Friday, October 24, 2014

Holiday 2013: A Little Story

And so, after many days of survival on intermittent sleep, the effects had been felt. We are still 'in negotiation' of our daily routine over here, and so, for today, we'll just do a little story from the holidays. Little, with just a picture of two, and a short write up.

It was mentioned before that we passed through Hong Kong on our way to Indonesia. The plan was to have another stop over (2 nights!) on our way back home. Now that time of the year, it's COLD up there, and having seen one of those earmuffs sometime back, Kecil was determined that she needed one to brave Hong Kong weather. Well... we kind of found a cute one in Bandung, so we got it for her.

The following morning, we were getting ready for breakfast and check out from the hotel, so Kecil played the hotel safe. You know, those stuff looking like this:

Anyway, you might already guess what she did.

Yes, she put her new earmuffs in the safe, locked the safe, then failed to open it back.
And, of course, faced with the prospect of losing her brand-spanking-new ear muffs, let's just say, her wails were heard like 3 or 4 doors down the corridor.

Not knowing what number combination she used, or even how she managed to close the safe, we had to call the hotel technician to open the safe to 'rescue' the muffs. Luckily, the safe was simply locked in a default number combination, so it was a quick and simple 'rescue mission' while this Mama tried her very best to hide her mirth at the whole situation. (Kecil does NOT like it when she perceives people to be laughing at her, you know)

Moral of the story, I think Kecil learnt a lesson that day. While she was usually all over the safe and its numeric pad every time she found one in any hotel room we check in, from that point on, she largely ignore any safe in our subsequent hotel rooms. And definitely no more putting her stuff into one, bahaha....

Well, Kecil, we are definitely very happy that you learn something out of the episode. Moving on, some time in the future, we also hope that you'll learn the art of laughing at yourself. It's not too bad, really, and it definitely makes life much more fun.

Cheers, Kecil!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Flower Girl

A few years back, after a family dinner, there was a little girl who wanted to dance to the tune that the band was playing that night.
It was her Tante who indulged her with the said dance, and they really made a cute pair that night, the only pair on the dance floor.
Indeed, I guess it is fair to say that this Tante is special to Kecil, judging from the pics this Mama had amassed over the 6 years:

It is then only fair then, that when the said Tante was getting married, Kecil should hold the title of Flower Girl. After all, she is a bit young to become the maid of honor. Haha...

Now, the thing with Kecil's Tante's wedding was that it was held in Thailand.
That kind of made it difficult for Mama to be in attendance, what with less than a month away from the expected due date and a history of early birth.
Daddy, too, was unable to attend as he already cleared out his annual leave during our last trip home. So... Kecil was our representative, and I'd say she did a great job.

To be able to attend the wedding, Kecil had to travel sans Mama & Daddy. Not alone, of course, she was 'escorted' by a retinue made up of: Eyang Kakung, Eyang Putri, Eyang Ira (who is Eyang Kakung's sister), and another Tante, the daughter of Eyang Ira. It took them a whole day trip to reach Chiang Mai, but they did make their merry way there without a hitch. Only when they reached the hotel did the Kiddo start to bawl for Mama (I think she was tired and hungry, then the reality of no-Mama sunk in, not a very good combination).
We had to thank the powers that be for strong internet connection both here and at the hotel where they stayed, because then we could use Skype to talk (and see) each other. Thankfully, seeing Mama (albeit just on the tablet screen) did improve Kecil's mood.

The breakdown on the first night proved to be the only one. The following day, Kecil was all smiles as she followed the formalities her Tante need to perform in order to get married. The whole morning/afternoon was spent at the government office to fulfil the paperwork requirements. Evening was the exchange of vows at a very beautiful venue in the city.
Photos by Alan McArthur from A Day of Photography
It was kind of cute to see Kiddo as the youngest (and smallest!) guest. As usual, she made this Mama (and her Daddy) proud.

There are other stories of Kiddo's 'solo' trip to Thailand, but I guess that will wait for another day. In the mean time, please to join this Mama wishing Kecil's Tante the best in this new chapter of her life.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Kecil's 6th Birthday

With the sheer amount of things to update here, this Mama thought Kecil's birthday was a good starting point. Before plunging into the story, however, this Mama has a confession. You would notice a very dire lack of pics in this post. 4 measly pictures! And no collages! Well... yeah.... actually, the other day, in a burst of 'housekeeping' fervour (of the digital kind, not physical), this Mama managed to delete quite a batch of not-yet-saved pics. Very much to Mama's chagrin and annoyance. Doh.
Thank goodness for social media, but so the pics here are 'salvaged' from Mama's feed rather than the originals. Looooonggg siiiiggghhh....

Well, it's a learning experience. Let's do better next time, like... check before deleting anything. Sigh.

For her 6th birthday, Kecil requested a celebration in school, where she was going to buy lunch for all her classmates (namely from McDonald's), plus a carrot cake by Mama.
This tied in perfectly with Mama's plans. You see, due to many factors, we had decided to give birth at Daddy's hometown, which will require Kecil to follow Mama there for at least 2 months or so. Her birthday celebration would then be a sort of farewell party before her prolonged absence from school.

All's well and good, so Mama made the reservation with the food delivery guy, and Kecil actually helped to make the carrot cake. (Actually she helped peeling ONE carrot and grated another, just half, then call it a day and went off to play. But that's OK, especially since Mama got the picture above. Hihi...)

We celebrated in school on Friday (her last day of school since we left the following Monday), a day early from her real birthday. It was a pretty low key celebration, just some 'special' food during lunch time, followed with the candle blowing, some candies and presents, but everyone seems to have fun. This Mama is very glad that the pregnancy was such that I still could manage hosting (and even cleaning after!) the whole thing.

Kecil was very happy with the whole thing, even if she forgot to change to her 'Princess dress' like what some of her friends did for their birthday parties. She was also very touched with all the presents her classmates gave her. (Hint: If you want any presents, do give out invitations, haha!)

Kecil followed me buying her present from us that very evening. It was a Lego set. So... on Saturday morning, the D-day, she woke up early to bug her Daddy to help her set up the whole thing.

Closer to lunch time, we had another low key 'celebration' with Kecil's two best friend (both of whom are in different school nowadays). Basically we just played some games with the balloon, then a game of put the patch on the pirate (using a picture Mama literally just printed out on the spot. I love our printer. It's my hero!), followed with a few hits on the pinata. Both the pirate patch and the pinata are Kecil's own request, but the balloon games were totally impromptu. This Mama is just glad the kids enjoyed themselves.

We finished early, quite a bit before lunch time, so Mama had time to run out to buy pizza for the kids (and something else for the adults). There was yet another candle blowing before lunch, but no picture means... it got deleted. Sigh. Well... at least there was that one of the pirate after the last round, with the pirate sporting additional 3 patches: 1 to match his existing eyepatch, 1 on the hat, and 1 as a cod piece. Guess who put the cod piece? Huh.

We flew to Surabaya 2 days later, getting ready to meet Kecil's little sister, not to mention for Kecil's first gig as a flower girl AND her first trip with neither Mama nor Daddy. Didn't I mention we have loads of update? We'll continue later. Until then!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Big Sister

So, who still remember the above? Well, this Mama is happy to report that, less than 3 weeks after she turned 6 (yet another occasion that this Mama is still yet to report. Huh!),  Kecil had officially become a Big Sister, indeed.

Introducing Upik, Kecil's little sister, who was born in the same month as Kecil, roughly in the same manner (birth stories might be in the making. Maybe), in the same hospital, and in the same hyper-dosage of cuteness as Kecil when she was born.

See what I mean? That's Kecil, 6 years ago at 1 day old. The one above (with the airplane softtoy, aka Sunshine) is Upik. Similar features, similar expression, equally adorable.

Kecil is ecstatic about the whole 'big sister' business, especially when she found out that diaper duty does not fall under big sister's responsibility. Ha! But seriously, she's excited, just as the rest of the family.

There are definitely differences in the whole experience, Oma's absence being one of them, but we are coping well, and Upic proves to be a very good baby so far.

There are still so many stories (oh, the stories!!!!) to tell. We'll just have to see if Mama can use her recuperating time (while waiting for Upik's documents to be done) to catch up. I know the pregnancy had taken its toll on this space, what with the rolling nausea, then the heat.... we'll try to get back on the horse, stats. Still, here's sharing this bit of happy news with you, not to mention no little amount of cuteness. Like these sisters:

Now this Mama needs to catch a much needed shower while Upik is sleeping and Kecil is otherwise occupied. Until then!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Holiday 2013: Cirebon

Nenek moyangku, orang pelaut.... 
(My great forefathers, seafarers they were ....)

So went the song Mama learnt in her childhood. So... faced with the daunting prospect of more hours on a crowded road, what did we do? Why... take the sea route, of course!


Just kidding. Still, the photo looked too good an opportunity to pass.
Anyway, since we decided that we should check out quite a few things in Semarang, we knew we couldn't make it to Jakarta/Bogor the following day, so we booked another hotel on the way in Cirebon before we went on sight-seeing in Semarang (which, as you all know, proved to be a great fun, indeed!).

We knew we made the right decision when we had this picture taken on our arrival at the hotel. We were so tired everything was black and white, ha!

Thankfully, a good night's rest seems to restore both the kiddo and our sights, and we found out that the hotel was not too bad after all!

After the late night arrival, our first order of business of the day was breakfast (which was served at the area under the palm trees in the left hand corner pic above). The breakfast could have been better, but the setting and the atmosphere more than made up for it.

Breakfast was followed by a little break before we go for our mandatory plunge at the pool. Daddy said it was important for us to have that little exercise since we spend most of our days in the car, driving. And so we swam.

Or was it just Kecil?

Nah... all of us did. Just a bit hard to capture oneself while swimming, you know. Besides, Kecil frolicking in water make a much better subject than Daddy or Mama swimming laps in the pool.

Now, before we left the hotel, we also had to make use of the one best features of the hotel. Parked in front of the main entrance, were actually some kid-sized bikes and becak.  

Now, of course by now you already know that we did buy Kecil her new bike, but at that point in Cirebon, we were still considering it. So... what a nice coincidence that the bikes available then was the exact same size to what we were considering of buying.
It took LOADS of encouragement and a few false starts, but finally Kecil got the hang of it. Granted it was a bit high, but we figured the height will ensure that the bike would last her a considerable amount of time.

Anyway, after a few rounds on the bike, it was time to go. As for the becak? Unfortunately the becak is meant more for at least 2 kids, one in the passenger seat, one pedalling the becak. It would be perfect should Kecil have either an older or younger sibling, but as is, Daddy was WAY too big for it. So well... off we went.

The road from Cirebon to Jakarta ran parallel to the coastline, and at certain parts, it was indeed very close to the coastline. Naturally, no few enterprising souls set up all kinds of eateries around the area, especially because this road was (and still is!) one of the main road along the whole Java island. Some of these eateries actually put up advertisement boards from MILES away, and we just had to check them out. The restaurant turned out to be too crowded, but we did find another nicer spot to eat...

.... but we had to take the boat to reach it.

.... Yaha... kidding, again.

It was still on the same coastline. The boat was just tied to one side of the 'pier', I suppose. It made the perfect photo prop, don't you think? Especially facing the not so still Java sea. Haha...

Anyway, that was where we had lunch. It was still quite a busy place, which might explain the lack of quality service. Still, it was an experience we were glad to have (especially as we heard not a few weeks afterward that the whole coastline was flooded as the monsoon season moved in. Fiuh. Weren't we glad for good weather!).

Well, that was our last stop before finally reaching Jakarta (where we picked up Tante Lia) and then Bogor. We did stop at the rest stop along the tollway nearer to Jakarta, but that was one busy stop, Mama did not even bother to take out the camera. Then it was Mama's turn to drive anyway.

This might be the last of the series for the time being as there are other 'stories' to share first, but we'll try to continue once the important ones are out of the way. Cheers!

Thursday, August 7, 2014


We shall take a little break from all the holiday posts with some clearing from Mama's photo library.

I told you it all started with the new comp, the one with the working webcam that Kecil can operate by herself as long as the computer was opened. But actually, I guess it had started earlier.
After all, it did not take her long of observing Mama with Mama's various gadgets before she wanted to have a turn as well. When lack of gadget became a problem, why, just use her own!
Then came the day when we needed to replace our point and shoot, we picked a kid-proof model, just so she can use the camera as well.

Well, now the latest news is that Daddy bought Mama a new iPad, one with a working (not to mention a very good!) camera. So, between her experience with the photobooth and the cameras, Kecil had since learned to turn the camera the other way around and take selfies!

Fiuh, my techie kiddo. Now I guess Mama and Daddy just have to make sure she is still firmly grounded in the real world, and not just in virtual reality.
In the meantime, I think a regular schedule of camera-roll cleaning is in order.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Holiday 2013: Semarang 3

After so many pictures in the last post, you would think we would have moved on to the next city already. We were, after all, on a road trip, no? But after spending oh so many hours the previous day just to reach Semarang..... we figured, why not just enjoy ourselves in the city before haring off again? So we booked another hotel in Cirebon (along the way to Jakarta), and took quite a big part of the day around Semarang, swimming at the hotel, visiting Lawang Sewu, followed with this one, the Sam Poo Kong temple.

Just like Lawang Sewu, actually Mama did not know anything about the temple, and since there was no guided tour or anything, even our visit did not do much in enlightening us. We did manage to overhear snatches of history from a tour guide who was bringing along a group of Russians to the site.

Still, we did try our best to 'educate' Kecil about how the temple is one of the places where people pray etc. Mama fondly remembers her childhood days when she used to tag along her grandparents to such temples.

We meandered around the complex for a while, peeking at the pyre, climbing staircases and generally poking around. You might see a few of the Russians I mentioned earlier also doing their part of 'poking around' the site.

For some inexplicable reason, Kecil was thoroughly enamoured by the yellow lion. Well, I guess they kind of look cute together. Hihi....

Anyway, after a while, we decided to follow something that caught our eyes earlier. Get dressed up!

On site, there was a vendor offering rental of 'period costumes'. The site was a Chinese temple, so obviously they only provided Chinese costumes, albeit from various eras. Kecil was pretty psyched about the whole thing.

Oh, but she wasn't the only one getting dressed up, though.

Mama and Daddy too! Well... since we've never done this kind of thing before, why not, right? Anyway, with Kecil along, it was more fun.
So, basically what the vendor offered was photography package. For about $8 per person, you get to 'borrow' the costume and they will take pictures of you, of which you can get a total of 3 printed out. For a small additional fee, you can also get the soft copies of ALL the pictures. Why, if you have your own camera, they can also take some pics using your camera. All in all, it was a good deal.

It was quite interesting to 'get dressed', as the clothes were all made in such a way that they will fit most people. We love the bellowing sleeves. I guess it helped that both Mama & Daddy used to watch all kinds of period gong-fu movies and series.

Kecil took to her role as a princess like a duck took to water. Seriously. I guess all the pink costume and accessories helped. She especially liked her poses near those flowers as they matched her dress, according to her.
Daddy, too, made a pretty convincing Chinese warrior/King/whatever. Unbelievable!
Mama, on the other hand.... good Lord. I guess Mama was neither fish nor fowl. Too friendly to look like a proper dragon lady, and yet, too stout to fit the image of a demure Chinese royal. They even tried to have Mama doing those hand postures like what Kecil did. Gah.... awkward did not start to describe the resulting pic. So... just this pic for Mama, OK?

Still, I think there were a few family pics that turned out all right.
Then we started goofing around.

Haha... this Mama can't help it. You simply can't put Mama into those billowing sleeves without her doing this.

Done with all the picture taking, we went off to get changed and collect our print out. Obviously, we also took the option of getting the soft copies as well.

As happy as Kecil was pretending to be a princess, I think she was even happier in her own skin (clothes) haha...

These are some detail shot of the temple.

We had lots of fun pretending to be Chinese aristocrat from the olden days, even if we did not learn a whole lot of things or anything.
Anyway, the temple was our last stop in Semarang. So, we continued our roadtrip by driving towards Cirebon straight from the temple. We still arrived at our hotel pretty late at night, but at least the drive was not as harrowing as our first day on the road.
Of course, that will be another story. So... until then.

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