Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Momma's A/W Wish List

Miranda's Momma's A/W Wish List


While living in a country with four seasons can be fun for dressing up, it can also be quite expensive. 
Every few months, you have to switch up your dressing. With a kid, you can imagine this to be tonnes worse. They only get to wear certain items of clothing for a while before the weather changes. 
But of course, it's always nice to dress your kid up too so here's my A/W wish list. :)

Miranda's Favourite Books

Miranda's Top 9



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Date Night

It's become a habit now that every time D's mom comes to stay the weekend, we'd sneak out for a date on Saturday night.

I've been craving Japanese food for a while now and while I was keen to try Kenzan, my boss' recommendation and I had actually gone ahead to book it, D told me to cancel. He had already booked a table somewhere but wouldn't tell me where we were going.

I have to admit that every time this happens, I always expect the worst - on my 30th, I wanted an afternoon tea and wanted to try The Waiting Room but again D surprised me by arranging something at the Grand Hyatt.

So I was surprised (and yet not so) when we walked into Heirloom.

Really good food! It's amazing how I used to have Japanese at least once a week and here, months go by without so much as a morsel of sushi/ sashimi. Definitely have to change that!

I was going to wear shorts but D wore a long-sleeved shirt so I took a hint and opted for a dress instead. Always weird taking my cue from my husband who hates to dress up.





 Japanese gnocchi, roquefort cheese and saikyo miso cream

  
Omakase



  Sukiyaki: wagyu casserole, tofu, chinese cabbage, mushroom, onsen egg

(forgive me for the yucky flash pic!)


 Love this one so much.

What's in a name?

It took Miranda a little while to respond to her name. I don't really blame her because even though I tried my darndest to start calling her by her name since she was six months old, I'd often lapse into calling her all kinds of terms of endearment like "sweetheart", "darling" or "honey". All of us did, even my parents-in-law.

In fact it was worse when she was younger, we'd call her all these nonsensical cutesy names like "little miu miu" and "chuminga" (don't ask) and "boom boom" (cos of those damn cheeks!).

On top of these names, my parents also had nicknames of their own for her. My dad's always called her Cherie instead of Miranda. However, my dad doesn't pronounce it right. He likes to say "Cherry" instead of "Cherie" (pronounced sher-ree). My mom, on the other hand, has been calling Miranda "little princess" in a sing-song fashion ever  since she met her first grandchild.

I try to Skype with my family at least once a week on Sunday evenings. I really look forward to seeing all of them but more often than not, most of the family aren't home for various reasons so I've been on Skype mainly with my mom and sister for a few months now.

Dwayne doesn't always join us during our conversations and if he does, it's usually later on in the conversation. But just to annoy my mom, he will always cover his face with his hands and say, "Tell them I'm not here" even when the camera is directed at him. It's always been a joke but recently, Miranda started to imitate him. Every time my sister and mom are online and they call out "Miranda", she will immediately hide her face with her hands or crouch on the floor, face down. At first, it was quite funny to watch but she kept doing it and obviously, I tried to put a stop to it.

Two Sundays ago, my dad was finally home and he was really missing his grand-daughter so he asked if we could Skype. I went online immediately and my mum and sis were onscreen.  They called out to her and got the same reaction from Miranda. Then she heard my dad call out, "Cherry baby! Cherry girl! Where's Grandpa's little darling?" She turned to the iPad excitedly, started to point at him and just would not stop smiling. You could just see how taken she was that he was there.

Then last Sunday, my parents came online again and the same thing happened with my dad when he called her "Cherry". She was ecstatic beyond words and started blowing kisses at him as well. When my dad said, "You know I call you Cherry baby right? Where's my Cherry girl?" To which she pointed to herself.

For some reason, my mom started calling her "little princess" that day and for the first time in a long time, Miranda acknowledged her and got happily worked up again.

I didn't know what to make of this, really. Both Dwayne and I never call Miranda "Cherry" or "Little Princess" so I have no idea how she knows these names are for her. It's all really bizarre since my mom left Australia when Miranda was about 2.5 months old and the last time she's seen both my parents was when she was 5 months old.

But I love it! I love how she connects with my family and I cannot say this enough - I cannot wait for our holiday in Singapore!

The Wonders of Make-Up

In the mornings, I apply a moisturiser to my body, sunscreen, M.A.C.'s Prep & Prime, Laura Mercier's pressed powder and a swipe of Benetint on my cheeks. Little bit of Fresh and I'm done. Maybe lipstick if I'm feeling like it.

That's a total of 5 products on my face. Which I already wish I could do without.

I cannot imagine the effort this girl goes through!


Monday, March 25, 2013

Jacaranda

Dwayne and my FIL have been doing a mighty fine job of the landscaping. At the moment, they are filling the backyard with pebbles and they are nearly done. The parts not covered with pebbles now are going to be taken up by some raised garden beds.

Ideally, I would have loved grass in the backyard but D is very adamant that it would require too much maintenance. Hopefully I'll be able to convince him otherwise later. Hah! Would love if Miranda could have the space to run and roll around on the grass.

And what about freshly cut grass after it rains? Such an intoxicating smell.

So in a bid to spruce up our otherwise cold rock garden, I need lots of greens. Lovely, lush looking green plants and most definitely, a jacaranda tree!

I remember driving to Preston market, near where we used to live, and I was always blown away by the jacaranda tree-lined streets. It is especially beautiful when it all falls away and the streets are awash in purple.

Hopefully we can have one of those in the backyard and another in front on the street.


Look at this lady's lawn! It's just gorgeous!

I've also been researching on how to grow herbs, certain flowers and such. So much to learn and then, so much to do! All very exciting!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Cup of Controversy for Tea

A few days after we moved in, D's family came to visit and check out the new place. The kids played in the nursery with one or two adults supervising and the rest were in the living room.

One time I found myself in the nursery with the kiddos, meaning my niece, T, and Miranda. Needless to say, I was very much entertained by them.

T, being older than Miranda by 17 months, was quite used to being the only one around for awhile. She is a highly intelligent kid with a huge imagination as well. I could never use her as a benchmark for Miranda (and I never will) simply because she truly acts older than she is sometimes. However, even though some of the adults first pegged T as the ringleader among the three of them as she is the oldest, I was not at all surprised to confirm that day what I had felt all along.

Let's go back further to Christmas Day last year.

We were all at Kelly's for dinner. The kids were playing with several pieces from T's tea set. Every time Miranda took a piece, T would take it off her. This is typical of the older kid - they are older, stronger and faster so they pretty much get away with anything. I expect Miranda will be the same later with my other niece, E.

This went on for a while and Miranda didn't seem to mind T taking the stuff off her. But Miranda's the sort to hold on to one object no matter what she's doing. (For example, yesterday, she held on to her etch-a-sketch stylus while playing soccer.) So when T was done playing with the tea set, she went off to jump on my in-laws' bed and Miranda joined her. Still holding onto the object of the day - a single spoon. When T saw her holding the spoon, she snatched it off Miranda. And Miranda... she just went for it - she grabbed T's hair and pulled at it.

My father-in-law saw it. I saw it. Neither of us stopped her.

T willingly gave the spoon back when Miranda tried to wrestle for it.

I must admit that I had a feeling of, "Go Miranda!!" inside me but I had fully expected my father-in-law to stop her. He hadn't. I think we both felt that Miranda had had enough of the bullying and was taking a stand - physical or not.

Forward to what sealed the deal at my place.

Same situation was going in the nursery as it was on Christmas Day. T kept taking whatever Miranda wanted. To be fair, Miranda was always interested in whatever T was playing so obviously T got annoyed. Imagine always being asked to share things - I'm sure it would get on your nerves. If T wanted to play with something, Miranda always wanted to have a part of it. And also to be fair, you couldn't blame her cos' those were her toys and she was excited T was playing with her toys - Miranda thought T was playing with her. This went on and on again. Then Miranda wanted to get on her little car. She went out and was trying to get a leg up when T appeared and pushed her out of the way to mount the car herself. I thought Miranda would cry but she appeared unperturbed.

A few minutes later, we were all in the living room and the girls were entertaining us with their dancing. When the music stopped, they were standing near our coffee table. Miranda was holding onto a random object as usual and T casually snatched it off her.

This time, without any warning, Miranda just turned around and pushed T.

No one said anything. In fact, the adults were all laughing at Miranda's display of strength and her indignance.

D and I would never encourage violence and I would be the first to tell her off when she's wrong. I would tell her off if she was not sharing, even. But D and I were actually proud of her.

It was the second time I'd seen her defend herself -stand up for herself. She'd been patient at every turn but she had reached her limit and she saw fit to give tit for tat. It also proved my theory right. She is not and will not be a pushover. I believe that like T, she will be an alpha female.

And with bullying rife in schools today, I felt strangely reassured, if you will. 

Funnily enough, I don't think there will be a ringleader among them three girls. Even E is proving to be a force to be reckoned with. It's going to be riot to watch them.



P/s - I'm completely aware that some of you readers would frown at this post. I hesitated posting this for a long time because of that. But this is how I truly feel. And it is my blog. So there. 

P/s/s- This is completely different to when that boy kicked Miranda when she did not aggravate him in the least.

She will be loved...

I love the way our friends are about Miranda. They have been so sweet to her and they have totally accepted my full-on gushing, the numerous pictures I post on Facebook and Instagram and all the videos over Whatsapp. It truly warms my heart that she gets so much love and when people tell me that they love seeing her on their Newsfeed.

I am so grateful that I don't have to deal with people who are annoyed or feel sorry for me now that we have a kid. Yes, some poor friends of mine have shared that they actually feel pitied by childless and carefree friends who have completely different lifestyles. They drift apart and hardly make the effort to ask after the little ones.

Most of our friends are overseas and yet they still make the effort to ask after her and some of them even go out of their way to buy and post goodies (specifically) to her. And these come randomly, not just for her birth or her birthday.

She's had personalised bibs, towels, a tutu onesie, all her favourite Sesame Street characters stuff, tonnes of swimsuit, tonnes of pretty clothes, shoes...etc.  Dwayne's friend even handmade a sweet, little teddy just for her and sent it from London. She went to Bali a few weeks ago and bought something for Miranda too - and she's never even met her!

I must have done something right to have darling friends like these. Cannot wait to go back in May and let Miranda soak up all the love from that side of the world! :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Queenscliff

Now that we're further out from the city, there are some nice beaches around not too far away. We headed off to Queenscliff Beach on Saturday and reached at 4pm - perfect timing. Hot but not crazy. And the cool water was definitely welcome for at least half the body. Couldn't really dip in as much as we would have liked though.

It was Miranda's first time and she thoroughly enjoyed herself. I just knew she would (since she loves playing in the driveway where it's all earthy). We got her some beach toys too so she occupied herself filling up the bucket, pouring sand through the mill, digging into the sand......... and then using a spade to eat it.

What is with kids eating sand?!

I thought for awhile that she'd passed the stage to do that but a half hour in and there she was, "trending".

And I surprised myself by not freaking out too much haha.

Miranda made friends with a little Portuguese girl, slightly older than her. So proud of her when she offered her the spade and trench without us asking her to. As we all know, sharing is not the easiest thing in the world at that age. Pity I didn't have the guts to ask her parents if we could take a picture of them together.

Two hours passed us by so quickly and we headed off for (apparently) one of Melbourne's Top 5 Fish & Chips. And Scandinavian ice-cream after.

'Twas the perfect day.








Monday, March 11, 2013

In Pictures (And Videos)

Pics from my phone and Instagram from the weekend.


Her room looks like that every single night. It drives me nuts yet I have to be the one to clear it up. Dwayne doesn't know what goes where (since it is my system) so I get super distracted when I am reading her bedtime story. Luckily, I have cleared out all her soft toys, big and small. She never plays with any except for Hoot & Bunny anyway.


Naughty girl refusing to start on the bedtime routine.


She wants to play dress-up.


She's totally obsessed with brushing her teeth.

These two pairs of jammies my dad got her have been sooo good in this weather!


Seaside. She made a friend too. :)




Daddy and Daughter.


Way to end the day.


Little Miss in her new favourite spot.


Kitchen set.


 Nam Jim Sauce


Mint ice-cream in the making


Lovebirds on the left.

This girl is not even talking yet and she's already making me laugh so much. I really do wonder what the future holds!



Miranda giggling - this is how she is most of the time. She has been a little giggler since she was 4 months old and she always, always hiccups after.  

I never want to forget this laugh.


She was reading Pajama Time by Sandra Boynton (one of our favourite books!). She pointed to them like I do when I read the book and on the last page where I usually whisper the words, she starts baby-talking softly.

This Heat & The Weekend

Melbourne's had a pretty long run of searing heat. For about a month, it's been 30 degrees and above with the occasional low 20s. It has never happened in all the time I've been here. Everyone's just been waiting on a cool change but I think it's only predicted for this weekend. And for someone like me, who loves the heat, I have to admit that even I am over it. The heat is dry, not humid like Singapore's. it gets under your skin and burns.

When we were choosing to upgrade stuff for the house and were deciding what to install, we did away with air-conditioning. Our decision was firstly based on the ridiculous over-pricing and secondly, on Melbourne's track record. If we had moved in December, we probably would have bought the split system but seeing as we moved in mid-Feb, we thought would wait till next summer.

But it's nearly a month since we moved and the fans (we just bought) are just not enough. Cold showers at night before bedtime help a little but you quickly get sticky and bothersome after.

Miranda had a rough, rough night. She got up at 12.30am, first time in a long time, and we brought her back to our bed. She tossed and turned non-stop until I put her on me. Usually that settles her and she falls asleep on me, lying down. But last night she had had enough and just wanted to play when I put her on me. I said no, and stood up to rock her to sleep. Finally she slept at 3+ and I totally missed the alarm at 5am. Got up at 6.58am thanks to Miranda's whining. She was obviously very tired but it was too hot to have proper sleep. But luckily too, otherwise I would have been so late for work.

Funny thing is I have been getting up at 5.15 like clockwork every day since Friday. Even on the public holiday yesterday. Sigh.

But we had a good long weekend. Even longer for me! No work for four days :)

On the start of my weekend, Friday, I noticed Miranda was getting a little bored of her toys. She just didn't seem interested in anything except for her tea set. She only wanted to be read books and colour with her crayons. I wanted to take her out to the park but it was too hot.

Saturday, we went to the market early in the morning, Bunnings and the nursery for landscaping stuff - pictures to come! So exciting - Dwayne's been doing an excellent job! Then we headed off to the beach around 3pm - more pictures to come!

We went shopping for stuff for Miranda after mass on Sunday. Coloring books, sticker books, junior jumbo colored pencils, a new kitchen set (couldn't find a vanity table boo!), a new Peter Rabbit book with sound, another cute book with a puppy hand puppet and a little activity table with two chairs. Tried to find cute little white wooden chairs to match the table but couldn't. Settled for two green plastic ones for the time-being. I fought back hot tears watching her sit and colour. What is wrong with me?!

Yesterday, Dwayne went back to work for half the day so Miranda and I were alone. She was more clingy than usual, not even allowing me to set foot in the kitchen. But when Dwayne came back, that was where I was for nearly the whole day - making roast pork belly, nam jim sauce from scratch, almond jelly, mint ice-cream, yong tau foo for the FIL who doesn't like pork with fat (or just plain pork, in fact) and Miranda's food.

Tiring. But fun, still. And how I wish every work week has just three days. Haha.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Good Music

There are a few (old) songs that get me in a state after listening to them and of all days, I had both of these on my shuffled playlist this morning.

1. The Dance by Garth Brooks.

This song was introduced to me by an old friend. I love it but I rarely listen to it because it has a weird effect on me right from the start of the song. I cannot explain it but I get all moody after it.

Can't find the original video so this will have to do.



2. The One I Love by David Gray

This one I found after listening to Babylon.  Brilliant musician he is this David Gray.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Is it really March already?

It's crazy right - that we are already into March?

Miranda turned a whopping EIGHTEEN months on Saturday and it was also Paul's birthday. This girl likes to steal the limelight, have I told you?

Unfortunately, it was quite chaotic with the three kids and I didn't even get to whip out the phone to take pictures of the amazing spread that K and my MIL prepared - san choy bao, satays and lamb curry. So good! Kelly also baked a sticky date cake for the birthday boy. Served with a lovely butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice-cream.

Anyway, since Dwayne had a tad too much to drink, I drove home on Saturday night. I hate driving at nights. It makes me feel like I have night blindness. And to add to my frustration, I got mooned at by a white ass (literally) on the drive back. They were in a van and it must have been some sort of a dare. It was a little funny, I guess but I was not really in the mood. In fact, I was feeling a bit prudish and was tempted to take down the license plate. Well, there's a first time for everything, huh?

On Sunday, we went for the Air Show. The sweetheart Kat got us 4 gold passes and although I was initially very reluctant to go, I was pleasantly surprised that I actually enjoyed myself. The plan was initially for D to go with his dad and Miranda. Luckily I went as well so we could all take turns in enjoying the air show. Some planes were definitely too loud and she was not a happy camper every time we tried to stick in the ear plugs for her.

We spent quite some time chatting with the Singapore crew though. They were all based in Queensland and all homesick for Singapore food. And unbelievably, they were the ones who told me that Killiney Kopitiam has opened in Melbourne! Wheeee~~~ They also gave Miranda a little RSAF pin.

Dwayne's dad had a ball chatting to the pilots since it all used to be in his field. The Singaporeans, Aussies, Americans.. and both boys were so taken with a plane called B-52. They seriously hunted it down!

Anywayyyy, here are some pictures we took with our phones. Shame we didn't bring the good camera. ;(

With the chopper I wish we own! Haha.

Happy campers with the B52.


Inside a huge plane that is used to drop bombs.

Cute plane name.


Impressive mess made by the Edge 540. This was taken by D. Miranda and I were watching from far, far away.









In Conversation


SO, this entry is more for me than anyone.

I'm currently reading Winter Journal by Paul Auster. In this book especially, he talks a lot about the kind of relationship with his wife, Siri Hustvedt. I have often wondered what kinda conversations the pair of them have but this video is as close as it gets.