Monday, September 30, 2013

Strolling Around the Historic Quarter of Malacca

Last weekend was a special weekend for me because my parents from Indonesia were here.

I asked them to come over to Malaysia because I thought it's been a while since they saw Naomi for the last time and I wanted to see them too.

On Friday, my husband and I brought them to Malacca for sightseeing. It was not their first time to Malacca so we didn't have any specific agenda for visiting Malacca last week. We did, however, plan to eat Malacca's famous Satay Celup for dinner.

We headed to Malacca from Seremban pretty late on Friday because I had to check my part-time work in the morning. We left home at about 2.30pm and reached Malacca at around 4pm.

Initially, my husband and I thought of taking a look at Jonker Street but as we struggled to find a car park in that area, my husband drove farther away from Jonker Street to find one. He ended parking our car around the Malacca's historic quarter area. Hence, I told my husband that perhaps we could just hang out at this area instead of taking a walk in Jonker Street since we've been to both locations before anyway.

After my husband parked his car, we hit the heart of the historic quarter of Malacca which was always crowded with tourists. We checked out the surrounding street market and my Mom bought some key chains for souvenirs. To make the trip slightly interesting for my parents, I offered my parents to take a rickshaw tour around the city of Malacca as I always find that Malacca's heavily decorated bicycle rickshaws pretty interesting and unique for tourists.

My Mom didn't mind but my Dad was not so keen. An old Malay rickshaw driver offered us RM 20 for a short tour around the town with visits to some famous historical spots and RM 35 for a more comprehensive tour which would take about 1 hour ride. I wanted to help the old driver and thought if my parents would take the ride, it would be a win-win situation for all of us. The old driver got a small business from us and my parents would experience something new during this trip too.

When I was trying to persuade my Dad to do this, one Chinese rickshaw driver approached my husband and me. He persuasively convinced us that he would do a small rickshaw tour for RM 15. Once I heard this offer, I sort of forced my Dad to take the rickshaw ride with my Mom and Naomi and told him that I found a bargain. My Dad finally said yes.

Our rickshaw tour in Malacca.

As my husband thought of joining the rickshaw tour too by hiring another rickshaw for him and me so the five of us can visit some historical spots and take some picture together; my parents' rickshaw driver introduced us to his rickshaw driver friend with the same tour fee. Of course, I agreed to my husband's suggestion because I've always wanted to ride one.

Next, the five of us found ourselves sitting in two heavily decorated rickshaws. My parents and Naomi sat on a rickshaw decorated with red and yellow flowers whilst my husband and I sat on a striking all-pink Hello Kitty rickshaw that would probably make die-hard Hello Kitty fans jealous.

Picture perfect in Hello Kitty rickshaw.

When the rickshaw driver helped us take the above picture, he commented that my husband and I could use the picture for a wedding photo. I think the Hello Kitty rickshaw that we rode attracted people's attention the most. Moreover, a group of female students from Sabah snapped our picture when my husband and I were riding the rickshaw. I didn't want to disappoint them, so I stroke a pose for them.

Anyway, below are some pictures that we took when we dropped by some historical spots in Malacca during this short rickshaw tour. The parents' talkative rickshaw driver acted like our tour guide during this short tour. He shared with us brief history lessons of the places that we visited and also helped us take the group pictures.

At Port A Famosa. 

 Old Train Station in Malacca.

 Historical train in Malacca.

Somewhere with unused old plane in Malacca.

About 20 minutes later, our rickshaw tour came to an end. After I got off from the rickshaw, I handed RM 30 to the rickshaw drivers. However, upon receiving my money, my parents' rickshaw driver suddenly said that the short rickshaw tour actually cost RM 20 per rickshaw. When we heard this, both my husband and I were perplexed and felt tricked. When my husband argued him in a nice way by saying that both of us clearly heard that the agreed fee for short rickshaw tour was RM 15 for each rickshaw, the other rickshaw driver mentioned that there's no way the tour price was that low. He said it was supposed to be RM 25 for short rickshaw tour. Learning this, I think my face turned black.

In the end, the talkative rickshaw driver apologized to us and told my husband and me to just give them additional RM 10 so he could give RM 25 to his friend and keep the RM 15 to himself. As we didn't want to further argue with them, we decided to give them additional RM 10 and left.

After this incident, we called our visit at the Malacca's historic quarter area a day.

To conclude our short day trip in Malacca, we went to eat McQuek's Satay Celup for dinner as planned.

 Dinner is served!

Malacca's satay celup.

Despite the small drama with the rickshaw drivers, overall we had a pretty nice and memorable sightseeing day in Malacca with my parents. Luckily, my parents enjoyed their special dinner which they last ate in two or three years ago.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Her Looks

Now that Naomi is one year old, I thought of collating her pictures taken in these 12 months to see how her appearance has changed in a year's time.

 Ain't newborn no more.

 Chubby.

Busy bee. 

One!

It's pretty fun and interesting to look back at how baby 'changed' since his or her first days in this world, isn't it?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Turning One

Naomi hit her special milestone today - she turns ONE!

It still feels a little surreal to me that 365 days have passed since I gave birth to Naomi exactly on this day last year. How baby grows up in one rapid blink!

Anyway, my husband and I didn't really plan much for Naomi's birthday celebration today because we intend to hold a small birthday party for her next week when my parents are here (there... the secret is out now!). My Dad told me that my husband and I must at least do a simple celebration for Naomi's very first birthday exactly on her birthday. That's why, although next week Naomi will have her birthday bash, we bought her a birthday cake today.

When the three of us did our grocery shopping this evening, we dropped by the one and only bakery inside the supermarket. My husband and I chose random small birthday cake with kiddie design for Naomi. I actually pretty liked the bakery's cute birthday cake with lots of colourful balloons decoration but the cake was way too big for us. The rests of the birthday cake design available at the bakery were not suitable for kid's birthday; hence, our option for Naomi's birthday cake fell to the below cake with extremely cheerful rainbow colour adorned by cross-eyed Doraemon (rocking his dashing bloody red lipstick) figure topper.

Naomi's first birthday cake.

Before dinner, we took some pictures of Naomi's birthday cake and hoped to snap some good pictures of the birthday girl and her first birthday cake at home. Apparently the latter was not possible to be done without drama if you have a super animated toddler as the main character. Alas, no good picture of Naomi and her birthday cake was taken today.

See how the birthday girl refused to pose nicely today?

Next, Little Miss Curious was always so eager to feel her birthday cake by hand and I was half a second late in keeping her hand away before she finally touched the cake. And boo... Now the cake's smeared in that instant second!

Dad, let me touch the cake!

After dinner, we went to my parents-in-laws' house because my husband wanted to do the birthday's cake cutting there. Soon after we arrived to Naomi's grandparents' place, all of us sang heartfelt birthday song in English and Mandarin to Naomi but apparently the birthday girl could not be bothered at all. When we sang to her, she was busy analyzing a toy on her hands. Trust me, I had been relentlessly singing "Happy Birthday to You" yesterday and Naomi always clapped her hands when I did that. Didn't know why our rehearsal didn't work out so well on the D-Day itself.

Family picture plus Naomi's cousin. The only picture with Naomi's smile.

Just when we were about to cut the smeared birthday cake, Naomi's almost two-year-old cousin helped Naomi blow the birthday's cake candle because the birthday girl has yet to reach her milestone in blowing candle.

Right after we cut the cake, as per my husband's family tradition, the birthday girl had the first bite of the birthday cake.

That's all about Naomi's modest birthday celebration today.

P/S:  Happy first birthday, my doll! Although you are a big girl now, you'd always be Mommy's little baby. Be happy and healthy. Mommy loves you to the moon and back!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Featured in BabyTalk Malaysia Magazine's September 2013 Issue

When I took a stroll at the Setia City Mall during my birthday last week, I had the opportunity to do a quick check at MPH's magazine shelves.

It was truly a really nice surprise to find a short writing and photo of mine (taken when we visited Farm in the City few months ago) are featured at BabyTalk Malaysia's latest issue. 

This month, my opinion was featured on the magazine's page 13 under the "Mummy Says" section. 

My thought on stretch marks.

I was so happy with this feature that I thought it was kind of another birthday present for me. 

This year's September 7th was indeed my lucky day.

At the Playground

Last Sunday evening, my husband and I brought Naomi to the playground in our neighbourhood. The playground was quite a distance from our house so we rode our tandem bike to get there.

Although it was not Naomi's first visit to the playground, Naomi had a total blast playing at the playground. We let her check out most of the recreational equipments that were suitable for her age. She was a lucky girl that evening because there were no other kids invading the playground so she could have the entire playground for herself.

First, she played with the spring rider for few minutes but didn't do much with it other than looking around and nodding her head several times whilst riding this outdoor bouncy playing device. Then, Naomi got bored, made cat-like noises to signal us that she's done playing with this rider and wanted to move on.

Hmm... Boring?

Next, my husband let Naomi try the smallest slide in the playground (whilst holding onto her body all the time). However, apparently, slide was not Naomi's cup of tea. I mean look at the below expression!

Thinking back, slide was not my favourite item at the kindergarten or playground either because I had terrible fear of height. Like mother, like daughter.

Stop, Dad! No more slide.

Moving on, Naomi discovered much fun when playing with the toddler swing at the playground. She was very happy and could not stop giggling when her Dad gently pushed the swing.

And to depict my lines above, here's a short video of Naomi playing with the toddler swing.

Can we bring the swing home, Daddy?

Overall we, or mostly Naomi, had a fantastic evening playing at the playground - well, except for the ending.

Naomi found herself too attached to the playground after less than half an hour exploring it and refused to go home. She screamed when I carried her away from the playground. Worse, she cried when we sat her in our bike's child seat, which was very unusual, and only wanted to be carried instead. I couldn't ride the tandem bike alone so I got no option but carrying Naomi home while my husband rode the bike to get home.

So yeah, last Sunday Naomi threw a strength test for Mommy. I had to carry my girl who's almost as heavy as the 12 kg LPG cylinder in walking motion for a couple of blocks. Halfway home, I almost gave up. I panted a lot. My left arm got really sore from holding Naomi for too long too.

Fortunately, I passed the fitness test and both of us arrived home safely, in one piece.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Going Shopping

When Naomi was younger, my husband and I always put her in a stroller when we had our grocery shopping trip. She would then sleep or sit inside her baby stroller entranced by the supermarket's bright lights, sounds and colourful scenery while people passing by, gushing over her smiley face.

 
A good girl should sit on the shopping cart's child seat 
when Mommy's busy with grocery shopping.

As soon as she could sit without support, we let her ride in a grocery cart's child seat when we do about our grocery shopping.

All this while, Naomi had been a pretty easy baby to handle when we brought her along to our weekly grocery shopping. She sat in the cart's built-in infant seat with no fuss and enjoyed looking around all the people and stuff inside the store.

However, last night we had a different experience grocery shopping with Naomi. The moment we stepped in the local supermarket, my husband didn't immediately put Naomi in the cart's baby seat as per normal. Instead, he let Naomi set her foot in the supermarket for the first time. Needless to say, Naomi became overly excited and really hyper when she realized that she's now one free baby inside a massive shop with large space to explore and tons of colourful items to check out. When we realized this mistake, my husband and I tried to sit Naomi in the cart's child seat but of course, we failed to do so. This little girl wailed, screamed, kicked, etc. when we tried to make her sit in the cart's child seat - she just refused to sit down and wanted to walk around again.

Shopping for toys, madam?

Soon enough, Naomi became the new star of Dora the Explorer for the episode titled Roaming Tesco.

The first aisle she checked out when we arrived to the grocery store was the aisle which has shelves of various kid/baby toys. The section for kids' stuff is located around the supermarket's entrance; thus, without much thinking, Naomi hit this department first, as frenzied as possible.

Busy bee invading the toys' section.

I think Naomi was almost running with her mouth opened when she was surrounded by toys. She checked out almost all the different toys in the shelves while I kept asking myself on my chance in finishing my own grocery shopping attempt with snail speed (almost no chance to find my own stuff) and lots of pit stops to attend like this.

Moreover, when Little Miss Curious did her toys' browsing, I had to closely stay behind her because she loved dropping toy after toy after toy on the floor. She picked a toy she liked and dropped that toy on the floor. I picked the toy on the floor up and put it back to its shelf. Then, she'd find herself another attractive toy to admire for 3 seconds, dropped it on the floor and it was my task to return the toy to its shelf again. This went on and on to the point that I almost looked like a celebrity baby's personal assistant who silently walked behind this VIP individual when she's doing her shopping spree or wait... maybe I looked rather like a litter pick-up volunteer inside the supermarket instead.

Albeit it was nice and cute to see Naomi really happy doing her first 'shopping on her own' experience in the supermarket, eventually my patience ran really thin. Next, I randomly grabbed a purple doll next to me, put that doll on Naomi's hands and quickly put her inside the grocery cart's child seat.

My trick worked! She forgot that she's not walking on the ground again and was busy analysing the dolls on her hands when my husband and I began our shopping peacefully.

When Naomi got used to the normal shopping scenario in the cart's child seat and totally forgot the joy of roaming supermarket by foot, I took the doll back and put it back to the toy shelf.

Well, well... welcome to world of grocery shopping with toddler!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Naomi Comic Issue #2: Teletubbies

Apparently inspiration for Naomi's Comic struck me earlier than I thought.

Here you go, the second issue of comic collated from Naomi's pictures.

Issue #2: Teletubbies.

The above Naomi and Teletubbies' pictures were taken when we took a stroll at Setia City Mall last Saturday. In the mall, Naomi was playing with Teletubbies' kiddie ride for few good minutes whilst waiting for his Dad checking out some computer stuff. I put Naomi inside this kiddie ride so she could have some fun with the Teletubbies characters but didn't start any ride on this coin-operated amusement ride because Naomi is too young for this.

Naomi Comic Issue #1: Leafy Greens

To brighten today's Monday Blues, I've created a comic collated from Baby Naomi's pictures.

The below pictures were taken when we visited the Golden Palm Tree Iconic Resort and Spa last Saturday.

Issue #1: Leafy Greens.

I will post more comics like this when inspiration hits me and I have enough photo materials to do this.

See you again in the next comic issue.

XOXO.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

September 7th This Year

Yesterday I was another year older.

I was excited for this week's Saturday to come because my husband promised me a nicer birthday than last year's and my old friend from Singapore, Irish, happened to be in Malaysia so I was meeting her at a resort yesterday afternoon.

As Naomi doesn't wake up with the roosters, her normal waking up hour every day is between 9am to 10 am. Yesterday morning, my husband made unusual efforts to wake his daughter up so the three of us could make a move to the resort that my friend was staying earlier before her check-out time. However, little sleeping beauty was not easy to be woken up and only at about 9.40am, she greeted sunshine.

After our quick late breakfast, off we went to Golden Palm Tree Iconic Resort and Spa. We drove for about one hour from Seremban before we finally reached this place. When we were about to enter the resort, my husband was grilled by the security guard who tried his best to do ultimate security measurements to non-resort guests who try to enter the resort premise. After some explanation and clarification, the security guard granted us the green-light to meet my friend at the resort's lobby.

Minutes after we set foot at the resort's lobby, we finally saw Irish riding a pink bicycle approaching the lobby to see us. Apparently, it was quite a distance to walk from her villa to the resort's lobby area so she opted to ride the bike that the resort provides for the guests. How cute.

Irish was my ex-colleague when I worked in Singapore years ago and despite our last meeting back in Christmas 2010, we still occasionally kept in touch in the virtual world. I was very happy to see her again and I think she was looking forward to meet Naomi too.

After I introduced Naomi to Irish and had a quick 'hello' chat with her at the lobby area, she asked us to ride the buggy to see the water villa she was staying.

Buggy time.

This resort's villa is so nice. The bedroom is beautifully arranged with spacious bathroom and beach view too!

Kodak moment in front of the water villas.

After briefly checking out her villa, Irish took me to see the resort's club house which also hosts an infinity pool. We hung out by the pool for quite a while to catch up on our lives. I found it amazing that every time I meet my old friend who I haven't seen for a long time, we still manage to be chatty and not run out of topics to talk about or joke around.

 Are girls meant to be talkative?

When I was busy talking with Irish, my husband was kind enough to bring our Little Miss Curious, who was always in the mood of walking, around the club house area.

 First time seeing a beach.

My little girl was so excited to see the beach and explore the outdoor environment today.

"Woah! Woah! This place is so cool!"

Irish had to head to Kuala Lumpur at 2pm so we had a lunch together at one of the resort's restaurants to continue our chit chat.

Cute bikes for the resort's guests to tour around within the resort area.

I thought when we arrived to the restaurant it was still 1pm something. Apparently I was hugely mistaken. By the time our food arrived to our table, the clock showed 1.55pm and we saw the bus coming right before our eyes. Except Naomi, we were frantic for few seconds. Luckily, the resort's staffs were nice enough to spare some time for Irish and her companion to finish their lunch before going off to KL.

About 15 minutes later, Irish got the last call from the bus driver and was rushed to get into the bus. That was it. We only managed to catch up for about 2 hours after almost 3 years of not seeing each other.

Last picture before we split.

Anyhow, it was great to see Irish again and I had a fabulous short visit at the Golden Palm Tree Resort and Spa.

When I thought that my good Saturday was about to end just like that, my husband had a different plan and took us to Setia City Mall for shopping and dinner.

He bought me a top from H & M which I supposed was my birthday present and we had Taiwanese cuisine for dinner.

We arrived home at about 8pm today and I was a little flat out from going out the whole day. My husband thought that my birthday would not be complete without a birthday cake. Hence, after shower he asked me to get ready to go out again, buy a birthday cake and eat the cake at his Mom's place.

I was hesitant with his latter plan because I thought having a slice of cake for Naomi, my husband and I was more than enough. He was persistent and we ended up buying a whole birthday cake.

 My birthday cake this year. 
Count the number of the candles to find out how old I am now.

When we reached my Mom-in-Law's place, I repeatedly warned my husband not to ask everybody to sing birthday song to me as I always feel awkward and shy when people sing birthday song to me.

Who knew, by the time my niece found out that the birthday cake that her uncle was serving was mine, she got the rests of her sisters and cousins gather at the dining table and sang birthday song in English and Mandarin to me.

I felt so sheepish when the kiddos, my husband, brother-in-law and sister-in-law sang the birthday song to me. When it was time for me to blow the birthday candles, I totally forgot to make a wish before blowing the candles.

 My little family.

In summary, this year I had a memorable birthday. My very first birthday celebration with my little firecracker. My last twenty-something birthday. And of course, I would not be able to have a fantastic birthday this year without my husband. Also, much thanks to all my friends and relatives who remembered my birthday and sent their lovely birthday wishes to me via Facebook, SMS, Instagram and Whatsapp!

OK, happy birthday to me. Older means wiser and calmer.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Making Beef and Bell Pepper Stir-Fry

When I was a small kid, my Mom often cooked Beef and Bell Pepper Stir-Fry. Back then, I moaned whenever my Mom included bell pepper in every dish that she made. I hated the strong smell of bell pepper and the taste of it (although bell pepper is actually tasteless and not hot at all). Honestly, I am still not a big fan of bell pepper to date either. However, as I grew older, I began appreciating my Mom's particular Beef and Bell Pepper Stir-Fry as I think it's really a nice dish.

Yesterday, I suddenly had a nostalgic moment thinking of the nice dishes that my Mom used to cook for us and I thought of cooking my Mom's Beef and Bell Pepper Stir-Fry. I asked her how to cook this dish via SMS and after I got her reply last night, I practised cooking it for today's lunch.

All-time favourite Beef and Bell Pepper Stir-Fry. 

Beef and Bell Pepper Stir-Fry

Ingredients:

  • 100-150gr Beef, thinly sliced
  • 1 Bell pepper, seeds removed and sliced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, mashed
  • 1/2 Onion, sliced
  • 2-3 tbs Shaoxing wine
  • 2-3 tbs Oyster sauce
  • 2-3 tbs Light soy sauce
  • 1-2 tbs Sugar
  • 1 tbs Starch
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cooking oil
  • Some water

Tutorial:

  1. In a bowl, marinate beef with shaoxing wine, oyster sauce, light soy sauce, sugar and starch. Set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet or wok. Sauté garlic and onion until fragrant.
  3. Add the marinated beef into the wok and mix well with sautéed garlic and onion.
  4. Add the bell pepper slices.
  5. Add some water and season the dish with liberal amount of pepper and salt. Add more light soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar into the dish, if needed.
  6. Continue cooking the beef and bell pepper slices until they are tender.
  7. Serve warm with steamed rice.

This dish is easy and fast to cook but surely tastes delicious. If you eat beef and don't mind the taste of bell pepper, you should try this dish. Beef and bell pepper taste really good when paired. My husband who never ate this dish before loves it at first bite!

On another not so related note, my husband could not help wondering the fact that I normally hate bell pepper but am suddenly in love bell pepper when it is cooked with beef like this.

Women. Complicated and hard to understand.

Happy Mom n Bub Photo Project: Week 13

It's Thursday again and psst.... my birthday is coming soon!

Anyway, I am delighted to present you with Happy Mom n Bub Photo Project: Week #13.

This week's Mom and baby who are at the centre of attention are:

Mommy Lily and Baby Michael from Malang, Indonesia.

Lily and I are actually BFF for the longest time. I can't even remember the first time we met but I am pretty sure it was when we were babies. We went through our kindergarten and school days pretty much together. As kids, we hung out a lot after school as we were neighbours for about 9 years or so. Although, I rarely see her these days but we never fail to catch up when I am in my home town. Our friendship is just beautiful.

Interested to show the world the sweetest picture of you together with your sweet little cutie pie in my blog every Thursday too? Read here to find out how.

It's on first come, first serve basis... so hurry up, Moms! Do send me a picture of you and your little bub, wherever you are!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Naomi Debuts New Hairdo

These days I noticed that Naomi's hair had grown pretty long. Her curls got kinda messy, especially during hot days, and I could not stand looking at her bangs which almost touched her eyes.

Initially, I wanted my Mom to be in charge for Naomi's hair all the time. However, since she is only coming to Malaysia by the end of this month - I am quite sure by the time she arrives here, Naomi's bangs would be touching her nose. This said, I decided that it's time for Naomi's second trip to the hair salon.

Yesterday, when I came up the impromptu idea of taking Naomi to a nearby hair salon, my husband objected. He confidently thought he could handle his daughter's fringe (better than me!) and planned to cut it all by himself.

I instantly remarked "NO WAY!". This man insisted and was ready to find scissors to cut Naomi's hair. Then, I asked him to practice cutting the grass outside the house evenly first before cutting Naomi's hair. He just laughed my advice off.

Both my husband and I continued our debates about this matter in jokingly manner for quite a while. Thank God, my arguments triumphed at last.

I mean, come on.... There's no way on earth that my (soon-to-be birthday) girl's going to suffer the horrendous hairdo for months again. In fact, I have vowed that only real professionals get to do my baby's haircut even though there is not much hair will be cut or trimmed and to fulfil this pledge, I will always spare some budget for Naomi's salon trip(s).

So here you go - Naomi's new haircut.

1 September 2013: Naomi sports her 6 RM's new hairdo.

Looks good, doesn't it?

Probably her new hair doesn't look much dramatically different from the previous style but clearly it looks so much neater than yesterday afternoon and Naomi won't feel that hot every time the heat waves hit Malaysia.