April 29, 2010

At Ten Months

My little Goliva turned 10 months three days ago. 

Skills and Abilities: Excels in crawling, is able to stand unaided for 2-3 seconds, imitates language sounds, mimics your every action - from nodding your head to turning on the TV, bops and bounces to the rhythm of good music, listens when you speak to her, makes good eye contact, eats 4 baby meals a day, drinks from a cup, gives you kisses when asked to and most of all, melts your heart with her angelic smile :)

Likes & Dislikes: Loves being cuddled by mommy and daddy, having bubble bath, playing catch with Alden, chewing on her toothbrush, listening to the gummybear song, munching on cheese crackers and picking up bread crumbs on the floor. Hates sleeping alone, not getting what she wants, strapped on the car seat for more than 10 minutes, being ignored and getting bullied by Alden.  

Behaviour: Alva is a very cheerful baby but ever since she started daycare, she's become overly clingy and attached. She's going through a phase called 'stranger anxiety' which normally starts when a baby is around 9 to 10 months old. It's what they call a baby's first emotional milestone. At the moment, she's very anxious around new people and wouldn't let a stranger touch her.  She only wants mommy most of the time and would cry histerically if suddenly approached by a stranger. I don't really mind all this attention cos it makes me feel needed, precious and so important in her little world.
                              * Angelic, soft, cuddly and all mine * 

April 20, 2010

I Think This Is Me

Hello there

I'm Lizee. I’m a proud mommy to a 5 year old boy named Alden and a  2 year old toddler called Alva.

I am also the wife to a charming and good looking guy called Alex (he made me write the second descriptor) and we've been married for six years.

We first met 11 years ago in a small, suburban school where we both served as teachers. Hubby told me that it was love at first sight when he saw me at the basketball court, the first day I reported for duty in school. Since then, he's been totally smitten. I know that sounds sickeningly corny but I just had to record those facts here - in case he forgets how it all started. I do apologize if you suddenly have an uncontrolable urge to throw up. 

I teach English for a living and have been in the profession for 11 years. At the moment however, I'm on a 3-year study leave in Christchurch, New Zealand. I try to juggle between my role as a wife, mommy and student every single day. I must tell you, it isn't easy cos my motivation fluctuates from time to time. Why do I tell you this? To help you understand why I write about the things I write. 

I started this blog in November 2008, inspired by my friend Carol and my sister in law Debra. After reading their blogs, I wanted to have my own site so I could be part of the blogging community. I had nothing much to do when I first came to NZ so I figured it was a good idea to write about my experience in a new country. Since I was pregnant at that time, I also wanted something to divert my attention from pregnancy blues and   some other complications which are too complex for me to put here. Needless to say, I fell in love with blogging and have been hooked ever since. 

I have a wonderful relationship with my parents, my brother and my sister. They are my support system and I am so blessed to have them as my family.

Random stuff about me

Like most women, I love shopping. I don't need a reason to shop; I just do it. I go for clothes, shoes,  bags,  make-up, perfumes, jewellery, note books, cute little scrunchies, nail polish...well, you get the idea. I can go on and on but I really don't want to get too excited *having shortness of breath*.

I am terrified of cockroaches and other crawly creatures in the insect category. Before getting married, I told hubby about my phobia and made him promise me this:  I shall protect you from cockroaches/bugs/insects and other crawly creatures, big or small, regardless of time, day and condition.  So far, he has kept his promise.

I have a sweet tooth and I absolutely love chocolate and pastries. My greatest weakness is smoothies with ice cream.

I love watching Lost, Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girls, Desperate Housewives, Chelsea Lately, Keeping Up With the Kardashians (yeah, that stupid show) and other TV shows that have these criterions - humour, good script and/or beautiful people.

If I weren't a teacher, I'd probably be a beauty therapist. Or an interior designer. Or a make-up artist. Or a hairstylist. Somewhere along those lines.

I love dancing to Latin music but I am no Shakira. I took some dancing lessons before coming to NZ but I had to stop half way cos of work commitment. My unrealistic dream is to be able to dance the salsa with my husband on our 10th anniversary. He doesn't know about this yet.

I am short sighted and I depend on lenses everyday. I think it is among the best inventions ever created.

My favourite pizza is Hawaiian.With extra cheese. 

My show size is 7. 

As you can see, I've run out of things to talk about. So I'll stop here. I hope I didn't waste too much of your time. Thanks for dropping by :)

April 19, 2010

A Tricky Task

When people ask me "how are you?" I normally have the common sense to say "I'm fine thanks. How are you?" But last Saturday, when a fellow volunteer asked me how I was, I didn't give him my standard answer. Instead, I started talking about my work in campus and how my babies are coping with daycare. Since he appeared to be genuinely interested in my well-being, I got carried away and started talking about the challenges in toilet training Alden. Big mistake.

After spending 15 minutes listening to my  stories about poos, potties and toddler tantrums, my friend excused himself  abruptly and disappeared into the visitors centre. What was I thinking eh? Lesson to learn: never talk about your kids' poo with people you barely know. The result could be catastrophic. Now, he'll probably go around telling people, "Don't go near that one. All she talks about is her kids and their poos". Oh Well. It's not like I know everybody there.

So anyway. I reflected on the reasons why I talked about this issue with the volunteer and realized that I was deeply worried about Alden's progress. So far, our biggest achievement  has been  getting him to poo in the potty. That's about it. He is not trained to pee in the toilet yet and frankly, I haven't been consistent in  his training  This didn't really bother me that much until his head teacher approached me last week. 

In our brief meeting, she highlighted the importance of toilet training and her message was clear: Alden needs to be toilet trained by the age of four. Hearing this, I managed to keep a straight face and was all smiles but inside I was panicking. That's a month from now!! How can I get him to graduate  and get  a degree in Toilet Training Skills when he's scared of looking at his own pee? Parenthood is looking pretty grim now.

What if Alden never learns how to pee in the toilet? What will his teachers say when he still wears diapers to school? I'm talking about primary school here. How can I find a diaper that will fit him when he gets too big? Adult diapers? These are some of the nightmarish stuff that crossed my mind. 

Worried, I googled toilet training toddlers and found a trillion of tips on  the subject.  Like most good ideas,  the tips I found only look good on paper and are not that practical for me. However, this site  is exceptionally helpful in understanding toilet training refusals. There are a few suggestions that I might  try.

Alden's teacher has also given me a very interesting suggestion - the aim-and-shoot game. The idea is to put a ping pong ball in the toilet bowl and get Daddy to show Alden how to aim and shoot at the ball.  Daddy does this a couple of times and whenever he gets it right, he gets a special treat from Mommy. This will hopefully encourage the innocent little Alden to do the same thing. Daddy  plays a big role here cos he needs to coax Alden to pee willingly. The moment he does, he gets a reward for his sheer effort. Of course a bigger reward will be given if he gets to shoot at the ping pong ball. Creative huh? I  personally like the idea cos my role is pretty small.

So. For the next couple of months, that's how hubby and Alden will spend quality time together - Shooting  at balls. Now all I need to do is go to Warehouse and get some nice ping pong balls. Hmmm, I wonder if they have them in pink. 

April 12, 2010

I'll tell you why I blog

A while ago, when I first started blogging I was very conscious about what I wanted to write and how I write it. I only had one reader back then but whenever I blogged, I felt like I was talking to the entire world. Having been so used to feeling the power of the red pen, I couldn't imagine myself being in my students' shoes - writing instead of marking. Because of that, I had a lot of anxieties and dilemmas. What if I sound pathetic? What if they criticize my grammar? What if I sound silly? What if my boss reads this? What if  I get negative feedbacks? There were so many what ifs.

After some time, it dawned to me that nobody gives a hoot what I talk about in my site. I mean, it's not like I'm a celebrity or a politician. So I stopped being perasan, and just let myself go with every post, subtly at first. After a series of self-indulgent entries, I felt really good and I slowly became addicted to the feeling. I wanted to feel good over and over again. I can't explain why, but  there's a sense of accomplishment whenever I click the PUBLISH POST button. To me, it's extremely satisfying and almost as good as s.. No, that's not right. Let me think of something else. It's almost as good as...shopping! That's right. 

Come to think of it, shopping and blogging have a lot in common. Like shopping,  blogging is done when  I'm feeling happy, excited, bored or frustrated. Sometimes it is a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing and sometimes it is deliberated. Point is, blogging is fun. I'm sure most of you can relate to this right?

Well, for those who can't, I'd like to tell you the reasons why I blog. 

Blogging is bonding
Blogging is not always about monologing aimlessly. It is also about bonding and socializing. The activity allows the kind of dialogue that might otherwise be inappropriate to initiate in normal situations. I don't go to the office talking about my frustration with eye bags or my challenges in gym class. I talk about those petty stuff here, in the blogsphere, where any kind of topic is good topic. Because of the freedom in blogging, a variety of posts on a common topic (like undereye wrinkle?) across multiple blogs can be connected into a common thread. Bloggers can then comment on each other's posts, share experiences and give advice. Isn't this a wonderful way of socializing?

Blogging is therapeutic
After a crappy day, I get to let go of all my personal frustrations and anxieties by putting them on paper. I mean, spreadsheet. I get to start afresh with every new entry and  this provides me  with a very therapeutic session. It certainly clears the brain and is a much cheaper alternative to seeing a shrink. Well, not that I need one btw!

Blogging chronicles life
I used to have a diary when I was younger and I loved writing about my thoughts on paper. But like Chelsea Handler said, we shouldn't be stuck in the 90s. Blogging equals a diary in the new millenium. So, instead of having a physical diary, I have this blog to chronicle my life and archive my thoughts. I love rereading my old posts just to laugh at myself. Sometimes, I also cringe and say "Ewww!!! why the heck did I say that?" But I guess, that realization means that I have matured and evolved right?  
I am not asking everyone to start blogging. I'm simply making a point. A friend of mine who found out about this blog annoyed me when she remarked that I have nothing else better to do than blog. She said she'd rather concentrate on her research than write aimlessly. She also said "wah ko ada masa lagi for all this nitty gritty stuff?". The last comment irritated me the most. 

So, my message to that friend is, there's more to life than just research. I'm sure you know this cos you seem to be spending a lot of time on Facebook; making comments, checking updates, uploading photos etc. If you have time for Facebook, why can't I have time for blogging? Like they say, one man's junk is another man's treasure.


April 9, 2010

What's In A Cert?

On Wednesday night before I went to bed, I made a mental must-do list for the next day. In it were my daily routine, the errands I needed to run and most importantly, Vava's passport application. I knew it was going to be a hectic day, so to get myself organised, I went through the details in the list - 1. Wake up early 2. Get ready 3. Feed the kids 4. Send them to daycare 5. Photocopy documents 6. Get Bank Cheque 7. Collect Vava's passport photo 8.Go the Malaysian Consulate office. and 9. Post application! That was the plan. 

Yesterday, I woke up early as prophesied but on the wrong side of the bed. I was troubled by an unpleasant, vivid dream. In the dream, hubby and I were in the car in front of Bush Inn shopping mall. Strangely, I was behind the wheel, not hubby. I began to reverse the car out of the parking space when out of nowhere, a blue convertible appeared behind us. I quickly stepped on the brakes but weirdly, our car didn't stop. I found myself ramming into the blue convertible instead. BAM! After the damage was done, hubby turned to me and said "Dear, tu insurance kreta mati suda kan?". Then I woke up. Crap! I had an accident.

In reality, our policy lapsed 6 months ago (go on, gasp all you want). Thanks to the dream, I finally came to my senses and renewed it yesterday. Phew!

So. Back to the story. I spent half of my morning doing no 1 - 5 plus the insurance renewal thingy. Everything went well. The weather was fine, the traffic was light, the people I liased with were helpful and everything just seemed to fall into place. By 11 am, I had everything ready and got to the Malaysian Consulate office. I was so eager to get it done cos without the passport, we can't get home in July. Unless of course we leave Vava to fend for herself.

So. I finally got to the office and was greeted by a pretty lady at the counter. 

Lady: Good morning
Me: Good morning...I'm here to make an application for Malaysian passport..it's for my daughter.
Lady: Is your daughter with you? (I thought she meant in NZ)
Me: Yes..She stays with me.
Lady: I mean is she with you right now? (Cubuk behind me)
Me: No..She's at daycare.
Lady: You need to bring her along so we can see her. We need to get her thumb print as well.
Me: Ahh..Ok...I'll be back shortly!

As I was about to leave, the lady asked me

Lady: By the way, how old is your daughter?
Me: 9 months
Lady: Oh. Sorry to tell you this but you can't do it here. You need to go to the High Commissioner in Wellington to get this done.
Me: .....(a moment of silence) Wellington? I need to go to Wellington with my baby? WELLINGTON?!
Lady: Yes. You need to take your baby with you because they would need to see her.
Me: Why??
Lady: I don't know why but it's part of the regulations.
Me: Can't I just post the forms? I have to go to Wellington with my baby? Wellington? OMG. (I kept repeating myself  cos the shock made me daft)
Lady: Yes...I hate telling people this and I understand how hard it is for people to.....(her voice trailed off, I wasn't paying attention anymore)
Me: I mean, all the way to Wellington?
Lady: I suggest you contact the High Commissioner office to get a better idea of the situation. Ok? Now is there anything else? (Her expression spells: Kenapa ba dia ni nda faham faham???)
Me: No...Thank you...

After the above incident, all nice wonderful thoughts I had earlier came to a screeching halt. Like brek mati.

I called the High Commisioner to get a clearer picture of the procedure and was told the same thing. This frustrated me cos I thought about the cost of the air tickets, transportation and hotel. More money coming out! But it's not like we have a choice. In order to get Vava's passport done, she needs to have a Malaysian birth certificate first. NZ birth cert is unacceptable. That's the reason why we need to go there physically.

Since it is quite costly for all of us to travel, hubby and Alden might have to stay behind. That's Plan A, which I am not fond of. Plan B? All of us go together, get Vava's cert, stay for a week at a 5-star hotel and go sightseeing. Of course Plan B can only be executed if we win the 8-million-dollar lottery tomorrow. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

April 6, 2010

Cos I feel like it

I'm so excited! And I just can't hide it! I'm about to lose control and I think I like it!

Did I just make you sing the chorus of Pointer Sisters' I'm so excited? YES I did! Hehe. I just want to set the mood for this post cos at the moment I am feeling a wee bit high. Not tipsy. Just high high you know what I mean?

A few significant things happened today and they all made me happy on so many levels. Shall I list them down?

1. I met Professor X to show him my work and to my surprise, he's pleased with it! He said "well done" many many times sampai I lost count. I don't know whether he meant it or whether he was influenced by my  over-excitement and pretty charts. Whatever. Eat that smart-alec Kusai! After the meeting, I couldn't help feeling giddy and excited cos he's given me so many good ideas to improve my project. He's so intelligent, I wish could have his brain. If he had Christiano Ronaldo's good looks, I  would have fallen in love with him already. Moving on...

2. I found our long lost remote control in the laundry room this afternoon. It was strategically hidden in  a laundry basket under a pile of clothes (thanks Alden!). Why do I get excited over a stupid remote control? Well, imagine having to change the channels manually for 4 weeks and not being able to check the programme info. Imagine getting up every 5 minutes when a certain 3 year old can't decide what cartoon to watch.  Imagine being glued to the same channel just because nobody wants to change it manually. T'was a torturous 4-week! Point is, never ever take your remote control for granted.

3. I weighed myself this morning and found out that I've lost 2 kgs! That's probably 2cm off my waist! I couldn't believe my eyes when I looked at the scale and had to rub my eyes few times to really believe it. When I saw the numbers, my heart leapt and I felt like doing wild acrobatics in the living room, turning somersaults and cartwheels. Not that I'm able to, by the way. I'm just saying. With this achievement, I have 2.5 kg more to lose! Yay!

4. Professor X told me that he'll be away for a month. 33 days to be exact!Will I miss him? But of course I will.  Yoda will not be here to tell me what to do but life must go on. *Deep sigh* For the next 5 weeks, I  won't be having weekly meetings at the office. There will be no discussion about SPSS or thesis writing. There'll be no deadlines to meet. No pressure. Let's have a toast everyone. To freedom and peace of mind!

Okay, I think that is all for now. Please excuse the excessive use of exclamation marks in this post. I can't help it cos....I'm so excited! And I just can't hide it! I'm about to lose control and I think I like it!

Like I said, I'm feeling high :)

April 2, 2010

Something About John and Kathy

Two of our closest friends in Christchurch are John and Kathy. Hubby first met them when they were still working together in a corn pack house in Kaiapoi. That was a year ago. Even though there's a huge age gap between us (Kathy and John are as old as my parents), we get along pretty well.

What I love about this couple is the genuineness of their friendship. They have gone through great lengths to help us and they've been very kind to us. Last weekend, they invited us over for lunch and I managed to take some photos of their unique house.

They live a very simple life on the outskirts of town and their  cute little house is  really a  labour of love. John built it on his own and Kathy did all the interior designing.

Simple from the outside

nice and cosy inside
The dining area. John and Kathy practically celebrate Earth hour everyday cos they use candles for the bedroom, pantry and bathroom. For heating, they use log burners instead of heaters. That light bulb you see is the only one in the house.
The living area
The other side of the living area. The writings on the wall are mostly proverbs, quotations and mottoes.
The bathroom is a work of art. Kathy did all the collage work using various pieces of tiles
The kitchen

Grapevines at the front porch

Hubby taking a bite
They grow their own fruit and vegetables. These were taken from their garden.
John grilling his home-made satay
I really don't know how to end this post. How about John and Kathy, living a simple yet fulfilling life...?Nah. That sounds lame. How about I like spending time with John and Kathy cos they are the closest thing we've got to family....Nah. That screams minta kesian and pity me.  Geeeezzz....This writing block could take days to get over. *scratches head*
How about this? :)