Friday, July 28, 2006

Nothing Left

Here I am, sitting on the dirty carpet inside my Vancouver home because there is nothing to sit on anymore.

After 3 exhausting days, it's finally finish. On July 25th, it was the first day of packing. They sent 2 crews, both are very young and both are very nice, they have to work until around 8 PM.

On July 26th, was the second day of packing, this time they send 2 men again, one was the same guy that came yesterday but the other one is new, he is 70 years old but he really did not act like a 70 year old man, I appreciate his expertise since he has moving people's stuff for 50 years.... But because there are just too many things to be done, the company send another guy to help them, even then they have to work until 9 PM !

And today, is the uploading day. They send at first 2 men, but soon it was obvious that there is no way our stuff can fit inside a 20 feet container ( I knew it! ), so they have to send another truck to carry what ever that doesn't fit into that container and carry everything to their warehouse to be upload to a bigger container.

Sometimes it's hard to be right all the time. Since beginning I already knew that we need bigger container. Nobody believe me. Then I already predicted how much I will eventually have to spend, again... nobody believe me. I told Richard that we need to get rid a lot more stuff if we want to fit our stuff into a 20 feet container, yet he did not believe me and absolutely refused to get rid of his stuff but he doesn't mind at all if I have to get rid of my stuff to accommodate his stuff...

Anyway...

There are something good though. My friend, Mary Ann and her husband Vince offered Kai Kai to have a sleep over in their house so that way we can do things without being bothered by Kai Kai. So he is going to stay in their house for the next 2 days. He loves it there because Mary Ann and Vince are both crazy about their children and they will do anything to make them happy. She even wants to set a tent inside their living room tonight so that the 2 boys can have an indoor camping. This morning Vince took them to a water park in Granville Island after I told him how nice is that place.

They also offered to help us in many ways like selling our stuff but guess what? We sold all of our stuff by using Craiglist.com. They sold out so fast like a hot cake!

So now here I am sitting alone while Richard and La La slept on the floor on top of blankets that I will donated when we do not need them anymore. Thinking about how everything comes back in circle. After leaving my home town for over 12 years ago, now I am ready to go back there again. So many things has happened in the past 12 years, many friends to gain, even more to loose. A couple of exes left behind and at the end I meet my soul mate even though sometimes he is a bit annoyingly stubborn ( especially about getting rid of his stuff! ). 2 babies died but 2 babies survive. Many...many...surgeries are done to my body, they left many scars that will always be there. I do look like a Frankenstine in my opinion. There are many things that I lost in the past 12 years but I do gain so much experience from them. I am older now, I hope I am wiser because of what happend to my life.



There is time to be born.
And there is time to die.

There is time to grief.
And there is time to celebrate.

There is time to gain.
And there is time to loose.

There is time to leave home.
And there is time to come home.

I am coming home ...


Extra Note:

La La has been absolutely sweet, these past 3 days she pretty much has to stay on her crib to play with all her toys so that we can work and she did not mind at all. What a sweetie she is. And when I came to see her in her crib to feed her and change her diaper she always so gratefull, she always gave me her biggest smile and she raise her hand to me. Being with her really helps reduce my stress level. So when I am just overwhelm by everything around me, I went to her room and just play with her for a while.

Because I am too busy lately, I haven't upload her 6th months birthday yet, so I just want to write her update here. Now she weight about 7.5 kg and she is 70cm long. She has 1 tiny tooth on her lower gum and she looks so cute with just one tooth! Especially when she smiles. She still refused to eat solid and she start showing some sign that she may learn to sit and crawl pretty soon. If I sit her on the floor without support, she can do it for about 1 minute then she start to fall to her front but usually she support herself with her hands. But if she falls on her side then I have to rescue her. Today I saw her pull her knee in when she is on the floor facing down. So she is like in a crawling position but she is not moving anywhere yet. She can goes around if I put her on the floor or in her crib but she move like a catepillar by using her tummy and her bottom to kind of slithered around. She start exercising her voice into many different sounds and she can make loud noises too not because she is upset and cries but I think she does that to see what kind of reaction she can get if she talk loudly to me. She knows that I think she is funny when she wiggle her bottom when I change her diaper or feed her so she likes to do that more often while smiling at me.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Things For Sale

Now that we are getting closer to moving back to Indonesia, we start to sell our stuff. From the highest price to the lowest price. Our primary worry was to sell our car on time and at a pretty reasonable price. We prayed a lot for this because we are quite desperate now because we do not have much time left.

We use several ways to advertise our cars, we put it on Chinese newspaper, local newspaper, and on CraigsList ( free online advertising ). To know what is the reasonable price, Richard insist on using online car price information. So when Richard met the first person who respond to our ad, I told him to bring the printout of the online car price estimation. Funny thing is, the buyer also brought his own printout and between our and his printout, there is a big different on the price. Our said 18,000 - 19,000, his said 14,000 - 16,000. At the end he offered to pay 17,000.

Then for our second car, so far nobody was interested at all. Richard still insist on using the online quote. But the truth is, Richard doesn't have any experience on selling car. The first car he had, he did not sell it, he donate it so he can cut down on the tax return. Then his second car was sold with the help of his father, so it has nothing to do with him. While for me, I do have 2 experiences on selling my car.

When I bought my first car, a 1988 Mercedes 180E, I got ripped off by the dealer ( even though I was accompany by a male friend when I bought it ). That car was in a big car accident and I did not know it. No wonder one day when I drive slowly and make a slow turn, all of a sudden I lost control of that car and it spun 3 times until it hit the curb and stopped. The axel broke by the impact, but I was left unscathed. Then on another time, when my friend who help me bought that car drive that car for me when we went out with other friend as well, the hand brake stuck and the tire was on fire while we drove!!! And I had a full gas tank at that time! Thank God, for some weird reason that day I bought 2 big bottles of wiper liquid. I have never bought that sort of thing but that day I bought 2 bottles. So I used that 2 bottles to douse the fire! I have no idea what will happen to my car if I did not have that 2 bottles in my trunk!

So finally I decide to sell that car after owning it for only 8 months. Oh yeah... when I bought that car the color was dark blue, but when I washed it, it became grayish blue! Then when I waxed it myself ( first time in my life! ), it became dark blue again...

I bought that car for 10,500. When I went to the dealer, he said he will buy it back for 3500. He suggest me to sell it to individual instead of to a dealer. While I was talking to the dealer ( I went there with different friend ), someone who also looking around to buy a car approach my friend and ask if he wants to sell the Mercedes. That guy, named Carlos, thought that the Mercedes was own by my friend. So Jonren ( my friend's name ) gave him ( by his own good thinking ) his cellphone number instead of mine because he tried to protect me since Carlos looked pretty fierce with his front tooth has gold and his initial on it , a "C"!

Not long after, Carlos called Jonren and asked if he can test drive the Mercedes and he is going to bring his cousin who is a mechanic to see the machine. I thought...well..this is it... no way he is going to pay my asking price of 8500!

Jonren was the only one who deal with them at this point. He made sure that the car warmed up 30 minutes prior to the meeting time with Carlos because my car's AC never works well! So by running the car for half an hour, it has the chance to cool the interior of the car first.

So, when the cousin point out all the obvious signs that my car has been on a major accident, Jonren could only nod. But at the end, Carlos still decide to buy the car because he wants to impress his girl, this car is a gift for his girlfriend. And Carlos paid cash for 8500!

Go to my second car now. I bought a 1990 Lexus LX420. Fast forward to when I want to sell it. I don't quite remember how it happens but I was in a hurry to move to Portland with Richard for our wedding there too and I asked my friend and neighbor Ita, a young girl from Solo to help sell that car for me. Ita has a boyfriend who is also nice to us and his name is Eddy.

It turn out that they sold my car and then pocketed the money. I was furious but I could not fly back to Oklahoma since I was already living in Portland. So what I did was sic a private investigator ( suggested by my lawyer ) to watch them 24 hrs for a couple of days. Beside the investigator, I also asked for help of the property manager ( his name is Michael ) of our old rental place where we used to live and Ita and Eddy still lived there too. Then Richard asked his friend Roger to watch them too.

So you can imagine 3 people are snooping around their house. The PI ( Private Investigator ), Michael ( The property manager ) and Roger ( Richard's friend ). The bushes around Ita and Eddy's duplex are getting crowded with these 3 people who snooped around even at night time!

Then I got a phone call from my lawyer who report that while the PI was hiding in those bushes, he saw someone else was hiding there too. I asked my lawyer was that person name maybe Michael or Roger? My lawyer said no, the other man turn out to be an FBI who was watching Ita and Eddy as well.

When my PI approached the FBI, they shared information and what the PI got from the FBI was that Ita and Eddy were wanted by the FBI since the time when they lived in LA! Ita and Eddy, has another boy also in their group. They like to open an account in the bank using fake ID like fake greencard, fake driving license etc. Then they write many checks to buy expensive stuff. Before the check can be cleared by the bank, they close their account. They kept doing this until the FBI start to ask around about them and they got scared and moved down to Oklahoma to hide and go to University.

Let me describe to you why I trust Ita. Easy for you maybe to say that I should not trust her at all since the beginning. I think you are 100% right that I am too naive at that time, but let me explain first that Ita has the appearance, the attitude that can pass for a priest's wife! As Indonesian knows, girls from Solo speaks so soft and gentle. Well, she does speaks like that and her whole attitude is so sweet and so trusting. When I found out that Ita was wanted by the FBI, the first thing that come to my mind was, she must be influenced by Eddy. Eddy is the bad guy here! Or so I thought.... It turn out that Ita was the leader of the pack. To cut the story short, my lawyer asked the police to grab Ita. Put her in the jail for several hours to sweat. Then he showed her all of her fake greencards, IDs, driver licenses. Forced her to give my money back and she did. My lawyer has to move fast before the FBI grabbed her first. After she return the money back to me through my lawyer, one day, she went to see Roger because she knew that Roger snooped around for us before then coldly, she asked Roger how am I doing and she wish she can "see" me very soon becasue she "miss" me ....jeezzz....this girl is so cold and creepy!

I do not know if the FBI had enough to build a case on her. The last thing I heard , she married Eddy and she moved back to LA. My lawyer, because he is a good Christian, decide to let her go because he thinks she is too young ( she was only 21 at that time ) and he sincerely hope that she will change to a better person. Because she return the money, my lawyer did not place charges against her so her record is clean ( at that time ).

OK back to current time....

Since nobody asking about our second car I finally forced Richard to accompany me to the dealer just to talk to them what is the right price. Richard doubt that the dealer will tell me. But I told him, let me do it then if he doesn't want to do it and I know that if God can help me sell my car for 8500 to Carlos with his gold tooth, He can help me sell our car easier because our car is in great shape with only half the mileage for a 6 yrs old car.

I prayed before we reach the dealership that God will direct me to the right dealer who can help me find the right price for our car.

At the dealership, I look around, I look at their faces but none felt right until Richard kept asking me when am I going to talk to the dealer. I told him to be patient. All of the dealer is young and they look impatient to me. They all wearing name tag on their chest. Then I saw an old man, going in and out from one of the office room. When I saw him, I saw that he has no name tag on his chest but I can sense that this is the right man so I approached him. When talking to him, we found that he has more than 22 yrs experience as a car dealer. He is open, and he is quite honest with us. He made the manager test drive our car and made a bunch of phone calls before finally he can give us the price if we sell our car to them which is 11,500. Bill ( the old man's name ) told us that if we sell to an individual, we can add 2000 on top of that price. So it's 13,500. Bill also said that he can help us to sell it to an individual for free ( he did called us with an offer from someone at Okanagan ). He is so nice.

So when we return home that night, Richard changed our ad for our car ( Ford ) from asking price of 18,000 to 14,000. Within minutes only we receive a phone call from a person who wanted to test drive our car that night at 9 PM!

At the same time, Richard also places several ads for our furnitures on Craigslist. Again, within minutes people started calling to ask when can they see the furnitures. It' amazing! We were completely caught off guard by this fast responds that we haven't had the time to emptied our furnitures yet!

Again God helped us with His amazing way. While the car buyer trying to bargain with Richard, there is a couple who also wait here for Richard to finish talking to the car buyers ( a father and a son ). The couple waited for 15 minutes. What the car buyers did not know was that the couple were not there to buy the car. They were there to buy my furniture. Richard did not realized this until later. He said that the car buyers got nervous because they thought they got competition so they put down a downpayment and the next day they came here very early to get the car and paid right away too. See... how can we engineer this kind of situation if not because of God's help. We literarily sold our car within one hour after we placed the ads. Same thing with the furnitures. Richard told me that while they were test driving the car, his cell phone rang every 30 seconds and that droves the buyers crazy because they couldn't hear what the callers said. Actually, I made 5 calls that time just to be sure that Richard is fine since it's late at night and he is alone with 2 unknown men.

Today, 2 days after we sold our car to them, they told us how happy they are with our car ( Ford )....that's nice to hear right?

And my other car ( VW )is also sold today. Actually the buyer also wants to buy our car even earlier than the other car but I decided to wait for a few days. So now my garage is empty and my house is a mess because I have to put everything ,that used to be kept inside the drawers or a cupboard , on the floor.

Everything sold out so fast that we are still in a daze right now.... Can not believe how easy and fast things go and all of the buyers turn out to be very nice people. They don't hassle with the price too much.

We still have stuff to sell, but I am not worried. I know that God will help us. He already proof it ...

Today we have to rent a car since now we have no cars. We got a convertible ....Yahoo!!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Let's Go to Richmond Night Market!



Every year in Richmond, we have a Night Market on every weekend. It used to be that the market was held on Saturday & Sunday only and from June till September only, but every year the Night market just gets bigger and bigger. People travel to Richmond just to go to the Night Market. When I moved here in 2001, I went to the night market, it was small and it was held on the parking lot of Lansdowne Mall. Even then because it drew so many people, the mall's tenant complaint because the parking spots that suppose to be for their customers were taken by the Night Market's customers. So the mall kicked out the night market out. The next year, it moved to a temporarily empty lot that belong to a casino. At that time the casino was still at the early stage of being built. Now that casino is already built, it's called River Rock Casino. So now the night market has to move again and this time they move to a lot that I think belong to Cathay Airways. I think this time might be more permanent because this year the night market is still being held in that place and now because it's getting bigger, the change the schedule into from Friday to Sunday, and from May till October. That way people do not come at the same time and causing traffic jam so bad at weekend time. The stores around it also getting smarter, they offered their empty parking lot after closing time for Night Market parking lot for $ 4. The night market used to open at 6 PM, not they change it to 7 PM because maybe that is just the right time for the stores at the surrounding area to be closed and they can use their parking lot. Like usual, we got lucky getting a parking spot that do not require us to pay $ 4. They even have a website now unlike before. When we parked out car, I saw many cars with out of state license numbers even from the States.



Since we are not looking for a new fish, purse, suitcase, sword ( I am not kidding ), sunglasses, Chinese sausages, clothings, doggy jacket, plants, jewelries, ginseng, and other things, we just go straight to the food vendors by using our noses to locate where the food are.

We are pleasantly surprise that the number of the food vendors has grown significantly since the last time we went to Richmond Night Market 2 years ago. I think they have multiply 5 times more than 2 years ago! Before most of the vendors has the home cooking style feeling, like if I decide to sell Indonesian satay there, I just bring my small BBQ machine and that's about it. But now, those vendors bring all sort of professional equipments to clean their cooking equipments and to cook certain type of food. It feels really more like the night market that I went in Taipei. The real Night Market. Wikipedia website has a pretty good explanation about Taipei Night Markets and what to eat when you are there.

Here is the webcam from SunShang Night Market in Taiwan ...



Another surprise is we found I think at least 2 vendors that sell the infamous Deep-Fried Stinky Tofu. What I heard last year was the stinky tofu factory was close for unknow reason. Maybe because they are too stinky? But here they are, stinky as ever but still delicious! I was laughing so hard when my son who follow behind me when I walk to buy the stinky tofu, suddenly he stopped walking and ask in surprise " Eww... what smell is this??? ". That how stinky the tofu is, but at the end he ate them too just like Richard and me. I even saw some non-Chinese people dare to eat it too and they love it.



Then I saw my must eat food when ever I went to Taipei Night Markets, it's the strawberries dipped in crunchy caramel sugar! Yum!!! This dessert has been around since, oh ... I don't know... kungfu time? I saw the hero girlfriends always like to buy this type of food in kungfu movies... It doesn't have to be always strawberries, the sellers will offer you other choices as well, including cherry tomatoes. I never want to try the tomatoes, I always buy the strawberries. It's expensive though, for a stick with 3 strawberries, it cost me $ 3.

If you interested on tasting this dessert but you can't go anywhere near a Night Market, you can check the recipe on my cooking blog.



Oh, before I forgot, if you going to come to this night market, make sure don't bring your wallet, just bring a bit of cash. I saw someone's wallet got stollen.

What we did last night was, we just walk slowly, and when we saw something that we wanted to eat, we just buy it, eat it on the spot and move. Spot something else again? Stop...buy...eat...and move again.





Because we went there late and they are going to close, they discount the food price which is fine by me!

I saw this interesting Sichuan noodle that is very chewy and look like a transparent plastic. It's called Spicy Noodle. Yes, it is very spicy! A little sour, a lot of heat and has a very fun texture.



I also saw a lot of Hong Kong style curry meatballs, squid, beef tripe etc.




For dessert, they have several vendors that sell pearl milk tea, juice, smoothies, and shave ice that looks absolutely delicious and need further inspection if we can come back here again. They even have this chocolate fountain where they dip all sort of cookies, banana, strawberries, marshmallow etc in it. And then there is the very old style Dragon Beard Candies. I bought 2 packs of this to share with Kai Kai. This is the third time in 3 yrs I bought Dragon beard candy from that man on the photo!









Overall, we had a lot of fun in this place. Food adventure. Even Kai Kai is enjoying himself. He likes to try everything that I offered it to him except when I think they are too hot for him.

I like the grill squid, and I request that the seller sprinkle chili powder on mine. They taste so good, hot spicy but tender. The Stinky Tofu is also pretty good. Especially if you have not eaten it for sometime. I would like to try the shave ice if I come here again. I saw also some pudding that looks pretty good as well.

So if you happen to come to Vancouver in summer, don't forget to spend some time here!

NOTE: China town in downtown also has their own night market. I have never been there though so I can not say if they are good or not.

My Birthday

" Happy birthday to me...Happy birthday to meeee....". Yep, today is my birthday and that's mean I got to be the Queen of the day! Today I can asked for anything and everybody has to do what I say, hah! I made this rule a long time ago because if I don't do this, birthday won't be a special day. This rule only applied for adults, for Kai Kai.

It only applied as long as his request is safe and healthy. No bathing with candies! So since today I get to decide what we all going to do here is what I think we should do today, first of all, I want to go to Grenville Island Public Market. I love this place so much! For me, a person who loves to cook and eat, this place is like a treasure chest. Every time I go there, I always found something new to eat right there or to buy, bring it home and use it for my cooking experiment. For foodie, this place is a must see in their list if they come to Vancouver for a visit.

I wish I have tons of money and I will buy a property near this place then I don't have to go to grocery store, it would be a lot more fun if I just have to walk to this market or take a tiny aquabus to come to this place. Yes, there are several ways to reach this place, by car off course, by bus, by walking, and the last but not least is by aquabus. This aquabus also can be booked for a mini tour. How fun is that? At one time, when we had guesses came to visit, we brought them to ride this aquabus and just had a mini tour start from English Bay until near Science World.

I think it takes about 40 minutes for round trip. It doesn't cost that much, but I could not remember the exact price. Oh, I found this interesting website from Kat Kam, it tell you where to go if you come to visit Vancouver and it even has a live webcam with the view of English Bay and Kitsilano area and a little bit of Grenville Island too.

From this webcam it says you can also enjoy the International fireworks called the Celebration of Light. Every summer, Vancouver has a fireworks shows done by many different countries. They do this on a schedule so it's not happen in just one day. Since I life far away from this place, I never really seen it. I wish I know this webcam before. So I can see the international fireworks festival. I heard that China kept giving one of the best firework show, my cousin who saw it said that she saw China made firework in the shape of a dragon on the sky, I wonder how could they do that? It must be amazing sight!




Okay... let's go back to what happened today. Since this is the high of the summer season, the parking lot in Grenville Island is really packed. If you want to come here, one good tip is come early in the morning, around 10 AM, this place already open by 9 AM if I am not wrong. Or you can do like I do. Pray for a parking spot like you are on the brink of your death...just kidding...no, not really...My mom taught me this, that I should involve God on EVERY thing in my life, big and small, including parking! I may not always get what I wish, but for some reason, God gives me parking spots 90% of the time. Don't know why. I told my cousins and friends, if they really have to go to a mall or other places when it's super crowded, they can take me with them, so I can pray in the parking lot for us to get the nearest parking spot to the entrance door. For this ( the nearest spot ), my prayers works for about 50% of the time. Don't believe me, check my previous blog about my son's birthday party at the Aquarium. I prayed so that our 2 cars can find spots at the Aquarium on Canada Day, and guess what? Our 2 cars get spots BOTH at the nearest entries of the Aquarium. How cool is that? So, in about 5 minutes we find our spot.


First we walked to the public market to eat my birthday cake(s), yes plural. I know that having a gorgeous birthday cake is really fun, but it also fun to eat several different cakes right? When we got married, I ordered our wedding cake from Jaciva, a bakery store in Portland that specialized in chocolate. The cake is chocolate ( off course ), then first it was covered with marzipan and then layers of white chocolate fondant that they mold like fabric covering the cake. Absolutely beautiful and taste really great too! Let me get side track a little, one time, for my birthday, Richard asked me what do I want, and I told him that I want just the smallest cake version of our wedding cake and he did get me the cake. Richard is not big on giving me gifts but he did try to make me happy on our special occasion like birthday, valentine, and anniversary day.



After we get our fill with sweets, both Richard and Kai Kai wants to eat something salty so we grab pizzas. Originally we want to eat German sausages but the line was so long so we decide to eat pizza.

From there, I went to buy fresh mozzarella cheese made from buffalo milk ( is the best! ) and cow's milk, then some raviolli, black fettucini ( made from squid ink ),
black olives, fresh pandan leaves, candy coated fennel. There is always something new in here that I have never tried.



After that I want to go to the children water park that is still in that area ( near the kids' market section ). Today is hot for Vancouver's standard, it's around 30 Celcius, what better thing to do on a hot day if not playing with water? So after I slatther Kai Kai with sunblock , I let him ran like crazy while I followed him around with my camera. Richard choose to stayed under the shade while feeding La La, today I don't have to worry about La La, I just do what I like best, watching my children happy and take pictures of them!









Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

After spending 2 hours in that water park, it's time to go somewhere else. We made one stop on a used sport store first but from there we head down to downtown because I want to eat dinner at the revolving restaurant at Harbour Centre. There is a lookout place on the floor below the restaurant level. Just to let you know that when you go to this restaurant you don't just pay for the food, you also pay for the view so expect higher than normal price for the food. But on Sunday, they have a sunday brunch buffet that I think really good deal for this kind of location.

For my meal, I order fresh mozzarella and tomato salad with balsamic vinegar dressing. Why do I order this when I just bought fresh mozzarella in the market? Inspiration off course. Then for the main course, I order blackened halibut with mango sauce. I think both meals are so easy to prepare individually, I can do it myself, but what I need to learn is how to put everything together and how to present them so beautifully.



Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Here are the views taken from the revolving restaurant ...




Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Friday, July 07, 2006

Kai Kai 6 Years Birthday Party at Vancouver Aquarium





I love my son very much and I really really wants to give him the most memorable birthday party as I can and living in Vancouver is really making this dream come true much easier!

Last year we celebrate his 5th birthday at Science World. We had a complete success there too. Here is the lesson that I learn about throwing a birthday party for a child. Make a reservation at least 3 months in advance. Find places that are popular for children like Science World, Zoo, Vancouver Aquarium, Petting Zoo. Usually these kind of places always offer you their membership discount if you want to use their place for a party. If you think you will bring your kid to that place more than 4 times in a year, it's worth it to buy their membership. That way you will get their discount. Then either you prepare the loot bags yourselves or you can just order them from the birthday coordinator at least a week in advance. Less thing to worry about. Some places like this Aquarium even offer you the birthday cake. Take it! Because it always cost more if you buy outside, unless you want to make it on your own. I found that your children doesn't really care about how good looking their birthday cake is as long as they have their good friends to play with in their party. If you choose places like Science World, Aquarium and Zoo, they always give you more than just entertainment. They are very educational too, I found that even parents learns new things at these places so you are not just entertaining the children but their parents too! Make sure everybody happy, isn't that what a good host suppose to do? When everybody happy, you will happy too and by having someone else do the entertaining , you can relax and enjoy the party as well and not busy running around making sure everybody eat and entertained. When throwing party for small children, always think that their parents ( both parents ) will accompany them, count their siblings too, heck... Even grandparents sometimes can show up too! Always prepare to know that these places has safety standard. Usually there is only 20 people allowed in the same room, so think of how many extra people will be there in the party. More than that sometimes they can't enter the room, they have to stay outside and some times they charge more for these extra people. So try to limit the number of children that you invite into around 10-15 only.

On last year birthday party at Science World, it cost me around CAN $ 360 to invite 20 children ( siblings included ), I got lucky that they don't charge me extra for parents because they all come! For that amount of money, the children get either hotdogs or hamburger with fries and drinks. I brought my own birthday cake and the loot bags too.

This time, I only invited 11 children ( siblings included ) and it cost me only CAN $ 260. With this price I get a birthday cake but no food, drinks for children and coffee and tea for parents. Then each kid get a discount coupon for eating at a nearby restaurant ( White Spot ) and stickers/tattoo. For loot bags they offer several choices $ 5, $ 8, and $ 10. I order the $ 5 loot bags.

Another tips for having a great children birthday party. The most important is you have to like the parents. Children like Kai Kai's age usually can get along with almost everybody. Off course it is important to invite kids that he likes and you have to like the kids too. But I think most important is you have to like the parents. Those parents that I invited are really great people as a result, their children are all nice, polite, can obey the aquarium rules. Because their parents are our friends, they will make an extra effort to come to your party. They bring nicer gifts for Kai Kai. They also offer to help us with managing the party. They help me carry the picnic food that I prepare for them. So it's no wonder that we all had a great time today. Both children and adults.

Because today's weather is super duper nice I brought food for picnic at the last second. In the morning I went to a supermarket and I found out that all of the picnic food are on sale because today is Canada Day, the independent day of Canada. So a lot of people goes to picnic today. Nothing fancy, just sandwiches, pasta salad, potato salad, fresh fruits, chips, jello pudding, juice boxes. Then I brought my own homemade marshmallows and homemade sweet and spicy mixed nuts for nibbling.

Today God answered all of my prayers. Here is the list of my prayers:

1. I want to give a party for KK at Vancouver Aquarium
2. I want the right date for the party - He gave me Canada's day
3. I want a good weather - He gave me a perfect weather without a single cloud on the sky
4. I want only people that I like to come to the party
5. I want only nice kids to come
6. Since the party is on Canada's day, the day when people will go to Stanley Park to have a picnic, it will be very difficult to get a parking spot let alone 2 parking spot for both our cars ( I brought 2 cars because there are 2 extra people that need a lift ). God gave us 2 spot on the best spots, right in front of the entrance both! This alone is already a miracle!
7. I want all the parents to be able to get parking spots - they got them.
8. I don't want to spent more than $ 300.
9. I want to get a great spot for the picnic.
10. I want the food to be just enough. Usually I always go overboard, buying for an army then ended up with too much leftovers.
11. I want everybody able to enjoy the party.
12. I want professional and kind party coordinators - Mike and Asia are both great!
13. I don't want any accidents
14. I want to buy food for picnic that is on sale and yes,all of them are on sale that day!

So those 14 request that I made are all answered by God , every single one of them.


Pic: The children has to line up with the birthday boy in the lead to get their hands stamped by Mike and Asia before they entered.


Pic: We were brought into this private birthday room at the lowest level of the aquarium.


Pic: Mike gave us explanation about dolphin.


Pic: The dolphins like to peep at us!


Pic: While one birthday coordinator entertain the other children, at least one of them will stay close to Kai Kai to answer any questions that he asked. Like a private teacher.


Pic: Mike gave all of use an ID necklace so that we can enter a room that normally are not for public use.


PIc: Mike told the kids to run around the room like a shark. Smart! This way, they spent their energy first and that will tame their over excitement considerably.


Pic: Look at La La's clothes including her shoes, socks and her hat. All of them are especially chosen by Kai Kai for her to wear on his birthday bash. Isn't that sweet?


Pic: La La didn't fuss at all the whole time we had a party. She enjoyed it as much as us. Plus, all of the parents are giving her enough attention.




Pic: Getting a private tour inside the Aquarium.


Pic: We were brought into this lab where everybody can touch anemones, starfish, snails, sea cucumber etc. We stayed in this room long enough to satisfy everybody's curiosity.


Pic: Even parents like Vince there had a blast. I saw that almost everybody come to this party ready with their camera to take their children's pictures.





Pic: Mike, the birthday coordinator made us said our solemn promise to only touch the animals using only our itty bitty pinky fingers.


Pic: Daddy's little girl




Pic: Asia patiently answers all of the children's questions.




Pic: From that lab, we went to the butterflies garden where we can see not only butterflies but also sloth, turtles, exotic birds, cocoa plants, snakes, etc.




Pic: More private tour ...


Pic: The coolest thing about being the birthday boy is this, Kai Kai are allowed to feed the fishes in the biggest fish tank!


Pic: While Kai Kai was above feeding the fishes, his friends are downstairs where they can see the fishes swim upward so fast to catch the food.


Pic: The fishes jump up from the water to catch the food. It's pretty cool to feed the big sturgeon!




Pic: To fill the time while the party coordinators prepare the cake, they served us our drinks.






Pic: Kai Kai were offered to choose what kind of sea creature picture he wanted on his birthday cake. He pick a shark.




Pic: The cake is enough to feed all of us, parents included.


Pic: Everybody wants to play with La La and that's just fine with her!










Pic: While we got a great spot right next to a big playground, the children had their own picnic on the grass while their parents sit at the picnic table.



I couldn't stop saying thank you to God for His blessings for Kai Kai's birthday party.