Category Archives: 2nd year

The “Real” Birthday Pictures and Videos

Running around the Lido, 3-hr nap, and a fussy Lin, all these things to remember for boys’ second birthday.

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Happy 2nd Birthday, Lin and Li!

Portraits by Greg Wilson, June 30th, 2012

How fast does time go? Too fast! Boys woke up this morning, all happy and it’s a pretty cold day, we decided to take them for a swim at Lido. It was really fun but boys were so active it was difficult to keep them in the toddler’s pool, they kept running around and checking on the water aerobics, the old ladies thought they were so cute but I got yelled at for taking photos.

They came home and took a three hour nap, difficult for me since they really can’t get off my breast now. So glad my aunt sends them to sleep at night, otherwise it will be too much for my back. Greg came again today since last Saturday Li wanted milk and sleep when he set up everything, glad at least Michael and I got a few good shots. Today they weren’t sleepy but Lin still cried and it was obviously quite difficult for Greg since the boys just couldn’t stay still. I am also pretty happy Peter and Shun Mun took the outdoor session on Sunday, which I think will turn out to be amazing, boys were playing on the Massey grounds and they loved it running around, riding their bike, and watching Rico and Flynn zipping through on their scooters. Michael and I were really happy this whole weekend, we spent a lot of time together alone, laughed, joked as if we were still dating, it was amazing.

Nothing special for their birthday but the photography sessions are always fun. It’s quite challenging compare to last year now that they can run around and don’t want to be told what to do. Lin has grown into a loving brother, he always gets food and gives it to Li, somehow he knows he’s a minute older! He’s straightforward, loud, and hates to be pulled away from things he wants to do (so we always try not to). He likes cars, doesn’t eat as much as Li. Li has always been a bit more sensitive, he would march around the house to look for us when we are out, unlike his brother. He tends to keep his things, especially his food, to himself. He eats fast and he eats a lot (and he has more poopy diapers for sure!). Li in genera is more adventurous and less fearful of new things or people. Lin, on the other hand, is a bit more timid and shy. Both of them are fun, active and good to other kids. I have never seen them push or fight over things with others, but they do that now all the time with each other. They are going through the typical two year old phase, when they are going towards completely crazy at cars, even if that means they have to run off on the streets and get them. They have no fear, in their own world, everything is so interesting and they already know everything, there’s no need for mum to grab them so they scream to protest. They do not sit at the table to eat, they play with their food (still!), and enjoy making a mess more than anything! I am not too concerned about some of their problematic behaviors such as throwing stuff, occasional biting, running around while eating, their personality, strong will, almost came with their birth, and they have been pretty consistent, I just love watching them grow everyday.

The best of all, they are each other’s best friend. They can’t go to bed or wake up alone, they look for each other as soon as they are apart, they are each other’s comfort. I am not sure what awaits, terrible 2 (times 2) or terrific 2 (times 2, too)? Certain things have definitely gotten better. They sleep through the night for 11 or 12 hours, they can talk somewhat and communicate more than before. They entertain us all the time with their little surprises. Everyday we go out and play somewhere for 2 or 3 hours, playcentre, Esplanade, Te Manawa, library, Bunnings, etc., to tire them out. Now that the school holiday starts, it’s a bit more difficult to be creative, but they had so much fun just to be outside running around.

So happy with what you have become, Lin and Li. Happy birthday! 

with all of our love, 

Mommy and Daddy

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Funny about Lin and Li

Lin and Li will be 2 years old tomorrow, and I can’t tell you how many times I laugh everyday now, well there are also moments I get frustrated. However, they do so many cute things and it makes their fuss time so unimportant.

At dinner, Li was feeding me the rice, and instead of sending the spoon in my mouth, it ended up on my face. Lin came over, got the rice off my cheek and fed it to Michael – talking about a loving sharing family!

Boys were playing with a small empty container of travel size shampoo, and they got hold of a mini ranch that came with their scooter, Li saw the hole in the ranch and started blowing his imaginary bubbles.

We were leaving Bunnings, Lin saw the rising moon, clapping his hand and shouting “bubble, bubble”!

Got them a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse storybook, Lin pointed at Goofy and said, “baba” (Dad in Chinese), Michael said “No!”. Lin insisted, “baba”, Michael said, “No!” This went on for about 10 times, and Michael gave up fighting for his reputation.

At bedtime, I asked Lin if he wanted to sleep, he said “No”, loud and clear. I asked him if he wanted milk, “No!” he said. I let Li get on my breast, Lin cried, “No!”. I said okay, he cried harder and buried his head in the pillow. I realized that he didn’t quite understand what “no” means every single time, just it sounds wonderful to him all the time. So I let him have his milk, he went to sleep in a minute.

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Li talking up a storm today (June 19th, 2012)

All of a sudden, Li woke up today and started talking like crazy, I meant we all noticed – he was talking to Michael a lot before he went to work, he then was talking to his brother, to himself and to other kids at the playcentre. Then when Michael bathed them, he was talking a lot with his brother in the bath. I took some videos today and I missed some really interesting “conversations”, it is really cute but other than a few words I couldn’t make out what he meant. Any ideas?

They also had a great time at the playcentre, and both fell asleep on the short drive home, and my aunt put them to sleep as soon as we arrived home for a 2 hour nap. They explored a lot today as usual, and enjoyed the new “car”, playing with water, I am SO glad that I got them overalls over the weekend otherwise they would be completely soaked again! They also painted a bit, not sure what the pattern is but I am not going to over think and get frustrated about it – it’s what they do at their age, and try and do whatever! Lin also enjoyed watching the delivery truck and waved at the driver. They are still not good at morning tea, just couldn’t sit still, and made a mess at the table (thankfully they didn’t get on the table!). I know it will take time for them to learn how to behave since all the other kids are good, at least after being there for a while. Lin and Li have made some progress at sharing time, and learned tremendous new skills especially in their physical activities in the first term.

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Weekend in Wellington – Te Papa

The City Cottages owner has an insider guide to the local restaurants and cafe:

Best Fine Dining: Logan Brown, Cuba St

Best Dining A Deux: Martin Bosley’s, Oriental Parade
Best Seafood: Ortega Fish Shack and Bar, Majoribanks St
Best Place to See and to be Seen: Floriditas, Cuba St
Best Wine Bar: Arbitrageur, Featherston St
Best BOHO CAFaacE: Fidel’s, Cuba St
Best Suburb Dining: Miramar
Best Tapas: Havana Bar, Wigan St
Best Late Night Feed: Duke Carvell’s Swan Lane
Best Family Friendly Spot: Grand Century, Tory St
Best Cheap Eats: KK Malaysian, Ghuznee St
Best Fish and Chips: Bays Takeaways, Island Bay
Best Patisserie: La Patissere de Marie et Nico, Miramar
Best Sushi: Shinobi Sushi Bar, Vivian St
Best Roti Canai: Roti Pratha, Kelburn
Best Masala Dosa: Rasa, Cuba St
Best Tacos: Viva Mexico, Left Bank, Cuba St
Best Market: City Market
Best All-Round Food Store: Moore Wilsons, College St
Best Place to Get hard-to-find ingredients: on Trays Emporium Petone
Best Asian Store: Yans Supermarket, Hopper St
Best Indian Store: Discount House, Newtown
Best Traditional Greengrocer: Miramar Fruit Supply
Best shop for unusual vegetables: Commonsense Organics, City and Kilbirnie
Best Delicatessen: La Bella Itaia
I can see why City Cottages is a popular bach, the location is really great, with a designated parking space, you can save the trouble finding a spot. Wellington is very hilly, streets are small, kind of reminds me of San Fran. Even though its the coolest little capital, it’s still too big of a city for us. We took the kids to Floriditas, a nice cafe just a block away, they gave us a high chair that we’ve never seen before. They are two seats that can be attached to the table, boys’ feet hang off them so they are very secure, what a great Kiwi invention (again)! It supports to up to 16.8kg, our boys are 14kg so it’s kind of late to think about buying them unless I can find one cheap enough on TradeMe. This portable high chair is called Metoo made by Phil&Teds.
Boys loved the Keep Cup we bought yesterday at Zealandia, the cups are made to conserve the usage of paper cups and a lot of retailers do promotions to give discount to Keep Cup owners for coffees, etc. They are really fun for the boys too, they loved playing, drinking with it. They loved the foam on top of the coffee or chai so we ended up ordering a fluffy soy milk just for them! Breakfast was great and we were all happy that we survived with the twins in a restaurant. We then walked around a bit all the way to Wakefield St and headed back to the house to check out. Boys fell asleep in the push chair and didn’t wake up until we were ready to put them in the car. We parked at Te Papa and took the kids to 2 different play area at Te Papa (national museum). June 7~July 1 is Matariki, Maori New Year so there’re a lot of kids around, there’s probably an even at TSB Arena but we were all occupied at Te Papa, the Inspiration Discovery Centre is the best, boys loved it there. Before heading home, we walked to the Cable Car Station, although we were all tired so decided to visit the Garden another time, I did get to make a stop at Commonsense Organics, finding that the vegetables are even more expensive than Palmerston North but I bought 15 bags of Little Bird Macaroon. Boys were good again on the way back, but about 10 minutes before we arrived, Lin started crying, later on we discovered that he has pooped his pants, poor thing!

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The Happy Father

In our house, where holidays or even birthdays are not considered a big deal, I happened to capture the precious moments of the boys interacting with Michael on Father’s Day (US time so with a bit of delay)!

 

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Weekend in Wellington – Junglerama and Zealandia

Winter is here and we are still heading south, which is colder in New Zealand! Palmerston North is only less than 2 hours drive from Wellington. I got the Grabone coupon for a playland in Wellington called Junglerama so we are all excited to check it out. The weather changes minute from minute, rain, sun, rain and sun, so we were happy we are heading towards an indoor playland. Boys were great in the car (again!) and we spent 3 hours playing there. Junglerama is better than Lollipop, larger in size but more importantly the play areas are separate for different age group. So Lin and Li loved playing in the toddler area for a long time. They loved the slides, the playhouse, the pool of balls, the octopus and of course the cars!

We went to Zealandia afterward, it is really one of our favorite places in Wellington. It was fairly cold, even though Michael and I had the reservation for the night tour we decided to cancel it, since it was really cold with the rain. Luckily at least after lunch at Rata cafe, it stopped raining so we were able to walk around. Boys napped during the walk, for about 1.5 hours. We were able to walk to the upper view point on the dam, saw some beautiful Moho, and Kaka. Zealandia recently has convinced the Council to drop off the proposal to take over Zealandia, so now at least Zealandia is still an independent non-profit organization!

Our accommodation is at City Cottages this time, it’s right off of Cuba St, which is filled with restaurants and cafes! I found four vegetarian restaurants in Wellington and three of them are on Cuba, one is a few blocks away on Courtney Place. So we picked Aunty Mena’s, which is rated #1 on tripadvisor among the four. I had wonton and deep-friend vege balls. My aunt had fish and chips at Seamarket, which wasn’t anything special. We were really happy with the townhouse, it’s a new building with enough heaters so it was comfortable. It was real easy to child proof it too, there’s a switch for washing machine, stove, and the drawer dish washer can be locked so we didn’t have trouble at all letting the boys run around! This time we bought the Go-Crib so there’s no moving furniture around. Michael and I were saying that none of us remembered to bring it for the last trip, it would have been much easier.

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May North Island Tour – Napier & Hastings

If I could I would move to the twin city, not because I have twins, because Napier and Hastings have the best things for a healthy living as a haven for wine and food. Hawkes Bay area was famous for the fruit farms, many of them are organic, but now it’s the biggest wine production base in New Zealand. For me as a vegetarian, the Chantal Organics in Napier, and Taste Cafe along with Cornucopia Organic Shop in Hastings alone are a good reason for us to live there.

Our accommodation this time was at Hill Top on Bluff Hill, it’s a beautiful property not too far from the city center but it is on a hill. We had our garage which was lovely and the house was very toddler friend, Adele had lots of toys in the closet so boys had a ball. We also had a hot tub which aunt enjoyed very much. The whole house is very modern, equipped. Linens are superb, there’s really nothing to complain when we have the view of the bay! It’s so nice I extended the stay for one more night. Unfortunately the only downside is on Bluff Hill I got disoriented one night driving (luckily by myself) after a shopping trip and turned into the dead end one lane Thompson Road, with a push chair on the back, no street lights, I hit someone’s pipe when I tried to back up. I left a note in their mail box the next morning since no one was home and I couldn’t find anyone in the house next door. They emailed me back and said no worries just a week ago and said it’s all repaired and thanked me for the note and offer to pay for the damage…New Zealanders are amazing!

We visited the Sat Farmer’s Market in Napier, and Sunday Farmer’s Market in Hastings. Needless to say, filled up the car with all sorts of heavenly foods. Boys played at Marine Parade playground, also at the Cornwall Park playground right next to the Cornwall Playcentre  in Hastings! We had the best vegan burger from Taste Cafe in Hastings. We also visited the Mission Estate Winery, had a lovely dinner, boys had so much fun playing on the big lawn overlooking the vineyard. Staff was friendly, food was fabulous, and my aunt did the wine tasting. I can’t wait to go back already!

P.S. Picture of the lamb was for my aunt…

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May North Island Tour – Lake Taupo

May 25th, Friday

We had a really great time in Rotorua and left on Friday morning after boys played some at the McDonald’s, it was a great playland at Fenton St. The drive to Lake Taupo was uneventful. Just before hitting Taupo, we stopped at the Moon Crater but it would require a 45 minute walk so we couldn’t do it with the buggy, across from it there’s the Huka Falls, very pretty sight. Taupo is very busy, lots of traffic, so we didn’t stay for long, the lake is so big, it’s more like the ocean. We all had fun picnicking with the ducks and swans on the beach at Acacia Bay, the two black swans were really aggressive, they hissed at us but never got too close to the boys. Lin and Li had fun playing with my SLR, Lin took about 30 pictures of his feet but some actually came out pretty nice. He would hold up the camera when I asked him to take a picture, sooooo cute.

The drive to Napier was beautiful, hours of green grass, blue sky, flat highways (finally!) and no gas station or shops but just magnificent New Zealand view! We even changed the boys on the grass at a rest stop, even that was beautiful.

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May North Island Tour – Rotorua

Rotorua rocks, it’s a city with so many amazing sights, one of the four spots in the world that has geysers and mud pools (meaning it’s sitting on some real hot volcanoes), redwoods, beautiful Lake Rotorua, no wonder it is the best city in New Zealand for tourists.

May 22nd, Tuesday

Although it was hard work cleaning up the PSA house, we left on time at 10am. We stopped at this Whiti Farm Park, just something to do and have the boys get out of the car but I regretted right away, it’s a zoo with animals being confined, boys loved walking around and Li loved feeding the ponies, I felt kind of sad for them so we quickly moved onto another beautiful drive from Whitianga to Rotorua. We passed Tauranga along the way, really lovely town – new and modern. Mountain roads again for 3.5 hours, windy and scary at times. Arrived in Rotorua around 5pm, loved the PSA home, great for our situation. I couldn’t believe the best accommodation we had here only cost us $49 and next time we can get unit 12 which has a fully fenced in yard! Boys were amazing for the 3.5 hour ride, no fuss at all! PSA home there was easy to set up, kitchen was closed off, bathroom was closed off. TV is on the wall, and it’s WARM!!! It’s also right off of Fenton St, close to a mall where I shopped at Countdown. Boys slept well at night, waking up only once, the room was quite warm with the heater. I found McDonald’s 24/7 free wifi and spent a few hours there planning the trip.

May 23rd, Wednesday

Stopped at i-site in the morning to purchase the slightly discounted combo tickets for Wai-O-Tapu and Waimangu Volcanic Valley walking pass. I took the boat cruise in 2008 at Waimangu but not sure if we could push the stroller on the bus. We went to Te Puia fist to see the geyser and mud pool, expensive – $46 per person even though its pretty cool, it has to be the biggest tourist trap in Rotorua. Then we went for lunch at Welin’s Noodle House, afterwards boys played at the playground right by Lake Rotorua, lovely playground with amazing view. Boys saw the swans, ducks and even a helicopter taking off, they were so excited. I came up with the brilliant idea of breastfeeding them in the back of the car! We then went to the Redwoods for a lovely walk (the Redwoods is only a few kilometers from the city center and it’s free. Had a really lovely day, so lovely that we extended our stay here for one more night and push back the Napier reservation.

May 24th, Thursday

Greatest day of our trip!!! We were driving around between the Wai-O-Tapu visitor center and Lady Knox, and figured out that we should have gone to Lady Knox with our pre-paid tickets, instead we loaded and unloaded the kids for no reason. Luckily we made the 10:15am daily Lady Knox eruption…but unfortunately Lin was screaming and I had no choice but to take him back in the car. My aunt held Li they watched the geyser went from nothing to a hot fountain. After 40 minutes, I was able to go back and take some up-close pictures.

It was pretty foggy at Wai-O-Tapu, so the view wasn’t as good as we had in Sept when we were on our first trip to Rotorua as a family. My aunt and I really enjoyed it though and the boys got to walk on the path with their harness on to avoid stepping into the boiling hot thermal pools.

We then headed to the Waimangu Volcanic Valley, I called ahead and asked them about using the push chair, they said it should be fine. Well it’s not, it took both of us 1.5 hours to go to Bus Stop 1, where most famous sights are. Since it’s basically the road leads to the bottom of the valley it was very steep, I wouldn’t be able to make it by myself, we both had to hold the stroller at times! Boys were so good they napped the whole way. My aunt and I were lucky to see some fantastic sites such as frying pan lake, inferno crater. The view was out of this world! Along the way, we met an Australian couple (and the only people we met), they were really concerned about how we were going back since the uphill hike will be impossible so I decided to wait for the bus, while waiting for the bus, we put the boys on the harness, and I folded the buggy for the first time. The driver helped me loading it onto the bus and a passenger carried out of the bus for us after a 10 minute drive – that was a life saver – we looked back and still got terrified by the other would-have-been disastrous plan of hiking back. I really don’t think this is suitable for young children so we have to wait a few years before we go back, definitely a must-see! Waimangu is the only eco-system resulted from a volcanic eruption, and it’s the youngest, so natural and beautiful, the scenes reminded me of Lord of the Rings…it’s that pretty.

We ended our day at Waikite Valley Thermal Pools, it’s not as famous as Polynesian Spa but it’s less crowded and even more beautiful, we went there because they have a toddler’s pool where boys had loads of fun, the natural thermal spring there is at 37 degrees so pretty safe for them. Towards the end they got fussy probably because they were exhausted.

This day alone was worthwhile the whole trip, it was just amazing!

Highlights

Waimangu Volcanic Valley

Wai-O-Tapu thermal Wonderland (especially Lady Knox where we had up-close with a geyser)

Redwoods

Our stay at the PSA holiday home

Playground by Lake Rotorua

In Hind Sight

Michael would have been a lot happier if we just stayed in Rotorua for a week 😛

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