eat more. I try to plant the idea in her mind that if I eat more, I'd recover from post-natal pains faster and the more food I eat may give me more breast milk. She understood and quit forcing me to eat confinement food.

 Can't imagine eating this plain gingery dish for breakfast for a month!

After my Mom went back to Indonesia, I ate the usual home-cooked food that were also enjoyed by other family members at home for the rest of my confinement period. I barely consumed any 'heaty' traditional Chinese confinement diet which usually is heavy in ginger, Chinese herbs and alcohol simply because I didn't like the taste plus this food may affect my breast milk's content, thus cause jaundice on my baby.

The only thing that I continuously consumed for a month was red dateswolfberries and longan tea that my Mother-in-Law diligently brewed every morning. Other than that, occasionally I also drank some traditional Chinese decoction and herbal chicken soup that my Mother-in-Law cooked for me, as long as I could bear the taste.

Strangely, after being so resistant in eating herbal chicken soup, 
I found this one quite acceptable.

Also, being an Indonesian, my Mom brought post-partum abdominal cloth binder and traditional Indonesian herbal medicine for post-natal care to be put on my tummy to avoid flabby stomach. She applied the medicines and put the binder on my tummy every single day when she was in Malaysia and taught me how to continue applying the medicines and wearing the binder on my tummy myself. However, after she went home, I only managed to continue wearing the binder for few days as I got too tired and busy looking after my newborn during the day.

The traditional Indonesian herbal medicine for my tummy skin 
before diluted with hot water.

During confinement period, pyjamas were my daily uniform 
to wear day and night.

Next, when it comes to other old-fashioned Chinese confinement taboos and restrictions such as no shower, no washing hair, no going out, no air-conditioner or fan in the room and bathing only with water specially infused herbs for a whole month - I gave them all resounding pass. For obvious hygiene reasons, I showered every day and washed my hair once every two days. In fact, the moment I arrived home from hospital, I immediately gave myself a good shower and hair wash. However, when my Mother-in-Law found out, she scolded me while my parents were all cool with what I just did. I also turned the air-conditioner in my room on because Seremban's hot climate was just too unbearable for me. The temperature here is not as hot as in the Gobi desert but it's hot enough to make me sweat like a pig without room air conditioner. Bored being cooped up in the house for way too long, I sneaked out to supermarket and McDonald's with my husband around 3 weeks after I gave birth while my Mother-in-Law looked after my baby for a couple hours. As a matter of choice, since I had my baby, I think I am naturally and automatically confined at home because it's simply hard to leave my newborn at home and not possible to frequently take her out of the house. Thus, lately I mostly stay at home, even on weekends.

New life as a parent: Saturday night at home watching over my baby.

On the bright side, the good thing about confinement period is the feeling of being spoilt by some family members. My husband and Mother-in-Law were so kind in preparing and delivering my meals to my room upstairs every day. On top of that, they took over some of the household chores like washing and drying my clothes, cleaning dirty dishes in the kitchen, and so on for almost a month.

In summary, the way I did my confinement period here may be a bit unorthodox for the Chinese community in Asia and may not work for some people. I did what I personally think best for me because I didn't want to give myself extra 'emotional' burden when I was trying to cope with my new life, especially when I was physically drained recovering from childbirth and taking care of a newborn. For me, adhering to some traditional confinement rules that I didn't entirely believe would make me upset and give me unnecessary stress. My main goal after my labour was preventing post-natal depression so I tried my best to enjoy my new bundle of joy's presence and keep my sanity intact during the first month after I had my baby by not going through too strict confinement period.