Archive for April, 2009

Jan and Des got hitched legally last year, but the ceremonies were held this year. More occasions to celebrate! :)

It was a crazy day for Jon, Asher and I! We had an early start, dragging our little boy out of bed ard 5.45/6am in the morning to make it to Jan’s place for the jie niang fun :) Technically Jon could have slept in, but cos I needed to feed Asher, and I couldn’t watch Asher while we were tortur…er…letting the groom and his grooms-men in, Daddy Jon had to play babysitter :)

The usual suan, tian, ku, la (sour, sweet, bitter, and spicy) stuff were all there. Looks ‘yummy’ doesn’t it? I was in charge of making the bitter stuff, and had to inaugurate my thus-far-unused blender with bittergourd! From the last wedding I was involved in, we discovered that blended bittergourd is so much worse than just eating cut up slices of bittergourd. The smell of the pureed bittergourd wafts throughout the kitchen, and is really nauseating. I bet if I gave that to Asher he’d not wanna eat for months and months and months.

Playing with Nessie before the guys arrived

Hee hee :) Ok, Asher might kill me one day. Those bunny ears were from Janine’s hen night, and we were gonna make Desmond wear them. But being cranky as we all were from waking up at ungodly hours, poor Asher suffered from our humour, yet still obligingly let us put the ears on him. He looked absolutely adorable though! :O) Sorry sweetie :)

The beautiful bride with her parents :)

The men showing some spirit in the face of a bitter opponent

Desmond just before walking in to see his bride

Anyway, after the jie niang ceremonies in Balestier, we went to Bukit Batok for part one of the tea ceremony, then back to Balestier for part two of the tea ceremony, then to Mount Alvernia to visit Joanne and Joe cos their baby just arrived, then to Seletar Hills to visit another friend cos he was back from China for the week, then home, then Orchard for the wedding dinner. Poor Asher missed a few naps, but thank goodness we had a restful stop at Mount Alvernia where he slept for 1.5 hours straight – a rarity.

Despite all the activity, it was a really fun day cos we got to catch up with so many people!

Anyway, something funny from the wedding dinner. Asher had fallen asleep before the dinner began, and stayed asleep even though there were kids running, playing and screaming just behind him, even though we were facing a speaker, even through the yum seng! But guess when he woke up? When the emcees said, “Thank you, and good night”. His eyes popped open, and he was wide awake! Funny boy. Anyway, maybe he just wanted his picture taken, cos just after he woke up it was time for the table shot :) It was his first wedding, and I guess he wanted to make sure we remember he was there!

Fun day, tiring day….home to SLEEP!!!!

Read Full Post »

Met my long-time friend Joce for lunch at Culina to catch up, and for our little ones to meet. Emma @ Emmy is such a sweet and adorable girl, with crazy hair like Asher’s, except that hers stands in a different direction from his. Asher’s hair is like a fin, hers is like a mane! :) Cute little baby cub.

We both managed to eat undisturbed for most of our meal cos both babies slept after their feed. But they woke in time to eye our desserts. Asher even tried to pull the plate and grab the strawberry on top of the panna cotta! Joce pulled him back just in time to prevent him from pulling the plate off the table, but he still managed to get some of the cream on his hand :)

Lunch was not bad. Between the two of us we tried all the items on the set menu – 2 starters, 2 main courses, and 2 of the same dessert (only 1 choice). I honestly don’t really remember what exactly we ate cos I was enjoying our conversation so much. I just know we had a soup, which I thought was pretty bland, except for the ravioli which was ok. The duck pate, on the other hand, was really yummy. Both main courses were well done, flavourful, enjoyable, but not extraordinary. Dessert was panna cotta, but I don’t remember what I thought about it, haha. I suppose that means it must have be ordinary as well. But I do remember we were commenting that it was good value for decent sized servings, and fairly good food.

Anyway, I think Asher really likes Emmy! He was super duper chatty that day. Very friendly, and very smilely. He seemed to really want to interact with Emma, and tried to reach out to her. She too, I would like to think, seemed to take to Asher as well. Although, being a very good girl, she was watchful of this strange boy who was trying to lift her blanket at one point…tsk tsk. Asher, no lifting of girls’ skirts/blankets, ok!

No, no, Asher! Don’t lift her blankie!

Asher looking excited to talk to Emmy. Emmy looks like she’s thinking, “Who is this strange boy?”

Hi! I’m Asher!

We wanted to go to the Botanical Gardens after lunch, but it was much too hot still, so we adjourned to my house, where the kids had fun sharing the playmat :) It was soooo adorable watching them wave their arms, kick their legs, and roll about together!

Don’t they look happy? :)

Ok, actually Joce and I had to wave and make funny faces to try to get them to smile at the same time :) They were smiling, but just not together – you know how it is. Anyway, this is a silly re-enactment of what we were doing :O)

We decided to try to take a picture of all of us, so she and I contorted and squeezed to take this photo :) Haha, all this just reminds me of all the wacky times Joce and I had in Sec Sch and JC :) It’s amazing to think we’re Mums now!

Before we headed off to the gardens, we managed to grab a shot of Emma resting her arm on Asher – so cute! Actually, at one point when Joce and I were chatting, Emma and Asher were holding hands. But just as we turned our heads to look at them, they let go! So funny! Just like teenagers who are shy to show their parents they’re holding hands :)))) I found that endlessly amusing.

The walk in the Botanic Gardens was calm and relaxing. So relaxing that when we got back into the car, both babies fell asleep without a sound!

Lots of fun, lots of laughter. We must do this again :)

Read Full Post »

Rachael Yamagata

Jon managed to get a pair of tickets to the Rachael Yamagata concert which was held at the Esplanade. It was the first time he and I were attending a concert since Asher came along, so it was a much anticipated evening for us! It was nice to be out, just the two of us, and doing what we used to do in London – going to the theatre for a concert/musical/play. Lots of thanks to my Mum who took time out to help watch Asher :)

I must confess, that even though I was glad to have time alone with Jon, I did also miss Asher. I mean, I’m usually with him 24/7. There have been a few occasions that I have left Asher to my Mum’s very good care, but that night was going to be the longest period I’d been away from Asher. There have been times when everything was good and fine, but on a previous occasion Asher had been very unhappy with having to drink from the bottle (when we were still trying to give him that) that he cried alot during the feed. On another occasion, he was already so tired he was crying during his bath, and once the lights were out he just knocked out. So, I was a little worried that he would either be fussy during the feed, or during the bath. I was also particularly concerned cos when we were in the theatre there was no reception, so should there have been any problem, my mum wouldn’t have been able to contact us! What could I do but pray that God will take care of everything. In the end, it was all ok. Thank God! I think motherhood has made me worry more, at least with respect to Asher.

Anyway, the performance was opened with local act Jack & Rai. They were quite good, though I must say Rai has better vocals than Jack. Jack’s enunciation when singing is not that clear, so I missed the lyrics of the song he sang. His accent also sounded a bit too affected. Rai, on the other hand, had warm and inviting voice, and very good voice control. I also notice that they are, I think, influenced by flamenco style guitar playing, and incoporated such strumming and rifts in a few of their songs. It was a good opening act in and of itself, also because they fit Rachael’s style quite well.

Rachael’s performance was very good indeed, and she bantered a lot with the audience, telling us the stories behind her songs, telling us about herself, etc. I felt that it was an intimate performance, and it really showed off her personality very well. I particularly loved her song “Sunday Afternoon”. I think that’s definitely my favorite song of hers so far. It’s about how someone tries to be strong and walk away, but can’t last long, only until Sunday Afternoon. The other song I thought was sooo sweet was “Meet Me By the Water”.

Her songs have very good rhythm, melody and flow, and for many of the songs I found myself imagining choreography to accompany the song. I kept whispering to Jon after those songs, “I can imagine a dance to that!” And then later, “Oh! I can imagine a dance to that too!”

Her ballads are the type of songs I could imagine myself listening to when sad and low, especially during my growing up years when nursing a broken heart? Heh. She’s got a rock edge too, which is great, and makes for a more diverse range of songs, enabling her to bring out more aspects of human relationships, which she likes to explore.

But the funny thing was that I left the performance thinking that she was a good performer, had a wide range of styles, but that she was maybe too much of a Jack of all trades. For the ballads, I thought it reminded me a little of Sarah Mclachlan, for rock I thought of other artists, for the ambient feel present in some songs I thought of Kitaro. I guess I felt she’s not the best in each area, nor the most original, but perhaps that’s what makes her unique. She’s able to pull together the disparate styles in her own characteristic way.

I’d definitely be interested to hear more of her stuff – especially if choreographing! :)

Read Full Post »

Tea for Two

I have always liked PS Cafe. Yes, some people say it’s a poseur place for yuppies, or some other similar thing. But I’d like to think that I like it for very non-poseur reasons. I couldn’t care less who I see there, or who sees me there. I just like the place for the lovely greenery outside, for the wonderful smell of fresh flowers throughout the restaurant (and even in the toilets!), and for the keylime pie :)

I’ve always wanted to hang out there in the afternoon but it’s impossible to do that when I’m working. So since I’m on leave, I decided to pop by there for tea with Asher! Nothing fancy, just pie, a glass of water, and a good view.

I had fun chit-chatting with Asher, and we shared a couple of jokes (at least, he was kind enough to laugh at the ones I told). I think he enjoyed people-watching too, smiling at the people at the table behind us. PS Cafe is not really a stroller-friendly place, but the waiters and waitresses were more than willing to accommodate. They seemed friendly enough, so I even trusted one of the waitresses to watch Asher while I ran to the ladies (their toilet is much too small for a stroller to fit in as well). That’s probably one of the only downsides of going out with a baby alone – sometimes it’s difficult to go to the toilet without another pair of eyes to help. Anyway, such trusting behaviour can only be done in Singapore, and with people I assess are trustworthy. Certainly never leave your baby with a stranger otherwise!

Read Full Post »

Feisty Little Ones

We went to see Anya twice during the week, and from both visits I’ve come to the conclusion that Asher and Anya will either love each other cos they are equally feisty and energetic, or hate each other cos they are so similar (from what I can tell so far…it may change as they grow up of course).

Our first trip was just to catch up cos we hadn’t seen my dear cousin since we visited her at the hospital. Both Mummy and Baby were doing great, not to mention Daddy too :) It was great that Adrian was able to take some time off so we could catch up with him too! Daddies need encouragement and support as well :) It was fun hearing stories about Anya – that she’s perfectly happy sitting in soiled diapers, must eat the instant she’s hungry, and hardly sleeps. I can totally empathise with Del especially on the last point cos having a baby who hardly sleeps is tiring! Asher used to need to eat instantly as well, but now he’s more easily distracted and can forget his hunger for a few minutes. Actually, nowadays he’s so distracted that I sometimes worry he’s not eating enough cos he’ll stop, look around, and sometimes not be interested in eating at all.

A lovely smile for the camera!

A shirt I painted for Anyastill wayy too big though

Ji Yi teaching Asher Japanese?

Anya excitedly waving to Asher!

The new family :)

Anyway, the second time we went over was for Anya’s one month gathering. Time flies man. It must have felt that way for our friends when Asher turned one month, but hearing that Anya was almost turning one month old was so surprising to me! It was great to catch up with relatives and meet some friends I hadn’t seen in a super long time. There were also many, many, many, and for good measure, many, babies at their house! So many of Del’s friends have kids! How fun for them when they all grow up! :) Most of them are boys, and I hear quite a few of the Daddies are Everton fans, like Jon, so maybe Asher can and join their little Everton-baby soccer club, heh.

Daddies and cousins Asher, Anya & Aidan. No, we did not plan to have all our firstborns start with ‘A’. Just one of those funny coincidences :)

Piggy back ride!! My poor brother, Asher was pulling his hair the whole time :O)

Being carried around by GRAND-uncle Eric (hiah hiah), and saying hi to Auntie Debs.

Asher with his great-grandmother :)

“Finger licking good!”

Read Full Post »

Road Trip to Malacca

It was almost a spur of the moment decision to go to Malacca. We decided a week before that we would head up, and after a trial holiday at Sentosa, we were on our way to Malaysia! Asher’s first overseas (or over-causeway) trip. Hopefully this is just the beginning of our continued travels. Jon and I believe that having a baby doesn’t mean our travelling ways have to come to an end; rather Asher will join us in our adventures :) But I must say, travelling with a baby slows your pace down a lot. We can’t zip about on a whim and have to have regular stops to feed Asher and keep him out of the hot mid-day sun.

The weather the day we left was good – windy, clear, and not too hot.

Managed to get a shot of all 3 of us! :)

Anyway, among the things that I packed for the trip was a bag full of Asher’s toys to amuse him on the car rides to and from Malacca. His colourful ‘book’ that he’s had since he was born, a new teether JJSB gave Asher, an improvised car seat toy (I had seen in stores how some toys had clips which looked like clothes pegs that were used to attach the toy to the bar of the car seat, so I decided to just use clothes pegs, and some hook/rings from another toy of Asher’s to make a car toy!), his toy that my Mum gave him, etc. Actually my hand came in handy for many entertaining rounds of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star too :)

The drive up was thankfully uneventful, and reached Hotel Equitorial safe and sound. We had requested for a cot for Asher, and it came in a most delightful shade of…pink! Haha. But he seemed quite happy to lie in it with his best friend Lotty :) In fact, he was so excited (to be in a new cot? To be on holiday? Just plain excited?) that he couldn’t stop kicking and waving his arms about!

Check out his legs…a blur of movement!

As we were only going to spend one night in Malacca we head off straightaway to do some sight-seeing, and EAT! We were starved! That, and we had been greedily waiting to devour all the yummy Malacca specialties. First stop – chicken rice balls! Don’t be deceived by the few balls of rice and their small size. They are really quite filling! It was a good thing we shared the dish, otherwise we wouldn’t have had as much space in our tummies for the other food.

We then went to were hunt down Donald and Lily’s Nonya restaurant which is known for it’s good, yet cheap Nonya food. We read about it in the Malaysia Lonely Planet guide, but the directions the book gave were wrong! So we ended up circling about, wandering into strange alleys, and finally just winging it and trusting our instincts. Yep, we found the place! It was tucked away in a non-descript, dusty alley, up a narrow flight of stairs behind a closed cendol stall. All that searching was worthwhile, though, cos the Nonya mee rebus was excellent! The tau kwa rojak was sedap sekali, and as a greedy afterthought, we also ordered char kway teow (after spying it on someone else’s table), which was yummy too! Did you think we forgot cendol? No way! Just that we were so eager to eat it that I never got around to take a photo of it haha. That happened for all the cendols we ate during the trip :O) We wanted to try their Nonya Laksa too but it isn’t available on Tuesdays, pity.

Besides food, we did do some minor sightseeing. I guess our main idea was to just chill out in Malacca cos both of us have been to Malacca on school trips to explore the sights previously. Maybe when Asher grows up we’ll do the sights again proper, but then again, he’ll probably have a school trip to Malacca as well.

In any case, what trip to Malacca will be complete without pictures at these sights?

The funniest thing happened when I was taking this photo. As Jon held Asher on the canon, I could hear a group of women tourists suddenly go, “Aiyoooo, hou tak yee ah!! Hoi siong ah, hoi siong ah!” (Translation: “Aiyoooo, so adorable/cute/interesting! Take photo, take photo!”) They were referring to Asher! He became a mini-celebrity of sorts, stealing the limelight from A Famosa for those few minutes. We found it so funny that he became a ‘sight’ for the tourists :) But anyway, I think he, as any baby would, charmed the people we met on our trip. From toilet cleaners to stall holders, passers-by to tourists, many stopped to pat his head and say hello :)

We of course also went to walk around Chinatown (which is where Donald and Lily’s is located). Pity it wasn’t a Friday, otherwise we could see the Jonker Street night market as well, but it was atmospheric enough as it was.

At one of the shops, I spied some slippers that I wanted to get to replace the disintegrating pair that I was wearing. It was cheap, and so comfortable! Best of all, the sole was non-slip – great for someone who has a tendency to be clumsy like myself :) And cos the Uncle said we could get a further discount if we bought 2 pairs, Jon decided to get a pair too since his slippers aren’t in the best of conditions either! I was so tickled that we were going to have the same pair of slippers because we are totally not into his-her things! This is such a rarity! Initially Jon said he wouldn’t wear his slippers when I wore mine, but they were so comfortable he couldn’t resist and wore them straightaway. So yes, a his-her slipper shot we never thought would happen :) But yes, if you do go to Malacca, there’s a shop along the main street in Chinatown (Jalan Hang Jebat) that sells Birkenstock look-a-likes called Hipopo. A good buy!

After yet another cendol stop, we decided to head back to the hotel in style – by trishaw! The Lonely Planet describes this as a must-do activity, so in the spirit of things, we went for it! Anyway, I’ve never taken the trishaws in Malacca, or for that matter Singapore, before, and neither had Jon. It was so kitsch, but so fun! Our trishaw had Boney M hits like “Sunny”, “Daddy Cool” and “Rivers of Babylon” blaring from it’s speakers, and it was decked out in a colourful but organised mess of artificial flowers. Asher was getting tired by then, and was pretty stoned for most of the ride :) I, on the other hand, happily sang along with all the songs :O)

I love this photo! During the trishaw ride we stopped by the Maritime Museum, which is housed in a ship, to take a photo. Jon held Asher high, while I called out to him to look at me. This pic captured the moment Asher smiled and at the same time excitedly kicked about, stepping onto Jon’s spectacles, causing him to make a funny face :) Priceless!

Back at the hotel after putting Asher to bed, we ordered room service for dinner! I love room service! I don’t know why, just something fun about it. I guess it’s just like how I like airplane food :) Anyway, the Hotel Equitorial deal comes with RM80 in credits which you can use at any of their restaurants or for room service. It was partly why we chose to stay there, cos we figured that once we put Asher to bed we can’t go anywhere for dinner, so room service suited us just fine. I must commend Hotel Equitorial on the effort they put in to make the dinner table look good. It came complete with tablecloth, napkins, and even a flower! If I’m not wrong I think most places just bring in a tray of food? Anyway, add the dim lighting (cos Asher was sleeping), and we had a lovely romantic meal. Romantically laughing over how bad the food was :) Ok, I guess the steak was alright, but really nothing to shout about. But my ayam penyet was like KFC (and maybe KFC is better), and the rice that came with it was totally dry. We also ordered a red date creme brulee cos it sounded like an interesting twist to a favourite dessert of mine, but the execution was all wrong. There was no crust of caramalised sugar to crack!! How can!! I love cracking the shell! Instead there was a dainty pile of already cracked gula melaka bits in the middle of the dish. That wasn’t all, the texture of the creme brulee was all wrong. It was not light and smooth, but more like thick, rough, mousse. A well-intentioned dish, but really not to my liking. However, the best disaster was the lava chocolate cake. We were so excited that offered that dessert, and were saving it for the last. We even strategised where to cut the cake so that the chocolate inside would ooze towards to berry compote. But we cut, and cut, and ate, and ate….and never found the lava! It was a molten rock cake! We thought maybe we read the menu wrongly, and ordered a brownie, but nope, the description was clear, there should be chocolate oozing from inside!! Bleah. A disappointment, but a good laugh.

After a disturbed sleep (rem from my previous post? Asher wakes up more when he sleeps in aircon…), we awoke to the sounds of students shouting and cheering while playing tug-of-war for PE. The losing team had to march around the field :) Quite old-school, but very nonstalgic.

We had breakfast of roti chenai, teh and kopi. Jon was actually sent on a mission to find a particular roti chenai stall that the Lonely Planet had recommended which was supposed to be near the hotel. It was supposedly one of the best in Malaysia. When Jon came back and served up the food, I commented that, “oh, this is what the best roti chenai in Malaysia tastes like. It’s so-so.” It was only then that he sheepish revealed that actually he couldn’t find the stall, tsk :O) Trying to sneak one past me! :)

Anyway, it was another lovely day for drive back to Singapore. Armed with the toys, and a filled belly, we made it back home in good time :) Wonder when our next trip will be, and to where?

Read Full Post »