Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween 2008

The good thing about having a Blog, especially after doing it for a few years, is that you start to build a library of memories of past events. We’ve been in Vancouver for over 2 years now, and today marks our third Halloween here. If you want to see Last Years Halloween, or Halloween from the year before, all you have to do is click through. How cool is that?

Anyway, I think this year’s Halloween was pretty cool. As part of an agreement with my department co-workers, I had to dress up as one of The Village People. My little get-up received quite the reaction. Here I am with the kids (picture above), ready to go Trick or Treating. Can you guess who I am?

This year, Arman got a brand new outfit from Zellers. He’s a Henja (Okay, he’s a Ninja, but he sounds so cute saying “Henja”)! We got it 2 weeks ago. Melur got some new wings with last years dress, and went as a fairy. They both look quite cute, and certainly very excited for the evening. And as with previous years, Mommy held the fort at home to dish out the treats. No tricks please…

I must say though, this year’s “harvest” wasn’t as good as previous years’. All the houses in Acadia Park were out of candy pretty quickly. I think we’ve had a lot of new comers to UBC this year. I remember when we first came, we ran out of candy very quickly. And we learned to stock up the following years.

But we had lots of fun. Melur and Arman met with many of their friends along the way, as can see above. Arman got cold and tired, and headed home first. Melur and I tried a few more houses on our way to the University Village, but they were all out of candy. And so we ended the evening with some take out – Japanese food. Mmm... Yummy...

For more pictures, check out our album on Facebook.

Happy Halloween

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Learning the Alphabet

Arman has steadily been getting better with the alphabet. Arman’s teacher from U-Hill Elementary assigns homework for Arman, which Mommy diligently goes over with Arman night after night. Here’s a picture of Arman doing his reading homework. You’ll also see Melur close at his side.

Melur is already reading very well (at least we, the parents, think so). And she likes to show off her skills in front of Arman. We try very hard to get Melur to let Arman learn on his own. Be every so often, Melur will blurt out the letters that Arman needs to learn.

Once Arman can recognize all the letters, we’ll need to teach him the sounds that correspond to each letter. He’s already started that task, and we’re still working on it. Wish us luck!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

True Confections for Mommy

Okay... So it’s still not Mommy’s birthday yet. But it’s Sunday, and Mommy’s birthday is just a day away. It’ll be more fun to celebrate Mommy’s birthday on the weekend, rather than on a weekday. And so I went out this morning with Arman to True Confections and got Mommy a cake. Since I didn’t order the cake ahead, the cake didn’t have any writing on it. But it’s a good cake.

But before I go into the birthday festivities, I want to mention that Melur is now able to make butterfly origami all on her own. Mommy and the kids borrowed some origami books from the local library earlier this week. And Mommy also bought some origami paper from the Internet. We’ve all been trying our hand at origami. And now Melur is going to make a butterfly origami for all her classmates. Good job Melur.

Now back to the festivities… What do you think of the birthday cake? It looks awesome! It tastes awesome too. Arman chose the Chocolate Orange Cake for Mommy. Here’s a video:

Anyway, we were only able to take pictures on my phone yesterday, so hopefully today you can take a better look at the birthday present Daddy got for Mommy. I also got her flowers.

Melur made Mommy a present, a little heart-shaped necklace, made with tender loving care. You can see it in the picture below:

So this is how we celebrated Mommy’s birthday (in addition to yesterday’s sushi dinner). Maybe we’ll have a bigger one next year. Anybody want a slice of cake? We really recommend it.

Happy Birthday Mommy!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Early Birthday for Mommy

It’s Saturday, 2 days before Mommy’s birthday. Daddy had to attend an AGM for MABC Canada this afternoon, and so we planned to meet up at Metropolis at Metrotown right after. I arrived at the mall around 4:30 pm, and rendezvoused with Mommy and the kids at the food court. They were having a late afternoon snack. I didn’t have time to eat at the MABC meeting, even though food was served. So I ordered up a veggie burrito for myself.

We had a chance to walk around quite a bit. With Halloween just a week away, the mall was filled with ghoulish d├ęcor. One atrium in particular had a Ghost House, though purely ornamental (you can’t go inside). It’s just for show. Just the same, the kids were entertained with dead bodies lying on some sort of torture device.

After exploring a few stores, we stopped for some yoghurt/smoothie at Yogen Fruz. It’s quite delightful – yoghurt and fresh fruit blended together. Every few feet along the mall corridors, there are quaint little sitting areas with sectionals and sofas. It’s a great place to relax amidst a busy day of shopping. And that’s where we sat while we enjoyed our little desserts.

Anyway, Mommy has been in an “exercise” mood lately, and so we stopped at a few sports stores. While she was shopping, I managed to coax the kids into making their first purchase on their own. They were thirsty, and so I handed them a toonie so they could buy themselves a drink. And so they did, while I watched about 20 feet away. They were scared (or shy) at first. But after a little encouraging, they managed to do it, and felt really proud and happy afterwards. I’m really proud of them too.

Before long, it was time to head home. It was already quite dark outside, and cold. We had only been walking around for an hour or so. Seeing as we were all quite tired, we decided to celebrate Mommy’s birthday a little early, and have dinner out with the family. The venue… Hime Sushi on 10th, right next door to the library in Point Grey. Mommy took the kids there a couple of times before, and they just love it.

Anyway… seeing as we were already kind of celebrating Mommy’s birthday already (2 days early, 1 day if you’re in Malaysia), I decided to give Mommy her birthday present. What do you think, Mommy? Do you like it?

Sorry, the picture isn’t so great. We forgot to bring our camera, and so I had to use my camera phone, which has a much lower resolution. Anyway, Happy Birthday Mommy! We’ll have your cake tomorrow.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Melur Vacuums

I took a picture of Melur today, just a random picture of Melur with the vacuum cleaner. Our living room is our family room. And I’d say we spend about 90% of our time in this little room. So it gets dirty and messed up pretty quick, especially with the kids around.

And so just about every night before the kids get ready for bed, we get the kids to help clean up their stuff in the living room. And sometimes, that entails vacuuming the carpet floor as well, just in the living room. It’s usually Arman who quickly volunteers to vacuum the room. I think he thinks it’s fun. He beats Melur to the queue almost every time. But today, Melur got a chance to vacuum.

She’s really working hard at it. We try to get the kids to help around the house, especially when it’s safe and fun. I think it’s a good habit to have. Anyway, thanks Melur for helping us keep the house clean.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Arman's Legs

It’s been over 6 months since our last trip to the BC Children’s Hospital. When we were here last March, the doctor wanted to wait to see how well Arman’s leg adjusts, before deciding to do anything. Anyway, I took the afternoon off today to take Arman to the doctor again.

Our appointment with the Orthopaedic Paediatrician is always on a Thursday afternoon. I made my way by bus from the office and rendezvoused with Arman and Mommy at the bus stop near the hospital. And then we made our way in together.

We were right on time. We registered at the front desk and waited for our turn. We were a bit confused about what we were supposed to do exactly. At one point, we were asked to take x-rays first, which we did. Arman’s an expert at that already. It is his second set of x-rays at this hospital. After that, it was back to the waiting room.

Mommy had to leave early to pick up Melur from school. So it was just Arman and I waiting for the doctor. We were finally asked to wait in the examination room. We saw x-rays of Arman’s legs both from today and 6 months ago. Everything was computerized.

When we finally met with the doctor, he wanted to wait another 6 months. But he said, in all likelihood, Arman will need plates put into his leg, which will stunt the growth of his bone on one side, effectively straightening it as the bones grow. The procedure itself is quite minor, and we can expect Arman to come home on the same day, if not the next morning. Arman would need to wear the plate for a few years while the bone straightens, and then removed later.

Anyway… we really hope the best for Arman. We have another appointment to meet with the doctor next May. Hopefully, we’ll have something good for Arman then.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Costumes

So this is going to be a short entry. We went out today to get Melur and Arman some costumes for the upcoming Halloween. As you know, every year, they go out Trick or Treating around Acadia Park. Last year, Melur went as a princess, and Arman went as an Ape, the same Ape costume Melur used the year before. Basically, we have a budget for only one new costume every year, and this year it’s Arman’s turn.

For some reason, whenever we go shopping, I forget to take the camera out and take pictures. And so this is the only picture we took today – Arman trying out a ninja costume as Zellers. You’ll see more pictures of him come Halloween time.

We got the ninja costume. So Arman’s going as a ninja, or as he’d call it: a “Henja”. I find the pronunciation so adorable, that I find myself saying “Henja” too. Maybe I shouldn’t aggravate the situation. Anyway, stay tuned for costumes from Halloween, coming up soon.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Scarring Conversation

About one month ago... on the way back from school...

Melur: Mommy, when is this (pointing to the scar on her upper left cheek) going to go away?

Mommy: I don't know, sayang.

Melur: I want it to go away. It's ugly. I want to have a clean face.

...Enough said.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Turkey Time

It’s here… it’s finally here, time to pull out that old (or new) turkey recipe and get it going on in the oven. We don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving per say, but it is a long weekend, and turkey is not available all year round. 'Tis the season for turkey! And it's really the only time we get access to turkey, especially the Halal kind.

As we mentioned from yesterday’s post, we had some hardships getting a large turkey, so we end up with 2 smaller turkeys. Every year, we try to out-do the previous year. Last year, and the year before, Thanksgiving coincided with the Muslim fasting month. This year however, Thanksgiving weekend came after EID. So this Turkey feast is also our Raya Open House. We’ve been planning it for a while now.

So we have 2 birds and 1 oven. That won't do. So for the first time since coming to Vancouver (we're had to borrow ovens for turkey before, in New York), we have to “borrow” an oven from the other Malaysian students. We prepared everything beforehand, rubbed in the spices, put it in the bag (literally), and then delivered it to the their house with baking instructions. Hopefully, it’ll turn out all right.

We started the party at about 6 pm. The turkeys didn’t take too long to bake. We had meat thermometers, and the turkeys were done before the time we set. We were a little worried, but they looked cooked. What do you guys think? Mmm…. Yummy!

We had lots of guests. Baby Adam and his parents were here to enjoy they’re first taste of turkey. I hope they enjoyed it.

There were also a few new Malaysian students (new to UBC, that is) we invited, whom we met at the last Raya open house. This is probably their first taste of turkey too. If so, we’re honored.

Oh… If you recall at the last CG Open House, I mentioned that we were roped into performing at the MABC Deeparaya festivities. We took this opportunity to practice for the show. Jehan, Mira, Shahrir and I will be performing a couple of Raya songs, hence the guitar. Wish us luck. We perform next weekend.

Anyway, overall I think everybody had a good time. The kids certainly found ways to entertain themselves (after stuffing themselves with turkey). They played a few games of checkers, which they learned recently. I'm really proud of that.

I had lots of fun too. Love the turkey. I wonder when we’ll get to have turkey again. Well, I guess I’ll be having turkey leftovers tomorrow, and possibly the day after. But what about AFTER that? Christmas maybe?

For those who celebrate Thanksgiving, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. For my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters, Eid Mubarak! And for everybody else, hope you had a fantastic long weekend. This is a good time to enjoy a good meal with family and friends, no matter what you celebrate.

Enjoy the long weekend!

Happy Thanksgiving!

PS: For more pictures, visit Our Photo Album on Facebook.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

CG Eid Open House

Today is the start of the long weekend, and a long day at that. Before we go into the main event of the day, the Eid Open House hosted by the Malaysian Consulate General at Vancouver, we have a little party of our own to prepare for tomorrow. And so we took the zipcar out today to get some supplies, starting with fresh vegetables and a turkey from Fraser. Fraser St isn’t too far from the Open House, which is being held at Oakridge Mall. But we were late nonetheless, an hour late. The turkey we got was kind of small (12 lbs), and so we were in a frenzy to secure another bird for tomorrow. We were not successful, and made our way to the open house.

The open house was great, lots of food and lots of friends. The kids had a blast playing with all the other kids who were there. If you don’t believe me, take a look for yourself:

We met a lot of new people. Daddy got sucked into performing for the MABC Deeparaya. Daddy will be organizing something with the Malaysian students. Hopefully it’ll turn out well.

We didn’t stay too long - we were an hour late after all. After the open house, we decided to give it another try, and drive around for halal turkey. Thank God, we found a place near the Joyce Sky Train station. Woo hoo! Another 12 lbs bird for tomorrow’s turkey feast. We’re hoping to carry on our tradition from last year - Malaysian Turkey Eid on Melfa Lane. Stay tuned…

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Piano and Music

Melur and Arman have been taking piano lessons for a few months now. And since they started playing, I’ve started playing more as well. The keyboard you see used to be an ornament in our living room, collecting dust. Mike comes in on Tuesdays, and gives them a formal 30-minute lesson each. And I hold up the rear, and make sure they practice every day until their next practice.

This lazy Sunday morning, we decide to relax with some music and piano. You see Arman playing with Melur. And then Arman takes a video of Melur dancing to Daddy playing the piano. I’m reading music from a book, which I rarely do. So forgive my clumsiness.

The last clip in the video, we see Arman playing Ode to Joy. Arman seems to enjoy playing the piano more than Melur. He regularly practices on his own, while Melur needs some pushing. But both kids are progressing well with their piano.

Anyway… I hope music will continue to be a strong part of their lives. I’m a strong believer that music can hard-wire your brain to do math better, and there’s research that supports that. Let’s play more music.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Arman, Arman

It’s Saturday, and Daddy got up early today to join a conference call with the extended family. Nenek is in Malaysia, Uncle Danny in Japan, Uncle Lyle in Indiana, plus Auntie Yaya in Bath, UK. It was a Skype / YM fest. Unfortunately, Nenek’s YM web cam wasn’t working, so we couldn’t see her at the same time as everybody else. So we took turns talking to her on Skype (her web cam was working on Skype). The wonders of technology…

Anyway, today’s little entry is about Arman. Arman is quite the character. Some time last year, we got Arman a suit from Zellers. He looked so adorable in it. It came with a clip on tie. And for some reason, he likes to wear it to bed… clipped onto his pajamas. And here he is the morning after in his pajamas and tie, dancing in the living room.

Arman is always curious to try new things, especially things that I use around the house, like the laptop, phone and camera. Here he is taking video with the camera. As you recall, he took some videos on Raya day, just 3 days ago. Today, he’s narrating what we’re doing this fine Saturday morning.

Well Arman, I hope you can keep your curiosity going. I think it’s one of your endearing traits. Keep asking, and you’ll never grow bored of life. And as he always says…

“But why?”