Thursday, July 31, 2014

Things I have this year! (udpated)

I realize I have not been updating my blog on the kitchen tools and gifts I have got this year! Not even sure fi I did that last year. But this year's purchases are worth mentioning!

Bought this gadget at last. I won't even call it a kitchen aid. I bought it more for experimenting and for some ease (now that I have used it), rather than it being a need!

In fact before buying it, I was like a yo-yo - yes, I will buy it, no I wouldn't buy it. Until hubby lost track of my decision making process! I was also looking and comparing other brands like Tefal and Buffalo. But the baking feature and the FB support/pages shifted the pendulum in favor of Philips.

I am at this point still trying to understand the gadget. It's funny because it's the first time I actually have to put in this much effort to understand him. I call him a him because it's really not temperamental at all. And it's black, whatever logic color has to do with gender. I would have preferred the white and blush of purple her, but she gets pigmentation issues as she ages. So.....

The other thing that I got was a present from hubby, presumably to cover all occasions in the year if he doesn't pay for him (you know as in him!) at the end of this month! :)

I wanted wanted wanted a long wallet since my black Prada zipper got spoiled. But never could rationalize the purchase. I have enough purses after all for my usage. But the thing about long wallets is that the money can be seen and segregated so easily. And I can just take the change and put it in without stuffing or folding. Of course, I never can do any shopping (kids!!!!) and given I hadn't even attempted to talk though my rationalization, I never bothered to look.

So, when I opened the box and saw it for the first time, my practical side reared it's smug head and in my mind I went - "the color is light, dirty very fast" and "Ummm....I don't really need it do I?". But having decided what to use when and re-arranging everything, I love it. And my black Prada has been downgraded to fetching-the-kid-carry-everything use. Which is great cause I needed something to put just my phone and my license.

So, rationalization sometimes works best after the fact. Can this be my anniversary lesson this year?

Realized there is one more thing we got this year.

Reason being - Christopher's last minute request for pictures. And the fact that we don't subscribe to any magazines or newspapers. Also hubby got tired of my last minute rush to get things printed for church! It's lying on the kids study table and being put to good use.

Bukit Melawati and Sekinchan

Conqueror of another day trip destination around Selangor. This time it was to Sekinchan with a pit stop at Bukit Melawati.

We took our time to start our journey, having just recovered from Bookfest lethargy. We may have left around 9+ and arrived Bukit Melawati one hour later, give and take. One look at the long queue and we were debating if we could make the walk up the hill. But given we had a 4 young kids in tow, there was not much that needed to be decided. We waited it out and actually, it was not that long a wait. As in none of the kids had to be pacified that the tractor (they call it a tram, but it was more like a tractor) was coming.

The tractor brings you up the hill where the fort is and the canons and the monkeys. And we disembarked to snap, snap, climb, climb, feed, feed. And then just before the kids started complaining, we boarded the next tractor down. The next stop was an aquarium of sort. I can only say that it is something 'of sort' because we didn't get down, much to my son's loud dismay.

It was close to lunch time and our next destination was supposed to be the highlight of the trip.

Leaving Bukit Melawati, we were half amazed, half worried to see the multitude of tourist buses coming in and heading out in the same direction as ours.

And we were not to be disappointed. The traffic to Sekinchan was ridiculous. Unlike previous road trips where we only had to content with mostly cars and a few buses, Sekinchan was pilled up with buses.

Arriving at Sekinchan, we attempted lunch. The first place we saw from a distant looked kinda of comfortable, in a sense it was not that full. But disappointment followed (again) - the tables were already all booked for the tour buses arriving soon. We had no choice but to settle and wait for a table in the next restaurant. The only good that came out of waiting was hubby bought many many packets of crackers at a cheaper price. The same shop was closing by the time we returned later. 6 dishes, RM120 poorer and 1 and half hours later, we were back to exploring the town.

Our first place was Mango King and the famed paddy fields. I reckon the number of people really killed half the joy of exploring and buying. I would have bought more if maneuvering the crowd and keeping track of my kids weren't such trouble. As it is I only bought 1kg of ciku for RM8.

After that, it was the paddy fields and the rice factory. Before the trip, we read blogs about green as far as the eye could see. Then I came across one blog which told me the seasons for the rice planting. And July was such a bad time to go if you want to see green. In a way, it made us laugh when we did see one patch or two of green and decided to snap just the green section of the field. Hilarious deception!

We paid the RM4 for the ticket and you get to redeem a packet of rice with your ticket. The 'show' was in mandarin and the guide spoke in mandarin which was a BIG HELP NOT. Seriously......are they expecting only chinese tourists here? I was half sighing, half telling myself to at least enjoy the air conditioning!

After that, we made our way to Pantai Redang. I say it again.....I would have enjoyed the expectation of seeing the rustic swing and tree house from TVB series Outbound Love more IF the jam wasn't that bad and the crowd would just thin out, if not vanish out of sight.

I mean, it was meant to be reflective and serene. But no, no, no....we had to share and take turns and squirm and line up and squeeze...and all in the hot blazing sun. Even a spot in the shade was hard to come by. But we saw what we came to see. We conquered the crowd in the best possible way and (can I say this) still had a (relatively) good time. Again the boy was disappointed with the lack of enthusiasm by the others to play in the sea and build sandcastles! Oh Lord, my son's uncanny definition of fun!

Perhaps the rush back to KL made the trip a little un-ended! Normally we round it up with dinner and we would go home cool-er. But this time round, we could not. So, all in all maybe I will go back again but this time to see the fireflies and next time at the right time, if ever there is one for Sekinchan.

Maybe when everyone has watched and forgotten Outbound Love....

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Christopher's Swimming Lessons

After much seeking, found a swimming class for Christopher - Swimcube @ The Strand.

It's indoor. The pool is about 3/4 the length of a shoplot. The remaining 1/4 is where parents wait around.

He has had a scare with pools before. Thus one of the reasons why I chose this class for him. The pool is not that deep and he is tall enough that he can stand in it. So, it takes away half of his fear.

On his first class, he was half excited and half fearful. His sister went with him on his first day since we wanted to know if she was ready for lessons as well. So perhaps his sister's greater fear made him slightly braver. He didn't go down the pool the right way. He wanted to go face first - something, I guess, about meeting your fears head on. But I am glad the 2nd time he went down the pool, he did it the right way.

On his first lesson, hubby and I stayed and watched outside, peeping through the sliding glass. We were chased out because my daughter kept crying for me every time she saw me. Without me there, she actually did very well. As for Christopher, we heard him talking and talking to the instructor. Instead of accepting instructions and doing as he was told, he tried to negotiate with the instructor to do it his way - the lazier way. Even once we heard him 'scold' the instructor as to why he let go of the float when he promised he would not. The instructor calmly told him that he has reached the end of the pool! And all this while my crying baby girl clung to his neck for dear life!

So after lesson 1, Caylee proclaimed with fierce determination NO MORE SWIMMING for her. And Christopher jumped up and down asking us to come back for class tomorrow. He is into his 3rd lesson now. He is excited as he is learning free style now. I am glad he likes his lessons and hope he will learn to swim soon.

As for Caylee, she actually did very well in her one and only lesson. She had the stamina to kick the entire length of the pool where her brother could not - sometimes being able to stand in the pool does not help at all! But she is happy to see her brother go in and she remain firmly high and dry.

I am happy for both of them either way. They aren't too young to be making some choices in life.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Conscious Parenting

Was reading through a Newsletter of my daughter's previous play school today and they had an interesting article on Conscious Parenting.

Listening to the 2 Youtube links provided in the newsletter, some words spoken by Dr. Shefali, clinical psychologist and Dr Becky Bailey, CEO of Conscious Discipline, seemed to leap out at me. One of them being 'excuse'. It was used in the context that we are parents and there is no excuse for us to ever stop being a parent. Being a parent should always be our priority if we choose to have kids. Not that we cannot have time for ourselves. But when we are at home and with our kids, we should be a parent to them when they turn to us, their parents.

I went on to view more of the videos under Conscious Discipline and more and more of the things that Dr Becky mentions are very real to me. Reactive disciplining is very common. I am guilty of yelling at the kids to stop screaming at each other. And I snatch back a toy from my girl and scold her from snatching from her brother. Dr Becky mentions that when things like this happen, take 3 deep breaths.

What happens when we take 3 deep breaths is that sometimes a CD ROM in our head starts to play. We hear phrases like "I need to teach them a lesson." or "I am cooking, where the heck is daddy to handle this?" or "Give me a break, I am so tired already". And we have to stop the CD and instead replace them with thoughts like I am calm, I am able to handle this, I am ok (she used safe, but I prefer OK).

Because if we don't and have reactive disciplining instead, it will end up with us feeling guilty and trying to make up to our kids for it. AND THESE KIDS KNOW IT !

Dr. Becky also mentions frontal lobe development. When we take the deep breaths and use positive words, it takes us from the center of our brain, the reactive place to the front of our brain, the conscious place. And when we reach there, we can then use the frontal lobes to help us make disciplining conscious.

As long as we don't use our frontal lobes, we will be reactive. And for our kids, it takes them 2 decades to have fully developed frontal lobes. And in this 20 years, we as parents must help them be their frontal lobes and help them develop their frontal lobes. It is a tiring job - not only do we have to be in control of our own frontal lobes and use it often but we must also be frontal lobes for our kids and help them develop theirs.

It's an interesting video. Have a listen. Maybe it can help you in some ways too.

Understanding the Frontal Lobe

There's one on temper tantrums too!