Friday, January 30, 2015

Month in Recap: A Wholesome Life in January

 
Hello, Friends! Can't you believe it's almost February already? It feels New Year's Eve was just yesterday, and all of sudden a month has already gone by. Where did all the days go?
 
Anyway, you might wonder what's so special about the picture of late afternoon sky with lots of sunshine shared above. You might know that I live in the tropics and sunshine is almost all year round, rite. Well, it IS very special because for the past couple of weeks the days were all grey and gloomy and cloudy and overcast and raining! Just last Friday, I woke up around 3.30 in the wee hour of the morning, and found that the bed next to me was empty. I found Hubby in the next room and asked what he was doing so early in the morning, especially since it was dumping rain outside so bed was the comfiest place right now.  He was like, "Errr, honey, I think you should know that the flood is coming and water has entered our front yard."
 
We went downstairs, opened the front door and found this...
 
 
The neighborhood security team - four of them - was busy building sandbags right in front of our door so the water cannot enter the house, and we were really grateful. The road was heavily flooded so we decided to skip going to the office and just work from home. The strangest thing is, every year for the past three years since Michael was born, there is always one day of heavy flood in January, and it always occured on Friday around 3 am in the morning! Well, perhaps the Lord wanted me and Hubby to have a long weekend at home with our son. Haha!
 
Luckily the electricity and water ran just okay. I always stockpile at least a week's worth of canned food, drinking water, milk, eggs, instant noodles, meat, fruit and vegetables during the rainy season, or pretty much all year round, so we didn't need to worry. Our household needs were pretty much covered. I also keep non food basic staples such as soap, shampoo, feminine pads, baby diapers, laundry detergent, dish soap and man toiletries. I try to keep a minimum inventory of all those items, so I won't need to dash to the grocery store because we run out of soap, for example. If we run out of something non crucial - which almost never happened - we just do without until the next grocery trip. I consider going for unplanned grocery shopping a waste of time and money; hence I always keep the pantry well supplied.
 
It turned out to be a wise thing to do. Around noon, one of the security team sheepishly came over to our house amidst the knee-high flood; and asked if we could lend him some instant noodles because he didn't have anything to eat. Usually the men just buy their ready-to-eat lunch boxes and coffee from street vendors; but because of the flood, no vendor was opened for business that day. I sent him away with two plastic bags full of goodies: coffee, rice, instant noodles, eggs, some bread, strawberry and pineapple spread for the bread, and crackers. They were very grateful that all four of them showed up at our doorstep later on in the afternoon when the water had subsided a little bit, to clean up our garage.
 
One tip if you ever find your family in a situation where it's flooded around the house, but the water still has not entered the house: spread crunched salt right in front of your water sewage holes, bathrooms, doors and windows, so all kinds of animals and insects like snakes, cockroaches, and others will not come inside your house when they run away from the flood.
 
They say that in every cloud there's a silver lining. Despite of the flood, we have many things to be thankful for. Staying home on Friday had its own advantage. I could finish reading this book that I just got, about a drop out high school man, who - with the help of his friends - successfully opened a MacDonald's -like fast food chain with tempe - some kind of soy-based healthy food - as its main food staple. The story is interesting and intriguing, even if not too realistic.
 
 
A day off also gave me additional time to spend with my son. Here he was, insisting to put on baby powder on his own. Of course, he ended up like a little clown, but I let him had his fun. Besides, it's a good practice for motoric skills development.
 
 
He looks very proud of the finish look. Hahaha!
 
 
He also had a lot of fun playing up with Mom's winter hat. Michael doesn't like wearing his own red hat, because it makes him looks "too cute", like a little girl. But he enjoys fooling around with many odds and ends around the house. Here he is, playing around with my hat.
 
 
His various silly poses...
 
 
And his various expressions... Just adorable! It's the highlight of the flood day. Haha!
 
 
 
I also had time to switch my Christmas corner, and turned it into pink and red corner for Valentine and auspicious Chinese New Year celebration, both will fall in mid February. The reds are my cloth dining napkins, and the pink spread is my pink robe that came to match my pink night gown. To support the seasonal festivities, I scattered some objects that have Chinese feel to it like Chinese tea cup set, gold piggybank, and red Chinese "hongapo" envelope, green jade-like figurines, and Chinese porcelain eggs in white and blue; - and pink and objects that come in pair to celebrate the season of love: the Chinese eggs come in pair, also the Mandarin ducks, the pink chicklit book, the pink Hello Kitty thermos, a husband and wife porcelain figurine, even a fuschia Victoria Secret's body spray! Again, you don't need to always buy all kinds of seasonal items to celebrate numerous holidays. Just use creativity and items you already had. It's fun, frugal, and you don't need to waste all that extra space that you'll need if you buy new decorations every year.
 
 
 
While Mommy was getting busy, Daddy was babysitting. ^__^
 
 
See? Michael even had a lot of fun playing hats with a Body Shop gif box that I got for Christmas!
 
 
 
The gloomy weather called for cheerful outfits, so I had been wearing lots of fun colors and accessories for work: pink, mint, and lemon yellow. If you think it's spring colors, remember that I live in the tropics where it's pretty much spring and summer all year round. Haha!
 
 
 
In January, Michael was able to try out his new outfits that friends and relatives gave for his birthday, because we almost always go out during the weekend with him. It was nothing fancy. Just some shoirt excursions to a nearby restaurant, to the mall, etc.
 
One Saturday we took him to a restaurant with very unique decor: the interior is like the inside of a submarine, and the tables are aquariums with fish, lobsters and turtles in them. Real, live ones! Michael had such a good time pointing out to every table and asked with his little voice: "What's this fish, Mommy? Mommy, there is fish! Look, fish over there, too! Fish everywhere!" We arrived at five o'clock to avoid the dinner crowd, so Michael could freely roam about the restaurant and saw every single different aquarium table to his little heart pleases.
 
He wore this new shirt with cute whale prints on it, from Aunt Dina, a coworker of mine.
 
 
 
 
 
Since Michael is two years old now, we thought it's about time to take him to Church with us. The mass schedule is during his dinner time, so we had to play around his schedule a little bit, but it's OK. He's a big boy now. We were worried he would make a fuss at Church, but turned out he behaved much better than I did at his age. Of course, sitting quietly for ninety minutes is not easy for an active toddler, but he bore sweetly. He got bored and asked from time to time: "Mommy, is it over yet?", but overall he behaved really well. His Daddy could not have been prouder.
 
He wore this thick train shirt and long jeans for Church, because it's cold inside the Church. He wore proper shoes, too, instead of his sandals!
 
 
 
 
 
On another weekend, we took him to the mall.
Here he wore his new kangaroo shirt from my mother in law.
 
 
 
We ate pancake for brunch and I let him played with a bread knife, telling him to hold the handle only because "If you touch the other side, it will hurt." It's good to learn to be careful, as long as he's within adult's supervision.
 
 
Michael was having fun looking all round the stores, the people, running around, jumping up and down the escalator with his Daddy, and he refused to go home, telling me that "I don't want to go home just yet, Mommy! I'm not sleepy!"
 
 
Of course, just ten minutes after his earlier protests, he refused to walk on his own, asked his Daddy to carry him up, and fell asleep. Ha! Not sleepy, eh? *giggle*
 
 
At work, a coworker and friend of mine, Fanny, and another ex coworker, Nana, celebrated their birthdays at Angke, a famous Chinese restaurant. We have been friends for over six years now, and we do hope that we will stay friends for many years to come. Funny, the first time we met, all of us were single, then as the years went by, we witnessed each other getting a married, had a child, and be a mom. We shared stories of our pregnancies, our child rearing, our husbands.
 
So thankful that I have this well rounded, wholesome life. God, family, home, friends, work, each and every one of them add a certain and unique color, texture and richness to this patina of life!


Next week to do list:
  • Read Ecclesiates Chapter 1 of the Bible.
  • Hang new picture on the 1st floor nursery.
  • Make and upload new video about Valentine/Chinese New Year frugal decorating to YouTube.
  • Write 1 fashion post.
  • Profit taking from mutual fund investment.
  • Print bank statements.
  • Join multi-level-marketing for High Desert bee products and buy one product for my own health. (I've tried the product out of desperation, and it had worked wonders for my allergy and migraine.)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Week in Recap: The First Ten Days

Hello, Friends!
 
Can you believe it's already the middle of January? Sometimes I still write "2014" when signing something, and here we are, almost entering February!
 
This is the first activity that we did on January 1. Hubby and I woke up around 6 in the morning, then we took our son to a nearby park to play with the swing. It's a morning off day ritual that we savor. Hubby and Michael are both early risers, so they have their father and son bonding time about three times a week, by going to the park just the two of them. Mommy needs her extra snooze, so I join them on off days and weekends. What a simple, positive and wonderful way to start 2015 with my treasured husband and son!
 
 
Early January was Michael's second birthday. We had a simple celebration at home with a chocolate Christmas roll cake than happened to look a bit like a locomotive (Michael is so into trains nowadays). The cake was a gift from my mother in law, who couldn't be there on the D-day since both my parents in law were vacationing to Perth, Australia.
Have you ever experienced those annoying occassions when you needed something, you knew you had it in the house, but you couldn't remember where you placed it? I already prepared candles for Michael's birthday cake, and on the day, I searched everywhere and couldn't find it. Fortunately, the two red sugar mushrooms on top of the cake looked a bit like candles, so they represented the two candles for his second birthday!
Michael is such a simple kid. All he wanted for his birthday was to ride a choo-choo train at a nearby big grocery chain. So we went there and he rode the choo-choo train three times!
 
Some people asked me why we didn't throw a huge birthday party for our son. Well, we did had a family party with lots of food and presents to commemorate his first birthday, but we don't believe in having huge birthday party for a toddler, because that would be the parents who want it, not the child! Besides, we tend to familiarize our son with simple, frugal life, first. He can be introduced to "branded" kind of life later, because Hubby and I believe that it's much easier to get used to the finer things in life - material wise - , than the other way around. We look upon ourselves and how our parents raised us. My parents taught me a simple, frugal life. As I got older, I began to experience a more "glamorous" kind of lifestyle, with parties, clubbing, branded goods, yacht trips, vacation to Europe, etc. However, I had my feet solid on the ground, and as much as I enjoyed it, it never became a burden, a must, or the most important thing in life for which I have to parlay my life or values for, and I believe it's because of my background and upbringing. Thank you, Mom and Dad!
 
 
 
 
 
 
On the weekend, Hubby and I celebrated New Year by having dinner at Grand Cafe at the Grand Hyatt Hotel downtown. It was my favorite hotel and mall and place to hang out, and we went after New Year, so we skipped the "special" rate for New Year's Eve dinner, which was exorbitant. By waiting a day or two, the rate went down significantly to its regular price, but the New Year's atmosphere is still there; thus we got the best of both: New Year's celebration at this posh place, still in festive mood, but without the "festive" price. Well, I don't mind celebrating New Year a bit late if I could get a get deal out of it!
 
 
 
I wore a new batik dress and I really like the horisontal patterns! It looks like three different fabrics sewn together, but actually it's the original design just the way it is. Batik is a traditional Indonesian fabric, and since we are both proud Indonesian Chinese, we wanted to wear something truly Indonesian to celebrate 2015. Hubby took pictures of me in front of a Hermes boutique which was closed down due to renovation, and I jokingly asked Hubby if I could get a Hermes bag for New Year's present.
 
 
 
I'm not a sucker for branded goods, and I usually refure to spend more than fifty bucks for a purse; - often much less than that - but Hubby wants me to have nice things once in a while. When purchasing high quality bag that cost quite a lot of money, I always, always, choose one made from real leather. Not nylon, not fabric, not faux leather. If I were going to spend a month's rent on a bag, it better be on something that I could carry for many years to come, and will not wear and tear on the second year. 
We went around the mall, and I stumbled upon a Furla boutique, where I fell for these two bags. The store happened to have a year-end sale, so Hubby encouraged me to get one. It was pretty difficult to choose, since both purses are lovely, but I finally chose the camel colored one, since the metal design is quite unique and I don't have that color in my collection. I already had a red handbag. The picture doesn't do it justrice really, the camel bag is really beautiful and super elegant. I love it. Thank you, Hubby!
 
 
When Michael was born, we received a lot of gifts. Sometimes we got similar gifts, and ended up with like four diaper bags, two activity chairs, which I ended up giving to friends. We got this really expensive Maxi Cosi Opal car seat that we never used since we already got another car seat. I was thinking to sell it online, but never really got down to it until last November when I finally listed it for sale. For more than a month, nobody made an inquiry about the car seat, and I was thinking ro reduce the price a bit, but then with the holiday and everything, I forgot all about it. Well, lucky me! When I was having a vacation in Semarang, a young man, a new father of a newborn babygirl messaged me and asked about the carseat. On the first weekend of 2015, we met at a nearby mall, and he bought the carseat on the spot, so I got some spare money! If I reduced the price on the first place, I would have received much less for the price of the carseat.
 
I used some of the money to buy some Christmas ornaments for our next Christmas. January is the best time for early Christmas shopping, since the price of almost everything is reduced by 50-70%! Hubby have longed wanted a white Christmas theme, and this year, he will finally get his wish!
 
 
I spent the rest of the money to treat my team. They asked for lunch at Duck King, which is a rather expensive restaurant, but I didn't mind, since I already planned it since December when Lisa asked me to donate more for office party, which I refused. She agreed that she prefer I spend the money for this lunch than on office party. Haha!
 
It might sound extravagant, but I like to start the new working year on a positive, cheery, upbeat note. As the team leader, my job is not only to get things done, but also make sure that I motivate my team to keep bettering themselves. It's like what one of my Managers said: "First, you feed us, then you whip us to work the best we can do!" Hahaha! That's correct!
 
 
Lastly, these are gifts that Michael received for his birthday. Hubby's sister spent Christmas vacationing to Texas, USA, and she got him toys like cars and puzzles, military style shirts and cargo pants. Also, a girl at the office, Dina, bought him new outfit that is super cute, with tiny whale prints all over the shirt. Hubby's parents bought him T-shirts from Australia, with kangaroos and koalas on them, and my parents got him new clothings with dalmatian prints, as well. Thank you, All! We already got him new house clothes and new shoes, but we haven't got the chance to buy him any going-out clothes, so these presents are totally useful!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Last Week(s) of 2014 in Recap: At Home, Outside, N Office


Hello and happy New Year 2015, Friends!

It's been more than a month since the last time I blogged, and so many things had happened! I hope you have had a wonderful holiday. I've missed writing this weekly journal and I am so happy to begin again.

So here's what have been going on for the last weeks of 2014.

At home

Rainy season has begun here in Indonesia. Evenings are often cold and wet, so we often just stay at home playing with Michael, reading stories to him, building blocks and playing hide and seek. We are not the kind of parents who let our child play with gadget too much, but we do allow him to watch children's songs on YouTube from time to time. We also teach him to draw with coloring pencil. By now, Michael has learnt that he is only allowed to draw or "write" on notebooks, not on Mommy and Daddy's sheets and sofas and walls, especially when he was using Mommy's permanent marker! Yup, there were many "drawings" with pen that won't wash off on our furniture, but we didn't make a big deal out of it. Michael was learning, and he learned fast what he should do and what he should not.




Michael takes his bath time in a standing shower, not in the bath tub. He usually sits down on a piece of plastic when I bath him, because I don't want him sitting on the bathroom floor. One day, during lunch hour, I went to Daiso - sort of Japanese Dollar Store - and found this super cute, tiny chair in happy blue color. It is made of plastic, quite sturdy, and best of all, it has some sort of anti-slip rubber under all its four legs, so the chair doesn't move easily. It's just a bit tiny, I wish it were bigger so Michael could use it for longer period, but it is perfect for Michael to sit on when he takes his bath, so I snatched it! Michael likes it very much! We don't shower Michael with too many material things, he usually just make do with everything that he finds around the house to play with - we don't even bring toys in his diaper bag, because he will always, always, find something to play with, say, a spoon and salt and pepper shaker when we take him out to restaurants - but he does appreciate anything that we give him. For the first few days of receiving the blue chair, he would carry it everywhere with him and telling everybody that "Mommy bought me a new chair!"


Going Out

In my younger days, I used to go clubbing till the wee hour of the morning. After college, I grew out of it, prefering to hang out at coffee shops instead. Now that I'm married, I prefer to stay at home. However, once in a while, Mommy and Daddy need to release their inner wild side! Hubby got VIP ticket to the biggest outdoor rave party in town - Djakarta Warehouse Project - , and he asked if I would like to tag along. I thought, why not, I haven't been going clubbing for years, so there's no harm in tagging along this time.

"What should I wear?" I asked him.
"Oh, I don't know. Clubbing clothes?" he replied.
Nice, how do I suppose to know what young people wear when they go clubbing these days? I know it's outdoor, and last year it was raining hard on the venue, so many girls this year opt for simple clothes of shorts and tank tops and flip flops. Still, since I made a concious decision to dress more modestly, I no longer feel comfortable showing so much skin. I never wear anything above mid thigh anymore, except for underwear and swimwear!

I finally decided on a sleeveless gold dress that hit above the knee. It was eyecatching because of the gold color, and has a "clubbing" feel, but it doesn't show too much legs nor cleavage.

Well, it was a fun night out. We left the house around 10.00 pm. We hung out at the VIP booth with free flow drinks, which I didn't care, since I don't drink alcohol. The music was good, the atmosphere was hip, young and fun, and loud. It was reminiscence of the time when I was young and free and didn't have a care in the world, but I found out that I really had grown out of it. And Hubby, as well. By 1 am we were ready to leave and went back home to our non glamorous, absolutely wonderful family life. ^__^




Old Friends

I met a high school friend in December who sell High Desert health products and multivitamins for a living. I didn't know that before, but I happened to share my predicament in my high school chatting groups about this terrible migraine that I always suffer during my period. Every month, I would have two non-productive days because of this hormonal sickness, and it really tortures me. When the migraine hit, it is painful even to read a book or speak. Even sleeping is a painful effort. That's 24 days a year! Some friends share their success story of consuming High Desert products, so I decided to buy a bottle from Johan, the friend whom I mentioned. It is quite expensive, but I will try it for three months to see if it works. Because if it works, it will be worth every penny! Wish me luck!


At The Office

We had an office year-end party. We all were supposed to wear Disney costumes, but people ended up wearing Arabian costume, newspaper costumes, reindeer, Ironman, etc. I wore an Arabian-style three-quarter length pants, a blue top, and braided my hair with a blue scarf to imitate Princess Jasmine. Well, Oriental Jasmine, anyway. Hahaha! It was really fun. 
 
For the food, everybody was asked a contribution of two dollars, and one of the girls asked if I would like to contribute more. I looked her straight in the eye and said, "No." She was perplexed because I usually were willing to contribute more to office events. "I'm not willing to contribute more because I have to write down the amount I contribute on the sign up paper for all the world to see, " I explained to her. Then I smiled, "Besides, I have a better plan with the money that I should be contributing today." Lisa, one of the young admin staff, laughed and said, "OK, Mam, I believe that you do." 
 
Well, I do have a plan on how I'm going to make my contribution, but my team will not find out until next year! Secret!

 
On New Year's Eve
 
I was pregnant during our honeymoon, and the pregnancy was a difficult one, so for our first New Year's Eve as a married couple, Hubby and I could not go anywhere. So, Hubby decided that since he didn't want to get bored to death, - because during the whole nine months I could not go anywhere except around our neighborhood, and he doesn't like going out without his wife - he would learn how to cook. Turned out he is a good cook! He cooked for New Year's Eve, and over the years, it has become our family tradition. He would cook for New Year's Eve dinner, then we would eat and watch TV to see how people celebrate NYE all over the world. Then we prayed and went to sleep. This year, on January 31 morning, the three of us, me, Hubby and our son, went to the nearest grocery store to purchase meat, vegetables, fruit and other things that Hubby needed to cook our NYE feast. Too bad I forgot to take pictures of what he cooked!
 
Michael is a toddler now and he loves to help! Here he's helping Mommy to push the shopping cart. ^__^
 
 
This is the man of mine cooking our NYE dinner. He cooked my favorites: fried chicken with lots of spices, shrimp sauteed with some butter and oyster sauce, and vegetable dish.
 
He is a good provider, a father who takes our son for walks almost every morning (and changing diaper so his wife can snooze a little longer), he cooks, and he is the family clown. What more a wife to ask for? Haha!
AND he cleans the kitchen after the cooking session! Lol.
 
Goodbye, 2014! Thank you for everything!
Hello, 2015! Bring it on!
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