November 2008

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We had planned on spending the day at Gilroy Gardens during the Thanksgiving holidays, but we found out that the theme park was gonna be closed temporarily then.  So we decided to go the weekend before Thanksgiving, and boy, we sure had a blast!

 

Gilroy Gardens is a family theme park, complete with rides for the kids and beautiful landscaped surroundings.  It’s like a mini Disneyland, except well…it doesn’t have all those Disney characters.  But still, it’s a very fun place to spend the day and unlike the 4-5 hour drive to Disneyland, this one only takes about an hour.

 

Kids and adults are bound to have endless fun here, and it was also a good way to bond with nature.  As you can see, fall has lent a warm and colorful touch to the foliage here, and the trees and plants are all so well-groomed.

 

One of the things I noticed in Gilroy Gardens was the existence of many weird-looking trees.  This was the first group of trees that caught my eye:

 

But there were even more weirder ones to come:

 

And look at this one, growing in a zig-zag manner!  It even has a pear-shaped fruit hanging from one of its branches!

 

Anyway, enough about trees already!  Let’s move on to what we did at the park…

 

We wanted Ethan to have a go at as many rides as possible.  Some of the rides were not suitable for him because he had not reached the minimum height requirement, whereas some of the rides required that he ride with a chaperone.

The first ride Ethan got on was the mini carousel.  He appeared very happy when he saw that he could ride on a horse.  These were all really small horses, so don’t expect adults to sit on them!  Ethan was happily strapped on, but as soon as the carousel started to move, he began to panic and screamed to be let down.  I think he figured Daddy and Mommy were not around, so he got worried, the poor dear.

 

So off we went to try a different ride, this time with a chaperone.  We chose the Apple & Worm ride, and I rode with him. 

 

At first he was happily posing for pictures, but when we started to move, he realized that his Daddy was not around, and he wanted to climb out!  The lady manning the ride had to stop the ride to let us out.

So we figured we had to start with a ride that both Daddy and Mommy can ride on with him.  And we ended up queueing up for the train ride. 

 

Here he is, waiting anxiously to get on.

 

When it came to our turn, Ethan obediently sat in his seat, put on his seat belt and held on to the safety bar.  Anxiety turned into curiosity and excitement, and then….HAPPINESS :)

 

Oh, how he enjoyed that ride.  And we were really pleased.

There was another train ride that ran all around the theme park, and as soon as we found the station, we got in line too.  Look at Ethan, he can’t even wait to get on the train now, and he wanted to climb through the gates!  He kept saying, “Open door, open door!”

 

But he was a good boy and didn’t put up much of a fuss.  When the train came, we got on and the look of happiness on Ethan’s face was simply priceless.

 

In fact, he loved the red train ride so much, we went for a second round!

Next, we made a stop at the beautiful Bonfante Falls.  They are really just mini waterfalls but intriguing, nonetheless. 

 

There was a section where we had to walk right under the falling waters, and of course, get wet.  That was fun, but extremely cold once we got out of there.  Good thing Ethan’s jacket had a hood.  LOL.

 

We also had fun in the Rock Maze, which is a confusing maze that is bound to get anyone lost.  Our boy sportingly walked in with us, that lil adventurer!

 

Oh, I also put on gloves for Ethan for the very first time, since it got pretty chilly in the late afternoon.

 

But although he kept them on for a spell, he decided to go without them after that.  I do so think the gloves suit him so, don’t you?

 

And finally, of course we had to make a pitstop at the children’s play structure where Ethan had a really fun time playing on the slides and the steps and the mini bridge, among others.

 

So much fun had he, that we had to carry him kicking and screaming away from the play area, because it was getting late and we had to head for home.

We certainly had great fun at Gilroy Gardens that day, and although the park is closed now, I believe they have something special planned for December.  Well, time can only tell if we’ll make a trip there again, but the memories we had will definitely stay with us forever.

 

Ethan has developed a love for several different food items here in the US.  And I continue to harbor the hope that he will like more types of food soon.  I’m elated that he adores my blueberry muffins and asks for them even when they are all gone, and lately he started liking pancakes too.  I bet it must be the maple syrup :P

Oh, he likes fries too, and he really likes those at In n Out!  After all, they are made of potatoes, and potatoes are a kind of vegetable, aren’t they? :P

We were rather worried about his Pediasure though, so we shipped several tins of Pediasure from Malaysia.  Turns out they DO have Pediasure here in the States, but in a different form.  Here, they have it in easy-to-carry 8oz bottles and they come in different flavors. 

 

Ethan now finishes an 8oz bottle of Vanilla-flavored Pediasure at daycare every day, but at home, I still give him warm milk from the powdered Pediasure.  I made a mistake and bought the first 6-pack of Pediasure in Strawberry flavor, when I should have bought Vanilla, which is closer in taste to the regular Pediasure he drinks.

He also drinks regular chilled milk, sometimes whole (full cream) milk, and sometimes reduced fat milk.  We get the lactose-free kinds, because both Daddy and Ethan are slightly lactose-intolerant. 

 

Ethan would ask for milk and after he finishes a cup, he’ll ask for “more”.  I wished they would also sell this in Malaysia!

Besides milk, his other dairy intake include yogurt and cheese.  A popular kids’ yogurt here is Yoplait, which has Dora and Diego on the packaging.  I was not surprised when Ethan starting asking for Dora and Diego when he opens the fridge!  Ethan only likes the Strawberry, Strawberry Vanilla, Strawberry Banana and Vanilla flavors, however.  And the yogurt is really really THICK, much like custard, if you ask me.  Of course, it goes without saying that Ethan likes ice cream too, but we prefer to give him yogurt instead of ice cream.

 

I thought Ethan had lost all interest in cheese, but when we bought a pack, he got all excited again.  The cheese here looks more yellow in color and they seem a tad thicker, so I am guessing it is more filling for his little tummy.  According to his daycare report, he can finish 2 slices at one time!

 

Last but not least, we have his very favorite Yakult drink.  We brought several packs from Malaysia but he finished them all within one and a half weeks!  They do sell Yakult here in US but the packaging is not the same, although the taste is.  The price, though, is a pricey USD2.99 for 5 bottles, almost triple the price in Malaysia!  That’s why we recently asked one of our friends to bring several packs from Malaysia when our friend relocated here.  And last night, Ethan was really so happy to discover his “pot of gold”!  I think he slept more soundly last night!  Hehe…

Ethan’s current favorite restaurant food is the Princess Tofu, which is served at Layang-Layang, a Malaysian restaurant we discovered recently.

 

He loves the gravy over his rice and can eat quite a lot of it, something which we are always happy about.

Look at how energized he is after the meal.  This was taken last weekend when we went for an apartment community gathering nearby.  Ethan also enjoyed his ice cream, as you can see…

 

Is it any wonder how a happy meal makes a happy boy? :)

 

 
Scrap Credits
Eloquent kit & Treasure Hunt Mini leaf element from SweetDigi Scraps
HoldEmUps from Tara Dunstan
Doodle Me Big doodles from Mikkel Paige Original
Alpha matching RAIC from Amy Sumrall
Elegant word art (love heart could hold) from Bethany

…well, except it’s not exactly “Mommy” that he calls me. :P

Ethan only started calling “Daddy” really clearly a few weeks before we left Penang for the United States.  I remember it happened one evening when we were all resting and playing in the living room and I prompted him to go call Daddy.  And he said ever so clearly, “Daddy!”  And then that same night, when I was about to give him a shower, Ethan wanted “Daddy!” too. 

Ah yes.  It was and still is a magical word that will open many doors for Ethan.

But while his “Daddy” was loud and clear, he remained tight-lipped when we asked him to call “Mommy”.  He did call me a few times but it was inconsistent.  By and by, he started calling me *something* that sounded like Mommy but was not.  And this was very consistent.

He calls me… “Martee“.

Yeah.  I think it’s because he links it from “Daddy” (”Da-dee”) and then maybe he thinks it’s “Mar-tee” or “Ma-dee”…you know, just by changing the first syllable and maintaining the last one?

Anyway, it’s kinda embarrassing sometimes because Ethan calls a banana “Martee” too, and sometimes even Barney “Martee”.  Well, in a most unqiuely endearing kind of way, Ethan addresses me as “Martee”, his way of calling me “Mommy”… albeit differently, but I am certain, filled with love and sweetness in every way.

I look forward to going to daycare every weekday morning now.  When I wake up in the morning, I stretch and roll around on my bed till Mommy comes and coaxes me to get up.  Then I have my drink of milk.  Most of the time, Mommy will also give me a quick shower before dressing me up.  It’s rather chilly outside now, so I get to wear my long pants and sweats, which I personally think make me look cool. 

Sometimes while Daddy is having his breakfast, I will hijack some of his Frosties with milk too.  It’s yummilicious!  Then I’ll put on my jacket and shoes and head out the door. 

When we reach Aunty Van’s place, I like to stroll up the pathway to her apartment.  Sometimes I do a hop, skip and jump too!  Lately, I have been getting delicious pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast.  I love it loads, especially cos I get to eat together with my friends at daycare.

Sometimes Aunty Van would take a few pictures and that’s when I like to show how good I am at posing for the camera, see?

 

We do lots of stuff at daycare, like singing, dancing and even fun activities like bubble play and playing with the parachute!  We also do creative artwork every day, one of my favorites being the coloring sessions.  I bring home my art to show Mommy and Daddy every evening when I go home.

 

But it’s not just the fun we have indoors, we get to go outdoors too!  Aunty Van will take us all in a train buggy; we all get to ride in one buggy each, and we all need to remember to buckle ourselves up first.  Aunty Van takes us to the park, where there are play areas complete with a play structure and slides.  I love it outside, especially when the weather is just nice, not too hot and not too cold.

 

Daddy will be glad that the football training he has been giving me is not put to waste at daycare.  Why, just the other day, I got to show off my Zidane-like skills when we went to the park with the football.  Oh, over here in the US, I think they call it SOCCER.  But whatever it is, I still had tons of fun!

 

I’ve learnt a lot of new things at daycare, and I am definitely having a BLAST!  Sometimes when Daddy or Mommy comes to pick me up in the evenings, I am even reluctant to go home!

…be sure to wear some flowers in your hair…

***

…so says the song.  But of course, we didn’t have any flowers in our hair that day.  Hehe..

Instead of heading out to the malls last Sunday, we decided to take a leisurely drive to Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco instead.  I had been telling Ethan about the sealions there, and I was sure he would be fascinated by them.

The weather is kinda chilly now, so I dressed Ethan up in long sleeves, long pants and put on his new pair of Osh Kosh shoes.  By the way, the shoes only cost $13.60 (at 60% off) - is that a bargain or what? 

 

Anyway, they make him look rather big boy, don’t you think?  Look at how eager he is to go “kai kai” :P

 

As we buckled him up in his car seat, I put the hood of his jacket over his head, and surprise of all surprises, he didn’t remove the hood immediately.  So we had a picture taken.

 

The trip to Pier 39 took only about 45 minutes to an hour, so it was not that tiring.  Once we arrived, Ethan was all excited.  He wanted to run all around, so we had to keep a close eye on him.

There were many street musicians around too, some playing the drums and the rhythmic tunes really intrigued Ethan!

 

He saw this statue of a giant sealion, and a couple of kids were climbing it.  Of course, our boy had to join in the fun too.  Oh yes, we definitely had trouble prying him away from that one!

 

There were many shops and attractions at Pier 39, in fact, there were escalators too!  So Ethan definitely had to get on those!  We also saw a bungee-trampoline, where kids can be strapped onto a bungee rope and bounce off a trampoline.  It was for older kids though, but Ethan wanted in on the fun too.  He even tried to climb over the fence to get in.

 

The view was amazing, and from where we were, we could see the Island of Alcatraz.  Tried to get a good picture of it in the background (and at the same time, ensure that the people in the foreground looked good too), but it was really difficult!

 

Our next stop was of course the sealions!  Ethan was very happy to see them and stood there for a very, very long time.  He giggled when we imitated the sounds the sealions made and laughed when some of the sealions fell into the water.

 

Well, we definitely had fun that day.  And to cap it all off, we all sat down for a nice meal of clam chowder.  Ethan enjoyed the chowder tremendously!  In fact, I think we should have ordered a separate bowl for him!

Will we be coming back again?  You bet!  And I really hope so!

Ethan at 33 months

Scrap Credits
IkeaGoddess Template 12 (Circles) from Ikea Goddess
PPixie-AfterDusk kit from PinkuPixie Digital Designs
zgl alpha splat from
Ziggle Designs & Kami Leonard
Acrylic alphas from A work in progress
Polka dotted arrow from Dúnia  

 Weight

About 12.7 kilos. He was weighed in at 28lbs at a recent visit to the pediatrician here in California, but he was fully clothed then and not feeling too well either.

Height

Did not measure recently, but he can reached the door handles and open all the doors to our apartment now.  Surely that means he has grown lengthwise?

Teeth

18.  Refuses to allow me to wash his teeth with a washcloth now, and also refuses to let me brush his teeth with a toothbrush.  On occasion, he will brush his teeth himself with some fluoride-free toothpaste, and I heard from his daycare sitter, Van, that sometimes he will allow her to brush his teeth too, perhaps due to good examples shown by Venice, Van’s daughter.

And, oh yeah, lately he will bite us when he is “geram” or when he doesn’t get his way.  Both the daycare center and us back at home are trying to educate him that it is wrong to bite.

Developmental Milestones

  • Ethan’s vocabulary has definitely increased in leaps and bounds since he came to the States.  He can express himself better and sometimes surprises us with words we didn’t know he knew.
    • His favorite word when he first arrived here was “open”.  He would use it whenever he wanted us to open the door, open the fridge, open the container for him.  So in the first 2 or 3 nights that he suffered from jet lag, I would constantly be awakened by Ethan climbing down from our bed, running to the door and saying, “Open! Open!”  Lately, he has started using the phrase, “Open door! Open door!”
    • Believe it or not, he says the phrase “Apa tu?” when he wants to know what something is.  For example, when we are eating at the table, he will point to one of the dishes laid out on the table and go, “Apa tu?” and we’ll go, “That’s soup.”  And he’ll say, “Soup?”  And then he’ll point to something else and say, “Apa tu?” and we’ll say, “Vege, Ethan.”  And he’ll follow by saying, “Vege”, “Carrot”, “Curry”, whatever… as you can see, he is beginning to sound more and more like a parrot nowadays.
    • He also learnt the word “cooking” when he came to the States.  Before we arrived, he only used the word “cook”, but after spending a few days at home with me here, he would go, “Cooking!  Cooking!” when he sees me in the kitchen.  Maybe it’s cuz I tell him, “Ethan, please don’t come into the kitchen, Mommy is cooking!”  And then sometimes he would want to see what I am cooking and when I show him, he’ll go, “Soup!”
    • Another one of his favorite words nowadays is “Dowan!” or “Don’t want!”.  He started by saying “Want!” or “Wanee!” when he didn’t want something, but a few days later, he picked up “Dowan!”.  So our normal conversation typically is like this:
      Me: Ethan, do you want to eat rice?
      Ethan: Dowan!
      Me: Come, let’s take a bath in the tub!
      Ethan: I dowan!
      Me: Do you wanna take a nap?
      Ethan: Dowan! Dowan!
    • There are many other words he has learnt, and I believe it is also because of his exposure to more kids at daycare.  In a way, his increasing vocabulary has made him more confident as he is growing up to be a big boy now :)
  • Ethan can now address a few people quite accurately.  It started when we took him to that barbecue gathering in early October when we arrived in California.  I prepped him to address “Aunty”, “Uncle”, etc.  And now he can say, “Artee”, “Ah-kurl”, “Ko-ko”, “Cheh-cheh”, and of course before he learnt all this, he said, “Kong Kong” and “Ah Ma” :)  Of course, it is hilarious how he sometimes calls a particular person “Ah-kurl” and another “Ko-ko”.  I am also teaching him to address his actual uncles and aunties, e.g. “Ah Koo”, “Ah Kim”, “Ah Chek”, “Ah Cheem”, “Kor Kor”, “Ah Pek” and “Ah Mmm”.  Pronunciation still needs some work though, but he is getting there.
  • He wants to do a lot of things by himself too.  He tries to pull down his “car” pullup pants on his own (which is good), he wants to play the DVD on his own, he wants to climb into the car seat by himself, he wants to walk on the street on his own (not so good)…
  • Of course, as it is with two-year-olds, he has a rather bad temper at times too.  When he doesn’t get his way, he will kick and scream.  We would normally just let him be for a while till he cools down and he will then be okay.

Food and Feeding

  • Ever since he started daycare, he has reverted to self-feeding, which is a good thing.  Sometimes he still wants me to feed him, but sometimes, he will want to do it himself, and he will say, “Hold!”, which indicates he wants to hold the spoon on his own.  He can drink milk on his own from the cup now, and just yesterday, he drank quite a lot of the chilled lactose-free milk I bought :)
  • Ethan has still a long way to go to eating lots of different foods, but he is eating a more varied variety now.  I sometimes give him some minced turkey with his rice and also some brocolli florets.  I am so into minced turkey meat nowadays.  It’s leaner and taste so much better than pork.  However, we have to hide the food in his gravy rice though.  If he doesn’t see it, he’ll eat it.  Besides turkey and brocolli, Van has also succeeded in giving him a little bit of beef (hehe), and surprise, surprise, he can eat spaghetti with a fork now (woohoo!).  The good thing, though, is that I can tell Ethan is more curious about what food is being served on the table now.  Hopefully he will soon be curious enough to eat more.

Potty/toilet training

He has started on potty training at daycare, and Van will take him to the potty every hour or so.  Most of the time, Ethan can tell us when he wants to poo, either by signing or by saying “Baba”, or by using his facial expressions.  However, he still has not peed in the toilet yet, all he wants to do now is to flush!  We’ll keep trying though.

This year would be the first time ever we were kinda celebrating Halloween.  Back in Malaysia, Halloween is never celebrated on a large scale, but over here in the US, everyone goes all out getting themselves garbed in costumes, carving pumpkins, and getting candies and treats ready for the kids.

I didn’t want Ethan to miss out on this opportunity too, but unfortunately, on the eve of Halloween, we still had not found a suitable costume for Ethan.  He adores Mickey Mouse and bear masks, so we thought of getting him a costume along those lines, but nothing we saw caught our fancy.  Well, in the end, it was thanks to Vien who offered to loan me Belle’s kangaroo costume from last Halloween.  And I promptly made arrangements to collect the costume from Jon on Halloween afternoon itself.  Thanks Vien, you’re a lifesaver!

At his daycare that day, there was also a birthday celebration for Van’s daughter Venice, who turns 3 the following day.  The plan was to go trick-or-treatin’ after the party, so I brought along the kangaroo costume for Ethan when I left for the daycare.  I arrived for the party a little before 4:00p.m. and there were already lots of balloons floating all over the ceiling.  Guess who was the happiest?

 

Ethan calls balloons “booboo”, so he was “booboo”ing all over when I arrived.

We had pizza, apple pie, grape juice, crackers and snacks for the party.  Ethan, however, only took a small miserable bite of the pizza slice, preferring instead to munch on cheese slices.

 

When the time came for cake-cutting, Venice put on her princess gown, complete with a crown.  Incidentally, that’s what she would be dressed up as for Halloween.  I also put Ethan in the kangaroo suit, which fit him perfectly!  However, he wasn’t too keen on putting the hood over his head though.

 

Ethan was so excited when the time came to sing the birthday song and especially when it was time to blow the candle.  He kept pointing at the number THREE candle, and exclaimed, “Three!”

 

When cake was served, I wisely decided to remove his costume top, just in case he made a mess with all the cake frosting.  And I am really glad I did what I did.  Not only did Ethan enjoy the chocolate cake tremendously, his shirt front had patches of icing on it too!  I was actually surprised that Ethan ate the cake because normally, he doesn’t like cake.  It must have been cos he saw all the other kids eating too!

 

After that we all went to some nearby neighbors’ houses for trick-or-treatin’.  Most of the folks could not guess correctly what Ethan was dressed up as.  Some of the guesses were a rabbit, a bear and a dinosaur.  But one thing’s certain.  Ethan had a LOT of fun trick-or-treatin’.  I think he’s really happy with his LOOT, which he put in the little Mickey Mouse paper bag I picked out for him :)

 

What an utterly grand experience it must have been for him!  We both went back home to our apartment after that to wait for Daddy to have dinner.  While waiting I managed to take a nice picture of him in his costume:

 

And when Pete came home, we tried our best to take a shot of him with the hood on:

 

Don’t you think Ethan looks adorable ?

 

… or pose with a clown… :D

We went to Walmart yesterday night, Halloween eve, to do some last minute shopping, and man, it was crowded!  People were all over the place, grabbing candy and sweets, Halloween decorations and whatnot…. and the first thing Ethan did when we stepped in was to run towards Ronald McDonald.  He says, “wa! wa!”, meaning “clown”.  I told him it was okay for him to climb up on the bench and that’s what he did.  And since he was so cooperative, I managed to snap a picture.

I wanted to have a picture taken with Ethan too, but he got too restless after that.  SIGH.

 

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