Maxie at 24 Month [Picture]

SONY DSC

Maxie at 24 Months

Here’s something funny about the kid in the picture.  Well, let me explain.

You see a kid wearing pajamas laying on top of a briefcase.  What you didn’t know is that this kid was actually wearing street cloth underneath this pajamas.  Somehow he “convinced” his daddy to put his pajamas back on.  He never approached his mother with this idea because he knew mommy wouldn’t allow such non-sense, and of course daddy is such a pushover.

His cute puffy cheeks and even more puffy looking pajamas gave the illusion that he was an average sized kid, but the truth is he fell into 4th percentile in weight at his 2 year check up.  Mommy is worried?  Yes, and there’s plenty of pressure from his grandparents to “add some weight back on”!

Maxie loves to test the limits of his daddy’s patience.  In this particular morning, his daddy needed to leave for work early.  Somehow daddy’s decision went against Maxie’s plan so he withheld the very thing that’s important for daddy’s work.  I don’t remember how it ended, but I am sure he got lots of hugs and kisses regardless his funny ways.

-Flo.

Adventure Day in Vancouver, Part 2

~~~~~ Here’s the link to “Adventure Day in Vancouver, Part 1” ~~~~~~

After some good food and some well deserved rest, we left the restaurant in high spirit.  It was only 2:30PM, and our flight back to LA was 6:05PM.  We decided to head to the airport a little before 4PM, because I didn’t think Vancouver airport would be very busy.  That meant that we had an hour to sight see.  We packed the kids back into the car and drove around the neighborhood till we found a Toys-R-Us to play for a while.

Between drooling at interesting toys and pulling kids away from doing dangerous stunts, we  didn’t get back onto our way till nearly 4PM.  We weren’t too worried though, the airport was only 15 minutes away, and there can’t be long insane lines at the gate anyway.

Luck was not on our side.  I misused our GPS and ended up in some remote back alley without sight of a single soul!  The first sign that we were in trouble.  It took us another 15 minutes to finally returned our rental car and arrived at the Air Canada terminal (as indicated by our airline ticket), only to find out that our real airline carrier is United, which is not written anywhere on our itinerary!  The lady at the desk told us to “run as fast as we can!”, as United will be closed for boarding withing the next few minutes.  At this time, the clock has just strike 5PM, and I sensed that things are about to get really crazy.

The United Airline terminal is located on the other side of the airport.  With two kids and 2 large suit cases, I didn’t know how we were going to get there on time.  But failure was not an option; there was no way we could spend a night in the airport with 2 kids.  So I ran ahead carrying Maxie and a backpack, while Mario ran behind me rolling two suit cases and hurrying Ravi along.  It was a long way across the airport.  There were so many moments that I was out of breath and feeling desperately lost, but I couldn’t stop, I had to keep going.  Finally, I arrived to the check-in desk and got in line.  The couple before us are also in the same predicament.  The gentlemen at the desk was just making a call to obtain permission to allow us to check-in.  After some begging (my poor little boys, tired and sad…etc) and bending of regulation, we were let in.  As soon as we got tickets, we began running again!  Next stop, bag check-in.  We had to wait in line for nearly 10 minutes.  As soon as we handed over our suitcases, we ran again, this time toward the security line.  There were two couple with infants and strollers in front of us, chatting merrily blocking our path.  Forget about being polite!  I cut short their conversation to asked if we could go pass them, as we were about to miss our flight.  I could see that they faces froze over and were in shock, then they stepped aside to let us pass.  We waited 25 minutes to get through the security screening.  We picked up our speed to run again only to be stopped at the migration check point.  The gentleman asked: “Disney cruise?”  “Yes.  Did you see a lot of us coming through today?” “Yes…”  So the man has already seen much chaos.

We were finally let into the gating area.  A quick scan of the map showed that our gate is all the way at the far end!  I grabbed onto Maxie tight and began running again, this time for the finish line.  It was considerably harder for Mario and Ravi to follow closely behind, so our strategy was for me to get there first in order to secure our boarding privilege.  It was such a long way and I was already tired from running and worrying for the last hour.  It seemed we made dozen of turns and I had lost sight of Mario and Ravi, but I kept running and look forward to our terminal.  Finally it was in sight and at 6PM exactly I handed my tickets to the man at the gate.  All of us boarded, seated at separate locations, seat belt fastened at 6:05PM.  I breathed a long breath of relieve.  We are almost home.

But we haven’t arrived at our beloved yellow house yet.  Out of 4 seats, only 2 were together, so Ravi sat with Mario while I carried Maxie the whole way.  Though Ravi had no problem with the entire flight, the take-off and descend were extremely painful to Maxie and he cried with all his might.  I was extremely thankful that my neighbors looked over at us with sight of pity rather than animosity.  The flight was 3 hours long, while iPads were great to keep them entertained, it was very hard to keep the kids in their seat.  Ravi loved to crawl under the seats and ran through the passageway, much to the dismay of the flight attendant.

I must have checked my watch every other minute!  Finally we touched down and arrived in LA!  But my cell was out of battery despite being recently charged.  After a quick re-charge, I called my dad to correct our arrival information (United instead of Air Canada).  10 minutes later he arrived at the curb.  So close to home… but the drama is not yet over.  We couldn’t find our luggage check-in receipts, even though we had them in our hands just minutes ago.  Without them the TSA personnel would not let us out of the door.  At this point, it was almost too much for us to take and we were on the point of breaking down.  I decided to hand the kids to my dad so they could go home first while Mario and I stayed behind to sort out this disaster.   Just as I finished putting the kids into their seats, Mario came out with the suitcases beaming.  It turned out that they fell onto the floor so he was able to locate them when he looked around.  At the same time, the TSA personnel had moved on so it didn’t matter anyway.  I didn’t know if I wanted to cry or laugh.  But we loaded up the car and finally headed home.

We arrived home 9:40PM and felt instantly at ease.  The kids were so happy to finally see their toys again and disappeared to play on their own.  I gladly told our adventures to my mom who was preparing for us a late night dinner.  The scent of familiarity and sounds of laughter welcomed me home.  Home at last.  Home sweet home.  There is nowhere I would rather be but here.

-Flo.

The Very Ravi Caterpillar

The Very Ravi Caterpillar

The Very Ravi Caterpillar

Ravi has a couple of books that he used to love as a toddler and one of them is “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. It tells the story of how a very hungry caterpillar ate lots of food over a week and then turned into a butterfly. We have it in the board book format with little cut outs for where the caterpillar eats through different foods each day. It’s a very cute book and little kids love it. But it really is meant for a one or two year old and as Ravi got older we read it to him less and less. We now read this book to Max on a regular basis and, for awhile, Ravi wasn’t interested in it at all.

But that’s before daddy started to play around with the books. It all started with a different book of his- Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit. This is another great children’s book for an older audience (3 and up) and I had been reading it too him for a couple of months now. One night I could see that Ravi was enjoying the book, but his attention was also wandering. He was still sitting in my lap with the book in front of both of us, but he was looking around the room, seeing what Max and Mommy were up to, and, in general, half listening half goofing off. So I decided to play a mean trick on him. Near the end of the book where Randy was supposed to make the big hit, I decided to instead change the story… ‘and Randy’s Robot got ready to hit the meteor and oops, he missed! The town went up in smoke and all the people had to move. The End.’

Ravi didn’t say anything. He looked a bit weirded out. What just happened? Slowly his jaw started to drop… Before he could fully react, Mom stepped in. “Hey what just happened? That’s not how the story is supposed to go. Is your Dad playing games? Let’s hear the right story.” Mom was a bit miffed at me for changing the story on Ravi. She thought I was being mean to him. At that point I started to laugh and apologize for my trick. ‘I’m sorry I changed the story. Please forgive me. etc.’ But instead of getting mad, Ravi started to laugh. He got the joke. He was like- Mommy the story’s different, and Randy missed. That was hilarious. Ravi never knew that it could be different. And unlike earlier, I had his full attention. ‘Daddy do another story…’ So what book to do next? At that point, I spotted The Very Hungry Caterpillar book. I decided to re-invent the story with this one.

‘Let me tell you the story of the Very Ravi Caterpillar!’ Now I had his full attention. Not only was he going to get a brand new book, but he was going to get a book about him! Wow! ‘Yeah Daddy tell me about the Ravi Caterpillar!’ So we started out the same, but when we got to the food things got interesting.

Just to give you a bit of background, our kids are on the skinny side. And not just a little skinny, but very skinny. Mommy is always trying to find great meals for them to eat so that they can get fatter and not be so low on height/weight charts. Meal times in our house are a bit of an effort. We have to force the kids to eat a balanced healthy meal and they sometimes resent us for it.

So how does this affect the Ravi Caterpillar? Well let’s just say that he’s not a really hungry caterpillar, but more of a picky eater. When we got to each food, I’d say that the Ravi caterpillar would or wouldn’t eat that, or I’d ask him would you eat that? And the Ravi Caterpillar only ate the cake, the chocolate, the ice cream and lollipop, while skipping out on the fruits and other unappetizing vegetable options. He’d only eat two of the three peaches and skip out on plums all together. The funniest thing is that Ravi and I would play around in saying yes to this food and no to that food for the whole story. At the end of the story, the Very Ravi Caterpillar didn’t turn into a butterfly and stayed a caterpillar because he wasn’t fat at all… The End. Ravi’s reaction was wow. He loved the book. He loved being the center of the story and deciding what to eat and what not to eat. He thought it was all a big joke and loads of fun. Ravi and I had played our game, messing around and changing stuff and making fun of the whole magical story.

Catepillar food

Will The Very Ravi Caterpillar eat his food today?

And in my opinion, that is still magical. Ravi, I love your curiosity and penchant for changing things and creating new and different things. Right now it’s all about the poopy and pee jokes, but that will mature. And hopefully, when you’re much older, you’ll still have the ability to look at things differently and change them. Because deep down that will help you to stay young forever.

 

Love,

 

Daddy.

Ravi, please remember all our fun times together.

Adventure Day in Vancouver, Part 1

~~  Please note that all the pictures showed in this blog post are borrowed from other sites.  Their credits and origins are listed under their caption. ~~

On the last day of our Disney Cruise vacation we arrived at our final destination — Vancouver, Canada.  When we woke up in the morning, we eagerly looked out onto the shore and couldn’t contain our excitement to be able to visit this picturesque city for the first time.  Little did we know that this day was going to turn into one of the most action packed days of our lives.

Our plan was to spend the afternoon in Vancouver and hop on a flight back to LA at 6PM that day. The ship’s communication pamphlet has informed us that our only breakfast option is scheduled at 7AM, so we began our day at 6AM.  By 8AM we have finished eating and packed up.  By 8:30AM, we had disembarked and began our day in Vancouver, much earlier than I anticipated.

We arrived at Hertz rental car in Downtown Vancouver at 9AM and surprised to find out that they have no cars standing by. We had arranged for a car to picked up around 12PM because we thought a) it would take a lot longer to disembark like it did last cruise, and b) they would have an alternate car standing by so the pickup time was just meant to be approximate like all of the other times we had rented a car. Unfortunately, the place we booked from was located in downtown Vancouver and was a satellite office for the larger airport office.  With no car available, we had no transportation available other than feet or a taxi ride to a different car rental spot. We still liked this place, since they were very very cheap. So we grudgingly put our suit cases into  storage and took the kids out to see the city on foot.  Couple of steps out of the door, I felt something fall onto my head. Only later did I find out that it was a huge chunk of bird poop.  I should have understood then that this day was not going my way.

Two blocks later, we came across the Emery Barnes Park,  a beautifully designed and landscaped park nestled amongst the high rises.  It has all the bells and whistles you can possibly expect from a neighborhood park: play ground for the kids, grass area to laze around on, beautiful flowers and trees adorned every corner, and a visually stunning water scape filled with fountains, streams, and waterfall.  We decided to play for a while before going further into the city.

Emery Barnes Park, Vancouver, Canada

Emery Barnes Park, Vancouver, Canada (Image by RickChung.com, originally appeared at http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2012/07/flickr-buzz-july-5-2012/)

While Max occupied himself with the swing, Ravi was fascinated with the water.  He happily ran across the bridges, threw leaves into the fountain, and went back and forth through the stepping stone path at edge of the pool.  I had warned him that we don’t have any spare shoes in case of an accident, but he didn’t listen.  sure enough, he missed a step and put his entire right leg into the pool!  The shoe became way too wet for a long day of walking in the city.  So the only choice we had was to buy him a new pair.  After talking to a couple of parents in the park, we decided on the Hudson Bay near Georgia and Granville.

Hudson Bay, Vancouver (Image borrowed from http://www.retail-insider.com/2012/11/more-spring-renos-for-vancouvers.html)

Hudson Bay, Vancouver (Image borrowed from http://www.retail-insider.com/2012/11/more-spring-renos-for-vancouvers.html)

It was supposed to be only 13 blocks away, but with each of us carrying a kid (Max at ~25lbs, Ravi at ~33lbs), it took over 30 minutes through the street of Vancouver to arrive at Hudson Bay.  Let me tell you, that was a very long 30 minute walk!  I never knew the streets of Vancouver could be so much longer than anything I knew.  We bought the only toddler size 10 shoes in store and were glad that the difficult part of our journey is over.  It was 10:30AM, so we decided to wander around the neighborhood till 12PM to pick up our rental car.

Lucky for us,  the Pacific Centre Mall is located right across the street and that’s where we spent the next hour.  The kids had fun running around while Mario and I nervously followed.  Nevertheless, we enjoyed some ice cream from Dairy Queen, some delicious chocolate from Purdy’s, and a nice cup of coffee from Starbucks.  When 11:45 rolled around, we began our journey back to the rental car office.

Pacific Centre Mall, Vancouver (Image from http://gaytravel.about.com/od/gaydestinationgalleries/ig/Vancouver-Photo-Gallery/Pacific-Centre-mall.htm)

Pacific Centre Mall, Vancouver (Image from http://gaytravel.about.com/od/gaydestinationgalleries/ig/Vancouver-Photo-Gallery/Pacific-Centre-mall.htm)

Maxie had fallen asleep on my shoulder, so I carried him the whole way.  Ravi was so brave but the long journey tired him out and Mario carried him the last 4 blocks.  We arrived 30 minutes later, got our car set up and loaded, and were ready to begin our adventure as the way we intended too.  At this point, I was so tired I was ready to just get through the day and never return to Vancouver again.

First stop, lunch.  We had pre-selected several interesting restaurants depending on what fancied our moods, but on that day we decided on going to Shanghai River, which  belongs to the Ding Tai Fung chain. They are famous for their thin crusted bao.  It might be because we hadn’t eaten Chinese food all week long so we were starting to miss it, but the food at Shanghai River tasted fantastic to both me and Mario.  We ordered a whole bunch of food and devoured all.  What stood out for Mario was a sugar baked cake, fresh and light.  Maxie and Ravi each finished a whole one!

Shanghai River, Vancouver.  Image from http://urbandiner.ca/2010/08/06/dine-around-richmond-northern-chinese-cuisine/.

Shanghai River, Vancouver. Image from http://urbandiner.ca/2010/08/06/dine-around-richmond-northern-chinese-cuisine/.

Sweet & Sour Rock Cod. Image from http://www.foodspotting.com/people/felixt.

Sweet & Sour Rock Cod. Image from http://www.foodspotting.com/people/felixt.

ose Liver with Sticky Rice.  Image from http://www.coffeefoodies.com/2012/03/25/shanghai-river-richmond/

Goose Liver with Sticky Rice. Image from http://www.coffeefoodies.com/2012/03/25/shanghai-river-richmond/

Shredded Chicken with Rice Noodles

Shredded Chicken with Rice Noodles. Image from http://www.coffeefoodies.com/2012/03/25/shanghai-river-richmond/

Thin Crusted Baos.  Image from http://www.coffeefoodies.com/2012/03/25/shanghai-river-richmond/

Thin Crusted Baos. Image from http://www.coffeefoodies.com/2012/03/25/shanghai-river-richmond/

With food in our stomach and some well deserved rest, our spirits were uplifted and we began to enjoy ourselves again.  We even joked about our adventure and were glad that we came after all.  Maybe someday we can come back for a culinary tour.  But the day was far from over and we had no idea what’s yet to come.

Flo.

~~~~~ Our adventure will continue in Part 2 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~