April 29, 2009

Yiu Yiu and the pregnancy

I haven’t been writing about Yiu Yiu’s receptiveness towards the baby. We’ve been psyching her since we found out about the pregnancy and she’s pretty excited and eagerly looks forward to the arrival of the baby. Whenever she remembers, she’ll kiss my tummy when she wakes up and before going to bed, and wishes Good Morning and Good Night to the baby, respectively.

We’ve tell her that she’s gonna be a big sister soon, and that we’ll need her help around the house when baby arrives. And she tells me that she’s a big girl now, and can carry baby when she comes out. I’ve also been reinforcing to her that when baby comes, the baby will love her and she must love the baby too, and that I’ll love them both. Hopefully, this will mitigate any jealousy that may arise, since I’d definitely not be able to spend much time with her then.

When asked if she wants a baby boy or baby girl, here are some of her answers:
Answer 1:
Yiu Yiu: Baby girl.
Mummy: But if baby comes out and it’s a boy how?
Yiu Yiu: Then you give me another baby girl la.
How I wished it were that easy my dear!

Answer 2:
Yiu Yiu: Baby girl.
Mummy: Why you don’t want baby boy meh?
Yiu Yiu: Don’t want! Afterwards baby boy will be naughty like Yihao.

Answer 3:
Yiu Yiu: I want a baby boy and a baby girl.
Mummy had also hoped to have twins - boy and girl together...unfortunately no such luck!

Whenever she drinks milk from her bottle, she wants me to cradle her like a baby.
Yiu Yiu: Mummy, carry me like baby and drink milk milk.
Mummy: You big girl already still want to carry like baby meh?
Yiu Yiu: Aarrgghh! Carry like baby and drink milk milk.
Mummy: Next time baby comes out already how to carry you and baby together to drink milk milk?
Yiu Yiu: You carry baby to drink your nen nen (breastmilk) first, then when baby finish only carry me to drink my milk milk.

On sharing
When she eats anything, she’ll ask me if baby wants to eat or not.
Whenever I mention that some of her clothes are getting smaller, she’ll quickly say, “Keep for baby.”
When asked if she can share her toys with baby, she willingly says yes.
I hope these are signs that she’s really willing to share her stuff with the baby.

April 27, 2009

Into the 3rd trimester

Woohoo…another 10 weeks or so to go. Baby now weighs about 1kg, which is just right for her gestational age. There you go, I’ve just let the cat out of the bag. Yup, we should be expecting a girl, and here's how she looks like.

I’ve gained 5kg so far, and I’m pretty happy…haha…less weight for me to lose post-partum. But then again, I may just balloon up in this trimester.

Nevertheless, I’m starting to feel the heaviness of the bump, especially when getting out of bed. Either that or my joints are getting looser as I feel my whole body aches each time I get up from the bed. It’s also getting increasingly difficult to squat. I don’t quite remember having these kinds of problems in my first pregnancy, maybe it’s due to the fact that I’ve not been exercising at all this round. During my first pregnancy, I swam at least twice a week, as we were staying in a condo then and had easy access to the pool. Now that we are staying in a landed property and with a toddler to mind, I just don’t have the motivation or the energy to drive to my sister’s apartment down the road to use the pool. I just pray that the lack of exercise would not result in a difficult labour.

At 29th weeks now, I’m still having bouts of nausea, especially when I’m hungry or when I’m too full. It’s as if there’s a limit to my stomach capacity and if I overfill it just a tiny wee bit, it’ll overflow. Whenever Yiu Yiu sees me having one of my retching episodes, she’ll ask “Baby kick(s) your throat ah?” :-) But otherwise, my food preference is back to normal.

We haven’t been very meticulous with this pregnancy compared to the first one. At that time, I was diligently reading the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” book chapter by chapter, as the pregnancy progresses. I also never missed reading through the weekly email updates from Babycentre but this round, it’s been almost zilch in terms of reading up, except for a few quick reads when I needed information on foods to avoid during pregnancy or supplements during pregnancy. And up to now, we haven’t given much thought to what we need to buy and/or prepare for the new baby. Heck, we haven’t even started thinking of names either. Gosh! Now I feel like I’m sooo neglecting this pregnancy, even though we waited much longer before we were finally blessed with this baby. I wonder if it’s just me, or is this the case with most parents for their subsequent pregnancies?

April 25, 2009

Bento post #51-#55

Fruit of the week this week is grapes, so you’ll see most of Yiu Yiu’s bentos this week packed with grapes. That’s the usual case, I buy a certain type of fruits, and since hubby is not really a fruit person (except for guava), that leaves only me and Yiu Yiu consuming those fruits, which usually last us one whole week, and sometimes even more.

Monday – had some leftover fried rice so I just added more french beans and carrot and fried them up in the morning. Had wanted to wrap the rice in an omelette ala Nasi Pattaya but my omelette was too small so I just improvised by making it like an omelette pouch. At the side is some guava slices in the shape of fish. This was the last of my guava before I bought those grapes I mentioned.

Tuesday – plain fried beehoon with meatballs, french beans and carrot flower and butterfly. My flower cutter, in fact, all my cutters are relatively huge so I’m not able to make cute little decorations. Have been trying to get some mini-size cutters but no luck so far. And here’s the start of the grapes fiesta.

Wednesday – hubby brought home a piece of cone pizza from a restaurant run by his fellow Lions Club member. I’ve not heard of it, but apparently the cone pizza is the current fad in the fast food scene. I heated it in the oven in the morning and cut out half for Yiu Yiu, the other half being my own breakfast. In my mind, I already suspected that she won’t like it, and true enough, she didn’t eat it. Hubby is not a pizza person but he was told that many people raved about how delicious the cone pizza is. My tastebuds don’t quite agree with it, but perhaps it really is delicious if eaten fresh from the oven.

Thursday – the night before, Yiu Yiu said she wants cheese for her snack the next day, so thought I’d make some cheese sandwich for her. Knowing how fussy she can be, I persuaded her to let me pack her some bread with the cheese, and she finally agreed to have bread with butter, and cheese by the side. The next morning, she declined the bread again, but I reminded her of our agreement, and she finally consented to some bread and butter rolls. But it was to no avail, as the bread and butter rolls ended up in the dustbin. Luckily she still had her cheese and grapes.

Friday – when she saw me frying the omelette with french beans, carrot and button mushroom with the flower-shpaed pan, she immediately said she doesn’t want pancake. Guess my pancake disaster is still fresh in her mind.

April 23, 2009

Finger-lickin’ good time

Durian season is here again and a couple of weeks ago, while passing by SS2, Yiu Yiu asked her papa to buy some durians. Hubby told her that we’ll make a trip there during the weekend but since I had been away most of the recent weekends, we never got to it. Two weeks ago, I took her to the night market to buy some fruits, and she got all excited when she saw a pakcik selling durians, and asked me to buy some. I obliged since she had been asking for some time. That lone kampung durian cost me RM15…but it was such a disappointment. When we got back, we found that half the fruit was spoilt.

Two days later, hubby came back with more – this time, he bought some 猫山皇, supposedly one of the best variant in town. The durians were good, and the little missy had a finger-lickin’ good time.

April 21, 2009

Fun with cousins

We went to pay respects to dad for Ching Ming at Nilai Memorial Park last Sunday. It’s later than usual, since I had been away for the last four weekends. It’s also been a long time since Yiu Yiu met up with her cousins, Yihao and Xiaoyu. Yiu Yiu and Yihao were like long-lost friends, and they had so much fun together. Xiaoyu is a little too small to join in the fun, so she pretty much entertained herself.

Here’s a short video of the two, with Yiu Yiu singing a modified version of “Monkeys jumping on the bed” and Yihao acting the part of the monkey jumping.

And this is of them playing “Ring around the rosie".

Some photos before we left…

Yihao and Yiu Yiu

Yihao and Xiaoyu

April 19, 2009

Bento post #46 – #50

After my hesitation with bentoing last week, I still ended up preparing one for Yiu Yiu each day this week, and here they are:

Monday – a simple one with chocolate chips muffin and slices of bear shaped guava.

Tuesday – I still have some frozen spaghetti bolognese sauce in the freezer so decided to make her some spaghetti. As I was running a little late, I cooked the angel-hair variant, instead of the regular sized spaghetti which would take a longer cooking time. Gave her a slice of pear cut into small pieces for dessert.

Wednesday – I saw this simple to prepare finger food at the breakfast buffet in Novotel Yogyakarta when I was there in February, and had wanted to try making it for Yiu Yiu. It’s not exactly very healthy - bread and sausage roll coated in bread crumbs and deep fried, but at least it contains both protein and carbohydrate. If you notice on the upper piece of the roll, there’s a small speck of chilli – that’s because I ran out of the usual or cheesy variant, and used the chilli and honey sausage, which is meant for myself/hubby. I used the same sausage to prepare the spaghetti sauce, and since Yiu Yiu could take it, I thought she might be able to take the sausage on its own too. How wrong was I – she only took a few small bites on one roll, while the other was untouched. She complained that the sausage was spicy. Okie, time to do some grocery shopping this weekend. She finished the rose apple though – she calls it her favourite apple.

Thursday – she asked for eggs so I made her a hard-boiled egg with the star-shaped egg mould. Added two pieces of chicken nuggets, in the hope she’d eat more, but babysitter told me she didn’t want the nuggets. Again, she finished her favourite apples. I actually bought some Korean strawberries together with the rose apples, but she said no when I offered to pack her some strawberries. She’s never been a fan of strawberries, just like her mummy, coz they are normally rather sour. I’ve heard that Korean strawberries are sweet, so decided to buy some when I saw them at the fruit stall near my office. I tried some, and though they are not that sweet, at least they are not as sour. Looks like I’ve got to finish the whole box of strawberries myself.

Friday – made some french toast and cut them into shapes of dolphin and flowers. Added two pieces of home-made fish fingers and what else but rose apples again. She came back and complained that the fish fingers stuck in her teeth!!! Oh well, at least she ate them.

April 17, 2009

Hong Kong – The New Territories

We took the train to the New Territories, before taking the local minibus to our first stop, the Tai Fu Tai, an opulent 19th century residence was built by a scholar who was bestowed the title of Tai Fu (Mandarin) by the Qing Emperor. Constructed of granite and bricks and adorned with colorful ceramic figurines, plaster moldings, woodcarvings, and murals, it contains a main hall, side chambers, bedrooms, study, kitchen, servants' quarters, and lavatory. The mansion was occupied by descendents of the scholar until the 1980s.

The central courtyard leading to the main hall

Intricate carvings on doors

After spending about an at the mansion, we took a bus back to the train station and headed to our next destination, the Fung Ying Seen Koon, the largest Taoist institute in Hong Kong, dominating the skyline from its commanding site on a hillside overlooking the New Territories town of Fanling. The main hall of the temple stands amidst numerous pavillions and towers, and contains shrines to various Taoist deities. There is also a finely inscribed wall behind the main hall with the 72 Immortals on one side and the entire text of the Tao Te Ching (the Taoist scripture) on the other. We had lunch at the restaurant inside the temple, famous for serving vegetarian meals.

Our vegetarian set lunch

Next, we embarked on the Lung Yeuk Tau (Mountain of the Leaping Dragon) Heritage Trail near Fanling. Many of the historic buildings along the trail are legacies of the Tang clan, the first and largest of the Five Great Clans to settle in the New Territories. The trail, which stretches about 2.25km, passes more than a dozen historic structures along the way, including walled villages (wai tsuen in Chinese), to keep out bandits or marauders – not unlike the gated communities of modern days. It also passes vegetable plots, tended by Hakka women wearing traditional fringed hats. Major highlights include:

Ma Wat Wai
The village is enclosed by walls on four sides, with the main entrance facing north. The gatehouse with its gun platform over the gate is made of thick plated wrought iron. When closed and locked, the design allows air to circulate but provides a good deal of strength at the same time. All the houses in the village are in orderly rows, with a communal altar located at the end of the main alley.

The main entrance of Ma Wat Wai and the communal altar at the end of the main alley

The narrow main alley of Ma Wat Wai

Lo Wai
Constructed on a small hill, this village was the first walled village built by the Tang clan in this area. It is enclosed by thick walls on all four sides, and accessible only through the single narrow gateway on the east side. The narrowness of the entrance was meant to facilitate defence of the village. Next to the entrance is a well, which used to be the village's main water supply. The gatehouse contains a shrine to the Earthgod and has a gun platform above. The houses inside the village have been built in an orderly arrangement and a raised platform on the north wall functions as a watchtower.

Clockwise from top left: Main entrance of Lo Wai, houses inside Lo Wai, the modern houses nearby, the village well

The Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall
This is the main ancestral hall of the Tang clan of Lung Yeuk Tau. Built in the early 16th century in memory of Tang Chung Ling, the founding ancestor, it houses the soul tablets of the clan ancestors. The entire building is decorated with wood carvings, mouldings and murals of auspicious motifs.

Tin Hau Temple
The local Tin Hau Temple is located next to the Tang Clan Ancestral Hall. Tin Hau, protector of fishermen and one of Hong Kong’s most popular deities, is in the Main Hall while Kam Fa, goddess of childbirth, is in the side hall.

Next on our plan was a visit to the Lam Tsuen (Lam Village) Wishing Trees. These two famous banyan trees are a favourite with local villagers who come to burn joss sticks and incense papers hoping their wishes will come true. During Chinese New Year, many Hong Kong people make a pilgrimage to this spot to make their Chinese New Year wishes by tying wish-making papers onto the wooden racks beside the trees. Nearby is the Tin Hau Temple, with the main hall dedicated to Tin Hau, the Goddess of the Sea.

The banyan trees, which are undergoing "restoration" to strengthen the branches

Wish papers on wooden racks

Tin Hau temple at Lam Tsuen

We then took a bus back to the train station and took a train back to Tsim Sha Tsui. Since it was dusk, we dropped by the Avenue of Stars, with commemorative plaques (some with the hand-prints of local stars), sculptures and movie memorabilia paying tribute to the stars of the “Hollywood of the East”. Its location on the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade offers panoramic views of the famed Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong skyline. It is also a good place to watch A Symphony of Lights, which comes on at 8pm daily. The show features flashing neon lights, laser and searchlight beams on more than 40 buildings on both sides of the harbour, synchronised to music and narration that celebrates the energy, spirit and diversity of Hong Kong.

After that, we took a stroll along Nathan Road back to Temple Street Night Market, where we had our dinner, and finally called it a day.

April 15, 2009

Hong Kong – Walking Tours

I went to Hong Kong on a working trip at the end of February, and hubby joined me at the end of my meeting. It has taken a loooong time to me to sort out the photos, as I’m usually dead tired by the end of the day (partly due to the pregnancy, and partly due to waking up earlier in the morning to prepare bentos for Yiu Yiu), and hardly stayed up late to do my own stuff anymore. Anyhow, I figured I better quickly post these up (and more to come on my Yogyakarta trip, also in February) before they grow mould.

We started our holiday with a walking tour of the Central and Western Districts in Hong Kong Island, beginning from the Hong Kong Park, near Conrad Pacific Place where I stayed the last couple of days. It is one of the most popular green lungs among Hong Kong city dwellers, and also where the marriage registry is located. We saw several couples and their families posing for photos outside the pink Rawlinson House, which houses the marriage registry. There’s also the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware, which houses a small collection of tea utensils, with descriptions of tea making through the various Chinese dynasties.

The stairways just outside the Rawlinson House

Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware

We then took the tram to Victoria Peak and had lunch at one of the many restaurants inside the Peak Tower. It was extremely foggy and we could hardly see anything from the rooftop viewing deck. We had initially planned to do the hour-long circular hike around the peak but since the weather was so terrible, we abandoned the idea.

Back in Central, we walked past landmarks such as St. John’s Cathedral, Court of Final Appeal, Duddell Street Steps & Gas Lamps, Victoria Prison Compound, Former Central Magistracy and Former Central Police Station Compound. We then visited Hong Kong Island's oldest and most well-known temple, the Man Mo Temple. The temple, which dates back to the 1840s, pays homage to the Taoist gods of literature (“Man”) and war (“Mo”) — “Man” with his calligraphy brush and “Mo” with his sword. Inside, the air is thick with plumes of aromatic smoke from huge incense coils hung from the ceiling.

The walk continued along Cat Street and Hollywood Road, with rows of curios and antiques shops, into Bonham Strand West (aka Ginseng and Bird’s Nest Street), Ko Shing Street (aka Herbal Medicine Street), Des Voeux Road West (aka Dried Seafood Street) before terminating at the Western Market, an Edwardian-style building originally housing the waterfront Harbour Office when built in 1906. Later it became a public market until 1988 before being renovated and then re-opened as a bazaar for shops and artisans.

We then took a bus to Stanley, located on the southern side of Hong Kong Island. Once a fishing village, Stanley is now a lively center with trendy restaurants strung along the waterfront promenade, as well as various stalls selling everything from silk suits to name-brand shoes, casual wear, and souvenirs. Near the waterfront is Murray House, a 160-year-old restored three-storey colonial building that was dismantled in 1982 from its original site in Central and then rebuilt in Stanley. It reopened in 1999 and now houses the Hong Kong Maritime Museum. Situated beside Murray House is Blake Pier.

Hubby in front of the row of restaurants in Stanley

Blake Pier and Murray House

We took a bus back to Conrad, grabbed our bags and took a taxi to Kowloon, where we’d be staying for the next few days. After checking into the hotel, we walked to the Ladies Market for dinner, before browsing around the various stalls.

April 12, 2009

Bento post #43 – #45

Eh, how come three only this week?

Monday – made some simple dry noodles with soya sauce, and attempted to decorate to french beans fencing, carrot butterflies and fishball clouds. The space was a tad small, so the decorations look a bit crowded. Anyway, no point to pack more than that for her, coz even with this tiny portion she couldn’t finish. Mangoes are in season now and I bought some from a pasar tani in Kuantan last weekend and they were so juicy and sweet. Yiu Yiu has asked for mangoes last week but I didn’t have any but when she saw me cutting the mangoes for her in the morning, she said she didn’t want! Sigh! So fickle-minded, and true enough, she didn’t touch them at all.

Tuesday – bought some fish balls (from Kuantan too), and since I woke up a little late, only had enough time to boil some fishballs and skewer them, and cut two pieces of checkered apples. The apple wasn’t red enough so they didn’t turn out that visually appealing.

Wednesday – woke up at later than yesterday, so no time to do anything, except to cut some guava into bear shapes. Didn’t take any photos coz no one would be interested to see just guava slices :-)

Thursday – woke up extra early coz I thought I wanted to compensate for not making Yiu Yiu proper snacks for the last two days. Made some french beans, carrot and button mushroom omelette using a flower-shaped pan and since she likes tomato ketchup, just top some for her onto the omelette. Didn’t have any proper squeezing tool so the ketchup appeared thick and smeared :-( At the side are some bear shaped guava slices.

Friday – had wanted to give her some siew pau which I bought the night before. I had cut them into halves and placed them into the bento box while I washed and cut the guava. Again, the little missy said she didn’t want the siew pau, and took them out from the box. Since I know she wouldn’t budge, and I didn’t have the luxury of time to coax her (we are always rushing for time in the morning), I just packed her off with the guava slices…so again, photo not needed.

Sigh!!! I’m so losing my enthusiasm in packing food for her, since she always end up not wanting this or that. Even if she wasn’t picky about the food I packed (she’s almost always in the kitchen with me when I pack her food), half the food would end up in the dustbin anyway, coz she hardly ever finishes them.

April 11, 2009

Sunset at Parkroyal Penang

I chanced upon the lovely hue of the sky during sunset today while I was in my room at the Parkroyal Penang. Quickly took out my compact camera and snapped a few shots. This happens to be my favourite among the few, so just thought of sharing it.

In case you are wondering, no, I’m not on holiday in Penang. Sigh! It’s another working weekend for me! I’ve been working three weekends over the last four weeks, and can you believe it, all three weekends happened to be in Penang, and two in Parkroyal itself. I’ve got another event in Parkroyal on the last weekend of May, but by then, I’ll be in the 33rd week of pregnancy, so I surely can’t fly anymore. So perhaps I can escape that one :-)

April 10, 2009

Toddler talk and antics

When asked about my pregnancy:
Anyone: So the baby in mummy’s tummy is a boy or a girl?
Yiu Yiu: How do I know wor…baby come out only know wat.
Haha...she hasn't learnt of the wonders of ultrasound scanning.

Hubby was getting ready to attend a Lions Club meeting, yet again:
Yiu Yiu: Papa, where are you going?
Papa: I’m going for a meeting.
Yiu Yiu: You ah, very naughty boy. Always meeting meeting meeting.
Mummy (trying to instigate): Yeah lor hor, papa always meeting meeting meeting one.
Yiu Yiu: You naughty girl also ah. Always working working working.

Whenever she makes me angry, she’ll approach me with her cheeky smile and say “Happy family lah”. Sigh! How to keep an angry face like that?

Other gems from her:
Why you all so ma fan one?
I wanna pengsan already…

April 08, 2009

Weekend in Kuantan

We went back to Kuantan over the weekend for Ching Ming prayers. As usual, when we are back in Kuantan, a trip to the Teluk Chempedak beach is a must. We made a trip there on Saturday evening but as hubby had some errands to run earlier, we reached the beach quite late, past 6.30pm. As such, we only spent less than an hour there. Nevertheless, our little girl still enjoyed herself very much.

April 05, 2009

Bento post #38 – #42

This week’s bento consists of:

Monday – skewers of cheesy sausage, fish ball and boiled carrot, with grapes for vitamins.

Tuesday – fried rice with home-made fish fingers, and rose apples for fruit.

Wednesday – french toast cut into the shape of bears, each separated with a vegetable baran divider. Added two pieces of home-made chicken nugget for added protein, and pear slices for fruit.

Thursday – triangle shaped cheesy sausage onigiri with grapes

Friday – strawberry jam bread roll with boiled egg and orange cubes. The egg mould is triangle but I suppose the egg wasn’t large enough so the shape didn’t come out as a perfect triangle. In the pink bottle is some soy sauce to go with the egg. Yiu Yiu had told me from the beginning that she didn’t want the bread, and true enough, the bread came back untouched, as well as the orange cubes.