Thursday, January 28, 2010

To LV again

We will be meeting up with Weigee and Selene this weekend.

Before we left, they were still enjoying couple-hood. Now, their new family member is already 16 (?) months old!

Can't wait to see them, and Kai jie (esp. hehe!)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's not easy being a child

Among the many crash courses a baby has to learn from birth (for a start, how to even open up a fist), she also has to deal with many changes.

Some changes AN will rather not adapt to, is to outgrow her clothes, and shoes.

She brings us shoes that fit her before winter but when we put it on her now, it is extremely tight.

I open up the door to our 'storeroom' and she sees shoes she wore last year. She wants to try them on but we all know, they are too small now.

And clothes too!

Many of those that used to be long pants/ jeans, they have turned into capris. Thank God AN is a slim baby. She can still put them on and thank God capris are in fashion now. Also, 3/4 sleeves and midriff cardigans are also in, thus AN still gets to put on some of her favourite clothes that are tagged "12-18 months". She frowns whenever I tell her "You are too big to get into these clothes now" but what to do? I try to hide them. oOut of sight, out of mind.

Thank God again, that she can still fit into most of them. That's probably the only good about being a small baby? I want her to wear new clothes though!

We have stocked up on clothings up to age 4 and very very slowly building up her wardrobe for her 5th year. I am in no hurry though, because she will probably put on clothes for 5 years old when she turns 6, maybe even 7 years old.

Each time I put clothes away in boxes according to sizes after a shopping trip, she will be so excited and dig into those that were stored inside, prance around while holding them against herself and tell me: "Mummy, these are my clothes!" Once in a while, she will ask to put them on but most are too large for her now.

She has learnt to accept that some of those that she really liked now but are too big for her, she will have to wait longer before she gets to put them on. So, whenever we sit in the room while I pack new clothes into the boxes, she will take take the opportunity to bring out some favourites to 'try' them on before she gets to wear them, many many years later.

It is not easy being a child. A child has to adapt to new shoes while watching her favourite but outgrowned pair get boxed up and a child has to see new and pretty dresses that belong to her, but that of which she will only get to put on when she has almost forgotten about it.

A child has to seek attention in ways different from independent adults who sometimes mistake the need for attention as tantrums. A petite child has as much need to grow as a plus-sized child but when she has a limited appetite, it's hard. A child derives joy from watching a ball roll off the slide and asks mummy to play with her but mummy does not always have the time to. Joy turns to 'tantrums' when the need is not met.

Many times, I wonder why AN has to make life difficult for me and I feel miserable. Then these reasons surface. Most of all, AN is a child.

If it's this hard for me to adapt, it's very much more possible that AN is having an even harder time adapting to her new and ever-changing world that I am. I need to be a stronger mum so that my baby grow up comfortably. I need no riches, no wealth, and am thankful I am healthy. What I lack now is the strength to face AN's need for me to teach her things. I need strength

Philippians 4:19
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 40:31
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

And no, I am not even facing persecution.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pinetop: 15 - 18 Jan 2010

Have not felt as excited about a holiday as much as I did this time.

Friday (15 Jan 2010)
Mr Liow took Maen to Camalot without Baileys. The moment the door shut, Baileys started to behave wierd. He ran around the house whining, scratched at the door (he does that whenever there is something outside, or when he needs to exit a room with closed door). Mr Liow came home after a while and Baileys calmed down. I wondered if he missed Maen or Mr Liow, or if he just got worried we forgot to bring him along with Maen.

Soon after Mr Liow came home, the Lek family arrived at our place. We arranged to leave together. The Chans and Tays will leave on Saturday because of their schooling kids.

It was not a long drive so we managed to have lunch.

Things were not as ideal on this day, starting off with little things:
Baileys was denied entry into Mc.Donald's (we assumed that because there were no signs to say dogs were not allowed, he would be allowed in, but he got chased out.). We took him back into the car (and hoped it did not freak him out. He's never been left alone in the car. To our greatest relief, he was sleeping soundly when we went back!) Andrew's medium sized fries were packed in its medium sized holder but small sized portion. Mr Liow's burger was cold, his drink order of coke turned out to be Dr Pepper (probably the only fuZzy drink that he does not like).

We moved on after lunch.

Finally after about 4 hours, we reached our cabin.

The cabin was terribly disappointing!

Firstly, it was not as seen in its website. The ones the guys booked were 'honeymoon' cabins which were supposedly spacious and nice (in their page). When we stepped in, the cabin was dark, run-down and small. There were 2 rooms which were only slightly larger than their double beds. There was only 1 heater in the cabin and it was FREEZING COLD IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, even with 4 layers of blanket! The wooden floorings had sticky stains, the DVD player did not work, we were promised WIFI in the room but it turned out there was only WIFI in the 'lobby', the tap in the shower ran hot-cold-hot-cold instead of staying at the temperature you 'set' it to be, the toilet took almost forever to refill so we had to try not to go in too soon after each other so that we do not flood the toilet bowl.

Even Baileys had problems sleeping (and peeing. hehe). The toilet was so tiny he could only pee in it, and do his poop right outside it. I don't know if they kept the carpet clean coz Baileys kept walking around the room in the middle of the night and he woke us up for the last time when he jumped onto Mr Liow's bag to sleep on it. Soon after, we fell asleep, only to be woken up again by the freezing temperature in the room.

Saturday (16 Jan 2010)
They guys managed to get us to stay only for a night instead of 3 when they approached the 'front desk' about the wrong type of cabin issued to us.

We checked out right after a short breakfast. The only thing I liked about this cabin was the outside view....everything was white, except for trees and the brownish-red cabins.

Our next stay would be at Eagleview Lodge, managed by Greer Cabin Keepers. The road there was not easy to travel. It was steep and slippery, and the lodge was not that easy to locate either. Thank God there was a lady waiting for her doggie to finish his outdoor business and she gave us directions there.

This lodge/cabin/house (whatever you call it) is HUGE!!! It has 4 giant rooms, (2 upstairs, 1 on ground level and 1 in the basement, all with attached baths), a HUGE living room on level 1, a super long table that is big enough to accomodate all 14 people, another living room with full set of couch & TV in the basement, a table tennis table and a table soccer table. Upstairs was another living room with a sofabed and TV outside the 2 rooms..

There was a looooonnnng balcony and another room with individual recliners and a breakfast table.

Pure enjoyment! All those at less than $200 more per night! No more freezing in the middle of sleep or having to bear with no space to move around, or wait a long time for the toilet canister to fill up to be able to flush again. Baileys even had his own couch to sleep on! No more pacing in the middle of the night to find a good spot to lie on (without feeling itchy). In fact, he loved that couch so much he would find his way downstairs to sleep even when the whole world was at level 1.

The rest of our group (those with kids who left that morning) arrived at about 3pm. AN was sleeping then but got woken up by all the commotion (and kids who knew we brought Baileys and came looking for him). She was so happy to see the elder kids and couldn't go back to sleep.

Minutes later, we went out for sledding! We had a steep snow-slope right outside the house, perfect for sledding and we did not even have to drive anywhere else! Only problem was, right down the slope was another slope that went all the way down. So, the strong young men had to stand guard at the bottom of the slope to catch the kids at the end of the slope before they continue down the other slope. That would not be fun anymore!

Then, it was steamboat dinner! Dinner was fun with a wide selection of steamboat ingredients and jokes around the table.

After dinner, we played taboo. It was another round of fun and laughter. I'm still missing that moment!

AN had been good the entire day. She enjoyed running off with the jie jies but would obey and sit at the table during meals, even when the kids ran off. For one of the few times in my life since AN was born, I felt, free.

Sunday (17th Jan 2010)
The guys (Mr Liow and the 2 Mr Tays) left for the ski mountain early in the morning. Only Mr Chan and Mr Lek were home with the ladies and kids.

There were nothing much to do in the day when most of the guys were out. The kids loved Baileys and because Angellyn was in the living room, I brought them all downstairs to play with him. Poor Angellyn was in her rocker and I had seen fur on her a few times already. That was what AN had to go through at that age too, but it was unfair for Angellyn to have to bear with it because Baileys was not part of her family. hehe.

The guys came back later than expected, so the other 3 Mrs took their kids for sledding soon after lunch. AN was sleepy by then, so we took a nap.

AN being a light sleeper, got woken up by Mr Liow just as he got into the room. Since she was awake, we brought her outside as well.

She had another good time sledding, and this time, she got to play a little longer with snow! She picked them up and threw them in the air. How she loved snow (and sand!)

It was BBQ for dinner. Had a fun time chatting over food like the evening before. Mr Tay was the only one grilling the chicken for us. Come to think about it, I felt really bad about it..

AN was not as well behaved as she was the day before. She made noise at the dining table (she had problems eating a chicken wing, so Mr Liow broke it into 2 for her. She got upset and insisted she wanted the "W", which to her, was what the chicken wing reminded her of. Gave her a new wing but that did not please her.) She was probably cranky from not having enough sleep during her naptime and made things really hard for us. It got so bad I did not want to respond to her anymore.

She said sorry (since a past couple of months ago, she would apologise urgently when she knew I was mad at her) but would do the same thing over and over again. Mr Liow then asked me to stop doing that to AN, which of course, made me even madder.

The girls were waiting for me to play monopoly with them since the rest of the adults did not seem extremely interested in games that night. I was, on the other hand, upset with AN, and Mr Liow. Neither was I interested. AN did something which I decided to speak to her behind closed doors, finally. Kimberly was sharp enough and told the other kids to get out of the room.

After clearing things up with AN, we went upstairs. Everyone were watching TV but the girls were still waiting for game time. I tried catching the attention of everyone but seriously, I am really lousy at gathering people and making things happen.

Still, after the show was over, we started on another game of Taboo again, this time guys vs gals.

Guess who won? We did! There were a couple of times when one of us did not have to explain too much and the other in the team got it, somehow. It was like, telepathy? hehe.

Soon it was time to pack up for the night and before we leave in the morning. Sad to even think about it. None of us could bear to leave and the guys even thought of calling in for an extension of their leave.

Monday (18 Jan 2010)
We had our last breakfast together, took many many pictures (of individual families and group) and touched the house for the last time.

Guess what?? It snowed as we left!!! It started off with gently falling snow, and then in no time got heavier! We stopped over at a snow mountain for a short while of photo-taking and some of the kids went for a last leg of sledding. It did not take long before the snow hit hard and we all had to return to our car.

Part of our journey back was accompanied by snow that hit horizontally with really strong winds and super low visibility. Snow was building up on the road. But then again, snow does not cover much of Arizona.

As we went on, we saw less and less white, more and more browns. And then it was home sweet home. For once, it did not feel nice to be home..sigh..

Baileys had to sleep on his own without Maen for that night. It was not easy for him. He kept barking to get out -_________-" He never barked to get out in the night. The most he would do each morning was to scratch at the baby gate.

Mr Liow went to pick Maen up on Tuesday morning. That marked the end of our white holiday.

It's been good. The trip brought us closer to each other. The guys are already planning for something else, the same people. Maybe to LV the next time before we leave? It did not matter where now. It's the company that matters :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

To Pinetop, AZ

We will away for a 'snowy' weekend from Friday to Monday. And the exciting part is, Baileys will be coming with us!!

U may wonder why we will not be bringing both, or why B and not M. We will be bunking with another family (with kids who love both B and M but do not keep pets) and I do not want the kids to fall sick due to allergy (in case they have unknown allergies to pet dander or fur). One dog will be just nice. And coz it will snow, road conditions might not be ideal for too much travelling, so we will be having steamboat dinners in the house (4 families including ours, but 2 separate houses). We will be bringing lots of stuff with us and AN, that's about as much as we can care for on one trip)

Baileys is the more disciplined one but more wary of strangers (he shuns people he are wary of and barks if they approach when we are home. He's ok outside though, but we've never stayed with anyone else in a new and strange environment before, so I won't know). He will be easier to manage.

Maen is better with kids. She's gentle, and cute, and silly, and WILL DIE FOR ATTENTION. She will enjoy herself too.

Hard choice, is it not?

So I thought of how they might be in our absence.

Maen being the adorable one, gets lots of attention at Camalot I believe. They love Baileys too but I think it's easier for Maen to get the attention she wants than it is for Baileys.

So we decided to bring Baileys.

And then while in the room just now, Maen followed me in and waited for me while I kept the clothes. Maen is my opposite pole: she goes where I go. Baileys too, but Maen more. She will follow me, even into forbidden rooms. Baileys will obey and leave when he knows I am not giving in. Maen is sure that I will give in if she waits long enough. And she is right.

I wonder if she will be able to cope without Baileys beside her. I wonder if she will feel lost (she finds courage in Baileys!).

Maybe she's not as lousy as I think she is. Who knows, maybe she's able to take care of herself now. She's turning 5 end of Feb. She's no longer a blur little pup.

And Baileys, I hope he will enjoy himself and not fall sick. It's not super cold, but it's a snow mountain afterall. I'm going to put 2 sweaters on him. He does not have pants. Anyone knows if it is necessary? I will be bringing his booties too. Oh, he's going to need a bath before we leave so that he's as clean as possible and does not cause the other kids to fall sick. He loves kids too, and loves attention (but he will not die for it). He loves to be near us (just like Maen and maybe a tiny bit more for B). He will definately enjoy this weekend!

I am excited that for once, we can bring them (or at least one) with us, especially to play in snow. Baileys love to rub his whole body on the ground (yucks when he does that on soil). Wonder if he will like snow as much.

Looking forward to this trip :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Old post, newly entered

Just published this.

My Hubby: Chef and Caretaker

Mr Liow had been trying to lighten my loads. I don't know if he was making special efforts to do things he hardly would do (or those he would not do at all) in the past, or if he sincerely wanted to learn. Either way, I thank God for those gestures.

He's made 2 dishes thus far and both tasted good. He got even better at the second dish (I still crave for the hokkien mee!).

And because AN had been sniffing over the weekend (but not very sick), he took childcare leave to help me out with her.

Isabelle called me in the morning yesterday to ask if I wanted to go shopping with her. Victoria Secrets is having their semi-annual sale ending soon, I think. Since Mr Liow was home, I thought I would do a quick one and come back.

She jokingly asked if Mr Liow could babysit Issac too. Mr Liow did not mind, so she left Issac at our place and we went shopping without the kids.

We took longer than expected and I did not get what I wanted to get. It was ok for me.

Mr Liow took pictures and video of AN and Issac during the 5 hours we were out. He fed them (one scoop AN, one scoop Issac) and the kids played together.

AN used to tell me that she did not like gor gor Issac but after yesterday, she changed her mind. She kept telling me what she did with Issac after I got home.

As I was uploading the videos a while ago, AN was watching those clips Mr Liow took of them and commented: "Gor gor Issac so cute hor?"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sea Monkey

The first pet I ever had as a kid were Sea Monkeys.

Once upon a time, I never knew each country used different currencies. Neither did I know where USA is. When I got my Sea Monkey kit at the age of 10, all I wanted was see how Sea Monkeys grow as claimed. And even before I started step 1, I ordered all the other stuff I thought my pets might need along the way.

I sent my order by post, and along with my order, I sent cash: Singapore dollars. I sent them as much as I thought I needed to pay, minus the exchange rate. The highest I remembered about USD:SGD was 1:1.8 (some time in 1999). I spent my entire savings for a month on my to-be pets.

My order arrived in my mailbox weeks later. Everything I ordered were in the package, and I even got some more of those I did not order! As I grew older and re-read the instructions for ordering Sea Monkey accessories, I realised I was supposed to send a self-addressed envelope which I never did.

I did not just order once. I think I sent in my order the same way a couple of times more, at least, whenever I believed I did not have enough to ensure my pets had the best. And every time, every item arrived as I ordered. Everytime I received more than I ordered.

Then, I started growing my Sea Monkeys.

I was to purify the water first, and then add in live eggs 24 hours later. The following few days were days of anticipation! Everyday, I'd look into the aquarium to see if the eggs were hatched. Everyday, I would notice more and more super tiny, wriggly baby monkeys in the water. I would feed them as required (every 2 days).

I forgot what happened but my monkeys started to disappear after a week. I thought they died. It was almost time for school exams then and I did not have time to grow them again. Thought I would during the holidays but it was all fun and play, stayovers at our cousin's place.

Soon, I would look upon the empty aquarium, the mountain of Sea Monkey accessories and extra kit (purifying powder, instant eggs, and food) and tell myself that I would grow them again. That, I never did.

Till I grew up and we had to shift. I found them nicely stored in a little box. It was heartbreaking but I decided to throw them away. It had been many years afterall, and they probably weren't going to hatch or be usable in any ways.


I kept telling Mr Liow how amazing Sea Monkeys were supposed to be when we saw them on sale after we started dating.

Years later (on 6th Jan 2010), the set he ordered from Amazon arrived!

So, here we go again!

Step 1: Purify the water with pack number 1

Step 2: Empty pack 2 (Instant live eggs) into water 24 hours later

Step 3: Watch out for baby monkeys which, according to instructions, should hatch in 2 days at the temperature of our home these days.

Step 4: Feed monkeys 5 days after emptying pack 2 (eggs). And every 2 days after that (which we will not be able to do because we will be going to Pinetop to experience snow end of this week). We will feed them a little more. It says on the instructions that if water turns cloudy, that would be because there are leftover food in the aquarium. Let the monkeys clear them up before feeding them again, so we supposed, we can feed them a little more before we leave.

See how adorable my baby monkeys are? Please bear in mind that Baileys and Maen are still our alpha pets, my fur babies, and nothing is going to take over their position in the family.

Will update as they grow older, if they do :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

If Ah Liow Can Cook, So Can You!

That's been my hubby's slogan for the past week.

Last weekend, he made Hor Fun.

So, we are supposed to cook the hor fun noodles separately first. I always put them in together with the other ingredients and end up with broken and tough pieces of hor fun.

Mr Liow's perfect combination, with green chilli (OMG!!) and Coke

AN said: "Yummy! I want to eat!"
That was music to my ears!

And then he made Hokkien Mee for lunch today. Maybe not as fantastic in its looks department but this tasted VERY good!! I had no special preferences for Hokkien Mee but this one by Mr Liow left me hungry for more after my serving. *slurp* I still feel its taste on my tongue.

Am never going to buy this from anywhere else again. He's going to make Hokkien Mee for me when I crave it from now on.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Just about when will this end????


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Fernvale Lane

It will not be long before we go back to Singapore. Among the many things we missed about home, we also miss our HOME.

I couldn't find any of the many many pictures we took of our home when it was new, after a while and even before we came. Where have they all gone? Thank God I found these 3 taken during Chinese New Year (I forgot which).

It will no longer be the same when we go back. Most tenants do not take as good care of their rented apartments as well as most owners will.

I recall the occasional tremors from our level 16 flat whenever there were earthquakes in Indonesia. There were no problems when we were without AN in the past but the last time before we came to Tucson and I felt the tremors, I had to evacuate our home, carrying AN (I had no time to put her nicely in the baby carrier), leash the 2 furkids and we took the lift down (yes, I know we do not take lifts when there are tremors but I can't walk 16 levels down carrying a baby and holding 2 furkiddos who were had never travelled down steps before Tucson). All these while trying to keep myself from falling. Lift or stairs, if the building should collapse, we would be buried alive, irregardless of our route of escape.

Talking about the 2 lifts that took turns to break down, we always had to pray hard we did not take the one that was to be faulty (or that both did not break down at the same time! It happened once and I had to carry my makeup bag, and the giant heavy hair bag down 16 levels, and then up again after I got back from work 4 hours later!! Oh...gosh....I almost fainted..). My dad who started visiting us daily after AN's birth warned me that it was just one that kept getting into trouble.

And the inconsiderate neighbours who lived somewhere up there and threw trash out of their windows conveniently (a coke can once flew into our living room!!!!). Those staying on ground level who used the common playground as their personal drying room. The clinic, mini-mart and canteen located just downstairs and at the block beside us.

We miss the place where we lived together as husband and wife for the first time, where we had everything that belonged to us for the first time, and together. It's kind of sad whenever our agent-friend or my brother update us about our appliances that start to fail. But then we also have to learn to deal with the fact that things do not last forever.

Sigh...just another emotional post. At least we can look forward to returning home in the next few months. Once back in Singapore, we can only look back at our Tucson stay fondly and pray hard that we have another chance to come back again. Chances are low.

Ok now, got to make AN go to sleep. Chat again ;p

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Firsts

On 010110 (does that not remind you of a binary code?? Hehe), a couple of 'firsts' happened.

Mr Liow's first attempt at cooking, following a recipe he printed from the Internet after researching a few days ago. He made Hor Fun (which is being sold in Chinese restaurant as 'Chow Fun' in Tucson, and served without gravy). And it was tasty. Well done, lao gong! I can sit back and relax from now on. The kitchen will now be yours!

Next up was AN's first attempt at speaking mandarin. She does say a few words like 'bao bao' (carry)...and I can't remember what else but there are other words she does use, although she does not construct a full sentence in mandarin.

It is wierd though, that she fully understands us when we speak to each other and responds. Last night while Mr Liow was playing games late at night and since she woke up in the middle of her sleep, I decided to heat up some milk for her. She then repeated the few words I said to Mr Liow: "Mummy said 'he nai' ? " ('he nai' = drink milk).

The next 'first' is not so good news.
Baileys' third eyelid in his left eye seems to not be able to go back to its original position. It does not really look like Cherry Eye but then, what else can that be? I read up about cherry eyes (if that's what it is for him) and not all articles agree on the same. Some wrote that cherry eyes do not cause discomfort, some wrote that the eyes will feel dry and uncomfortable. Some mention about massaging the eye to improve the condition, some mentioned that massaging will only provide temporal comfort. We will have to bring him to the vet this afternoon. I pray he needs no surgery. I don't know what is going to follow if he's operated on and we don't have lots of time here to find out. What's going to happen if infections set in after surgery and he does not recover by the time we go back? And I pray that both B and M will never need to be cut open for any other reasons after they were neutered.

Tonnes of pictures to upload but I am feeling lazy. The little breaks in between while AN naps gives me time to upload them few at a time but I am unable to bring myself to do it. I can sit there and stare into space, just to breath properly and rest. I really need a break from AN. Just some time away from her. Mr Liow tries to help but when AN notices that Mr Liow is trying to do things that I have always been doing, she will start to misbehave and become demanding.

Mr Liow has stopped spending his time at home on computer games. He's spending more time around us now (playing games on Wii instead so that we can also watch him, sitting by AN while she practises writing her alphabets or draws etc.)

Then, whenenver he was home, he would always have his back to us. Often, AN didn't even realise his presence and even when she did, it did not make any difference to her. She had nothing she needed from his backview.

For that, I am thankful.

Now, if only I can apply leave for just one day to be away from AN. I spent 4 hours out with Joey in dec 2007. When will it be again that I get to do something without AN nagging at me to be physically near her?

I am not upset at this point. Just thought it would be nice to experience freedom again even if it is for just a few hours.

2009 went by so fast. What have I achieved? What resolutions can I make for 2010?