30 November 2009

Zoe's bum - retouched

This is absolutely my favorite tooshie photo from my files --not that I have many, mind you. We were at Big Wave Bay on a lazy Saturday morning in June. I love the way Zoë looked in her little itty-bitty bikini, with her baby arms and legs in full display.


She was just standing there, gazing out at the water, watching the waves come in. It wasn’t until much later that day that she dared venture to get her little toes wet.


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27 November 2009

Seen in Hong Kong #10 : MTR



MTR stands for Mass Transit Railway. In Singapore, they call this the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit). The MTR is one of the fastest, most efficient, and most reliable modes of transportation here. It does get a bit packed during rush hour, but there is also a higher frequency of trains during rush hour, so you can always wait for the next train if the current one is already packed like a can of sardines.

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There are panels on both sides of each train that has all the stations’ names listed. There are announcements at each stop and there are prompts on where to get off to change trains for a different line. The next station’s name conveniently lights up as the train approaches it. A light also prompts you from which side of the train to exit.


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Do you see the Mickey Mouse ears on the pink line? That's the line you take to go to Disneyland.

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For as long as you can reference your way to an MTR station, you will never get lost in Hong Kong.

~~--~~


I like to look at shoe fashion while taking the MTR. Can you guess which foot is mine?

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Have a great Thanksgiving weekend, everyone!


26 November 2009

The Whine Test



Some days I get glimpses of what life might be like when Josh is a teenager.

The other night he wanted to have some ice cream after dinner. I said no. I told him that he could have some the following day if he’d finish his meals promptly. (This was after he took four hours –yes, four hours!! –to just finish his lunch that day. Ah, the drama.)

Josh whined and nagged. I told him to save his breath because it wouldn’t make me change my mind. He whined and nagged some more. I repeated that he could have some the following day, but that he wasn’t going to get any that night. To which, I got --

What? Do you want me to whine all night?

It was all I could do to not to react to that. I was so struck by his sass, yet totally amused that he’d thought that his non-stop whining would eventually wear me down. Yeah, Josh. I’d thought that, too, but I’d underestimated your PoPo. And you, my dear child, are underestimating me.

What do you do to stop the whining and the nagging? For how long do you let it go on before it gets to you?

(Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who celebrate it!)

25 November 2009

My Turn at Pretend Play



Chris and I were visiting my aunt in Qingdao (青島) back in 2004. Yes, where the Tsingtao Brewery (Tsingtao Beer) is based.
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My aunt is a marine biologist and this is her office. The picture below is of me looking into a microscope at some foraminifera. I won’t pretend to know what they are or even attempt to simplify and explain what I think they are. What you see next to me are some models my aunt had made based on the actual dimensions of the microscopic foraminifera. They look like tiny shells of various shapes and patterns.
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I had always wanted to have a photo of me doing something that every day Joe does not get to do. Pity I forgot to take off my jacket and don a white lab gown before I had this picture taken!

24 November 2009

Sugary Gooey Temptation





Here is a pic of the gingerbread house that Josh did with his cousins three Christmases ago.
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This is probably what we’re hoping to replicate with the gingerbread house kit that I bought at the bazaar on Sunday. That is, if the candies don’t mostly end up being in their mouths instead of on the house. We did this kit when Josh was 23 months, Big K was 2.5 years old, and A was 3 years old.


Each little one had a little container where we put the candies and surprisingly, tempting as it was, not a single candy was eaten by any of the kids. I am not so confident that this will be the case when we do the kit this time.
DSC01930I still can’t get over how round Josh’s cheeks were…. hmmmm!
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We all had so much fun watching the kids decorate the gingerbread house. The children were all so proud of their collaborative efforts. We had the gingerbread house on display for about 3-4 days before we threw it out. A bit wasteful, I’ll admit, but none of us could stomach eating all that gooey sweetness.

What do you do with the gingerbread house once it’s done?

23 November 2009

Bazaar Fun



There is nothing I love more than the atmosphere of a Christmas bazaar –especially one that is held outdoors, on a perfect-weather day. Even more so if said bazaar has lots of activities for the little people.

We decided to check out the Repulse Bay Christmas Bazaar this year and I am so glad we did.

Despite having to wait a bit just to get into the car park (because it was full and we had to wait for cars to go out before we could go in), we all had a good time at the bazaar. There were the usual stalls selling Christmas knick-knacks, clothing, jewelry, and toys.


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For the children, there was a bouncy castle, arts and crafts tables, --

Zoë and Josh making pasta necklaces…DSC03957

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coloring,DSC03962


and face-painting.

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Can you guess which superhero…?DSC03970

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Best of all, I was able to get a gingerbread house kit that I’d somehow missed getting the past two years because it was always all sold out by the time I’d remembered to go buy it!


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Now, I have to find somewhere to keep it, where little people cannot easily access.


22 November 2009

Sailing Sunday



It’s a perfect Sunday morning –sun shining, temperature around 18oC (60oF). A perfect day to be out –hiking, going to the park, going on a picnic, and even sailing, it seems!

Zoë was looking out the window when she cried out, “Look, Mommy! A baby sailboat and a mommy sailboat!”


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I looked and what appeared to be a regatta was in full swing.

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Once in a while, we’d get sailboats passing through, but once or twice a year we’d see whole fleets of them sail past and go around the bend heading on to the south side of the island.

It’s nice to see colorful sails go past, apart from the view of tugboats, cruise ships, fishing boats, and other commercial vessels that we normally see.

It was quite a nice start to the day to see these colorful sails dot the blue water as they go by.


20 November 2009

Budding Reader



Both Chris and I are avid readers and we are hoping that both Josh and Zoë will grow up to love books as well. We’ve been reading with them ever since they were babies.

Josh can ask to buy toys and no matter how much he whines or nags, I can resist the urge to give in (well, most of the time). If he asks to buy a book, he does not need to ask twice.

Growing up, I was surrounded by books. On her way from work, sometimes my mom would drop by the bookstore and she’d come home with bags (and on a couple of occasions, boxes!) of books. I remember how happy and how excited I’d get each time I’d see her come home with another stack of books. I would just lose myself in the stories, in the pictures, in the interesting facts.

Josh is now starting to read simple books on his own. During ‘quiet time’ (in lieu of naptime), he either reads or he draws on his sketchbook.


Yesterday, this was how he spent his quiet time.

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I love his look of concentration as he tries to make out a word.
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Have a great weekend, everyone!

19 November 2009

A Little Christmas Every Night



This is what we do every night once the Christmas tree is up.


After dinner, we turn off all the lights in the room and turn on the Christmas lights and play Christmas music.  We all then have a little “party” –singing along to the carols, dancing around.


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Zoë is totally excited about Christmas. This morning when she woke up, she didn’t come to our bed as she would do every morning; instead, we found her sitting on the floor, gazing up at the Christmas tree. Also, now whenever we want her cooperation on anything, we just have to invoke Santa’s name and it’s like magic.

We probably won’t start putting presents under the tree until closer to December at least. I don’t know how much of Josh’s and Zoë’s restraint we’ll be testing by putting out the presents early.

When do you start putting presents under your tree?

18 November 2009

Simple Joy



We put up our Christmas tree today. I’d promised Josh and Zoë and they both were so excited. As soon as lunch was finished, we put up the ornaments. Zoë was so bubbly… singing and squealing with excitement. When everything was up, Josh decided that he would draw some Christmas ornaments (see here) to cut out and hang on the tree. So he busied himself drawing.


Zoë, by that time, I could tell, was tired and ready for her nap. She came to me, looking all sad.
Zoë: Mommy, I need something. 
Me: What do you need, Zoë? 
Zoë: Something to make me happy. (Said with this really forlorn look that makes you just want to pick her up and cuddle her.) 
Me: What would make you happy? 
Zoe: Something pretty.
She wanted some sweet loving attention. She’d get all cuddly (or cranky) whenever she’s tired, but she’s never tried this approach before where she “needs something to make [her] happy.”
Me: Is a flower pretty?
Zoë: Yes.
Me: Would you want a flower? 
Zoë: Yes. 
Me: What color would you want your flower to be? 
Zoë: A purple one. (Surprise, surprise.) 
Me: Why don’t you go nap and when you wake up, you might just get a purple flower. Okay?
 Zoë: Okay.
While she was napping, I made a little happy flower fan for Zoë .
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This is the back –pink.
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Josh helped me pick a purple popsicle stick, because “Zoë loves purple.”

When she woke from her nap, we gave her the fan and she was so happy. Her big sweet smile as she held on to her flower fan was priceless. “I like it, Mommy. I like it really much.”

~~--~~


Yet another reminder to myself that it takes very little to make my children happy. That I just need to spend time and play with them and listen to them. Sounds easy enough, yet I find myself “forgetting” with my self-absorption sometimes. Books/blogs to read, posts to write, games to play (guilty!), business to take care of, phone calls to make/return, errands to run. How important are the rewards or consequences of those actions compared to my children’s happiness and well-being? I have to remember that now, they still want me to play with them. There will come a time when they would rather play with their friends. I wouldn’t want Josh or Zoë to look back on this time and say, “Oh, Mommy was too busy…”

How can I NOT forget?

Christmas Tree Up!



This was actually meant to be a surprise for Chris for when he comes home from his trip. Josh had been pretty good at not telling Daddy the “secret” when he would talk to Chris on the phone. Last night, when Chris called, Zoë kept saying that she wanted to talk to Daddy, so I handed her the phone. Without any preamble, she announced, “Daddy, we decorations the Christmas tree. It’s really beautiful.”

So, the secret is out and I can post the pics now. Zoë got the honor of putting the star up on the tree.


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We didn’t put up all the ornaments this year, because Josh wanted to make his own Christmas decorations and use those instead. He made drawings of Santa’s sleighs,


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presents..DSC03904

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Santa’s sack,DSC03906



and stars.
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He said he’s not done yet, that he will make more when he comes home from school today. He makes the drawings. I cut them out and attach a piece of string to each. Both Josh and Zoë hung them up.

Josh told our helper that she should not throw any of his decorations away, because “we can use them again next year.” I believe I will keep them and will want to use them for years and years to come. I’d already written down at the back of each the date when he made those and maybe I’ll have each one laminated for better keeping and future use.

Is your Christmas tree up yet?

~~--~~

For more WW fun, check out 7 Clown Circus and 5 Minutes for Mom.


17 November 2009

To Keep Their Toesies Warm




My no-sew quilt is finished! And none too soon. The weather is finally getting colder. The temperature’s dropping to 12oC (75oF) overnight. I know it’s not cold COLD the way it gets where some of you live, but believe me, this is cold for around here.

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I knew Josh would love it because of all the colors. He still says that his favorite color is Rainbow. Zoë loves it because it has purple squares and because of the fringes.

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I still hope to make a proper quilt one day –one each for Josh and Zoë. First, I have to learn how to use a sewing machine. Or a better idea would be to ask my mom to make them! This way, Josh and Zoë can each have a quilt from their PoPo, the way that I have a quilt that my PoPo had made me. I love that quilt and the memories it brings. (Ma, are you there? I know you read my blog religiously… This is a big fat request. Pretty please?)


Do you have something that your Grandma made for your that you treasure dearly?

16 November 2009

You Can’t Find Me!



A favorite game these days over here is hide-and-seek.
Josh has a favorite hiding spot: Underneath a pile of toys, in a corner, by the couch. The first time he hid there, it took over five minutes of earnest searching to find him. Now five minutes may not seem long, but if you consider how small our place is, it is an eternity! Because he was so successful at not being found whenever he’d hide there, he would use that spot often. We play along. *Wink, wink*
Because Zoë has heard us tell Josh what a cool hiding spot he’d found, she also wanted a go at hiding there. She would get us to help her into the spot and cover her up with the toys. Then we’re supposed to count to 10 and then find her. The thing is, she can not stay still. She fidgets. She gets all excited and even before we finish counting, she pops up.
Here I am!
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13 November 2009

Is It Bragging or Simply Parental Pride?



monkeys

(With the weekend coming up, I'm hoping that you will have time to read through a wordier and longer post than usual.)

I felt compelled to write this after reading in a mommy forum about how to handle parents who brag. The question from the original poster was “How do you handle parents who love to brag about their kids? [Or] worse, love to compare..?”

She got the following advice:
  1. Simply tell them that you don’t like to compare, that each child is unique;
  2. Try to understand that they are just proud parents and probably don't know that they're coming across as bragging.
  3. Ignore them/ tune them out.
  4. Short of telling them outright, …make a joke and hope that they'll get the message. Something like, "Wow, I hope my other friends/parents/in-laws aren't bored to tears. I'm forever telling them my child did this and that every time I see them, whether they asked or not. Sometimes I can't help myself, but I need to remember that they might not be as ‘into’ my child as I am!"
And then the rest of the thread kind of branched away from the original question to the discussion of what is classified as bragging. One poster thinks it is “poor form to go on about anything, especially ourselves or our children.” Should you never volunteer anything at all about any of your child’s achievements to other people outside of family? Is it a cultural thing what one considers simply sharing and what another might perceive as bragging? When specifically asked, are you shy about providing information about your child that, while true, might be perceived as bragging? If you feel that your answer might put the other child in a less attractive light, do you find yourself throwing in bits of your child’s weaker points to “balance out” the equation? Who is the more insecure of the two: The mother who “brags” or the mother who feels that the other is bragging?

Reading through Tonggu Momma’s post about a similar issue a little over a week ago, the many comments she received on it and also reading through this thread today got me thinking.

My take on this entire issue is that as parents, we are certainly entitled to a certain amount of pride about our children’s achievements (big and small). When we have happy news, we very naturally want to “share.” I know I do. I am guilty of wanting to talk about Josh and Zoë 99% of the time. Fortunately, the people whose ears I bend on this are Chris, our parents, and our helper –all who, I know, share in my love and pride for these two little ones.

Yes, I blog about them here and yes, I do even have a separate blog that just showcases Josh’s “masterpieces.” Is that bragging? Um, yes, if you consider “volunteering info about one’s children” bragging. All my posts about them are based on actual facts, though. Actual things that they had said and done. And my posts about them certainly are not written with any intent other than my wanting to document moments, my thoughts and feelings at the time, in the hopes that one day when we are all older, we will have this to look back on and help remember.

The thing is, I am amazed at these two tikesters –not so much in terms of how smart they are, but really more in the sense of the “discovery” I get when I look at them and see how far they’ve come from the tiny, helpless babies they were not too long ago. I marvel at what they know and do and say, not so much in a “Wow-my-kid-is-super-smart” way, but more in the way a mother would find wonderment and delight in the discovery that her children, whom she had housed in her womb for 9+ months, are “evolving.”

Now, if I were on the receiving end of another parent’s “bragging” about their children, I try to remind myself that I, too, think that my children are the bee’s knees. For as long as they don’t start comparing in a competitive way, for as long as they don’t give me an enlarged photo of their child expecting that I display it at my house (yes –this was apparently what the original poster in the forum was subjected to!), I’d be more than happy to listen and share their delight in their children.

I would love to hear your take on this. Should there be a Motherhood 101 class where we learn how much is too much, when it comes to talking about our children?

Images: ImpactLab / Thought balloons: Mine

12 November 2009

Zoë Tales # 3



Other children pick flowers for their mommies. My daughter? She gathers a handful of leaves for me. For you, Mommy. Like it?
Leaves for Mommy

Zoë could have brought me twigs and I would have felt like she brought me roses.
~~—~~

This was the view from our window when Josh and Zoë came to our bed and woke us up around 6:30am. I sleepily told Zoë to look at the pretty golden sunlight on the water. She took a look --
Zoë: But I want purple.
Me: Purple what?
Zoë: I want purple light.
Me: What color is the sun?
Zoë: Um, yellow.
Me: So you get yellow sunlight.
Zoë: No, I want purple light on dah water.
I gave up. Too early in the morning. Too sleepy to have that discussion with her. Although now that I look at the photo again, I guess she might have been referring to the purplish light on the horizon.
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~~—~~

Zoë knows just how to push Josh’s buttons.

This morning, when Josh was having difficulty pulling the shirt through his head, we were laughing and said, “That’s because you have such a big head.” Zoë immediately ran over to Josh and said, “I have big head and you have small head.”
Josh: No! You have a small head.
Zoë: No! I have big head and you have small head.
Josh: NO, ZOË!! How old are you? (Trying to use logic to prove that because he's older, he has to have the bigger head.)
Zoë: (Two fingers out) Two!
Josh: (Four fingers out) [I'm] Four!
Zoë: (Still two fingers out) Eight!
Josh: ZOË!!!! YOU MUST BE JOKING!!! YOU'RE NOT EIGHT!! I don’t want to play with you anymore! (Stomped off in a huff.)

That is usually how their battles of wills end –with Josh stomping off in frustration.

11 November 2009

Fishy



(You have been warned, Lindy. But these fishies are of the cute variety…)

The weather has been lovely –cool, but sunny, around 24oC. I thought that I’d brave the weekend crowd and take Josh and Zoë to Ocean Park last Saturday.

In a bid to retain and fight for market share against Disneyland, Ocean Park has undergone major redevelopment ever since Disneyland came to Hong Kong. Certain facilities have been upgraded, new ‘attractions’ have been added. One of the newer attractions is Amazing Asian Animals,


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where you see pandas, red pandas, giant dragon salamanders… and koi and goldfish! Lots of them!



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The goldfish came in different varieties and had fancy names like ryukin, black moor, lionhead, dragon-eye, fantail, bubble-eye, pearlscale, …


A ryukinDSC03822


Bubble-eye. You can tell how it got its name. Zoë absolutely loved this one and didn’t want to move along from its tank.DSC03819


I can’t remember what this one is.DSC03827


The following are either ranchus or lionheads. I can’t remember. They all started to look the same after a while!DSC03823

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A couple of pearlscales that were really shy… These were my favorite. They had this round, egg-shaped body that looked like they’d swallowed a ping-pong ball! Really cute.DSC03832

The End.


For more WW fun, check out 7 Clown Circus and 5 Minutes for Mom.


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