Vacation

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After almost a week of endless fun, we were ready to head on for home.  We had initially planned on visiting the nearby Carlsbad Factory Outlets before hitting the road, but decided otherwise, given the fact that we had a rather long journey ahead of us.

So after we checked out of the hotel, we headed towards LA.  Ethan fell asleep in the car on the way there, but woke up in time for lunch at In n Out.  After lunch, he refused to go back to sleep and started chattering away till evening.  When we were approaching Gilroy (about an hour from home), he fell asleep again.  It was already pretty dark by then.

We had Vietnamese food for dinner before we drove back to the comfort of our home.

I am, in fact, extremely proud of Ethan for being so well-behaved the entire journey.  We were rather worried about the long haul but he proved that he was able to handle it.  I remember somewhere along the way back, he told us he wanted to “go potty” to “pangsai”, but since we could not immediately find a suitable rest area, he managed to hold it till we reached home!

His sense of direction is rather good too, for he could recognize the route we were on, even though it was dark.  As we were passing by the mountains and hills, he mentioned “horse”, “cows” and “many trees”, which was what he saw 6 days ago.

The memories we shared are like treasures in our heart that will live on forever. The phrase below just about summarizes our most memorable vacation as a family.

Credits
Elegant word art (together have it all) from Bethany
Kit Moment papers from Sueli Colbert
Pacific papers  from Lindsay Jane Designs
Grungy papers from Pillowgirl

 

Check out the waffles we had at the hotel for breakfast!  These were the self-made ones (I’m getting pretty good at this, aren’t I?), and the rest of the breakfast spread was also rather good.  There were fruits, juice, milk, bagels and hot chocolate too!

Thanks to our 2-day park hopper tickets for Legoland and Sealife (which is a recently-opened section just next to the Legoland entrance), we started our adventure on Day 6 by visiting Sealife.

Here’s a picture of Ethan posing with an undersea background, simply because he saw some other kid doing the same. LOL

 

Ethan had a fun time running around the undersea exhibit areas, and even had the chance to touch a real starfish!

 

Here he is poking his head through one of the many viewing windows which was built in such a way so the viewers could view the fishes swimming all around them.

 

After Sealife, we entered Legoland, and continued our exploration, with the rides and viewing all the cool Lego exhibits.

 

The crowd on the second day was unbelievable and most of the rides had at least a 30-minute wait time.  So while waiting for the queue to shorten, we visited areas like Miniland USA, which had breathtaking Lego structures.

 

Some of the exhibits had buttons at the side, which allowed visitors to press them and watch as parts of the exhibits came to life, e.g. some of the figurines would move or light up or something.  And guess who was the one who went around looking for these PUSH ME buttons?

 

We also had fun at Explore Village, where kids and adults alike were all really intrigued with making music with the musical fountain.  Lots of people were reliving their childhood there, I tell ya!

 

See, when someone steps or hops on those yellow circles on the floor, water would shoot out from the corresponding musical instrument in the musical fountain!  Now, who could resist that?! :)

Ethan even had the opportunity to ride on several “thrilling” rides.  For every ride that Daddy took him on, the person manning the ride would ask that Ethan’s height be checked, and since most of the rides had a 36″ minimum height requirement, he managed to get on them, being exactly 36″ himself!

Here’s Ethan smiling happily before Captain Cranky’s Challenge started:

 

And here’s how the ride went… see if you can catch a glimpse of the two boys! :P

Well, one of the food specialties in Legoland not to be missed is the famous Granny’s Apple Fries.  It’s a Legoland original creation, and looks just like the regular fries, except it’s made from Granny Smith apples, dusted with cinnamon and sugar, and THEN served with vanilla cream dipping sauce.  Sounds healthy, just cuz it’s made from apples, right? :)

Seriously…not to be missed!

 

Here’s Ethan posing again, because he just wanted to:

 

We could tell Ethan really loves playing with Lego (as do all kids!), and it was incredibly tough to get him to leave Legoland.

 

This is him playing at one of the play areas, refusing to leave, but instead arranging letters on the board (ironically enough) in a straight line.  Hmmm…I wonder who he learnt that from?

 

Well, we all definitely had the time of our lives at Legoland.  And I am also incredibly proud of Ethan because he was not in the least bit afraid even when Daddy took him on a mini roller coaster ride on the Coastersaurus!  Yup, he’s a little thrill-seeker, all right! 

You can’t see Pete and Ethan in the video (they were in the last carriage), but you know, these roller coasters have cameras ready to take pictures of the people riding it?  We checked out those pictures after the ride, and Ethan was literally grinning from ear to ear!

 

Not surprisingly, Ethan did not nap at all that afternoon, and when we reached the hotel after dinner, Ethan had a really quick bath and fell asleep soon after.

Nope, our Christmas vacation ain’t over yet… :P

Remember the comfortable king-sized bed in our Ramada Limited hotel room?  Well, we all overslept because of that!  Still it was a good thing because it was raining in the morning and there was nothing we could do about it. 

Oh yes, we greeted Christmas Day in San Diego with a rainy morning!  And Ethan greeted us with a jolly, “Santa, ho ho ho!”  He learnt that phrase from watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

We got up and went to the hotel lobby for breakfast.  Unfortunately the space was very small and only had 2 small tables.  We had to stand while we ate our breakfast.

 

Ethan had a leetle bit of waffles (I suspect it wasn’t too appetizing to him because it wasn’t the freshly-made kind, but the frozen-and-microwaved kind).  He had more fun pointing out the ribbons and baubles on the Christmas tree in the lobby…never mind that he accidentally spilled cranberry juice on the floor!

 

After breakfast, we quickly packed up and checked out, then drove to SeaWorld to continue our adventure there.  It was a considerably warm day, and absolutely excellent for photo-taking :)

 

We proceeded to view sealife exhibits which we had left out the day before, with Ethan demonstrating that he indeed had a good night’s rest!  Our boy was actively running all over the place!

 

Sometimes it was hard to make him leave a particular place he loved, and we had to use all sorts of tactics to convince him to.  And sometimes,…well…I just whipped out the camera and took random shots. LOL

 

The day before, while we were rushing to see one of the shows in SeaWorld, I caught a glimpse of the pink flamingos, but we didn’t have a chance to stop by till the second day.  Look what a pretty picture they make!

 

For a quarter, visitors could buy some grains (I think) to feed the flamingos and these were dispensed from a nearby machine.  I thought it would be a fun experience for Ethan, so we got some flamingo feed and started throwing the food at the flamingos.

 

Unfortunately, since the flamingos were too far away, and we could not throw that far, the ducks which were nearer to the bridge where we stood, walloped all the food!

We tried to view as many kinds of sealife as possible, including starfish, eels and sharks, but Ethan soon became rather restless and asked for “Elmo!  Elmo!”  Aaahhh…he remembered!

We headed back to the Sesame Street Bay of Play, where Ethan had loads of fun playing on the rides and running through the obstacle course.  And Daddy was with him all the way!

 

We bade a fond farewell to SeaWorld after that, but not before we got a polar bear soft toy as a souvenir for Ethan. :)

He loves it, and sometimes he would ask for his polar bear when he is ready to go to bed.

 

Most of the restaurants were closed for Christmas, but we finally found a nice Thai restaurant nearby, which served really authentic Thai food.  Ethan loved the food, and that was sufficient for me.

 

 

After lunch, our next stop was a good 30 minutes’ drive away up north to Legoland in Carlsbad, CA.  Meanwhile, Ethan had a nice nap in the car (after the SeaWorld adventure and the big lunch). 

 

Don’t ask me how he managed to remove his right shirt sleeve that way, with the seat belts buckled up!

 

When we arrived at Legoland, it was already about 3:00p.m., and although the park was to close at 5:00p.m. that day, we went in anyway.  Good thing we did too, cuz there weren’t many people queueing up for the rides then. 

 

Almost everything was built out of Lego, it was amazing.  Ethan requested for a few photos with some of his favorite characters too.

 

Actually he was the one who spotted Bob the Builder, and when we were done with the picture, he even said, “Buhbye Bob!” :)

 

Ethan definitely LOVES playing with Lego, and if we had left him in the children’s play area for the whole night, I’m sure he wouldn’t have minded!

 

We have no regrets visiting Legoland, albeit for only two hours.  Ethan had the opportunity to ride on several fun rides, and was hopping around happily and grinning from ear to ear after each ride.

 

Our boy is exactly 36″ tall, which was the minimum height allowed for most of the rides, although he had to ride with a chaperone.  He even went on some rides that had a good possibility of him getting wet (he didn’t but, Daddy did), and he was also happy to ride on one that included a speedy, slopy descend!  Pete said Ethan was not afraid at all!

 

He also got into some of the Lego-built toy cars and commanded them to “MOVE!”

 

There was a fireworks display that evening at Legoland, and we watched it before we left.  We also had to promise Ethan we would be back the next day, only then was he willing to leave.

We then checked into our “home” for the next 2 nights: La Quinta Inn (king-sized bed also, yippee!), and headed out for dinner at a Chinese restaurant not too far away.

That night, Ethan fell asleep before 9:00p.m.  Couldn’t really blame him though, cuz the bed was really really comfy :)

It was a really wonderful Christmas Day we had as a family and one we would never ever forget!

We were checking out of the tiny hotel in Anaheim today!  Yay! :P

We got ready for breakfast as usual, and wonder of wonders, Ethan actually willingly ate the waffles I had made!  The hotel breakfast area had three waffle makers, and although I had diligently queued up the past two mornings to make hot waffles, he didn’t want them till today!  Maybe it’s because the waffles I made on the third day looked way more pleasing to the eye.  Anyways, I’m so glad he loved them!

We then checked out at about 10:15a.m. and drove further down south to San Diego.  It took us about an hour and a half to get to SeaWorld, right before lunchtime.  Ethan was very excited about SeaWorld, we could tell, because we’d told him he would get the chance to see whales, dolphins, sharks, fish, sealions and other sea animals.  Of course he repeated the names of these animals to the tee.  Even as we were walking in the parking lot towards the SeaWorld entrance, Ethan was very happy to see seagulls and kept chasing after them, giggling and shouting loudly, “Bird!  Bird!”

 

We noticed SeaWorld had a new section built since Pete’s and my last visit there some years back.  They now had a children’s play area called Sesame Street Bay of Play, and guess what Ethan said as soon as he saw it?

“Elmo! Elmo!”

So we stopped by for a spell, and Ethan enjoyed running around for a bit, and he even rode the Elmo’s Flying Fish ride with Pete!  Little did we know that this was going to be one of many rides he was gonna take!

 

We had to hurry on to catch some shows in the other areas in SeaWorld, but we promised Ethan we would be back to see Elmo the next day (we bought the 2-day park tickets, see?).

So before lunch we managed to catch two shows:

  • a 4-D Sesame Street presentation (where we had to wear those special glasses).  I was afraid Ethan would not be used to it, but he was all right, and during some parts of the show, he reached out his hands to *grab* the things he saw too!
  • “Believe” at Shamu Stadium - This was the famous killer whale show that everyone would not want to miss.  We are so glad to share it with Ethan and he really had a good time.  Oh yeah, he learnt to say “Shamu” too! :)

 

We had lunch at one of the restaurants in SeaWorld, Shipwreck Reef Café, and I was pleased to see Ethan having a very healthy appetite that day.  He had hot dog (just the sausage, which he walloped in record time), fries (but of course!), chocolate milk and crackers.

 

There was a nearby pond too, and after lunch, Ethan was happy just to look at and interact with the ducks swimming in the pond.

 

We caught a few more other shows after that, including of course the Dolphin Discovery show.

 

We also watched Clyde and Seamore’s Risky Rescue, which showcased a sealion, an otter and a walrus.  That was pretty entertaining.  Other than sea animals, there was also a Pets Rule!  show which had dogs and cats and pigs.  Because it was the Christmas season, there were also a couple of shows themed especially for Christmas, namely Clyde and Seamore’s Night Before Christmas and Shamu’s Holiday Night.  We watched both, though it practically rained throughout the Clyde and Seamore Christmas show.  We had to take shelter viewing some indoor exhibits after that while waiting for the rain to stop.  ‘Twas a good reason anyway for Ethan to see his “polar bears” and “penguins”. :)

 

 

Thank goodness the rain stopped, because Shamu’s Holiday Night was really an unforgettable experience.  The sight of whales swimming gracefully to the strains of Christmas music beautifully played live on the saxophone and accompanied by a choir of magnificent singers was enough to wow us all. 

Ethan was also taken in by all the magic and music and he began dancing around and clapping to the music, but when Silent Night was played, our boy eventually fell asleep! LOL

We called it a day after that spectacular show and drove to a nearby Chinese eatery to tarpow dinner back to our hotel.  We checked into Ramada Limited and we loved our room at first glance: there was a king-sized bed in it!  Ethan fell asleep at around 9p.m. to recharge for the next day.

On Day 3 of our vacation, woohoo….a bright sunshiny day greeted us in the morning!  We got ready right away and had breakfast at the hotel.  Initially we wanted to walk to Disneyland, because our primary reason for booking that hotel was its close proximity to Disneyland.  But in the end we decided against walking because although we definitely had the energy to walk in the morning, the walk back to the hotel at night could be tiring as Ethan might want us to carry him all the way, … or it might rain at night…

So we drove again, paying the $12 for parking, which I must say is $12 well spent!

As soon as we had parked the car (there were more cars today - must be the good weather), and alighted, Ethan ran happily towards the pickup point for the tram to Disneyland, shouting “castle”, “Mickey” and “Goofy” all the way.  But since there were more people today, we had to wait a bit for the tram to arrive.

We headed straight for California Adventure Park, and coincidentally saw that Pluto was having a “meet the fans” session, so Ethan had a picture taken with Pluto, all on his own.

We then decided to rent a stroller for the day (cost us $12), because for some reason, Ethan appeared to be more clingy.  It certainly appeared as if he was *conserving energy* for the day ahead, having experienced the previous day which was filled with so many activities.  He would walk a bit and ask us to carry him around.  At times, he would only want “Mommy carry!”

We managed to catch a few shows in California Adventure Park, including Playhouse Disney - Live on Stage, and then we moved on to “a bug’s land”.  There were a few kiddie rides there which we could enjoy, in fact, Ethan also enjoyed the queue in line, I’m sure!

Here we are taking the ride in Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train, where I had to ride in the carriage in front and snap pictures.

We also soared through the air in *flying boxes* known as Flik’s Flyers and guess what…Ethan wasn’t in the least bit afraid.  On the contrary, he was smiling all the way!  Well, he ain’t afraid of heights and he also ain’t afraid of getting dizzy, cuz when we rode in the spinning ladybirds in Francis’ Ladybug Boogie, Ethan was thoroughly enjoying himself!  I think the adults were the ones who got dizzy!

Next, Ethan wanted to take a ride in the bumper cars, Tuck and Roll’s Drive’Em Buggies.  Our boy was exactly 36″ tall, so he met the minimum height requirement, but he would also need a chaperone to ride with him.  Since pregnant mommas were not allowed on this, Pete took Ethan, and that went really well.  Look at how much those two enjoyed themselves!

The bumper car ride was really a breakthrough for Ethan because it proved that he did not need both Mommy and Daddy to be with him on the ride.  We are so proud of him!

On the way out from “a bug’s land”, we stopped by Princess Dot Puddle Park, where Ethan had a field day splashing around a gigantic faucet.  Actually it’s like a water fountain maze, and believe you me, it was really tough coaxing him to leave that place!

Wanna see how it is done?  Check out the video…

California Adventure Park has a lot of rides for bigger kids and adults, and I remember having the time of my life on the California Screamin’ roller coaster and the Maliboomer (vertical launcher), but since (obviously) I can’t do any of that right now, and neither can Ethan, we just took a nice walk round Paradise Pier and checked out the sights.

Yep, our boy decided it was not really fun to spend the day in the stroller, and preferred to be riding the “Daddy horse”.  We made use of the stroller to cart Ethan’s bag instead.  Hah.

We also stopped by the “Brother Bear” area where we had wanted to watch “The Magic of Brother Bear” Totem Ceremony, but little did we know that the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail was situated at that same area.  So no….we didn’t find the ceremony we wanted to watch, but instead Ethan had fun on the rock slides, the rope bridges, the hollow logs … you get the idea…. of course, Daddy was the designated person to follow him all around!

Here’s a photo of Ethan with the Brother Bear figure right outside the Challenge Trail.  Yeah, he asked for a photo… and he wanted to *touch* the bear paw.

At this point, Ethan was already getting restless and kept asking over and over again for “castle” and “Mickey!”, so we hopped over to Disneyland Park.  On the way to the park, we decided to snap a few photos with the giant CALIFORNIA alphabets outside California Adventure Park.  It wasn’t dark yet, so we could get quite good pictures.  And also the letters had been festively decorated in the Christmas mood, with Christmas colors.

Ethan immediately ran towards the letter O, for what reason, I do not know… then he noticed that A had a Goofy figurine on it, so he went, “Goofy!  Goofy!”, pointed and ran towards A.  There was a short queue of people waiting to take photos, so we had to wait.  And then….Ethan suddenly noticed C had Mickey… so he ran to the other end to have a picture taken with Mickey too.

Trust me when I tell you we have countless photos of those alphabets in our memory card :P

Well Disneyland was immensely crowded that day, and we hardly wanted to get in line for any of those rides.  It was a good thing we rode on It’s a Small World twice the day before, because the queue now was unbelievable!  We stopped by Toontown for a bit, but left after a while because it got so crowded!

Then we walked back to California Adventure Park for the Pixar Play Parade, which was really very interesting and wonderful to watch.  In the middle of it, I turned to check on Ethan’s response on one of the floats, and realized that he had fallen asleep!  He had literally drifted off to dreamland in Daddy’s arms!

So after the parade, we carried Ethan into the stroller and walked back out to Downtown Disney to that same souvenir shop for some souvenir shopping.  It was much easier to shop when Ethan’s asleep anyway.  Unfortunately we were not allowed to bring the stroller out, so we had to park it somewhere first and strong Daddy had to carry Ethan. :P

He slept for quite a bit and when he woke up, he seemed to have renewed energy.  We bought a few souvenir items, namely 2 snug-fitting pajamas for Ethan and some squeezey toys, just because they were Mickey Mouse related!  Hehe…

 

By the way, you see those toys in the round plastic packaging?  Those are Ethan’s latest bath toys now…

Well, anyway, after the souvenir shopping, we walked back to California Adventure Park for a superb clam chowder dinner, which Ethan really enjoyed!

We had one more parade to watch and that was the Disney’s Electrical Parade, which saw Ethan clapping and waving his hands happily.

Then our final stop for the day was back at Disneyland to witness the awe-inspiring “Believe…In Holiday Magic” Fireworks.  The crowd was HUGE, and Ethan sat atop Pete’s shoulders watching intently, going “Wow!” as the spectacular display unfolded before his eyes.

It was definitely another tiring day for our boy and once again he fell asleep right away after his sponge bath and warm milk when we reached the hotel.

Naturally we were all very excited when we woke up the next morning after the long journey from San Jose.  After all, we were headed for the happiest place on earth! :)

We had purchased 2-day park hopper tickets which allowed us 2-day unlimited access to both Disneyland and California Adventure Park.  It was Pete’s and my second visit there, and we were very anxious to share the *happiness* with our boy.  We did not need to pay for Ethan’s admission ticket though, because kids under 3 can enjoy free admission!

But this is what greeted us when we were about to go out of the room:

We had already kinda expected it as the weather forecast for the day showed that it would be pouring that day.  SIGH.

Ethan had some boxed apple juice in our room before we went for breakfast.  I could tell he was getting hungry, and somehow he discovered how to open the fridge on his own.

So we had breakfast at the hotel, and after that, since it was still raining heavily, we decided that we would drive to Disneyland instead of our original plan of walking there.  Despite our hotel being about 15 minutes’ walking distance to Disneyland, we decided not to get drenched in the rain, and besides it was definitely getting heavier.  The parking fee was $12, but thankfully it was a sheltered parking lot.

Ethan was very excited as soon as we parked the car, and kept saying, “Mickey” or “Mickey Mouse”.  Coincidentally, we parked at the Mickey Mouse level.

We then took a tram to Downtown Disney, and visited one of the biggest souvenir shops there.   We had to buy rain ponchos for ourselves because it was still pouring when we arrived.  Too bad there weren’t any ponchos in Ethan’s size, so he had to make do with his hooded jacket.  We did manage to get a few quick shots of Ethan wearing that ever-popular Mickey Mouse hat though, but it looked like he was too eager to enter the park!

Since it was still drizzling, we could only enjoy the rides that were somewhat sheltered, and the first one we saw was the Disneyland railroad train at Main Street!

And running and skipping as fast as he could to board the train was Ethan, all the while screaming, “choo choo train!”  He would also get impatient when the train stopped at certain stations to pick up passengers and took a long time to get going.

The rain certainly did not dampen our spirits, and when we finished a complete ride round Disneyland, we spotted Mickey and some of his friends entering a nearby building.  So we rushed into the building, and I tell you, I will never forget that priceless look of admiration and joy on Ethan’s face as he met Mickey, Minnie and Pluto.  He was really star-struck!  So much so that I think he really could not believe he was seeing the onscreen characters he loves in real life!  Look at some of the pictures, it’s as if he was checking to see if they were real!

We then continued our adventure round Disneyland, snapping photos whenever we could, and trying to do as many things as possible in spite of the rain.  As you can see, it was not easy getting our boy to pose for photos because he became easily distracted by all the sights and sounds around him!

See how wet Ethan’s pants got after a while of hopping around in the puddles? :P

The crowds weren’t that humunguous and the queues for the rides weren’t that long, probably because of the rain, and we managed to squeeze in a few rides before lunchtime.  From past experience with Ethan, we purposely went for rides where the three of us could go on, and that included the Storybook Land canal boat ride and the ever-popular It’s a Small World.  Although Pete and I were apprehensive that the It’s a Small World ride would result in the song sticking to our heads for days to come (it did the last time we went on it!), we knew it was going to be an enjoyable experience for Ethan.  Here’s Daddy and Ethan all ready for the ride…

We were actually very happy with the It’s a Small World ride.  Because it was the Christmas season, the music they played was a mixture of Christmas carols interspersed with It’s a Small World, and so the experience was truly truly amazing.  Throw in all the colors and wonderful sights and you have a very happy toddler (and Mommy and Daddy too)!

Lunch was, of course, burgers and chips….well, cuz most of the restaurants in Disneyland serve that.  Ethan thoroughly enjoyed his chips, but still would not take our burgers…A rather funny incident happened though.  Ethan was drinking water from a plastic cup, and when he was done, he began playing with the cup, and suddenly he tore it!  Instinctively, I said, “Oh no!  You tore the cup?! Quick, say sorry to the cup, Ethan!” and he went, “Sorry, cup…” :P

The rain stopped around lunch time, so after we had eaten, we were able to roam around without our rain ponchos.  Took a few other train rides (yep, there are several here in Disney), and even had the chance to do a boat ride!

Here are two precious shots of Ethan enjoying a casual male-bonding moment with Daddy.  My hands had nothing else better to do while we were waiting in line for one of the rides…. heh.

We headed for Mickey’s Toontown next, and I remembered it being one of the most colorful places in Disney.

And as soon as Ethan caught sight of the slide in Goofy’s playhouse, he ran towards it and had the time of his life!  Ah, the simple pleasures that makes a boy happy huh?

Some of the Disney characters were available for photo sessions too, and Ethan managed to get one with Goofy.  After queuing up for a bit, I tested Ethan to see if he would go take a photo with Goofy on his own, and he did! :)

Well, he looks a little confused there, but still, it’s a priceless photo!

Here’s one of Ethan and Pete in one of the Toontown buses.  Ethan loves climbing up to the driver’s seat, rotating the wheel, and shouting, “Move!”

It was certainly difficult to pry Ethan away from Toontown, but we managed, somehow.  And after all that excitement, Ethan finally fell asleep, all tired out, on Pete’s shoulders, at about 3:30p.m.  So Pete and I took the opportunity to sit down at a nearby cafe and had clam chowder instead.

Ethan woke up shortly after that, and we headed for the “castle”, since he demanded for it.  He really really loves the castle, I can tell, cuz even today, he still remembers the “castle”.  Sleeping Beauty’s Castle really is a breathtaking view, especially during Christmastime.

Oh yeah, we also managed to enjoy It’s a Small World for the second time that night.  And the night decorations make the place look so much like fairyland.  Plus, on the way there, there was a *snow* experience for us too, as soap bubbles were released making it look and feel like snow.  It was magical…

Before we called it a day, we witnessed the special “A Christmas Fantasy” parade.  Ethan was very happy when he caught a glimpse of Mickey and his friends, Buzz Lightyear and Woody (whom he refers to as the “cowboy”).

It was a long, tiring but very fulfilling day for all of us, and after Ethan had his warm nightly bath, we could tell he was exhausted because he “asked” me to sleep with him.  Normally he would play around first and then sleep a little bit later, but immediately after he had his milk, he wanted to sleep.  He even hugged his Mickey Mouse soft toy to sleep, but not before looking at Mickey with a look of wonderment, not really believing that he had met Mickey in the flesh.

Both Pete and I had a 2-week long Christmas and New Year break to look forward to, and so we decided to do something extra special with Ethan for Christmas.

Filled with excitement and anticipation, we got up as early as we could and headed out on our road trip.  It was gonna take about 6 hours to reach Anaheim, CA (home of Disneyland) and we were hoping to get there as soon as possible so we would have ample time for rest.  In the end, we only left our home at about 10:16a.m., stopped for lunch at In n Out in Gilroy, and continued on with our journey after that.

Along the way, Ethan was very intrigued by the surrounding sights and entertained us with his endless chatter.  He pointed out “many trees”, “animals” like “horses”, “cows”, “pigs”, and when we passed some snow-capped mountains, he exclaimed, “many colors!”

Shortly after that, Ethan fell asleep and slept for a good 2-3 hours.  At one time, I thought he was gonna wake up, but he only yawned, changed his position and continued in slumberland.

Of course, when he woke up, he was all bright and cheerful and in a good mood.

We arrived in Anaheim at about 5:00p.m., slightly delayed due to some traffic jams when we were passing the LA area.  Thanks to our newly-purchased GPS though, we were somewhat able to avoid part of the jam because it was intelligent enough to lead us on different routes where possible.  :)

We were all very tired, especially Pete, who had driven for about 7 hours (excluding that short lunch break in Gilroy), and as soon as we walked into our hotel room (more like an inn, really), we were rather disappointed to note how tiny it was!  All three of us would have to squeeze into one queen-sized bed, and the washroom was also very small, although it could fit a bathtub and a WC.  Thankfully though, there was a microwave and a small fridge in the room.  Well, we would only be using the room to sleep in, so it was not too bad, we hoped.

Ethan was definitely all geared up for the adventures in the coming days.  He saw a Disneyland banner outside our hotel/inn as we were driving in and immediately shouted, “Mickey!”

Needless to say, we all slept quite early that night, i.e. before 11:00p.m.  It would have been a peaceful night’s sleep had it not been for some stranger knocking on our door at 1:00+a.m.  thinking it was her room.  SIGH.

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.

 

…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!

Even now when we are more or less settled in the States, I still sometimes think about how Pete and I managed to travel that long-haul journey with Ethan, all the way from Malaysia.  Some planning came into play way before we boarded the aircraft, and although some of our plans worked out, some did not, and we had to be flexible enough to change and adapt accordingly.

Here are some of the things we took into consideration:

  • Travel as light as possible.  Each of us checked in one piece of luggage, and we brought only ONE carry-on luggage.  Pete and I also had our laptops with us, but thankfully, those could be slung over our backs.  The idea here was to have as many hands free as possible, so we could take care of Ethan.

 

  • We packed a few entertainment stuff for Ethan too, among others a brand new doodle pad.   It’s just a tiny one, something he could do to amuse himself.  I also had a sticker book in the bag, and that was a lifesaver.  He played with the stickers right before we boarded the flight to Hong Kong, and the book followed us all the way to the States!

The greatest challenge we faced in the aircraft was when it was time to buckle up.  Sometimes Ethan would cooperate, but most of the time, he preferred to be unbuckled.  So especially during takeoffs and landings, when we absolutely needed to put on the seat belt, Pete pulled out the most “imaginative weapon” ever.  Knowing how much Ethan loves to play with cards, Pete brought out his wallet, and Ethan had fun taking out and putting the cards back in.  That kept him safe and secure all through takeoffs and landings.

We wanted to rely on the toys given by SIA to toddlers for entertaining Ethan, but unfortunately, they weren’t much to shout about.  Well, he did get himself a toy watch, placemat and stickers, deck of cards and a lanyard, but that was about it.

Let’s hope the return journey in a few months’ time would be an improvement, what with us travelling with a baby too!

When Pete and I found out that we were gonna relocate to the States for several months, we were excited about the opportunity presented to us as a family, and most of all, we were ecstatic about the grand experience Ethan was gonna get.

One thing that *kinda* worried us was how Ethan was gonna handle the long 16-17 hours’ flight.  If he decides not to sleep, we are really done for.  So we prayed for the best :)

The flight to Changi was okay, and as expected Ethan was all smiles (and energy) as soon as we landed in Changi airport.  We had a transit time of about 5 hours there, so we took our time exploring the airport, making a few pit stops for Ethan to play in the various play areas strewn across the airport.

 

I must say that I am extremely proud of my little boy for he was able to let me know when he wanted to poo, and I would then bring him to the toilet :)

…although it WAS a challenge to pull him away from the play areas…

 

There were plenty of other attractions at Changi airport too, and Ethan really enjoyed himself looking at the koi ponds…

 

…and a Butterfly Garden too! 

 

Our flight was from Singapore to San Francisco, but we had a short stopover for refueling in Hong Kong.  And right before we boarded our flight from Singapore, our little boy fell asleep, all the way till we boarded and took off, and he only woke up in time for his meal.

In Hong Kong, while having our one-hour stopover, we had to coax Ethan to drink his milk, but all our energizer bunny wanted to do was to run on travellators.  Of course, in the course of coaxing, he threw his tantrums, but thankfully, right before we reboarded the aircraft, he decided to finish his milk.

 

Well, the HK-SFO connection was the really long one which we were worried about.  But our prayers were answered, as Ethan fell asleep a little after we boarded and slept through for about 9 hours straight.  For Ethan, the economy class seat was like business class, but for us, it was CRAMPED.  We tried to request for the front-most seats with more leg room, but we only managed to get the one in the second row.  It didn’t help that the person in front of Pete and me lowered their seats slightly, and throughout the night, it was either Ethan’s head on my lap and his feet on Pete’s lap, or the other way round.  We learnt new forms of contortionism, I tell ya.

Ethan woke up just in time for his meal right before we landed, but unfortunately he would not take much of it…only the fruit yogurt appealed to him.

But we landed, made it through immigration, collected our luggage and headed for our apartment.  We had takeout *dinner* at midnight-ish, and then Ethan went totally excited with the new apartment, complete with TWO bathtubs!  He played around, and only fell asleep at about 3:30a.m.  In fact, we were rather worried we would get complaints from our neighbors downstairs, what with the jumping and hopping around.

And so our adventure has begun….. :)

We made a short trip to KL recently to attend our US Visa interview at the US Embassy, and also to meet up with our siblings.  We’ve explained to Ethan now and again that soon we will all be flying off on a plane to the States (I put in some sound effects for “plane”, which he likes), but we are not sure if he understands where exactly we are going, or even how long “a few months” really is.

Anyway, the Visa interview went well.  Ethan was allowed into the embassy with us, and he entertained himself by counting aloud the numbers as they were called, amusing all the Visa applicants there.

After getting our Visas approved, we headed for lunch:

Saisaki is located right behind Crowne Plaza Mutiara KL, the hotel where we were staying, so it was very convenient for us to get there.  Ethan was very hungry, as were we, and he walloped more than one bowl of rice and chawan mushi all on his own.

While Daddy and Mommy enjoyed the sashimi, steamed cod fish head and even MORE sashimi, Ethan continued with ice cream and (later) blackcurrant juice.

Look how red his lips became after the dose of blackcurrant juice…

…and how hyper he became after all that sugar intake:

Our hotel was very strategically located, as it was only a stone’s throw away from Pavilion KL, so we hung our there too.  Here’s Ethan enjoying himself playing with toys at ELC:

It was a very fruitful trip indeed and I am very proud of Ethan boy for being so well-behaved throughout the trip.

 

Our next long-haul flight journey awaits… :)

Yes, I love to call Ethan our little *energizer bunny* because it does appear that he never does get tired, although Pete and I are like dragging our feet and all we want to do is plop our heavy heads down on the hotel pillow.  Well, things have certainly changed since the miracle that is Ethan came into our lives. 

Last weekend saw us heading south to Damansara for a family getaway.  No particular reason, just cos we had a three-day weekend in Penang :)

This was the simple bento set I prepared for Ethan the morning we left…well, if you can call it a bento set, that is.  It’s nothing fancy like what the other bento fanatics are making, but it was what I could do with what I had at home.  I made some kiddie sushi style salmon bread rolls, butterfly-shaped sandwiches and apple slices, threw in some cherry tomatoes, and added some fish-shaped cheese crackers and a bottle of Yakult.  Guess which one Ethan went for first?  …. of course the Yakult!  Then the crackers.  He hardly ate the sandwiches and sushi rolls, and let’s not even talk about the tomatoes, which he put into his mouth at first (out of curiosity, I suppose) and promptly gave them to me.  Well, at least the sausage roll from Baker’s Cottage, which my Mom gave to us when we stopped in Ipoh, was a hit with him!

Here he is having fun at the Cycle & Carriage Bintang exhibition at The Curve.  He amused himself by pointing out the letters on the ground.  And soon enough, there were many other kids who joined in the fun too.  Looks like the “BINTANG” word attracted a lot more attention than what the organizers expected, eh?

 

We had dinner at Italiannies with my bro Allan and his wife Pei Gee, and of course my going-to-be-5-month-old nephew Collin.  Look at Ethan demonstrating how to grab a some Shrimp Aglio Olio with the tongs that were provided, showing that he is certainly an eating force to be reckoned with.

The next day held promises of a very busy and fun-filled day, and I was glad we started the day right with a hearty buffet breakfast, and then managed to squeeze in some quality family time at the hotel swimming pool.  It was the first time we had gone to the pool at Royale Bintang Damansara, and I had planned for it the day before, because I had brought Ethan there for a look-see and the smile of excitement on his face was too adorable to turn down.  It was a good thing all three of us had packed our swimsuits along too.  Check out his excited face when I told him we were going for a dip:

And see how he can’t wait to get into the pool?  Priceless!

The baby pool at Royal Bintang was shallow enough to allow Ethan to stand and wade around the pool, which he had not experienced before.  I had to reassure him that it was okay and he could stand in it.  All this while, the pool in our apartment is too deep for him, so his feet don’t touch the floor.  Even the baby pool in our apartment is about 0.7m deep, so if he were to stand on the floor, the level of water would probably reach his mouth. 

After some standing and wading around, he tried to *swim* by bending forward and moving his arms. Hehe…so cute watching him do that.  And then later when I soaked myself in the mini jacuzzi, he wanted to join me too, but the water there was too deep for him to stand.

It was a good thing we went *sorta* swimming too, cos we had buffet lunch at Shogun in 1-Utama.  Ethan had LOADS of chawan mushi and ice cream too.  And then after that, loaded with all the energy and sugar, he roamed the mall.

I had a mini bloggers’ meet in the afternoon back at The Curve, and so Pete volunteered to babysit Ethan during that time.  Well, Ethan did check out the play area in Marché for a bit before he waved buh-bye and went along his way.

When I called Pete after my gathering, I was surprised to hear Ethan still talking very loudly in the background, meaning he had not slept at all the whole afternoon.  Apparently they were in mph and Ethan was demonstrating his *reading* skills.  Took him back to the room to freshen up and get ready for dinner.

We had dinner with Pauline at Absolute Thai, and Ethan enjoyed his bowl of rice all on his own.  In the middle of dinner I suddenly heard a big *clunk* and realized Ethan’s teaspoon had dropped on the floor.  My SIL started giggling and said she noticed Ethan had suddenly dozed off while sitting in his chair!  Unbelievable!  That’s a first for him!  Well, that shows how tired that little fella was!  I took him out of his seat and cradled him in my arms.  He immediately fell into dreamland.  Well, you gotta give the lil guy credit for finishing his dinner before he decided to sleep!

However, just as we got back to the hotel room, he was up again.  And after his shower, he was back to his normal “energizer bunny” self (battery recharging only took less than a hour apparently). 

Ethan recently developed a habit/hobby of bouncing on Pete’s tummy.  Very painful I know, cos he has done it on me before too.  I taught him that he could also bounce on the bolster.  See, how happy he is?  Can pose and smile samo…

The next day, we finished our holiday with our routine dose of Ikea shopping and lunch at Italiannies before we left for Penang.  Ethan fell asleep as we approached Penang, but woke up when we arrived back home.  It was an enjoyable trip for all of us, but you know, all the fun aside, it was just splendid to be home.

The way Ethan took to our hotel room at The Royale Bintang Damansara was like a duck to water.  Made us feel as though we need to plan hotel trips every now and then, because we simply love the look of joy on his face.  Of course, he slept for most of the car ride, so while he was fully charged when we checked into the hotel, Daddy and Mommy just wanted to grab some serious shuteye.

Yes, we took a drive down to KL last weekend primarily to visit Ethan’s new cousin Collin.  When we reached the hospital, Ethan refused to enter the room where Collin and his mommy, Pei Gee were in.  Baby Collin had to be put on the bilibed because he had infant jaundice, and he was rooming in together with his mommy.  My brother Allan thinks it’s the blue light from the bilibed that scared Ethan away.  According to him, perhaps Ethan still had memories of his bilibed experience and was a little bit traumatized by it.  Ethan had breastmilk jaundice for about a month when he was a newborn and had to be in the bilibed for many many days.  Anyway, we all didn’t believe Allan at first but when the blue light was turned off after we came back from dinner, Ethan happily came into the room to look at baby Collin.  Coincidence?

In any case, Ethan had a really good time throughout our trip.  You can tell just by looking at the pictures…

In fact, he enjoyed himself so much that he was tired out and he actually fell asleep in my arms in Italiannies while we were having lunch.  Must have been the soothing jazzy music they were playing too.

Anyway it was back home to Penang after that.  Oh, and for the record, he slept at close to midnight last night.  I have no idea where he gets his energy from.

A holiday would not be complete without good food, now would it? And the recent holiday we had was not spared.  Here’s a rundown of what Ethan had during our recent holidays.  Trust me, this boy can really eat! … and he appreciates good food too!

Kai see hor-fun in Ipoh - he slurped every strand of the smooth koay teow in reckless abandonment. And he had it twice, once on Saturday and once again on Sunday before we left. Oh, how he would have loved the Lou-Wong kai see hor fun… never mind, we go next time okay?

Chicken rice in Ipoh - just like his Daddy, Ethan adores chicken rice, so much so that I might not have enough for myself the next time, since he shares the food with me!

Shrimp Aglio (linguini) in Italiannies, The Gardens - Ethan enjoys his pasta with his fingers, and this time, he also made use of his personal cutlery.  It was a joy just watching him lick the spoon clean and ermmm….also performing other stunts with it.  The linguini was perfecto, just the way I like it too! 

Chicken sausages, rice crispies, corn flakes and pink guava juice at The Crowne Plaza’s buffet breakfast - after he tired of the sausages, I poured some cereal for him in a bowl. He would then reach into the bowl and eat them diligently. He then figured it would be easier to move the bowl closer to him on his high chair tray, so he lifted the entire bowl nearer to him :P And yes, pink guava juice is Ethan’s favorite beverage at any buffet breakfast. He will request for it and then drink it up as if someone was gonna take it away from him.

Chawan mushi with rice at Ichiban Boshi, Pavilion KL - We were all very hungry when we arrived at the restaurant and Ethan must have downed the entire cup of chawan mushi and even taxed a little bit from Daddy too!   He was so full that we simply had to let him run around and explore The Pavilion for exercise after lunch :)

Oh, and Ice Lemon Tea everywhere we go.

Very soon I bet Ethan would be able to eat many many more things.  And I am confident of this because during the Raya holidays, I spotted not one, not two, not three, but FOUR pramolars appearing on his gums, all at the same time!

We had planned on visiting the Aquaria during this trip to KL because we knew that the Crowne Plaza was very near KLCC. However, little did we know that “very near” meant that the Aquaria was just within walking distance from the hotel! We were in luck! We only had to take the connecting escalators from the hotel, which brought us to the side of Wisma UOA along Jalan Pinang, and from there, it was just a short walk across the road to the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center where the Aquaria was located. (Actually at first we went all the way to the Mandarin Oriental and then we had to patah balik when the kind receptionist from MO showed us the correct way. Heh.)

Anyway, when we arrived at the Aquaria, there was already a tremendously long queue waiting to purchase tickets to go in. I quickly joined the queue while Pete had the honorary task of taking care of Ethan. Our little big boy was very active and kept wanting to go up and down the nearby escalators. At times, he would come and look for me in the queue and at other times, he would rather wander around the entrance of the Aquaria.

When we finally got our tickets (entrance for Ethan was free, of course), we went in, eager to see if the Aquaria was anything like the Underwater World in Singapore. Ethan was fascinated by the all the fish and underwater life and kept saying “shhh…shhhhh” (that’s how he says “fish”).

However, all the fish and turtles were forgotten when Ethan saw the underwater tunnel. He began to struggle to indicate that he wanted freedom to run about. I tell ya, it was so difficult to get a proper picture in the tunnel because Ethan ran so fast! There was a moving walkalator that moved all through the underwater tunnel too, and Ethan was walking and running on it as well. It was tiring for us too, because we had to stay close behind him. Sometimes, when he found that his path was blocked, he would either scream for the people to move aside or he would just push them aside. And if these methods did not work, our boy would just barge through. Tsk tsk… And if that’s not enough, after practically running through the entire tunnel, he ran to the beginning and started all over again. We must have gone through about three rounds that day!

Well, in the end, we finally carried him, protesting and screaming to the exit. Thankfully there was an escalator there to distract him. Pete wanted to take a picture of Ethan and me in front of a model of the jaws of a shark (I think), but this is what came out of it:

This time round, our holiday in the Klang Valley was not spent at the Mutiara Damansara area staying at our usual Royale Bintang Damansara hotel. My Dad and Mom presented Pete and I with a night’s stay at the Crowne Plaza Mutiara KL as an early wedding anniversary present, so we stayed in the heart of the city instead. We checked in on Sunday at about 3p.m. and Ethan was very excited about the gorgeous room, furnished with tasteful decor, and kept running around the entire room (as usual). The baby cot was brought to our room promptly and placed beside our bed. Yes, the speed at which the cot arrived was a very good impression of the hotel indeed.

The room we stayed in came with a shower stall and also a bathtub in the washroom. And our little big boy Ethan had the opportunity to try both. On Sunday night, he showered in the stall, and played peekaboo with us through the glass doors. Obviously there is something fascinating about peeking through glass doors while showering. Then on Monday morning, we put him standing in the bathtub together with his yellow froggie bathmat and gave him a shower. He was intrigued with the shower nozzle that could be pulled out from the shower tube outlet and he was enthralled by the tap, which was within his reach. Of course, he wanted to play for the longest time with the water, but we had to take him out of the tub because we could tell he was already shivering :P


Scrap Credits: Sweet Serenity kit from
Shabby Princess 

After Ipoh, we made a trip to KL.  Apart from shopping and sightseeing, part of our agenda was also to visit Ethan’s almost-one-month-old cousin Jonathan.  We arrived at Paul’s apartment on Sunday evening, and since we had to wait for a while before we left for dinner, Pete and I decided to take Ethan for a short walk around the apartment grounds.  It was the first time for us too, in fact.  And this was an excellent opportunity for Ethan to get his dose of exercise.

Ethan laughed when he saw the little kids running around and swimming in the pool.  And then he caught sight of the fountain.  He paused for a moment, but only for a moment….then he started giggling away.  I carried him up a few steps to get a better view of the fountain and he reached out his hands to play with the water.  Never mind that it resulted in his face being splashed, he had a whale of a time!  Well, we all did.


Scrap Credits: Sun Porch kit by Amy Teets

A four-day weekend awaited us in conjunction with the Hari Raya holidays, so we decided to make a trip to Ipoh on Saturday.  Ethan’s  Ah Ma and Ah Kong would certainly be pleased to see him. :) For some reason, Ethan was very restless the entire journey, choosing to scream his lungs out, so much so that I had to move to the back seat to entertain him.

Anyway, we arrived in Ipoh sometime after lunch on Saturday and Ethan wasted no time in getting acquainted with his surrroundings.  He loved to climb atop the chairs in the living room, sat there for a moment, and then ran into my room and closed and open the door.

But what fascinated him a lot was probably the piano.  I put him on my lap and allowed him to touch and *play* on the keyboard. Soon enough, to our horror, he even figured out how to lift the cover of the piano!  Yep, he was tall enough to reach now… We really had to keep our eyes peeled on him at all times!  He would then lead me to the piano chair and ask to be placed on my lap so that he could proceed with his *masterpiece*.

Yes, I am very proud of my little big boy, the maestro at work.

We made a 3-day-2-night trip to Mutiara Damansara last weekend to visit Ethan’s newborn cousin, Jonathan.  On Saturday, we had lunch at Tony Roma’s.  We had great company during lunch too, Ethan got to meet up with his Ah Mah (my Mom), his Ah Kor, Ah Koo and Ah Kim.  Tony Roma’s is located in Cineleisure, which is somewhat connected to The Curve; I was amazed to discover that it was a mere walk from Italiannies and Laundry Bar (actually we were undecided as to what to eat that day, but since Tony Roma’s looked rather empty, we decided that would be it).

Tony Roma’s in Malaysia is so different from the ones in US or Singapore.  For one, it did not have (my favorite) baby back ribs.  We ordered 2 plates of full-rack ribs and a strip-loin steak, oh and of course a plate of the appetizer sampler too.  Though different, Pete and I were happy to note that the food at the outlet was very good.  The ribs were soft and (can I say) finger-lickin’ good.  Actually we were afraid that the food would be a sore disappointment like Marché was last month, but we were glad that our fears were unfounded.

Ethan had a good time during lunch too.  I was thrilled to note that Tony Roma’s Cineleisure had on their menu the same Baked Potato Soup I had ordered for Ethan when we were in Tony Roma’s Suntec City, Singapore… so I ordered that for him.  It all started ok, but then our boy decided that he wanted to have a go at feeding himself.  Since I had brought along his set of toddler utensils, I gave them to him and he began scooping the soup bit by bit.  And scoop he did… bit by bit fell on the front of his shirt.  It was a very messy sight indeed.  Then I suddenly remembered I had also brought along his Ikea shirt-bib, so we helped him put that on.  But no sooner had we done that, Ethan decided that he wanted ME to feed him instead!

 

In the end, off came the bib, and it was Ethan by himself again with his soup and some rice too.  I tried tying the napkin around his neck, but that fell down too.  So we allowed him to have fun with his food, messy though that may be, and took him back to the hotel room after that to clean up.  See?  That’s the good thing about staying right next to the restaurant :)

What an tiring, but eventful and enjoyable weekend it had been! Last Saturday morning we drove down to Damansara. We had planned on making this trip about a week or so back but was having some problems booking a room because it was the school holiday season. Thankfully, we managed to secure a room at the Royale Bintang last Wednesday! That’s the most convenient hotel to stay in because The Curve is just next to it, so that makes shopping so much easier. So we were all set! Although our plan was to leave Penang at around 9a.m., we all overslept and only was able to set out at about 10:15a.m. Therefore our plan to have lunch at The Curve went down the drain and we ended up (again) having lunch at the famous Pun Chun coffee shop in Bidor instead.

It wasn’t entirely a bad idea actually, and although the wan ton mee is severely overpriced, it was good. We thought Ethan is a wan ton mee fan, but he decided he didn’t want any of it that day, choosing instead to dig into the char siew pau. So much so that we had to tarpow an additional pau for him to continue eating in the car after leaving Bidor.

 

After finishing the pau, Ethan was still going “mum mum mum…”, so I gave him cornflakes. He munched happily on the cornflakes all the way till we reached the hotel.

After checking in to our room, our boy was very fascinated by his new surroundings, walking up and down the room, into the bathroom, opening the cabinets and drawers. It was clear that he had all the energy in the world to go shopping! Since Daddy the driver wanted to get forty winks, I changed Ethan and got him all ready. We then met up with Ethan’s Aunty Pauline in the hotel lobby and went on our shopping excursion! There’s nothing like shopping to beat fatigue :)

Of course, I chose to go to Mothercare first and the neighboring baby and toddler shops. With Pete not around, there was a tendency for me to overspend… hah… I ended up with 2 pairs of peejays for Ethan, some clothes and another Baby Einstein DVD: Baby Noah, which was on sale at 10% off at Early Learning Center :) The three of us hung out at The Curve and even walked all the way to Ikano Power Center and back.

Soon, Ethan requested for “mum mum” again, and I took him to the Baby Care room in The Curve for a feed right before dinner. There was a short queue there and we had to wait for about 10 minutes before we got ourselves a cubicle. Honestly, the management at The Curve should consider having another room or perhaps expanding the existing nursing room, because even when I was breastfeeding Ethan, there were so many other mothers and babies waiting in line after me! Ethan almost fell asleep but woke up at the right time, just before we were about to leave for dinner.

Dinner was at Marché, with Pauline, Paul and Guat Tho (Ethan’s Ah Pek and Ah Mmm). Pete and I were craving for Marché since we frequented the restaurant in Singapore and were eager to see if it was the same here in Malaysia. We were however sorely disappointed that there was no root beer :( The one thing we were hoping to get!! Ethan, however, enjoyed his dinner very much. He loved the veal sausage and mushroom soup, and even had some of the pineapple and starfruit juice! He almost snatched my crépè away too, but I moved my plate away just in time!


Scrap papers & elements from Lindsay Jane Designs

After our post-dinner shopping, we went back to our room to retire for the night. Unfortunately Ethan had other plans and only fell asleep (I think) after 11p.m.

The next morning we woke up around 9:00a.m. and rushed to go downstairs for the buffet breakfast. There was already a long line when we arrived at the lobby, so by the time we got seated it was already close to 10:30a.m.

 

Ethan again enjoyed his sausages, this time it was chicken. He finished 2 sausages I think, and even hijacked some of my pink guava juice.

 

Then he also walloped some fruit loops. Breakfast is, after all, the most important meal of the day.

We then went back to our rooms to pack and prepared to check out. Shopped for a while at Ikea, because what is a trip to Ikano Power Center without visiting Ikea, yes? The beauty about Ikea is that it had these children stations where they put toys for the kids to play with. These stations were strewn all over Ikea, just to keep the kids occupied while their parents went about their shopping.

Of course, Ethan is also quickly learning to be an avid Ikea shopper, preferring to test out certain items that caught his fancy.

We then had lunch at a Japanese restaurant in Damansara Uptown, called Umai-ya. I tell you, I have no idea how much Ethan ate for lunch, because he at first was sharing the chawan mushi with me (I gave him chawan mushi mixed with rice). Then when I ran out of chawan mushi, Pete and Aunty Pauline contributed theirs too. And our boy was eating it non-stop. After lunch, I could actually see his tummy bulging from under his clothes! Hehehe…

We then visited the show unit of Aunty Pauline’s new condo, Menjalara 18. Ethan went about the show unit as if it was his own home, climbing up and down the sofas and the beds.

After that it was homeward bound to Penang. A rushed trip but a really enjoyable one. We do it next month again, yeah? :)

It was time to bid farewell to Singapore and our vacation. After all the adventure and fun we had, we were looking forward to head on home, but yet a little bit sad the vacation had come to an end.

I woke up feeling way much better than I did the day before. The nausea and fever had gone and I was definitely much more energized…but not as energized as Ethan. Hah.

We went downstairs for our usual routine breakfast at the hotel and then hurried back up to our room to pack. We then checked out, left our luggage with the front desk and went for a little walking tour around Little India. It would have been embarrassing had we not at least walk a little around the vicinity when we had stayed in Little India for the past 5 nights! And it was a good thing we had that walking exercise too because we managed to catch a glimpse of the famous Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, Little India’s oldest and busiest temple.

All in all, we walked quite a fair bit and ended up in Mustafa Centre, the famous 24-hour shopping mall, which sells everything from watches, DVDs and handbags to clothes and foodstuff. It was not a very conducive place to bring Ethan to, unfortunately, because the mall was jam-packed with visitors and also, the aisles were so narrow! There was simply no place for Ethan to roam and run around as he wished.

We were already running a little late by then, so we decided to take a cab from Mustafa Centre back to Perak Hotel, instead of walking all the way again. We loaded the cab with our luggage and went straight to Changi airport. After checking in and obtaining our boarding passes, we had lunch at the Soup Restaurant again, starting and ending our vacation on the same note.

And what would a visit to Singapore be without stopping by Bengawan Solo and getting some goodies there? After all, I was craving for the pineapple tarts!  While I was busy choosing and (not) salivating over the cookies and layer cake in Bengawan Solo, Ethan kept Daddy busy by requesting to go up and down the escalators nearby.  He was also very much the shopper as he roamed the surrounding area, in search of a good bargain, maybe?

We finally entered the departure terminal with very little time to spare before we boarded our plane. I quickly looked for the nursing room and breastfed Ethan for a bit. Then Ethan had some time to explore the terminal before we went to the departure gate. There is this fantastic floor game with lights that allowed kids to kick an imaginary ball on the ground. The *ball* would react to the kids’ kicking action. And that kept Ethan fascinated.

Hehe….Mommy rushed to Nuance Watson to get this:

It was all done in super-duper quick time because I already knew what I wanted.

Then we practically ran all the way to our departure gate, which, following Murphy’s Law, HAD to be at the very end of the terminal! The status was already showing as “Gate Closing” and it was really an adrenaline rush for all of us, similar to that experienced by contestants on The Amazing Race, I would think.

Upon boarding the plane, Ethan played around for a while but fell asleep in my arms shortly before the plane took off. He slept right through the entire flight, not even waking up for his meal. The very kind flight attendant, who was introduced to Ethan, took the trouble to provide us with a bag to tar-pow his meal back home.

We took a cab from the Penang International Airport back to our home sweet home. And we could tell that not only Pete and I missed our home, Ethan did too…. he giggled with glee when we entered our apartment lift. Home at last! :D

With 4 days well spent in Singapore, there was only one thing left to do on the fifth day of our vacation.  Yup, you guessed right… S-H-O-P-P-I-N-G!!!

We didn’t have much time to shop to our hearts’ content in VivoCity the day before (or rather, Mommy didn’t have enough time), so we decided to spend our day there again.  We were very much the experts at boarding the MRT now, and VivoCity was an excellent choice because the subway from Little India would take us directly to Harbourfront, where VivoCity is.  By this time, Ethan was really getting the hang of riding in the MRT :)

We reached VivoCity before lunch but unfortunately after a little bit of shopping, I started feeling a little uneasy and unwell.  I thought it was because I was feeling hungry, so we decided to have lunch, ending up in Marché again.  Yes, yes, it was THAT good that we simply could not get enough of it  :P  Too bad, my nausea got worse during lunch and I couldn’t eat much, although I know Pete ordered so many many yummy items.  SIGH.  In the end, Daddy had to finish most of it, and Mommy has to be content with well….just these photos…..on the bright side, the blogger in me was satisfied because I managed to take a picture of the glorious Swiss cross buns!

Ethan was getting hungry and fidgety too, so after lunch we took him to the nursing room and I breastfed him till he slept.  Pete and I then decided to call it a day, seeing that I was feeling queasy already.  I carried the sleeping Ethan and we headed towards the MRT station.  However, before we could even walk out of the mall, my stomach decided to do a major churn and I threw up all over the nicely polished VivoCity floor.  Of course, before the throwing up incident, I managed to call out frantically to Pete and pass Ethan to him!  Thankfully there was a cleaner just nearby and he proceeded to quickly clean up the mess I made.  I hurried to the washroom as fast as I could.

After cleaning up, we made our way back to our hotel, where we all fell asleep the whole afternoon.  I could only pray that Pete and Ethan were not affected by whatever virus or bacteria that had chose to attack me.  I awoke with a fever of 38.1°C, and took two Panadol tablets, slept for a little while longer and then mustered up whatever strength I had to go for dinner.  Our plan was to go to Tony Roma’s in Suntec City for dinner again, but we had to kiss that plan goodbye because I was just too weak.  In the end, we walked to the nearby Foodmore foodcourt, a stone’s throw away from our hotel and had pan mee for dinner.  There was no baby chair available, so Ethan had to sit on two stacked chairs. 


Scrap Elements from Anita’s Designs

It must have been the excellent company I had for dinner, because I definitely felt better after that.  Isn’t it apparent from the picture above?  After dinner, all I could do was to breastfeed Ethan so that he would get all the antibodies to prevent him from succumbing to the illness I had.

A vacation to Singapore would not be complete without a visit to Sentosa Island, now would it? I can barely remember my last visit to Sentosa Island, but my Mom tells me I was really young then. I vaguely recall taking the cable car all the way to the island and back though. In fact, my parents had their honeymoon in Sentosa Island. The island must have changed a whole lot since then. For one, we had heard a lot about the Underwater World, and were eager to show Ethan all the underwater life which we knew he would so love.

After our breakfast, we took the MRT from Little India to Harbourfront, which was about 6 stations away. This time, there was no need to change to a different MRT line and it only took us slightly more than 15 minutes to get to our destination. The Harbourfront MRT station is directly connected to VivoCity, the newest, biggest, trendiest shopping mall in Singapore. We’ll get to the shopping later, I thought to myself. :D

Initially we wanted to take the cable car because we wanted to have a good view from above. We then learnt that a cable car ride would cost SGD11, and comparing that to the monorail, which costs only SGD3, we opted for the latter. The monorail ticket was a return ticket, and it was inclusive of all the bus rides we would need to take on Sentosa Island itself. As it turned out, taking the monorail was a great decision on our part, because not only did we get to take in a spectacular view of our surroundings, the entire journey via the Sentosa Express took only a mere 10 minutes (which is a bonus for Ethan who is prone to getting restless)! From the monorail, we could see the cable cars moving towards Sentosa Island, and comparatively, they were taking forever! Upon reaching Sentosa Island (Beach Station), we took a bus all the way to the Underwater World.

Ethan of course enjoyed free admission, but we adults had no reason to complain either, because we got a 10% discount when we paid with the Citibank credit card :)

The first stop we made was to touch and feel the stingrays. They felt leathery and slithery! I did not allow Ethan to touch them though and he didn’t complain either because he was more fascinated with the many aquariums on display. He could see the fishes up close and it was apparent he was having a field time doing so.

To keep Ethan occupied and not-so-restless, I had brought along a small box of cornflakes. Learning from the zoo adventure, it was a no-no to allow him to get hungry, so I kept him busy eating and munching on cornflakes :) Good parenting tip, eh? *wink* So amid the exhibits of crabs, fish, jellyfish seadragons and seahorses, Ethan was happy with his snack and Daddy was happy with his snapping… photos, that is.

I personally felt the highlight of the Underwater World was The Tunnel. Here, we just had to stand on a moving walkalator that took us through a tunnel where we were surrounded by all kinds of underwater life swimming all around us. Fish, sharks, manatees, you name it…. there were many moments that prompted us to go “Ooooooh….” and “Waaaahhh……”, if you know what I mean.

All in all, we really enjoyed ourselves at the Underwater World. After taking lunch, we realized it was drizzling outside when we were about to leave. Since we still had time, we decided to go to the Dolphin Lagoon after that. The entrance to the Dolphin Lagoon had already been included in the admission fee for the Underwater World anyway. So we took a bus there.

Ethan was already hungry for milk by that time, and I was again deeply disappointed that there were NO breastfeeding facilities at the Underwater World OR at the Dolphin Lagoon. So upon reaching the Dolphin Lagoon, we walked a few hundred meters to the nearest restroom. Realizing it could be a challenge to breastfeed in the restroom, not to mention the issue of hygiene, I prayed so hard that there would be a conducive place for me to breastfeed him, and God again provided :) The restroom was one that had an open area where there were four benches shaped to form a square with a roofed shelter. All I had to do was sit there and breastfeed him. And he fell asleep promptly. Poor lil guy - must have been tired out after looking at all the fishies…..

I then carried Ethan out to meet Pete, who was waiting for us on Palawan Beach. Palawan Beach is situated just beside the Dolphin Lagoon. We still had about half an hour before the Meet the Dolphins show was to start, so Pete and I decided to take a stroll to the Southernmost Point of Continental Asia. This is where I am a little confused…. so Singapore is considered part of the CONTINENT of Asia, even though it is an island? Eh? Anyway, benefit of the doubt…..

Well anyway, with Ethan still asleep, we carried him across a slightly rickety bridge to this southernmost point. The view was just amazing, and the swaying trees and windy breeze kinda reminded me a little about what Maldives was like. Ethan, unfortunately, missed all of this because he slept through it all.

Then, from our vantage point, we suddenly noticed that people were beginning to take their seats for the Dolphin show, so we made our way back to the Dolphin Lagoon. Our boy suddenly woke up as we were making our way back across the bridge… so he was wide awake and chomping happily on his cornflakes as we waited for the show to start.

Unfortunately, not much can be said about the Dolphin Show. Apart from the unique looking pink dolphins, the show was rather disappointing. Well, maybe I had my hopes way up too high, but in spite of that, Ethan sure enjoyed the show, as he was clapping away right on cue :)

After the show, we took the bus back to Beach Station where we boarded the monorail back to VivoCity. The monorail actually stops at a couple of other stations on Sentosa Island too, but we chose not to get down….although we almost got down when it stopped at the Merlion. Pete however managed to capture an awesome shot of the famous Singapore icon, all from inside the monorail. Nice eh?

So we had about 2 hours to kill before dinner - what to do? Shop, of course! The mall was VERY spacious and Ethan was VERY happy, not only because he got to run all over but also because yup…there were escalators everywhere! Mommy was very happy too, because she spotted Forever 21, which was WAY bigger than the branch at Wisma Atria. And as for Daddy? Well, I’m sure he had a lot of fun chasing Ethan around… heh.

In accordance with our plan, we had our dinner at Marché.

The baby chairs at Marché were a little different than the ones Ethan is accustomed to, but he adjusted well to it, thankfully. So while I went to order the food, Pete entertained Ethan while waiting for the food. During our Singapore trip, we noticed that Ethan has learnt how to cross his fingers, …check it out in the pictures below….. see it?

Marché’s food is freshly made upon ordering, and because Jazzmint had recommended some stuff which she had tried before, I decided to order some of those. We tried the mushroom soup, rosti, seafood paélla, crépè with Movenpick ice cream and the root beer. And let me tell you, the root beer was simply fantastic! We’ve never tasted root beer that good before…. Oh, and Pete also *discovered* the Swiss cross buns, which looked like the regular potato buns, but taste really soft and fresh. They went oh-so-well with the mushroom soup. And what did Ethan have? Why, a little of everything of course! Except the root beer la. His favorite was the mushroom soup, the paélla and the Swiss cross buns. Yeah, he’s a carbs kinda guy.

A dinner that was a fitting end to a spectacular day.

The third day of our Singapore trip itinerary was initially planned as a half-day shopping experience in Orchard Road followed by a visit to the Singapore Night Safari at night.  However, because we were tired out after our zoo adventure, we decided to forgo the Night Safari for now, because of the distance we had to travel and also because of …. ahem…. slight fatigue. :P  Well actually the main reason was because we felt our Ethan Boy would be uncomfortable travelling that long distance at night, especially since we anticipated that we would leave the night safari at about 11pm, at the very earliest.

So Day 3 was to be a *rather* relaxing day for us.  Or so we thought….

After breakfast, we took the MRT to the Orchard Rd station.  Ethan was beginning to get used to the MRT now and was not as fidgety as before.  In Singapore, we were offered seats on the MRT almost immediately upon entering the subway because we had Ethan along.  And I was very impressed by this.  Ethan however preferred to be carried by Pete while standing.  Here he is, *in action*…

It only took us less than 20 minutes to arrive in Orchard Rd despite having to switch MRT lines at Dhoby Gaut.  We walked around Wisma Atria for a while before meeting Aunty Susan and Uncle Edward there.  It had been a while since they had seen Ethan and so they were amazed at how much he had grown.  They brought us to Newton Food Center where we tarpowed lunch consisting of Singapore Laksa, Duck Rice and a supposedly popular Singaporean dessert called tau-swan

 

I later learnt that tau-swan is made from the green beans used to make ang-koo, and is cooked in sweet syrup and served with ewe-char-koay.  Oh yes, it is as yummy as it sounds.  We had our packed lunch at Uncle Edward’s son’s house, where we got to say hi to Christina and her 6-month-old son Lucas.  I didn’t manage to take any photos because I was so hungry!

Well, Ethan made himself comfy in Christina’s house almost immediately.  He had fallen asleep when we arrived so I put him in a toddler chair, which was something like the one he had.  And when he woke up and had had lunch, he discovered that there were many similar toys in the house that he was accustomed to.  Of course he had to climb the stairs as well - how could he miss that!

Uncle Edward then dropped us off at Paragon Shopping Mall in Orchard Rd after lunch, where we hung out and walked around, navigating the surrounding malls, like Tangs and Takashimaya.  It was hard work with Ethan insisting every now and then that he wanted a ride on the escalators or just to roam around, but thankfully we managed!

I had a chance to check out the breastfeeding facilities too.  The nursing room in Paragon was okay, but was nothing compared to the one in Takashimaya.  In Takashimaya, the nursing room consisted of 7-8 changing stations, 2 high chairs for feeding, hot water, a sink and a separate breastfeeding room where men were strictly NOT allowed.  Of course, there was a comfortable waiting couch prepared for the daddies too :)

Finally it was time for dinner and we settled on a cosy restaurant in the Food Cellar in Paragon called My Mum’s Cuisine, which served tasty food that tasted like homecooked food.  We ordered Assam Fish (Siakap fish deep fried and delectably prepared with tamarind sauce), Oyster Omelette and Spinach with Mushrooms. 

 

And Ethan enjoyed every bit of it.  Yup, amazingly, even the sourish tasting fish.  In fact, I think he finished about half a bowl of rice that night!

On the way back to the MRT we stumbled on a beautiful aquarium in Wisma Atria.  Ethan got all excited again and looked eagerly at the fishies swimming around.  Boy was he gonna love the Underwaterworld!  Maybe this could serve as a preview for the adventure the following day? *wink*

So our shopping day in Orchard ended on a definite high.  We didn’t shop till we dropped, but we certainly had tons of fun!  And oh by the way, Mommy also managed to squeeze in a quick purchase at Forever 21, just in the nick of time! :)

Our second day in Singapore promised tons of excitement because today was Zoo Day!! The Singapore Zoo is hailed to be one of the most beautiful zoos in the world, rivaling even the San Diego Zoo, which I didn’t get to visit the last time I was there. So we were all pretty hyped up about the adventure that awaited us.

After breakfast we walked to the Little India MRT station armed with a trusted map and some zoo brochures, and took the subway to the next stop: Dhoby Gaut. From there we got off and switched MRT lines and boarded the one headed towards Ang Mo Kio. The entire MRT journey took us a mere 20 minutes, but Ethan was restless and uncomfortable throughout. He was especially distressed when the subway went into the dark tunnels, and although only the exterior was dark and the interior of the MRT had lights on, he still continued crying. But as soon as the train hit sunshine, he perked up, open his big brown eyes, looked at us and said “ooooh…ohhh….oooo…eggya???” (whatever that means :p ). Well, we just nodded along to whatever he said … kekeke. Upon reaching the Ang Mo Kio MRT station, we took a bus direct to the zoo. The bus ride was approximately 30 minutes, and you guessed it, Ethan could not sit still either.

The Singapore Zoo is based on an open concept where the animals are not enclosed in cages but rather kept in spacious and beautifully landscaped enclosures. Of course the animal areas are separated from the visitors by either a fence, a moat or in some cases, glass. We only had to get two tickets because Ethan got to enjoy free admission into the zoo :) In fact, throughout our Singapore trip, we didn’t need to pay any admission fee for Ethan at all. We only paid 10% for his flight ticket. And because we utilized our SIA Boarding Pass Priviliges, we also got the unlimited Zoo Tram Rides thrown in for free!

We were all immediately enthralled by the animals that we saw in the zoo.

There were flamingos, polar bears, kangaroos, giraffes, and of course, the orang utans.  And Ethan was fascinated with ALL of them.

We also managed to attend several shows that were held in the zoo. The first one we attended was the Wonders of The Wild Show in The Shaw Foundation Amphitheatre, where we got to see the very strong orang utan, a huge python and an *orang asli* wannabe showing off his hunting skills.

During the show Ethan demonstrated another one of his latest milestones: clapping along with people. Nowadays, whenever he sees someone, anyone, clapping, he will clap along, accompanying it with the widest grin ever, showing off his 8 teeth! Before we left for Singapore, he did it in church too and I have noticed that he also does it when he sees people clapping on the telly. So you betcha we had a good time!

I was a little bit worried that Ethan was not getting enough to eat, because he was still recovering from his sore throat at that time and when we had lunch at the Jungle Tandoor cafe (rice with butter chicken), he wasn’t very interested in the food too. Soon I could sense that Ethan was getting hungry and was craving for milk. I was all ready to breastfeed him and it was really the most sensible thing to do, instead of making up a feed of formula, since we were in the zoo and all! I went all over to look for a nursing room, but was sorely disappointed that there were NONE! For a zoo of this magnitude, not having a nursing room or area is definitely something to be frowned upon, especially since most visitors would spend the entire day there! So we tried to distract Ethan by going to see the polar bears, and a few meters after that, by the grace of God, we discovered a beautiful shed overlooking the sea. It wasn’t really secluded, but it was shady and cool and it would have to do for nursing.  God heard our call and pointed us to this spot.  So I breastfed Ethan then and there :)

Ethan fell asleep very soon after, and while carrying him, we rushed to Splash Safari Show.

 

Would you believe it, Ethan slept soundly throughout the entire performance?!

 

I had half expected him to suddenly rouse from his sleep and start clapping, but he was the perfect picture of an angel asleep. We took the tram for a short ride around the zoo and then visited the Australian animals with Ethan fast asleep still.

We then walked towards our next stop: The Elephants at Work and Play show.

By the way Ethan was still asleep when we got there but suddenly woke up, looking very rejuvenated indeed. He enjoyed the elephant show and although it started raining halfway through the show, our spirits were certainly not dampened one single bit. Nope, especially not Ethan’s because after the show, he began climbing up and down the stairs, oblivious to the pouring rain.

We left the area soon after and visited a few other spots (including taking the tram ride to the Animal Friends show),…..

 and wowed at the beautiful white tigers.

Soon it was time to bid a fond farewell to the zoo animals. 

 

We took our final shots with the camera, bought some souvenirs and then waited for the bus to arrive. Ethan was already very restless and looked very hungry. It was after all, already dinnertime then.  So when the bus finally arrived, Pete and I decided to have dinner at the bus station itself when we reached Ang Mo Kio. We had a quick dinner at the food court there and after dinner, we spotted the Yogurt Place.

There was a “Buy 1 Free 1″ promotion going on, and we bought ourselves some yogurt, which all three of us enjoyed immensely.  I tell you, it was possibly the best yogurt I had ever tasted in my entire life!  And I am pretty sure Ethan agrees with me too! 

We took the MRT back to Little India and then it was back to the hotel. Ethan must have been very tired too, because that lil fella knocked out at 9:45p.m., after his shower, considerably early for his standards.

 

On the Sunday morning that we were to leave for Singapore, Ethan decided he wanted to sleep in.  This was very unlike him because he was normally an early riser.  I had arranged for the cab to pick us up at 8:45a.m. to go to the airport but Ethan was still asleep at 8:15a.m.!  So I had to *wake* him up by being rather *noisy* (which isn’t difficult for me.. heh).  It worked and he finally woke up.

Unfortunately, our poor boy had a sore throat and sounded like he was about to lose his voice :(.  He had quite a *sexy* voice though, hoarse and all, and no matter how I told him to just not *talk* so much and rest his voice, he kept blabbering onadnon in his own language.  I quickly got him showered and dressed but amid the rush, I accidentally hit his head on the door panel.  O-U-C-H!!!!! A MAJOR bump appeared almost immediately and he started bawling!  I had to put a cold compress to cool it down…thank goodness that worked.  Somewhat.  By that time the cab had already arrived, so we quickly rushed downstairs and headed for the airport. 

Checking in was a breeze and Ethan even had time to explore his surroundings while waiting to board the plane.  I wonder if he knew what an adventure he would be in for, because we were soon on our way to Singapore! 

 

We were allocated the front 2 seats and although there was a space for a bassinet to be put in front of the seats, there was no bassinet in sight….ah well….not that our boy would want to be confined in it anyways.  As expected, Ethan was VERY restless on the plane.  Before takeoff he was wandering along the aisle and checking out everything in sight: seat pockets, magazines, flight attendants….. :P 

The plane was relatively empty, so we had the adjacent seat available too.  Ethan wasted no time in testing that out. 

 

SIA presented Ethan with a goodie bag with a Dora the Explorer toy, a bib and a couple of diapers… nothing he was impressed with, unfortunately.  I was given the child safety belt, which needed to be attached to the adult lap safety belt and then fastened onto Ethan with him on my lap.  Do you think it was easy to make him sit still?  Absolutely not!  So in the end, I had to breastfeed him during the takeoff and landing (which would help lessen the change in pressure in the child’s ears actually). Ethan must have been reading the guide to travelling by plane with a baby, because he immediately asked to be breastfed upon takeoff and landing!  Haha.

During the flight, Ethan was given the post-weaning meal, which surprisingly consisted of MORE food than an adult’s!  We adults only had a pizza roll and juice, but Ethan had 4 slices of sandwiches, a piece of cake, a fruit tart and a whole box of fresh milk!  He didn’t want any of it though, preferring instead to sip our apple juice.  The fresh milk went to my tummy because Ethan only took a couple of sips.

We arrived in Singapore and Ethan was immediately enthralled by the walkalators and escalators (no surprise).  After filling up the immigration forms we queued up in line, but since Ethan was restless and screaming, the very nice immigration officer ushered us over first.  Talk about priority for those with kids! Hehehe…..

We then collected our luggage and decided to have lunch in the airport.  Our original plan to go to Burger King did not materialize because Ethan was still having a sore throat and furthermore, a quick check in the Burger King outlet showed that there were no baby chairs in sight.  We decided to try a new restaurant instead:  The Soup Restaurant. 

 

Serving a Chinese meal of steamed rice, Samsui ginger chicken, fish and of course boiled old cucumber soup, the meal was absolute perfection!  Ethan too enjoyed it very much, judging by the way he kept asking for more.  He was even given his own plate and spoon!

After the scrumptious lunch, we took a cab to Perak Hotel in Little India, which was going to be our *home* for 5 nights.  I was very impressed that although our cab driver was not familiar with the location, he had a GPS system installed in the cab! Upon checking in, Ethan began checking out the room.  He immediately went over to the full length mirror and kissed his reflection in it!  How cute was that!  He was also very fascinated by the door of the washroom and kept wanting to close it for us.  Believe me, his fascination went on for the entire duration of our stay.  Hehehe…

Unfortunately, another mishap happened in the hotel room.  As Ethan was playing near the side table, his hand slipped and he fell, cutting his chin slightly on the edge of the table.  I was both horrified and mortified to see blood oozing out from his wound!  Quickly I took him to the sink to wash the blood off and yes, I admit it, I was in a state of panic and near-hysteria.  Thank goodness for Pete, who was the absolute picture of calmness, we managed to get the situation in control.  And thank goodness Ethan was all right.  After washing up, surprisingly he remained fearless and kept going back to the site of the *disaster* despite us telling him “NO!”… SIGH.

Anyhow, we rested for a bit and then walked to a nearby bus stop to take the bus to Suntec City Mall.  Pete and I were craving for Tony Roma’s Ribs and we knew there was a branch there. 

 

The last time we had Tony Roma’s was in the States and that was years ago.  We were eager to indulge ourselves yet again and it was on our agenda anyway.  And indulge ourselves we did.  Pete and I ordered the Appetizer Sampler (Fire Wings, Potato Skins and Mozzarella Sticks) and because we were undecided on the ribs, we also had the sampler, i.e. Tony Roma’s Star-Studded Sampler.  Yummylicious indeed!  The Star-Studded Sampler had the Original Baby Back Ribs, Carolina Honeys, Red Hots and Blue Ridge Smokies.  Of the four, the Baby Backs were the best and were absolutely to die for - they were every bit finger-licking and lip-smacking good! 

We were given a table that overlooked a beautiful koi pond, and that helped keep Ethan entertained. 

 

I ordered the Baked Potato Soup for Ethan and he ate it together with his favorite rice :)  The soup was a meal in itself, consisting of baked potatoes, Cheddar cheese, bacon and spring onions.  After he has had a mouthful of anything he likes, I taught him to say “Mmmmmmmm….”….and he does it with finesse!  I could tell he really enjoyed his dinner at Tony Roma’s. 

 

He was also given a piece of paper with crayons to practise and learn coloring….. never too young to start, eh?

In fact, the fun did not end at the dining table.  He even had a field time playing with the sensor-enabled paper dispenser in the washroom.

After dinner, Ethan demonstrated his latest milestone achieved: Waving buh-bye on cue.  All this while, he only waved buh-bye to the baby sitter, but now when we say “Buh-bye” he would wave voluntarily, throwing in a cute smile for good measure.  Sometimes we have to prod him to wave by waving along but ultimately he will still wave.  So he waved goodbye to the waitresses and we were on our way.

We window-shopped a bit and then headed back to the hotel.  Fortunately Pete managed to convey the message to the cab driver in his whatever broken Mandarin he could muster and soon we were snoozing away, dreaming about baby back ribs and the excitement the next day would bring.

Home Sweet Home

We’re home from our Singapore vacation :)  And the first thing Ethan did when he stepped into the lift on the way up to our apartment was to giggle joyfully.  Methinks he knows he’s finally back home :)

He immediately checked on his toys and when the TV was turned on, he laughed in glee as he watch Little Einsteins, and even clapped along and smiled.  Did he miss home? I would think so!

Watch this space for the lowdown on the exciting and amazing adventure we had in Singapore! 

We made a short trip back to my hometown in Ipoh yesterday to attend Pete’s cousin Tee Bin’s wedding.  We left Penang late Friday afternoon and arrived around dinnertime in Ipoh, just in time for the lao-thiar-meh (Chinese version of the stag night).    Unfortunately, no sooner had we stepped into the porch area where the buffet spread was, Ethan wailed as if in agony!  Amid sobs and sniffles, he clung on to either Pete or me tightly, and we had to take turns having our dinner.  This was extremely strange behaviour for Ethan, as he has always been exposed to huge crowds in the malls, and in church and had no problems being happy and totally at home in crowded areas.  In the end, we had to pacify him by taking him up and down the stairs, and taking him for walks around the swimming pool.  Thank goodness SIL Aunty Pauline was around, and since Ethan has an affinity towards her, Pete and I could finish our dinner (somewhat) in peace.

The next morning during the tea ceremony, Ethan received his first tea ceremony ang pow ever!  Because he was still petrified of the crowd and the loud voices, I had to carry him to collect the ang pow.  We then adjourned to the wedding lunch reception at Hillcity Hotel, where our boy was extremely active (we’re not surprised).  It certainly looked like he had already warmed up to the crowd and was enjoying every second of his exploratory adventure.  Many friends and relatives were thrilled to see him pacing around the hall, but had a hard time trying to carry him!  A relative mistakenly thought his name was “Ivan”, and even called out to him using that name!  Ethan’s primary interest however, was in the fish in the aquarium, which kept him occupied for quite some time.

Pete noticed that Ethan now has a variety of facial expressions and emotions, which he is using in full force.  Here are some rare shots which the camera managed to capture during our trip:

 Congratulations to Uncle Tee Bin and Aunt Wei F’rn!

Last weekend, we made a trip to our hometowns on Ipoh and Taiping.  It has been quite some time since we went back (I think the last time was CNY), so since there was a long holiday and all, we decided to go first to Ipoh on Saturday and then to Taiping on Sunday.  We had planned on packing on Friday night and leaving as early as possible on Saturday, but Ethan apparently had other plans in store for us.  On Friday night, he decided that he wanted to stay up as late as possible, hence making it impossible for us to pack.  In the end, we had to do everything on Saturday morning itself; we had our dim sum brunch and were on our way about half past noon.  We arrived in Ipoh at about 2:30p.m. and it didn’t take long for Ethan to get acquainted to his Ah Ma and Ah Kong, and of course, the house… see how much at home he is?

There is toy in Ipoh that fascinates Ethan so.  It is actually a dustbin, but Ah Ma bought it not to be a dustbin, but more so to entertain Ethan.  It’s amazing what normal every day things can do to kids, huh?

 

After dinner on Saturday night, Ah Ma and Ah Kong took Ethan across the road to Kinta City for about half an hour, to have a field time at the escalators.  Yes, Ethan is still very much in awe of escalators and we can really feel the force towards the escalators every time we go to the mall.

On Sunday morning, we went to the famous Nam Heong coffee shop in Leech Street, Old Town to have brunch.  This is the shop where the famous white coffee originated from.  Ethan could not take coffee, at least not yet, so he had to make do with the roti bakar.  Yummy yummy…. see how he checked to see what it is before he puts it in his mouth?  Definitely traits of a discerning food connoiseur….

Before leaving Ipoh, Ethan had some fun at home, playing with Ah Ma and Ah Kong, while Mommy and Daddy packed up.

Ethan did not sleep at all in the car from Ipoh to Taiping.  He was busy checking out the surroundings and what he could see from the car window.  And when we reached Taiping, it didn’t take long for him to find his playmate - a punch-n-bounceback toy!  It was a toy which Aunty Pauline had bought and although it is rather heavy for a kid, our boy can easily put his arms around it and lift it up!

Too bad the mosquitoes in Taiping got a little too close for comfort and gave Ethan 2 little *presents* as soon as he arrived.  But Ethan was still his jolly good self, and since Ethan boy had so much energy, we decided to take a drive to the Taiping Lake Garden in the evening.  Would you believe he actually fell asleep in the car on the way there?  We woke him up nevertheless upon arrival and he immediately wanted to walk around on his own.  No, actually he wanted to walk TOWARDS the lake.  It was dangerous, so most of the time, we had to carry him.


We reached home on Monday evening, tired and missing Penang.  Ethan of course went around our house checking that everything was still there :P

Actually I had planned on introducing formula to Ethan on May 1st but unfortunately Daddy fell sick, so I had to put my plans on hold, as breastfeeding would give Ethan the necessary antibodies to combat Daddy’s flu.

Last weekend, Pete and I decided to make a trip to KL at the very last minute.  We had the hotel booking done in a jiffy, most of our packing done on Friday night and believe it or not, we were on our way at 10:00a.m. on Saturday morning.  That’s not bad, considering we had to give Ethan his bath and feed him first before we left.

Ethan fell asleep shortly after leaving the Juru toll booth and slept for about 2 hours straight!  After we passed Ipoh, our tummies were already rumbling, so we decided to make a stop in Bidor for the famous Pun Chun wan ton mee.  I ordered char siew pau for Ethan while Pete and I ate the (very expensive and overpriced) wan ton mee (RM4.50 per plate!) Ethan of course enjoyed his char siew pau a lot and so we left Bidor shortly after.

We arrived in Mutiara Damansara and checked into the Royale Bintang at about 3p.m.  Ethan was enjoying the new environment tremendously and was walking around, no holds barred, much to our amusement.  He was still VERY active when we reached our room and was opening all the cabinets and even checking out the washroom, while waiting for the housekeeping folks to bring the baby cot in. 

So… after a LOOOOOooooooOOOOOOng while of playing around the room, I finally was able to breastfeed Ethan, and he was knocked out almost instantly.  It began to rain too, so all three of us had a much-deserved afternoon nap.

We were only awakened by a phone call from SIL who wanted to make plans to meet up for dinner.  Pete and I quickly got ready and freshened up right before our boy woke up, stretched and gave us a tired but adorable grin, that could only mean ”I’ve slept enough…now bring on the adventure!”  We went to the hotel lobby to have our welcome fruit punch (which was quite good, really!) and then hopped over to Mothercare for some…urrmmm….light shopping.  Ethan was the total picture of happiness as he smiled happily when he saw the many many escalators at The Curve.

We had a lavish dinner at Italiannies, an astounding Italian restaurant at The Curve.  I shared some of my Classic Fettucine Carbonara with Ethan, who really enjoyed the pasta to bits.

 

Us adults stuffed ourselves silly with all the fattenning delicious Italian food, including meatball spaghetti, deep-fried calamari and grilled salmon. 

And if that wasn’t enough we had dessert at New Zealand Ice Cream.  I ordered the yogurt sundae which was fat-free and sugar-free (somewhat).  I gave a few spoonfuls to Ethan (it was his first taste of ice cream) and strangely enough, he showed a really sour face!  That being said, he kept coming back for more…

The next morning, we had our buffet breakfast at the hotel and then went to Ikano Power Center for some quick look-see and shopping. 

We went back to the hotel, gave Ethan his bath, then met SIL for lunch and then we were on our way back to Penang.  Ethan slept for about 2 hours again on the way back.  We are so very proud of him for behaving himself all through the journey.  Travelling with Ethan is much easier now that he is bigger, since he can take almost everything we eat.  Also, giving him a bath is a breeze since he can just stand in the shower stall and allow us to shower him down!

This means we can plan more trips outstation from now on :)

 

We made a trip to Taiping for the Chinese New Year reunion dinner and of course, Ethan was the center of attention.  Everybody was eager to see him walk, albeit wobbily…

Food was aplenty, but too bad it was still too early for Ethan to take any of it; he could only take Mommy’s “moi” :)  Every year, I will contribute one dish for the reunion dinner, prepared in my humble kitchen. Ahem!  This year, it’s “tau-eu-bak”, recipe courtesy of my Mom.

We spent the 1st day of CNY in Taiping.  After exchanging angpows, we visited a close family friend, and had a scrumptious lunch there.  Ethan was busy monkeying around (pun intended) and playing with the oranges.  Highlight of the visit: he decided to present his “gift” there … yup, you got it… he POO-ed!!!  Ethan’s Grandma and Grandpa, Ah Koo and Ah Kim stopped by in Taiping on the way home from Alor Star in the afternoon.

 

 

2nd day of CNY, we paid a visit to 2 other relatives and then we traveled to Ipoh (my hometown), where Mom cooked a delicious dinner and invited some relatives over.  Jiu-hoo-char, Assam fish, bak-kien…. I am salivating just thinking about it.  Ethan had his first encounter with Aunty Jen Na, Aunty Ree Na and Uncle Jen Son (aged 10, 8 and 6 respectively).

Unfortunately though, Ethan came down with a slight fever in the night, and kept us all up.  Thankfully, I brought along his paracetamol and gave him some in the morning.  We had a family lunch at YMCA Ipoh and then left for Penang.

As soon as we reached home in Penang, Ethan was crawling all over the house, amusing himself with all his toys.  There…. a summary of Ethan’s first New Year :)

Ode to the Holidays

On the first of 4 days we were to spend with Ethan,
It was past noon and our tummies were really barren,
So off our mini family scooted to Queensbay Mall
Where else but Kenny Rogers’ to answer hunger’s call?
The food was superb, the service simply great
Ethan boy really enjoyed the rusks he ate
As usual he flashed a charming smile or two
At aunties at the next table, and some pretty girls too!

Shopping at Jusco is always fun
We just didn’t know when we would be done!
The baby room is an ultimate addiction
For Ethan had his meal of milk to his utmost satisfaction!

After a whole afternoon of shopping and more shopping
We headed to Laksa Shack for some lighthearted eating
Then it was home sweet home all the way
A fulfilling end to an awesome day!



Last day of our trip. Despite having to pack extra stuff because we had Ethan along, we enjoyed the trip very much… I think Ethan had a lot of fun, especially rolling around on the hotel bed. He seemed to prefer the bed and room in Sheraton Subang though. Plus he felt right at home, cos we brought some of his favorite toys along too.





Had lunch at 1-Utama where we again checked out the nursing facilities at U-Parkson :) Ethan wasn’t hungry then, so we only changed him. He was SO excited that he kicked and squealed in delight, much to the amazement of the other parents there! Aiyo…I tell you, our boy really full of energy man!

After that fresh diaper change, it was homeward bound…. Buhbye KL! We’ll come back again soon!

Our First Trip: Day 2


Got up early for breakfast at the hotel. Well, actually Ethan was up early so we had to wake up early too. After breakfast, we got ready to go out shopping (again!) - today is Ikea day!
Managed to get the Ikea high chair for Ethan and amid all the rush, we managed to breeze through shopping in about an hour! That’s a record for us, okay?

Met up with Ethan’s Uncle Allan and Aunty Pei Gee for lunch at Pho Hoa. Awesome Vietnamese cuisine. Ethan couldn’t keep still (again!) so had to carry him and walk around most of the time.

After lunch, we checked out of the hotel and headed to Sheraton Subang. We decided to stay at Sheraton cos that’s where the wedding dinner would be held and it would be more convenient in times of “emergency”.

Ethan fell asleep on the way to Subang. Actually I am beginning to believe that the car really works wonders to provide a soothing feeling for a baby to fall asleep. We checked in and barely had time to freshen up and then rushed to church for the wedding.

The reception followed soon after - yup, you guessed it… Ethan could NOT sit still again! Pete and I had to take turns carrying him around the reception hall. He was really in his element, demanding all the attention he can get. In spite of this, he still managed to look really adorable and oh-so-bulat!

Towards the end of the dinner, he (finally) fell asleep on my shoulder.

Our First Trip: Day 1

We had a wedding to attend in KL so it was the perfect opportunity for us to take Ethan on his first trip. Plus, here was also a good excuse to frequent our favorite store Ikea. It was my first trip out of Penang since I had Ethan, and as we cruised across the Penang bridge, I had poignant memories of heading the other direction towards Penang the first day of Chinese New Year this year as I had mild labor pains then.Ethan fell asleep not too long after we passed the Juru intersection and slept for like 30 minutes at the most. He became fidgety upon waking so we decided to make a quick pit-stop at the Sungai Perak rest area, where I breastfed him in the hopes of appeasing him a little. Heh.

Well, we arrived in Ipoh a short while later, where we had Mom’s delicious lum mee. Yummy…It was nothing short of excellent! Ethan had a little of his cereal with pear. Grandma and Grandpa from Ipoh were bowled over by Ethan’s antics and I am sure they had a field day feeding him. Before leaving Ipoh, I fed Ethan again and then we were on our way.

He put up a fuss while we were headed for the Ipoh(S) exit (missing AKong and AMa??) but miraculously, he fell right asleep when we crossed the intersection. Even more miraculous was that our boy slept for 2 hours straight, right till we reached KL and checked into the Royale Bintang Damansara Hotel!

We rested (yeah right!) in the hotel for a couple of hours and then decided to go for stroll in The Curve. Ethan had his dinner in the Baby Care Room in The Curve, which was SO comfy that he fell asleep then and there after his feed!
Went to check out Borders at The Curve, where Ethan had a good time smiling at everyone there. When his Aunty Pauline showed up with a miniature Barney, Ethan started giggling uncontrollably! Hehee…. At the time, we were really hungry and ended having fabulous Italian food at Italianees.

Our boy was the center of attention there. Couldn’t stay still and kept requesting to be carried around. Baby chair didn’t help either, cos he would try to escape from it!

Safe and secure in Daddy’s arms He just doesn’t want to sit still! With Aunty Pauline

After dinner, we went to check out the organic store at Ikano where I bought some red bario rice, millet, quinoa and buckwheat in preparation for Ethan’s porridge in a few weeks’ time. We then headed back to the hotel, very full but also very tired. Hope we’ll be able to keep up with Ethan the next day!

“Daddy, Mommy, I ain’t tired yet!”

 

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