Monday, December 26, 2011

My own two cents: KBS Entertainment Awards 2011

One day has passed and now all sorts of news articles are coming out about how enraged people are that the entire cast of "1n2d" won the Daesang at the KBS Entertainment Awards 2011 without being nomintated, save for one cast member, Lee Seung Gi. But did KBS do the right thing? By awarding all the members when only Seunggi was nominated? Shouldn't they have just let the boys win Best Team instead of "Hello"? Yeah, I must admit, it was a big shock to all, including the members themselves, and also to the viewers. But I think this is the industry's way of honoring the guys for 5 years of hard work before the show ends in Feb 2012. And why not? 1n2d taught us a lot about what brotherhood, camaraderie and friendship is all about. Not to mention, travel, laughter, bolbubok... being a cultural icon....

When the show got passed over at the Best Team category, a whole bunch of us were really really pissed. We were thinking that KBS had gone nuts this year for not acknowledging the awesome teamwork the guys displayed after KHD's exit. When Sugeun won Best Excellence Male MC, I thought, "Okay, he deserves it for doing 4 shows." All of us thought that was the end. Only Seunggi was nominated for Daesang and I didn't think he would win, and even if he did, Seunggi would definitely stand on the stage and ask someone else to come up and take the award from him. I really thought he would do that. Like he'd say, "Kang Hodong, this is for you." Then when they were announcing the Daesang without first recapping who the nominees were, it already felt fishy. Then we were totally floored!! The whole cast won. Seunggi said he was able to accept the award since all the members won it. As Jongmin said, they suffered a lot (and deserved it). This is the way to end the show. You can't get any better than Daesang. And now they can all feel good about going their separate ways next year. They won't be asking each other "what if..."

So KBS did a good thing.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sultan Selangor's birthday

The kids' school is closed today due to it being the Sultan of Selangor's birthday. It's only public holiday in Selangor, and not KL, so I had to apply for leave today (since I work in KL and not Selangor) to take care of the kids at home.

The kids did not wake up late as I had expected [T_T] ... I wanted some downtime for myself to finish my ironing, but I managed to do that anyway while they were watching tv. After that I spent some time watching videos on YouTube of Beast's dance routines (the penguin shuffle) and fancams of Seunggi's concert that took place from the past 2 nights. There was a very kind soul that recorded the entire length of Seunggi performing "Time for Love", and I thought it was brilliant how he engaged the audience during Han Hyo Joo's talking part. He's such a seasoned entertainer, I thought. Wished I was there, dammit! Still mad at not being able to go (even though it's over).

I think my eldest, Salma, has an innate passion (and maybe talent) for music, because while I am watching Seunggi's concert fancams, she is singing and playing her keyboard piano in her room. A few days ago, I was in the kitchen, and she was in her room, and she was singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star into her microphone (it came with the electronic keyboard), and when she was done she said, in that concert performer tone, "Thank you! Thank you!" Hahahahahahaa... I was laughing to myself. I'm wondering where she learned that, because the only live concert shows she's watched with me are Music Bank and Inkigayo, and the artists don't get to say "Thank you" at the end cos they roll the next song straight away... so I'm totally baffled on that one... but at the same time, totally pleased at how smart she was.

Salma's current favorite song is "The Boys" by Girls Generation. She'll ask me to put on their music video before going to bed. I'm wondering whether The Boys is SNSD's best song on their latest album? For some reason, I can't get into the other songs that much...

Salma's gotten older and smarter now that she asks me what each SNSD girl's name is when they come on. I haven't memorized all their names yet, so like sometimes I can't tell her. And she will tell me, "I like that girl, the girls generation one..." "Which girl?"  "That one..." "???" There are so many of them, poppet!

It's spaghetti for lunch today... spaghetti and reruns of Music Bank. :)

*Update*: Even Salma asked why we didn't go to Seunggi's concert... Maybe next year, ok?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Missed the concert again

So Lee Seung Gi is having his concert tomorrow, and I am so envious of Yoke Leng and the rest of the Airens that are going! Initially, when I was pregnant with Sophie, I had planned to go to his concert at the end of this year, and I had actually saved $100 per month just for the trip. But then when the baby was born and we got divorced, I had to use that money I saved to pay for the rental deposit and other stuff, so by the time November came and ticket sales were open, I didn't have money to go. Plus I'd have to pay for flight tickets for me and two kids, which would not be cheap if I were to fly with MAS. I don't think I could fly Air Asia with two kids.

And such a shame too, because Clover is guesting on Seunggi's concert tomorrow! Aargh. If I had gone, it would've been a double whammy (get to see both my favorite ilbak boys). You owe me big time, man.

So, if my income allows it, I'll save up for next year. But not knowing if there will be a next year concert for LSG, cos he may be going off to military service soon. Oh woe is me. Plus 1n2d is ending next Feb. God knows if the boys will be doing stuff together after that or not. I hope they will though.

Was also planning a reunion with my Korean ex-schoolmates who live in Seoul. Argh, so regretting it now! I wish I had saved up more.

But I hope they (our eternal bloggers) take good pictures and post them up and have nice write-ups. It would have been nice to show the girls snow for the first time in their lives, cos it's snowing now in Seoul. Wouldn't that have been a great memory? Ohhh ... missed opportunities. I hope better ones come my way.

Whew this dusty blog!

Can you imagine me blowing the dust off of this dusty blog? I haven't posted anything here in ages. Feels like a lifetime.

But anyway. Here we go again. Gotta try to get back into the groove of blogging again. This blog used to be known as "Bleach fan becomes a new mom" and then it changed to "Bleach fan (re)discovers LSG." And now it's evolved into "LSG fan becomes a single mom and a G-Crew." haha!

I do envy those constant bloggers (aka tryp96, lsgairenint, etc I shall not name them all), but they are fansites, so that's different. I don't read any other blogs nowadays except theirs. Once the Arrancar thingie was over, I've put Bleach back on the shelf, too, and most probably will let it stay there. That part of my life is over. So welcome K-pop. (And the international K-pop community! Woot Woot!!)

So if there was ever a twist of fate, it was when I, as an Airen became a G-Crew. (laughs) Thank goodness Seunggi and Jiwon love each other like brothers, otherwise it would be quite strange for someone to have 2 loyalties. Does that even make sense? To be loyal to 2 different fandoms, that's what I meant.

Amidst of all of this, I became a single mom. Everything happened at the same time almost. But it's been good. More positive people have come into my life, and I think that just goes to show that "we don't stop, we can't stop, until we reach the top." Okay, so that was cheesy, but I think this is a good mantra.

I would like to thank my G-crew sisters for being on this journey with me. Though they are far away, they are always with me, day in and day out. I don't know if y'all are reading this or not, but if you are, you know who you are... I don't need to mention names. We can do this, ladies! If you believe, then it'll be reality. I think so.

So this blog started as my way to chronicle my life as a new mom, and musings on my children, and that part's not going to change much. Just that hmm... now that I have two kids, I'm not that surprised any more at the stuff that they do. So I am not tempted to blog about it much... you get what I mean? But let's see what I come up with when I have the time.

Well until then... watch this space. I'm back.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Back at work...

I kept telling myself, "One more ounce, just one more ounce." But it wasn't to be. Second week back at work, and I only managed to pump 8 oz today, as compared to being able to pump 15 oz or more during confinement. There is one lady in this office that can still pump 20 oz per day! And she said she needed to buy another fridge just to store all the excess milk. How I envy this woman!

My daily worry is that my baby will be starving if i can't pump enough. I really don't want to resort to formula milk, simply because at 4 months old, she has not even tasted formula milk even once. Unlike my eldest daughter, we mixed formula and breast milk during the early stages because I was a new mom, and didn't know how to manage my supply yet. Now I find that drinking 3L of water per day in the office is a lot harder to do than I thought. There's so much more to do in the office, and I tend to forget to drink water. Even with the tumbler on my desk right beside me here, I will still forget.

Baby Sophie's demand at the moment is 16 oz per day, roughly. Sometimes more. And I have trouble filling up just 2 small bottles. Aaargh. The type of stuff we moms have to go through for our kids. I am sleepy and tired now just being in the Mother's Room (a.k.a. Lactation Room) for just half an hour. I used to be able to pump 10 oz in 15 mins! Waah... miss those good old days. My back hurts now from hunching over the EBM storage bottle...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The End?

*Sigh... life as I know it really is coming to an end. Not just stuff on the homefront and getting a new job, but 1n2d coming to an end... One of the only things I look forward to at the end of a long, hard week of working, taking care of two kids and keeping house. The routine that I am so used to. The show that makes me smile, laugh and cry. The show that saw me through my depression and two difficult pregnancies.

Once it ends, I hope there will be something else to fill up that void on Friday nights. Eesh. So depressing.

Friday, May 6, 2011

What to look for in a web-host / the last month of my pregnancy

The most frustrating time is when you've dilated 1 cm and waiting to dilate to 5 cm so that you can actually get admitted into the hospital to deliver your baby. First of all, my OBGYN and I anticipated that my 2nd baby would be born early, just like my first baby, Salma. During Salma's time, I had a show of blood at 38 weeks, and went in straight for delivery. This time around, at 38 weeks, I wasn't even dilated yet. So she told me to come back in a week's time. So that whole week I was having all sorts of weird contractions. Some that were short, some that were long, some that were painful, some that weren't... and their frequency was totally inconsistent, 1 hour, 20 mins, then 30 mins, then 10 mins apart. Just weird. Made me anxious. When my contractions started to really get painful, and were more consistent, I went back to the doctor to find out that I had dilated only 1 cm. After a whole week - 7 days only 1 cm! Argh. Now we're just playing the waiting game.

I must admit though, I've been very preoccupied lately, in the last month of my pregnancy, so maybe that's why I'm not dilated yet. Back during Salma's time, my last month was spent waiting idly, watching tv or reading books (I had been given a month's bedrest before my actual due date). I am not working now either, but I have been very busy at creating my own website! My very own I had actually researched Malaysian web-hosting plans a year ago, before I even got pregnant, and had been eyeing Exabytes to make as my webhost for quite some time now because of their range of web-hosting plans. I wanted to start my own online business, and had put in the web-hosting cost in my business plan, but didn't actually have the guts to actually purchase a plan from them yet. But then about 2 months ago, Groupon came out with a coupon to redeem an Xtudent Exabytes plan for RM39 instead of the usual RM99 per month! It was just too good a deal to pass up, so I bought it. Even though I had originally planned to purchase one of Exabytes's business hosting plans, the Xtudent plan, although basic, is still great. Let me explain.

Here is their banner, hehe: To get your own website, please click on the banner, and sign up through me! (So that I can earn affliate points. Yes, please do it!)

What's so great about Exabytes is that, no matter what plan you purchase, you still get the same built-in scripts and server software. The main differences between each of the plans is the disk space (storage) and bandwidth. If you are clueless about what I'm talking about, let me explain further. The most important features you should look for in a web-host (the company that provides the server on which your website will run on) is whether or not they can provide you with the latest web developing scripts and languages, like PHP and Javascript. Exabytes is fantastic because it provides the latest version of PHP, PHP 5.+. The second thing you should look for is to see if your web-host supports the latest MySQL database, and Exabytes does (MySQL 5.x). Most of the blogging and shopping cart platforms use MySQL databases. You will need a database to store all your data (duh!). To put in layman's terms, MySQL is like MS Excel and Access joined together to be used on an internet platform. You can store customer data, customer purchases, sales, inventory, etc with MySQL. Next, you need to check if your web-host has PHPmyAdmin, which is a software that allows you to manage your MySQL database easily. Or else it would be hell to manage an SQL database with just using SQL. And of course, Exabytes has PHPmyAdmin. I'm sure most web-hosts will have MySQL and PHPmyAdmin bundled together, but in case they don't, you know, I'm just pointing it out to you that you'll need both. And lastly the scripts. Exabytes comes with the option to install a whole bunch of scripts for your site for creating blogs, magazines, forums, and shopping carts. Examples: for blogging they have WordPress and Joomla (you can use both to create corporate sites too, not just for blogs). For creating an online store, they support a whole range of shopping cart scripts, among others: CubeCart, OS Commerce, and Zen Cart (there are more that aren't listed in their chart, like the one I'm using). Exabytes also supports a number of payment gateways, including the very popular and most widely used one in Malaysia: ipay88, which allows customers to pay you via credit card and online bank transfer, like Maybank2u, so no need for Paypal, which even though is nice, collects their commission from you in USD, which will dent your pocket a bit!

The nice thing about Exabytes is that they have a user-friendly software for you to use, Softaculous, that helps you to install the scripts and software you want to use in your site with a touch of button. So you literally don't need to have any coding knowledge to get your site up and running with Exabytes. And the best part is, no matter what plan you purchase from Exabytes, from the most basic Personal or Student plan to the largest Business plan, you are provided with the same scripts and softwares. That is the best part. Cos if you're just starting out, you don't need 300GB of disk space, you know what I'm saying, so starting with the Xtudent Plan is fine, because with Exabytes you can always upgrade your existing storage and bandwidth at really affordable prices (I'm serious... check out their hosting comparison charts. Just click on the banner above, then click on Web Hosting on the menu bar to compare the plans). Oh, and Exabytes uses both Linux and Windows. And depending on the plan you select, you can have your domain name ( address) for free. With Xtudent, I got a free domain name! Yay!

So I had some time to fool around during my pregnancy, and I contemplated between WordPress and Joomla to create my "main" site. I did a lot of research, and seeing as most of my blogging "colleagues" were using WordPress, I decided to install it. And I am not looking back! WordPress is great. (But I didn't realise this until much later...) Then, before I even stated to develop my WordPress backed site, I researched on the various shopping cart programmes to use on my online store. By the way, WordPress is free (or as the term is known on the net, an "open source" platform/tool). At first I chose to install OS Commerce. According to the stats and articles, OS Commerce is one of the most widely used open source shopping cart programmes in the world. But once I installed it, I realised that even with the free templates that come with the programme, OS Commerce was really difficult to customise for a newbie like me (even with my knowledge of HTML and Javascript, it didn't help that I wasn't an expert at php language). I struggled for awhile to make my online store to look the way I wanted it to look with OS Commerce. I just couldn't do it, so I started to look for alternatives. Then, by chance, I read an article that some guys had developed an open source shopping cart plugin for WordPress (WP), called WordPress E-Commerce (WPEC). I was so excited! So I dropped OS Commerce altogether, uninstalled it, and started to focus entirely on WP. That's when I started to really love WordPress, (sorry because as I found out, WP has this huge community of people who create wonderful plugins for you to use with your WP blog, and all of them are free (well all have a free version, and a Pro version with added features that you have to pay for). So if you want to add a photo gallery to your WP blog, install the plugin. If you want to add beautiful custom forms, just add the plugin. It's so fun. Everything is fun when it's free yo.

Now, at the time, since I was using just the Xtudent plan, Exabytes had put a cap on my PHP memory (I am allowed 64MB but then it was capped at a lower level). And to run WPEC, I needed a higher PHP memory. I didn't know this at first, so when I first installed the WPEC plugin, it crashed my site. But to my surprise ya, I raised a ticket with Exabytes customer service and told them what happened, and they acknowledged that I needed a higher PHP memory, and released more memory for me, without me asking them to. So I was extremely happy. I thought I would have to go through a long process of asking them to give me more php memory, but it took less than a day. Their customer service tech team communicates via e-mail and online chat, and I've used both, and they've been very helpful. To the point of actually showing me where to look for errors, how to interpret the errors so that I can easily solve problems on my own in the future. Because you know, it is easier to do it yourself so you don't waste time.

Now having said that, I get all this service for only RM39. Wow. I still can't believe it. Even though I have to renew my plan when the year is over, I'm still chuffed about it. :) It's fine, I'll pay the renewal fees. The only other thing I had to pay for was purchasing a professionally designed website template. I spent USD35 on it. Which is cheap okay! But I found the most wonderful site theme, it is fully customizable using a user-friendly admin panel and has the most wonderful after-sales support. I don't know where my web-developer, PrimaThemes is located (they don't actually tell you where they are based), but it seems like they provide 24x7 support all year round! They even layan stupid questions like "where did my photos go?" Haha! oh man... seriously. The patience that these guys have... they deserve a medal. No, they deserve to be knighted! For just USD35, I get a beautiful site theme and great developing support. (Btw, OS Commerce web-designers charge USD99 and above for their themes). Yes, all the programming has been done for you, but you know, to tweak the site to look and function the way you want it, you'll need to add your own additional coding in there somewhere. So you do need to know a little HTML and CSS, and a little PHP. But don't worry about it even if you don't, cos has really good online tutorials to guide you if you are totally green. But anyway, my web-developer at PrimaThemes writes the code for me, and I just have to copy and paste it into my php files. Hehe. Happy. So if you are looking to hire a local web-designer, make sure that they are also a web-developer, because the 2 are not the same. A web-designer just designs the site (the aesthetics part), and the web-developer puts in all the code to make the design do what it should do, e.g. make the menu drop down when you click on it, etc. A web-designer will not necessarily know how to do this. And lots of people fall into this trap. They buy a site design from a web-designer, and then don't know how to make it "work" because the designer has no developing knowledge. Don't fall into this trap people! Make sure whoever you hire has a team that can do both!

So I've been spending the last month or so building my website. My online store is not ready to go live yet (because I haven't bought the inventory yet), but the blog accompanying my online store is ready. It is fashion-centric so I keep it toally separate from this blogger one, which is centered on my kids. You can view it here, Nüunäa Stylist and please start leaving your comments! There are a bunch of articles I haven't put up yet, so feel free to bookmark it and check for updates.

Being preoccupied with building my site lately, I haven't really noticed if I have contractions during the day or if the baby is moving around. Sometimes I get the impression that baby in my tummy is sitting quietly listening to mommy tapping away on the keyboard, and cursing now and again at failed loadings and other errors. Sometimes I am aware that I am having a contraction, but continue to work on my site design, and then I fail totally to note how long the contraction lasted, what time it took place, and how many minutes apart from the previous contraction. Maybe that's why I'm not dilated 5cm yet. Because, if I think about it, my former colleagues at the office mostly worked til the last day before their due date. So working probably reduces the chances of you delivering early. Doesn't that make sense? Even now as I am typing this blog entry, I have ignored the contractions that I've had. And I'm pretty sure I had 2 already (cos it hurt for awhile, but I just ignored it). But anyway... building a website can be time-consuming, but is totally fun when you have all the right tools. Start with a good web-host, like I did, and then find a good developer to assist you, like I did, and you can make the internet a new home for your business (or hobby or whatever...) :D

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


You would think that she was inspired by William and Catherine's recent wedding, but no...
She wanted to be like Dora (the Explorer) when she put on the magic mermaid crown to save the mermaid kingdom (it's one of Dora's dvds). 

So she asked her dad to get her a crown (where is my magic crown?) and so daddy bought her one from Girls and brought it home after work. She was so excited about it, she insisted to mandi early (usually she complains when we ask her to take a bath before bed time) and put on her "princess dress". So I bathed her and let her wear her white "princess dress" instead of her pajamas, and she put on her crown and she pretended to be a magic princess all the way til bed time. She slept in her dress.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Children's TV

My little girl has finally graduated from watching Playhouse Disney exclusively to watching a mix of Nick Jr, Playhouse Disney and the Disney Channel. It was a bit of surprise when she suddenly asked me a few days ago to change the channel. She doesn't know how to work the remote all by herself yet. I changed it to Nick Jr, and she recognized Dora the Explorer (I guess they must watch the dvd in school after the school lessons end), and so I programmed a reminder for it so that I know to change the channel when it comes on. Then she started watching the Jungle Book too on Disney Channel. I am not too keen on her watching it right now at her age because the tiger, Shere Khan scares her. If you think about it, the thought of a tiger chasing a little boy to eat him for dinner is quite a scary thing.

She has also just recently, within a month ago, started to reply to the tv when the show asks viewers questions, like for instance when Dora asks, "Look at the map, where are we supposed to go next?" She used to just watch and maybe answer the questions silently, but now she will say it outloud or even go to the tv and point to the answer. Which can sometimes be annoying because she will leave fingerprint marks on the tv... and the tv could topple over if she pushes too hard. So I always tell her to point but not to touch the screen.

Kids shows have come a long way since my time. Now most of the pre-school shows are educational, and not destructive like Tom & Jerry (which I still hate, by the way, since I was young). Back then, we only had Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow. And even Reading Rainbow started when I was already in Elementary School. Sesame Street was the only educational pre-school show available. I remember watching it on an Italian tv channel in Libya. I lived there from the age of 2 - 5. And even back then, the characters in Sesame Street did not ask viewers questions to get us involved in the show like they do in Dora or Little Einsteins. It would just be the monster muppets asking guests on their show questions like "How do you tie your shoes?" or they would act out demonstrations like what is high and what is low. Demonstrations are all good, but I think the kids shows nowadays are better at pulling their audience into the plot of the story and get the kids involved in problem solving and things like that. Even though I think some of the situations in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse are too far fetched, when Mickey asks what tool can they use to solve a problem, it actually teaches kids to try to figure out a solution for themselves. It used to be that kids shows would just act out a whole plot where in the end the hero solves the problem without any interaction whatsoever with the audience, and kids who aren't attentive enough will not really learn anything from that, but now even those unattentive kids are forced to pay attention because the character on tv is asking them the question.

Even though kids tv has improved a lot, it still shouldn't be a babysitter for your kids. They need a break from the tv just to play and go outside. Or just sleep. I don't want my kid to grow up into a couch potato. But I am glad, though, that I don't have to worry too much about the content of the tv shows that she watches, as long as she only watches pre-school tv shows.  

Friday, April 1, 2011

Stretchmarks... again

I really envy those moms that don't get stretchmarks when pregnant. I guess I made a mistake the first time round by not applying any cocoa butter at all on my tummy before it started stretching, so I was left with like a gazillion stretchmarks. However, having said that, I was surprised to find that there are other moms with worse stretchmarks than me! Not that I was peeking or you know, asking other pregnant moms to lift their shirt, but I was in the emergency labour ward during my 28th week, and I was lying on a gurney alongside 5 other moms. There was no barrier between any of us, and whenever the doctor came to examine someone for contractions or whatever, I'd get to see the other's tummy. Everyone commented on how beautiful this one lady's tummy was because there were zero stretchmarks. She was too far away for me to really focus on, but it did look like a very nice tummy. Very smooth. The lady next to me was the one I was talking about, the one with more stretchmarks than me. I was surprised, because I really did think mine was bad. Like worse than bad, even. My stretchmarks are reddish-pink against my skin, but the lady next to me had very dark stretchmarks. Whereas mine are short lines, hers were long. Wow... I was relieved somewhat, but not really. I wonder what makes stretchmarks become different colors like that. And I wondered whether mine would become dark someday, too. Which is a scary thought.

I do want to get laser treatment to zapp my stretchmarks away. I think they have this technology out there. Stretchmarks are unsightly. I really wonder how other women can have zero stretchmarks, and some others have a lot. Is it in the food we eat that makes skin more pliable? What is it? Collagen? What do we need to remain stretchmark free when pregnant? 

As I was lying on the gurney at that emergency labour room, the nurse that was examining me said that it's nice I had no stretchmarks. I was like, "Are you crazy?? I have tons! Take a look again..."

So she did, and she exclaimed that they are not that visible unless you look closely. Really? I was so skeptical. But then she said that hers are worse than mine, and mine are considered mild. Mild, eh? That's so surprising to hear. She said to believe her since she's seen so many pregnant tummies. But I still think mine are bad.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Travel tips

We have friends that newly became parents. And some of the things that they said & planned during the first three months of having their newborn just made me laugh. It wasn't that I was laughing at them, just that their innocence was so touching, it made me laugh. For instance, they asked us to join them on a trip to Singapore or some place where we would take a flight and stay in a budget hotel, so that we can spend the rest of our money on shopping. And they invited other couples, who happen to be childless, to join also. First of all, even though this may sound wonderful, it just isn't practical. If you want to go on vacation with a newborn or an infant even (doesn't even have to be a newborn), you will have to travel with all sorts of equipment: stroller, carseat (optional but sometimes necessary), diapers, changing mat, wet wipes, bottles, formula, thermos, etc, which limits your movement a bit. Then the baby will cry most of the time on the plane. And then you can't just stay at just any hotel, it has to be a child-friendly hotel. You will not feel comfortable in a cramped room in a budget hotel. You will need space, first of all, to put all the baby equipment you brought, plus all of the stuff you brought for yourself. And then the baby needs space. Space is important. You need space as a time out from your baby, too (if it is constantly crying).

Travelling with other couples that have small kids may sound like fun, but it may also dampen the mood if each couple has to wait for the other to catch up (say if one couple's children need a toilet-break or something like that). And childless couples will hate this. So don't travel with them, even if they are your very bestfriends, because unless they love babysitting, they will most likely get stressed out by all the extra activity. And even though it may sound like fun to go on a shopping spree vacation trip, lugging around that stroller and diaper bag will just tire you out, and it won't be fun. When you have kids, the trip cannot just be about you, you have to plan some activities that your kids will enjoy, too. Kids (even if they are newborns) don't like shopping all that much, I find.

When we travel with our toddler, we travel alone. And it's more fun that way because we can take our time doing things. And we specifically look for hotels that have a great children's pool or children's room or playground. And we love restaurants that give plastic plates, cups and cutlery when we order the kids meals. Even better are those restaurants that let kids eat for free with an adult meal. New parents have to discover these things for themselves, I think.

Even though I have about a month and a bit left to my pregnancy, I am still looking for vacation deals or hotel packages. Just for a short weekend getaway. I want to rest and relax somewhere nice. But I know it won't be fun if my 2 year old isn't having fun also. Those spa getaways won't be worth it if the hotel doesn't have some sort of activity for the kids too. Which is why I'm still searching. If you know of a good place, do leave me a comment, thanks!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Things that interest me at 33 weeks

Being pregnant can get boring after awhile, especially in the last 2 months. You get so big that your movement is impeded, and you are always feeling hot and tired, and the combination of all of these will make you grumpy. Like, "Enough already and come out!" I am going through that stage right now. So I am trying to distract myself by thinking up of different activities I can do to pass the time. Like perhaps doing my hair and make-up and taking pregnant photos. And ordering books to read online. 

So I ordered 3 books online the other day, but they haven't been delivered yet. I was hoping I could get them soon so I can start reading and not be so bothered by how hot I feel sitting around in the house, but looks like they will only be despatched at the end of the month. Which is about 4 days away. Four days is a long time to wait. I can probably finish a book in one or two days, so I was online window shopping again for some more titles to purchase. That's when I came across this wonderful website,, which centers around Modern Korean Literature in English Translation. I am into things Korean now, as I find their culture fascinating. In previous times during my life I have been interested in Chinese Literature of the China kind, and Russian Literature. So now it's Korean Literature. I dunno why, but it's hard for me to get into Malaysian Literature. I haven't really tried hard enough maybe.

But I came across this Modern Korean Literature website, and I love it! Not only does it do reviews, but they also just blog about interesting Korean stuff seen from the eyes of non-Koreans or maybe Koreans who went overseas and came back "home". Oh you know what I mean. I still think of myself as that type of Malaysian (one that went away for a long time and came back). Based on a few of their reviews, I started searching for the books they mentioned on, Kinokuniya's book web and acmamall. Sad to say that those 3 sites don't stock the newly published books, but ones that were published 2010 and prior can be found. And the prices vary between the sites, too! Acmamall is the cheapest, however may not have the book in stock, and Kinokuniya may have it in stock, but is the most expensive. Hmmm... decisions, decisions. 

Having 2 kids means that books are a luxury, and I can only buy books for myself when I have extra savings. And it also means having to buy bargain books or books that are on sale, and stuff like that. Because, you have to admit it, books are expensive in Malaysia, as compared to books in the UK, where you can purchase a decent novel for £5.95 or something like that. With the price of one of the Korean Short Story Anthologies that I am interested in buying, I can buy 2 packs of jumbo Mamy Poko diapers. And Mamy Poko is the most expensive diaper brands out there! That is the opportunity cost for "Land of Exile". When you become a parent, you start thinking this way. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I'm about to have baby #2, and I'm having flashbacks of all the things I hate and fear. These flashbacks normally occur in dreams and in those short periods between awake and sleep that you sometimes experience when you are really tired. Normally the second type of flashback will jolt me back to life, and not in a good way. I'll feel more than a little apprehensive after one of those.

I read in my UN Safety Training (I forgot the actual title of the training course I had to take in my previous job), that flashbacks are part of Post Traumatic Syndrome. So a person who has suffered some trauma in their lives is bound to experience flashbacks now and again, and trauma does not just come from war, abuse, etc. It can be from any adverse incident a person experiences. Something which you thought would be nothing, like accidentally cutting yourself with a sharp knife, can be traumatic (loss of blood, shock, etc). If you dream about the incident over and over, then it means the incident was traumatic to you, even though you overcame it, and managed to heal the wound.

The UN Safety Training, was a bit blasé, though, as it ended the PTS part of the course by saying a person with PTS has to undergo some form of psychiatric counselling. Next slide. Usually, I would think ya, a person who doesn't know that they have experienced some sort of trauma would not want to talk about it at great lengths with a therapist, simply because they don't have a clue what to talk about. Because you know, their brain probably tried to forget it or contain it in a little jar. And then it would get really frustrating to keep replying "I don't know" when being asked questions (I watched this documentary about American soldiers in Vietnam). They really didn't know what the hell was making them have the flashbacks. Sometimes it's difficult to pinpoint one event. It could be a whole series of events or even an entire lifetime of events. Then what are you gonna do? Try to erase all the events? No, right? Sometimes it just doesn't make any sense.

So I was saying, I was having these flashbacks. And I really can't recall why in the world those flashbacks would be flashbacks... I don't remember being anxious about those events at all. I just know that I hate elements to do with those flashbacks, so maybe hate is just a byproduct of PTS. And if you hate someone or something (like hating cockroaches) then maybe that thing had caused you some trauma that you had forgotten (like maybe there was a cockroach crawling on your food and you realised too late). Just to let you know, too, I was just now woken up at 4.26 am by the sound of a cockroach (and I hate those damn things) crawling on the plastic bag that lines the wastepaper basket in the room. That small sound actually woke me up. I tried to kill it with a rolled-up magazine, but it went under the bed, so I have no idea if I managed to kill or injure it. And I am still awake now being anxious about it. Whether it's still alive or not. I would like to be able to just find it and kill it, but it's invisible now. And it's making me blog about it.

And these are the type of articles I used to write for an online magazine once. This type of musings. I miss this sort of writing. But I include it here because it's about an experience related to my pregnancy, and this entire blog is centered on my life as a mom. So, moral of the story is, don't ignore your flashbacks. Your brain is trying to tell you something... but I dunno what.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Baby coming soon!

Wow... I haven't updated this blog in awhile. Been busy with moving house and settling down. I am now going through the "nesting" phase of my second pregnancy. I'm browsing a lot of online baby shops and looking at a lot of baby stuff whenever I go out. But I am relieved that all my major purchases for the new baby were completed today:

1) MAM Anti-colic bpa-free bottles
2) Nipple shields (for first week when baby has trouble latching on)
3) Breastmilk storage bottles  (Items 1 -3 bought from with great discounts)
4) Maxi cosi baby carseat - at 50% off (big sister's old one cannot be used anymore. Bought at Mamours at Empire Shopping Gallery)
5) Quinny Zapp 2011 in Rebel Red - at almost 40% off (with shopping cart, rain cover, sun canopy and adapters!

I can't believe I am getting the Quinny Zapp 2011 model instead of the 2010. Most shops are selling the 2010 model at Sale price, but I found one that was selling the 2011 model. No difference though I think. We are buying the Quinny & maxi cosi travel system this time because we had experience with really bulky baby strollers with our first child, and they took up too much space in the car and boot. So this time we are investing in a compact system so that we can transport the baby stroller in the boot along with big sister's existing Maclaren Volo, which is very compact. Plus the Quinny stroller is really light compared to other baby strollers (do not compare with toddler buggies, because these are much lighter, but cannot be used for newborns and infants).

I can't think of any other stuff that I really need for the baby, except for diapers and baby formula. Maybe a few pairs of long pants as I can't seem to find the big sister's old pants. But I am completely set for this new baby to arrive. So happy that I stored all of big sister's old clothes in clean storage compartments. Just have to put them in the laundry and we are good to go!

Everything else now are just loose ends that need tying up! :D

Friday, January 28, 2011

Things that I will miss most about this house...

Everything. I don't think there is a single thing that I will not miss about this house. Even the naughty neighborhood cats that always pee at the porch which I always complain about, I will miss. This is the first house I moved into after getting married that I love completely. The first housing area that I love completely, too. Even though sometimes we complain that we don't know where to eat (bored of the same stuff), but I do still love our usual food places. I really do hope one day we can move back here. The neighborhood is good, the schools are good. The house is good. This is a good house. It's like the house smiled on us the very first day we set eyes on it, and it has been smiling down on us, day in and day out, without fail. A really good house. Even the plumbing issues aren't that big a deal; it's still a good house.

It's a handsome house. From the outside, its black and white facade make it the cutest house on the block. And I mean it. I think our house is so cute. The space can be a bit tight, but it's so roomy. Have you ever felt that before? We managed to make the house feel roomy even though the square footage is smaller than our previous house. I hope to be able to achieve the same feat with our new house (or houses).

I will always remember this house. We don't have that many photos of this house. Most of them are of Salma playing in her wading pool in the front garden. I really should take more photos of this house.

How do you tell a house "I love you, thank you and good-bye"? It's like I should leave a portable radio behind on moving day and have it play MC Mong's "I Love U Oh Thank U" on repeat until the batteries run out. In my younger days, I would have done it, to be poetic and nostalgic. But now that I'm older (I have moved houses countless of times since the age of 2), I think of how the new tenants would think it's scary or silly to come in hearing a song playing in an empty room. They'd think it was creepy right? Plus the lyrics are in Korean, and they wouldn't understand a thing. (Unlike me, who has read the translation).

I will really miss this house.

Friday, January 7, 2011


Isn't it weird that while I was cheering feverishly for the South Korean team during World Cup 2010 during all their live games, LSG was too? There we were, two excited football fans cheering on their favorite team at the same time but at two different parts of the world, totally oblivious to the other? Back then, I wasn't even a fan of LSG. But we probably cursed at the screen at the same time during game upset moments... isn't that weird (but cool)?

Pangs of guilt

Don't you wish sometimes you could take a break from being a mom? And you know just be yourself for awhile, without having to chase after some small running thing, or feed an open mouth or pick up toys off the floor one after another? And no more of Playhouse Disney and Elmo dvds and Dibo dvds? *Sigh... when will that day come?

I asked Salma to play with her musical schoolbus, and instead of playing with it by herself, she brings it to me. Aiyo. How in the world do you teach kids to play by themselves? I don't remember playing this much with my mom when growing up. I think I never even played with my mom. Seriously. I think I started playing by myself straight away.

I just need some space. I feel so drained. I'm going to have some alone time tonight (keep my fingers crossed) with a girl's night out. A reunion dinner with some friends. I hope no one calls me during the dinner to tell me that little poppet is crying. That just ruins my outing. I will feel like I shouldn't be there enjoying myself (after having devoted my attention to the little poppet for soooo many months). So please little poppet, watch tv quietly with daddy or just go to sleep. Please let me have a good night out with my friends by myself.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Non-Diaper Bag (Designer Diaper Bags Part 2)

I am becoming a newborn mom again, which means taking a second look at the Diaper Bag. I stopped using a diaper bag more than a year ago, when my daughter stopped drinking milk from the bottle. When going out, I'd just stuff one spare diaper and wet wipes into my handbag. But now that I'll be a mom to a new baby soon (in about 4-5 months time), I think it's time for me to shop around for a new fashionable diaper bag.

Off again I go to visit Gin & Jacqie's online shop. (Check out my first post on Gin & Jacqie two years ago here:

Some pics of diaper bags available for sale at Gin & Jacqie:
To view the inside of the bag, please visit Gin & Jacqie's online shop (

Colorful Suzanna
Birdie Casual

Stevie Baby Bag (for dads)
Nathalie Baby Bag Set

After some browsing, I feel that I have gone off the allure of the floral print bag, so I don't think I'm going to go for an all-out diaper bag. I love the big handbag that I have now (I'm into chunky bags). Now the thing that's great about Gin & Jacqie is that they provide a solution for moms like me who love their designer hand bags (non-diaper bag)... because Gin & Jackie makes handbag "organizers". 

Organizers (like the one pictured above) are pocketed bags that you place inside your existing handbag to provide extra pockets and compartments for stuff that you need segregated and organized (such as diapers, feeding bottles, formula, keys, etc).  The one I like is "Organize Jo". For a fraction of the cost of a full-on diaper bag, you can create a diaper bag with the existing designer (or non-designer) bag that you currently use. And if you are one of those women who use a number of different bags to go with different outfits, then this is a good solution for you, too. Because you won't have to reorganize your bag each time you go out, you'll just pull out the Organizer Bag from one handbag and just pop it into the other handbag. :)  Isn't that nifty?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Pretty Mom

Something that's been bugging me for awhile now is how do I get back into shape after delivery. I haven't been able to do that after my first child was born, but I am determined to do it after my second child is born. And what I mean by "get back into shape" is going back to my pre-marriage days. Ya ya. I think maybe my ideal weight was when I first started working. I need to get back to that, if that is even possible. The first thing that I want to do once confinement and everything else is completed (jamu, urut, etc) is to get laser treatment and laser off all my pregnancy stretchmarks. Back in my first pregnancy, I only began applying the cocoa butter lotion on my belly after the itching started, and so it did not help to prevent stretch marks from appearing. This time I started applying the lotion in my 2nd month of pregnancy, so now that the skin on my tummy is really stretching (I'm at 5 months), it doesn't itch as much. I remember back when I was pregnant with Salma, the itchiness was so bad that I scratched all the time. We are not supposed to do this, because scratching will further inflame the skin and cause scars. Which lead to stretch marks. As a result of my folly, I have like literally hundreds of stretch marks on my tummy. My daughter plays with them sometimes... she runs her hand over them like it's a harp.

So that's my first plan, to get laser treatment. Hopefully the price will not go up by the time I am ready to do it. I've already done my research and know just the place to do it. If there is too much excess skin, maybe I will get a tummy tuck (if I can afford it). If not, then urut or massage to get rid of it. I don't even think that's possible though. But maybe it is.

Go to regular facials is my other plan. As we get older, we need more help to maintain good skin, so I need to go to facials more. I stopped going during this pregnancy, but I really should continue. My skin is terrible right now, so dry.

Then the final part of the plan is just continuous regular exercise. Maybe also focusing on upper body strength. Which I have zero of. I literally have zero upper body strength. I wouldn't be able to pull myself up over a wall, for example. During the team building event my former company had when I first joined back in 2005 I think it was, we went to this place in Kuching, and all of us had to climb over a wall. I couldn't do it, and my boss had to throw me over the wall. Yes, really. There were two guys seated at the top of the wall that had to catch me and pull me up. I remember the episode clearly because he did it without warning me. I was just suddenly propelled into the air and caught by 2 of my colleagues and just tossed over. It really happened that way. Thank God I didn't weigh all that much back then... or else it would've been too embarrassing.

Oh and the very last thing after delivering my second child is that I need to improve my make-up skills. I've stopped wearing make up during pregnancy because for some reason it makes my skin itchy. But I feel like I really need to learn how to apply all the facial stuff properly to maintain good skin. It's not enough to just wash it off with facial wash, I think. I don't want to clog my pores and stuff, and I have to really learn how to do it right.

The thing that I admire most about Korean girl groups (right now they are really big in Asia, more popular than J-pop girl bands) is not their slim figure and overall prettiness, but their eye make-up. Their eye make-up really makes their eyes pop out.

Still shots taken from KARA's music video for "Jumping".
I wanted to put up "before and after" pics but suddenly got too lazy.

I've seen pics of a few of them when they have no make up on, and they just look like regular Koreans (not necessarily having big eyes, the usual mata sepet la). Then when they have their eye make-up on, suddenly, their eyes are bigger and more sparkly... and as if they didn't have mata sepet. Ya ya, I don't have mata sepet, but just the fact that good eye make-up can make your eyes look gorgeous is fascinating to me. I want to try and copy it. Not that I would want to put on fake eyelashes to go to work every morning, but maybe just for fun when going out or something like that.

And that's my plan for becoming a pretty mom...