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Friday, January 29, 2010

Justin at 6 Months

Justin turned 6 months old on 25 January 2010. We took him to the clinic on 26 January 2010 for his monthly checkup. He weighed 8.1kg (an increase of about 300g from the previous month), and 66cm in length.

Some observations:
  • Not much changes to his milk intake. Still on roughly 3oz of expressed breast milk every 2 hours while at the babysitter's. Otherwise, fully breastfed on demand.
  • He has started his solids! He had his first taste of cereal on 19 January 2010. However, the babysitter had already let him try some mashed potatoes for a few days before that. He seems pretty eager and wants to grab the spoon. His stool is now getting thicker, but does not smell as bad as Julian's... yet.
  • He seems more aware of things and is interested in whatever we're doing, e.g. wanting to grab the cup we're drinking from, or curious when he sees Julian playing with something.
  • He has started to be fussy when travelling in the baby car seat, especially at night.
  • He has started a bit of "creeping", i.e. lifting his bum when on his tummy to try to move forward, but ends up tipping over on his sides.
  • He has also fretted when our attention is on Julian *slaps forehead*.
We're happy that Justin is now exclusively on breastmilk for 6 months (safe for some water, of course, and his recent solids). We hope to carry on as long as we can (we still have stock left!). Speaking of "stock", we had some friends over sometime ago and they had helped themselves to icecubes in our freezer. They had thought the containers of frozen expressed breastmilk contained "tau foo fah" (beancurd jelly)! :o)

Justin the cherub
[Justin's cherub-look]

Justin's first cereal
[Justin's first cereal]

Justin in car seat
[Don't leave me in here too long, okay?]

Justin with greenpeas
[Justin with greenpeas on his head]

Thursday, January 21, 2010

An Exora It Is

We were torn between the Naza Rondo and Proton Exora. We loved the Rondo for its 2-litre engine, space, and groovy cockpit. However, we decided that we could handle an under-powered car (if you've driven a Wira 1.3, you'd know what we mean) than deal with accessibility problems for the passengers.

So, after mulling over MPVs over the past few weeks, we are now owners of a brand new silver Proton Exora 1.6 H-Line :o). The booking was made on 9 January 2010. On the 12th, we were informed that the loan was approved and that we could pay the downpayment. The 13th saw us signing the loan papers. On the 15th morning, we were informed of the registration number. That evening, we collected our Exora :o). Yoohoo!

Having driven it for a week, we are still adjusting to driving a broader and longer car with a higher seating position (feels great!). We are also learning the behaviour of its automatic transmission and hence, haven't been pushing the car too much (these drive-by-wire machines need some getting use to). As expected, pickup or quick climbs are not the Exora's forte (we have observed that the engine revs up to 3,000-3,500rpm if we are impatient on slopes), but the drive is pretty fun and smooth none the less.

The odometer today reads 297km and the low fuel warning light is already flashing. The trip computer indicates that the fuel consumption is 14.4l/100km, which is rather dreadful. However, the engine is still new. Hopefully, the consumption will improve once it has run in.

The acoustics in the cabin is pretty good. Passengers at the back can be clearly heard from the front and vice versa without raising their voices, and yet the sound of Justin crying doesn't sound as loud as it would be in our other car, the Wira.

Angie in cockpit
[Angie in the cockpit of the Exora]

Front of the Exora
[Our Exora from the front]

Rear of the Exora
[Rear view of our Exora]

15 January 2010 also saw us letting go of the Satria, our faithful workhorse of 11 years. So, dear Satria, we shall miss you... *sniff, sniff*

Farewell Satria
[Farewell to our Satria]

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mulling over MPVs

With two child seats, it appears that neither of our cars is able to accommodate anymore passengers. So, we've been feasting our eyes on 7-seater MPVs and have test drove a number of them. Here's a quick personal review.

Toyota Avanza 1.3/1.5: Popular and has good kerbweight/torque ratio. However, the 2nd row is split 50-50 and does not slide (but folds forward... easy access to 3rd row). 2nd and 3rd rows do not fold down flat. Drive is OK. Affordable.

Nissan Grand Livina 1.6/1.8: Popular and has good kerbweight/torque ratio. However, roof is slightly low which may affect perception of space. 2nd row splits 60-40 and slides (access to 3rd row may be tricky for the less agile). 2nd and 3rd rows fold down flat. Very nice to drive. Pricey.. we're misers remember? :o).

Naza Citra 2.0: Popular and has good kerbweight/torque ratio. However, 3rd row seats are quite low and the floor of the 3rd row seems uneven. Very affordable. Probably good as a very affordable 2-litre sedan :o). Did not test drive this one.

Perodua Alza 1.5: Newly lauched and has good kerbweight/torque ratio. However, space seems limited... and the roof is quite low. Nice to drive, better than the Avanza. Very affordable.

Naza Rondo 2.0: Not so popular and has reasonably good kerbweight/torque ratio (it's the heaviest MPV in our list: about 1,600kg). In the new CKD version, the 2nd row slides but only the back splits 60-40, i.e. the entire 2nd row slides (which is rather silly). In the slightly older CBU version, they can slide separately. However, the split seems rather odd because the smaller part is behind the driver. 2nd and 3rd rows fold down flat. Nice to drive. Slightly pricey.

Proton Exora 1.6: Launched earlier than the Alza (still not that very many on the road yet) and does not have an inspiring kerbweight/torque ratio (kerbweight is about 1,400kg). 2nd row is split 60-40 and folds forward. 2nd and 3rd rows fold down flat. Nice to drive inspite of its so-called "underpowered-ness". We test drove it on the steep slopes of Bukit Jambul with 5 adults and 2 kids... no problems. There are aircon vents at all 3 rows. Affordable.

Which one will we choose?

MPV brochures
[Mulling over MPVs...]

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Christmas 2009

Christmas 2009 came and went. Being preoccupied with the boys made us wonder whether Christmas ever came at all! In the apartment, there were no decorations, no Christmas tree... only a few Christmas cards lay on the dining table.

We were all back in Menglembu in time for Christmas Eve dinner. It was nice to come home to see the whole family together. There was a Christmas tree in the living area next to the piano. For dinner, the main dish was a special deep-fried-and-stewed duck with pickled ginger... a recipe handed down from my paternal grandmother. So, of course it was delicious :o)!

Julian and the Christmas tree
[Julian and the Christmas tree in Menglembu]

Ducky dish
[Ducky Dish]

Presents
[Presents!]

Recorder duet
[Julian performing a recorder duet with Sook Sook]

Improvisation for four hands
[And then it was improvisation for four hands with cousin Gabriel]

New car
[New car for Christmas]

Family photo
[A family photo]

We were back in Butterworth on Boxing Day for more festivities.

Experiencing Eastin

I had a work-related workshop from 5-6 December 2009 at the new Eastin Hotel at Queensbay, Penang. So, we put up the night there. It was cozy and clean, and the food was not bad.

Settling in
[Angie and the boys settling in]

Julian and Justin at Eastin
[Julian and Justin]

Getting out of hand
[Things getting out of hand...]

Friday, January 01, 2010

Julian at 31 Months

Julian turned 31 months old on 28 December 2009.

He's still working on his speech and improving month-by-month. With some prompting, he's able to say "Good morning/night Mummy/Daddy" or "Thank you Mummy/Daddy". This last month, he's been saying "guard house" or "Uncle Guard" when we approach our apartment guardhouse. Although he has yet to talk in full sentences, we're able to understand practically everything he's saying.

Although he's generally well-behaved at home, he sometimes resorts to crying to get his way (especially with the TV, or when refusing to go to bed). We can tell because the crying appears "fake". Sometimes, his crying (or tantrum) causes him to throw-up. We're trying new ways to "ease" him away from his preoccupation and to comply with our instructions.

This past month, he has allowed us to (properly) brush his teeth! Previously, he'd agree to brush his teeth only to reject the brush before any proper brushing can be done (probably it's ticklish?). We can now brush his molars and the front teeth. He also enjoys rinsing his mouth and spits out the water when we ask him to "ptui!".

Since 10 December 2009, Julian has been without his pacifier while with us, although he still gets it when he's at the babysitter's. His pacifier at home was damaged and he rejected it. Since then, he seemed to be able to cope without it, even during bedtime.

Julian smile
[Another good boy smile]

Julian with ink-roller
[Julian having some ink-roller fun on the balcony]

Julian in the pool
[Julian in the pool]

Justin at 5 Months

Justin turned 5 months old on Christmas Day 2009. We took him to the clinic on 22 December 2009 for his immunisation, and he weighed 7.8kg (an increase of about 700g from the previous month).

Some observations:
  • He's still on about 4 feeds of roughly 3oz of expressed breast milk while at the babysitter's.
  • He's able to grab onto things and has started to suck on a teether.
  • He has since "found" his feet, and has even sucked his toes.
  • He loves being undressed and will kick and wriggle in delight. While being dressed up, he'll whine and complain. A nudist in the making?? *slaps forehead*

What can I do for you?
[Yes? What can I do for you?]

Justin with the mic
[Hello? Hello? Testing! Testing! 1, 2, 3...]

Justin laughing
[Justin laughing]

Justin on the gym
[Exercise time]

Justin girl-look
[The girl-look: Many people mistook Justin for a girl]