I hope that your day has been as wonderful and joyous as ours. May your Christmas sparkle with moments of love, laughter and goodwill, and may your eyes, mind and heart be filled with the true spirit of Christmas - JESUS . Wishing you a Merry Christmas from the Albany Family.
Friday, 25 December 2009
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
We're paid in full. Yeee haw! Now I'm super-duper excited and can't stop writing with exclamation marks!
Sunday, 20 December 2009
It was a great setting for a great party. The mobile BBQ was set up and fired up cooking up steaks and sausages on top of the chicken, pasta and seafood dishes. Shortly after lunch, the kids (and adults) had a go at Robert's pride and joy, the slip and slide. The goats on the other side of the fence sure enjoyed all the bleating and screaming of Auntie Rita!
This was followed by a dip in the warm pool before the kids opened their presents. We drove home weary but happy, stopping at our favourite place for dinner...Mc Donalds! The pictures themselves will tell the story. Enjoy.
Jonah trying to open his present
Calym also trying to rip open his present!
Sunday, 13 December 2009
Mini Ferris Wheel
Once again, the room that was hired was beautifully decked out and packed with goodies for the whole family. The usual favourites were there - face painting, fairy floss, coca-cola galore, coffee cart, lunch, Santa Claus, christmas presents, a toddler area. This year, they managed to squeeze in a jumping castle which entertained Elliot for quite some time. For the first time, we were able to convince Elliot that he should get something other than a "spider" to be painted on his face. His choice was...see below!
Jonah enjoying himself in the toddler area.
The real ferris wheel
One last ice-cream before home time!
Monday, 7 December 2009
Amongst the chaos that was the weekend with ferrying Lara to and from dress rehearsals, getting her dressed, finding a hairnet, the right shade of lipstick, going to the concert, looking for our video camera, grocery shopping, christmas shopping, going to church, sending off Christmas cards, having 2 extra children over, cooking, meeting up with friends, and eating...we managed to find the time to get our christmas tree and put up our Christmas decorations! This included the lights for the outside of the house. We can't disappoint the neightbours now, can we?
Having the tree and decorations up have made us realise just how close Christmas is! The smell of the pine is just sublime. This year, we will be having Christmas lunch with Malcolm's parents and grandfather at the Swissotel in the city. I am really looking forward to the much-advertised chocolate fountain....YUMMMY!
Oh, and one more thing...I managed to make my very first cruise logo! This required overcoming the lack of many technical know-hows so I am very proud of myself!
Saturday, 5 December 2009
Can you see my fluffy tail?
However, I must admit that I was very disappointed with the ballet school. They charged $40 for each adult and a further $2 just to get a home-printed program. This is on top of the $57 that we had to pay for the costume. I really felt for the families for whom this amount is a stretch. As parents, all we want to do is watch our little ones perform. It does not have to be a big production. These are only 4 and 5 year old little girls. I was also quite stressed about getting ready for the concert itself. The hair had to be done this way, the stockings had to be new, she had to have the right shade of lipstick..."a deep mulberry shade, not fire engine red". She must bring hair pins, hair spray, hair gel, foundation etc. We'll be writing a letter to the school but I am not sure if anything will change. We're fortunate that Lara has a wonderful teacher who has the patience of a saint and who is so postive and encouraging. It's a pity the administration/big wigs is so pretentious.
In the meantime, we're trying to figure out how to continue lessons without having to go the concert...
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
I was finally brave enough to write my very first ever pre-trip report on the DISboard. Let's see how that goes
I hope that my new alert - the Disney Cruise Line Horn! - for a new sms isn't too distracting...
Saturday, 21 November 2009
Sunday, 15 November 2009
After settling Jonah and leaving him in my father's capable hands (cough, cough, splutter, splutter), we headed out to the Theme and Variations showroom at Willoughby. Upon entry, my nerves started to surface. My brain went into overdrive "hope he remembers to repeat, hope he remember to play in time, hope he remembers the dynamics, hope he remembers to keep going if he makes a mistake...". Luckily, it appears that Elliot is still completely oblivious to the concept of being nervous.
Elliot on the Steinway concert grand
He walked up to the piano, sat down and started playing without much ado. And he played brilliantly! Maybe that's all that we needed all along, a $300,000 piano. After all, it is for sale...
A close up...Despite the parental anxiety, I still thoroughly enjoyed every single performance. The music truly was beaufiul and the children all remarkably talented. I still can't believe that Elliot made it into the group chosen to perform. I have never been prouder in my life.
The talented little people
To celebrate, we all went to Ribs and Rumps. I lost the battle of wills and ordered a nice juicy cheeseburgers with chips complete with a large glass of coke. The healthy diet can resume another day! Tomorrow, it will be back to the grindstone in preparation for the graduation concert at the Opera House next week.
Friday, 13 November 2009
And it occurred to me that I should boast more about my own son's achievement. What is wrong with me?!?!? Why is the "competitive Asian parent" gene not expressing itself? So here it is, a tribute to little 6 year old Elliot's piano accomplishments.
We have been practising hard in preparation for 2 big concerts, the first being this Sunday. He is part of a small group who have been picked for the concert to raise money for the children in Cambodia, a charity that his piano teacher champions. He will be playing on a $300, 000 9 ft Steinway. As we madly try to get our scales in the Sonatina to be in time with the metronome, I have to be amazed at how far he has come.
We started lessons at 3.5 but had to stop because of my pregnancy with Jonah. This was a huge setback for Elliot. After a break of more than 6 months, we had to "relearn" everything. And this was a hard slog, not to mention discouraging for a little boy. He didn't understand why he couldn't "learn" new songs. To his credit, he never gave up. He would merrily sing along to all the songs and scales that he practices and still does presently. I should video it one day. Although very noisy, it really is quite cute.
I also have to give great kudos to Erica, his teacher. Ever so patient with such a great way with young children, her endless encouragement and clever teaching no doubt played a big role to keeping Elliot motivated. Elliot has not looked back since. He has flown through book 2 and managed to squeeze in 2 graduations this year. He is very proud that he is now a "Book 3" boy. We eagerly await his Sydney Opera House debut on the 21st of November. Well done Elliot! We are so very proud of you.
Here's to the same for my little char siu bau who started lessons 2 weeks ago...
Thursday, 12 November 2009
So let's start with our second placing at trivia tonight with a diminished team! The Fruitloops is a tribute to the good old university days when we would travel all the way to the Bankstown Sports Club for trivia every Thursday. The venue has changed but the day stays the same! Minus Sharon, Paul, Fiona, Mr and Mrs Hooker, the Fruitloops managed to hold steady and win the tiebreak to come second in a field of 15. Personally I am most proud of the fact that I could spell Philippines and that I knew the difference between rigatoni and penne.
I also have to congratulate my dear friends for the cute additions to their families recently, notably Vivien and Eugene with Timothy (miracle baby number 2) and Sharon and Paul with Trinity (the one who didn't want to come out). We also had the pleasure of finding out that 2 of my school friends are pregnant and have the same due date. They are also booked in at the same private hospital! It is so nice to see that friends are finally starting to procreate!
My most exciting news, however, would have to be the prospect of being in a Disney parade in December 2010! I am still in a state of disbelief but a current cast member has offered for our little group of 7 adults and 7 children to be in a DISNEY parade. What started off as an enquiry about how to organise something special fo little Elyssa's birthday has become an absolute dream come true.
Will have to update my Europe, New York and Washington DC research another time. Need to sleep...
Saturday, 24 October 2009
First up, yummy golden fried chicken. It was of the Indonesian sort but no one was complaining. Dinner at Ratu Sari hurt the wallet somewhat, but boy was it satisfying. Kangkung belacan, telor Bali, ikan belado...Mmmmm!
That was followed by some good old ice-cream and waffles. We went to an ice-creamery near Arthur's pizza. It is amazingly still present and looks unchanged from university days. The area around it though has turned into a hotspot. It is apparently the place to be. After finally getting a parking spot, we managed to get ourselves into 2 booths and ordered our poison. The children finished theirs in one breath. It was hard work trying to stop the vultures from devouring our share.
If this is what dining in the states will be like, then BRING IT ON! But first, we diet...
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
So engrossed in my quest for information that I let myself be distracted into reading about Spanish history for 4 hours while trying to find information about a tourist bus. Perhaps my need to "know" down to the minute details may be my undoing. It can't be healthy scouring forums on cruisecritic, thorn tree, tripadvisor and DISboards for hours just to verify the cost of a taxi from Barcelona airport to town...
On the upside, I have discovered that the people on DISboards are quite friendly! We have received offers to be hosted for New Years Eve, offers of a garage to store our luggage and many, many ideas and advice for travel in the United States. Yes, I have switched topic to my "other" Disney holiday... Speaking of which, we have added another family to our Disney adventure...The Marrs!!! It seems like half the church will be away in December.
Which brings me to another realisation. There is just over 9 weeks left before Christmas! I think I really need to update my to-do list. It is too long for me to remember it all in my head.
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
It didn't take long for the routine of the nursery room to come flooding back. Put his bag in his locker, put the sheets on his cot, wash our hands, put his bottle away, make his breakfast and start the day! I had forgotten what a well-oiled machine Mia Mia was. The room was so well set up with such great equipment. Their processes were also well thought out and well-practiced! I was happy to notice that staff were pro-actively cleaning snot off the children's faces with a glove and tissue and then discarding it straight away.
The staff... I couldn't rave about them enough. It was nice to see familiar faces. Out of the four that was on that day, there was only one new face. Their love and dedication for their jobs clearly showed through in the way they interacted with all the children. Boundless patience, plentiful cuddles, playful banter, and all the time striving to engage the children in various ways. They didn't mind me sitting in for the whole day at all.
Jonah seemed to be very interested in his new surroundings. He was confident enough to wander outside away from me on his own and joined another toddler in emptying the baskets of their contents. He was also comfortable enough to let one of the staff put him down for his nap which was a relief for me. Lunch was a big hit. He wolfed down all of it without spitting once! This included large chunks of meat...so the little monster can chew after all!! The civility of meal times at Mia Mia always amazes me. Why can't children behave like that at home?!?!?!
Before long, it was time to go home. Malcolm, bless his soul, took today off to take up "shift" at Mia Mia with Jonah. He was asked to leave after an hour as Jonah seemed to settle in well. He didn't cry, and in fact seemed to enjoy his day. He managed to have two naps albeit short ones and really enjoyed washing his hands...He only protested upon being picked up because he didn't want to stop playing! So all in all, a good start.
It is never easy to juggle family and work but it certainly helps to know that you children are in fantastic hands. Three cheers for Mia Mia!
Saturday, 10 October 2009
Saturday, 3 October 2009
Our Panama Canal cruise booking has meant that other parts of our Disney adventure can now take shape. We have all agreed that the best way to avoid the chaos that is Walt Disney World over Christmas is to hit WDW first up and have a white christmas in New York instead. The Parsons have volunteered to co-ordinate our New York leg while everyone else is busy researching their various sections. This was when I discovered that I had made what turned out to be a most fortunate error. To cut a long story short, I had mistaken dark orange for light orange. This meant that we had booked verandah staterooms which were right at the back of the ship over 3 different decks with solid metal railings rather than see-through plexi-glass ones. Because we could only get category 6A GTY (guaranty) rooms, this means that our rooms won't be allocated until right before our cruise, so Disney can shuffle their guests appropriately. All we know is that we will be guaranteed at least that category for our cruise or better. Our inside room in the meantime, is fixed and is right at the front of the ship on deck 7. I was devastated. What had I done? or rather what had I not done?!?!? Obviously my research was not up to scratch. So I dug deeper.
It appears category 6A rooms only hold 3 people with the exception for 4 handicapped rooms at the back of deck 7 which can hold 4 people. Upon reading the reviews of the rooms and looking at the pictures, I found out that these rooms were nearly double the size of a standard room and had HUGE balconies. Disney also tries to hold these for those who really need it, which means we either get a free upgrade or we get rooms which will give us fantastic views of the Canal!
Yippee!!! I can now concentrate on other important things I have to do over the weekend, like playing boardgames at the Kohsino...
Friday, 2 October 2009
The 21st of September seemed like a lifetime ago. Another monumental life-changing day was to be had on the 28th of September. Why are these dates so important you may ask? As my dear friend Hester would say, "WELL..."
The privileged platinimum and gold members were able to book the Disney 2011 cruises on the 21st of September. I kept nervously refreshing my disboards page as I read posts on member's waiting times on the phone..."got through at 8:03am, waiting time 16 minutes", "got through at 8:12am, waiting time 57 minutes", "8:23, waiting time of 647minutes" WHAT?!?!?! That can't be right. I can't afford to make such a long international call just to be kept on hold. Bugger, what now? The good news was that the cruise hadn't sold out. One of the previous Disney Panama Canal cruise sold out in 4 hours.
The troops had to regather and formulate a new plan of attack. Guerilla warfare was in order here. Our new motto was get on the ship AT ALL COSTS! In the process, we collected another family to join us on our adventures. Woohoo!!! We now have a slightly better adult to children ratio of 7:9. We decided to go with a travel agent, a Disney vacation specialist of course. We armed her with our credit card ready for battle on the 28th of September, when everyone else gets their chance to book the 2011 cruises. She assured us that we were her number 1 priority. We expected no less.
At 9:39pm our time (21 minutes before bookings opened), I logged onto the disboards to discover that online reservations had apparently already started. Frantically, I sent an email to the frontline to let her know (just in case, even though she mentioned that she would be online an hour early and be on the phone as well). She confirmed that she was already online and the stateroom acquisation had begun. By 10:01 pm, she had accomplished her mission of securing our 4 staterooms. By 10:14pm, our category had sold out! 5 minutes after this, early dining had closed.
WAHOOO!!!!! We are going on a Panama Canal cruise!!!!!
Monday, 21 September 2009
Once at my desk, I saw that my laptop was not there and neither was my phone. My first emotion was panic. Would I get to keep my wonderful extension 2600? or had they given it away to someone less worthy? Maria, our administrative assistant will not come in until 0930. Oh well, time for a chai latte. I was aghast to find out that the price of my favourite hot beverage had increased to $1.30. I had to move on and cope with this so I brought my drink with me to enjoy with a Tim Tam while I pondered what to do next.
Amanda, another colleague, had a brainwave and suggested that my laptop could be in the storeroom. She let me in and after rummaging around, we found a laptop. I turned it on only for it to die a few minutes later. After about 30 minutes of failed resuscitation attempts, IT rescued me by advising me to take out the battery pack and re-inserting it. Karen rescued me by finding me my phone. This meant that I could now call Malcolm, Sharon and Vivien in my breaks.
Maria, upon her arrival, informed me that the laptop I had scavenged was not mine. IT was still "refreshing" my laptop and it would be ready by 2pm. Oh well, I guess I couldn't do much work until then. Damn shame as we have a meeting scheduled for 2pm. In the meantime, I wiped down every surface I could see with anti-bacterial wipes and cleared out the previous owner's stationery drawer. After testing out every pen/highlighter/permanent marker, sorting out all the paperclips into large, medium and small, and organising my 3 pairs of scissors, 2 sticky tape dispensers, clips, blu-tack, a regular stapler, a light up stapler, rulers, post-it notes and notebooks, I finally got to visit my most favourite place in the building...the stationery room. It was definitely one of the highlights of my day!
By this stage, I thought I'd better watch Amanda do a few cases on our new database. This didn't take long and before I knew it was time for lunch. Hurray! After lunch, I acquired myself another thermal mug for my tea breaks. It was then meeting time. By the end of the meeting, my laptop still had not arrived. The time had been delayed until 4:30pm. Bummer, I guess its time to have another break. To my joy, I rediscovered why it was so hard not to put on weight when I was working before. There was a lovely selection of cakes and pastries leftover from a meeting. I helped myself to a yummy macadamia nut caramel slice and wondered what would be served for lunch at the meeting tomorrow. After chatting to Malcolm, Su and to Sharon briefly, my laptop finally arrived. I was delighted to discover that I had received one the newer laptops complete with a new bag. I was even happier to find out that on Wednesday, we are all going out for yum cha at Rhodes to farewell Diana (the girl who replaced me while I was on maternity leave).
It was now time to go home. I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful first day back.
Sunday, 20 September 2009
Other than my breaks to have children, I haven't really moved up the career rung. Some will know that I only work for the annual "Lula" Park day. Others have the wrong impression that all I do is ebay at lunchtime and hang around Macquarie shopping centre. Let me tell you the real reason. I work to feed my Disney addiction. Somehow, someone has to pay for all these expensive upcoming holidays! Perhaps the greater significance of tomorrow is the revelation of prices for the 2011 Disney cruises...
In all seriousness, I have conflicting feelings about going back to work. Although the emotions on the surface are those of partial relief for the opportunity to spend some time doing non-children or house related activities, there is a part of me that is deeply saddened by the change that is about to happen tomorrow and what it means.
Working part time over the past few years has always been rewarding because it made me appreciate the best of both worlds. Now that we have had our last baby (yes this is definite and non-negotiable), it makes me even more desperate to hang on to the "home" part of my world, to hang on to the precious moments of my baby's childhood. Going back to work means my baby is growing up! The year has flown by so quickly. I can hardly believe that my baby is about to turn one and is looking more and more like a toddler each day. Suddenly, a career has even less priority than before. I do not want these precious years to be lost. I do not want to worry about how to fit my children around my working days. I want my working days to fit around my children.
I have been very fortunate to have a job that is close to home, part-time, low-stress, pays well, as well as a boss that is very understanding. The company has also been very supportive and understanding during the very difficult months of my pregnancy when I was very ill. All in all, I have been well looked after. To ask for reduced hours during current times would be unfair. And so, I will plough on for the time being. Who knows, maybe the french will one day realise that full time equivalents works much better than having head counts. I only hope that the day arrives sooner rather than later.
Until then, I will just have to savour the 2 weekdays that I am at home and enjoy the HOT chai lattes while I am at work.
Saturday, 19 September 2009
I have too many things on my to do list. On top of all the planning required for our Mediterranean Disney cruise, I now have to divert some of my focus toward Project Orlando in January 2011. This all has to be done at the same time as organising Jonah's birthday party, surviving Little Athletics on Saturdays, planning our next Cuisines of the World dinner, getting ready to go back to work on Monday, as well as studying for Thursday night trivia (I have assigned myself the task of learning flags of the world and African geography).
We had the bone carpenter, Sn0apple and their little cutie Samuel over for dinner this evening. It became obvious that we had to pull up our socks with regard to the planning for our trip in January 2011. Our concern was whether or not the crowd levels on the New Years Day weekend would take away from our total Disney experience. With Disney music, Chim chim cheree to be specific, streaming live in the background, Malcolm made the decision to pay a statistician for his services to forecast the crowd levels in Walt Disney World in early January. He seemed to be suitably qualified and had allocated "weight of importance" to the many variables that affected crowd levels. For example, time of day has a rating of 10, whereas, day of the week had a lower rating.
Things were getting serious. Important decisions had to be made. $10 disposable Walmart phones or walkie-talkie? Which kind of walkie-talkie would be best? Do we all need call signs or code names? Do we need a communications officer? Should we have a dedicated planning wall for the trip or would a simple spreadsheet suffice? How many shore-excursion specialists should we have? Do we need a craft coordinator for the group T-shirts that we are going to make? Who should be assigned the vital task of designing our logo...the Mickey Meeple?
Alas, the meeting had to be adjourned so little Samuel could retire for the night. This gave me the opportunity to look up the reports for the staterooms on the Wonder as well as investigate the new categories that Disney has introduced. I feel much better now that I have our preferred set of staterooms ready to go for September 28. I feel even less anxious now seeing as I also have 5 back up sets ready just in case the first one is unavailable, as well as a list of non-interconnecting rooms that are acceptable.
Friday, 18 September 2009
Today, the Kohsino frequent flyers met up to discuss our strategy. One of the highlights of the day would have to be finding out that our theme park strategist cum secretary had purchased the newly released 2010 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. I was impressed and secretly (ok so not so secretly) chuffed that he took his assignment so seriously.
Whilst munching through our allowed yearly ration of KFC, we formulated a plan. At 11pm sharp on 28 September (that is when the bookings open), Malcolm will hit the phone while I use my touch typing prowess online to try and secure us 2 interconnecting category 9 rooms on the starboard side mid to aft ship with an over-the-corridor inside Category 11 room. Failing that, we will take whatever we can get. Failing that, we will go on a 7 day Disney eastern Caribbean cruise instead.
Other things that were settled on the day included the fact our dining strategist will research the best lobster buffet available, and resident craft guru will create autograph books for character signings for all the children. My mind is already racing with all the extra door magnets that I have to create. So little time...
Friday, 11 September 2009
Malcolm is unfortunately on call the whole weekend. He kindly helped to bake the cake this evening for the fete tomorrow but forgot to add the baking powder so we had to bake the cake again. We are now waiting for the cake to cool so we can ice it with the chocolate icing.
The kids athletics uniforms are ready, snacks prepared, water frozen (hot day forecasted tomorrow), party clothes and shoes chosen, present and card loaded in the car and the baby paraphernalia packed.
If only the sleep would come...
Thursday, 10 September 2009
I was quite hesitant about the whole Saturday sport business. As I spent most of last year with my head in the bucket due the pregnancy, I didn't have the privilege of accompanying Elliot to his cricket games. All I know was that it chewed up a big chunk of our Saturdays. Elliot had decided that he would like to give athletics a go this summer but we didn't take the idea seriously until Lara chimed in that SHE too would like to do little athletics. As opportunistic parents, we immediately signed up for the Northern Suburbs Little Athletics club. Here was our chance to get the children into an activity where they go to the same grounds and at the same time.
On our way to Little Athletics
Somewhere along the line, Lara had decided in her mind that she was a runner. Persistently, she asked if "training" is on today. She would voluntary run around moving her chubby little legs like we'd never seen before. This was contrary to my expectation that she would become a great shot putter (based on her size as a baby). She may have multiple talents and be a decathlete!
On Friday night, as we were looking for their uniforms, we realised that their numbers and badges had to be sewn on. For a household with no needle and thread, this posed a problem. At 10:30pm, there was only one place to go...Malcolm rang his parents and headed there straightaway. The plan was to feign such utter ineptitude that his mother would do the job for him. Well, the plan was nearly executed to perfection. He had to wake his mother first as she asleep and he was made to iron the edges down and tack the pieces on, but she did do the sewing on! And Malcolm got to watch some of the cricket that was on pay TV at his parents...
The next morning, the children excitedly jumped into the car for the 2 minute ride into the sports ground. We dropped Lara off first with her group of Tiny Tots before depositing Elliot with the Under-7-boys.
Elliot did very well. We only just received the results from last week via email. He posted the second best time in the 50m run and the third best time in the 100m run out of 24 boys. And may we add that the boys who came first and second were big strapping boys for their age. He also came 6th in long jump and 9th in discus. After, emphasising to Elliot that Little Athletics was all about improving your best records, we did a little "woohoo" on the side.
Lara surprised us all and also did very well. During the quest to teach the group to run in a straight line, she showed a surprisingly fiery competitive spirit! She looked around and really pumped those legs to make sure she came first. She took each activity during the morning very seriously, even more than Elliot.
We have just read through the "handbook" and discovered that we, as parents, have "duties" such as manning the canteen, set up, pack up, time keeping etc. Bugger...too late now.
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
The day started off well. The baby seemed extra cute and cuddly today and went down for his nap with a smile. Mothers' group kicked off at our home today at 1000. I was feeling nice and relaxed having had the previous hour to browse through a few more trip reports from the 2007 Disney mediterranean cruisers. The study today was on instilling the Christian faith in our children. It felt good to know that despite our imperfections, God had entrusted us with His little miracles to nurture. Although there were moments of fear and feelings of immense responsibilty, I felt even more motivated to be an active rather than a passive christian. Hopefully in the process of trying to be more Christ-like, I will be a much better christian parent and my children will know and love God of their own accord.
During morning tea, I briefly mentioned my thoughts of a possible career change. Being holiday crazy, a career in travel might not be bad idea. My fellow mothers agreed that becoming a travel agent would be worthwhile. So I added this to the list of the many things that I have to do. As the others left, Ethel and I enjoyed some mee pok flavoured instant noodles with fishballs. Mmmm, boy do I miss the hawker centres in Singapore. The things you do to satify cravings!
Malcolm coming home early from work was a pleasant surprise. The happy feeling lasted despite the fact that he had to go back to the hospital to fix the haemorrhoid that re-bled because the patient tried to do a big poo. This (the happy feeling) could have also been due to the fact that I managed to squeeze in an afternoon nap, and woke up to the wonderful aroma of apple cake that Alessandra had baked during my slumber.
Jonah and I had to control ourselves and refrain from eating the cake until dinner time, so we decided to have some of our recommended serves of fruit and veges for the day instead. After sharing a gold kiwi fruit (I make the distinction here as I can't understand how anyone can eat the green variety), Jonah and I amused ourselves by pulling out weeds in the backyard. Well, I pulled out weeds while Jonah randomly pulled out bits of the lawn. I also experimented with the 5 new mock-stone Jamie Drurie solar lights that we bought from Big W while Jonah chewed on the instructions. Mal thinks the light is wussy but I like it. Its nice and has a soft glow, giving out just enough light to see where to put your foot down next. Re-arranging the lights in different positions took up the rest of the afternoon. Before I knew it, Elliot and Lara were back from swimming, it was time for dinner and the kids were in bed.
I now had time to do my research about being a travel agent. It appears that they work very hard for very little pay and that part time work is very hard to come by. So drats, there goes the cheap cruise fares, flights, accommodations and every other discounts that travel agents get. No cheap holidays for me after all.
Monday, 7 September 2009
One thing became apparent very quickly, going in with NO plan about what my fish extender should look like wasn't a good idea. Not only did it magnify my indecisiveness but it also brought out my worst Asian qualities. After dragging around different items in multiple quantities, I finally settled on the FABLER bag. I couldn't decide which colour I wanted. I knew it came in red, green and blue. Red is my favourite colour. The red bags, unfortunately, were out of stock. There were plenty of green ones but they were way down on my preference order. There were only 5 blue bags left. Should I wait until the reds return? Or should I stick with the blue? Maybe I should get a combination of green AND blue? Should I get 2 greens and I blue or 2 blues and 1 green? And then, Sharon asked the worst possible question ever..."Don't you want pockets for Malcolm & yourself?"
OH NO!!!! I now had to decide whether I wanted to have 3 OR 5 pockets! So putting my best kiasu (see definition below) foot forward, I took 3 blue and 3 green bags...just in case. Besides, as Sharon quite rightly pointed out, I could always return them. I wouldn't want the blue ones to sell out as well. The reds may never come back...
Now I had to decide what I should glue the bags on. The choice was endless...there were materials galore, towels, blankets, wraps, aprons all with nicely sewn edges that could be converted to form my fishy backbone. It was all a bit much for my disorganised brain. I decided to call it quits and ruminate some more at home before another shopping expedition. I needed more inspiration.
Looking at my purchases upon reaching home, I suddenly realised I didn't how high the "fish" was on the wall. Will it be high enough to fit all 5 pockets? Luckily for me, DISboards came to the rescue. I found out that it was approximately 6 feet high. I also discovered how to make the Mickey dowel ends that so many people had on their fish extenders. The one thing I haven't got the answer to is the weight capacity of the fish. I will keep trawling...
As I end this post to continue organising my baby's birthday party, I keep thinking about what Sharon said today. Perhaps I should let Ethel know about the fish extender business. She does sew, and she is super creative. Plus she has a sewing machine. Maybe her machine can embroider the Disney font...
Kiasu = a hokkien word that literally means 'fear of losing'. Used to describe the must win, never lose mentality of Singaporeans.
The "Extender" as posted by GoofyIsAsGoofyDies on DISboards "is anything that you care to hang on the fish. Literally anything will qualify, but in general, they are usually some type pocket organizer similar to a shoe caddy or mail organizer. They can be as simple as a canvass bag or as complex as your imagination cares to stretch."
Here is one of many made by very creative and dedicated people who cruise Disney. I found this particular one made by LuvTheEars on DISboards (where else??!?!?!). Cruisers then use the fish extender as a medium for gift-exchange. The intricacies, rules and etiquette are described at length in the forums. For the moment, the purpose of mine will be for gifts for the children "from" Mickey.
I have thought long and hard about how to make mine. I am not particularly creative nor am I a genius with a needle and thread. Having dragged my mother-in-law (She is a sewing guru. She made a life-size Gremlin costume for Malcolm) with two children to the mega spotlight at Auburn last week, it is clear that my skills are definitely lacking. As multi-talented as I like to think I am, I am dubious about my capability to be able to sew so many bits of material together. There is also the small problem of not owning a needle and thread, let alone a sewing machine. So its off to IKEA we go to browse for suitable "components" that I can hot glue together.
Sunday, 6 September 2009
I never did get to wrap the sucker-blower that Malcolm bought for himself last night. So early this morning, Elliot, Lara and I strategised as to how best to present "Daddy's present". In the end, the kids decided that it was easier to just put the big cardboard that we had sitting in the corner over the gift. That way, we wouldn't waste paper. My parents would be proud that their grandchildren had inherited this ancient Chinese trait of thriftiness. Elliot then wrote a big "SURPRISE" on the cardboard box. Lara nominated herself as the person who would shout "SURPRISE". The scene was set, the coffee was made...and then I noticed that my microwave rice-cooker was completely warped. I could not withhold myself from letting out a scream. Malcolm came down immediately. Amid the heated discussion of how the amazing feat of destroying the microwave dish was possible, the Father's Day "surprise thing" got waylaid. We realised we were going to be late for church, quickly did the "surprise thing" and headed out.
After church, we did the obligatory barbeque at Malcolm's parents. It was a lovely day to spend lazing on the grass, but not quite lovely enough to stop us from visiting the Kohsino to trial out Jason's new game. Having satisfied Malcolm's gaming urges ("It's the one thing that I WANT to do today"), we did our grocery shopping, hurried through a McDonald's dinner and went home.
We are pooped, so despite the fact that the children had been rolling all over the ground. We say, "Bugger the bath". Besides, there is cricket to watch on T.V.....
Saturday, 5 September 2009
Let's talk about the wonderful bits. My friend looked absolutely stunning and radiated happiness. The wedding has been a long time coming and we felt privileged to be a part of it. The venue, the groom's parents' home, was beautiful and was a lovely backdrop for the ceremony. The speeches were great to listen to, and it was nice to catch up with friends.
The sad bit is that I had to veer away from Disney for the day. And it appears that I may have to do this for a few days yet. For in my current Disney focused state, I had nearly forgotten to organise my little baby's first birthday. Bugger me!
Oh, and that reminds me. I'd better go to the garage to wrap the sucker-blower that Mal bought for himself so the children can give it to him first thing in the morning tomorrow for Father's Day.
Friday, 4 September 2009
And then, we booked ourselves a Disney holiday. We will be cruising the mediterranean not just on any ship, but on a DISNEY ship. Yes, that's right! We are going on a Disney cruise! We didn't even know that Disney had their own cruise line. We accidentally stumbled across it whilst surfing the net for our planned 2011 Disneyworld trip (Yes we're going on another Disney holiday!). When we saw the "kids sail free" promotion for the mediterranean cruise, we knew it was too good a deal to pass up. Besides, we HAD to make sure that Malcolm could handle being on a ship before going on a cruise in the caribbean in 2011...
Suddenly, the yearning for everything Disney was re-ignited. I now salivate whilst dreaming about churros. I hum Disney tunes constantly. I discover and recite mundane Disney facts. I get annoyed that my disney DVD collection is not complete. I dream about towelgami. I feel happy simply thinking about Disney. I am sure everyone around me thinks that I am mad. Luckily, my partner in crime, Malcolm, understands! He has enough "boy" in him to embrace the magic that is Disney and enjoy rather than be cynical about the whole thing.
And then, the panic set in. How are we going to get there? Which flights would work best? How much is this going to cost? Where are we going to stay in Barcelona? Do we need US dollars onboard? Is Jonah too young for this? There were so many questions that needed answers. There was so much to do. There was only just under 8 months to do it in.
And so, the planning started. And oh boy, did it start! I discovered the Disney forum, and found other Disney freaks who were more freaky than me by a hundred fold. If you want to find out about anything Disney, you will find it there. The threads fuelled my previously dormant obsessive compulsive disorder. I even forgo sleep to be on the forums. Those who know of my love for sleep may not believe this. As a result, I now know all sorts of esoteric information on cruising with Mickey. As incredulous as I found the people on the board and their dedication for Disney, I quickly discovered that I fit right in and that I enjoyed lurking around the forums. So much so that I befriended someone whom I have never met on facebook just so that I can read his blog about his Adventure with Disney (tours that Disney provides...something new to try down the line...) I want to be IN... the whole hog. I don't want to be half-hearted. I am proud to announce that I am a Disney fan.
I am on a mission. I am so inspired that I have convinced myself that I NEED to make fish extenders for the children. That will be project 1. Project 2 will be to make magnetic door decorations. My parents, who are also coming on the cruise, don't know about this yet. I am too embarassed to tell them just yet. I will just have to show them my creations. Project 3 is to make a water-bottle holder that was inspired by our travels to the hilltribes of Thailand and Vietnam in our early 20s. It will be crocheted out of recycled plastic bags. I only have to make 6. How hard can it be?!?!? Surely a mother of 3 children who is going back to work in 2 weeks time can do this.
Wish me luck. I will keep you posted on my progress.
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Is that the baby I hear?!?!? Drats, I'll have to start tomorrow.