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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas at Midvalley

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas cheer and Flood woes

'Tis the season to be jolly! Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la! Reminds me of Christmas bringing good news to man and cheer to the downtrodden. Despite not having a 'white' Christmas, the East and South of Malaysia have been battered by heavy rains and flooding. As Malaysians, we pray for the well-being in the affected regions that this calamity will be aborted swiftly.

Although I upset when Mommy was robbed, I realised that some of the theft is done by drug addicts. The high cost of addiction (vary between RM50-100/day) and treatment (aprroximately RM25-70/day depending on whether they are on maintenance or induction dose) causes them to continue in crime.

We'll be spending more time with family and friends catching up for the time lost while going after the rat-race of 'making-a-living'. Time to find out what Christa and Clarissa thinks of in a happy family. What Mommy wants, what grandpa and grandma wants, and what I really want. And maybe, what God wants?!

Let's not spend every penny on gifts and buffet dinners but let's lend a hand to those who need it! Let's share the love with everyone around us!

John 13:34 A new commandement I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

A Blessed Christmas to you!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Crime at the doorstep: Time to take action!

I am concerned that crime is so common nowadays even in residential and commercial areas in Malaysia. A lady who just came out from the OCBC bank in USJ9 (map) was a victim to snatch theft just 2 weeks ago. I suppose having a Neighbourhood watch and more frequent police presence would help. Or all of us have to start taking up self-defense classes or keep a hockey stick handy.

When an incident happens closer to home, we get really worried. Last night, as Mommy was crossing the road with Clarissa, 2 men on a motorcycle stopped her. The sight of the pillion rider wielding a knife frightened her and she dropped her handbag. It happened when Mommy was just leaving grandparents house in Taman Tun Dr Ismail. This has happened several times in the vicinity and had happened even to grandma a few years ago. We're thankful the robber quickly left without hurting them.

Will we have better security for the citizens of Malaysia in the near future? Let's hope that Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation could come up with better recommendations for the government.

Interesting articles to read:
Reaction and escape
Choosing a self-defense course
Self-Defense Advice for children
TTRI Resident's Association
Crime Statistics: Malaysia
Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation

6 vaccines at one go!

Benedict is due for another vaccination at 3 months next week. He will get a 6 in 1 vaccine (Infanrix Hexa) by GSK which includes Diphteria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Haemophilus influenza (type B) and Hepatitis B together in one injection. The last time he got it last month, he seemed fine.

I think it's better than getting 2 or 3 separate injections. Not to mention the pain and possible febrile episodes.

Find out more about vaccinations here:-
Infanrix Hexa: Consumer Medical Information
Baby Immunisation Schedule
Instant Childhood Vaccination Scheduler

Monday, December 17, 2007

Time to get another cell-phone

It's been more than 2 years since I've used my Sony-Ericsson K700i and it seemed to be pretty worn out. It has survived a 'drowning' episode and was resuscitated swiftly by removing all the components and keeping it out to dry for 2 days. It has been thrown onto the floor and suffered paint damage and scratches. THanks to Clarissa and Christa. The superb sound of Sony-Ericsson phones are still functioning but I can't seem to get the Bluetooth video downloads anymore.

Now,... what would be a good phone to get which would survive my girls target practise? It should be a Sony-Ericsson or Nokia, with a built-in 3.2 MP camera with flash, good audio and possibly at least 1G memory. 3G and Wirefire optional.

Let's begin the search!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christa's throwing Grandma's kitchen slippers

Mommy and I left Christa (2+ yrs)while she was fast asleep at my parents home. Little did I know that she was going to do some 'damage'. She initially tailed Grandma everywhere she went until Grandpa turned up to help out. Christa then took Grandma's slippers and tipped them off the window frame and told Grandma what she did. "I throw the shoe downstairs!", said Christa without much emotions. Grandma told Grandpa to pick up the slippers after reprimanding Christa. Just as Grandpa brought the slippers and left the room, she again flipped the slippers off the window frame.

That really 'freaked-out' Grandpa and he scolded Christa and told Grandma that he would not have Christa sleepover over the next few days. So much for our attempt to give ourselves a break while hoping that the children would get acquainted with my parents.

When we were younger we would not dare to do such things. If we did, we would have been caned swiftly. I had a grin on my face thinking about what would happen if Grandpa found out that Christa tore up some magazines?

Grandma told me I probably need to make sure I get someone to follow her everywhere to prevent her from destroying things. How about having a CCTV to watch over her or a domestic helper?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Benedict in his bouncinet

I just fed Benedict (2+ months),'burped' him and placed him in the bouncinet (see photo). I have to make sure that the automated setting isn't too fast so that it doesn't upset his stomach or cause injury.

Here's a list of things you could do to protect your baby:-
Home safety

Sunday, December 2, 2007

What else can children do with prickly heat powder?

Mommy called me into the bedroom an hour ago. To my surprise, I found Christa in her cot and Clarissa lying on her bed. Both had their faces and clothes covered with prickly-heat powder. Mommy then pointed at the mini-hifi and adjacent floor which was covered with powder.

No wonder both of them were pretending as nothing happened! Christa was spotting a wide grin while Clarissa was covering her face with her pillow wondering what would happen next.

Both girls got a strict reprimand were put on observation by Mommy until they slept.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Benedict looks like Christa?

Christa: calm and composed

Benedict: quiet and observing the surroundings

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Waking up for Benedict

I returned home at 9.30pm last night after 12 hrs shift feeling the toil of work. Was I glad that the children were already in the bedroom preparing to sleep with the lights off. After taking a quick shower and a superb pork-chop rice with home-cooked celery soup, I looked at what's available on TV1, TV2, TV3, nTV7 and 8tv. To my dismay, there weren't anything really interesting. At 11pm, I decided it was enough of boredom and it was time to catch up with sleep.

Sometime before dawn, I was awakened by cries coming from Benedict's room. It seemed to grow louder and sharper each time. I took a peek at Mommy and she seemed to be in deep sleep. I felt tempted to just stretch out my feet and give her a small 'signal' with my toes but I thought I'd better not. As I rolled out of bed Mommy mumbled something. I didn't quite get it and dragged my feet towards Benedict's room. It was really dark and I couldn't see much. "Good, he's still in his cot and he's not wet!", I mumbled to myself as I examined my 2 month old infant. "Probably hungry", I said. Oddly enough, he stopped crying upon seeing me.

I found the lights and quickly went to the kitchen to get his milk. 4 scoops milk powder to make 5 oz of milk. I swiftly spun everything together and checked the temperature and made my way back to his room. I took him up, placed him in my arms and slipped the nipple into his mouth. He wasn't interested and moved his head away. Again I looked and saw him smiling at me in the dimly lit room. I was getting a bit confused now that he didn't want his feed.

After a few pats with cradle-like rocking motion, he shut his eyes. It was a fulfilling experience to see him smile as he dozes off. I wanted to get back to bed badly but decided to hold on longer. I placed Benedict into his cot and continued patting him. After 5 minutes, I was back in bed and I told Mommy that he wasn't interested in drinking milk.

After 10 minutes, Benedict was crying again and I did what I didn't do earlier. The signals with my toes woke Mommy up and I can't remember the rest. Mommy took over and I continued with my recovery. I think Mommy breastfed him and that soothes the baby.

Interesting links:
Healthy Foods
Hidden Valley Ranch Recipes and Knorr Recipes
Child Nutrition Advise
Crying babies: What do you do?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christa's going to Montessori

Yesterday was the first day of Montessori for Christa (2+ yrs)! She was delighted to join Clarissa (4+ yrs) yesterday for a time of learning and play. She didn't know that she would be going every weekday and was a reluctant student this morning. After shedding a few tears and protesting, her teacher offered a few comforting words and carried her in. I think she thought I was bringing them shopping.

I waved goodbye to both of them and told them that Mommy would be taking them back after work this evening.

*Photo was taken in the lift in our condominium.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Revise your home loan interest rates!

Feeling the pinch of rising costs of living, I contacted my bank (Direct Access,CIMB) for a reduction of loan interest rates from a high of 6.85% per annum that I am paying over the past 2 years. After calling the call centre, I got the number for the officer in charge of my account. He was nice enough to propose an adjustment to his bank so that I could have a more reasonable rate. Mommy was telling me that other banks were already offering 5.5% per annum with free transfer. Within a week, I received a reply through the telephone that they have reduced the rate to BLR-1.0% (Base lending rate).

I suppose any reduction is welcomed but I would have to see the terms. Meanwhile, I would have to see whether the other banks are offering better rates. Hopefully this would mean less stress on $$$ for the family.

Links of interest:
Loan Calculator
Budget Calculator
Bank Negara: Factors to consider when you get a housing loan
Checklist for obtaining a housing loan
Financial Planning Tools
Making a complaint about a bank

Thursday, November 22, 2007

To insure or not to insure?

I have the joy of having well-wishers from relatives, friends and colleagues every time we have another child. Some who work as insurance agents would have placed our contact numbers in their PDA or cellular phones. The moment our child is born, we would receive a congratulatory SMS and we are delighted. After the full moon when the child is a month old, they would also send us a gift set from J & J or a fruit basket.

Then comes the questions.
1. Do you know you need to save for your children?
2. Do you know they may need a medical card (health insurance)?
3. Do you know they need proper education overseas?
4. Do you know your EPF is insufficient for their future?

That's a whole lot to think about. It's probably true what they say. I took a look at my paycheck and sighed.

The reasons were:
1. My pay increase is only 4% but I am working doubly hard to make the sales!
2. Petrol prices and 'makan' cost has gone up significantly
3. Cost of dressing up and feeding (milk powder) my children has gone up
4. I have to pay for 2 in the Montessori and 1 at the baby-sitter's place
5. My car is going to be due for maintenance and change of parts
6. Utility bills have shot up with price hikes and increased usage
7. Internet connection is still as slow but bill is still as high
8. My family vacation is long overdue

Hmmm! Hold on a bit while we get our bearings adjusted. Sorry we can't always let them plan our 'investments' but a reliable and trustworthy agent would be helpful. Thanks to all the people who have serviced our accounts from Great Eastern, Hong Leong Assurance and Maybank Etiqa! You're probably right that we need to plan our finances too!

Our parents did it and raised 3 children. Why can't we do the same? Don't we all have to live by faith as always?

Links of interest:
Insurance policy;
Manage your money
Employees Provident Fund;
PDA Reviews
Bank Negara: Insurance Information

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Yum Seng at Bangsar Seafood Restaurant

Clarissa (4+ yrs) had the privilege of joining us for a wedding dinner of my cousin, Samuel and Chiu Mei. She was pretty excited as she would be able to meet lot's of our relatives and not to mention the delicious food at One Bangsar. I wasn't quite sure whether I could make it as I was feeling groggy in the morning due to long working hours. Mommy and I decided that we'd go and make it a wonderful nite-out and brag about our newborn Benedict!

We arrived earlier to escape the Saturday crowd. My tummy was growling already at 7.30pm since I skipped both breakfast and lunch. I just couldn't wait for the sumptuous meal in the Bangsar Seafood Restaurant. The guest reception team was efficient and we soon found our way at table 20 with Samuel's sister's in-laws. Clarissa and I steadily diminished the supply of Shandong peanuts on the table while we warmed-up for the Yum Seng ("bottons-up" or "toast"). Clarissa enjoyed her favourite 4 Seasons dish and Shark Fin's Soup (this doesn't mean that I condone killing of sharks?).

We were entertained with Richard Clayderman and Praise-Worship Instrumentals in the air accompanying a narrative on the life of the bride and groom with Powerpoint visuals. Since Clarissa has got off diapers (officially!) Mommy and I took turns accompanying her for toilet trips. Gives me an excuse to take a walk down the hallway and chit-chat with relatives.

The most memorable event was .... the moist chocolate cake gift and the Yum Seng! Clarissa really made it count with 3 loud and prolonged "Yaaaaarrrrmmmmm Sennnnnnnnng!"s.

We are thrilled that she was interacting well with the adults. She started answering every question the emcee asked. On Sunday I found out that she loved giving impromptu answers to the pastors' preaching from the pulpit! "Hey, little girl... he can't hear you in the children's play room. You need to join the main congregation!!!". I wonder what will he say about her response.

Links of interest:
Getting to One Bangsar"
Bangsar Seafood Restaurant

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More to regain my fitness

I had a chat with one of my clients at work and found out that 2 of his colleagues (aged 36 yrs and 39 yrs old) just passed away after a myocardial infarct (heart attack). That started off a panic reaction in his company for people above the age 35 yrs to find out whether they are at risk of dying in the prime of their lives.

Time for me to take a look at extending my 'shelf-life' (if it's still doable). I am going to reduce my working hours from 60 hrs/week to probably 52 hrs/week for a start. Don't think doctors should work themselves to death with an unhealthy lifestyle! My risk of coronary heart disease and stroke is higher since my fasting blood sugar is occasionally elevated!

I shall start my treadmill walk and cycling tomorrow night after work. I make sure that I don't do more than 85% of my maximum heart rate (NB: I am not trying to kill myself!). Sleep off early tonight so that I will feel like exercising when it comes. I'm targeting 1cm waist circumference reduction in 2 weeks and a diet and exercise program for at least 6 months. Eventually, I plan to shed 10 kg and live longer. Mommy, thanks for all the support! I need all the encouragement I can get.

Links you should visit:-
10-year Risk of Developing Coronary Heart Disease (Framingham's Score)
Healthy Weight Loss
Diabetes Risk Test
ACSM and AHA Physical Activity Guidelines

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Eureka! Benedicts first bathing scene

Mommy took over as the photographer and went snapping away while his Grandma was bathing him. As a natural reaction towards 'paparazzi', he turned his head towards the camera lens wondering what Mommy was going to do with those pictures.

Anyway, he was displacing water like Archimedes saying "Eureka!" while enjoying a warm bath at 32 degrees Celcius. "Ok, ok! You got me! I'm a male child! Is that all you wanted to know? (I thought you already knew?!!!)".

As editor of this blog, I have to figure out which photo Mommy wanted published. Anyway, by the looks of it, the 6MP compact digital camera and her skills worked out fine.

This is to tell everyone that I take my bath at least once a day! I keep myself clean (except when I vomit out some of the milk when you adults forget to allow me to burp!!! And of course when I soil myself, not on purpose, of course!). Hey, somebody tell me where is the nice looking bathtub Christa used earlier? How come I get to use a basin used for washing clothes?

Links on photography:-
Digital Camera Reviews and News