Mother’s Day 2014

11 May

What a fun, busy weekend we had. On Friday morning we were so excited to see the Preschool classes from Dalat perform at chapel. These kids were so adorable and did such a great job. Pierce has been signing these songs and practicing the motions for weeks. Proud parents, we are!

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That evening we had a “Ladies Night Out” on a luxury catamaran, cruising the Straits of Malacca. Such a fun and beautiful night with great friends. Will definitely book this again.

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Saturday morning we woke up and got on another boat to Monkey Beach, which is part of the National Park here in Penang. Two other families went with us, and everyone had a blast. The kids loved the boat ride.

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The little ones played on the beach while the captain and crew prepared a delicious lunch with chicken, pork, fish, prawn, and veggies. YUM!

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And of course there are a lot of monkeys on Monkey Beach!

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The captain took the kids on a fishing trip where they caught a few puffer fish, an octopus and other small tropical fish. Highlight of the day for Pierce! He’s been asking to go fishing for weeks.

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And then at the end of the day, a storm rolled in and everyone played in the rain. First time (ever?) that we’ve been cold in Penang. Goosebumps and all. It was so much fun. Cold rain, warm ocean? Yes please. Couldn’t ask for a better day on Monkey Beach.

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Last year on Mother’s Day I ran a half marathon (pregnant – before I knew). So keeping with the theme, this year I decided to get back into the scene with my first duathlon of the “season” and since having Addi. Feels good to be back!

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At home, Justin and Pierce cooked my favorite meal – breakfast tacos – and then sent me on my way to the spa. Pedi and ice cream, what a treat!

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Sunday night we visited the neighborhood Hindu temple to enjoy the festival (not sure the name of it?) and watch the firewalkers. Amazing, although I didn’t get to capture a good pic of it.

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And finally, a night cap with good friends for a toast to motherhood! My last kid-free moment for a while since Justin is traveling back to the US Monday for 10+ days. Seriously, could the weekend have been any better? I don’t think so.

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Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. Hope it was filled with love.

Kota Kinabalu – a wooden anniversary

4 May

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When Justin and I started thinking about how to spend our anniversary, we knew we wanted to take a family vacation somewhere. But we struggled to nail down where to go. Had to be somewhere quick and convenient to travel to, and an infant-friendly location. And to make it extra challenging, I had the requirement it had to be a place we hadn’t visited before. This ruled out the tried and true Thailand spots of Koh Samui and Phuket, and the convenient Malaysian islands of Langkawi and Pangkor. We eventually settled on Kota Kinabalu – or “KK” as its called – in eastern Malaysia on the island of Borneo (which BTW is the 3rd largest island in the world – behind Greenland and New Guinea). KK is only 2.5 hours away from Penang, with a direct flight, and juuuuust far enough away from the recent kidnappings to be “captain safety approved”. Captain safety is Justin…if you didn’t know.

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When looking into where to stay, everyone recommended the Shangri-La Hotels. Soooo very happy with our choice. The Tanjung Aru resort was so kid-friendly, had a great pool with huge water slides, a nice little beach (with amazing sunsets), lots of restaurants to chose from with great food, an awesome kids club, it goes on and on.

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Just like her brother, Addi loves the water and was happy splashing around all day.

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We LOVED this vacation. And even tho there was the Borneo marathon the same weekend AND Mount Kinabalo to hike up, I didn’t drag Justin to either of these things. We relaxed at the resort the entire week – only leaving twice. Once to visit the sister Shangri-La property to see the orangutans, and the second time for a trip to town for some shopping. Borneo is known for it’s wood carvings. And since this is our 5th anniversary (wood) we had previously planned to buy anniversary gifts in town. One of my favorite souvenirs/gifts is this wooden map of Borneo. All the others are still sitting in my suitcase, but we got a lot of cool things.

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And Justin had this gift waiting for him at home. He’s been oooohing and awwwing over this massage chair for months. I pulled off the ultimate surprise! He is so happy (and relaxed).

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Another blissful year, celebrated with another fabulous vacation!

Easter weekend

20 Apr

Pierce pretending that his carrot snack was Jesus, and showing me how He died on the cross. And then he asked for another carrot – a big one – for the tomb and stone. Love this kid!

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The kids before heading out to the Easter Egg hunt Saturday morning.

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We enjoyed an Easter potluck brunch and egg hunt with the other expat families.

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After the egg hunt and pool party we came upstairs to go thru the eggs. I laid Addi down on her back to play while I helped Pierce go thru his candy. I couldn’t believe it when I saw her on her side. And then as soon as I snapped the picture she completely rolled to her belly. She had dropped her book and really wanted to get it back. She even scooted her way to the other side of her mat for it. She does the same thing in her crib. Uh oh…this girl is going to be trouble!

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Easter morning we had brunch with some close friends at the Rasa Sayang Shangri-La.

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Happy Easter everyone!!

 

 

The 4th Trimester

14 Apr

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And just like that, Addi goes from ‘newborn’ to ‘infant’. Sigh. I can’t believe she is 3 months old today. Already?

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Somewhere within the last 2 months she’s gone from diva to the perfect little angel baby (ahem…as long as I’m holding her.  Thank god for the sling – it’s become a permanent wardrobe accessory). She is so happy and smiley now, and she’s even started laughing. She’s at that stage where she gives you that great big smile, as if she hasn’t seen you in hours. So adorable!

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Finding her thumb at 9 weeks old was a game changer. She has refused a pacifier since day 1, so now that she’s able to soothe herself everyone is much happier. But especially momma. Since about 10 weeks old she’s been sleeping 11 hours straight at night (thank you, thumb)!!

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Pierce is still as sweet as can be with her. Always hugging and kissing on her. Until he remembers how boring it is to lay down and be still for 2 minutes, and then he’s off to his playroom.

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But as we celebrate 3 months, it’s also a sad day because my parents left today. It looks like a happy picture, but there were tears just afterwards as we said goodbye.

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Addi loved meeting her Nini and Poppy for the first time…

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…and hanging out in and around Penang. It was so nice having them for such a long visit. We miss them already! :(

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So now the real fun begins as a mom of 2. Next week Justin is traveling for work. It will be the first time since before Addi was born that I’ll be without my in-laws or my parents to help out. Here we go…wish me luck!

SAHM

10 Apr

Familiar with this acronym? As of Feb 21, 2014 these four little letters have replaced my previous title of Trista Mennen, IT PM. I am now Trista Mennen, SAHM (stay at home mom). Woot woot! That’s right people, I am officially retired. Justin and I recently celebrated with – how else – Mexican food and beers!

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In other news, we just extended our assignment here in Penang for another year. We plan to be here until June 2015.

Spring Break in Pangkor Laut

8 Apr

As soon as we got home from KL we unpacked and then immediately packed again to head out the next morning to Pangkor Laut. This little island off the coast of Perak in the north-west peninsular Malaysia was a little piece of paradise. Who knew something so nice could be so close to home?

After a short 2 and a half hour drive we arrived at the jetty where we’d take a quick boat ride out to the island.

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Pangkor Laut Resort is gorgeous, and it’s the only resort on the entire island

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Fortunately some friends of ours were also spending Spring Break here, so Pierce had some buddies to play with all week. They didn’t waste any time…got straight to building sand castles, crab hunting, swimming in the ocean, and starting what would become a week long effort at digging the biggest hole on any beach. Ever.

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While the bigger kids had fun playing in the sand all day. Addi preferred to lounge in the shade.

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Addi went for a quick dip in the ocean – her first time – but didn’t care for it too much. She’d rather sleep I guess :)

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When Pierce wasn’t playing at the beach, you could find him and dad in the pool.

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Or sometimes we’d just go exploring around the resort. There was lots to see.

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The resort was full of exciting wildlife. Pierce enjoyed feeding the koi fish each morning at breakfast time. We were greeted by monkeys at the beach and Nini was brave enough to stand in front of one to have her picture taken. And these “pterodactyls” were all over the resort. Thankfully we only saw one snake the entire time!

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Justin and Pierce took a kayak out one morning and saw sea otters, fish, iguanas, crabs and monitor lizards bigger than Pierce.

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Lucky me, I was able to sneak off for a few hours to enjoy the spa. It was AMAZING. Before my massage even started I was offered a complimentary 45 minute bath ritual that started with a footbath and Chinese foot pounding, then a traditional Malay bath, then a Japanese-style bath, followed by a dip in the heated pool with cold tea, and then an exfoliating Shanghai treatment and wash. I’ve never been so clean and pampered!

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This place was gorgeous, and we didn’t want to leave. Now that we know it’s so close we will certainly be back!

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Pierce turns 4

8 Apr

This year we celebrated Pierce’s birthday at Adventure Zone in Batu Feringhi. We started at the indoor plays cape where the kids ran wild.

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Then we moved over to the Shangri-La restaurant for cake and lunch

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The family on the beach after the party

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P opening his presents after his party

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Pierce got a new big kid bike from Nini and Poppy; and a new Police Lego City from Grandma and Grandpa. His two favorite presents!

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Since we were travelling on his actual birthday, we found a kid-friendly place in KL called Kidzania and spent the day there. This place was AWESOME and Pierce loved every minute of it. It’s a miniature city where the kids can dress up and pretend to be certain professions. Pierce was a firefighter, toll booth operator, gas attendant, construction worker, window washer, paramedic, surgeon, pediatric nurse, Dell notebook engineer, airplane pilot, photographer, burger flipper, and a policeman. Whew! What an awesome busy day. He had so much fun here!

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That night we enjoyed some good Chinese dim sum for dinner, and then a complimentary birthday cake from the Marriott.

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I can’t believe he’s already four! Time is slipping away right before my eyes. Such a bitter sweet thing to see my baby growing up.

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