31 December 2009

Top Photos of 2009



Today marks my 353rd day of being a blogger. Only 12 more days until my blogoversary. (I didn’t even know that that was a word.) Yes, there will be a giveaway… and I am excited, but I will leave that for another post. Be sure to come back and visit!

Sorry, I knew that had nothing to do with the title at all… I just got carried away and just wanted to blurt everything out!

Back to the business at hand. I’d noticed that a number of you who have been at this longer than I have have been posting “Top 10 Photos of 2009.” What a neat way to end the blogging year! Notice I didn’t put the number 10 on my title. I reserve the right to post more than 10 photos! Here are my top photos of 2009:

1) Our year starts, as it does every year, with Josh’s birthday. I can’t believe that he will be 5 in a little under three weeks!
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2) Josh as a caterpillar for his Beautiful Bug Ball at school. My first foray into sewing and such as a mother.
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3) This is one of my favorite Josh-Zoë pics.
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4) While waiting for the Easter Egg Hunt to begin, Zoë was playing on the slides and started swinging like a chimp. My fearless and irreverent little monkey. Note: She wasn’t even 2 years old in the photo.
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5) This is a look I see very often when my parents are visiting. There really is something very special about the bond between the grandparents and their grandchildren.
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6) Cute, adorable, demanding, and fierce.
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7) A sneak peak into how fun life would be with Zoë around. This was when she wore this basket on her head and ended up getting stuck!
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8) Another Josh-Zoë pic that I love. They’ll look back on this pic and groan that we made them wear matching outfits (again)!
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9) What? Oh, yeah, another Josh-Zoë pic. Proud mommy, much?
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10) This is part of a series of photo of Zoe that I absolutely love. She was playing hide-and-seek here. I’ve been meaning to have them framed in a custom 5-in-1 frame, but haven’t done so. That will have to be on my list of new year’s to-do.
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11) I told you, 10 would not be enough! This was from our trip back to Canada this summer: the partners-in-mischief.
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12) A dozen, okay? I’ll stop after this one. From one of our many visits this year to the happiest place on Earth.
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13) Sorry, but I just have to include this one! Okay, I’ll stop at a baker’s dozen, I promise! This year marks the year Josh learned to read on his own.
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May 2010 be filled with blessings galore
and love of friends and family forevermore.
May we be full of hope, love, and goodwill
And in trying times, learn to chill.
May we teach our children to look beyond toys
And appreciate life’s simple joys.
May our house be filled with laughter.
May we not be blind to the good in others.
May 2010 usher in,
for everyone, a new beginning.

Here’s wishing everyone a very happy new year!

Zoë Tales # 6



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Little Miss Independent wants to do everything Zoë-self.
~ I do it Zoë-self.
~ (Pointing a finger at whomever offers to help) – I don’t need your help. I need my help.
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Zoë: Mommy, I need something.
Me: What do you need, Zoë?
Zoë: Um, um, I need… I need… um… Help me think, Mommy!
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My mom is a big teaser and her grandchildren are not spared.
Zoë wanted to see the smiley faces on her potty training reward chart hanging on the bath room door (which I kept meaning to take down six months ago!). We would draw a smiley face for every time she was "successful" in using the potty and washing her hands.

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The chart is about five feet off the ground. Zoë wanted my mom to carry her so that she could see.
PoPo: Can’t you see it from there?
Zoë: No! I only two years old. I not five!
OF course, PoPo scooped her up so that she could count her smiley faces one by one.

30 December 2009

Bali : Rice Terraces



I’ve always wanted to see rice terraces. I had heard so much about the Banaue Rice Terraces, referred to by the Filipinos as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” but I have never had the chance to see them.

When Chris and I were in Bali in 2004, somebody mentioned that there are rice terraces in Bali, too. I knew we just had to make a trip to see them, even though it was pouring that day.
My photos here don’t do them justice. I couldn’t get out of the car to go shoot from a better vantage point. Even in the rain, though, the sheer beauty of the rice terraces just took my breath away.

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28 December 2009

On Boxing Day, we went to a birthday party to celebrate the first birthday of our friend’s daughter. The highlight of the party for Josh was the entertainer that my friend hired.
I don’t know about you, but I stress over what to do with the children at birthday parties. One year, we held it at our clubhouse and because Josh was still quite young then, I just had a couple of games that I ‘borrowed’ from my sister-in-law when she had a birthday party for our nephew. The next year, we had Josh’s party at ‘The Village’ at his school; the teachers supervised all the activities and kept the children entertained. Last year, we invited a few close friends for lunch and afterwards went to Playtown and let the kids loose while we adults chatted and caught up. This year, we’ve decided to have the party at the clubhouse again… but I didn’t know what activities to do to keep the children entertained. I was originally thinking of some arts and crafts, but I still had to research on suitable and age-appropriate ones. Then we met Jan, the entertainer at this party and I knew we just had to get him for Josh’s party next month. Josh asked him to “…please be really, really funny on my birthday” and is very excited that his friends will meet ‘the clown,’ too.
Jan kept all the children (and us) entertained for over an hour with jokes, silly acts, plate-spinning, giant bubble-blowing, popping three (!) ping pong balls inside his mouth, tug-o-war, among other things.


See Josh spinning the plates on a stick? DSC05094
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Spinning one plate with his finger!DSC05097


Zoë participated in all the activities, but towards the end when Josh was dancing wildly to some 80’s music,

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she decided that she’d rather play with the drum.
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1) Christmas 2006. Josh was 23 months old.

Here, he managed to find and put on a pair of rain boots that belonged to his cousin A. I can’t quite remember what they were doing here, but I love how it looks like Josh was being mischievous and sneaking up on A.


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2) One of my all-time favorite not-meant-to-be-funny-but-turned-out-hilarious pictures of all time. For a time, every time we’d see this photo, we’d just laugh so hard at how funny-mean Josh looks here!


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3) I couldn't resist adding this one, although technically, this wasn't an outtake... Could you tell that Josh had an ice cream treat after a morning at the beach (2007)?


Cute Josh


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Click here for what promises to be a treasure trove of hilarious outtakes.

27 December 2009

Dimsum Delight



I love dimsum… and I am lucky that I live here in Hong Kong where one gets the best dimsum in the world. Nothing beats Hong Kong dimsum.


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After church on Christmas morning and after all the presents have been unwrapped, we decided to go have dimsum at the restaurant that my parents had tried out in their previous visits here – the New Star Seafood Restaurant in Causeway Bay.


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It was a most satisfying dimsum, because unlike dimsum with only just Chris, me and the children, with my parents and my aunt around, we could order a whole lot more variety. Here is a sampling of what we had:


Har Gow (Steamed shrimp dumplings) – A staple dimsum fare.DSC05051


Siu Mai (燒賣)- Another type of dumpling. This one made with pork and shrimps, with crab roe on top. Both Josh and Zoë love these.DSC05061


Fried turnip cake (蘿蔔糕). I love these with hoisin sauce. DSC05042


Cheong Fun (腸粉)- Rice noodle rolls with barbecued pork stuffing. We also love the one with the prawn stuffing.DSC05041


Taro puffs (芋角) – Stuffed with mashed taro, some bits of mushrooms, shrimps and pork --deep-fried in crispy batter. I love these!DSC05047


“Salt-Water” Stuffed Dumpling (鹹水角) – Sweet and sticky on the outside and a bit salty on the inside. Stuffed with pork and chopped vegetables. I’m not a fan of these, but Chris loves them.DSC05046


Crispy pork with mustard on the side. One plate of these is not enough. Sinful, sinful, but my parents love these, so do both Josh and Zoë, and so do I!DSC05053


Steamed BBQ Pork Buns (Char Siu Bau - 叉燒包). Another dimsum staple.DSC05056


Steamed meatballs (牛肉球). Really tender and juicy.DSC05060


Fish congee with century egg. Congee (粥)= Chinese comfort food.DSC05044


Lap Mei Fun (臘味饭). Artery-clogging, sinful, but oozing with flavor, absolutely yummy. Made with cured meat (pork sausages, liver sausages and duck – meat that has been ‘wind-dried’ and preserved).

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Yes, I indulged. Much. Too much.


23 December 2009

Merry Christmas!



DSC05009 The Snowman That Never Melts

Here’s wishing one and all a blessed holiday season!
I’ll be back as soon as I’ve recovered from the holiday festivities…
in time to announce a giveaway for my blogoversary comimg up in January. Watch this space!
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In the meantime, I leave you with my all-time favorite Christmas song…

The Night Before Christmas
Children carry through the streets
A brightly painted star.
Angels gather round the hearth,
Strumming on guitars.
Men of great renown and faith
Say prayers on boulevards.
It's the night before Christmas.
But you don't have to be an angel
To sing harmony.
You don't have to be a child
To love the mystery.
And you don't have to be a wise man
On bended knee.
The heart of this Christmas is in you and me.
If your heart's been longing,
You've been afraid to try,
Sorrow's kept you company,
And the dance has passed by,
I'll lift you up and blaze with you
Across the moonlit sky
On the night before Christmas.
'cause you don't have to be an angel
To sing harmony.
You don't have to be a child
To love the mystery.
And you don't have to be a wise man
On bended knee.
The heart of this Christmas is in you and me.
The heart of this Christmas is in you and me.

Zoë Shutterbug



These are a series of photos that Zoë took with just a phone camera.

These flowers here were swaying in the wind. She used one hand to steady the ‘big’ flower and took the picture, holding the camera with the other hand.


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For a 2-year old, I’m pretty impressed. She gets the subject in focus and her composition is pretty good, too. We might need to get her her own real camera after all.

Click 5 Minutes for Mom and 7 Clown Circus for more WW fun.


22 December 2009

Zoë (and Josh) Tales # 5



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It was Uno time. We usually all sit down on the floor to play Uno. My mom was on the couch, though. Zoë wanted PoPo to come down and sit beside her on the floor.
PoPo: Why should I sit next to you on the floor?
Zoë: Because you love me, PoPo.
What’s a doting PoPo to do but to slide off the couch, creaky bones and all, and sit down on the floor next to Zoë?
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Josh: I’m an expert at making towers, PoPo. See, I’m making the Eiffel Tower of Pisa!

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