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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sexy Halter Neck Dress

We were looking through some photos on the computer when Elyssa spotted this photo of herself:

Her immediate comments were : "Why Elyssa shame shame? Why Elyssa never wear shirt one? Ai Yoh! So shame shame!".

Ha ha hahh...... she didn't know her dress was so sexy (since she could only see the front but not the back of the dress) although she wore it for a few hours when we were out shopping recently. I wonder if she will reject wearing this dress again next time ;)

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Things She Says

Every night before Elyssa sleeps, I hear the same words from her:

"I don't want to Oi Oi. I don't want to sleep. I don't want to close eyes. I don't want to rest". (she says the last part cos I used to tell her if she doesn't want to sleep, she can just close eyes or just rest)

But last night, when daddy asked her why she was such a cry baby that day :
"Daddy.... don't talk to Elyssa. You go downstairs. Elyssa want to sleep now". - then made a big show of putting her palms together on the pillow and closing her eyes. (with her eyebrows all furrowed up)

When I reprimand her, I give her "the stare" and say ELYSSA! in a fierce tone.

Few nights ago, she told me:
"Mummy, you don't say ELYSSA! like that. So fierce one. I don't like. Don't say ELYSSA! like that ok? OK Mummy? " followed by a sweet smile.

*Sigh*. Only 2 and half years old but her responses just makes me shake my head!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mid-Autumn Celebration

Last weekend, we attended a neighbourhood mid-autumn celebration.
Elyssa was excited when I told her we were going to attend a "TangLong Party" :)
Hubby was excited too - when we were doing grocery shopping the night before the celebration, he suddenly decided he wanted to take part in the Homemade Lantern competition. He bought a big bottle of mineral water, some crepe paper and double sided tape then happily started his project that night.
And this was the final outcome of his project -
Not bad eh? Other than the 3 items he bought, the rest were recycled items like flowers and netting from an old fruit basket and decoration from an old mooncake box. Side note : I hope Elyssa got her daddy's creative and artistic genes! And not mummy's "draw cat, but don't look like cat, draw dog but don't look like dog" genes. Ha hahhhh !!! Meanwhile, I've appointed hubby as Elyssa's Artistic Director :)
The "TangLong Party" that night started with a walk around the football field with everyone carrying their lanterns. Quite a big turnout -probably around 100 people. It was a pretty sight indeed. No photos tho since we had 3 lanterns among the 3 of us (one with a real candle so we had to be careful) and I had to hold Elyssa's hand cos we were walking on the pavement by the side of the road.
After the lantern walk, it was back to the basketball court for FOOD ! There was plenty of good food (mainly pot-luck from residents) such as roast lamb, satay, fried beehoon, fishballs, curry chicken, jellies, nuggets, yamcakes, chocolate cakes etc.
Some photos -

Elyssa with her lantern.
She preferred the lantern that my SIL bought rather than the one daddy made for her. I think cos this one is lighter.

Elyssa with cousin Justin koko. My bro + family came slightly later than us so we didn't walk together during the lantern parade

Two tents of yummy food

"That's MY lantern! "

After everyone filled up their tummys, there were activities for the kids followed by a tai-chi and line dancing session. Elyssa joined in for a while only. She wasn't in a particularly good mood cos she only had a short 20 minute nap the whole day. She didn't cry but she didn't want to participate in any of the activities. Not even dancing with "Ah Mah" during the line dancing session.

One of the games for kids. Ha ha..... how come the "Ah Mah" looks like she's enjoying herself more than the 3 grandkids??

We hung around until it was time to announce the results of the Lantern Competition. There were plenty of consolation prizes with 2 main prizes - Most Creative Lantern and Most Beautiful Lantern. The Most Creative Lantern prize went to a young boy who created a beautiful hexagon shaped lantern using old egg cartons.

And the Most Beautiful Lantern went to................ Elyssa's lantern! Yay !!!! Clap Clap to hubby!

Hubby and Elyssa receiving a hamper from the VIP that night

Overall, a very well organised event indeed! I heard that discussions have already started for next year's event. I'm looking forward to it!

Friday, September 17, 2010

2 Years, 5 months old

Slightly late monthly update cos this mummy was obsessed with finishing Taiwan holiday write-up :)

About Elyssa:

1. Weight : 13+ kg
Height : to be updated

2. She is currently going through two major phases.

Phase 1 - Asserting Independence : I want to do MYSELF"
She thinks she can do whatever we adults do. Like wanting to push the luggage trolley at the airport, taking heavy bags or using keys to open a locked door. Even when we explain to her why she can't, her response is always a confident "I can". I discovered the best approach is to just let her try then wait for her next words..........."Mummy, can you HELP me please". ;)
But of course the "wait" approach doesn't work on all occasions like when she says "I want to swim myself" when she's not wearing any arm floats!

Phase 2 - Curiosity : "Why Mummy? Why? Because WHY?"
Aaarghhhh...... she can drive me nuts with her constant questions !!! Not just on things that are new to her. Hubby and I can't even laugh in the car without her saying "Why you laugh? Why you laugh at Elyssa? (Yes, she thinks everything is about her)

3. One good outcome from the recent Taiwan trip is that she stopped her nightly before-bed-milk. That used to be an unnecessary feed cos her dinner is less than 2 hours before bedtime.
We noticed that since she such a stickler to habits, the best way to break them is through a change in environment. Like how she stopped her middle of the night feed when I went to Beijing (she stayed with my parents during that week) and how she accepted the car seat when I went to US.

4. I seem to have a bossy story for almost all her monthly updates ;). Like last weekend - less than 10 minutes after I thought her how to position herself on the steps of the baby pool, she started telling me what to do "Mummy, you must put your hand like that..... yes, correct......yes, you must do like Elyssa like that".
Often at home, she likes to dictate how we sit, where we put our feet, where to put our hands etc.

5. When she is in good a mood, she can be a big show off! I was at my parents place recently when my mum's friend came for a visit. Elyssa asked me to put on a CD and started dancing in front of the visitor. And of course she loved it when everyone clapped and praised her! *roll eyes*

6. She can be a cry baby at times. Wail and wail and wail until we also want to wail. But no matter how much she is wailing she can still stop halfway to say "Yes" when we offer her food or start munching when we stuff food into her mouth.

Ok, this is unrelated but I just like this "Double Elyssa" photo. :)

Final Post (yes, finally!) on Taiwan

Phew.......... I'm finally done with my ALL of my Taiwan posts!

Definitely a record for me in terms of :
1) number of words per post
2) number of photos per post
3) frequency of posts - 9 posts in 7 days!
4) time taken to write each post - longer time spent compared to my typical posts.

But I enjoyed the process as well. While writing, I felt I was "re-living" the holiday for the second time :)

It was truly an enjoyable holiday. As I wrote in my first post of the holiday , I called up Malaysian Airlines hoping to extend our time there. What I didn't elaborate was that I actually called up AGAIN the following day, practically begging to be put on the wait list ;) But negative results for both.

Before the holiday, I had people asking me why hubby and I were bringing Elyssa along. (The simple answer is there's really not much choice. I think it's too tiring for my parents or my MIL to take care of Elyssa day and night for a week, especially when the reason is for us to enjoy, not like it's work or something). After the holiday, I had a lot of people asking me how Elyssa was.

Actually, we are real lucky that Elyssa is a good traveler :) She eats anything and everything, so food is not an issue. (we brought her milk powder there but didn't even make a single bottle cos she just ate what we ate). The only problem we have with her is when she refuses to walk and wants to be carried. She's pretty heavy too at 13+ kg! I can't carry her for long so most of the time it's hubby who carries the princess. He says it's like his daily weight training :)

And luckily, she's at the age where it's very easy to entertain her. With just simple games, she can giggle and laugh like we are the best entertainers in the world ;)

On Taiwan itself, it was definitely amazing. It's funny that I never thought Taiwan had that much to offer until I did my trip research. Looking back, my favourite part of the whole trip was the Taroko National Park. But I enjoyed the Gold Ecological Park at Jinguashi too. And the hotsprings at BeiTou. And the Fishermans Wharf. And going around XiMenDing area. And....... err, you get the drift. I enjoyed a LOT of things in Taiwan.

Signing off the last of the Taiwan posts with a photo of the 3 of us at our favourite place :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Taiwan Holiday - Day 8

Last day in Taiwan :(
Our flight was at 3pm so Day 8 was actually less than half a day.

As usual, started the day with breakfast at the hotel.

My standard breakfast - 2 bowls of plain porridge with pork floss, fried egg and fried cabbage. Simple but nice and filling. I kinda miss this!

Since Day 8 is only a "half day" post, let me digress a bit to the Taipei hotel - we stayed at "Say Love Hotel" for 6 nights. Room rate was RM190 for weekdays and RM220 for weekends (for the room type we selected. they have cheaper and more expensive rooms too)

No regrets choosing this hotel. It's a 3 star hotel so we were not expecting the moon :) We actually had a big shock when we saw the shabby exterior of the hotel (the hotel occupies only the 3rd floor of an 11 storey building) but luckily the interior was pretty close (say 80%) to the website photos. Phew. Best part of the hotel was that it was walking distance to the Taipei Main Station so it was very convenient.

During breakfast, we get to enjoy free fish spa at the hotel
It was actually our first experience. So ticklish!

Mummy, Elyssa, Daddy ;)
Elyssa didn't dare let the fish nibble at her feet though

Taipei Main Station.
It's the central interchange for MRT, normal trains, high speed trains and buses. Very convenient although pretty confusing at first.

Ok, back to Day 8. After breakfast, our first mission was to buy bus tickets back to the airport. Enquired at the hotel reception and they said it was easy - can just walk to the bus station (practically just opposite the hotel) and don't need to pre-purchase cos buses leave every 20 minutes. Wah, so convenient! But we went there to check just in case as we didn't want to have to hunt for the bus counter later while lugging our luggage. Turned out to be really easy - everything was clearly marked and "wheel luggage friendly". Impressive!

Then proceeded to the MRT station to collect the deposit for our MRT cards (again, it was fast n easy). With the 2 "tasks" done, it was time to enjoy food! Yay, food hunting at the foodcourt of the Taipei Main Station again.

Hubby ate what his described as "the best muachi in his life" cos it literally melted in his mouth. No photos tho. As for me, I already targeted a pizza cone stall I saw the previous day. Supposed to eat it like eating an ice-cream.

Pizza : Ice-cream style!
Nice way of enjoying pizza

Me busy posing while eating my yummy pizza cone while Elyssa was busy......gulping down the bubble tea before I could stop her.

RM 11 for the pizza and bubble tea combo.

Looking down at the train station on the ground floor

After eating, we stopped by a tea shop to buy tea leaves for ourselves and as gifts. Then, it was time to go back to the hotel to get our luggage :(

Photo of Elyssa at the MRT station on our last day.

Hubby absolutely loves this photo cos he says it's as if Elyssa is staring sadly ahead cos she doesn't want to leave Taiwan.

When we got to the bus station, the bus was already there so we didn't even have to wait :) Very comfortable bus ride indeed with the VIP 2+1 type of seating. (RM12.50 per person. Free for Elyssa but she got her own seat as the bus was not full). Smooth traffic so the journey to the airport was only about 35 minutes.

Our last meal in taiwan - noodles at the airport. Simple but good.

The flight home was much longer than the flight there. I think about 5 hours. Elyssa got quite restless and insisted on sitting on my lap for most part of the journey, while I entertained her with songs and silly games. Ok for her but when she goes "Mummy, Again!" after I play the same game like 30 times...... I feel like I want to jump off the window ;)

Since she sat on my lap, who got to sit on her seat?

The lucky Little Miss Sunshine! Got pillow and blanket some more.

- End of our 8 days, 7 nights holiday in Taiwan-

Bye bye Taiwan...... we had a fantastic holiday!! Will definitely visit other parts next time!

Taiwan Holiday - Day 7

Day 7 didn't start off so well. The highlight of the day was supposed to be a scenic 4 km Maokong Gondola ride and then to enjoy tea at one of the many tea houses at the peak. Alas..... when we arrived at the MRT station, there was a sign that read "Gondola Closed for Maintenance". Arghhhhh!!!!!!!!! *Bummer*

So took the MRT to our next destination - Wu Pen Fu shopping district. It was still early and shops were not even opened yet. *Double Bummer*

Then we spotted the famous Formosa Chang shop so decided to stop there for a brunch.

Yummy braised pork rice, chicken rice and arrowroot soup. Very similar to our dinner at Shilin Night market on our first night there. I absolutely loved the soup.

Shops still not opened so hubby went for a foot massage
(ha ha... he was grimacing in pain half the time)

While waiting for daddy, Elyssa "studied" the map :)

Shops were still not opened so we decided to visit the Sun Yat Sen Memorial since it was only 2 MRT stops away.

Managed to catch the Changing of the Guards just in time. Pretty impressive!

Me with the giant statue of Sun Yat Sen and the stationary honour guard. (he didn't move a muscle)

Elyssa inside the memorial hall

View of Taipei 101 from the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

After that, we took a MRT back to the Wu Pen Fu shopping district. Stopped by a shop (called Dumpling King or something) to fill up our stomach and had...

The BEST Taiwanase beef noodle and dumpling of our trip. The yummy springy dumplings were to die for!!!

Then we were ready to start shopping. Turned out to be a bad idea though. Clothes were really cheap (blouses/pants starting from RM18) but more suitable if we were like......... 10 years younger or 10 kg lighter! ;) So, with all the waiting for the shops to open and then returning there after our visit to the Sun Yat Sen memorial, all I bought was ONE skirt. Adoi.

Next, we took the MRT to the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi shopping area at XinYi district. Nothing much either as we were not exactly in the mood for high street type of shopping.

For dinner, we decided to go back to the Taipei Main Station (our hotel was 5 minutes from there so the Taipei Main Station was considered "our" stop) to eat at the foodcourt there. We had a pleasant surprise indeed when arrived at the foodcourt. The main station itself was a little old but the foodcourt had a very modern feel plus it was just HUGE. Plenty of local and international foodstuff plus interesting looking snacks and desserts. There was even a Penang Village restaurant there! I have always loved looking at food....... so I had a good time going round the entire foodcourt while choosing a place for dinner :)

The modern looking foodcourt

In the end, we had these for dinner -

Beef and grilled squid combo
Only RM15! (definitely good value for money cos the squid was so big)

Braised claypot pork and fishpaste noodle soup combo. (approx RM18)

After dinner, we walked around the same floor and saw a Japanese knick-knacks store called "Hands Tailung". I was thrilled when I saw the bento kits. I never thought that I would buy these stuff (since Elyssa eats her food in whatever form) but I just couldn't resist the cute items. Ha haa........ hubby shook his head in disbelief as I grinned like a schoolgirl and piled them into the shopping basket :)

My loot!
Clockwise from top left : Pooh, Mickey and Car bread cutter (RM 15 each), simple sandwich maker (RM24), Hello Kitty sandwich maker (approx RM45), Pooh and Hello Kitty small vege cutter cum rice mould (RM 15 each), Hello Kitty medium rice mould (RM 14) and Hello Kitty pancake mould (Rm37 )

Also, bought some fresh almond powder and black sesame powder for our parents at the nearby MRT station.

Almond nuts

Into the machine and tadaaa........ Fresh almond powder

So, not a good start but Day 7 ended well :)

- End of Day 7 -

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Taiwan Holiday - Day 6

Day 6 [Bei Tou - Dan Shui - Fishermans Wharf ]

After breakfast at the hotel, we took the MRT to XinBeiTou Station.

Elyssa sitting in the MRT
The MRT was quite empty that morning so Elyssa got to sit on her own seat.
Separate note : Even when the MRT was crowded, hubby or myself (whoever was carrying Elyssa) would get a seat. Every SINGLE time without fail! We didn't even have to ask. A few times it was just a short ride so I thought of just standing for a while. But then someone would actually tap on my shoulder and ask me to sit down. Yes, I was impressed! No such thing as "pretending to sleep" or "pretending cannot see" business that I unfortunately have witnessed in M'sian LRT.

At XinBeiTou, our first stop was the Ketagalan Cultural Centre - a 10 storey building dedicated to the aboriginal culture that once flourished in the Beitou area.

then the BeiTou Hotsprings Museum (housed in an ex-public hot spring bath built during the Japanese colonial era)

then the Plum Garden Mansion (used as a summer house for the famous chinese calligrapher Yu You-Ren)

As with most attractions in Taiwan, all 3 of the above places were free :)

After that, it was back to the main highlight of BeiTou - Hot Springs!

I was feeling adventurous that day and wanted to try out the guidebook recommended Bei Tou Public Hotspring / Millennium Hot Spring. (dirt cheap : RM4 each). The place is closed every few hours for cleaning so it is quite clean.

Hubby absolutely hated it though. Yes.... it was close to 12pm, it was hot and I was asking him get inside a pool of hot water outdoors! He he....and since it was a public hotspring, it wasn't exactly a fancy place. So he held on to Elyssa while I went for a quick dip :)

View of the Millennium Hot Spring
The place had 5 smooth-stoned pools that had varying degrees of temperature

Me in one of the pools
The water was frea-king HOT !!!!!!! Slightly milky colour and with sulphur smell. Supposed to be good for the skin though. An elderly Taiwanese lady kindly explained the proper way to bathe (start from which pool first, use plastic pail to pour water before going in, don't just immerse feet into water etc) and also the health benefits of the hot spring. She said that she would visit the place few times a week. Wow.

It was definitely an interesting experience!! I'm glad we went :)

After that, we walked over to the first nice hotel we saw - Royal Seasons Hotel Beitou, for a more luxurious experience. (originally planned to go to Spring City Resort but when we saw this, decided to just give it a try). Their spa package was RM150 - 90 minutes of indoor hot spa plus Japanese set lunch for two.

Unagi Set Lunch

Nice big bath tub
(water came out from the lion's mouth)

Shower area in the same room

Locittane Products in the room

Elyssa absolutely loved the tub! Ha hah......had to tell her that all 3 of us can only pom-pom (bathe) together in Taiwan, not at home!

Actually, not sure whether we were conned or we just didn't choose the right package - cos the water did not have any of sulphur smell like in the hotspring I went earlier! Nevertheless, we enjoyed soaking in the big tub. Ahhhhh........ so re-lax-ing :)

After the nice relaxing bath, we took the hotel shuttle bus back to the MRT station then went to the sea-side town of Danshui. From the Danshui MRT station, we took a 10 minute bus ride to the Fisherman's Wharf.

Lover Bridge @ Fisherman's Wharf

Another shot, taken about an hour+ later

We sat at the promenade while enjoying the nice breeze :) Also popped into 7-11 to get some refreshments. It was then that I discovered my absolute favourite dessert in Taiwan - Sweet Corner Egg Custard (RM2.80). The custard was silky smooth with a fragrant eggy flavour. I was in heaven !! I bought 4 more of this over the next 3 days ;)

Elyssa and hubby enjoying the view

What we were waiting for - Sunset

It was lovely!

My little aboriginal Elyssa :) Ha ha...... fooling around in a souvenier shop

After sunset, we took a boat to Danshui Old Street (a row of traditional food stalls and souvenier shops) Elyssa was absolutely THRILLED when I told her we were getting on a boat. But when the loud engine roared, her excited "I want to sit boat! I want to sit boat" turned into cries of "I DON'T want sit boat!' while she clung tightly to me. She stopped crying when I distracted her but didn't really enjoy the ride. Luckily the boat ride was less than 10 minutes. Phew.

Part of our dinner - HUGE crispy fried chicken

Enjoying our dinner with a view

After dinner, we walked over to the DanShui night market (just next to the MRT station). Somehow enjoyed this more compared to the Shilin and Raohe Night Market. Mebbe cos it wasn't so crowded. Interesting stuff too. Hubby was so pleased with his purchase of a medium sized hand painted dragon.

Back to the hotel after that to sleep.

- End of Day 6 -