Friday, August 28, 2015

Product Review: Cheekaaboo Children Swimwear

Naomi loooooves swimming and playing water. Every time she realizes that we're bringing her out for a swim, she'd smile so happily from ear to ear non-stop until we reach the pool or beach.

Like this.

Naomi's huge smiles and super happy expressions in the car otw to the pool.

However, I was mostly reluctant to let her swim in the swimming pool or beach. Why? Because after mere 10-15 minutes of dips in the water, Naomi usually shivered like mad and her lips turned purplish; and yet, she refused to leave the pool as she was still not satisfied playing with the water. Alas, whenever we let her had some fun splash in the pool or beach, she caught high fever accompanied by runny nose at night or the day after her swim. And what happened if she had fever? Nightmares for her and us, her parents, of course. Not to mention the doctor visits and melodrama tears and screams when taking her fever medicines.

Having said the above, my husband often mocked me that I was not a fun Mom because I tend to beg off from any invitation to go to the beach with friends or relatives. Again, it's not that I don't want to see my child happy. It's just that I don't want to risk her getting sick for days after taking a plunge in the pool for less than an hour.

Naomi and her previous swimwear that I am ditching now.

Nevertheless, I suspected that Naomi's one-piece sleeveless and backless swimwear (as depicted in the above photo) was probably the culprit behind her relentless fever attack post swimming. This type of (minimum clothing) swimwear obviously doesn't offer any wind chill protection when Naomi is soaked wet hence the shivers and cold during and after swimming.

During Hari Raya period this year, I joined an online contest held by Cheekaaboo, a shop that offers protective swimwears for kids. I was so eager to join the contest and actually win it because I was in a search of a swimwear that would keep Naomi warm in and out of pool and at the same time protects her from the harmful UV rays too. As such, I purposely selected a swimwear that has short sleeves and pants for Naomi. No more sleeveless or backless swimwear for now please. To cut the story short, I won the said contest and bagged myself a kid swimwear of my choice for Naomi. *happydance*

Naomi's first Chekaaboo.

Honestly, I was still a bit traumatized to bring Naomi to the swimming pool for a fun splish-splash activity because of the possibility of her getting fever after swimming. You never know, right? But last week, my husband insisted to bring Naomi to the swimming pool with us as he wanted to test Naomi's latest swimming suit from Cheekaaboo. I kind of hesitated with this idea but in the end agreed to let Naomi experience her Cheekaaboo for the first time in the swimming pool.

Here's some pictures of Naomi posing in her brand new cool and super protective swimwear from Cheekaaboo before we headed to the pool last week.

Looking so pro and cool, aye, mate?

I love the attractive and sleek design of this Cheekaaboo's swimwear. The swimwear is thick, equipped with insulating properties, yet so easy to put onto and snug fits Naomi's body. My husband said it has the same material as diving suit. I cannot comment on this one because I have never touched nor worn any diving suit before. Unlike the courageous Naomi, yours truly is so timid and afraid of diving or swimming in a pool deeper than 180cm.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of Naomi's playing in the water while wearing her new chlorine-resistant swimsuit last week since I left my phone in the car. However, I can assure you that both my husband and I were more confident to let Naomi enjoy the pool for a tad longer than usual because she didn't shiver nor her lips turned purple even when she swam for almost an hour. In the past, after she swam for around 30 minutes, I'd quickly force her to get out of the pool then called her swimming for a day. Also, I can tell that Chekaaboo's swimwear is so comfortable that Naomi could just move or swim as actively as if she wore her old neon green Baywatch swimsuit.

Finally, the best part is.... No fever and flu after her swim last week! I believe Naomi escaped fever after her swimming session last week largely due to her new protective swimwear but*knock wood* I hope she will never have to deal with annoying and torturing fevers again after swimming with Mommy and Daddy in the near future.

Conclusion is I think Cheekaaboo's protective swimwears are worthy investments for your little ones if you plan to get them active in the water. They are certainly not your old ordinary swimsuits as they are carefully designed for baby's and children's needs. I would not mind buying another one for Naomi when she outgrows her current pink Cheekaaboo.

Some updates on September 4th, 2015

Naomi had a water play activity in her school this morning and I let her wear her Cheekaaboo for the second time. Here are some pictures of happy Naomi splish-splashing water in the school's inflatable pools. TGIF!

I am a mermaid!

When Naomi's teacher mentioned that the water play activity for the kids this morning would take about 1 hour's time, I didn't fret about this because Naomi has Cheekaaboo now. I trust her Cheekaaboo swimwear would protect her from cold.

Happy, happy!

No more wind chill. No more worry. Just play and have fun with the water, kid!

Shake it!

P/S: Naomi wears Cheekaaboo's swimwear size 4-6 years old now.

*This is not a sponsored post. Just a review from a happy and satisfied consumer.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Making Paper Plate Dinosaurs

D for Dinosaur!

Dinosaurs are Naomi's current obsession. Whenever she sees dinosaurs, she gets very excited and keeps on saying out loud, "Dinosaur, dinosaur... Rawr!!" She doesn't know that dinosaurs are actually extinct and every time she sees animals that are large and look ferocious, say huge reptiles such as crocodiles, she will also label them as "Dinosaurs!".

Understanding that Naomi's puppy love now is Dinosaur, I thought of asking her to do some dinosaur crafts with me. After browsing so many dinosaurs craft ideas in the internet for inspiration, my pick finally fell to creating paper plate dinosaurs and Naomi and I realized this idea yesterday morning.

Naomi is able to use scissors and she loves cutting papers with scissors at school. However, since we don't have any plastic scissors suitable for kids at home; for this particular activity, I relieved Naomi from the cutting tasks. I cut all the materials before we started this activity then made Naomi do the assembling and pasting parts only to create the dinosaurs.

Dinosaur, rawrrrr!

The dinosaurs that we made yesterday were Brontosaurus, the long necked dinosaurs. Here's how I created the dinosaur crafts.

Naomi loves peeling sticker tapes and pasting them on objects now.

Paper Plate Dinosaurs

Materials:

  • Paper plates, plain white ones would be better
  • Double-sided tape
  • Scissors
  • Colourful origami papers or small round stickers
  • Glue, optional
  • Big marker or plastic eyes
  • Pencil colours

Top one is my exhibit A. Bottom is created by Naomi.

Preparation tutorial:
  1. Cut the paper plate into half. Set one aside for the dinosaur's main body.
  2. Take the other half of the paper plate and draw dinosaur's head (with long neck), tail and two legs on it. Cut all of these parts. You can ask your kids to cut these parts if they are big enough to handle scissors.
  3. Place a small piece of double-sided tape in the bottom part of the dinosaur's neck, the upper/bigger part of the tail and upper parts of the legs.
  4. Draw some big circles on the origami papers to make the spots on the dinosaurs' body. Then paste the back of these circles with double-sided tape or you can ask your kids to use glue to paste the spots. You can also use small round stickers for the spots.
  5. Draw an eye and mouth on the dinosaur's head. You can also use the plastic eye and ask your child to place this in the dinosaur's head, if you have any.
Naomi refused to colour her dinosaurs yesterday.

How to play:
  1. Teach your toddler how to assemble the dinosaurs with the available parts.
  2. Ask him or her to peel the double sided tapes in order to assemble or attach the parts of the dinosaur to the body.
  3. Before pasting the body spots, you may ask your preschooler to colour the dinosaur with pencil colours.
  4. Ask your kid to place the dinosaur's spots by pasting the colourful round papers made from origami paper or round stickers.
  5. Voila! Paper plate dinosaur is now ready to be played.

The last dinosaur we made yesterday.

Naomi had fun and was so serious too when making this craft yesterday especially since she knew that we were making dinosaurs. 

P/S: You can also pack this craft in your toddler busy bag. If you intend to make this craft as part of your busy bag, you just need to have all the cut materials ready and the double-sided tapes already pasted on each body part then let your kids assemble the paper cuts into a dinosaur later on.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Making Mini Sausage Buns

Last week, I bought a packet of mini/cocktail cheese sausages in case one day I have the mood to try making some home-made sausage buns, which Naomi loves. When I bought the sausages, I had not made up my mind on when to make the sausage buns nor selected any recipe to follow.

This late morning, I took my sausages out from the freezer and started making the bun dough during lunch break. The decision to make some mini sausage buns was somewhat impromptu and only after I defrosted my frozen sausages, I quickly studied some recipes to make the bun dough and how to roll the dough into small buns. After some reading, I made my sausage buns dough by modifying some sweet bun/ white bread recipes I know as follows.

First attempt in making mini sausage buns.

Mini Sausage Buns

Ingredients:

For the bun dough:
240gr Bread Flour
130ml Fresh milk
1 Egg white
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
35gr Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Yeast
25gr Unsalted butter, at room temperature
20-21 Mini sausages, at room temperature
Sesame seeds for sprinkles, optional

For the egg wash:
1 Egg yolk
1 tbs Liquid milk

Best eaten warm, I guess.

Methods:

1. Double boil or heat fresh milk in a heat-resistant bowl until lukewarm.

2. As per the general bread maker function: Place fresh milk, vanilla extract, white egg, sugar and salt first in the bread maker.

3. Pour the bread flour then make a small hole in the flour.

4. Put the yeast in the flour hole (make sure the yeast is not in contact with the liquid ingredients before kneading).

5. Turn your bread machine on (I use the basic program). Once all the mixture forms into dough, add the butter in. Continue kneading.

6. Knead the dough once, which takes about 10 mins from the start, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

6. Take the dough out of the machine and place the dough in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise for 60-90 minutes until doubled in size.

7. Divide the dough into small balls, about 20gr each, and place them in a tray lined with baking paper. Let them rest for 10 mins.

Proofing the small dough balls.

8. While waiting, pat dry all the mini sausages.

Make sure the sausages are dry before rolling it into the dough.

9. Take a dough ball and flatten it by using a rolling pin in a lightly dusted working surface. Close two ends of the flattened ball until it forms a short stick. Shape it like a cone by using hand roll then roll it flat with a rolling pin. Place one sausage on the bigger/wider end and roll it like a Swiss roll. Place the sausage bun on a tray lined with baking sheet. Repeat this step for all the dough balls and let them rest for another 30-45 mins.

How to roll the sausage buns.

10. Mix the egg yolk and milk to make the egg wash. Brush the egg wash on each sausage buns and sprinkle the top with some sesame seeds.

11. Bake the sausage buns in a preheated oven (170 degree Celcius) for 15-20 mins or until golden brown

**This recipe makes about 20-21 mini sausage buns.

Want some mini cheese sausage buns?

I must admit that my workmanship in rolling or shaping the buns today was far from fantastic or neat. Obviously, I still need more practice in working with bread or bun dough. Good thing was that, everything tasted great so I was relieved! The buns were mildly sweet and soft and when eaten with savoury delicious sausages (in the form of sausage buns like this), the buns tasted even better!

Before I left my house to pick Naomi up from school/day-care this evening, I brought a couple of sausage buns for her to munch in the car on our way home. She ate one and a half buns in the car and when she saw my tray full of sausage buns on the dining table at home, she took one more bun. However, this time around she only ate the sausage and passed the plain bun to me.

Nom nom.

When my husband came home, he ate one bun before dinner and ate two more buns after dinner. I guess I can be proud of my first trial in making sausage buns because my man ate three of them almost at one go. 

Sausage buns are kids' favourites and widely accepted by adults too, so it's never a bad idea to try to make some at home. However, since sausages are processed food, I suppose it's wiser not to let our children eat them too often. Once in a while is fine. Just my two cents.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Big Baby is Almost 3

Naomi is turning 3 next month! How time passes so quickly like a passing cloud.

People say that once kids turn 3 years old, their cuteness or baby look is depreciating! I hope this is not entirely true.

My cute baby is now a pretty little lady.

I plan to make a small birthday celebration for Naomi at her school/day-care next month so she can celebrate her big happy day at her "second home" together with the people she loves other than her family, namely her teachers and friends. This year, I try to accommodate the theme of her mini birthday party in accordance to her obsession right now. I also hope that Naomi doesn't fall sick on her birthday and our regular bakery can pull my idea into the cake. Birthday cake is always the centre of birthday celebration so it is very important.

Once I read about a Mommy who does yearly interview with her daughter on the kid's birthday. Birthday interview is actually a great idea to capture memories and see how the child's interests and milestones change as she grows up.

Inspired by this Momblogger's birthday interview, I want to do a similar birthday interview to journal Naomi's developments and current interests thus far but my problem is Naomi just started talking few words and can't string a sentence yet. As such, she can't possibly answer all my interview questions. This said, I will just write down the interview questions (and modify some as I deem fit to Naomi's age now) and answer them based on Naomi's current milestones and interests.

1. How old are you today? 34 months and 1 day old.

2. What is your favourite colour? Not sure yet. I can say all the colours but can only match some of the colours to their names correctly for the time being.

3. What is your favourite food? Creamy pasta, all sort of vegetables and noodles.

4. What are your favourite desserts? Butter-cream cake and yoghurt.

She loves butter cream!

5. What is your favourite fruit? Strawberry.

Strawberries are expensive, Mama says. But I don't care.

6. What are your favourite toys now? Play-Doh and cooking set. 

7. What are your favourite TV shows? Donald Duck and Chip & Dale (for now).

8. What is your favourite animal? Dinosaur. Oh, dogs too.

9. Where are your favourite places to hang out? Arcades and parks.

10. What are your favourite songs now? Pull the Carrot (拔萝卜) and Rain Rain Go Away.

Rain, go away!

11. What do you like to wear? Matching pyjamas.

12. What makes you happy? New toys and water play.

13. What makes you sad? The moments when my parents take Ah Gong's iPad and smartphone away from me.

14. What are you good at? Making a mess?

The messy mess.

15. What makes you laugh? Daddy and funny cartoons.

So funny.

16. What are you afraid of? The sound of thunders.

17. Who is your best friend? Maybe Dorothy (Mommy here is not sure about this one, ok? Dorothy is the one who loves to Hi-5 Naomi every now and then.. so likely Naomi's BFF is Dorothy.)

18. What do you love about school? The fun activities, play times, singing and friends.

Introducing my Shanghai Doll.

19. What are your favourite activities other than playing? Sleeping and transforming myself into a couch potato.

20. What are your worst habits? So many that I better list them in bullet points for clarity as follows:
  • Sucking my pacifier almost all the time, especially at home. I can do without pacifier and napkin at school tho'.
  • Randomly placing my pacifier and napkin when I don't need them then frantically and furiously look for them when I want them.
  • Running around like a hyper kid when my parents bring me out to the supermarket, mall, park and other fun places.
  • Riding one and each of the joy rides I can find in the mall or hypermarket before I agree to join Mommy for groceries shopping.
  • Putting all the toys I want to the shopping trolley without thinking of the price.
  • Wanting to eat the unpaid strawberries in the supermarket trolley before Mommy or Daddy could find any place to wash them.
  • Peeing on my pants when I am angry.
  • Crying buckets and throwing tantrums when I don't get what I want. Never mind the location.
  • Not bothering to clean up my toys after playing. But sometimes, I do clean my toy mess when I have the mood.
  • Sleeping horizontally so Mom and Dad don't get much bed space and wake up with body aches the next morning.
  • Sleeping with all my toys-of-the-night. They eat the bed space but I want to sleep with them
  • Peeling my fingers and toes' hard skin and nails until they look quite ugly despite my parents' and teachers' scoldings and warnings.
  • Eating my booger silently. Usually Mom and Dad will shriek then scream, "No No, No No!"
  • And many more.

The above pretty much depicts Naomi's current interests. As for her latest achievements, my girl's vocabulary has now grown larger as opposed to few months back. Naomi can now communicate to us what she wants and what she doesn't want. She can sing few nursery songs and count 1-10 in English, Bahasa Indonesia/Melayu and Mandarin with our guidance. In addition, Naomi is now able to identify, recognize and say some objects he is familiar with out loud. She loves to show her affection to us and that's why I consider her as a little heart-breaker. Further, Naomi can eat her food by herself, go to toilet, undress and dress without our assistance. Nevertheless, Naomi still wants to co-sleep with us and is very attached to her pacifier and napkin. What else, ah?

Words of Comfort

Initially, I had no plan in doing another Dylan edition in my blog, especially writing about him few times in a row like what is happening now but something that I chanced upon this morning prompted me to do another writing that relates to Dylan. So here it goes.

Just before I left Naomi's school/day-care after I dropped her off this morning, one of her teachers stopped me at the front door. He was holding his Holy Bible in Bahasa Melayu and said "Naomi's Mommy. Can we have a word?"

He sat down on a small blue bench in the car porch then I sat down too.

"What happened?" I curiously asked him.

"No. I just would like to share the words of God that came to me when you picked Naomi up last week and I was gardening then. When I saw you last week, some Bible verses came to me and God (or Holy Spirit - I can't remember) wanted me to share those words with you."

"I noticed you have been posting about your late son on Facebook so I thought of sharing these with you." he opened his Bible. "1 Thessalonians 4:13-15. You read this." he passed his Bible to me.

Since I was kind of caught off guard when Naomi's teacher sat me down and suddenly talked about Dylan, I hastily read the verses he asked me to read.

"You understand what this means?"

"Hmm." I nodded. "About those who had passed".

"Yes."

I don't recall what he exactly told me earlier but roughly this is the gist of his explanation of the pointed verses, "Your son was a believer. We are also believers. Basically, in your case, God has taken care of your son. He took your son and is now having him with the other believers in Heaven. Because you are also a believer, one day you will reunite with your son in a place that God has dedicated for His followers. You should have hope because you have a family or someone who is waiting for you up there."

When I reached home, I quickly searched for the verses that Naomi's teacher told me about by using the help of Google. I wanted to know more about this. 

Seconds later, I found the English version of the verses discussed and when I particularly looked for 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15, the below came out.


Comfort about Christians who Have Died

13 But we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve like other people who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so through Jesus God will bring those who have died with him. 15 For we declare to you what the Lord has told us to say:[a] We who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who have died.

These verses talk about comforts for the grieving hearts.

Not too satisfied with the English version, I wanted to read these verses in Bahasa Indonesia as well. I then frantically looked for my old Bible written in Bahasa Indonesia. My English Bible (a gift from a best friend for my baptism on Christmas 2008) is in the book shelf... but my Indonesian Bible is not.. Where is it? After searching high and low, I finally found my old Bible in one of the drawers in the family area upstairs. Phew! Admittedly, I have not been reading this old Bible of mine for years as recently I utilize the convenience offered by smartphones and internet for reading some Bible verses.

Anyway, here's the Indonesian version of these verses that I copied from my Bible.
1 Tesalonika 4:13-15 
13 Selanjutnya kami tidak mau, saudara-saudara, bahwa kamu tidak mengetahui tentang mereka yang meninggal, supaya kamu jangan berduka cita seperti orang-orang lain yang tidak mempunyai pengharapan. 14 Karena jikalau kita percaya, bahwa Yesus telah mati dan telah bangkit, maka kita percaya juga bahwa mereka yang telah meninggal dalam Yesus akan dikumpulkan Allah bersama-sama dengan Dia. 15 Ini kami katakan kepadamu dengan firman Tuhan: kita yang hidup, yang masih tinggal sampai kedatangan Tuhan sekali-kali tidak akan mendahului mereka yang telah meninggal.
When I found the verses in my old Bible, I realized that I already had some words highlighted and underlined (as shown above) when I read this chapter years ago.

Coincidence? I don't know.

Moving on, I shared these verses via Whatsapp with my BFF in Indonesia who had just lost her mother few months back.

Upon reading my message, she commented, "I have forgotten about these verses".

"Me neither. I only remember the verse that talks about children coming to the Kingdom of God when I think of Dylan. Let your sister know about these verses as well."

She further read this chapter and informed me, "The last part of the chapter goes - Encourage one another with these words. How apt. These verses suit me, you and my sister's situation now." 

Having said the last verse that my BFF mentioned, I am sharing these verses here too so other angel parents or other fellow Christians who are currently grieving for the loss of their loved ones can also seek comforts in these words.

Finally... I hope Naomi's teachers have not discovered the existence of my blog nor read this blog post; otherwise, it's going to be awkward.

Monday, August 17, 2015

One Year

I was too lazy and tired to do anything with my laptop over the weekend after being so busy cleaning my house and going out hence the delay in posting this one.

As I shared in my previous blog post, for Dylan's first anniversary, my husband and I intended to visit Dylan's grave. So far, only my husband and I remember or pay attention to anything related to Dylan, such as his birth/death day, and usually only the two of us, sometimes Naomi too, visit his grave. Other family members (except my parents and parents-in-laws) don't know where Dylan was laid to rest and all of them, our parents included, wouldn't remember the exact day when Dylan was born sleeping either. I suppose, in our culture, a baby that already passed away is generally meant to be let go and forgotten so that's why family members rarely talk about the baby nor visit the baby's grave. I even had to casually inform my Mom via BBM chat that last Saturday was Dylan's first anniversary and her response was as simple as "Is it?". "Yep.", I replied.

The sky poured rain several times on Saturday. This could be just another coincidence but whenever we have a plan to visit Dylan, I think Mother Nature always sends us some rains. The world's next big mystery, this one is.

Before we headed to the cemetery, I told my husband to make a trip to the florist in town first to buy some flowers. Since it was a raining afternoon and Naomi was just napping in my arms, I stayed in the car while my husband went to buy the flowers. From the car, still in the mood of Lavender colour, I instructed my husband to get some soft pink/purple chrysanthemums instead of the yellow or white ones.

After we got the flowers, the rain got heavier somehow. By the time we reached to the cemetery, it was still raining. I asked my husband if we should wait in the car or go back home first until the rain stopped then we place the flowers on Dylan's grave. He shook his head, took the umbrella out and got out of the car.

15.08.15: This is for you, angel baby.

I didn't want to wake Naomi up as yet because she just started dozing off minutes ago and if this girl doesn't have enough afternoon nap, she'd be a cranky little monster for the rest of the day. As such, I didn't get leave the car and just watched my husband cleaning Dylan's grave and putting the flowers there alone.

My husband braving the rain.

The visit was brief. I think we were only there for about 15 minutes or so?

Finally, I think it was relatively easy for me to go through Dylan's first anniversary last Saturday. No sadness, no heavy heart.. Perhaps just a pang of heartache when the flashback on August 15th last year came across. I certainly had more dreadful thoughts when I expected his EDD to come in October last year. Other angel Moms out there would probably be able to relate to this.

A year had gone by.
There's nothing like a path that angel parents have to walk.
The first year was indeed an indescribable journey of survival. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

365 Days

Today is the 15th, but not the usual the 15th.

Today's the 15th is rather special.

Today is Dylan's first anniversary.

A year to remember.

Last year, on this date around this hour, I was still in the hospital, waiting to be cleared by my Gynae so I could be discharged. My husband was probably busy running around or making phone calls, arranging for his newly born son's burial which later on took place as soon as I left the hospital.

I remember on the way to the cemetery, I kept on hearing this loud heart-wrenching weird singing. A song that surely was not meant for the living. It was a song that was so eerie, sung in alien language. I thought I had gone mental because my son had died and I kept hearing this very odd song that perhaps was sung by angels. Was I listening to some divine sign from above, that Dylan had finally gone to Heaven or something? Turned out, I was not the only one who heard that song. My husband told me the funeral car that carried Dylan's remains and coffin played this song all the way from the hospital to the cemetery. God.

Speaking of the 15th this time around, I plan to go to visit Dylan with my husband later today and bring some fresh cut flowers for my son. I thought of bringing him a toy or colourful flower wind wheel but I likely cancel the latter idea.

Weeks ago, my husband actually managed to find a headstone supplier who could replace Dylan's current wooden headstone with the one made from granite. I wanted a nicer, sturdier and proper headstone for my son's first anniversary. Who knew that the supplier we engaged is so unreliable and until now he has not even given us the draft to vet before he lays the writings I came up with into the granite headstone. This supplier said he could do Dylan's headstone in two weeks and we have given him the 75% payment for the job.. It's almost a month now and still nothing.

So it's been a year.

When Dylan just passed away, I really could not picture myself a year later. A year later was such a distant place to go to. It almost sounded like I'd need a lifetime to travel to a year later. Then, I didn't know how I was going to go through one day without tears or thinking of him. Later on, I found out that the tears had stopped coming on daily basis but a spark of his memory lingers in my head. Every single day. I just can't shake him off although I am not sad any more.

And here I am now.

I have (emotionally) survived 365 days.

As I may have said before - Time does heal apparently, although it takes time. Little by little the emptiness and bottomless sorrow that I felt lessened by distracting and keeping myself busy, crossing some items in my bucket list, focusing on doing the things that I enjoy as well as trying to count my blessings instead of my losses. Before I continue, I must clarify that the last point mentioned above is the hardest to do. In a nutshell, that's how I learnt to live my life again - after my stillborn.

Still longing for Rainbow.

I now have new dreams and hopes for the future and look forward to make them come true. I still don't know "why" I lost my son - why it happened to me, to us. Nonetheless, I try my level best not to look back too frequently and leave the past in the past.

I have accepted my loss, but have not forgotten it. As yet.

Happy first anniversary (in Heaven), Dylan!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lavenders in Cameron Highlands

In early July, I had the chance to go to Cameron Highlands again (for the third time) with my husband's family. Our itinerary for our Cameron Highlands' trip last month was pretty much the same with the previous ones - checking out Pasar Malam, morning market, tea plantation, strawberry farms, bee farms and so on. This said, I had been to these places at least twice by now.

If you ask me the highlights of my visit to Cameron Highlands this year, I'd say the moments when I finally checked out the Lavenders farms, took photos with pretty Lavenders in the background, smelled the light aroma of real Lavenders and ate Lavender Ice Cream.

From what I know, there are two places you can go to if you want to see or take photos with Lavenders in Cameron Highlands. I've been to both places so here's a bit of information on both places.

Ohai, Lavenders!

1. Cameron Lavender

On our last day in Cameron Highlands, just before we left this famous tourist spot in Malaysia, I told my husband that I wanted to see Lavenders. I once saw my friend posted some pictures of her with Lavenders when she went to Cameron Highlands a while back so I really wanted to see some Lavenders the next time I go to this place.

My husband didn't mind.

Lavender beds in Cameron Lavender.

My husband didn't know that there are now Lavender farms in Cameron Highlands because the last time we came here, we didn't think there was any. When we googled Cameron Highlands + Lavender, the first thing that came out in the search engine was this place called Cameron Lavender, which according to its website is the latest tourist spot addition to Cameron Highlands.

This place houses other colourful flowers too.

After my husband communicated my intent with my in-laws, we headed to this place. When we reached to this place and MIL realized that we needed to pay RM 6 per pax to enter, she didn't want to join us and volunteered to take care of Naomi in the car while my husband and I checked this place out alone.

Me with the love locks.

My first impression when I stepped into this place was "Welcome to the very purple world." Almost everything, except the flowers other than Lavenders, in this place has purple tone in it.

Lavender close-ups.

If I recall correctly, the first flower beds that visitors greet when they enter this place would be Lavenders. I was so happy when I finally could be so close to Lavenders! I always thought that Lavenders are some kind of flowers that you can only encounter in Western countries or Japan so they are very special.. but hey, they are now available in Malaysia too (actually Genting also has).

Purple house.

Since it was only my husband and I who were exploring this place while the rests of the family members waited for us in the car (the entrance fee basically turned them off), my husband and I just circled this place real quickly. At the same time, we tried to take some photos with the cute and dainty (mostly purple) props scattered in the whole garden as mementos.

The purple car my husband refused to take picture with.

My husband and I stopped by the purple gift shop somewhere inside this place which sold mainly Lavender based products as well but we didn't buy anything. Ain't got time for shopping.

Hey kitty.. kitty..

I also noticed that there was another beautiful garden uphill within the premise but we skipped checking that garden because we didn't want to make our in-laws wait for us in the car too long.

So yeah.. our visit to Cameron Lavender was very brief but no regret going to this place. In fact, I wish we had more time to slowly explore this place because we sort of wasted our RM 6 entrance fee by rushing the visit that day. But nevermind lah..

Cameron Lavender
Address: Tringkap, Cameron Highlands, 39100 Pahang, Malaysia
Phone: +605 4961 208
Opening hours: Daily (9am-6pm on Mon-Thu and 9am-7pm on Fri-Sun)
Entrance fee: RM 6/adult, RM 4/kid

2. Green View Garden

The last spot we visited before we headed home was Green View Garden. I didn't know this place also hosts Lavenders. And the best part is.. you don't have to pay to enter this place so we all got off the car and went inside the garden.

Getting lost in the Lavender farm.

Green View Garden is actually another flower nursery and strawberry farm in Cameron Highlands but somehow we were not after their strawberries when we were there. We were more attracted to their Lavender farm. In addition, it also has a cafe that serves delectable strawberry desserts but too bad, we didn't try any.

RM 5 fine for every strawberry plucked! Don't play play.

Naomi and her cousins were so happy running around in the garden and seriously, just like Cameron Lavender, this place is perfect for capturing your Kodak moments.

Peek-a-Boo!

One of the tourist facilities that I really liked from this place is their colourful beach hut props that visitors often use as photo background. They are so appealing, aren't they?

The kids taking pictures with the colourful houses.

My husband asked me to pose and create human alphabets using the beach huts as the background but my attempt was a total flop. The pictures looked quite weird and didn't come out nice - I am so aunty already and undeniably not flexible. My pony-tailed hair and shirt-and-jeans outfit that day didn't complement my photo sessions either... LOL.

L O V E.

Since all family members were also checking out this place, we had quite a bit of time to thoroughly explore their House of Lavender, including their Lavender-inspired shop that sells various Lavender products and ice cream!

Bad hair day and pardon the eye bags too.

I am not an ice cream person but when I found out that the House of Lavender sold Lavender Ice cream, I was compelled to buy and eat one - even though the home-made ice cream was priced at RM 6.90 per cone. My husband hesitated because the ice cream was considerably expensive but I insisted and told him that it's a rare experience. Where else could we taste Lavender Ice Cream? The queue to get that ice cream that day was quite long... but worth it.

Yum yum!

The Lavender Ice Cream tasted refreshing and a bit tangy with mild Lavender aroma. Rest assured, you won't feel like eating Lavender lotion or mosquito repellent. So buy one if you never had one before.

After chasing around Naomi, taking pictures with the Lavenders here and there and eating the Lavender Ice Cream, I concluded my visit to this place and got in the car before saying adios to Cameron Highlands.

If I were to go to Cameron Highlands again, I guess I wouldn't mind coming to this place one more time just like going to BOH Tea Plantation or Big Strawberry Farm twice or three times.

Green View Garden
Address: 11 Taman Matahari Cerah, Kampung Raja, 39010, Cameron Highlands, Pahang
Phone: +60 5 4981 982
Operating hours: 9am - 6.30pm
Entrance fee: Free

I suppose Lavenders now have become the newest Cameron Highlands' icon that people actually produce and sell fridge magnets with Lavender designs for souvenirs in Cameron Highlands, on top of the usual strawberries, corns, sunflower or cactus designed magnets.

I am a fridge magnet buyer kind of tourist.

Last but not least, if you are planning to go to Cameron Highlands, make sure you include Lavender gardens visit in your itinerary.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Sweet Corns O' Mine

About three or four months ago, my husband's friend who was into agriculture gave him few sweet corn seeds for us to plant when he learnt that my husband loves to grow vegetables in our back yard.

Naomi watering the corn plants.

Fast forward three or maybe four months later, our sweet corn plants have grown tall and high (I wish I could use these two words to describe our corn plants here) and produced sweet corns too.

I told you they are so mini.

Were we happy? Of course. We were very happy when few weeks ago, we noticed that the corn plants had actually grown tassels that meant the plants had grown to full maturity and were going to bear sweet corns soon.

Sweet corns as small or smaller than adult's hand palms.

One question though, why are the corn plants we grow so short?

The plants actually grew tassels and produced sweet corns when their height was probably around Naomi's height. How abnormal this is especially since I know that corn plants can grow as tall as or even taller than me. In times like this, I blame the soil quality in our backyard especially since we water the plants and my husband fertilize them regularly. I am convinced that the soil is not suitable for growing plants.

Corn screaming to be picked.

True enough, the corns that our plants produced, given the plants' size, are also mini (and cute I must add). Yesterday evening, I told my husband that we could actually harvest some of the corns in our back yard already because I read from the internet that when corns' silk turns brown but the husks are still green, they are ready to be harvested.

Naomi harvesting corns for the first time.

In the end, after briefly checking all the corn plants we picked four sweet corns that were ready to be harvested. Naomi had fun harvesting the (baby but not so baby) corns and it was actually our first time in harvesting corns too - so it was quite exciting experience.

Naomi fighting over the corn with me.

Soon after we were done with harvesting the corns, I decided to boil two of the mini sweet corns for Naomi since she was so eager to eat them raw already.

Good to know that the corns are indeed very sweet, despite its size.

Want some?

When I showed the above picture of me boiling the dwarf corns, my Mom commented that I was wasting my LPG for boiling only two mini corns. LOL. What to do? My husband wanted to keep the other two corns for his mother so I couldn't boil all of our harvests yesterday.