Time for another week in recap! You know, writing week-in-recap posts somehow have become some sort of teraphy to me. It relaxes me. Some people swear that scrapbooking is their thing. Some find that creating beautiful planner pages with stickers and colorful pens is restful for their mind. Me? Writing these weekly post and chronicling my family daily life in blog.
Old McDonald (Ain't) Has A Farm!
Michael's school, in cooperation with our local McDonald joint, conducted this fun, "educational" tour at their facility for the children. I believe it's some sort of marketing tool for them, you know, starting the children on liking the burgers and collecting their toys from a very young age, but I allowed Michael to participate, since I thought seeing the kitchen of a restaurant and what's going on behind the counter is a rare, worthwhile experience for him. Just remember how it was when you were a child. Every new color, every new toy, sound, spectacle, held you enthralled and excited. Everything can be an adventure, including going behind the scene at McDonald!
Michael has never been inside of a McDonald. We are not big into fast food, prefering local businesses and small restaurants instead. Michael is also not fond of being in a big crowd. I notice over and over that whenever he finds himself with a throng of people, he will stand aside and observe things from a "safe" distance. When he feels ready and comfortable to join in, he will, but he's not the "life of the party", "look at me" type, which pretty much was like myself when I was his age.
I skipped half of day of work so I'll be able to accompany him to the McDonald event. As predicted, it was really crowded with forty children or so. Though I already explained what we were going to to that day, Michael was still taken aback to see the new place and the throng of people. Some of the children started to run for the playground, and one of the well-meaning parents grabbed Michael's hand and encouraged him to play, as well. Yet all of the new experience was too overwhelming for Michael, and he didn't like to be pushed against his will to join the other children, while all he wanted to do was sitting beside Mommy and watch what's going on around, so his eyes began to get misty and his lips trembled.
I knew he was distressed, so I politely took his hand from the well-meaning parent and gently pulled him aside. When I asked him why he was distressed, Michael said that he thought McDonald was a new, different school! A week before, I took Michael to visit another school which he will continue once he's finished with pre nursery, and he thought today was the day to start the new school! Of course, then he saw his teachers and realized that it wasn't true! It's the same school, just different place for the day's activities!
After a while, Michael started to enjoy himself, looked around, and sat with his friends in the restaurant multi-function room. Some of the children continued to cry and refused to be put down by the parents or childminders, so it was a chaotic circus! Luckily, once he's settled, Michael didn't mind me leaving him and just watching him from the windows.
The activity started with a tour to the kitchen. Sure, it's not the whole kitchen! Just the front part, right behind the counter with the slush and ice cream machine. The McDonald tour guide explained patiently to the curious children (and parents) on how to operate the cashier machine, the slush machine, and the ice cream machine. Every child was given an opportunity to make his own ice cream cone, too! Michael is not really into ice cream. I knooooow.... Actually, he's not into anything cold like iced drinks or anything like that. He prefer drinking lukewarm water or milk, though sometimes he will drink some iced tea. He licked the ice cream a bit, but he proudly gave most of the ice cream he made to his Mommy!
After the kitchen tour, the children had a coloring contest. The winner will get cool McDonald toys and knick-knack as gifts. Here I witnessed how some parents would do anything to ensure that their children would be "winners". Or they just wanted to spare the children from any troubles. Anything, including helping the children with the coloring! Some even went the whole nine yards, did the whole coloring thing while the children just watched.
I remember when I was little, first grade of primary school, if I remember correctly. I was slow at taking notes. Quite often, after class, I would have to stay behind to finish copying class notes of the day from the blackboard to my notebook. I remember vividly that I often stayed behind alone, yet not alone. How? The others who stayed behind the finish the unfinished work were the parents, not the children. The parents would finish the work that their children failed to finish, instead of letting the children dealing with it on his or her own. I don't know why. There are many, different ways to raise a child, none of them I would judge superior or lesser than the other. However, for my child, I would stick to the way my parents raised me: letting me deal with my own problems, letting me finish my own task. Only when I really really need help, they would eventually get down and dirty with me, helping me tackle the job that I couldn't do on my own.
One of Michael's close friends at school is this beautiful little girl, Aggie. She is as cute as a China doll, with slanted eyes, and surprisingly big, booming voice for such a small stature. Look at how cute they sat side by side, coloring together! Both were anti-mainstream, refusing to use yellow and red pencils - the McDonald's theme colors - , opting for their own liking instead!
The next activity was "making your own burger". Such a fancy title for simple activities of assembling two pieces of buns, a slice of cheese, and a piece of burger patty, but hey, the children were having fun! They were required to wear disposable plastic gloves; and were allowed to bring the finished burger home in a paperbag. I guess Michael was hungry since he immediately took a bite of the burger, but bless his little heart, he made a funny face and refused to eat another bite. Perhaps after only eating real, healthy, homemade food since he was very little, Michael's taste bud automatically dislike anything... not real (you know what I mean, no offense to McDonald!) My little guy doesn't like the taste of fast food, praise the Lord! His father ended up eating up the whole burger.
When the teacher paraded the toddlers in line, I realized one thing: my baby is the tallest of the bunch. He looked like a slim, gangly tall tree among shorter ones. It's odd to me, his mother, since at home he's always the smallest one. At home he looks like a tiny tiny baby, ok, toddler, and here in class he suddenly looked very tall among classmates. I know that Michael is tall for his age. Hey, his father and mother ARE tall, so naturally he is, but I'm always caught by surprise when seeing him with other children on how tall he really is.
This was Michael with his two friends: Kevin and Aggie. And yes, that's the face they made when the teacher said "Cheese!" These three are good friends, and I notice that they almost always stick together like coffee, cream and sugar. ^__^
I started taking bee products vitamins several months ago and so far have been happy with the result and change in my body. I decided to buy some for my parents, since the products have been doing well to my health. I bought three products: bee pollen for energy, propolis to increase the immune system, and royal jelly for regeneration. They're kind of expensive, but I think it's better to spend money to maintain our health than later on when we're sick! The products were sold with multilevel marketing strategy, which I usually stayed away from. Once I reaped the benefit, I turned into a believer. I'm sure there are many very good products out there from other natural ingredients. Lord has provided a lot of health benefits from nature products, but for now I consume this with my usual multivitamin. Johan, a high school friend, was the one who introduced me to this product.
Hubby was out of town for office outbond activity, and they would have a type of gift exchange, Secret Santa thing, so I wrapped two brand new formula containers in used newspapers wrapping. We don't read paper news anymore, but the office provided the papers to wrap the gifts in. The recipient is a mother to a very young baby, that's why I chose the particular gift for her, thought she could use them. Even if she breastfeeds, she could use the jar to keep little snacks later on for the baby.
One of the coworker celebrated her birthday, so I wrapped another gift, a Victoria's Secret body lotion, in this pretty pink gift bag with baby pink bow on it. The gift bag was recycled actually, I received it during my birthday, but I don't see any sense in throwing away perfectly good gift bags! So I just reuse them. I for sure, won't mind receiving recycled or reused gift bags! I love giving out gifts, so picking out, preparing, and wrapping gift is an activity that I enjoy.
The Best Noodle Shop in Town
I have a friend from college who lived in a neighborhood close to mine, Peggy. She knows that our family loves trying out new noodle shops, hence she recommended her favorite one, called Mie Alot. She said, it's "Really really delicious!" She did warned that people outside her neighborhood have not yet find this yummy gem, since the shop is not located on the main street where most of the restaurants lined up.
We did go there, and boy, how she did not exagerate! The noodle is homemade, and so far it was the best noodle we have ever tasted! I didn't really like the wonton, but it was the noodle that turns out to be a champ. It's not often we would go over to the same noodle shop two weeks in a row, but even Hubby agreed that this one is a winner that we should visit regularly! Unfortunately, Michael was not impressed with Mie Alot. Oh well...
It's pretty mundane, I know, but I want to document the time when we "found the best noodle shop in town"! Haha!
Stranded in LA Airport
My parents make a trip to the US every year to visit my brother. I think they've been visiting the US fifteen times now. Maybe twenty, I lose count. They started making the annual trip when my brother and I went to college in Texas, and since my brother and his wife still live in the US, they still make the annual trip, unless they come home to Indonesia for holiday.
This year is just the same. Actually they were supposed to arrive the next day, yet an incident happened that created a humongous stress for all of us: my parents, me, Hubby, my brother, and his wife. We were having an afternoon date - Hubby and I - having tea and sandwiches, at our favorite place, La Fountaine at the five star Grand Hyatt Hotel. It was a rare treat since the place is expensive. We basically pay for the elegant, quiet, opulent yet comfortable and welcoming ambiance; not the food. The view has a price tag too, I guess, since it overlooks one of the most iconic hallmark of Jakarta.
In short, we were having a nice time, chatting quietly and companionably, when my cell phone rang. My brother called and talked in rapid fire speed that my parents are stranded in LAX airport and they're running out of cell phone credit. I was supposed to run to the nearest ATM machine and buy them electronic credit so they can make phone calls. I did, but calling my brother back is another struggle since none of our phones have international calling plan.
We still don't know what's going on. My parents had a confirmed ticket for Cathay Pacific business class seats - a surprise gift from my brother because they usually fly coach - , and the system said that there is no such reservation. Hello? Then how come the same system emailed the tickets to them two months earlier? Anyhow, my parents were forced to spend two nights at a hotel inside of hotel, while my brother had to fly from Seattle to LA to take care of things. They finally got on board with Japan Airlines, which is a good carrier, but it's just too bad since Cathay has a better business class to my personal opinion. The money spent on this broohaha is quite a lot, but the stress and the waste of time is quite another. My brother said he's going to sue, and I do sure hope that he really will! It's just exasperating, especially since my parents are seniors over seventy and all the unneccessary stress definitely tired them out!
US Haul from Costco, Payless, Walmart, and Half Price Book Store
Anyway, thank the Lord that they finally made it OK to Jakarta. They arrived at one o'clock in the morning on Saturday, so Hubby said he would pick them up to the airport. I was feeling a bit sick, so Hubby said I should just stay at home and sleep, but I insisted to go with him to the airport. I'm just glad that my parents were okay!
My parents brought home a lot of presents for us. Since I particularly said that I don't want anymore clothes nor purses - I have enough of them to last me for years and years - my parents brought a lot of clothes for Michael instead, seventeen pieces of them (whoa), all from Carter's brand that they bought at Costco.
Just look at them, aren't they just adorable!! Some of them are of bigger sizes, so I just keep them for next year. They are so colorful, they look like candy store from my childhood. A rainbow of colors, with burst of cute patterns and textures that scream innocence, cheerfulness, and joy. That's how children clothes are supposed to be, at least in my personal opinion. I'm not a supporter of profanity emblazoned on children's clothes, or anyone's clothes, actually!
For me, this is all I need. Vitamins are very expensive in Indonesia, so whenever my parents go to the US, we always stock up. I didn't ask for Suave body lotion, my Mom bought it for herself, but I snatched it. Why? Because I know my Mom and how she operates. Mom is not a girlie girl like me, she doesn't really care about how she looks as long as she is clean and fresh. In the past, we have shared bounty of body butter and body lotions that she or my sister in law brought from the US, or some expensive lotions that I got as gifts. A year later, when I visited her in my hometown, all the pretty-packaged, sweet smelling, expensive, fancy lotions were pretty much almost untouched! So I asked her, "Mom, are you going to use, and I mean really really, use this lotion?" And she answered meekly, "Well, maybe once in a while..." There it goes to my stash. I could finish the big bottle in no time because I use body lotion twice a day after shower. Every single day except when I'm sick.
My brother spoiled both my parents with new shoes and sport shoes. Mom even got three pairs of new exercise shoes: one pair in blue, another in grey, and one pair with this pretty flowers on them! I like them so much that Mom finally gave them to me, along with some cute socks. Thanks, Mom! I love! I wish I had them before I vacationed to Europe last summer so I could wear them with my summer dresses! Well, there's always next trip... ^__^
Just look at these beauties! It's like having spring on your footsteps!
Being a boy, Michael was happy to receive so many cute clothes, but he didn't pay much attention to them. Instead, he prefer to rumsack the board games my parents got us. Well, actually I gave some money to my parents to buy all those things, but Mom said my brother paid for some of the gifts. Thank you, Big Brother!
I asked for two board games: Monopoly and The Game of Life. Board games are quite expensive here in Indonesia. The ones Mom bought was half priced since she got them at thrift store. My squeaky clean sister in law had painstakingly wiped them all with alcohol to disinfect them, so thank you, Soso! (Soso is sister in law in Indonesian Chinese term)
In addition, Mom bought a Scrabble for Toddler for Michael. What a good idea! Michael is learning his alphabets now, and having a Scrabble will definitely help! Here he's playing with Grandma! It does my heart good to see the two different generation together, a sure guarantee of the continuity and beauty of life.
We are so thankful that Mom and Dad made it home alright. We are still waiting for the result of my brother's filing complaints with the aviation company, but overall, we're pretty much relieved that all ends well. Praise the Lord.
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