Friday, February 22, 2013

Day Out With The Girls...

Haven't posted here for a very long time... Mainly because most of the posts have now migrated to Facebook which is much easier to upload photos. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since my last post, and I will attempt to catch up on the (huge) quota of backdated posts soon.

To start with I'd thought I'd write about today, which is special to me as I haven't had the opportunity to spend a whole day alone with the girls for quite a while now. Before I go on I think it's best to explain why both the girls and I are not at school and work respectively. The teachers have a pupil-free day each term which is called curriculum day in which the staff engage in professional development, curriculum planning and reporting. Since wifey is fast running down her stock of leave, and I really needed a break, I stayed home with the girls.

Started the day with bowls of Just Right cereal, yes, the girls now are starting to like the adult kind of cereals. Makes my shopping easier I suppose, no need to stock up on Cheerios and Coco Pops...

After brekkie, I went through the alphabet ring with the girls. In case you're wondering, these are cue cards with alphabets in both upper and lowercase bound into a stack with a ring. They are supposed to read the alphabets phonetically. Went through that pretty quickly, and on to the take-home books. These are books they take home everyday to read, and their progress is marked on a sheet in a special folder, indicating whether they had the books read to them, read with them, or read by them. They only got started on both alphabet ring and the take-homes on Thursday. The ones they got this round were not too difficult and both girls managed to read the books by themselves!

I then told them to go tidy up the rumpus which they had, for lack of a better description, practically trashed yesterday, while I head into the study to do some work. An hour later they seemed to have not done very much, so I helped them out.

Got changed and went out about 11 to get my extremely dirty car washed. I realised it had not been washed since November! It was dirty no doubt, but surprisingly not horribly so. I think cars seem to not get as dirty as they do in Malaysia. The lack of rain recently must have had a hand in that...

Dropped it off at Malvern Central and walked out to Glenferrie Road with the girls to look for lunch. After walking quite a bit because the both of them couldn't agree on what to have, I put my foot down and ended up at Gourmet Dumpling Restaurant. I kid you not, that really IS the name. Saw that it was reviewed by Matt Preston some years back with not unfavourable comments, so was hoping for the best despite my skepticism of establishments with the words gourmet, tasty, delicious, best, etc. having encountered a few in my time that were anything but what the claimed to be. Ordered the panfried dumplings (guo tie) and confusingly named Shanghai steamed pork bun (xiao long bao).

Both turned out to be pretty good. Dumplings were meaty and not greasy, and while the xiaolongbao could have had thinner skins, they were light and tasty with the broth being flavourful without being salty. Best of all it cost me $16! Taught the girls how to eat the dumplings properly (with vinegar, what else) and the trickier xiaolongbao. After the first one which I taught them to nibble the side and suck out the broth, they loved it and had 3 each!

Went back to Malvern central, but still had about half hour before my car was due to be ready so walked around the place which was really nothing much at all. Wound up in Woolies to buy some fruits, but ended up with tuna, a bag of pretzels that the girls wanted for lunchbox (Israeli and kosher by the way!) and a tub of ice cream, again requested by the girls. I am beginning to think I am a sucker when going grocery shopping with them...

All done, we collect my now clean car. They did a decent job, aside from a few spots they missed on the wheels. Drove back home and within like 2kms of leaving Jun Lee had fallen asleep. Jun Yen fell asleep a while later, and I had a bit of whining when we got to Bunnings and only by promising them a sausage in bread from the sausage sizzle were they more cooperative.

Went in to get my stuff, and they started being a bit whiny about wanting the sausage sizzle, so I teased them by saying they can only have a Jun Lee sizzle or Jun Yen sizzle. I asked Jun Yen how to make a Jun Lee sizzle and Jun Yen said, "you put her in bread, then put tomato sauce..." Haha! We did get a sausage later, and as I said before to wifey there is just something about getting a sausage with onions on bread from the sausage sizzle. It's the simplest food there is, but the satisfaction is completely disproportionate to the simplicity of the fare...

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Going To Malaysia...

I have already told the girls that next week they will be going back to Malaysia, and they were suitably excited as they get to meet their grandparents, uncle, and other relatives.

This morning as I was dressing them I again mentioned that today is Wednesday, and next Friday they will be going on a plane to Malaysia.

Jun Yen asked me, does that mean we won't be staying in this house anymore? I explained to her that we are going back for a holiday and will be back after 2 weeks.

Jun Lee said that she doesn't want to go to Malaysia, as she wants to go to school and see her friends.

What she said really had me thinking on the drive to work, and realise that the girls will never have the attachment that we have to Malaysia, and that brought up some pretty mixed feelings in me...

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

New Car, Old Car, Papa’s Car, Mommy’s Car…

Hubby got a car when he first came over here and now that I’m here with the girls, he decided to get another for our convenience.

When we went to collect the new car, I dropped hubby off at the dealership and started to leave to go back home. As I began to drive off, Jun Lee told me “Mommy, stop, don’t go. Wait for Papa.” I told her that Papa is collecting the new car and would drive back himself later but she insisted that we should wait. It was sweet of her, thinking her father would be left behind. I explained the situation again and they now understood and were excited about the new car.

Since then they would call hubby’s car “new car” and mine as “old car”. It’s been more than a month now and they still call it that way. They are always happy to ride in the new car as that’s when all of us go out together on weekends.

We've taught them to call the new car as Papa’s car and the other as Mommy’s car, and also explained to them that Papa’s car is a Ford and Mommy’s is a Toyota. So now they call them the “Ford car” and “Toyota car” respectively.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas At Healesville…

We don’t really celebrate Christmas, but it's a welcome holiday all the same. This year we made plans for a day trip as it was a weekend anyway. Problem was, most places here are closed on Christmas day. Good thing then that the Healesville Sanctuary was open, so off we went on a rather sunny Christmas morning.

We chose this place as we wanted to bring the girls to see the animals. They were particularly looking forward to see the kangaroo and koala ever since we told them we were coming to Australia, so this was a good time and place to introduce them to the local fauna.

They were very excited as we drove there and kept wishing to arrive there quicker. When we finally got there, they were so happy they were literally hopping around. As we were getting the tickets, Jun Yen told the counter staff that she wanted to see kangaroos. The staff member replied that she will show us where are the kangaroos are once she is done with the tickets. Jun Yen then told her she wanted to see the koalas as well. The staff member was quite amused and told her she will show us how to get to both areas.

As it was time for the Birds of Paradise show, we made that our first stop instead of heading to the 'roos and koalas. The girls were not very attentive as they kept wanting to see the koalas and kangaroos. However they did enjoy the show as they got to see many types of birds, big and small, performing at the same time.

Next we went to look for a picnic spot for lunch. The girls were quite happy as they were hungry too. We got a lovely sheltered spot, and tucked into pasta and potato salad.

Our spot was quite close to the koala area so when we heard the caretaker start his presentation; I quickly brought the girls to go have a look. They were really happy as they got to see the koala munching on eucalyptus leaves and even hop from one tree to another.

We went back to the picnic spot where hubby was enjoying some snacks in the nice cool weather. We finished packing and went on to see the other animals: kangaroos, platypus, emus, Tasmanian devil, wombat and others.

The kangaroos were lazing around in a roped off enclosure and quite far away from us. None were hopping around at that time but luckily the girls were still happy to see them. They were quite tired after the trip and was fell asleep pretty much as soon as we got in the car to go home.

A nice sunny, outdoorsy family day on Christmas, lovely!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Visit To The Library…

I joined the Public Library near our place recently as a good way to expose the girls to more books, plus we can also borrow audiovisual items for them too. It’s great as we get to borrow up to 30 items, which is enough for the whole family.

I brought them to a “Story Time” session where a Librarian would read a few stories and have some activities at the end. As expected there was a huge turnout. Being first timers, the girls did not know what to expect and I let them sit on my lap (yes, one on each side) and told them to listen quietly. There was also a sing-along session whereby the children sang together with the Librarian.

At the end there was activity time whereby the children were given a drawing to colour in, some crayons and some cut-outs to stick on as part of the drawing. It was all a lot of fun. While the girls were colouring, one little baby boy came crawling near us and began grabbing Jun Lee’s paper. She complained that she didn’t have enough space as the baby was in front of her and so I told her to move over to my side. The baby then crawled over to Jun Yen and he was crying, and suddenly screamed right into Jun Yen’s ear.

Poor Jun Yen was disturbed but just rubbed her ear. She must have hated the loud scream but didn’t kick up a fuss. I was quite proud of the way they handled the situation. Good girls!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Backyard Game…

As I am alone with the girls during the day, they'd pretty much go where I go, and that includes being out in the backyard when I hang out the washing. They love it as they get to run around on the grass and also came up with a new game. We have a lemon tree in the backyard that produces far more lemons than we can use, and consequently a lot of lemons would just fall onto the ground. The girls would kick the lemons around as though they were kicking a ball. When hubby called home and asked what they were up to, the girls told him they “kick lemon”.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Visit To The Optician...

I was at the optical shop the other day to replenish my stock of contact lens when
the optician mentioned that I should bring my girls over for an eye test. I was thinking 'Huh? Do they need it since they are so young...' He then explained that as my hubby has a high degree of astigmatism, it could affect my girls as well.

We went to the optician yesterday at 1Utama. I prepared my girls before the visit by telling them that we need to bring them to check their eyes. They were excited as they had no idea what it was. When we got there, I went through the test first in order for them to get an idea of what goes on. When it was their turn, JL said 'JY first' and JY said 'JL' first', which is common for them to push the other to go ahead first if they are scared or not willing to do something.

I chose JY to go first as JL being the elder twin typically had to go first and it's only fair that JY gets her turn as well. They did the electronic eye test with me
holding them on my lap. It went rather smoothly as all that was involved was having them look at a picture of a tree through a tiny hole which was kinda fun for them...

Next came the phoropter test, where they would look at a chart through a variety of lenses. The girls looked at me wearing the 'big spectacle' and spelling out the alphabets on the chart as instructed by the optician. I got JL to do this test first since JY went first earlier. The optician asked if they are good in their ABCs and I
proudly said yes. They went through the test in almost the same way as us adults. It was like fun for them as they got to wear the 'big spectacle' and spell out the alphabets just like their mommy. He then did another test by asking them to look into his eyes while he shined a light into their eyes.

I was glad that they were well behaved throughout and even optician was very impressed. Of course, I was much relieved that the tests showed they had perfect vision and do not need any correction.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

P-O-O-H...

I bought a t-shirt recently which has a big picture of Winnie the Pooh's face and a bee on his nose, with the word POOH at the bottom. The girls saw it when I was folding it after washing. They kept asking me to wear it over the next few days. When I finally did, they said it was pretty.

I was upstairs in the study doing some work in the afternoon today when they heard me opening the door and called me from downstairs. Although I intended to go to the washroom, I went down to greet them first and I sat on the floor where they were playing. Jun Yen came up to me and said 'P-O-O-H'. I was just amazed that she could spell out the letters on my t-shirt, even without being taught to do so.

I'll really have to get more t-shirts like these that attract them...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pigeons At The Park...

We went to the park as usual this morning. The girls were excited as this time we kept aside some bread to feed the tortoises in the lake.

As we were throwing pieces of bread into the lake to feed the tortoises, 2 pigeons nearby who spotted some bread crumbs came near us to eat.

Normally the girls would not be scared but this time the pigeons came a bit too near for comfort until the girls actually had to move to avoid the birds, and by pushing themselves closer to me. As I was squatting down it was difficult for me to balance and Jun Yen fell on her bum onto the floor. Luckily she didn't cry or make a fuss. The diaper must have cushioned the impact, haha...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Masak Masak...

The girls have been quite keen at playing at cooking for a while now, but lately their repertoire of "dishes" has expanded considerably, as they observe the dishes that they have had over lunches and dinners at home, out at restaurants or even from TV shows.

They were 'cooking' the other day and asked Kongkong (maternal grandfather) what he would like to eat. He answered 'fish head noodle', and JL went 'oh' as if to acknowledge the request. He then asked if she knows how to cook it and she said no. Kongkong then began a cooking lesson for the fish head noodle. JL was attentive while JY was walking around n 'cooking' other dishes for me.

JL was very happy after the lesson and would always 'cook' her newly learnt dish
for me and Kongkong.

Kongkong even taught them how to bake cakes. As usual, JL was the more attentive one. Today they watched a children show which was showing how to bake a flower pot shaped cake and JL was imitating it after the show. This proves that children watch and learn from what they see on TV, which reinforces our belief that it is important to be careful what we let them watch.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Three Questions...

Recently we came up with 3 questions we use to test the girls, and which usually confuses them, especially Jun Yen.

First Question: What is your name?

Second Question: How are you?

Third Question: How old are you?

They know the answers but may not be to the correct question. So what they do is just take a guess. I tried to translate the questions into Mandarin, hoping it would help. Jun Lee is able to answer the questions correctly now but Jun Yen is still guessing, which means she still does not quite understand the questions.

The Parrot...

When the girls were just learning to talk, they'd repeat things we say. My wife would say they were like parrots, and they repeated "Parrot" as well, haha!

A few months back, when they repeated something wifey said, she again said they were parrots. This time however, to her surprise, Jun Lee replied, "No, a parrot is a bird..."

When I heard that I tried getting Jun Lee to say the same thing, but she just smiled.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Girls and The Baby...

Until recently the girls have always been the youngest among their cousins, until my elder sister gave birth to her second child, a baby boy. When I visited her I would usually bring the girls along.

Both of them have seen tiny babies before but as they grow older they seem to act more like big sisters.

I'd ask them to sing lullabies to the baby when the baby is crying. During one of these occasions when they were trying to pacify the crying baby they did so by caressing him softly while saying "Baby, don't cry..." but at the same time their eyes were glued to the tv that was showing a cartoon.

Another time I was quite surprised when they both said "Baby, don't cry. I am here" (caressing baby softly and then pointing to themselves by putting their hand on their chest). They must have learnt it from us adults who normally console their little ones that way. Haha...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

First Lego Set...

Lego has always been a big part of my childhood, and I used to spend hours playing with them and making the most fantastic things. I never seemed to follow the instructions though... Anyway this isn't about me, so over to wifey...

We've always wanted to buy the girls a Lego set. However most of the sets we saw were either simple Duplo ones or were the complicated ones that required you to read the instructions to build something specific. We preferred the freestyle ones where they could build whatever they put their imaginations to but we couldn't find any satisfactory ones.

We were looking around a supermarket when I was in Melbourne recently and was so happy that we finally found one. We showed the girls the set on Skype when I was there and they were very excited. when I got back home I placed the box on a book shelf in the study. When they entered the room, Jun Yen spotted it right away, which was amazing as the room was quite dark and the light was not turned on yet. She must have owl vision, hehe...

As the girls are still young, we only allow them to play with the bigger pieces and kept aside the smaller ones. We taught them how to build things but they sometimes like to use it as part of their cooking game as part of their "ingredients". This annoys hubby a bit who thinks it's a very pricey toy for them to use to 'cook' rather than build things. But they are after all still small and need time to learn to build things out of them. Besides I can see that they are interested to build things, but they also like to cook as well...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Channel 552 is cartoon...

After being away for a while to sort things out in Melbourne, I've forgotten the order of the TV channels.

I wanted to let the girls watch cartoons while I do some housework but forgot
what channel it is on. I tried many times, pressing here and there to find it. In the end I gave up and asked the girls what is the cartoon channel...

They both answered together, "Mommy, 552 is cartoon!..." And they were right, 552 is the TViQ channel!