February 26, 2009

At last...

June is still ages away and I don't want to get too excited, but a lifelong desire to visit a certain little country looks set to be fulfilled!

Last month, I used Nick's miles to redeem our tickets but we were waitlisted for my 1st choice return date. Not wanting to drag the waitlist, a few weeks ago I confirmed an earlier return date, thinking I could revise the booking later on but when I tried, SQ rejected the change in itinerary - I suspect because the redemption was done on promotional discounted miles.

Resigned to a shortened stay (7 days vs 9), I started enquiring with various hotel properties for rates and planned our itinerary. Yesterday however, I wandered into the SQ site and tried changing our return flights and surprisingly seats for the original return date were available.

After some pleading with Nick, he agreed to extend the trip and before he could change his mind, I changed our booking. An hour ago, I just booked us domestic flights for when we arrive to take advantage of early bird discounts so it's all starting to shape up nicely.

Pinch me, I am finally, finally, finally going here...

Image courtesy of propertybest.gr

February 23, 2009

Bite me!

That's literally what Nat did this morning as I was carrying her.

She refused to be put down in her playpen while I was watching the Academy Awards 'live' and clung on for dear life. I thought it was sweet when she put her head on my shoulder, but then I felt a sharp pain...yikes, the little munchkin had bit me!

Her teeth are sprouting fast and furious, she has about 6 now and another 2 on the way and she's showing typical toddler behaviour at mealtimes. Dropping food, refusing to eat, squirming in her high chair, spitting out food etc, meals last more than an hour!

We saw a skin specialist on Saturday who concurred with the KK doctor's diagnosis, so we'll see what the surgeon advises next week. I'm still hoping we can avoid surgery and have been putting all sorts of creams on Nat's face. I figure if surgical excision is the only way to go, then no harm applying some creams from now till then. The discolouration on her skin seemed to be fading but now it's back to being red and raised, like an angry zit.

We went to Kavi and Siva's new place on Saturday night, The Premier at Tampines. The house was nicely done, they didn't actually have to do much since it was a premium flat but it's already cozy with their own personal touches, though I would hate to have a tiny kitchen like they do. It's the size of my toilet!

Before we left the house, we gave Gigi her first taste of solids. She had a tablespoon of rice cereal and seemed to enjoy it, no spitting out or anything. I bought a Bumbo chair for us to keep within the family after returning the one we borrowed from friends. I wasn't intending to buy it since we didn't have a need for it at the moment, but the purple colour has been pretty elusive so when I spotted the last one at Metro Paragon, I grabbed it!

February 20, 2009

Uh-oh, that doesn't sound good

So Nick brought Nat to KK today to get a second opinion on the bump on Nat's face. And the diagnosis wasn't the harmless zit or folliculitis I was expecting. Last week a doctor had told us it was an insect bite and to leave it alone. Today another doctor said it was pilomatrixoma.

What's that you ask? The definition is a slow growing, hard mass under the skin, usually a single nodule and develops from an abnormal formation of cells that are similar to hair cells, which become hardened or calcified. The calcified cells form a mass beneath the skin, and is considered a benign tumour. The word tumour just freaks me out!

The remedy is surgical excision, something I'm hoping we can avoid putting her through, hence we are seeking a 3rd opinion tomorrow from a skin specialist. But if surgery is the only option, then I would rather nip it in the bud now then wait till she's older. I am concerned about scarring etc, since I have a history of keloids in my family but she's young so I hope her skin heals better.

Sigh, my poor munchkin...

Was on half day today, had lunch with Swana, Sherene and Sham at Toa Payoh. Swana and Sham were also on leave so we shopped in town after lunch. That's the 3rd trip to town in 2 days. Was there twice yesterday, first to accompany my CEO's PA shoe-shopping and second to find her a gift.

Yes, the big boss came to town this week and the whole office was a little on edge. Everyone was on their best behaviour, coming punctually and wearing ties etc. I was tasked with co-ordinating his itinerary here and thank goodness all the arrangements went off smoothly.

His PA, Jo brought a little beefeater teddy bear for Nat, so kind of her. I was preggers the last time she was in town and she asks about Nat from time to time. Her boss gave her some time off yesterday to go on a shoe-hunting mission, she has tiny feet, size 34 so she thought shops here would carry more of her size.

Phyllis and I brought her to Wisma for lunch at Din Tai Fung, after which she proceeded to buy 4 pairs of shoes from Pretty Fit and Charles & Keith.

I bought 2 dresses from Forever 21 on impulse, the same dress in 2 different colours without trying! I love scarf prints and couldn't decide which colour, so I took both! Today when I went back, all the dresses had been snapped up!

February 16, 2009

You want me to what...??

...Taste Nat's sweat on a regular basis - that's the latest advice from Mildred. We were cruising the aisles at Giant Vivocity yesterday when the beloved MIL sprang this request on me.

Had I been eating something, I would have choked. Who deliberately tastes their baby's sweat? That's just plain gross. Mildred's rationale was that by doing so, I would be able to tell what Nat lacks in her diet and adjust her salt and sugar intake accordingly. But isn't sweat salty anyway? Who has sweet sweat? How will I be able to tell whether the munchkin needs more sugar?

In the first place, Nat doesn't eat food with added salt or sugar, not intentionally anyway and if she does, it's not often. And I'm not about to start just yet.

Mildred has been obsessed with Nat's weight of late. Just because Nat's weight averages in the lower percentiles of the healthy range for her age group, Mildred thinks she is undernourished. To her, Nat has to be in the highest percentile, 2-3 kgs off the mark is too much difference in her opinion.

In the last couple of days, Nat has not been finishing her meals (I put it down to teething) and her paranoid grandma is worried sick, calling every now and then to check whether she finished her food. This afternoon she called me and suggested that we let Nat eat the same food we are eating and if it it's too dry, to add some light soya sauce. I don't want her to eat our food just yet, Ma's dinner repertoire is much too spiced for her delicate tastebuds!

But talk about contradictory! First she complains about salty porridge, then she suggests adding light soya sauce to Nat's meals! It's starting to get to Nick, now he's getting influenced by her. He called home a couple of times today to check if Nat ate and came home at 5pm to make her some pasta. His efforts were in vain, she barely touched the thing!

The baby in question is oblivious to all the hoo-haa going on about her, she's still her chirpy self, extremely active and not displaying any signs of distress. She drinks her milk, so I am not so concerned about this temporary loss of appetite, it's not as if it's the first time. She always gets her appetite back after a few days.

Of late, she has been snorting a lot, because I showed her what sound a pig makes. Nick told her only Aunty Joanne is allowed to snort like that! Since yesterday, she has also been taking tentative steps in her playpen, hands-free. She's a long way from walking yet, but she gets really excited when she stands for a few seconds unaided or when she crosses the length of the playpen without holding the railings!

February 14, 2009


Today was Valentine's Day but it was just like any normal day. Me and Nick don't celebrate because we believe everyday should be Valentine's Day, why wait till Feb 14 to show your appreciation for someone?

Besides, it's become so commercial with prices of flowers and intimate dinners jacked up during this period. I would knock his head if he spent $50 on a stalk of flower, as someone I know did.

I dragged him to Tiong Bahru Market in the morning, had to stock up on ingredients for dinner tomorrow, I'm cooking Thai again, this time for Mildred, Ben and Wendy while Nick slogs away at the Chan Brothers travel fair. Ma tagged along and we all had breakfast at the hawker centre.

By the time we were done, we had wasted 1 hour of our badminton court booking which was from 10am-12pm (they come in 2-hour slots in case you're wondering). But since it was only me, Nick and Kevin, 1 hour was more than enough.

After Nat's lunch, we headed to La Casa in Woodlands for Jane's housewarming. Everyone was gathered by the pool when we got there and Gabriel was frolicking away in his diapers. I tried to let Nat dip her feet, but she chickened out. For someone who loves her baths, she's terrified of the pool, guess we won't be swimming anytime soon.

Went up to the house for a while, Nat had fun in Jane's egg chair, and was joined by Gabriel...they had a mini-date!

On the way home, we popped by St Anne's church to visit Nick's nephew Isaac at his niche. Today would have been his 5th birthday, I hope he had fun in heaven. It's been 5 years since he passed away at the age of 4months, but he's very much missed.

Nat was enthralled by the fish and birds at the church, we spotted this pair of lovebirds...

Baba and Aunty Irene came over for dinner, they are addicted to Mummy's chicken curry and had requested her to cook for them tonight. After dinner, me, Nick, Ma and Swana went to a wake in honour of Aunty Lee Eng's elder brother, who passed away after a brief illness.

We didn't stay long though, I had accidentally taken Arlyn's housekeys thinking they belonged to Ma and this meant all those at home had no means of leaving the house should any mishap like a fire occur...touchwood! All sorts of bad thoughts ran through Nick's head and he was anxious to get home and ensure everything was in order.

Watched 'Slumdog Millionaire' with Nick last night, it's got a high chance of winning this year's best picture Oscar. Maybe my expectations were higher after it won the BAFTA and Golden Globe but I wasn't as moved as I anticipated, not in the second half anyway when they all became adults. I preferred the 1st half of the movie, the child actors were natural and engaging and my heart just went out to them, thinking about the squalor they live in and the way children are exploited by syndicates.

I have a soft spot for coming of age movies featuring little boys I think. Remember 'Empire of the Sun'? 'Cinema Paradiso' is one of my all-time favorite movies, and I loved, loved, loved the Iranian flick 'Children of Heaven', which lost out to 'Life is Beautiful' for best foreign film in the 1998 Oscars.

Speaking of 'Life is Beautiful', that ranks as the movie that made me cry the most ever for any show. I was sobbing in the cinema, sobbing as I left the theatre, sobbing on the way home and days later, just thinking about some scenes could still induce tears. I was only 20 then and very much idealistic, not as cynical as I can be now!

February 13, 2009

Trouble in paradise

Had dinner with JGR at Taste Paradise last night, for a belated birthday celebration for Jane.

I had suggested Taste Paradise after the positive experience last year, but we ended up being very disappointed. Maybe we ordered the wrong dishes, but the food was really nothing great and felt overpriced.

Among the 4 of us, we shared a carrot cake, asparagus with wolf berries, deep friend mango and scallop roll, sweet and sour pork with lychees, and braised vermicelli with crabmeat. Nothing stood out, the mango rolls were too tough, oily and overloaded on salad cream. The vermicelli tasted like the bee hoon version of hor fun, plus there wasn't much crabmeat. The food was slow in coming and lukewarm when served.

Methinks I won't be patronising them anytime soon!

We adjourned elsewhere for dessert, one of those dessert hut type outlets on Temple Street. Rena had a black sesame paste, it looked like tar but I'm sure it tasted real good.

Germaine and I shared a mango ice concoction, it looked promising at first, but after a few mouthfuls left a bitter/sour aftertaste like they used bottled mango essence. It had an interesting texture though, the shaved ice was almost chewy and was slow to melt, I wonder what kind of binding agent they used.

Since home was near, I decided to walk home. I finally got to read the plaque erected in front of a tree in the foresty area of our estate. The tree was a binjai one, a member of the mango family and according to the plaque, the tree might be 150 years old as Spottiswoode Park was a colonial plantation back in the 1840s. Cool!

February 12, 2009

The porridge is too salty (ala Zhang Ziyi)

It's only February and I have to break resolution No.6 and that is "Exercise patience with Mildred". Maybe I'm PMS-ing today or something but I just had to vent about Monday's incident which I thought was over and done with, but no she had to bring it up again today, thus pissing me off.

She didn't call me personally though, I just received a call from Nick asking about the issue all over again in a very serious tone to understand what happened. Her knickers are still in a knot after 4 days!

Rewind to Monday.

Mildred was babysitting in the afternoon because Ma had a doctor's appointment. When I got home, she was in the midst of feeding Nat, who is a challenge to feed when not distracted by toys. Halfway through, Mildred tried Nat's chicken and spinach porridge and proclaimed it to be too salty and quietly asked me to try when Arlyn was not around.

I found it tasty, but I wouldn't describe it as salty. Arlyn then tried it and was surprised that it wasn't as bland as Nat's usual meals, but she insisted no salt was added.

Arlyn knows better than to add salt to the munchkin's food because we'd already set the ground rules when Nat started eating solids. So when she said she had not added salt to the food, I took her word for it. End of story to me because I taste Nat's food whenever I feed her and it's always really BLAND, so if she hasn't been putting salt, I highly doubt she would start now. What happened I suspect, was that the chicken imparted more stock than usual, plus fresh vegetables do contain natural sodium.

Anyway, I think Nat was already full that's why she didn't finish her food, but Mildred thought otherwise.

She kept going on about how we shouldn't be feeding Nat salt (duh!), and how her grand-daughter is already underweight, blah blah. Plus Nat had a zit on her left temple and Mildred thought the worse of it, asked how come we never go doctor to get it checked etc etc. I assured her that the bump was going down and that there was no cause for concern, best to let it heal on its own.

I thought she would drop the subject, but no, later that night she called Nick twice. In quick succession. To enquire about Nat's zit (as if it would disappear in the space of 2 hours!) and to raise the salty porridge issue with him.

Poor Nick, I hadn't a chance to fill him in on what transpired before he came home so he had no head or tail about the porridge incident, only to receive a earful from his mother about how we should be monitoring Arlyn more carefully, how come we put salt in Nat's food, how come she has a pimple, why are we not doing anything about it, what kind of parents are we etc etc. He lost his cool with her and basically told her if she can do a better job, she's welcome to f***ing do it!

Mildred still insists there was salt in the porridge and thus is implying Arlyn was not being truthful. That's the part that irks me, that she's suspicious of Arlyn. She thinks we're blinded by the hired help and gullible and are slack employers. I know Arlyn is not perfect, nobody is, but she's been a godsend and I absolutely trust her with my baby's life.

Something funny though, Mildred herself on Sunday night had proclaimed her tastebuds are out of whack, and that she can't taste very well these days, hence I am most amused she can taste the 'salty' porridge.

By the way, I haven't been practicing resolution No. 3 either, to save more, spend less. Just ordered 22 items from Gap and Old Navy yesterday, 19 of which are for Nat. I just take comfort in the fact that I am saving 50% off the retail prices here. The US economy is in a worse state than ours, I had to help them right?

February 9, 2009

25 random things about me

I got tagged on FB and completed a list of 25 random things about me. Here's the list!

  1. My name Susmita means the ‘smiling one’ in Sanskrit though I often get accused of not smiling enough, which leads people to think of me as proud and aloof…but I’m not really! I’m actually very shy, I just don’t go walking around with a big smile on my face for no reason!

  2. I didn’t date till I was 22, and married my one and only boyfriend at 24. I couldn’t be bothered dating frogs in my youth and held out for ‘the one’. We’ll be celebrating our 6th anniversary this March.

  3. I had 150 pairs of footwear at one point, but only about 30 were actively used.

  4. I am Chindian, my mum is Chinese and my dad is Indian.

  5. I have a degree in communications and media management but am doing a totally brainless job as a PA/department administrator so that I can switch off after work and spend more time with my 1 year old daughter Natalie. But I love my job!

  6. I like to hoard clothes, even ones that don’t fit, in the hopes that one day I’ll miraculously lose weight!

  7. I share the same birthday as Martha Stewart.

  8. I’m known by different names to different people – family and childhood friends call me ‘Mita’, while school friends and colleagues call me ‘Sus’.

  9. I love plane food and always look forward to flights - for the meals, turbulence and on-demand movies.

  10. My dream country to visit since childhood is Greece and if all goes well, I should finally be making my way there this year.

  11. I love to cook but hate washing up. Cooking is therapeutic!

  12. I have one elder sister Suvarna, we both had daughters last year, born exactly 7 months apart.

  13. I am very messy, I can never keep anything neat for more than 2 days. My mother calls me a tornado, I leave a trail of destruction in my wake!

  14. I used to be very, very skinny weighing around 40kg in my early 20s that people thought I was anorexic. I could eat like a horse and not gain a pound. Those days are clearly over.

  15. If I weren’t with Nick, I would SO be with George Clooney, heh heh.

  16. When I was in primary school, I wanted to be a supermarket check-out girl when I grew up. I thought, “Hey, that looks like fun...get paid to put stuff in a bag.”

  17. My favourite colour is hot pink and some people call me Hot Pink Chick.

  18. I’ve been a Liverpool fan since I was 13 or 14. Part of the reason was that it was home to the Beatles, the other reason was Steve McManaman.

  19. I was a huge Take That and NKOTB fan, I thought I would marry either Mark Owen or Joey McIntyre one day. I had their videos, CDs, bought all the teenybopper magazines, pasted their posters on my ceiling and even had a NKOTB bedsheet set and staked out Take That at their hotel when they came to town!

  20. I take leave from work whenever there’s a major awards show on TV i.e. Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Emmy’s…love watching the red carpet arrivals!

  21. I went to the Maldives for my honeymoon and got separated from my luggage. Had to buy clothes from the hotel souvenir shop and learn 10 different ways to tie a sarong so I didn’t look the same at every meal!

  22. I had a dog phobia till I was 21, whenever I visited homes with dogs, the owners would have to lock their pets up or people would form a blockade around me!

  23. I never used to eat chilli, my mum would run food under the tap to get rid of curries and gravy.

  24. I’ve stayed at the Istana.

  25. I used to watch all the Channel 8 dramas when younger…whatever Mandarin I understand is from watching TV!

February 8, 2009

Recipe: Spaghetti Bolognaise (Mita's Original)

I made this a few years ago and got rave reviews, haven't tried it since though!

Spaghetti Bolognaise (The Original)

500 gm of minced beef
500 ml of bottled spaghetti sauce (prefer Prego Mushroom)
2-3 tbsp of tomato paste
1/2 carrot, chopped into small cubes
1/2 green pepper, chopped into small cubes
1/2 large white onion, chopped finely
1 large tomato, chopped
6 fresh button mushrooms or 1 small tin of button mushrooms
A pinch of dried oregano
1/2 tsp of Italian herbs
1 tsp of sugar
1/2 cube of chicken stock
125 ml of water
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Pepper to taste

  1. Heat olive oil in a pot and add garlic and onions. Saute for a minute and add minced beef. Stir fry until the meat is browned and cooked. Add chopped onions, tomatoes, green pepper and mushrooms and stir for a minute before adding dashes of pepper and herbs.

  2. Add spaghetti sauce, tomato paste, chicken stock cube and water. Stir a while and simmer. Add more herbs and pepper, do a taste test. If too salty, add a little sugar according to taste but not too much at a time. Simmer for 20 mins or until carrots are soft.

  3. Serve with cooked spaghetti or other pastas.

Serves 4-6

Recipe: Spaghetti Bolognaise (Simplified)

This is the version I made on Nat's 1st birthday...

Spaghetti Bolognaise (Simplified Version)

1 packet of spaghetti, boiled and drained
4-6 tbsp of butter or olive oil
700gm of minced beef
2 large bottles of Prego Traditional Sauce - Mushroom flavour
2 tbsp of tomato paste
1 large onion, chopped
1 tomato, cut into 8
1 carrot, chopped
2-3 stalks of celery, chopped finely
2 bay leaves
A pinch of mixed Italian herbs
1/2 tsp of salt
1-2 tsp of black pepper

  1. Heat the oil or butter in a large saucepan or stockpot and add the onions, stirring until they soften. Add the minced beef and mix well until the beef starts turning brown.

  2. Add the carrots and celery and mix until the beef is cooked, ensuring that the mince does not stick together. Add 1/2 tsp of black pepper and throw in the bay leaves and herbs. Add the bottled tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes and tomato paste and stir well. Let it simmer, covered, for 30 mins, stirring occasionally.

  3. After 30 mins, taste the sauce and add more pepper and some salt if desired. When satisfied, turn off the heat. Serve over a bed of cooked spaghetti and garnish with grated parmesan.

Serves 6-8

Recipe: Seafood Tom Yam Soup

Seafood Tom Yam Soup

2 cans of Swanson's Chicken Stock
1 ltr of water
2 dozen prawns, shells removed but tail left intact, de-veined
2 squids, cleaned and cut into 2.5 inch pieces, cut criss-cross lines on one side
4 lemongrass, sliced thinly
60-80gm of galangal, peeled and sliced
6 kaffir lime leaves
3 tomatoes, cut into slim wedges
5 chilli padis, crushed
1/2 can of straw mushrooms, halved
5-7 tbsp of fish sauce
5-7 tbsp of fresh lime juice
2-3 tbsp of chilli paste in oil or bottled tom yam paste

  1. In a large pot, bring the chicken stock and water to a boil and add the lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves and mushrooms.

  2. Boil for a few minutes, then add the chilli paste / tom yam paste, chillies, tomatoes, prawns and squid and simmer on low heat till the seafood is cooked.

  3. Add the fish sauce and lime juice, adjusting accordingly to your liking. Turn off the heat when satisfied. Serve with steamed rice.
Serves 8-10

Recipe: Thai Pomelo Salad

Thai Pomelo Salad

1 pomelo - skin peeled and roughly broken into smaller segments
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 stalk of lemongrass, sliced finely
1 red chilli (or 4 chilli padis), sliced
4 shallots, sliced finely
A handful of coriander, stalks chopped finely, leaves chopped roughly
A handful of roasted cashew nuts, chopped roughly
4 tomatoes, sliced into 10 wedges per tomato
3 long beans, cut into 2 cm pieces and blanched
1-2 tbsp fish sauce
2-4 tbsp fresh lime juice
Sliced cucumbers (optional)

  1. Using a mortar and pestle, gently 'bruise' the garlic, lemongrass, onions, coriander stalks and chillies, taking care not to crush them. Empty into a large bowl.

  2. Using the mortar again, gently 'bruise' the cashew nuts, tomatoes, beans, taking care not to crush the tomatoes. Add to the large bowl.

  3. Add the pomelo bits and coriander leaves to the large bowl, and mix the fish sauce and lime juice in a seperate bowl. Pour over the salad and mix well, serve immediately over a bed of sliced cucumber (optional).

    Serves 10-12

February 7, 2009

Cooking up a Thai storm

Pops turned 66 today and instead of going out to eat, I offered to cook a whole Thai meal for the 9 of us present - been itching to make tom yam soup since I bought a bottle of fish sauce last week, plus I had all these Thai pastes that I wanted to use up before they expired.

Considering I've never made anything Thai before or more than 2-3 dishes at any one go, the menu was a tad ambitious. Seafood tom yam, tom kha gai, pomelo salad, green curry with chicken, chilli crab, baby kailan with oyster sauce and pineapple fried rice. I dropped the fried rice when everyone said they would prefer normal steamed rice.

Whilst I would have liked to make everything from scratch, I decided not to kill myself on this first attempt. The chilli crab sauce was courtesy of Prima and the tom kha gai was from a packaged spice mix, just needed to add chicken, water and mushrooms. Plus I relied on canned chicken stock for the tom yam.

The day started early as I had to squeeze in a trip to the market before badminton. I was resigned to just playing with Kevin since Nick had an event to attend but Swana skipped her kickboxing class to join us and they managed to persuade Ajen, Vim, Kavi, Siva and Kumar to come all the way from the east.

It was so fun, we played doubles throughout the 2 hours before throwing all that exercise down the drain by binging at the railway station. I had a baseball soto (a giant begedel with soup) AND a lontong!

The dinner preparation started as soon as I got back. Me and Arlyn cut, washed and sorted all the raw ingredients first and then I started the cooking in the early evening. One of the reasons why I'm cooking more now is because I don't have to wash up!

Anyway I had printed some recipes from the internet but improvised along the way. Made the tom yam soup first, I didn't add a lot of chilli padi but I think the chilli paste I used was already quite potent. Everyone was sweating during dinner, but the feedback was generally positive. Kevin had 2 whole bowls!

The green curry I was a little disappointed with, it turned out too thick because I unintentionally used coconut cream instead of milk. Even after adding extra paste and diluting the mixture, the taste of the spices was muted by the coconut. But still I went the whole hog, skipping lunch yesterday to hunt down baby brinjals in Tekka, both the egg-sized ones plus the pea-sized ones as well as basil for garnishing.

I should have made the tom kha gai from scratch, didn't like the instant one...not as nice as the version at Thai Express. Will have to try this again another day.

The chilli crabs were a chore, luckily I didn't have to kill or chop them with Arlyn around. Everything was nicely cleaned up for me, all I had to do was dump them in the pan and follow the instructions on the Prima box, aided by Swana. There were so many steps but I must say the crabs turned out pretty well. Comparable to those cze char stalls!

I was most pleased with the pomelo salad and everyone loved it. The fruit itself that I bought from the market this morning was very sweet and when combined with shallots, coriander, chilli, nuts, beans, tomatoes etc was just a burst of flavour in each mouthful.

Mummy asked Kevin to rate the overall standard and he gave it 7/10, which I gladly accept. Not bad for a first attempt! Important thing was for Pops to enjoy the meal, which he did.

Sham and her mum came over after dinner and then we all sang Pops a birthday song as he cut the cake Swana bought from Sweet Secrets.

Went to Timbre last night with the SingTel folks, there was me, Jeannie, Juliana, Hong Wei, Desmond and another guy named Lucas whom I was meeting for the first time. We managed to catch up a bit, it's always so hard to get everyone together though some of us do meet for lunch since we all now work in the same area.

Michael dropped out at the last minute but called to check who could come for his wedding. He's getting hitched on his birthday, yay for him! And yay for me since I get to wear new DD clothes that have been sitting in the closet waiting for the perfect occasion!

February 4, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday Munchkin!

Natalie is officially 1 today, my little girl has grown so fast. Babies go through the most drastic changes in the first year, from just lying there like a blob to flipping over, lifting their heads, crawling, sitting up and even walking. I'm going to miss those days as Nat progresses to a state of independence.

Nick flew off to KL this morning but returned in time for dinner. I was on leave and made an impromptu visit to The Studio Loft in the morning. Maryann uploaded a Valentine's Special on Facebook yesterday and when I saw that today was the first scheduled walk-in session, I decided to capture Nat's 1st birthday for posterity.

The special was 2 touched-up images for $25 and I made a mental note to get 4 nice shots. But you know how it goes, every photo turns out nice and it ends up being hard to eliminate...so in the end I chose 8 shots for $100. Here's one from each setting...

After the photos, we made our way to Vivo to meet Ma, Swana and Gigi. Swana was on leave too because she purposely scheduled one of Gigi's jabs today. We had an all-girls lunch at Bakerzin, where Nat kept trying to grab my plate.

Lunch was followed by a spot of shopping. I bought Nat some books from Page One and bottoms from Marks & Spencer, and a Forever 21 dress for myself, concealer from MAC and a wallet for Papa's birthday this Saturday.

Surprisingly we didn't cut any cake today, though we still had the top tier of her birthday cake. Everyone was too full after dinner. I made Spaghetti Bolognaise, received compliments that it tasted better than those in some restaurants. It's really simple, but it has to simmer for a while. Have yet to introduce Nat to beef but I froze some blended portions of the bolognaise, minus the salt and herbs of course.

I also made Nat a batch of Chicken & Alphabet Stew to freeze, just boiled cubed potatoes, carrots, celery, peas and onions in homemade chicken stock before adding some tomato puree, shredded chicken and boiled alphabet pasta. Mita Stewart has been busy! By the way, did you know me and Martha share the same birthday?

We bought one of those Yu Sheng sets from Giant and lo hei-ed before dinner, a vegetarian version because we didn't get fish.

Nat got more presents today, Nick bought her a Barney mobile phone from the KL airport, Banu sent an outfit through the mail and Mummy bought her a book. Frances emailed from France asking what to get her and Alicia called from Perth to say she would be sending something via her parents who return this week. So much love, Nat is a really lucky girl!

Gigi turned 5 months today and the poor girl celebrated by getting pricked by a needle! She was so tickled by the balloon we bought Nat earlier, she kept laughing and laughing. She's always looking at Nat to see what she does and Nat looks out for her, it's so sweet to see the two of them together.

Gigi is starting to wriggle a lot more, can't leave her unattended on any high surface. She has been gnawing on her fingers big time, I bet her teeth will appear soon. Swana says she is co-dependent, she cannot be left alone for any amount of time when she's awake, she has to have someone within sight otherwise she throws a fit.

She's never cranky with me though, Aunty Mita has a knack for making her smile. At least I get to relive all the stages Nat has gone through via Gigi. Can't wait till she gets onto solids in a few weeks!