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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

Yellow, a dirty colour? Be BERSIH (Clean)

I have just finished my work at 5pm yesterdy when I turned on the radio for the news on Traxx FM. I was surprised that the news was interrupted by an announcement of the peaceful mass demonstration in Kuala Lumpur (KL). It was followed by an appeal to the public not to join in the demonstration as it could turn 'ugly'.

I remember accidentally accessing a blog encouraging the planned peaceful demonstration at Dataran Merdeka but didn't think much about it as I was working and did not have anymore leave. Furthermore, I didn't have much time to read about what they were up to and what they were fighting for. I soon found out.

The four points demanded by BERSIH for a clean / fair election :
1) Usage of Indellible Ink
2) Clean-up of Voters Registration
3) Abolish Postal Votes
4) Access to the Media

To my surprise, the traffic jam along Federal Highway towards KL started from the exit of Subang Jaya. In order to escape a more massive jam I turned into NKVE near Subang. Upon exiting the Damansara toll, I found that there was another traffic jam going towards KL along the Sprint highway. I was quite lucky that I could take a U-turn at the exit to Section 17 to my condominium in SS2. Little did I expect there were 40,000 peaceful demonstrators walking toward the Istana Negara.

Although I am not a sympathiser of the opposition and do not condone public disorder, I find it intriguing that the public actually came from all over the country to support the cause. They did so despite risking the onslaught of tear gas, water canons, being beaten and shoved around in the crowd. Not to mention the risk of being arrested and imprisoned.

The refusal of the establishment to acknowledge that the public is disgruntled with the inefficacies of the delivery system and the loss of faith in the election mechanism just shows utter disregard of the constitutional rights of the rakyat (the citizens). For the sake of our nation, our economy and our people, we need to address these issues rather than deny they exist and bury those who highlight these issues. Will anyone listen? Will the memorandom to the King have any effect? Do we have to resort to reading foreign news (CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera) or blogs (e.g. Rocky's Bru, Screenshots, The People's Parliament, Malaysia Today) to get the truth?

Let's continue to pray for our beloved country, Malaysia and our leaders. Let's continue to do the right thing for our children and our children's children. To the big boys, just do the right thing for the nation and let us continue with our quiet and peaceful life.
Daulat Tuanku! (Long Live the King)Daulat Tuanku! Daulat Tuanku!

Link of interest:-
Memorandom to the King

It's time for Christmas...

It's already the 10th November 2007, and I am still busy trying to make sales for my boss. Don't they know it's time for Christmas? Doesn't anyone trust that God will provide? This season let's all stop and take a breather. Relook at what is important. That which makes the family rejoice in unison. Remember that this is the season to give thanks and nurture the need to strengthen each other in love and faith.

God bless all the friends out there!

Sandwich Diet for lunch

I remember the days I was studying in Nottingham. I thought I would not live very long eating sandwiches for lunch. Thanks to Sainsbury located just 15 minutes walk away, I managed to cook my favourite dishes for dinner and weekends.

Now that I'm 7 years older and 10 kgs heavier, I am forced to consider switching from the Malaysian santan-rich, fat-laden and carbohydrate rich diet for some home made sandwiches.

Mommy has made a sumptuous meal from 4 slices of wholemeal bread, 6 leaves of spinach, 8 slices of tomato, 8 slices of cucumber and cheese or tuna for taste. Somehow, I think it would be better for me to add on some aerobic exercise 3-5 times a week gradually. Time for me to be regular at Celebrity Fitness.

With a beautiful wife and three children, I have every reason to do something so that I can trim down and live longer. Let's get some sense into my lifestyle!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Musical Toy Car Rides

Everytime we visit the shopping malls, Clarissa and Christa would be looking forward to taking rides in the musical toy car rides. These machines would be placed along the aisle on every floor to entertain children. Both girls could memorise the exact locations of the machines and sneak out quietly onto the seats and start turning the steering wheels 'violently' along with special sound effects (Whee.....eeee...eeeee!). Mommy and I have to be alert so that they do not disappear suddenly out of our sight.

RM1 can do wonders to their day if there is only one machine. Sometimes we have to drag both girls out if they continue to go for ride after ride so that we could return home quickly(what a killjoy!). Otherwise, we have to come up with the Ice-cream or chocolate bar trick!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

If you work late, this is what you see...

There are so many reasons why I should not work late (even if the boss wants the sales). One of them is that I only get to see the children when they are about to go to bed or when the are already asleep. I need to reschedule my working hours soon!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Benedict's Full Moon (23rd October 2007)

2 weeks ago was Benedict's full moon celebrations. It was a small affair at a Chinese Restaurant. Mommy did most of the preparations as I was busy preparing for a competition with the Malaysian Indoor Hockey Team. Now that I am back from national duty, I will catch up with everyone.

I am happy enough that he doesn't seem to cry in my arms. I suppose I don't have enough time to see him cry. Maybe I should take off a few hours from work to take a closer look at fatherhood. Any suggestions?

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Curve's Indoor Garden