Friday, December 30, 2005

Looking back at 2005: May

I think it's really funny that out of her school trip to the Goat Farm, all Karina remembers is the A&W treat they had.
Which goes to show that kids see and remember things differently from adults. When out on trips I place more importance on the things we see on exhibit (e.g. zoo animals, fishes at the aquarium). My children on the other hand place more importance on where and what they eat. Hahahahah.

The story on the dogs is a sad one. I decided it was too much for me to handle and so they had to go. My mom was happy to say "I told you so." Anyway, surprisingly the kids weren't sad at all. I guess they too had enough of shoe biting episodes. Goodness knows how many new pairs of shoes and slippers we bought those few months. Last straw was when they chewed on daddy's church shoes which I might add, was supposedly out of reach.

Thank you to the following sites for the wonderful freebies:

Looking back at 2005: April

This kiddy pool has been a lifesaver on many a hot day. They have cups, pails and water guns to keep them busy. I need to be a better mom and take them to a real pool more often.

Thank you to the following sites for the wonderful freebies:

Looking back at 2005: March

Children are full of surprises. Here was Karina scribbling away at her whiteboard as usual, pretending to be a teacher when suddenly she writes something legible. Which goes to show that as parents, all we need to do is give our children the freedom to explore. We do not need to pressure them to conform to developmental charts. They just need room to grow, to play, and to experiment. Our job is to provide opportunities and then let go. Too many instructions and too much control on our part just kills the fun which kills the learning.

Thank you to the following sites for the wonderful freebies:

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Looking back at 2005: February

The photos here focuses more on the children's "play" activities. I particularly like the photo of Damus with his guilty powdered face. My first instinct was to scream at him. But I held back and decided to laugh at the situation instead. It took a lot of will power to do that. This photo reminds me of the many memorable moments I may have missed out because I decided to scream first. It's a reminder that sometimes humor and laughter is the better way.
Also had to include my little girl in her red Chinese New Year dress. Only one year and she has outgrown it already.

Thank you to the following sites for the wonderful freebies:

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Looking back at 2005: January

At the beginning of this year, I made a goal to snap pictures of my children every month and then document it in scrapbook form. Looking at all the photographs I see how much my children have grown and changed in just one year. Another thing I noticed is how little it takes to make children happy. Life is simple, life is enjoyed. Well, after wrestling with procrastination, this is what I have to show. Let us start with January....

  • My little botak-head Damus enjoying his lollipop. It got his hands messy and he would dribble down his shirt. Tied a bib round his neck but he hated it. One little lollipop = stress for mommy, joy for Damus.
  • Karina trying to do a Wong Fei Hung stance. We were just being silly dillies.

Check in tomorrow for the February scrap page.

P.S. I would like to thank the following sites for the wonderful freebies that has made it possible for me to create my scrap pages:

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Rookies at Christmas Cookies

How do you make Christmas meaningful for your children? My answer would be setting family traditions Unfortunately for me I don't come from a Christian background and therefore, family tradition would have to start with me, here, at my home. There is actually a list of things I would like to see happen:

1. Family and friends Christmas get-together.
2. Christmas countdown - Reading a Christmas story each day for 25 days to remember the true meaning of Christmas.
3. Gifts to families members must include at least one non-monetary gift. This idea was prompted by the following conversation with my daughter:

Mom: Karina, Christmas is about giving and not so much about what you get. So, what are you giving Mommy and Daddy this year?
Karina: Nothing. You have money so you buy your own present lah.
Mom: You don't need to buy our present. The present could be something you do for us.
Karina: Ummm....
Mom: How about sleeping at 9pm everyday. That would be a lovely present for Mommy and Daddy. Can you give us that?
Karina: (Looking at us like we are talking alien).

4. Service. Doing something for someone else as a family.
5. Making and giving Christmas cookies.

And so this year I thought I'd start the Christmas cookies AGAIN. Yes, I tried it a couple of years back and it was a disaster that I swore never to do it again. BUT I figured my children are now old enough to join in the fun, so here is our story.

The Rookie teaching Rookie Jr. how to use cookie cutters. Everything looks fine in this picture. The yelling only started later. Hehehe. But I repented and remembered that this wasn't about making perfect cookies. It's about bonding and making memories. *Trying to flick away the evil Mommy breathing down my neck*

That's how we do it. Now let daddy take a pix so we can remember this proud moment.
Ok, picture is taken now move aside so Mommy can finish the rest. JUST KIDDING.

Aiyoh, we had to throw away about half the cookies. First of all, I cut the first batch to thick. Didn't look like they were cooked even though the bottom was burnt. Cut the next batch thinner but still bottom black, top too white. I suspect the electric oven. Will try with my gas oven next time. But what about this batch?

Karina: Yum Mommy, very nice. You so clever lah Mommy.
Damus: Mommy, I want more cookie.
Mommy: You like it?!!! I love you guys so much.

Hmmm... who taught them to talk like that? Kids just know how to make Mommy melt, like chocolate in their hand.

Ok-lah, since you guys so clever to talk, I let you have fun decorating it.

Yes Damus, you can have fun too.
NOOOOOO! Don't put too much on one spot.

Oh no, mess everywhere.
Mommy needs to take a chill pill.

Way to go guys. It actually looks edible now. Yeah, cover up those burnt spots.
Report: Cookies were finished before the night was over. Phew!

This was today's effort. After many hours and now a back ache, this is what I have to show. Much better right? Like my good friend said, "It takes practice. I'd be surprise if you got it right the first time."

Karina: We are giving some to Aunty ah?
Mom: Yes, Christmas is about giving.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Many Ways to Get Your Child to Sleep

It's just my luck that my two kiddos turn out to be night owls just like their mom and dad. Their bedtime for the last few weeks has ended up being about 12am. It looked like tonight was not going to be any different. It's just amazing that they can last that long, exuberating so much energy without even a wink in the afternoon. This was tonight's affair:

Plan A: "It's 9:30pm now. Bedtime was suppose to be 9pm. Let's all go to the room and try to wind down ok?"
So we go through the motions of reading stories, prayers, hugs, goodnights, I-love-you and STRICT instructions that they are to stay in the room. WARNING = If you leave the room, you sleep outside in the hall.
RESULTS = Failed attempt.

Plan B: "You guys are suppose to sleep. No more playing and jumping around." WARNING = In 10 minutes I will check back again, if I see you guys playing, I will turn out the lights. (I usually keep the lights on coz' they don't like the lights off if Mom or Dad isn't there).
RESULTS = Failed attempt. I turned off the lights and the screaming and crying begins. The young boy decides he is going to sleep outside. The sister is distressed coz' that leaves her alone in the room and is not keen on sleeping outside the whole night.

Plan C: After a while I go turn the lights back on in the room for my girl. "How about some music?"
RESULTS = Failed attempt. Calms down the girl but she still ain't sleeping. In fact I found her flipping through a book. Boy is still running around the house.

Plan D: "Ok, I give in. Looks like you guys aren't going to sleep if I'm not in the room." I give my boy his precious "nen-nen" to suck. Usually that lulls him to sleep.
RESULTS = Failed attempt. Why my boy still so alert? My girl is happy Mom is around she starts jabbering away.

Plan E: "Let's all close our eyes and imagine we can see stars." Hopefully by closing their eyes, they might start to feel sleepy?
RESULTS = Failed attempt. My girl can see stars but it's not making her sleepy. In fact she is still jabbering away on what she can see with her imagination. My boy lasted 30 seconds with his eyes closed. He said he saw Honey Stars and then decided he was done keeping his eyes closed.

Plan F: "Hey, we better keep very still and quiet. If not the T-Rex might get us. Let's pretend we are hiding. Shhhhh!"
RESULTS = Success! Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

Now, I know some of you only need a Plan A. Me? I'm glad I didn't have to go through the entire alphabet. Obviously Plan F will be upgraded to Plan A. I just hope it still works tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Can Potty Training Be Fun?

Came across an interesting article titled "10 Ways to Make Toilet Training Fun & Exciting". Potty training fun? Exciting? Didn't think those words could gel together. Unfortunately for us here in Malaysia, some of the suggestions may not be applicable as they pertain to potty training products not available to us. Well, I mean as far as I know they are not available. If I'm wrong, let me know. The article highlights some interesting stuff I didn't know existed. Anyway, two things from that list I want to mention that is doable and kinda entertaining:
  1. Food Colouring: Put drops of blue food coloring so that children can watch it turn green after they wee-wee. Hopefully this doesn't actually gross them out further. Or worse, they might find it so kewl they wanna play with it. Eeew! I can just imagine when they are schooling and have a lesson about colours, the question they will definately answer correct would be "what colour do we get when we mix blue and yellow?" Hahahahah. Ok, my imagination is going wild a bit. Anyway, I still think it's an interesting tip. I might try this just to see my son's reaction.
  2. Phone Call from Superhero: Get friends, neighbours or relatives to disguise as your children's superhero and reward them with a phone call. You might be in trouble if your child happens to like Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse. My son happens to think T-Rexes are cool. I guess I could just get someone to roar to him over the phone. Hehehehe.

Well, I finally got my son to go potty daytime. How he potty trained is very different from his older sister. My older girl went straight to the toilet. My son had a hard time with the toilet. He wasn't afraid or anything, just not his thing I guess. He now uses a potty shaped liked a toilet and poor Mom is having her first taste of being the Dung Collector and Eliminator. No one in the house seems to want that honorable position. Anyway, it just goes to show that each child is different and parents need to be in tune with them. We must be flexible and willing to adapt to the situation. We should be armed with various ideas and not be stuck on just one method.

Well, here are a few more things that I found interesting or useful on potty training:

  • A chart that you can download for free. Look for the sign that says "FREE POTTY CHART! Track your child's progress with stickers or smiley faces.
  • Training urinals for boys.
  • Potty Poncho. This one we would all jump on as we know the state of most public toilets in Malaysia. They have disposable ones as well.
  • Travel Potty Chairs. This is what I needed the last time I went back to Bukit Mertajam. Only once in a lifetime a kid gets to travel with his own toilet.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Another Christmas Story

Sorry, again I do not know who to give credit to for this wonderful poem. Just a reminder that Christmas is not about Santa Claus.

The Stranger
At Christmas time there was a man who looked so out of place

as people rushed about him at a hurried sort of pace.
He stared at all the Christmas lights, the tinsel everywhere the shopping center,
Santa Claus, with children gathered near.

The Mall was packed with shoppers who were going to and fro,
some with smiles and some with frowns and some too tired to go.
They rested on the benches or they hurried on their way,
to fight the crowd for purchases to carry home that day.

The music from a stereo was playing loud and clear
of Santa Claus, and snow men, and a funny nosed reindeer.
He heard the people talk about the good times on the way,
of parties, fun and food galore, and gifts exchanged that day.

"I'd like to know what's going on," the man was heard to say,
"There seems to be some sort of celebration on the way,
And would you tell me who this is, all dressed in red and white?
And why are children asking *him* about a special night?"

The answer came in disbelief, "I can't believe my ear!
I can't believe you do not know that Christmas time is here.
The time when Santa comes around with gifts for girls and boys.
When they're asleep on Christmas Eve, he leaves them books and toys."

"The man you see in red and white is Santa Claus, so sly.
The children love his joyful laugh and twinkle in his eye.
His gift packed sleigh is pulled along by very small reindeer,
as he flies quickly through the air, while darting here and there."

"The children learn of Santa Claus while they are still quite small.
When Christmas comes, *he* is the most *important* one of all!"

The stranger hung his head in shame, he closed a nail-pierced hand.
His body shook in disbelief, he did not understand.
A shadow crossed his stricken face, his voice was low but clear.
"After all these years, they still don't know."

And Jesus shed a tear.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Christmas Symbols

We finally got replacement lights for our Christmas tree last Monday. So the Christmas tree is officially up in my home. The kids are getting excited about their Christmas presents. With pathetic, pleading voices they ask if they can open them up NOW. The lesson of the month seems to be "Blessings come to those who wait."
Anyway, seeing that most people are getting their Christmas tree up, here is a little story that teaches us the meaning behind the Christmas symbols. I do not know who to credit this story too, so if you are the author, thank you for the reminder.


Late one Christmas Eve, I sank back, tired, but content, into my easy chair.The kids were in bed, the gifts were wrapped, the milk and cookies waited by the fireplace for Santa. As I sat back admiring the tree with its decorations, I couldn't help feeling that something important was missing. It wasn't long before the tiny twinkling tree lights lulled me to sleep. I don'tknow how long I slept, but all of a sudden I knew that I wasn't alone. I opened my eyes, and you can imagine my surprise when I saw Santa Claus,himself, standing next to my Christmas tree.He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot just as the poem described him, but he was not the "jolly old elf" of Christmas legend. The man who stood before me looked sad and disappointed. And there were tears in his eyes.
"Santa, what's wrong?" I asked, "Why are you crying?"
"It's the children,"Santa replied sadly.
"But Santa, the children love you," I said.
"Oh, I know they love me, and they love the gifts I bring them," Santa said, "but the children of today seem to have somehow missed out on the true spirit of Christmas. It's not their fault. It's just that the adults, many of them not having been taught themselves, have forgotten to teach the children."
"Teach them what?" I asked.
Santa's kind old face became soft, more gentle. His eyes began to shine with something more than tears. He spoke softly. "Teach the children the true meaning of Christmas. Teach them that the part of Christmas we can see, hear, and touch is much more than meets the eye. Teach them the symbolism behind the customs and traditions of Christmas which we now observe. Teach them what it is they truly represent."
Santa reached into his bag and pulled out a tiny Christmas tree and set it on my mantle."Teach them about the Christmas tree. Green is the second color of Christmas. The stately evergreen, with its unchanging color, represents the hope of eternal life in Jesus. Its needles point heavenward as a reminder that mankind's thoughts should turn heavenward as well.
"Santa reached into his bag again and pulled out a shiny star and placed it at the top of the small tree. "The star was the heavenly sign of promise. God promised a Savior for the world and the star was the sign of the fulfillment of that promise on the night that Jesus Christ was born. Teach the children that God always fulfills His promises, and that wise men still seek Him."
"Red," said Santa, "is the first color of Christmas." "He pulled forth a red ornament for the tiny tree. Red is deep, intense, vivid. It is the color of the life-giving blood that flows through our veins. It is the symbol of God's greatest gift. Teach the children that Christ gave his life and shed hisblood for them that they might have eternal life. When they see the color red, it should remind them of that most wonderful gift.
"Santa found a silver bell in his pack and placed it on the tree. "Just as lost sheep are guided to safety by the sound of the bell, it continues toring today for all to be guided to the fold. Teach the children to follow the true Shepherd, who gave His life for the sheep."
Santa placed a candle on the mantle and lit it. The soft glow from its onetiny flame brightened the room. "The glow of the candle represents how people can show their thanks for the gift of God's son that Christmas Eve long ago. Teach the children to follow in Christ's go about doing good.
Teach them to let their light shine before people that all may see it and glorify God. This is what's symbolized when the twinkle lights shine on thetree like hundreds of bright shining lights, each of them representing one of God's precious children's light shining for all to see."
Again Santa reached into his bag and this time he brought forth a tiny red and white striped cane. As he hung it on the tree he spoke softly. "The candy cane is a stick of hard white candy. White to symbolize the virgin birth and sinless nature of Jesus, and hard to symbolize the Solid Rock, the foundation of the church, and the firmness of God's promises. The candy cane form's a"J" to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth. It also represents the Good Shepherd's crook, which He uses to reach down into all ditches of the world to lift out thefallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray. The original candy cane had three small red stripes, which are the stripes of the scourging Jesus received by which we are healed, and a large red stripe that represents the shed blood of Jesus, so that we can have the promise of eternal life. Teach these things to the children.
"Santa brought out a beautiful wreath made of fresh, fragrant greenery tied with a bright red bow. "The bow reminds us of the bond of perfection, which is love. The wreath embodies all the good things about Christmas for thosewith eyes to see and hearts to understand. It contains the colors of red and green and the heaven-turned needles of the evergreen. The bow tells the story of good will towards all and its color reminds us of Christ's sacrifice. Even its very shape is symbolic, representing eternity and the eternal nature of Christ's love. It is a circle, without beginning and without end. These are the things you must teach the children."
I asked, "But where does that leave you Santa?" The tears gone now from his eyes, a smile broke over Santa's face. "Why bless you, my dear," he laughed, "I'm only a symbol myself. I represent the spirit of family fun and the joy of giving and receiving. If the children are taught these other things, there is no danger that I'll ever be forgotten.""I think I'm beginning to understand.""That's why I came," said Santa. "You're an adult. If you don't teach the children these things, then who will?"
---Author Unknown

Monday, December 05, 2005

Teach Children Work and Responsibility

I was at a conference last Sunday and found myself running a mini nursery for kids at the back of the hall. You see, I knew my kids would get restless at some point and I had brought blocks for them to play. Slowly other toddlers toddled their way over to seek refuge from their boredom. Anyway, there was this girl who is a few months younger then Damus (should be 2yrs. old already) and she was eating some bread. The next thing I knew, the bread was on the floor and she was no where in sight. Quickly I located her and told her to pick it up. Obediently she did. I asked her brother to bring her to the dustbin. But instead, this little girl just handed the bread to the brother, told the brother to throw it (in baby talk) and walked off.
Here were the thoughts that ran through my head:

  1. Wow, you sure know how to make use of your brothers.
  2. Being the youngest of 4 AND the only girl, you are probably the princess in the house (this was later confirmed by the father.)
  3. You probably have not been given much chance to learn the value of work or responsibility. Your parents are headed for trouble.

Values such as work and responsibility must be cultivated from a young age. My kids know that when they make a mess, they clean it up. Yes, even little Damus. The job may not be done perfectly, but at least they are given the chance to learn and do. I find many times adults are too quick to jump in and deprive the child from learning such values. For example, Damus had spilled something in the kitchen. I asked him to clean it up but MIL jumped in and said, he's too young to know how to clean up. In my heart I screamed, HE IS NOT. The sad part is she didn't even give him a chance. What she didn't know was that he was already a pro at cleaning (he's had plenty of accidents to practise).

Have you noticed that when kids are at the age deemed "too young", that is when they are most willing to work? This is the time they learn the best and yet, this is the time most parents deprive them of such learning. ABCs and 123s should not be their only lessons.

Things you can teach your toddler:

  • Put back your toys.
  • Throw rubbish in the dustbin.
  • Don't leave things on the floor.
  • Put things back where you got them from.
  • You mess, you clean e.g. wipe up spilled drinks, sweep up food dropped on the floor (of course Mom will follow up later)
  • After eating, bowls and cups go in the sink.
  • Take your dirty clothes to the laundry basket.
  • If you need to spit out food, go to the dustbin.
  • You lose something, you look for it.

So parents, (especially those with toddlers) teach work and responsibility today. Give your kids a chance to learn and grow. Make it part of their life before they decide they don't want it to be. Yes, it's a well known fact that as kids grow older, they realize work is not that fun anymore. So don't just get caught up in the academics (e.g. wah, my kid can read at 2 but don't know what to do when food drops on the floor). Decide today to give them the greater gift.

Friday, December 02, 2005

A Monkey's Welcome

This cheeky monkey at the Malacca Zoo was very entertaining.

We found the Malacca Zoo to be better than the National Zoo. BUT don't go there on Friday's as they stop the shows and tram service for the Friday prayers. Also they are building new living quarters for the lions and tigers. The tigers are still around but somehow I missed the Lions. Anyway, below is a picture of King Julian from Madagascar. My daughter asked "Mommy, where is his crown?" Hahahah.

We were hoping there would be elephant rides but there weren't. Elephant and horse rides only available on weekends and public holidays. However Damus manage to get a different kind of ride. Thank goodness for cousins.

Well, it was a pretty good outing. Apart from just looking at the animals, Karina also got to practice her photography skills. She's getting better at focusing. Below is another picture of the cousins. They only get to see each other during school holidays. It's great they get along so well even though there is quite a bit of an age gap. By the way, Damus is the only boy in their generation. Rose among the thorns or thorn among the roses? Hmmm....

Thursday, December 01, 2005

More Fun On My Blog and Christmas Stuff.

Hi people, I found some more interesting stuff for you to do on my blog. Scroll down on the right and you can increase your vocabulary with Word of the Day. Below that you will find Quotation of the Day. Last of all is something fun for all: Hangman! Hope you guys like it.

Christmas Announcement:
  1. If you have nowhere to go on Christmas Eve, you are welcome to join me, my family and friends for a BBQ Blast. We will be over at Taman Mayang (the very small park/playground behind Yuk Chai school). There will be food, games, christmas carols, Santa Claus and maybe a pinata. If you are interested, just leave a comment or email me (
  2. Thinking of attending church on Christmas Day but not sure which church to go to? You are more than welcome to come to mine. We start at 10am and are over at PJ State (# 2, Jalan 52/4, PJ. Corner lot right opposite Public Bank, next to the restaurant).
  3. Subang Parade has Christmas Craft Workshops and Performances for kids and adults. They have stuff like Snowman Wind Chime, Stocking Making, Bracelet Making, Christmas Floral Arrangement, Handkerchief Making etc.... There is a schedule of the programmes. I happen to have one that's why I am able to tell you about it. Sounds really interesting and something my kid might enjoy.
  4. Atria also have Christmas activities going on. Sorry I can't find their flyer. I'm sure all the shopping malls have something going on. Do share if you have some information. You know how kids are when they have nothing to do and are couped up in the house too long. Boing, boing, boing... there they go, bouncing off the walls again, driving everyone nuts.