November 30, 2009

Homeward bound

All too soon, it was time to say goodbye. Spent this morning snapping pics of baby Rayhan, who is a pie. He's definitely got Joanne's eyes.




By 11.20 am we were on our way to the tailors. Unfortunately nothing much was ready, except the balance of my 1st batch but me and ma dropped off another load of materials. Not sure when we'll get them back but hopefully soon if someone goes up to Ho Chi Minh this month.

Checked in early at the airport and killed time by having lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant.


In all, travelling with Ma wasn't so bad, except for being her walking calculator, executing her payments, having to prevent her from buying useless things like fake rambutans, putting up with her snoring (I snore too though!), waiting for her to catch up when walking, and dealing with her anxiety when on the road...she would exclaim 'Oh my god' or 'Uh-oh, uh-oh' whenever we were in a cab and scooters got too close.

I didn't mean to be so impatient with her but she can be exasperating! Everytime I travel with the folks I always say 'never again' but they need someone to show them around. Looks like I will have to follow her to Italy if she ever makes it, oh woe is me! ;-)

November 29, 2009

To market again!

Ma didn't get enough of Ben Thanh market so we found ourselves back there again, after swinging by Pham Ngu Lao to pick up my colleague's dress.


I bought a few more fabrics, including a lime green scarf print I have been desperately searching for after seeing it on a DD top that was sold a while back. It was tucked above the shelves of a material shop in the market, hidden from view but when I recognised the section as containing scarf prints I got excited, and jumped for joy when I found the print I was looking for!


Ma bought a few pieces herself and at 1plus, Joanne came to pick us up for Saigon Square Part 2. There was a new centre built at the corner of Le Thanh Ton. Again bought more baby clothes and managed to find Swana a Charlotte Russe dress in her size that I had bought for myself last year. Joanne got one for herself too, so between us we have S, M and L of the same dress!




Had lunch at Pho 24 then went back to An Phu to do a bag drop before walking over to a nearby massage parlour where we each enjoyed a 70-min foot reflexology and massage session for the equivalent of SGD$12 (including tip!). It was mainly painful for me, I'm not big on massages but still it was a welcome break. Despite smelling like a Chinese medical hall, we went out for dinner at a Thai restaurant further down the road from Casa Elawadi.

Had a mini-feast, dinner was on me to thank Joanne and Tarek for their hospitality. Ate until I felt bloated, but the food was good. The tom yam was the lemak kind, shiok!




Spent the rest of the evening packing and sorting what to tailor...can't wait for this batch to be ready!

November 28, 2009

To market, to market

Day 2 and after a quick lunch at home, Joanne's parent's who had arrived a week earlier left for Singapore. Snapped some pix of Rayhan and then left to explore Ben Thanh market.



Ma went bonkers at the array of goods, she was tempted to buy all the dried fish, nuts, accessories, fruits, tablecloths...but I held her back. In the end we bought mainly materials and embroidered tablecloths. She also picked up some lacquer photo frames. I was melting in the stuffy market and kept whining to Ma to take a break, but she who had taken her glucosamine pills was like an Energizer bunny!


We finally plonked ourselves at a Pho 2000 where I ordered the yummy beef ragout and Ma had pho ga, plus we shared springrolls.


Once done, we walked to Pham Ngu Lao, the backpacker's district to help my friend pick up some dresses from another tailor. Unfortunately only 1 piece was ready so we headed back to town to change more money and shop at Parksons. I was dead on my feet already, so Ma mostly explored the household section on her own while I indulged at the food court.

We bought stuff at the supermarket and tookaway some rolls and salad before coming back to Joanne's place for dinner.


Initially we had planned to eat out but Tarek is feeling under the weather so the maid cooked instead. Didn't buy much today except for some fabrics.


November 27, 2009

Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh!

Arrived in Ho Chi Minh earlier today, this time my travelling companion was Mummy. She hadn't been on a plane in 6 years and after more than a year of babysitting, treated herself to a trip over the long Hari Raya weekend.

Since it was a public holiday, the son-in-laws were available to send us to the airport. Nat and Gigi were oblivious that grandma was going away, and grandma regularly sent my blood pressure up by asking inane questions and dilly-dallying at the airport. She brought her blood pressure monitor but I joked that I would need it more!


We didn't have much time for duty free, and once on the plane I had to help Ma with her Krisflyer control. I managed to watch 500 Days of Summer but had to fast forward bits of the ending in order to finish the movie before the over-eager air crew took our headsets away.


As soon as we landed, we hit the tailor's since it was right next to the airport. Unloaded 2 bagfuls of materials between me and Ma and collected another bagful of ready clothes which my colleague had kindly helped bring up to HCM earlier in the week.

Thereafter, we headed to Joanne's, managed to direct the taxi driver and not to get lost. She and her parents were getting ready to go out, so after dumping our bags and a quick change, we were off to town to change money and hit the shops at Saigon Square. Had to do a baby drop at Sheraton first, Joanne's MIL was babysitting so she could join us.



Bought a fair bit at Saigon Square...am thankful No.2 is a girl, so much easier to shop! Bought a couple of things for myself but mainly for the babies. Baby clothes were 5 bucks on average. Ma was useless at converting Vietnamese dong to Sing dollars, I had to keep calculating and paying on her behalf.

After a couple of hours it was time to make our way back to Sheraton to collect the baby, then head down to Ashima Mushroom Hot Pot for dinner. It's sort of like a mushroom steamboat and Tarek met us there. It was not too bad but I don't think I'll be eating mushrooms for a while...overdosed!


Here are day 1's purchases...



November 26, 2009

Happy birthday Arlyn!

Actually I should be wishing Ata since today would have been her 100th birthday. Today is also the day Jane welcomed her son into the world, don't have all the gory details yet but can't wait to meet the new addition.

Anyways, it's Arlyn's birthday on Sunday and since me and Ma will be away, we decided to celebrate early. We offered to take her out but she didn't feel like picking a place, so in the end we just ordered pizza at home and bought cake.


Gigi nearly burnt her fingers taking a swipe at the candles! That one has no sense of danger! She's been plucking off the lower hanging ornaments from the tree too. But I'm amazed at how many new words she's saying everyday, already forming short sentences like 'Gigi ma-mum'.

Welcome Rachel!

Went to visit Baby Rachel Tuesday night, daughter of Edwina and Simon. She's almost a month old but we couldn't visit earlier because the babies took turn being sick etc, so we made an impromptu visit last night since me and Ma will be away on the first month celebration.


She's a pie, really sweet...miss those newborn days but it won't be long before I go through it all over again! Nat and Gigi gently stroked her but weren't that interested in her, preferring to play with Rachel's toys instead!

Jane's in labour right now, can't wait for the baby to come out...should be anytime now. Woo hoo!

I need to pack for tomorrow's trip, plus run errands hence am on leave today. A shipment of clothes just arrived from VS for my other trip in December. Am going to Guilin and opted to buy winter wear online! Everything fits thank goodness!

November 23, 2009

Thwarted

Headed to Botanical Gardens bright and early on Saturday morning for breakfast only to be thwarted upon discovering the foodcourt closed for renovation. Spent 5 mins showing Nat the fish and birds but the pond water was extremely murky and we could barely make out the koi.


Decided to have breakfast at Orchard instead, but only a handful of stalls were open at Wisma's Food Republic. We ended up eating dim sum and then walked to Ngee Ann City where Swana was showcasing MINDS' arts and crafts at a charity fair. (Do consider the range of gifts from MINDS' Artistique Sync when doing your Christmas shopping!)


Nat loved the giant Christmas tree at Taka and we took a family photo, check out our matching Minnie Mouse tees from Paris!



Did a spot of shopping too, made Nick buy me a large Cheer Bear but me and Nat are now fighting over it. She insists it's hers and will snatch it away and give me her small version instead. I'm amazed she can differentiate between 'mine, my and I' when forming her sentences!


She crashed in the car but woke up as soon as we got home. After lunch she fell asleep again, so I made Nick drive to Katong for laksa. Was a bit anti-climatic, didn't taste as good as I remembered but at least I got to stock up on coconut candy at Glory, and buy apom bukuah... love the banana gravy that accompanies this.



We bumped into Nick's ex-boss when he was an SES intern, William from Ops. He's looking very different with his moustache missing...reminds me of Tom Selleck after shaving. Also swung by Germaine's place to pick up some stuff she had for Joanne. Woo-hoo, just a few more days till HCM!

We put up the Xmas tree when we got home, Nat was thrilled to have her own tree at home after seeing it in the malls. Looks the same as last year though, will buy new decorations for next year when things go on sale after Xmas!



In the evening, the Dopes came over and I made a quick pasta for dinner. The babies cannot drink milk seperately, when Nat sees Gigi drinking, she'll insist on having her own even though it's not time yet.

On Sunday, we went for mass at Christ the King since it was their feast day. Had lunch at Ampang Yong Tau Fu in Upper Thomson. Mmm, it had been a while...


November 20, 2009

Thumbsucker

Went for the 20-week detailed scan today and we brought Nat along to KK. As we were running late, Nick dropped us off while looking for parking and I was called into a room before he could meet us. Arlyn carried Nat into the screening room and immediately she wailed when she saw the scanner in the white coat.

Had to leave her outside and for the first half of the scan, I was alone because Nick got lost looking for the antenatal diagnostic centre and even barged into the wrong screening room! Everything was measured and timed for Nike, who seems to be progressing well.

Nick managed to bring Nat in after a while and she got to observe the whole process. Had to explain to her it was me visiting the doctor and not her. She got to see her baby sister, who at one point was nicely sucking her thumb. Yes,, Nike was confirmed as a she, so that's 2 little princesses for us and looks like I need to get the pacifier ready!


Thereafter we headed to the Private Suites to await a review with Dr Siow. He met Nat for the first time since delivering her and he commented she looked just like me. Nat of course was petrified of him and cried when initially brought into the consultation room. She's still traumatised by her hospital stay, poor bubba.


Hung at Membina in the afternoon while Nick went back to work, and at night we went to see the lights at Marina Bay. Looks better during the day somehow, I was not impressed. BTW, doesn't Gigi remind you of Roger Federer here? Something about the eyes!


November 17, 2009

Bubba weekend

Nat re-acquainted herself with 2 other bubbas this weekend, Raiden and Cameron.

Last Friday, Nick was entertaining a Japanese agent so me and Nat invited ourselves to the dinner Swana was having with the Nathans and Lees, in honour of Bernard's birthday.


We tried our luck at ViVo but with no reservations on a Friday night, it was hard to settle on a place without having to wait 30 mins for a table. Landed up at No Signboard Seafood Restaurant where there was no queue and had ourselves a feast.

Eating crabs while having to amuse and keep Nat occupied is a challenge, luckily whenever she got restless we could go check out the fish tanks.
She was shy with Raiden at first, especially when he kissed her cheek in greeting but later on, they were nicely holding hands in the restaurant from their high chairs, while he shared his toy cars with her...felt like I was chaperoning a date!





Stayed mainly indoors on Saturday, did a spot of marketing in the morning and hung at Membina till lunch before going home to nap.

Reconvened with the Dopes and Ma for an early dinner at Riverside Point. All the level 1 restaurants were full or reserved so we decided to try Chen Fu Ji. I've been wanting to try their Imperial fried rice for the longest time and finally got my chance. Pregnancy has its privileges!


Found the menu a tad pricey and everyone else had doubts about whether the food would be nice since the restaurant was pretty empty. But they were pleasantly surprised with the dishes, however the fried rice was a disappointment. Though it had lots of ingredients, the rice grains were really hard and somewhat cold, like overnight rice that hadn't been warmed up. Don't think I'll be back there anytime soon.

Finished early and decided to brave the Orchard light-up. Traffic was manageable and relatively smooth, considering it was an APEC weekend. Loved the stretch of blue decor from Tanglin to Scotts, but not a fan of the rest of the stretch of yellows and reds.



Landed up at Great World City for coffee, where Nat proceeded to irritate Gigi by squeezing her.



On Sunday, we attended the 1st month celebration for Tristan at Desmond's condo. Met Jeannie, Juliana, Mike, Richard and Crispian. Was anticipating Nat to wail at the sight of the crowd but she didn't after getting distracted by the balloons. Nick bumped into an old friend, who turned out to be Cameron's godma! Small world.


Hadn't met Crispian since we left SingTel and he mocked boredom when Cameron was placed on his lap, proclaiming he wasn't a baby person. Tristan was asleep throughout most of the party, and Chen Tze was gorgeous as usual, can't tell she had a baby a month ago!





Managed to compare Cameron's size with Nat and was reassured to see they are around the same height, he's just a bit heavier...Next time Mildred says she's small, I have a benchmark!




In the evening we were back in the north to have dinner with the in-laws at Amah's house. Her birthday is tomorrow so we had a mini-celebration in advance and Nat got to blow out the candles. I need to start thinking about her 2nd birthday!