Monday, March 31, 2008

Karate Sunday

Spent the whole of Sunday at Islington (pronounced exactly as it is spelled) because Big H had his first ever karate upgrading event.

Mr S commented that I was more nervous than Big H and I suppose he was right, although I tried my best to hide it from Big H so that he won't feel it too!

Horror of horrors: Although I wanted everything to be perfect, still something went wrong: we arrived at the venue without Big H's white belt and so he had to go through his upgrading without his complete uniform!! Poor Big H! And he nearly didn't want to do it too because of his missing belt!!

While he was standing in the row of white belters during his upgrading (they were doing it in groups of 6 or 8 children), he still kept looking at me, indicating that his belt is missing and asked me to borrow a belt from someone! But no one was moving around and the hall was completely quiet so I can hardly go around and ask any of the other kids who were already sitting on the mat in the centre of the room to borrow their belts!!

I was trying to tell him with 'sign language' that he should just do it and forget about his belt but I guess it was obvious to everyone that we were 'talking' to each other so his examiner called out his name loudly and told him to look straight ahead and not talk to the people outside the mat! Oopps!

And when they started, Big H looked like he didn't really want to do any of it - he kept hunching his shoulders and not doing his moves properly but that only lasted for a few seconds because somehow or other, he 'got into' doing the movements and did actually follow all the instructions which was amazing to me because some of them were given in Japanese!
I couldn't believe my 6 year old son can understand what that instructor was saying!

Belt or no belt, Big H did his 'kata' well enough although I have to say some other kids really looked like they were born into doing all those punches and kicks and karate chops. A little girl who was wearing a red belt and looked to be about 4 years old looked like she was ready to murder someone while she did her moves - her facial expression clearly showed that she was concentrating and dead serious about the whole thing. It was quite amazing to watch!

At the end of the day, the instructor announced that Big H passed and got his red belt (although we haven't actually bought him one - we were supposed to buy one for him outside the hall but there was no stock for the shorter ones suitable for little kids like him) and we took a picture of him, holding his license book
, albeit without wearing any belt...

In the morning, everyone had a 1.5 hours training first before the upgrading started at 12.30pm.
And then they let the parents in for a photo op.
Can you spot Big H sitting on the floor? His sensei is the Italian guy standing on the left.

Practicing his kata before the upgrading began..


Little H took these pics of Big H practising using their camera.

During the break before the upgrading, we had lunch at a Turkish restaurant at Seven Sisters. Food was glorious, seriously!

The upgrading started at about 12.45pm. Big H was in the 1st group of white belts to be called!

While waiting for the other kids' turn and also the results.

After the results: Big H with his license book - he's a red belt now!

Outside the venue: Big H with a karate stance and Little H with his Monster pose..

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter Break

We had a long weekend last week.

It started with Good Friday and ended with a Bank Holiday Monday. I wanted to take the children for an away holiday but since Mr S just recently purchased some overly expensive skin care products for me - at my own request, so I can only blame myself - he said, NO, a quarter of any holiday budget has already gone into them toners and stuff thus we have to spend the 4 day holiday in London!

Little H's Easter hat, Easter egg and chocolate nest in the paper cup made by the teachers and the children in his nursery. Little H said, "Mama..I want to have jewels and diamonds on my hat so that I can look cool and stylish..." Sabar je lah....

Big H's Easter bunny hat..I helped him to make those dangling carrots..

Yes, unfortunate as it was for the kids and me, we tried to make the best of it with lots and lots of activities hereabouts.

Friday morning, Mr S and I together with another couple played badminton. The whole hall which had 8 badminton courts was empty, so our kids had plenty of space to run around and we brought some toys and games for them too so that they wouldn't feel bored while the adults try their best to play some sort of game that resembles badminton.

Badminton venue - they couldn't decide the winner for best sign board competition.

We played doubles: couple against couple and although the scores were close, we lost, I think partly because the other guy was 6 feet tall and totally fit - he kept smashing the shuttlecock right at the more 'sensitive' parts of my body and caused me great embarrassment and also, well, let's face it...Mr S and I
memang pancit habis...

I already felt the strain in my thighs and and arms and decided to leave the men to play the next two games (where Mr S was mercilessly crushed again and again..poor Mr S!) and sat at the side chatting with my lady friend while we watched our kids play.
I haven't played any games in ages and although we lost all the games, the whole experience nonetheless made us feel...well..good about doubt all those feel good hormones being pumped out!

Thus the reason Mr S agreed to take all of us swimming that afternoon.

Swimming venue - where the children go for their swimming lessons and Big H for his karate class.

I have been pestering Mr S to take Big H to the swimming pool for some private tuition - Big H's swimming test is coming soon and he is still not very confident in the deep end of the pool where he is supposed to water tread and his swimming strokes still resemble doggy paddles.

I didn't really fancy getting into the water, partly because I just well...wanted to stay dry but also because I hate to change in the changing room...(it's just too much hassle for me) but Little H wanted to swim in the shallow pool so I had to change and accompany him there while Mr S instructed Big H in the big pool.

In the end however, we all played in the shallow pool - neither Mr S nor I did any 'swimming' - we just played with the children in the water, trying to teach them a few things at the same time definitely, but still, it was mostly play, play, play.

And it was a very pleasant and enjoyable day indeed.

But that night...

The adults in the family all suffered greatly from body aches and pains! Mr S while walking slowly and painfully around the house said, "Tu lah mama...kau dulu kapten hoki patutnya ajar aku warm up tadi dulu sebelum main badminton tu...arghhh!!" (Yes..Mr S will always bring up the topic of 'dulu kau kapten hoki' to point out that I should be many things that I am not now..e.g. thinner, more active, faster, healthier etc. etc. etc.)

"Laaa..." I replied, impatient with yet another kapten hoki gibe, "warm up lah sendiri...anyway, this hasn't got anything to do with warming up lah - it's just because we're OLD...!!"

Surrey Quays - background is the sports shop that we went to get them goggles.

Yes...Mr S and I walked around like rusty robots the whole night and the next day but no...we did not learn from our aches and pains. By afternoon, even while we were still suffering and were only assuaged by a couple of paracetamols, we took the children to Surrey Quays via the tube, to a large Sports Shop called Decathlon, to buy some new goggles and swimming socks for the kids.

The recommended goggles and the swimming socks left to dry at home after a lesson.

(One of the mums I met during the boys' swimming lessons had recommended to me the Decathlon brand goggles especially for Little H who doesn't particularly like his Speedo ones - he keeps taking them off and putting them on again during his lessons and I'm afraid his teacher might lose patience with him one of these days due to his lack of attention during the lessons. Apparently the Decathlon ones are really good for kids and they are also cheap! The nearest store is in Surrey Quays and it is just next to the tube station thus the reason we went there via the tube.)

Not a lot of choice for halal food at the Surrey Quays food court.

We already had lunch at home but as usual, the children gets hungry every time we go out and so we had some food in the food court there - and somehow between us we polished our plates clean!! Still, Big H had to have some more food at home for dinner just 3 hours later! I guess it's true what they say about kids always feeling hungry because they're growing!

After the food..Mr Bump and Mr Noisy were back to normal.

On Sunday, Mr S and I decided to take the children bowling.

Big H's turn to bowl ..or should I say - roll.

Little H's turn now..

It was the kids' first time in a bowling alley and they were very excited. It was really amusing to see Little H when his turn to throw came...either Mr S and I would help him carry the heavy bowling ball onto the roller and Little H would run as far away as he could from the ball and then he would run as fast as he could towards the ball and push the ball as hard as he could. It didn't matter if he had to go to the back of the seats and the tables and it didn't matter that he had to run over feet and in zig zags - he had to have the strongest momentum of all coz "I want to win!" he said.

Come on!!!

Of course, when the game ended and he came in last (this was because each time he shoved at the ball on the roller so hard, he would always tip the roller a bit and this made his ball and his aim go astray) he sulked and announced that he would never, never, never, never, never, never, NEVER go to 'Bollywood Bowl' ever again because he didn't enjoy himself - not even a little!

The funny thing is, later, when we reminded him that the game wasn't a competition and it was supposed to be just for fun and that it didn't matter who won or lost, he replied, "I didn't like it not because I lost, mama...but it's because I didn't like the was too dark...!!"

Yeah right..pandai nak
save face budak ni.....

The boys playing in the wet snow...

I think it was really a good thing after all that we didn't have an away holiday this Easter break. We would have felt tired by the journey and would not have enough time to rest before going back to the normal routine and not to mention we would have needed to spend a lot of money for the whole trip. The very, very cold weather during the weekend also, with bouts of sleet and snow made me feel thankful that we were safely at home and not gallivanting somewhere in other parts of Britain which many, as it turned out, had worse snow and strong winds compared to London.

Alhamdulillah, we found great activities to do at home and I think over all, it was a wonderful, wonderful Easter break.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Mother's Day Cards

Didn't have time to put up these pics of the cards my sons gave to me on Mother's day. They were done at school as one of the activities organised by their teachers on that day.

From Big H:

From Little H:

(the paper stuck inside provided by his Nursery teachers)

Snippets of the conversation that ensued when I received these cards;

"You're the bestest mom - I love you..." (Big H holds out card)
"I love you too, sayang...Wow!! Thank you!! - Did you make this flower yourself?"
"It's very nice.."

"Mama, look what I made..I used glue to stick these papers on the card..." (typical Little H with his explanations...)
"Oh...Wow...(opening card) - Is this for me?"
"Yes...yes..because the teacher said it's Mother's Day today.."
"Thank you sayang...." (big kiss and a big hug before he ran to his brother at the pc who was playing games there, all other thoughts forgotten..)

I took the cards to the kitchen and scrutinised them 1 by 1. Not a work of art to be sure..but they made me feel wonderful, anyway.

I took some pics of the cards using my mobile phone and look them over one more time...

He he he...jadi lah....

Monday, March 03, 2008

Saturday Outing At The Wharf

When Mr S has to work during weekends, he doesn't leave the children and I at home and doom us all to a boring weekend - he brings us all along to his office to make it a family outing!

Of course, this is only when he doesn't really have A LOT to do, just a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Canary Wharf is a nice place to visit after all - one can have a stroll along the river with the wind in one's face and then have a 'stroll' in the shopping malls before taking a break in one of the cafes there for some tea and cake.
And it's really nice to walk along tall buildings just reminds me so much of back home.

As usual, here are some pics to help me share with you our experience there...

Big H and Little H with the UK's three tallest buildings in the background (1 Canada Square, 8 Canada Square and The Citigroup Centre).

The boys with their 'typical' poses..

Nice view...but it was a little dark standing in the shadows of the buildings.

Whilst walking towards the Jubilee Place Mall.

A coin for the fountain?

In front of Mr S's office building..

Snack time: A muffin for Little H and a Victorian Sandwich for Big H.

Mr S and I shared a large tub of itsu noodles. Highly recommended, especially for cold days - hearty and filling, with lots of veges!

Back home, Mr S belanja Chinese food to save me from cooking after the outing and because it was Mother's Day on Sunday (Mother's Day treat, he called it) was surprisingly quite good and well worth it.