Thursday, December 31, 2009

Eye Examination

I brought the kids to Optimax for their (long overdue) eye examination on Tuesday. Although XY didn't show any symptoms, I thought it'd be good to just check and make sure there's really nothing to be concerned about. They watch too much tv since young and both parents are "four-eyed", so I'm a little bit paranoid. :D

I made appointment for both kids although I'm not sure how the boy would react at the clinic. But surprisingly, he was very eager to get his eyes checked when he saw jie jie with those "special gadgets". He must be fascinated with the equipments. When the ophthalmologist (Dr Y) was checking jie jie with the eye chart, he read out the alphabets on the wall. What a busybody! hehehe Then he can't wait to climb onto the chair to "read the alphabets".

When jie jie was being checked, it was very difficult to keep him out of the room. He didn't want to stay outside with Kakak. Even snacks didn't help so I had to carry him near the door, at an angle where he can't see the projection on the wall. Sigh... it was quite chaotic, especially when Dr Y was trying to explain the results to me. The kids were touching the lenses, the slit lamp machine, climbing up and down the chair. It was really hard to concentrate on the conversation when you're worried the kids may break something. Arrrgh!

The results :
XY ~ She's got myopia (shortsightedness) of 25 degrees for each eye and astigmatism (left -0.75 and right -1.00). Her myopia's quite mild but because of her astigmatism, she cannot see the smaller prints very clearly. It can be corrected with glasses. But Dr Y said I can still wait and continue to monitor her. If she has problems seeing the white board in class, then she'll probably have to wear glasses. Not wearing glasses now will not cause further damage so we'll just wait and see.

CE ~ His right eye is weaker than his left. Dr Y commented that at his age (when the eyes are not fully developed yet), both eyes should be EQUALLY good or bad. She's worried the weaker eye will become a lazy eye. But it's still too early to tell. Will have to bring him in for a follow-up examination 6 months later. I'm wondering if it's a good idea to use an eye patch (if the boy allows it). Dr Y didn't suggest that and I forgot to ask her.

At the meantime, I'm definitely not allowing close range activities for too long without any break like playing computer games and electronic games. And when they watch tv, have to make sure they don't go too near. I really hope they won't have serious vision problems later on.

This will be my last post for the year. And I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very...
H a p p y N e w Y e a r !

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Who Do You Call?

Do you want to capture your pregnancy moments?
Do you want to take precious photos of your newborn?
Do you want a perfect family portraiture?
Do you want spontaneous and beautiful
photos of your active children?
Do you dislike conventional posing?

If you answered "Yes" to any of the above AND your photography skill suck, who do you call?


The women behind TwoPixels Photography are Jasmine and Sue. These two talented ladies are really incredible. On top of their full-time job and their responsibilities to their families with young children, they can still excel in what they love to do, photographing. And they're really good, as evidenced by the many satisfied customers they have. They love shooting with natural lighting, at the comfort of your own home or any (suitable) location you choose. I especially love their creativity when taking pictures of newborn babies, using baskets and bins as props. Totally unconventional!

And if like me, you have a husband who dislikes to be photographed, then grab this opportunity! To commemorate their 1st Anniversary, they are having a free photo session giveaway to AT LEAST 3 lucky bloggers. I wish I'm one of them so that I can convince hubby to participate (free mah hehehe), for family portraits and have professional photos of the kids taken. They grow up so fast, I'd definitely want to have some beautiful photos as keepsakes.

Happy 13 Months Old, TwoPixels!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Got Their Uniforms

A few months back, we paid the deposit to secure a place for CE in XY's kindy. I didn't go kindy-hunting for CE this round. Since jie jie was okay in that kindy and we're familiar with the teachers and principal, we decided to put him there as well. Moreover, my nephew (who's 1 year older than CE) is there too.

Last Saturday, I brought the kids to the kindy to collect CE's books, bag, cap and uniform and to settle the first scheduled fees. He has never explored the place. But he knows the kindy as he follows me whenever I fetch jie jie back. It was his first time getting hands-on with the apparatus there. I also brought him up to see his classroom and teacher. He didn't socialise much with the teacher (well, he can be very good at ignoring people), just gave a very enthusiastic "hi!" and "bye!" when I asked him to. :-|

Ah boy was very happy there coz he got to play some "toys". Those are actually the tools for training their motor skills like picking up beads/macaroni and pouring beads from one jug to another. He seems to like it there (main reason : there are things to play hehehe). In fact, he didn't want to leave when it was time to go. Nowadays he'll say he wants to bring his school bag and pencil case and go to school with jie jie and kor kor "to play". I wonder how long his enthusiasm will last. :-)

~ tried on the uniform at home for PaPa to see ~

Later in the afternoon, we went to get XY's uniform. The blue pinafore comes with a belt (which I don't recall using during my time) and I've to sew the hook and snap button again for a proper fit. Next, we've to hunt for a school bag and another pair of school shoes as spare.

Monday, December 21, 2009

To Keep Or To Cancel

Would like to share with you this information, if you haven't already known. :-)

I have called up CIMB card centre and I was told that the RM50 service tax will be charged only when your credit card expires in year 2010. For example, if your card's expiring in June 2010, as long as you cancel before June 2010, you will not be charged the service tax.

The lady told me that this applies to all banks. I hope I'm given the correct information. Please let me know if you've heard otherwise. I wouldn't want to be surprised with a RM50 charge for each of my cardS next month. Have you sorted out all your credit cards yet?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hong Kong Trip Nov '09 (Disneyland)

Phew... the post on Disneyland, the last part of our Hong Kong trip, is finally up. Thank you very much for your patience. :D

We checked into Disneyland Hotel at 2+ pm. The moment XY entered the room, the first thing she checked out was the tv. After 4 days without their normal cartoon (Park Lane only has 1 cartoon channel and most of the time, they watched Scooby Doo), they were seriously deprived of PHDC and Disney channel. Naturally, they were glued to the tv showing their regular channels, which comes in 3 languages.

I am more interested in the room amenities. There aren't many Mickey stuff in the room and hotel (as compared to Hollywood Hotel), more of the 7 dwarfs -- on the boxes of the toiletries, the Do-Not-Disturb sign and furniture in the washroom. I thought the hotel is very attentive to detail but I was a little disappointed. They already know how many adults and children will be staying. But they only prepared 3 sets of things like the towels, slippers and bathrobes. Even after asking for an extra set on the first day, they still provided 3 sets the next day. However, we love it that they provide free internet service in the room and they didn't charge us for our boarding pass print-outs (we did web check-in) although we were told each print-out will cost HKD10 the night before.

Disneyland Hotel :

We checked into the hotel on Tuesday, went to Disneyland on Wednesday (whole day) and Thursday (after breakfast with Mickey and friends) and left Hong Kong on Friday. We managed to cover all the rides and shows, except Autopia. We went 2 rounds of Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Mad Hatter Tea Cups and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The first ride we tried was Space Mountain (roller coaster ride). PaPa didn't want to go with us and the 3 of us still went in, thinking maybe we can sit 3 in a row. But XY had to sit alone while I sat with didi. Didi was very scared, I held his hand and he pulled my necklace, almost strangling me. Honestly, I was scared (basically closed my eyes the whole time) and worried about XY as she was sitting alone. But she was really brave. She thinks it's fun and wanted to go another round. We told her maybe we'll go again the next day. That didn't happen coz no one wanted to accompany her. hahaha Her parents are just too chicken! :p

We had brunch at Plaza Inn, a Chinese restaurant inside the park. We ordered a set for 2 persons (comes with noodles, roasted meat, mushrooms and vegetables) and some dim sum.

~ fountain on the way to the park ~

~ my 1st time sitting ON the carousel ~

Photo session with the characters :

Let It Snow Christmas Parade :

~ Sleeping Beauty Castle at night ~

~ night view of the entrance ~

Didi was so friendly, he kept saying (and waving) hello and goodbye to strangers, especially taxi drivers and bus drivers (Disneyland's shuttle buses). It can be quite embarrassing (for me) when he does that to other tourists or people who are not in the service industry. He insisted to wear the safety belt whenever he sat in the taxi or the bus. But on the flight back to KL, he refused to wear his belt and didn't allow me to wear mine. :-| He's one weird fella!

Breakfast at Enchanted Garden :

We went to the park for 2 days but we only watched the parade and fireworks once. The second day, we had early dinner and left before the parade. PaPa brought XY to the pool at 9pm. Didi wasn't feeling well so I fed him dinner in the room. Ordered room service (kid's meal of dried noodles and desserts) coz he was asleep when we had dinner in the park. Luckily his appetite was normal despite being sick. XY went to both the outdoor and indoor pools but only for a short while coz it was very cold outside and the indoor pool's very deep (didn't bring her floats along). Actually, we shouldn't have gone to see the Big Buddha on the day we arrived at Disneyland (since it was such a rush). Should have utilised more of the hotel facilities like the pool and activity room.

Bye-bye Hong Kong Disneyland!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hong Kong Trip Nov '09 (Macau)

Since we're not too interested to go shopping and we've covered most of the places I have planned, we decided to make a day trip to Macau on Day 3. We planned to go to Senado Square, Ruins of St Paul's (which is within walking distance) and visit their casino (only hubby of course, as I'll be taking care of the kids). So we thought we wouldn't have to spend the whole day there. We took our own sweet time having dim sum breakfast (eating dim sum is always time consuming).

We took the cab to Shun Tak Centre. By the time we bought the tickets at the TurboJET counter, it was almost 12:30 pm. It didn't cross our minds that the seats may be sold out. So many people going to Macau on a Monday afternoon? *scratch head* We got the 1:30 pm ferry. So we killed time at a coffee house. By the way, the ferry departs every 30 minutes although their website says every 15 minutes.

The journey takes 1 hour. I was warned by Olive that we may get seasickness but I didn't prepare any pills. Anyway, they do provide vomit bags. I got them ready in case the kids got nauseous. But they were okay coz they fell asleep soon after. The sea wasn't too choppy. It sometimes felt like you're going through thick clouds while flying in a plane. I didn't feel too good though. I suspect it was because I was hungry. :p

3 pm ~ From the ferry, we went straight to Senado Square by cab. The architecture in Macau is very different from Hong Kong. The place has a more cultural feel. After all, it's in UNESCO's World Heritage List. Ate at one of the restaurants there. We ordered wantan and fish ball noodles and tried the famous pork chop bun. Very tasty and yummy!

~ pork chop bun : comes with a big bone too ~

After our late lunch, we walked to Ruins of St Paul's where we took more pictures.

~ Ruins of St Paul's ~

Next stop, The Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel, a luxury hotel and casino resort in Macau owned by the Las Vegas Sands corporation. It houses the largest casino in the world. We found out there's a kids play zone so the kids can play while PaPa tried to get some "subsidy" for our trip. :D However he ended up making "donations". HAHAHA

It was so difficult to find the play zone. We kept asking for directions and I think we only found it half an hour later. Along the way at The Grand Canal Shoppes (mall with a Venetian theme), we did stop every now and then to take pictures.

Qube (similar to Kizsports) charges MOP90 per child for 2 hours. Each child can be accompanied by an adult. So for the 2 of them, it was almost RM80. It's money well spent coz the kids had a blasting time, I got to rest a bit (just have to follow them around) and PaPa got to explore the casino.

There are slides, climbing towers, computer games (free internet), pool tables, Wii games and a play area for smaller children (below 5). XY climbed high and low and tried all the slides. She was so daring she even tried the 90° slide (for a few times). Didi loved this particular big slide, that slides into a pool of balls. They went many many rounds of that, maybe 20 or more? I've lost count.

~ sliding down ~

~ into the pool of balls ~

~ covered in balls ~

~ climbing out ~

8+ pm ~ PaPa came to get us. After a drink at the food court, we went to the hotel concierge to buy the ferry tickets. The CotaiJet ticket counter is there. While lining up to buy the 10 pm ticket, didi declared that he wanted to do his "big business". So we had to take the 10:30 pm ferry. We took the free shuttle bus to the Taipa Ferry Terminal. The ferry ride is also an hour. By the time we reached Hong Kong (Shun Tak Centre), it was almost midnight already. And we've not even had dinner yet. :-| So we packed some nuggets and burgers from McDonald's and ate in the hotel room. What a loooong day!

Next up : Disneyland.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Annual Concert 2009

Let's take a break from the holiday posts. This is backdated as XY had her Annual Concert cum Graduation Night on 14 Nov 2009. My PILs were here to give support to their 2 grandchildren. This is the first time they attended the kids' concert.

As I've mentioned earlier, XY was the student emcee for the night. There was another emcee, a teacher. She gave the opening speech and took over whenever XY needed to be away -- to get ready to receive her graduation certificate and to change into her performance costume. Although she was reading from the paper, she didn't show any nervousness at all standing in front of such a big audience.

I know she can remember some parts of the speech by hard, especially the beginning where she introduced herself. I told her to say it without looking at the paper, to have eye contact with the audience but she totally forgot about it. Anyway, she did remember to look up once in awhile when she was reading from the paper. Overall, she did wonderfully and made us all so proud. As a token of appreciation, her principal gave her 2 story books on the last day of school (party day).

~ in her graduation robe ~

She was involved in two performances. She played the triangle in the percussion and her class dance was a kungfu dance.

~ in the changing room ~

~ walking out with the baskets at the beginning of the dance ~

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
~ kungfu dance ~

CH, my nephew who's in the Year 4 class, was selected to introduce his dance. He did a great job too. His speech was fluent and clear. And for the colouring contest held in school, he won the 2nd prize in his class.

~ CH giving the introduction to his dance ~

XY has really grown up. She'll be going to the BIG school next year. It'll be a new chapter for her (and us, the parents). Hopefully she'll adapt well to the new environment as she's been so pampered all these while. Have to start to hunt for school uniforms and bag soon. We've already bought the white shoes because she needed it for the concert. But will have to get another pair as spare. My little girl will be wearing the dark blue pinafore soon. How time flies! (Sorry, I just HAVE to say it. hahaha)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Hong Kong Trip Nov '09 (Attractions)

By the time we checked into the hotel room, it was already 3 pm. PaPa went out to buy some bread so we had a light tea-time in the room before going out to explore the city. It gets dark very early (6 pm) in Hong Kong. By 6:30 pm, it's total darkness.

Lan Kwai Fong (LKF)
We took the MTR to let the kids experience taking the train. From Causeway Bay station, we stopped at Central station and walked to LKF. On the way there, we saw a Crocs outlet. I knew the shoes are a little cheaper compared to our home country. For those above RM200, the price difference is bigger. Currently, they've having a promotion where you can be a member if you purchase above HKD800 and you're entitled to a 10% discount instantly (not for latest designs and cartoon designs though). We came out with 3 pairs. By the way, that's not the end of our Crocs purchase. hehehe

The place is not as happening as Bangsar. Not many people there although it was 6+ on a Saturday evening. Still too early?

~ a rather quiet Lan Kwai Fong ~

Repulse Bay
I checked the internet for some tour agency's itinerary. All of them included Repulse Bay as an attraction. So as tourists, we decided to go there as well. I know there's a temple (no joss sticks are allowed) with giant statues of Kuan Yin and other deities.

Surprisingly, the cab driver doesn't know about the temple and he dropped us off at The Repulse Bay, which "houses designer shops and award-winning restaurants and resembles the luxury hotel built in 1920 that originally occupied the site". We asked a guard and he didn't know either. We walked around that place as they were having a carnival. Then we spotted another guard. Luckily he was able to help us and directed us to the beach. The temple is just higher up along that beach. In my opinion, if you don't have time to waste, you can skip Repulse Bay. :D

~ the beach @ Repulse Bay ~

~ the temple @ Repulse Bay ~

The Peak
We took the Peak Tram. Bought tickets that included the Peak Tower Sky Terrace. It's the highest 360° viewing platform in Hong Kong. The view from the platform was magnificent. But very worried for the kids. The fencing is only about 4 feet high. Was holding tightly to didi and kept asking jie jie to stay next to me.

~ view from the Sky Terrace ~

~ sunset @ The Peak ~

~ the wok-like top : Peak Tower Sky Terrace ~

We didn't go into the wax museum (Madame Tussauds). Somehow we're not too interested to take pictures with "fake" famous people. hahaha Moreover, I'm sure the kids wouldn't appreciate it. Might as well save the money. :-) So we just took photos with Bruce Lee at the entrance.

Avenue of Stars & A Symphony of Lights
It was already dark when we reached Avenue of Stars. So we didn't see much of the handprints. The lighting show was quite interesting but spectacular? Not really. Maybe we didn't see it from the best angle. However the kids went "wah... wah...".

After that, we took the ferry back to Hong Kong island. We didn't explore much of Kowloon or the New Territories. That's the only time we stepped foot in Kowloon for the whole trip.

~ night view from Avenue of Stars ~

~ picture taken from the jetty ~

~ picture taken from the ferry ~

Big Buddha
After checking into Disneyland Hotel, our plan was to see the Big Buddha. It's on Lantau Island too. We took the MTR to Tung Chung (from Disneyland to Sunny Bay, then to Tung Chung). Must let the kids (us adults too) experience sitting in the train with Mickey ear windows. We didn't take the cable car (Ngong Ping 360) to the Ngong Ping Village (where the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery is). Instead we took a cab. The road was hilly and winding.

~ Disneyland Resort line train ~

It was a mad rush coz we had late lunch in Tung Chung. And thanks to MY bad planning, we're running late. The Big Buddha closes at 6 pm and the last entry is 5:30 pm. The cab doesn't go all the way in to the gate. We had to walk in. Reached the entrance at about 5:40 and the guards were kind enough to let us in. So it was a quick climb up (268 steps!), took a few photos and we were shooed down shortly (already past their closing time). Didn't even get the chance to circle the platform. In less than 30 minutes, we're back on ground level again. Gosh, that was streneous!

~ steps leading up to Big Buddha ~

Po Lin Monastery also closes at 6 pm and the shops are closed too, it's like a dead place. As there's nothing else to do, we took a bus back to Tung Chung station. There are many factory outlets there so we walked around to kill time before dinner. Saw a Crocs outlet and went in to look see look see. They don't have many choices, mainly the old models. Some with limited sizes. But they're a very good bargain -- about half the price of what we're paying here. Moreover, I got an extra 5% discount as a member. So we left with another 3 pairs (1 for my nephew, WQ). Bought bigger sizes for the kids to keep but I made a mistake of getting a current size for didi. Sigh... his current one was just bought recently. All in all, we bought 6 pairs of Crocs, a crocs o-dial (for keeping handphone) and a packet of jibbitz for RM640. Quite good deal, no? :D

~ clockwise from top left : Baya Kids, Gabby Girls, Beach, crocs o-dial,
jibbitz, Dora Flowers Kids, Crocband and Santa Cruz Corduroy Men ~

~ United Colors of Benetton for jie jie ~

Also bought a long sleeve top and long pants for jie jie (about RM60). We went to a shopping paradise and came back with only Crocs and a pair of clothes. hahaha Seriously, it was no fun shopping with the kids. Can't look at things in peace. We didn't even go to any night markets. On the day we arrived, we went to check out Sogo, which was very near to Park Lane. They were having a Jumbo sale (that weekend was the last 2 days of sale). It was so crowded. We followed the crowd in, just walked one round and couldn't wait to get out. :p It's like things were free of charge!

Next up : Day trip in Macau.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Hong Kong Trip Nov '09 (Hotel & Food)

We were in Hong Kong from 21st to 27th November. Stayed 3 nights in Hong Kong island and 3 nights in Disneyland Hotel. We took the 9:15 am flight with MAS. Although the kids woke up at 6+, they didn't want to nap in the plane coz they were hooked on to the in-flight electronic games. Their batteries only ran out after breakfast and they napped for about an hour. The choice for breakfast was omelette with potato and sausage or nasi lemak. The food was quite yummy.

~ in-flight food ~

At Hong Kong airport, we bought four Octopus cards (for 2 adults and 2 children) as it can be used on MTRs and at selected merchants like 7-Eleven, Mannings (Guardian) and food outlets. We took a cab to our hotel, The Park Lane in Causeway Bay (HKD340). We travelled by cab most at the time as it's more convenient with young children. Although their MTR system is very efficient, the distance between the entrance/exit and the train itself can be quite far, especially for a 3 year-old. It's even worse when the little boy demanded to be carried. PaPa and I suffered backaches at the end of everyday (what a torture :p).

The hotel is strategically located, with shopping malls and food outlets nearby and the MTR station within 5-10 minutes walk. Our room overlooks the Victoria Park and has a partial sea view. It's quite spacious (by Hong Kong standard) -- big enough to fit a king-size bed, an extra single bed and a lazy chair.

Everywhere you look, there are high-rise buildings with large and small businesses such as a reseller hosting company. And they can be quite near to each other. Also there are many people on the street. It's usually very crowded, especially at intersections, where the pedestrians wait and cross the roads at the same time.

~ look at the amount of people on the street at 10+ at night ~

The weather was quite cold on the first few days. But it was very sunny when we were in Disneyland. I guess with the sudden change of temperature, lack of rest and insufficient water intake, it was hard not to fall sick. Luckily the kids only fell sick on day 5 and it was a mild case (didi had fever which went away after one dose of paracetamol). Thank you for all your well wishes. We are almost fully recovered already.

The air was also very dry. I washed didi's jeans and let it air-dry in the bathroom. It dried within a day. Our lips were dry and cracking. The skin too -- my hands are very rough now.

Hong Kong is a food haven but we didn't indulge much. Didn't particularly go in search for the famous and must-have food. We ate at odd hours most of the time -- late breakfast (after 10 am), late lunch (after 2 pm) and late dinner (after 9 pm). The servings are quite big so I usually order 2 portions to be shared among the kids and I. I really like their fish balls (nice and huge) and wantans (with big prawns). During the trip, we ate a lot of fish balls and wantan noodles coz these won't go wrong with the kids.

Here are some of the restaurants/shops we went to :

Tsui Wah ~ hor fun (flat rice noodles) soup with fish balls, fish cakes and wantans, hainanese chicken rice and pork chop udon soup. This restaurant is right opposite Yung Kee Restaurant, which is famous for roast goose. I read the reviews that it's overrated but their century eggs are really good. However, we don't fancy that so we went to Tsui Wah instead.

Café De Coral ~ fast food chain. Serves western and chinese food. It's like our Kim Gary or Wong Kok Char Chan Teng. Had American breakfast of toast, eggs and sausage, fried noodles, porridge and pau.

~ fried noodles in soy sauce : a bit dry ~

Hong Kong Day ~ stir-fried rice noodles with sliced beef (so-so only) and nissin noodle soup with ham and egg. This is one of the restaurants at The Peak Tower. We didn't go for those restaurants with a view. But I'm sure it'd be a memorable experience dining while overlooking the great view of Victoria Harbour.

Fung Shing Restaurant ~ dim sum. Their selection is quite different from what we have here. The bowl of porridge was really huge. And the glutinous rice is quite special, looked like a hamburger and it's fried. Don't like their fish balls though.

Jardine's Bazaar ~ this street has many local restaurants. Ate fish and pork porridge, sticky rice, pancake and fried rice.

Food Republic ~ food court in Tung Chung. We ordered fish ball hor fun, fried rice, braised pork (and braised what-nots) with rice.

Next up : Places we visited.