Sunday, December 31, 2006

Another Raya Another Open House

Our Hari Raya Aidiladha, which this year coincides with New Year's Eve, was spent in Coquitlam at Kak Linda's House. It was a feast worth waiting for. As usual, the trip was long and arduous, but the kids were in high spirits. Melur and Arman definitely enjoyed the scenery.

Enjoying the view from the front of the train

There were also a few other students from Edmonton who joined in the festivities. They rode with us for the 2 and half hour journey. Their day started with their early morning flight over here, so I'd guess they were quite cranky by the 2nd hour.

Awesome FOOD!!!

Food was good. Company was good. It was a little more mellow than Aidilfitri. But the cozy atmosphere made it much more easier for us to mingle. The restaurant business here is pretty big. Apparently, Banana Leaf, which is a Malaysian Restaurant in Vancouver, has been around for several years... 10 years at least. That's quite a feat. But the menu there has been fused for the local palate. So we shouldn't expect food like Mama used to make. But it's pretty good nonetheless.

Melur and Arman playing with Syafiq while waiting for the bus

We had to leave early, cause of the whole journey taking us hours. Arman was so naughty on the bus. He didn't want to sit down. Kids get cranky when they are tired. And then don't appear tired when they're cranky. Which is quite a twist.

Arman just wouldn't sit down

So New Year's eve, other than the Aidiladha gathering, was quite uneventful. No fireworks or anything like that, at least not for us (Too tired to go out and see it). But it was the end of a good year nonetheless. Mommy and Daddy will be making some resolutions for the new year, which we hope will make things better for the family in the future.

SHAMELESS PLUG: Check out Daddy's resolutions for 2007.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Turkey Again

So it's Christmas Weekend, and a 4-day weekend in Vancouver. Boxing Day (which is the Day after Chrismas) is also a statutory holiday. Which means, no work for me. And since most families in Vancouver have turkey for dinner on X'mas, we thought we'd do the same. We love turkey.

Mmmmmm... Turkey...

Arman, Nasir, Syafiq, Zul, Daddy and Melur (below)

And so again, we invited the boys over for turkey on Sunday (Christmas Eve). We got another 17-lbs bird from the Halal Meat Market, and used the same Betty Crocker recipe from Thanksgiving. The turkey turned out great, as you can see from the desecrated remains of said turkey. What carnivorous eaters we have in UBC. Oh well... better than letting it go to waste.

Desecrated Turkey

After the meal, we pretty much sat around and watched tv. Our living room is still a bit bare, so we all ended up eating on the floor, Malay style. It was a quiet evening, filled with food galore.

Enjoy the Turkey

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Hello Metrotown

OK, I'll be frank. This is just an excuse to put up some more pictures of the kids. It's Sunday, and I brought the kids to Metrotown, which is a shopping mall just outside Vancouver. We took 2 buses and a train just to get there. But it was a fun day with the kids, while Mommy was busy working at UBC.

The mall was pretty big.. 2 floors, and very expansive... yes, I mean sprawling. So many stores. Christmas was approaching, and I can only imagine what this place would be like on Boxing Day! I took the kids site seeing basically. I brought tuna sandwiches for lunch, which they enjoy.

We saw Santa at the main lobby, but the line to see him was SOOOOOO long. I didn't feel like waiting in line with the kids, so we just walked around some more. By mid day, the kids were getting tired. TIRED= CRANKY. So I had to bribe them with some smoothies.

We shared two. Yup, I bribed them with one first. And then when things got tough, we shared another. Hehehee... Hey! It's not easy being a parent. Anyway, the day was relatively uneventful. We took the train back around 5pm, and the kids were quiet, all pooped out. Hope the pictures were ok.

Melur and Arman in a Toy Car

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Arman is 3!

Our "little" baby boy is now officially a 3-year old. By the way, if you've seen our Arman, you definitely know why I used double quotes to the word little. We celebrated his birthday by having a modest get-together with a small group of Malaysian undergraduates from UBC. It was befitting that we had only the "uncles" for the gathering and no "auntie". Our boy is after all... a boy.

We had the usual blowing the candle and eating the cake event. We bought Arman a yellow toy tractor that he chose himself the day before. We simply wrapped it nicely for him to open on his birthday. He loves it so much that he slept with it for a whole week. He also takes it outside to play in the sandbox whenever the weather is nice enough. Mommy and Daddy think that we'll let the kids choose their own toy gifts from now on. Buying one that they like is much better since they will probably end up playing with it more. The boys also bought our Arman a gift. They are definitely a good bunch of boys. Lets hope Arman grows up with them (and of course Daddy) as role models.

Mommy is in a rather philosophical mood right now. She remembers how the name Arman Farabi came about. Arman comes from a Persian word that means inspiration, and Farabi is the name of a famous Muslim scholar. Al-Farabi is known as a musician, astronomer, philosopher and scientist. You can Wiki Al-Farabi here. We hope that Arman grows up to become a man of many accomplishments such as Al-Farabi himself. He is taking the first step by learning colors.

A few things that we note about Arman are:
  • Has a big laugh that puts a smile on your face

  • Has an abundant amount of energy

  • Loves to cuddle and will seize the opportunity to sit on your lap whenever possible

  • Has a competitive spirit (he takes whatever toy Melur is playing with)

  • Loves tractors (boys will be boys), buses, books and food (we have yet to see him say no to food)
So lastly, to friends and family looking at this blog. Enjoy some of the pictures we took during Arman's birthday party. Our thanks to Syafiq and his digital camera (got to get ourselves one of these in the near future) for the nice pictures.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Snow Day

It's the end of November, and suddenly it's already snowing in Vancouver. The snow started late Saturday night (November 25th) and continued for the next three days. The snow was so thick that Mommy found herself stranded with the kids for a whole day. Here is Mommy, Melur and Arman's little adventure on Monday, November 27th...

Daddy went to work. He managed to get a ride from our neighbor next door. That was lucky of him since the bus wasn't working. Mommy on the other hand, had to stay at home. Heba (our Nanny) could not make it. Just as well since there was a big power outage that affected the whole university, and Acadia Park included. Everything was down - classes cancelled, offices closed... even the on-campus McDonalds. The power outage started at 2am. It got really cold early that morning since no power meant no heater! However, we all managed to sleep soundly through it.

Melur and Arman woke up around 9am. After brushing their teeths (no shower since we didn't have hot water), we all had breakfast. Nothing fancy just peanut-butter and jelly with cold milk (no cooking either since we don't have gas). Afterwards, we all went out to the back and played in the snow. Everything was totally covered with snow. Mommy couldn't even get the back gate to open since the snow was too thick. We climbed it instead. We also took some pictures, made a snowman and rolled around in the snow for a bit. We stayed out for about 45 minutes and then came in when it got too cold.

We stayed in-doors for the rest of the day. We spent time reading books and playing hide-n-seek. Lunch was biscuits and cold milk. Arman and Melur were such troopers. They didn't make a fuss at all. They did ask for warm milk though, but understood that it wasn't possible. We all snuggled and slept for 2 hours in the living room to past the afternoon away. The power returned around 5pm, and Daddy came back about an hour later.

So that's what happened on November 27th, 2006.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Ice Skating at Kitsilano Rink

It's our third straight Saturday at Kitsilano Ice Rink. Melur just loves to skate. She's been asking for rollerblades, so I thought we'd try ice skating first. Lo and behold, Melur starts skating on her own on her second trip, without using the little red cone that all the other kids are using!

Our Saturdays have become somewhat of a ritual. We visit the Vancouver library and pick out a few books. Then ice skating. And after that, groceries at Safeway.

Here we see Melur with the little red cone, which acts like training wheels. Some Malaysian students joined us for the first 2 trips, so it's been been fun. We'd definitely go again if we had the chance. Too bad Mommy hasn't been able to come along. But I've been keeping her up-to-date with pictures and videos of Melur and Arman from a camera phone. I got a camera phone for Mommy (for her birthday) which I've been borrowing on these Saturday rituals.

Poor Arman. He doesn't take too well to ice skating. Because of his leg structure, he's unable to stand on the ice with the ice skates on. I basically sat with him the first day, while Melur skated with the Malaysian students. I was able to carry him around on the ice on the second trip, just to give him a taste of skating.

Here's Arman sitting on the side lines. I can't very well be carrying him the entire 75-minute session. I gotta rest too. But he's getting the hang of it. He's starting to stand on his own on the ice. But still no skating. I've gotta groom him. I'm thinking the skating may help him orient his legs properly, so that they'll grow straighter. What do you think? Worth a shot, right?

Melur and Arman made some friends on the ice. Here is Oliver, around Arman's age, if I had to guess. And already he's skating like a pro - No Red Cones! So as you can tell, Melur and Oliver get along just fine. We can't wait for our next skating session. If we're back in Malaysia, we'll be sure to go skating at Sunway Pyramid Mall.

What a Lovely Family Activity!

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Raya Open House at Richmond

Another weekend, another Raya, and this time in it's in Richmond. It's a lot closer to our UBC home than Coquitlam... well, still over an hour away via public transport. Thankfully, Ayu was able to come along this time to make it all the more festive.

We all wore our Baju Raya, and enjoyed each others company. Lepak! Here is Wei Kee hanging out with Arman and Mommy.

Melur, of course, was hanging out with the same friends she made at Coquitlam, Feeza and Ain. Add Kak Ina, and we get a quartet of girls.

Malaysian food galore. When else would we enjoy such exquisite Malaysian food so far away from Malaysia?

Well.. nothing much else happened today. I just hung out with the guys.

Looking forward to our next get together.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

By the way, this is the first posting by Mommy. Here goes...

October 31st is here and the kids are off to their first trick-or-treating night. We all went to Zeller's (Canadian version of Giant Superstore) the weekend before, and got the kids cool (yet easy on the pockets) Halloween costumes. We got Arman a gorilla suit and Melur a mummy suit. Everybody was aww-ing Arman at the store when he tried it on. That was definitely a good sign... cuter toddler translates to more candies...:) Not forgetting the adults, Daddy got himself a Jason mask and Mommy got a witch's hat.

Got home that night and everyone tried their costumes. Melur started to cry... now she wants the gorilla suit. Arman started to cry as well... the gorilla suit is too warm for him. So ended up as the Malays would say "tukar suka sama suka" (can "salin tikar" apply here? I think not). Everybody was happy, the crying stopped, and Mommy was sane again.

Come Halloween night, trick-or-treating at Acadia Park (UBC family housing area where we are living) started at 5:30pm. Daddy took the kids out equipped with pumpkin-shaped candy holders. Mommy stayed at home waiting to dish out candies for the other neighborhood kids. We bought 3 large packs of assorted candies that lasted for one hour. Mommy had to say "no more candy" to a 3-year old girl dressed as an angel.... she looked like she was gonna cry. Mommy then decided to go out and save herself from other such creatures (you wouldn't believe how many kids there are here) by joining her own kids and turning off all the lights in her own house. She swore that they will be better-prepared for Halloween next year by doubling their candies stock!

Around 7pm, Arman looked tired but Melur was still energetic. She made us all go to yet another house and another and another... Both pumpkins were filled up to the brim... and Mommy took a few to lighten it up a bit... **wink**wink**

Final report on our very first Halloween...two thumbs up! And a message to Mak in Malaysia, no Halloween is not a Christian celebration, it is actually a pagan celebration.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Raya Open House at Coquitlam

"Selamat... Aidil Fitri..."
"Kepada Saudara Serta Saudari..."
"Setahun... Hanya Sekali..."
"Merayakan Hari Yang Mulia Ini..." and so the song goes...

I have to say, being in Vancouver for the first time, we were expecting a rather 'modest' Hari Raya. After all, the Malaysian population at UBC is mainly of chinese descent. I was surprised to find we were invited to an open house in the suburbs.

It was the second day of Raya. The 2-hour ride to Coquitlam required 3 buses and a train. The kids quite enjoyed the train ride. It was clean, and fast, and we caught a moving glimpse of the Vancouver suburbs. Mommy had to stay behind and do some work. So it was just Daddy, the kids, and some friends from UBC.

Oh my God... What a feast!!! There was quite a spread of Malaysian cuisine. Kudos to Kak Linda, who apparently is like a caterer or something. Food was AWESOME!! And there were SOOO MANY MALAYSIANS. Well, they all stay in the suburbs, and mostly working professionals, which explains a lack of Malay presence on UBC campus. They're all in the suburbs!

There were 2 girls about Melur's age, Feeza and Ain, so Melur made a lot of friends quickly. Arman had to settle with whatever was left... the guys...

It was a good day. Too bad Mommy couldn't join in the fun. It certainly felt a little bit like Raya despite not being in Malaysia. Hopefully there are more open houses that Mommy can check out.

Thanks you guys, for making us feel more at home...