29 Oct 2011

Bird Watching -Kapar Power Station

Bird Watching Again. (Post on 1st visit found HERE.) And this time, IT WAS AWESOME!!!! So many more birds than what we saw the last visit. Guard said it was at least 10,000 birds!!! Imagine seeing all that in one place! I was just amazed at the variety I saw! I think it must've been More than 10 species in that one area. Just totally breathtaking.

Initially when we arrived, the guards told us there wasn't a bird in sight. So we left and headed to Pantai Remis for a short picnic and some kite flying.

After our short picnic, we headed back, and I was a little worried that thay'd be no birds.  But the moment our car (driven by a dear friend) entered the area, the amazing sight just .got my heart beating so fast, and I think I couldn't stop saying "OH my goodness...oh wow, oh my goodness....!!! " I can't quite describe the feeling

, it's beyond words, the sight I saw. Thousands of Migratory birds....thousands!!!!!!!!!!!  :)  :)  :)

It's really unfortunate that I only still have my compact, and thus these blur shots followed by some videos which are blur too...but if you see the number of birds and listen to the sounds, you'll know why I went WOW WOW WOW!!!!

There were so many more interesting sights, such as the flying Terns, a pair of Brahminy kites on the ground with an Egret in between, Kingfishers, Godwit, Curlews, Plover, Orioles, Grey and Purple heron. Some shots in my friend's camera. I couldn't capture these in pictures due to camera limitations, but I will never forget this moment. It's forever captured in my mind. :). Forgot all about my girls, my girls were super excited at it all too.... I'm sure they'll never forget today either. (This place, is off limits to public, and only accessible once a year through Pesta Sayap, or through written request ahead of time.)

We ended the day with seafood with Lim. Good time catching up. :) ((update your camer PA! more trips to come! ;) )  ok...videos below. Sorry blur...but just look at the thousands of birds!

~ Martha

24 Oct 2011

Bird Watching- Kapar PS

 Sometime back we picked up a book  about Animal Instinct, where we read about Migration. Thus we decided upon this trip during the weekend to watch migratory birds and other birds in surrounding area. The day started off extremely awful, and I was so terribly upset. I won't mention why here, but my friends know the reason.

However, once at the bird watching site, It was a BEAUTIFUL. Firstly, the weather was cool and windy, and the clouds gave us shade. And at about 6pm, it's as if the "show began!" Because birds started taking flight, doing stunts across the beautiful sky, illuminated by the setting sun.  We saw nests, father and mother bird "necking", flocks of birds flying in V formation, birds feeding by the pond area, eagles soaring high above....and all that beautiful sight just wiped the stress of the morning incident away. God is good.

Updated: We visited the place again with permission and saw the most amazing site, at least 10,000 birds! Post Found HERE

21 Oct 2011

You and I

Batik Work in Progress...child hugging pregnant mum as they picnic in a garden

To my oldest child,

This is how it was before your sibbling came along. It was just you and me all the time.

You and I walking as the sun set, 
  You and I, huddled together in bed, reading a book...
   You and I, giggling and laughing as we jump puddles together in that open field after the rain...
            You and I.. a hundred thousand beautiful memories (some with papa in it)

Then I got pregnant....it was still you and I. You were very excited,
knowing you'd soon have another companion who'd play with you. Still we spent many lovely moments together ,

     You and I walking the dog after the cool rain,
           You and I,  swimming under moonlight....................
   You and I, eating tiramisu in some Italian restaurant ......................and falling asleep together as you held my finger. 
                You and I...a hundred thousand beautiful memories (with baby in the womb)

Then late pregnancy came, and I could no longer carry you, (Doctor's orders), still you'd sit on my lap reading a book, or listening to me telling a story.  We still spent lots of time together, such as the time when  we picnicked in the garden just like in the picture.  You hugging me close, and I enjoying your sweet, tender presence.

Then baby was born, and I know I neglected you. I just didn't know how to cope with baby, household chores and work. There was also grandma who stayed with us after her operation. I just didn't know how to cope, I was in shambles, often in tears, but you were still there for me. You the tiny one, there for her overgrown sized mama. haha....

We'd still read books together, you by my side as I fed baby. But most of the time, I'd be in my darkest mood and you somewhere else in the house. But when you noticed my tears, you'd sneak in, tuck a pilllow under my arm as I fed baby, or pecked me softly on my cheek before running off.

For the first time, I spoke angry words at you, and I know you suddenly felt second best. It wasn't my intention to make you feel that way...wasn't my intention to hurt you. 
But oh...my human weaknesses..I despise that side of me. 
So for the times when I was/am a mean and a horrid mum, I ask you to smack me forgive me.

For today, I woke with a smile on my face. Memories are coming back to me...I'm thinking back to the moments when it was just you and I, you and I in that garden,  you and I falling asleep together, you and I jumping in puddles, you and I taking walks together.

I'm thinking back to the first day I carried you home and gave you a name and called you. Yes, my oldest, I love you as much as I did from the time you were conceived, as much as the time when I first held you. I love you as who you are today,  and I will always do.

p/s Now its, you, Jo and I, walkin together....you, Jo and I exploring streams together...you, Jo and I..creating beautiful memories together. xoxo......Mum.
The above was written as an honest account of what some of my days were/ are like. Also, as I walk in malls, parks, I've noticed the same thing in many mums, talking sweetly with their younger child and turning around and scolding the older one in public. I often  feel bad/sad for that older child.

I guess, we all have our own weaknesses..for we are not perfect. May we all constantly seek to learn, and to improve ourselves through our mistakes. And like I've said before somewhere in the blog..it's ok to say sorry to our own children when we hurt them. Saying "sorry" heals and soothes the wound away, and makes space for mother and child to bond and grow closer together.
(When my oldest was born, I kept an actual diary for her, where I'd write letters to her. I printed some abstracts from that diary here..Dear Nel)

18 Oct 2011

What I learned from Dad (and mum)

When I was growing up, dad was a busy man. Busy with work, busy with sports, busy with church work. Believe it or not, he has medals in almost every game...badminton, squash, basketball, table tennis, carom, golf, chess  ...... a long list isn't it?

Yet, he made time for us, time to talk to us. He also made the most beautiful kites, took us to fields where he'd make his huge kite go up, dive towards the ground and lift off again. I remember chasing and chasing the kite and yet, never catching it.  :)

But what I really learnt from my dad, was his love for "outsiders", orphans and foreigners without home. As a child, our home was often filled with people every weekend. Mum would cook up her best Nyonya dishes, and the house would be filled with people from all sorts of countries, Korea, Japan, Phillippines, East Malaysia, Nigeria etc. They loved coming because of my parent's company. There was much laughter. Somehow, they would end up calling my parents Dad and Mum. Such was my parent's impact on these lives. They cared for people who were newcomers to this land.

Well, upon retirement, my dad took his passion a step further. He began going into interior villages where he saw the living conditions of the OA people. Because he has the wonderful gift of "connecting" very soon the village people recognized him and looked forward to his visits. His heart of compassion drives him to bring in basic necessities for them, and talk with them.

Apart from this, he and my mum dedicate one day a week in going to the refugee school. If you go and see for yourself, you'd know how much the children there love them. And lately now, he's also dedicated his weekends to going to P.Ketam where he provides free English lessons to the children there. I met some of his students recently and it's amazing to note how love has touched them. Their parents can testify that their children who were once bordering on becoming gangsters and school dropouts, have turned around. 

How did it happen? Instead of looking at them as gangsters, my dad saw them as potential leaders. And because he saw them that way, that's what they've turned around to become, true leaders in training. :) My mum (an ex teacher) is also now a regular teacher there, and it's wonderful that they share the same passion. :)

So...I titled this post "Things I learnt from my dad." I'm sure you can tell now what I've learned. While growing up, it wasn't A's or being first in class that mattered the most. What mattered most was a heart that cared for others, for the less fortunate, for the orphan, for the foreigner.  And because I too now am a parent, I do the same. I bring my children  to interior villages, I take them to refugee centers, orphanages and old folks home. For I'd like to pass on what I've learnt, to my children, in hope that they too, like their grandparents will put above all else, a love for God, and a love for those in need.
Some time ago, my dad's friend gave me a photo which he captured. It was a photo of my dad walking in the rain, in a remote village deep in the jungle. I decided to make a painting of it.

15 Oct 2011

Jo struggling with self doubt

Jo's been struggling with self doubt. Yesterday she asked "What am I good for mum?"

I replied "You're good at running, drawing, singing, dancing, cooking, story telling...lotsa things Jo."

She chose not to believe me and said angrily "I'm NOT! Lu can run faster than me, my drawing is lousy, I'm lousy lousy, lousy at everything!!! Mum..what am I good for?"

I went on reminding her of her strengths, but her answer came back the same "I'm lousy, so  lousy!!". It ended with her, folding her arms, stomping off to my room, slamming the door. From the outside, I heard a loud burst of crying. Lil Jo crying in the room because she thought she was lousy at everything, good for nothing.

I think what sparked it off was that she couldn't write cursive like her sister yet, her older cousin beat her at running and she started "beating" herself up over these things.

A few minutes later...she came out and asked "Mum, do you think I'm good at cooking?"
I replied "Yes, you are, and you're good at many many things."

"You think so mum?" asked Lil Jo. Then she brought me a diagram she made by herself. While watching TV, she'd actually taken notes in the form of pictures. All the steps were an illustration of how to make your own chocolate!!

So Lil Jo sat there and taught her mama about cocoa beans, how they need to be opened, grinded etc etc. She concluded by asking "Mum...can you please buy me some cocoa fruit, vanilla seasoning, sugar etc? I REALLy want to make my own chocolate."

Now somebody tell me...where can I find cocoa fruit?  Also as I write this, she woke herself up very early today coz she wanted to go to the market with her daddy to look for ingredients. I can imagine them having a good time at the wet market. :)  (Where is Nel? Fast asleep..it's the weekend, time to catch up with her sleep! haha...)

Jo's been doing a lot of copying work by herself. She took a pic from Dora and drew it.

sorry this is so blur..but she's also into drawing picture stories

Here's something else she copied..and I thought, pretty good for a 6 year old?

Here she is again. She actually stalked and caught a lizard

13 Oct 2011

More book reviews

 We picked up the above book at the BBW sales too for only RM15, very cheap if compared to the original price! I love the book and so does my my dd Nel. First chapter defines INSTINCT, what it is and how important it is. We read through the first chapter  this morning, learnt new vocabulary, and discussed how "Learnt behaviour" and "Instincts" differ and how instincts guide almost every action in the animal kingdom. We look forward to reading the rest of the chapters which discusses things such as instinct in communication, defense, shelter, mating, migration, nature's rhythm, instinct backfiring,  etc. To kick off the studies of instincts, we're planning on attending  Pesta Sayap (Festival of Wings) to watch migratory birds! :)

 My girl's fav chapter for now, coz after reading the The Story of Dr. Doolittle and The Voyages of Dr. Doolittle she aspires to communicate with animals! LOL!

8 Oct 2011

Big Bad Wolf Book Sales

I'm usually one to avoid crowds, but knowing that all books would be slashed by 65 to 80%, I couldn't resist, and went early to queue on the 1st day of the BBW book sales. I'm glad I went. Altogether I purchased about 40 books..and still am not really satisfied, mainly coz I only had about 2 hours before rushing off to work. Thus, I only managed to look at the children's section, and that too, very quickly browsing through only.

In mean time..here's some books I purchased...

 I love this book by Vera Williams. It's the story of 2 sisters, one smart, one brave, told in the form of poems and pictures. I bought it coz I have 2 girls, and I'd like stories that would encourage my girls to  help and love one another. This is a fantastic book for that. Imagine, that as I read it, I found myself laughing, smiling and even crying. So simple, touching and unforgettable. Lovely. :)

Glog by Nick Maland is another really cute story. I picked this randomly coz we are currently studying civilization and thought this about Stone age might be suitable. Well the story is short and captivating, makes easy reading for Jo. She just loved listening to it, laughed as I read it to her, and begged to be read to again after I'd finished it. It's about little Glog who's left behind as his family leaves to find shelter for the coming winter. Lost, he finds himself a shelter, has to find his own food. During his adventures, he meets "echo boy" "shadow boy" and "water boy."

"Mother Goose" by Gyo Fujikawa. So, I already have a Mother Goose book in my library, only it's stone aged, coz it's something I read when I was little, and is practically tattered and torn now. Thus I decided on a brand new one for my little one. And how lovely that it's illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa

Most of the pages contain black and white illustrations like the above, but also contains some very beautiful colored illustration which are very captivating! :)

Picked up the book above coz it caught my eye as I was browsing through very quickly. This is really simple reading, but what I like is its content. "My little Girl" by Tim McGraw and T Douglas speaks of how important it is for dads to spend time with their little girls. I firmly believe in that too. SO I bought this for hubby to read  to his little daughters, and hope it will inspire them to spend many lovely moments together. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
When I asked Nel "What would you like from the sales?" She replied "A book that will tell me interesting things about animals." So I looked, and found this book. "1001 Awesome Animal Facts" by Marc Powell. It's got information like 
-"Some leeches have 300 teeth with 100 in each of their three blood sucking jaws" and 
- "Using a powerful magnet, it is possible to make a small frog lift off the ground and stay suspended in the air. Don't try it at home." 

I'm almost sure when they finally get to this page, they might try lifting a frog!

I also added "100 Things you should know about Cats" to her collection, coz she wanted to know all about cats or dogs. I couldn't find one on dogs, but this cat one is interesting.  It  includes stuff like "The first pet cats were tamed from the type of wildcat that lives in Egypt." Other topics include Egyptian mummified cats, cat's anatomy, Do cats have 9 lives etc etc. Definitely a fascinating read!

Of course, we had Disney books, the Little Men/miss series for Jo, some novels for Nel, horrible history/science and etc etc. ALso purchased some interesting workbooks such as Disney's Reading comprehension book, which would really inspire my child to work with more interests, since she loves princessy stories.

Well...will stop here, as it's too tiring to review all books bought! I didn't get any books for myself except for one on crockpot. Hopefully when I go back next week, I'll be able to pick up some good stuff for myself. Ciao for now!

5 Oct 2011

Watercolour- Figures

After a long dry spell and reluctance to paint...motivation/inspiration came yesterday. Decided to try figures...never really tried it much before, except once. So here's my second attempt at figures. I think I overdid on the shadows..and can't get rid of it..

1st layer of paint.

and here it is about 60% done. HOpe to complete it by the weekend...
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