Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Seabus adventure with Allison

This post has been delayed for a whole month!  Yan-yan and Ali embarked on a seabus and skytrain adventure during their Christmas break.  It was really fun for the all of us as it was the first time for yan-yan, Ali and apparently yan-yan's mommy's first time on the seabus too!  

On our way to the seabus station, Ali had a chance to check out the choo-choos:

It must be our really lucky day.  We met a really cool entertainer.  Actually, nice is the better word to describe him.  At first he was playing Pachelbel Canon, but after he finished playing it, he started playing more upbeat music.  Look at the four of us dancing away!

Yan yan checking out the view from the seabus with her por-por:

Ali excited to see the helicopter nearby:

The two girls:

Ali is really into owls lately.  We named one of her owl dolls Hedwig and when she saw the stone owl by the terminal, she yelled, "It's Hedwig!"  She actually thought this is the real thing...hahahaha...

We had a really great time taking the seabus together, yan-yan!  Let's do it again in the summer!
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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Say bye to 2011 and hello to 2012! =)

God has given us plenty of things to be thankful and grateful for this year.  To our family, 2011 is a year of fruitfulness.  So many happy things, also a few sad things happened along the way, but we learn from all our laughs and tears.

1.  Family and friends
Family always comes first!  We are so lucky to have a new addition to our family!  A healthy little boy has arrived to join our crazy family.  Now it's a family of four and I feel complete.  A very selfish part of me wanted a boy, so that I can take the girl shopping and hubby can take the boy to play video games.  And now it's finally happening, I can't thank our Lord enough for giving us a healthy baby.  At the end of the day, health is the only thing that really matters.  Anything else is just icing, and man, did we get some good icing here! ;) 

Ali's wonderful goo ma also gave birth to her babies.  One of my brothers finally tied the knot and they are expecting a baby girl!  Good friends of ours (Nate's godparents) are also expecting a baby girl!  All these dragon ladies, oh my!  And of course, a few of our friends also gave birth.  Allison has a baby brother, Adrian.  Hubby's best friend King also to gave birth to a baby boy, Lucas.  It is, as usual, a joy to see all these little ones joining us in this wonderful world!

Adrian Chu

Lucas Hii

Nathaniel Lam

2.  Health
It is such a relief that hubby's skin problem is under control.  No more crazy drugs or vitamin supplements, just some occasional ointment.  Ali's first year was terrible - always sick.  Last year, she is much much better. Just like anything else in life, it has to get worse to get better, right?  Her immune system is much stronger now and so far (keeping my fingers crossed here), Ali has not missed a day of school because of illness.  Go, Ali, go!

3.  Work
2010/2011 is probably one of the most difficult year for me.  I started teaching Calculus and I totally regretted not spending more time prepping for the new course during my maternity leave.  I had to pay for it...big time!  Prepping for a senior new course is not so bad if I don't have time constraints.  After we put Ali to bed around 8:30, hubby and I tried to finish all the housework.  Doesn't matter how busy the day is, we always try to find time to talk to each other, albeit briefly.  My bed time is 11, so I only have an hour or two to finish my work - marking, prepping for notes, making tests.  I was lucky I only have one new prep.  I don't want to think what it is going to be like next with at least two preps and two kids at home.  Ugh.  

Again, 2011 is a year of fruitfulness.  I had a great bunch of students last year and they are all (maybe I should say most) very appreciative of what I have done for them.  And thanks to technology, I was able to reconnect with quite a few of them.  Most of the kids did really well in their first course and I am so so relieved!  I was worry that I did not prep them well enough, but thank God I did an okay job.  Mental note to self, gotta start prepping earlier in the summer before I head back to work this time around!  I do have to apologize to my wonderful hubby who is so so understanding.  Because of work, I was not able to spend much time with him last year.  (Thank goodness for Starcraft 2 - that kept him busy for awhile!)

4.  Ali's growth and development
Ali is growing fast and looking at her growth rate in the last two years, she is going to be a tall girl!  She is wearing size 3T and growing out of her 3T pajamas (do they make pj smaller these days?)  She is a really good eater, but is becoming more of a picky eater these days.  Vegetables are not her forte.  I always have to hide them in her food somehow.  

Her fine and gross motor skills are definitely better, but with room for improvement.  Her pencil grasp is getting better.  She can draw lines and circles, but can't really connect the dotted lines together yet.  Because of her skin problems, we did not send her to swimming.  But we will try to send her to gymnastics or other sports to help her with coordination skills.

Ali's language skill has bloomed.  We all notice Ali is more of an observer and a late bloomer.  She likes to watch and is very cautious.  She started crawling and walking quite late compared to other kids.  But Ali surprised us with her sudden jumps in her language skills.  She wasn't talking for the longest time and all of a sudden, everything just clicked for her and she started talking non-stop.  It is the most apparent when she was 21-months old.  Even her teachers were astonished with her learning curve.  I could have sang a new song with her once and a few weeks later, hubby found her singing the same song/tune when she was a reading a book by herself.  We have to really watch we are saying in front of her these days.  She is like a little sponge.

The most recent obsession of Ali is to find out everybody's names.  She will point to a picture of someone and asks for their names.  Ali is very bossy at school.  In fact, her teachers joke and call her "Ms. Ali" or "Teacher Ali" because she will order her friends around to do what they are supposed to do.  For instance, if someone is not eating, she will say, "Dominic, eat".  Or if someone is walking around during circle time, she will say, "Khalid, sit down".  

Of course it doesn't mean that she is role model student.  Last week, we were told she hit one of her classmates at school.  Ali started to cry and got really emotional when the teacher started to talk to her.  It was kind of funny actually.  When I walked in the room shortly after this all happened, I thought she hurt herself because her eyes were so red and swollen and seemed to be in distress.  Whereas, the girl who got hit by her, seemed so happy and was greeting me by the door.  The teachers thought that Ali knew she was in the wrong and that she was not supposed to hit her friend, but she was too frustrated at the situation and lost it.  I am glad that at least she knew what was not appropriate to do and she actually felt bad for doing it.  I just hope that this kind of incidents will not happen again.

Ali is usually pretty good and willing to cooperate at home.  But there are times she just won't listen.  We think she is trying to looking for boundaries and trying to be independent.  That translates to throwing tantrums when she doesn't get what she wants, negotiates a fair bit and pushing daddy and mommy away when doing daily activities (putting on jackets, going to potty, etc).  We found ourselves have to be more strict, be extra patient and try really hard to reason with her.  Parenting is so damn hard sometimes!

All in all, Ali is a happy girl.  Goofy, always want to play and be silly.  Loves to try new things and books is still her favorite toy.  Loves company and wants to do whatever we are doing.  A wild child who loves to go out.  A typical toddler.  Actually, Ali is not shy in telling people that she needs to go home at night.  Whenever we go out, at around 7 or 8, she will walk to the door, grab her shoes and start telling people "night night".  If we are hosting, she will do the same (minus the shoes part), but she will make sure you know it's "night night" time.  Hubby and I were a bit embarrassed in the beginning, but now all our friends know about the curfew Ali sets up and they will usually respect her bed time limit.  Her most favourite people are her kai siblings and Andrew and Caleb goh-goh.

5.  Nate's growth and development
While we were happy to see that Nate has 10 fingers and 10 toes, there were a few health concerns along the way.  At two months, all the problems have resolved and only little bit of eczema and cradle cap left.  Again, we thank God for watching over our little boy.  Nate now weighs 12 lbs 9 oz.  Not as big as his sister, but that is expected as he is not as good of a eater as Ali.  Nate eats well in general, but if he eats too much, he will have lots of spit ups.  Ali, on the other hand, can drink as much as you are willing to give her. 

Nate is a very happy fellow.  He is starting to make small "talks" with people around him.  He also smiles quite a bit.  Nate enjoys his mobile time and story time.  He loves being read to, which is very similar to Ali in this regard.  I hope he will grow to like books as much as his big sister does!

Nate "chatting" with por por:

Nate is such a relaxed and mellow baby.  Ali is a very mellow baby too, but Nate is even more so.  Sometimes, we worried that he is too chill.  Seriously, why don't you fuss too much, Nate?  Not that we want you to fuss, but you are almost too good to be true sometimes.  I always joke that Nate is the mini-Anders.  Daddy is a really mellow guy, maybe he is just like daddy?!?  

6.  Ali and Nate

The two do not look alike, however, if you look closely, they kinda do at a certain angle.
Here is a picture of Ali:

And this is Nate:

What do you think?

A:  "I love you, baby brother."
N:  "I love you too, Ali geh geh."

We are lucky that Ali LOVES Nate.  She will respect his toys (maybe because he only has a handful, while she has a houseful of toys?!) and be happy to give him some of hers.  There are only certain people who can hold Nate.  If she is not comfortable with someone, that person is NOT allowed to hold Nate, otherwise she will cry bloody murder.  Ali does get jealous of Baby Nate.  She gets really possessive of mommy sometimes.  She would want me to hold her even though I told her I have to feed baby.  We felt bad for Nate and we often called him a "second class citizen".  Because Ali is so vocal and we know Nate is okay, we often paid more attention to Ali than to Nate.  For this, mommy and daddy apologize.  We love you Nate!

Ali also talks about her baby brother, make sure he is in good hands (usually por por).  When we go out, she wants her baby bro to tag along too.  At school, when her teachers asked her to write a letter to mommy and daddy, she insisted on including Nate as well.  Cute.  A big part of me wanted another girl so that there is a higher chance that Ali will be close to her baby sister.  I really really really hope that Ali and Nate will love and take care of each other as they grow older.  I hope they will play well and get along just like their kai siblings.

7.  Hobbies and new obsessions
Sad to say knitting was very short lived, but sewing is a go.  Well, not until the last month.  Because work has been so busy and taken up so much of my spare time, I did not really get to spend time on my hobbies.  Ali told Santa she wanted a bag (just like mommy's) for Christmas.  So mommy became an elf and after consulting my sewing guru (aka kai mama), I quickly sew one together just in time for Xmas.  And before Nate was born, I was able to quickly sew two cases for my nursing pillow.  Sewing is actually pretty fun and I found myself wanting to read more about it too.  

Ali's reversible "Santa" bag:

The other side.  I deliberately chose a sheep button.  So cute.  Not too bad for the first try, eh?

Cricut is a lot of fun.  Like I said, I didn't have much time playing with it too much, but enough to get me hooked.  In fact, I liked it so much that I bought a newer and bigger version.  This one can cut bigger designs and had quite a few different cartridges built in.  I bought it during the American Thanksgiving weekend and I still have not open the box yet.  Sad.  Yes, it is very very sad.  Must test it out soon.

Nate's invite.  I used the Cricut machine to make the monkey and the vine.

2011 has treat us well.  We sincerely hope God will continue to watch over our family and yours.  May we wish everyone a very happy and rewarding 2012!