Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Checking Out Aquaria KLCC

My parents were in Malaysia the whole last week and over the weekend, I was scratching my head thinking of possible sightseeing places in West Malaysia so they wouldn't be too bored just staying at home.

Penang was too far to go. It was too late to go to overnight in Ipoh as my Dad was pretty tired from his medical check-up that he did the whole Saturday morning. Bukit Tinggi doesn't really offer many things to see. Legoland in Johor was probably not suitable for my parents. We’re not too interested with heavy shopping in big malls again.

In the end, on Sunday late morning, I suggested a place to go to my husband - the Aquaria KLCC. I think it’s a not bad place to check out since my parents had never gone to any living ocean exhibit before.

In less than an hour after we decided to go to Aquaria KLCC, off we went to the most populous city in Malaysia.

Suria KLCC was extremely packed last Sunday. Both husband and I are not regular visitors of Suria KLCC so we didn't know how to get to Aquaria KLCC from there. Shortly, we approached one of the staff in the Concierge desk and she pointed us the way to get to the oceanarium from Suria KLCC. It’s not hard to find Aquaria KLCC but it’s a long walk from Suria KLCC. We had to make our way through an underpass tunnel to get there and it felt like we had to walk and walk and walk like there's no tomorrow to reach Aquaria KLCC. I almost gave up when going there because I was pretty sure I would never reach there by foot. We should have just parked our car somewhere near the Aquaria KLCC.

Minutes later, we finally reached the entrance of Aquaria KLCC.

My husband had to queue for a long time to buy the visitor tickets because Aquaria KLCC was equally crammed as Suria KLCC.

Anyway, here are more stories of the marine life and other crawly creatures above water that we witnessed inside Aquaria KLCC.

The moment we entered Aquaria KLCC, we were welcomed by a large Piranha Tank, which is apparently Malaysia’s first Piranha Tank. We’re supposed to see the piranhas’ feeding session at 4pm but we missed it.

The Piranha Tank.

Moving on, there were three Touch Pools where visitors can get up-close and personal with some gentle reef creatures. However, just like most people, we were not too keen to feel live sea cucumber on our palm so we would rather just watch them. Both my husband and Mom stuck in front these pools for a pretty long time as they listened to a staff explaining the reef creatures inside the Touch Pools. 

Checking out the Touch Pool.

Next, we explored Jewels of the Jungle which hosts lots of living land-bound animals such as snakes, gekkos, tarantulas, frogs and other creepy amphibians that I would rather see from far away. I have actually seen some of the animals in Batu Secret Zoo, Indonesia that I visited a couple years ago.

Don't know what frog this is.

I was relieved when we’re finished with this department because some of the crawly animals did make my hair in my arms stood up. I was a happier person when I checked out the creatures of the deep sea and fresh water as somehow some of them were pretty beautiful and cute. The prehistoric monster fish from Amazon caught my parents' attention best as they never saw anything gigantic like them in real life before. 

Posing with Alligator Gar Fish.

As seen on TV, Arapaima Gigas, are giants.

Finally, we arrived to the 90-metre tunnel tank with moving travelator where we could marvel at sharks, stingrays, marine turtles and other sea creatures swimming around unhindered in the vast oceanarium. 

 The Oceanarium.

The travelator happened to be broken down when we were there, so we walked slowly when exploring the marine life surrounded us whilst we rubbed shoulders with other visitors and took photos with my husband's iPhone at the same time.

Yes, that's a shark swimming above my Dad and the rests of us.

Soon, after we're done with absorbing the aquatic life inside the tunnel tank without getting our feet wet, we concluded our visit to Aquaria KLCC.

In summary, I think Sentosa's Underwater World in Singapore is slightly bigger and has more sea creatures' collection than Aquaria KLCC. Nevertheless, overall, it's a fun day in Aquaria KLCC. The place is clean and well maintained. 

I was happy to introduce Aquaria KLCC to my parents as when they go back home, they'd have one more sightseeing experience from Malaysia under their belts.

**Aquaria KLCC**
Councourse level, Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +60 3 2333 1888
Ticket price: Adult (RM 38), Child (RM 28), Senior Citizen (RM 28), free of charge for infants

Friday, April 26, 2013

Chrysanthemums and A Mini Drama

Last Sunday, my aunt and cousin organized a quick and simple family get-together in one of my cousin’s chrysanthemum plantations which is located about 1 hour away from my parents' house in Indonesia.

When my Mom broke the news that my aunt was going to prepare some home-made traditional Indonesian food spread as well for the afternoon gathering, I was jumping with joy and looked forward to this ‘picnic’ day. It was my second time visiting my cousin’s chrysanthemum plantation but was my husband’s virgin trip.

My Mom joined my aunt’s car to get to the plantation and took Baby Naomi with her. My husband and I joined my sister and her husband in their car and another passenger in their car was our 4 y/o niece.

The driving route that we had to go through to reach my cousin’s plantation was pretty tough. Since the plantation is located in a highland, undoubtedly we had to drive through lots of winding roads, with tight and narrow turns. The air-conditioner inside my sister's car happened to be totally broken down last Sunday so all of us had to open the car’s windows and let the natural wind from outside keep us cool.

More than half of the journey we went through was a breeze. My niece who was sitting on my sister’s lap was sleeping and we, the adults, were chit-chatting on our way to the plantation. Whilst I was busy breathing in the cold crisp air from outside my window, admiring at the forest views surrounded us and daydreaming about the delicious lunch spread that my Aunt had prepared for us, I was then flabbergasted by my sister’s loud and long scream. “AAAAAKKK!!!”

My brother-in-law, husband and I were like “WTH is happening?”

Seemingly, my niece who was sleeping in my sister’s lap just vomited all of her breakfast the moment she opened her eyes from her nap. By now the whole car already smelled like vomit (and there gone my appetite for sumptuous lunch!). 

My brother-in-law had to pull over and find some water to clean my sister’s body and his front car seat which were all well-covered by my niece’s vomit. Big bottle of mineral water was not enough to wipe everything clean. Luckily, the nearby villager was kind enough to lend us the tap water outside her house so my sister can clean her body and clothes up a little bit. 

Meanwhile, my husband and I felt obligated to find any shop which sold clothes along the road. We walked and walked and walked but no shop in this village sold any kid or adults clothes. Some villagers and fruit sellers pointed us to go to a wet market further down some villages which may have some clothes sellers but unfortunately, by the time we finally reached the market lot, the morning market was already over. The only things we managed to bring back were a set of under-sized clothes for my chubby niece, one Lifebuoy bar soap and some detergent sachets. Still, better than nothing right?

Anyway, about 45 minutes later and few calls from my Mom, all of us finally arrived safely to my cousin’s one-hectare chrysanthemum plantation. 


Welcoming greets from chrysanthemums!

Soon, my aunt began to serve all of the food that she’s prepared from home and our feast was officially began. For few minutes, I forgot about my niece’s vomit and its horrible smell. Our spicy lunch was so finger-licking good and I miss it so badly now!


Lunch, lunch, lunch!


Grandma and us.


 Flower baby.

Even baby can't resist blooming chrysanthemums!

After lunch, my cousin took all of us to a tour in his plantation. The beautiful chrysanthemum blooms in various species were way, way too hard to resist. And yes, of course we took tons of photos of the flowers and with the flowers.  


Love this place.

 Aren't they so pretty, even before they bloom?

My Mom, niece and baby.

Harvesting chrysanthemums.

Overall, we all had a really nice family gathering in a really nice place which I had not had for a long time. We witnessed countless happy smiles in adults' and kids' faces that day and it’s such a memorable bright Sunday.


My brother who can't stop kissing Baby Naomi.

Finally, before I end this post, here are two beautiful chrysanthemums pictures taken from my cousin's plantation to appreciate:


White chrysanthemums.

Green chrysanthemums.

*The above chrysanthemum plantation is a private premise, so it's not open to public.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Baby Naomi's First Studio Photos

Professional pictures are sure to be special keepsakes. Thus, one of the things in my to-do-list whilst I am visiting my hometown, other than bringing Baby Naomi to a Baby Spa house, is to take family studio photos with Baby Naomi. The perk of this time's family studio photo shoot was to do the photo shoot together with my best friendher baby girl and husband.

From the moment my best friend and I confirmed the slot for this joint studio photo shoot, both of us were beyond excited and really looked forward to a super-duper fun photo session.

Weeks later, the D-Day finally came and it was on the second day my husband, baby and I arrived to Indonesia.

I was expecting really fun photo session that're full of giggles, laughter and lots of "Aahhh!" "Ooooh!" "So cuteeee!" But no, they didn't really happen.

Truth is, my friend and I (together with our husbands) had to sweat ourselves so much in attempts to make our babies smile and we almost could not relax or catch up during the whole photo session. We've danced, clapped our hands, made silly faces, sung favorite kiddie songs, shaken lots of rattle toys - you name it, to make our babies showcase their smiling faces in this rare opportunity. My friend succeeded in making her baby smile many times and I failed. Moreover, it was equally not easy either to calm our fussy babies who, at many points, were not cooperative and in their best mood to smile and strike a pose, unlike their Moms.

Anyway, I was really surprised to see the final results of the studio photos when the photographer presented them to me two days ago. They all look so good and Baby Naomi, albeit her stingy smile, looks adorable and amazingly cute in all shots. In short, I selected all the photos that the photographer wanted me to choose and ended purchasing three extra pictures because I could not bear not keeping the soft copies of Baby Naomi's first studio photos.

After this experience, I still want to take more and more studio photos with Baby Naomi in the near future. Taking studio photos is so addictive, don't you agree?

Here are some of the results of Baby Naomi's first studio photos for your eye candy:

Not your typical orange.

 Our first proper family photo.

Hey, baby, baby!

Cute in pink! 
Thanks for the headband, Aunt Astrid!

My bestie, me and our babies.

Last but not least, followings are some tips in taking baby for studio photo shoot, based on my personal experience:

  1. Make sure your baby is fed and has taken his or her nap before the photo session. 
  2. Bring lots of toys to distract your baby's attention and entertain him or her during photo session.
  3. Don't hesitate to dress your baby in bright and solid color outfits for the picture day as they will photograph well. However, make sure that those outfits are comfortable for your baby to wear. Don't forget to bring the matching accessories too, if any.
  4. Bring outfits (for parents) that match the color of the baby's outfits. You won't regret somewhat matching wardrobe choices for the family photo session.
  5. If the photo shoot is taken in a completely new environment, give your baby a couple of days to adapt in the new place and get used to meeting new people before the photo shoot day. My mistake was to take Baby Naomi to a photo session a day after we landed to Indonesia. She was probably still tired from our long-distance overseas trip and was not used to be seen and talked by total strangers around her. As a result, she barely smiled and showed us her four pearly whites during the photo session.
  6. Don't forget to bring extra diapers, feed and so on in the diaper bag just like how we are out and about with baby as per usual.

Photo studio by Flashback Photoworks
Baby Naomi's pink headband by Ribbon Madness
The rests are own collection.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Checking Out Toddie Baby Spa

I am currently having a short vacation in my hometown in Indonesia with Baby Naomi and husband. While I am in my hometown, I am maximizing my chance to relax and do all the things that I want to do, eat, buy or try here. One of the things that I want to try whilst I am in my hometown is taking Baby Naomi to a Baby Spa House, which is now quite popular in some big cities in Indonesia.

Earlier today, we finally had the opportunity to let Baby Naomi enjoy her very first spa session at Toddie Baby Spa. I booked one spa slot for Baby Naomi yesterday basically to avoid any potential queue in the Spa House.

So what happens during a baby spa session?

A typical complete baby spa session starts with aqua swim (suitable for babies aged 3-15 months old) for 15-20 minutes in warm water. From the Spa House's brochure, I learn that aqua swim is perfect to optimize baby's development, let him or her relax, practice his or her balance and learn to adapt to a new environment.

Testing the warm water's temperature before taking a dip!

Baby Naomi was a bit tensed when the friendly spa therapist put her into the tub for the first time as it was technically her first swimming experience but everything was a smooth sailing after that.

The aqua swimming session's officially on!

The colorful tubs in the spa house for the aqua swim.

During the whole swimming session, Baby Naomi was very serious in chasing the floating balls and other squeaky toys in the tub so she moved and kicked a lot inside the water until her forehead was sweaty. Good thing was that she didn't cry at all and did very well in moving around inside the water with her neck ring. In fact, during today's aqua swim session, I foresaw the possibility of me wiping away my tears of joy with a tissue when seeing Baby Naomi winning the Olympics Swimming Gold Medal, say in the year of 2032. Just joking.

Baby Naomi and her float.

Next, the spa therapist took Baby Naomi out of the tub after about 10 minutes of swimming session because she started making noises and we all took those cues as possible signs that she's had enough of swimming for today.

Give me those balls!

Moving on, the spa therapist dried Baby Naomi's wet body with a towel and placed her to the massage room. Then, the licensed spa therapist began massaging Baby Naomi's body with olive oil. The moment the spa therapist began massaging Baby Naomi's little foot real gently and carefully, I started to envy my baby as I would not mind a relaxing full body massage too! I believe baby spa didn't exist some 30 years ago so yeah, these days some babies are so lucky to experience a spa session at such young age. Anyway, other than olive oil, baby oil and minyak telon were the available massage oil options but I chose olive oil for Baby Naomi as it's the most common oil used during baby massage session.

Toys to distract baby during Baby Massage session.

During the 30 minutes' massage session, Baby Naomi actively moved around, rolled her body over and over again and was super busy eating and playing with many toys surrounded her to the point that I think the already patient spa therapist was incredibly challenged in completing the whole baby massage session.

Almost done, baby!

My Dad and I, who accompanied Baby Naomi's massage session, were sweating like a pig because we needed to constantly watch Baby Naomi's moving around in the massage mat to make sure that she doesn't hit anything and the spa therapist could finish her job well.

Yay! Let's go home.

Once the baby massage session was over, the spa therapist cleaned Baby Naomi's body with a damp cloth so she'd feel more comfortable on our way home. Before we left the Spa House, the massage therapist let us weigh Baby Naomi and measure her current height too.

From what I understand, baby massage (suitable for babies/kids aged 0-7 years old) is good to improve blood circulation, overcome baby's sleep problems, increase appetite, reduce stress and calm baby, to name a few. In the end, what my friend said about the after-effect of Baby Spa session is correct: Baby Spa makes baby sleeps better - because Baby Naomi just had her longest evening nap ever since we arrived in Indonesia last week.

The playground in the Spa House.

 The baby shop inside the spa house for Moms who need some retail therapy.

Finally, here are some quick tips for parents before visiting a Baby Spa House:

  • Bring baby to a Baby Spa House after he or she takes her nap as sleepy baby tends to be very fussy and may not be in his or her best mood during the spa session
  • Bring pairs of socks to the Spa House as the accompanying adults maybe required to wear socks inside the Baby Massage Room for hygiene reasons. Otherwise, you may need to buy a brand new pair of socks (or more) on the spot.
  • Give baby a bath one hour after the spa session to optimize the spa's effects.

A spa session that includes 15 minutes Aqua Swim and 30 minutes of Baby Massage sessions costs Rp. 170.000,- (around RM 57) at normal price or Rp. 136.000,- (around RM 43) for member price. Do make advanced appointment before coming to the spa house to ensure that there is an empty slot for your baby and also give the spa therapist an ample time to prepare all the necessary stuff for the spa session.

**Toddie Baby Spa**
Addresses: 
Kombes Pol M. Duriyat No. 14-16, Blok 15A, Surabaya (+62 31 5464 555)
Supermal Pakuwon Indah G 57-58, Surabaya (+62 31 739 0227)
Jl. Puncak Esberg U2 No. 3, Raya Tidar, Malang (+6231 578 488)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Making Baby Food: Mixing Sweet Corn

I love sweet corn, be it steamed, grilled or put in a soup! A clear soup that contains sweet corn always presents fragrant aroma and gives delicious natural mild sweet taste.

I remember I craved sweet corns like a mad woman and literally ate a cup of steamed sweet corn with butter from the local malls almost on every weekend!

Recently, I experimented with sweet corn for my baby's rice porridge. I am aware that it is way too early to feed with my baby with corn so I just use sweet corn to flavour her soft rice porridge together with beef.

What I do is thickly cut/slice about 1/4 or 1/3 of a corn after its husks and silk are removed. Then, I cleanly wash the sweet corn slices before cooking them together with rice, beef and other veggies of the day in a pan. I do not remove all the corn kernels off the cob for her porridge because it is not the time for her to eat corn as baby food just yet. As such, after her soft porridge is well cooked, I run the congee with the veggies (without the corn and beef) in a strainer before feeding the porridge to my baby. Usually, my husband and I are the ones who would eat the boiled sweet corn from her porridge.

Followings are some variations of baby's soft rice porridge that I've experimented using sweet corn and beef as the main source of flavour. Rice porridge with sweet corn and beef sure smells very fragrant and my baby takes her soft porridge's new flavour without a fuss.

Soft rice porridge with red spinach.

Soft rice porridge with spinach and carrot.


Soft rice porridge with broccoli, carrot and a little bit of sweet potato.

P/S: Please always consult with your paediatrician first when it comes to introducing solid foods to your baby as some foods may pose allergy risks for your baby.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Chillies

I had an online chat with my brother earlier today. We talked about his on-going thesis progress, our parents, my baby and my blog. Then, he randomly asked if I still do some gardening at home. I answered,  "Of course!"

I currently maintain around a dozen pots of orchids, a big lime tree from my Mother-in-Law, a pot of pandan and few more other potted plants in my garden. On top of that, I recently planted lots of bird's eye chilli seeds in a pot and I give lots of love by watering all of them every single day. Now look how much they've grown from just seeds!

My bird's eye chilli babies look like they're singing, aren't they?

My husband and I love the idea of growing chilli plants in our garden mostly because of convenience reason. It's just more convenient and economical to have ready-to-be plucked fresh red chillies just outside our house whenever we need some.

Seemingly, my husband also threw some chilli pepper seeds on a soil in a bigger pot weeks ago and lots of them have turned into seedlings by now.

Our red chilli seedlings.

We are going to Indonesia as a family for the first time in a couple of days and I hope my chilli babies won't dry up, wilt or wither when I return home.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Baby Toys

I used to be very adamant and once, promised to myself that I would never over-flood my house and baby with toys. Too many toys scattered through every room of the house are just way too hard to tidy up. Not to mention that they collect considerable amount of dust too when the novelty wears off. They do not come cheap and a child would normally lose interest in specific toys soon enough. However, as time went by, three different toys were just not enough to entertain my baby. I even got bored with the three of them. Needless to say, my husband and I bought more and more toys for our doll. My bedroom has become my baby's day and night toy-land. Furthermore, I have even dedicated a special drawer to keep my baby's toys that are now quite many to keep in a small box.

Recently, I mentioned that Baby Naomi is now able to entertain herself. She's no longer that 'dependent' on me. These days, I always throw lots of toys on my bed few times in a day for my baby to get busy with. With that, I can treat myself with some me-time to watch my 8.30pm tear-jerking Korean drama series do all the things that I want to do; although I must keep a close eye on Baby Naomi playing by herself every once in a short while.

Also, Baby Naomi has clearly shown lots of interests in toys that they have become my must-have on-the-go items whenever I go out the house with baby. Baby toys now serve their purpose as my life-savers in dealing with fussy baby, just like a pacifier or a bottle of warm milk does.

Mommy, please play with me.

Here are some types of toys that I have introduced to my baby thus far:

Music/chime toys
Toys with music and chimes are confirmed so noisy and at times, irritating too, if played repeatedly. Nevertheless, I must say that they do work wonder in catching baby's attention for good few minutes. So yeah, I bought few of them.

Rattle toys
They are equally noisy as chime toys but babies love and enjoy them. Seems like each hard shake of a rattle makes one baby a very proud little human being and I can't figure out why. We've got a couple of rattle toys for Baby Naomi at home.

Bright coloured teether
My baby is in the phase of touching everything that she can lay her eyes on and grab her hands on, then puts the thing into her mouth. She is also currently teething her second batch of two teeth in her upper gum and loves biting random stuff like her Dad's hand palm, my arm or my shoulder. Therefore, to fix these problems, I love presenting drool-ready teether with soft gel edges to test her new chompers and soothe her gums at the same time.

Stuffed toys or soft toys
Soft toys are cute and washables. Also, they are pretty good in keeping baby's company for some period of time. They are designed colourfully and come in various shapes so they can be used as learning toys as well. As of today, we have probably kept more than twenty soft toys at home and in the car.

"Fresh vegetables.. Offer! Offer! Buy one, get one free!"

Speaking of soft toys, the following is our favourite soft toys that my husband and I bought for Baby Naomi:

Our favourite vegetables and fruits toys.

After I posted the above toys picture in my Instagram, some of my friends asked me where I got the Vegetables set and Fruits set for my baby. Here's the answer: I bought them in IKEA. Both my husband and I find that these toys are really adorable, educative, colourful, not too pricey and have baskets that make everything much easier to organize after baby's playing time is over.

Last but not least, I plan to get easy-to-hold soft books for my baby as they seem to be pretty good toys for baby to explore but have yet to buy one as they are pretty expensive.

So tell me, what are your favourite toys for your little one?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Sitting Independently

Last week, I mentioned that Baby Naomi was not able to sit independently just yet.

This morning (April 2nd, 2013, 12.20am to be exact) was the monumental moment when my husband and I witnessed our baby girl sit without toppling over for the first time. Another new milestone!

 Yehey! I can sit all by myself when I am 6.5 months old!

The story began when my husband tried to tug Baby Naomi to bed last night. Somehow, past midnight, she was still so awake and was busy playing on her baby cot. She kept on rolling her body over again and again then propped herself up on all of her fours and held her chest off the ground whilst moving backward - all these were done under her new comforter (imagine a kid playing under a blanket). Half an hour past by. Baby Naomi was still not tired and didn't want to sleep. My husband lifted her up and put her in her baby cot in a sitting position. At first, he was holding her body when she was sitting. Then, slowly he let his hands off her body and voilĂ ! Seconds later, she was still in her sitting position. Smiling. No toppling.

So happy with her first independent sitting experience.

I guess, crawling or even standing up is next?