June 2013

Pretty sure I’ve mentioned before how this boy loves to cook…but seriously folks!  He loves to cook.  He has his own knife and cutting board in the kitchen (yikes.  3 yo with knife, I know, but he insists!  I try and keep it to cucumbers and bananas and other soft foods with long handles.)  Miles came to another cooking class with me, and this time we learned to make Roti Canai, Chicken Curry & Samosas.  If you are unsure of what some of these foods are, you need to come to Penang.  And eat in Miles’ Kitchen!




I saw this interview on FB and thought it would be fun.  Here are Miles’ responses:

Q: What is the meaning of life?
A: having breakfast

Q: What makes you happy?
A: airplanes, boats, and up-downs (cranes)

Q:What makes you sad?
A: nothing

Q: When do you feel loved?
A: Momma!

Q: What is the hardest thing in the world?
A: Carrying a wall

Q: What is the easiest thing in the world?
A: Carrying a ball

Q: What makes you feel scared?
A: Dinosaurs & Tigers

Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?
A: An up-down maker

Q: What makes you sad?
A: Tigers

Q: What is the funniest word?
A: Poppapop


Another month, and a BIG number here.  One-and-a-HALF.


  • Hazel’s Turn.  Hazel loves to take turns.  She’ll gladly pass her cup back and forth between herself and her baby doll, give you a bite of what is on her plate, or hand out a toy she is playing with – as long as it’s your turn, that is.
  • Brother Love.  “Mao!” Hazel shouted when he and I entered the house after being out all day.  She missed me too, but not as much as Miles.  They are fighting less now too.  Secretly, I think he loves her too.
  • Counting & colors.  There are still “two” (and likely they are purple) of everything, but she can count 1, 2, 3 and even finish a scale up to 8, reaching the high notes like a soprano.  She does know her colors too.  Shapes are coming: star and moon are the easiest now.
  • Food.  She’s still a good eater, when she chooses to be one.  Forbidden (dairy) foods are the most appealing, she covets cheese and yo-yo (yogurt) on everyone’s plate.  Maybe once we are in the land of fake dairy products again, it will be easier.
  • Diaper-free week.  Hazel spent one week out of diapers, telling us pee-pee and having surprisingly little accidents.  I knew it was too good to be true, she’s back in pull-ups this week.  Baby steps.
  • Copycat.  Hazel will do EVERYTHING Miles does, which means she is already trying to ride a bike and will jump into the pool from the side.  She will take a bite of broccoli or a long drink of water, as long as Mao is doing it.  He tells her: Go to sleep, Hazel.  No cry.  And she does.  This, friends, is why to get it right the first time.
  • Temperament.  For the most part, Hazel is a fun-loving, easy going, joyful little girl.  She still delights in life and doesn’t let little things get to her.  However, if she has set her mind to something, it WILL happen, or a storm will quickly gather behind her big blues and she will protest until something gives.  Most often it is not she who wields.

Another return location!  We first visited Lombok on our Bali trip last year, also with Grandma Linda, and with a 6-week-old Hazel.  At that time, our return ferry to Bali stopped off at the Gili Islands to drop some folks off and the location exuded charm.  It stuck there in the back of our travel-minds, and when Tim had the idea to organize a climb to the top of Lombok, the Volcano Rinjani, we turned it into a family trip with some good friends, the women and children setting up camp for a few days on Gili Air.


Women and Children = one grandma, two mommas and FOUR children under four, aged 3, 2, 1, and 0 (9 mo).  The volcano the boys were to climb was 12,000ft tall.  Who do you think faced greater challenges those first three days?  Actually, things went great for both parties.  Tim and Arves climbed the volcano, matching hiking kits and all, and came home with some gorgeous photos (here, here, here).

Our flights were good and we had a somewhat confusing entrance into the country and shuttle to our accommodations, but everything ran smoothly and on time.  We woke up to a black sand beach and a fun morning in Sengigi (near where we stayed last time).  The kids were playing in the sand and I was asked by some locals the ages of my three blond charges.  Answering 1, 2 & 3, I received thumbs up as a good producer.  They wouldn’t believe the middle child belonged to the dark curly haired momma I pointed out so I just smiled and enjoyed it.  We had time for a quick naked run through a shallow pool before another on time and smooth transfer to Gili Air.


The only motors on Gili Air run the boats to and from the island and the pumps to bring tanks of fresh water to the hotel.  There are no cars, motor bikes or scooters zipping along the two-track dirt path circling the island, only bicycles and horse-drawn carriages.  On the crystal clear water, smooth sand beach side of the road there are small open air eateries, most often with tatami elevated platforms for relaxing and eating near the water.  The other side of the road has the accommodations, and ours was fantastic.  I have nothing but good things to report from Manta Dive Resort and the Waterfront rooms where we stayed.

Four days and nights passed quickly with not much to do besides beach, pool, meals and horse cart rides.  The strong winds kept off the heat and we welcomed some clouds and even light rain during our beach time.  For the kids, there was sand, steak-on-a-stick, all the fresh fruit juice they could drink, ice cream, and boats, boats, boats.  From our breakfast table we had a great view of Rinjani and watched Tim and Arves summit (I can see his blue shirt, but not his face, said Miles from 50 miles away).  The sun rose and set early, 6am-6pm, which is a welcome shift for a momma of early risers.



I can understand why Gilis are a location people stay for a while, it’s slow pace of life and idyllic surroundings suck you in and made us think about a return visit.  Just maybe…



It’s started already.  The girl loves ponies.  Horses, unicorns, you name it, she’s fascinated.  At the Gili Islands, she learned to say “huiss” and sat fascinated while we bumped along in a cart behind one.  She loves her pony jammies (from Emmy) and got her first My Little Pony.  Her favorite song is “riding on a pony, pony, pony. Riding on a pony, here we go”, at which point the pony bucks her off in every direction possible to squeals of laughter.  She rode this teak animal (KISS tongue and all, do you love it?) atop Penang Hill the other weekend.

I was the same, but never rode a real animal until age 26, and it was the tamest one at that due to my fear of the live beasts.  Still, there’s something about a girl and her horses.

We spent this morning atop Penang at Bukit Bendera.  The kids had a great time and I was reminded of how quickly time flies.

Here’s Miles, swinging with TWO ladies!

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And Hazel with the same two.  She looks so little next to them.  Then I realized both of these girls were right around her age when we met them.  Wow!

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This month’s birthday slipped by me and now I am saying she is “one and a half”.  Time, flying!


  • Two, purple.  Hazel is learning to count, and her colors!  When asked “how many” the answer is “two”, and asking her to name the color will guaranteed give “purple” for the answer.  Good thing this is true about her shoes.  It probably started from her shoes.  She LOVES shoes.
  • Whole sentences!  The girl is talking.  Monologues, replies, you name it, she’s saying it.  Recently, Grandma Linda said, “I hear momma!”  Her reply: “I do too!”
  • Singing.  We’ve started music classes and the child is into it.  Each night before bed, we sing and she can independently get through “bee, bee, bumble bee, can you sing your name to me” (the last verse is a bit mumbled), then follow with everyone’s name in song.  Fun!
  • Movin’.  She is on the move – running, jumping (attempts), swimming (well, jumping in and frog kicking), dancing, twirling, rolling, carrying, crawling and climbing.
  • Slimming down.  Look at her walk away and you’ll swear she’s downright lanky!  Hazel has definitely stretched this month, but still maintains the rubber-band tan lines around her ankles.  And the belly.  That may be here to stay for a while.  She’s got six teeth and a little more hair.
  • Eating.  After her last round of eczema, Hazel is now completely dairy free.  I’ve learned to make soy yogurt and look for other ideas on how to fill in the blanks. For the most part it’s been OK, and I think living in Asia helps a lot.  Her skin has been totally clear.  She is still nursing once-3x a day and can very clearly pronounce “milk.”
  • So much fun.  What a fun age!!!  Was Miles this much fun? So funny and active and copying and just a pleasure to be around?  I realized I wouldn’t have noticed, as I spent these months deep in morning sickness.  I’m enjoying getting to enjoy her.

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