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.