Tuesday, 30 September 2014

13 Teeth

Bean cut 2 upper jaw canines and 1 right hand side lower canine over the past few days. 

He was clingy almost every single night, and mandatorily woke up for feeds almost every single hour.

To be honest I turned into a walking zombie, and pray this phase will be over soon. 6 teeth on the upper jaw; 7 teeth on the lower jaw. That means we are 20-13 = 7 more to go!

Jaw or gum? Argh, you know what I mean *going to catch some sleep* bracing myself for those shiny, white, pramolars!




Question: Weren't the UPSR examination papers locked up prior to the introduction of the new SOP today?


I admit I do not have children sitting for the UPSR this year but I care for the children under our family education trust who are writing their UPSR exams. 

They are 12, from low income families and have on average 3 other siblings and live in a village near the school. Their only way out of poverty is through education. 

Some were bright students with stellar results but some merely cruised through 6 years of primary education without fully understanding much.

Desperate as they are, I know these children have not resorted to cheating for better academic results. In fact, the Advisory Council Members are glad enough to see 90% day to day school attendance per annum, and satisfactory term examination results. Please do not drop out of school. Please attend school until SPM. Please do not work for money before then.

Sincerely hope that such dirty tactics will not happen again. The Malaysian education system has to improve for the sake of our future in this nation. 
Monday, 29 September 2014

AirFryer: Grilled Vegetables

My "grill for 18 minutes at 180C" vegetables are so easy to prepare and when the batch is small enough to fit into my Philips AirFryer, I would be so happy as it makes cleaning up much faster. 

Here is another version comprising of courgette (zucchini), pumpkin and yellow capsicum. 

Yes, Bean loves them all so if you are finding new ways to present vegetables to your babyledweaning child, you may wish to try this out. 

The pieces are easy to grip, hold, pass from hand to another and as long as you monitor your child when he or she is eating, it should be fine. We did use a crinkle-cutter when Bean was less than one year old to assist with his grip. 

Have a delicious time trying new vegetables!

4 1/2 years old

The Little Girl is now 4 1/2 years old.

The famous cliché is true - how fast time flies! This morning, her home room teacher was just updating me of her progress and how they will prepare her for grammar and sentence construction in the English language so as to prepare her for transition into The Big School.

It occurred to me that she was only 23 months old when she started Playschool and she is now serving her final term here? That was one highly compressed video of our lives!

From the time she was born till now, I have not really done any milestone post for her and I haven't been diligent in keeping one for Bean either. I can only remember those special moments as I look through their photo albums online and thought maybe I should get my act together. 

I guess I have found my next series of blog post theme then, and will I be busy or will I be busy then!

Oh, may Allah swt Protect my two kids from harm in every form and manner. Their love is so pure, their smiles are so genuine and their dreams are so big. Amin!

Traffic Lights

1. Slice 150g of pumpkin, 1 red capsicum, 1 yellow capsicum and 1 green capsicum.

2. Wash and drain dry.

3. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the vegetables and let it sit for 10 minutes while the oven heats up.

4. Grill for 18 minutes at 180C fan-forced. 

5. Serve as a side dish. Especially delicious with Jamie Oliver Roast Chicken.

This is our firm favourite and makes a weekly appearance as it is so too simple to cook. Let me know if you like it.

Secret Garden

Located on the upper rooftop of One Utama New Wing, this secret hideaway is  home to tropical shrubs and flowering plants. We enjoy visiting bi-annually to catch a glimpse of different blooms and shoots.

Opens to public for free on weekends and public holidays from 10 am. The lift for access is across Secret Recipe at LG.

Be sure to bring some sunblock and mosquito repellent for your children, cool drinks and a hat. It is a good escape from the madding crowd inside the shopping mall. 

Have fun!
Friday, 26 September 2014

Mid Term Break

We have the following options for our upcoming mid-term break:
1. Penang
2. Cameron Highlands
3. Malacca

We were thinking of the above options as Bean can now toddle and may enjoy some wide open spaces. 

I guess we can start looking for a good deal at Agoda soon. Let's start that by recalling my username and password, shall we? 

If for some reason we are not able to go away, we'd better come up with a list of things we can do in the city and nearby!

Here is what we have done/to do in our little bucket list and I am sorry for not categorising them neatly. You generally have a broad understanding of how humid KL can be so we always welcome some indoor activities!

Things To Do During School Holidays/Weekends:

Karyaneka for batik lessons
KL Tower and Buffet Lunch
KLCC Skybridge
Philharmonic Matinee Show
Balai Seni Negara
Pavilion and Bukit Bintang 
Suria KLCC, especially the Playground
Empire The Shopping Gallery
Kiara Park Picnic
Kepong Kite Flying Ground
BSC skating rink
Farm in the City
Bukit Tinggi
Sekinchan Paddy Fields

And if we absolutely have to stay at home for some reason(s):
Painting and vegetable printing
Play-Doh (at home), I will link the homemade recipe once I can.
Playdate by inviting friends over

Someone please help me think up a new places to go and fun things to do. Thank you.

*my Friday nights are so not happening!*

Gratitude: Work View

Today, I am grateful for a job that allows me to work from home, a supportive husband who helps to take care of our young family members when I need to meet deadlines, and I am forever grateful to Allah swt for His Blessings of sound mind and healthy faculties to His servant.

I used to look out of my office at Petronas Tower One to catch a glimpse of the park. I gave that up on 9.9.9. 9th September 2009 was the day I exchanged my cushy office, suits and heels for motherhood.

Well, that view is slightly altered now, the perspective altered alongside my job scope as a work from home mother of two.

I do not mind it. There are days like today when work can be stressful/hectic but the perks are obvious. The only commute I had to work was walking within our flat! 

In order to feel "empowered" I wear my "office work clothes" instead of my usual "stay at home to cook, clean and chase kids clothes" as it helps me to focus (vain, but it works for me!).

It helped so much that The Other Half took Bean out for lunch, and in the afternoon he took both kids out to Galeri Petronas. Less distractions = faster completion time = more productive = more efficient = can meet deadline = can get paid. Everyone was happy with this arrangement today, syukur alhamdulillah!

May Allah swt bless The Other Half  abundantly for being such a supportive husband (who also works from home!). Amin!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Let It Go

The Little Girl played the first bar of this current Disney hit today.

I am so proud of her! 

So proud that we immediately put her piano teacher based in Melbourne on FaceTime to catch this momentous milestone! 

So proud that the 19 seconds video was emailed to The Grandparents. 

Here's a simple supplication that her journey of using both her right and left brains will be fruitful in years to come (and that my hard earned money is not wasted - almost every parents' fear when deciding whether or not to commence music lessons for their children). 

Stay tuned!
Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Eiduladha Mubarak!

2 years ago, we discovered that we were expecting Bean, on Eiduladha Day. I will always remember the experience with a warm heart and it never fails to put a smile on my face.

This year, we hope to just sit back and give thanks for all His blessings. When we reflect upon our blessings, we also wish for others to have some of the blessings we enjoy.

One such hope is for Mamapumpkin and Nana. My lovelies, you have my very best prayers for your health and healing. 

I would strongly encourage my lovely readers to say a special prayer for this mother-daughter set. Their struggle has been originally posted here. May light and love be in your lives, always, Amin!

If your family celebrates Eiduladha in a big way, do consider these lovely Peter Pan collared baju kurung for your little girls! Shop for Kupu-Kupu hereI had a wonderful experience when I last bought my children's EidulFitr outfits. Payment mode was simple and delivery was timely. Those  were definitely plus points to me! I am anticipating more of her exclusive designs and materials. In fact, the brand is expanding, and you may apply here.

To those performing Hajj this year, may your wonderful journey to His Home and Qurban be blessed manifolds. Have a safe Hajj!

Gentle reminder to fellow Muslim brothers and sisters: Please do not leave out Zakat Qurban.

Jewelry With A Black Outfit

Before I came to know Islam, I used to wear a lot of black skirt/pants suits with white shirts at work. In the legal faternity where I was, it was the dress code.

In order to break that monotony, I used to don necklace (or two!), a pair of earrings, bracelets and rings. 

Then, I committed one of my biggest fashion faux pas/boo boo during my early days of reversion and wearing the headscarf.

I gave away ALL my statement necklaces and pearls to my BFF simply because I did not experiment with wearing them over and on my headscarf. 

Now that I am quite adept with wearing the headscarf in more ways than one, I am "itching" to "decorate" my headscarf and finding refreshed styles to experiment with, I am going to remind myself of these few simple guidelines:

"Black is the easiest colour for women to mix match their choice of jewelry from ghetto gold, sparkling diamonds to bold statement colours. As black is a versatile colour, there are various types of looks which women can pull together and style anywhere they go whether to the office, dinner parties, birthday celebrations or weddings. 

However, women tend to have some confusion on how to choose the right selection of jewelry to pair with the neckline of their dresses. There are 3 jewelry choices for women to add into their fashion wardrobe in order to obtain a magnificent as well as stunning look.

1. Statement necklace

This choice of jewelry is perfect for the ladies who has an outgoing personality and likes to be creative in their own way. It is true that statement necklaces are a bit hard for a woman to pull off but with the right statement necklace, your black dress will definitely look ravishing. The statement necklace and black dress look is suitable for women to wear to a semi-formal dinner party or birthday celebrations."

Mental note: statement necklace will be perfect to brighten up my all black outfit. I think I may just match the burst of colour with one of my handbags or pair of shoes! Maybe I will start with something discreet, such as this:

"2. The Pearls

Pearls are seen to be the utmost classic jewelry which used to be the popular choice for women back in the old days. However, you could also bring it back in style by wearing nice pearls earrings or necklace to exclusive party events or weddings. You can never go wrong wearing pearls with a black coloured dress as it compliments your entire look perfectly."

Mental note: my all time favourite are double strand pearls! I can go from a work related meeting to a school run to a wedding to a wake in my pearls without having to fuss over wardrobe change!

"3. The Gold/ Silver

For the ladies who prefer to stay in the safe zone, opt for the simple gold or silver jewelry collection. There are a wide range of silver and gold jewelries available in the market which will be suitable to wear to any occasions. Women do not have to spend hours of thinking on what jewelry to wear as silver and gold ones will never go out of style."

Mental note: zakat emas for items of gold not worn, it is high time to bring some out to wear soon. A clever/more affordable idea would be jewelry in gold finish, as those lying idle will not attract any zakat emas.

Now, excuse me while I shop for some jewelries and play dress up!

P/S: All photos credit to Zalora.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Sofa Trade-In

We owned our previous sofa for about 3 years and just about 2 months before EidulFitr this year, we scouted for someone keen enough to reupholster our then sofa set.

Shock and horror came our way as we discovered that the cost of a new set after trade-in at Cellini's was going to be considerably lower than just getting new covers on.

We did the next practical thing which was to order the exact same beloved L-shaped sofa and another 2-seater in their new spill-guard fabric and stuck to a safely fashionable/children-friendly clay colour. 

The trade-in deal was so financially-savvy we thought we would like to share this little known offer available at Cellini with you!

Just ask your sofa maker if the same deal is extended to you?

Happy choosing!

Gratitude: My Children

It has been some time since I last updated my gratitude post.
It is not that I stopped being grateful, I was just consumed by some external negativity recently and had to pull myself away from the bad energy with His Permission. 

When I started these earlier gratitude posts, the gratitude tag chain has yet to hit me at Facebook. By the time that it did, some of the novelty had been lost, but never did my obligation to feel grateful to my Maker once waned.

Today I am grateful for my children. 

During those trying negative incidents, they both remind me of Love and what/who/why truly count as my priorities. Seeing them both healthy and growing up happy are daily gifts. 

Thank you Allah swt for sending me and The Other Half our two younglings. So great is Your Love that You share it with us.

Thank You.

Friday, 19 September 2014

How We Chose The Big School

The Big School is our nickname for the school that The Little Girl has been confirmed for Reception come January 2015. It will be quite a grand start to the new year, as you can probably foresee by now.

I will share what we did in our limited experience of selecting The Big School:

Firstly, schedule a school tour, interview a teacher who is free to speak to you during the appointment, observe the students during class/recess/games/assembly. Walk the entire school ground, observe security measures, rate the cleanliness and safety/HSE plans. We did, and we made notes! We took photographs where permissible. We asked to be shown the fire escape routes, emergency plans, fire drill frequency and safety assembly points.

Secondly, there are reviews and resources available online and offline that can help narrow down your choice. Join support groups to find out parents' perspective and experience. Meet and speak with other parents who already have children studying at your choice school to gauge. Listen to their personal encouters and mentally assess if the schooling routine/calendar and lifestyle are within your comfort zone.

Thirdly, research the books and materials used in each of the education system. Libraries, school bookshops, general bookstore. How accessible/affordable  are those books and materials? Are second hand textbooks available? Are online resources  updated?

After narrowing down our candidate schools, we further asked ourselves the following:

1. Syllabus
We were firm on following the Cambridge/British syllabus as we have family in United Kingdom. In the event we choose to relocate, having a syllabus not alien to the kids will hopefully offer a smoother transition, and less culture shock.

Honestly speaking, the English-Bahasa Melayu pendulum for Science and Mathematics, new education blueprint etc have shaken our core. We are not 100% comfortable, especially when national level major examinations' questions can be leaked so easily, passing rate graphs speculated to be flexible, and students polarised according to race and religion.

The Other Half studied under the Malaysian KBSM syllabus with UPSR, PMR and SPM before moving on to a twinning programme with a British university. He disliked the regurgitation style offered by his local alma mater and refuses to let his children suffer the same limitations to ideology, approach, methology and pedagogy. What a mouthful! 

I went through my UPSR, SRP and SPM and scored "stellar" results by being an all rounder. Prefect, school cooperative president, choir and music club president, librarian, Leo Club secretary, and some other clubs too, all helped to hone leadership and membership qualities. Sports were offered (except swimming which is such a basic life skill and should be introduced!).

Sometimes, I do wonder what happened to The Other Half as he comes from a supposedly urban school in bigger city with better facilities? I am truly blessed as  the Convent I was registered at had high standards and still does till today. It is a shame though as I am not moving to my home state!

However, I realised too that I had only really emerged as a person of my own right at my Year 12 New South Wales High School Certificate. My TER Ranking was 84.5 and that reflected my (limited) abilities and talent without having to memorise much. I came face the differences between learners/students and thinkers/memorisers. It was a huge shock and major adjustments had to be made in the short 9 months I was preparing for my Year 12!

My law degree is from a British university, where some form of memorising of case law was required but facts are facts, history is history. Memorising is part of the deal. The differentiating factor is in writing opinion. I found my British friends who may not have cited as many case law and sections of the statute but were able to articulate their opinion and views concisely, astutely and almost professionally scoring the 1st class and Upper Second Class. I worked hard but only deserved a Lower Second, proving that critical thinking is crucial at tertiary level. Some of my friends who could not adjust within the short 3 years were awarded with Third Class and General Degree which prevented them from reading The English Bar, much to their dismay!

That, my lovelies, boils down to early education. I am not saying British syllabus guarantees a first or upper second class. I am saying the cognitive experience, thought process, outlook of life in general and technical approach differ, and a wholesome early education crossing into formative years of a child,  is crucial. 

Personally, I feel that British and Australian system shifts a person from a reader into a thinker. I can only vouch for these 2 as I have not experienced other systems first hand. Having said that, some of my smartest girl friends graduated from US, Japan, French and Canada education systems!

2. Location 
Closest possible to home is my choice but alas, circumstances beyond our control changed slightly and we are going to a temporary campus before moving back to the newly renovated campus. For the long term, we are budgeting for a family home closer to campus when everything is more certain and the dust has settled. I am going to need a lot of prayers answered regarding finding a suitable home close to school as property prices have escalated over the years (and will probably continue to appreciate).

Carbon footprint, escalating fuel and toll costs, commute time, alternate drivers in case of emergency, drivers' allowance and salary...please factor those in. 

3. Fees
Reasonable fees within budget and ability for at least 11 years. Projection of inflation, fees increment and cost of living. I was sleepless for many nights, and one day Allah swt did answer my prayers in the form of an education trust fund. Thank you Allah swt! Still, we must work hard to meet escalating primary, secondary, tertiary and post-graduate fees.

In fact, you may consider placing your savings for your children into managed funds such as Amanah Saham Didik or its equivalent for this special purpose. If your principal sum is substantial, the dividends yield may be withdrawn to settle school fees. 

4. Networking
The schoolmates I grew up with are my closest friends now. I want the same for my kids, and want them to cherish such invaluable, trustworthy friendships for life. Never underestimate the power of links and connection of a good and strong alumni.

5. Culture and Tradition
Many people I know do not consider this point at all and were surprised when I raised this point. My family feels that culture and tradition that are not against our own faith in Islam are the threads that weave the fabric of our lives! We are multi-racial family to begin with, so this is a point close to home. 

6. Moral Studies and Religious Studies
We did not even want to consider schools that do not offer these as options. The Other Half and I know how tough it is to pay good fees and still not be able to find reliable Ustazah. We had tried and tested external Ustazah and know for sure we require a school that offers Islam as a subject.

In conclusion, I sincerely hope that some of the above points will benefit you when it comes to selecting the right education system/school of your choice. Only you can decide which will work best for you and your child. Good luck and have fun hunting!

Thursday, 18 September 2014


Bean caught the much-dreaded Hand Foot Mouth Disease

It started with a few reddish spots on his face which quickly spread to his scalp, over his entire body with limbs not spared. Now at day 3, he certainly looks like a spotty pink leopard. Cute, but...slightly miserable?

Poor baby. 

His appetite is about 70% of his usual, but thankfully his cheerfulness has not compromised. 

Syukur alhamdulillah he has no fever and the medical officer at PCMC had prescribed him some gingival oral spray; and calamine cream for easy application in the event Bean starts scratching at his spots.

The only "dirty" place he had been to in the last one week was his playgroup meet at Gymboree Bangsar Village. It is hard to pinpoint a single place with 100% certainty, as most parents would probably know by now (as much as we can possibly wash and sanitise everyone's hands!).

Speedy recovery to Bean, Amin!
Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Malaysia Day

Tiring Tuesday indeed. 

Alhamdulillah for the 10 am piano lesson, 11 am lunch date and 3 pm swimming lesson today for The Little Girl.

Bean had a slightly different day with Gymboree Play Class with his peers, followed by a lunch date with The Other Half and ends sweetly with a recuperative afternoon nap. 

Adorably, his peers consist of a younger brother of The Little Girl's swim mate, and a younger sister of The Little Girl's Playschool mate. It is endearing how the set of firstborn and another set of second born have parallel lives! It is like these 6 children see each other on an almost daily basis, sharing different activities in the same city area. Inevitably, the parents become natural acquaintances, if not fast friends.

Well, by evening, we dined out as a family of four while the car was being washed and vacuumed; and came home by 8 pm for an early night in. 

All that in peace and harmony, double alhamdulillah!

Happy birthday, Malaysia!

P/S: the Hokkaido Milk cake my friend had brought over has my name on it, toodles!
Sunday, 14 September 2014


Selamat Hari Malaysia next Tuesday, 16 September 2014! We are celebrating by learning to play our national anthem on the piano.

How do you celebrate such a blessed day? What are your plans? Please do share!
Friday, 12 September 2014


A happy post for a change. 

38 random things about me.

Here we go.

1. I am 38 this year (duh!). I do not feel 38, and I am not entirely sure if I do "behave" like a 38 year old. I love waking up at 9 am and go to bed at 9.30 pm but we all know that this is not possible.

2. I am a work from home mum and never once imagined myself to be this person living this life. Growing up, I always had a vision of me in a power skirt suit, as one of the members of board of directors of a financial institution. Specific dreams, not so accurate in reality. We plan, He decides indeed!

3. I love the colours black, white and navy. My wardrobe mostly consist of these 3 colours. 

4. I love denim pants. They keep me neat, covered and able to chase after my young children. Yes, my resolution to part with them has failed. I give myself another 2 years.

5. I wear the headscarf. Regardless of country I am in because commandment from Allah swt is worldwide, don't you agree? I adjust the thickness according to season. People who incite me not to don the headscarf when I am outside Malaysia really do not understand my faith, or its practices. I wish them well and that hopefully Hidayah will someday enlighten them.

5. I love volume skirts. Provided I am not at the grocer's or baby gym. 

6. I love fruits. Fresh, sliced and wholesome. On its own, in my oats porridge, on my pancakes, mixed through my salad or juiced. 

7. I love vegetables. I wish the organic ones do not cost as much as they currently do.

8. I prefer goats milk over cows milk. No IBS, a good gut start!

9. I sometimes see my life pass me by. Especially when I wait for my children at the play area (2 hours have passed and still they refuse to budge). Hence my relationship with my blog, not so much my Facebook account.

10. I love dark chocolates. 

11. I chew my mouthful of food at least 20 times.

12. I chew with my mouth closed.

13. I do not talk with my mouth full.

14. I put my spoon down between mouthfuls. Not by choice. I have to assist 2 children with their meals. 

15. I love having my elbows on the table. I know this is rude in some cultures but since my Greek girlfriend has yet to tell me off...

16. My second tier favourite colours are green and purple but you will often find gray and beige in my possession. 

17. Despite not liking the colour red on my clothing, I do not mind red on shoes, belts and handbags. Never on my  headscarf though.

18. I am quite neat, and clean.

19. I wash my hair daily. Well, I shower twice a day. Don't you?

20. I learnt to play the piano both by ear and by theory. This year. Online via FaceTime, with my teacher who lives in Melbourne. Awesome, much?

21. I used to doodle and sketch but cannot remember why I had stopped. *looking for my sketch pad and 2B pencil*

22. I enjoy art galleries, plays, stand up comedies, sketches, opera, philharmonic orchestra and movies. YouTube included, provided the content is beneficially entertaining.

23. I enjoy K-dramas with English subtitles but haven't found time to watch any this year. I hear my friends raving about The Heirs!

24. My front tooth on the left started "moving" and I now have to smile for the camera with my lips curled into a smile with my teeth showing. Unless it is a good angle from my left which hides the left front tooth's odd angle. Vain, much?

25. I really enjoy shopping on my own. I make most mistakes when shopping with my children (even when I have a list for groceries and supplies!). 

26. I enjoy the bliss of watching my children sleep. Provided I haven't konked out first. 

27. My electricity bill is scary because I rely on electrical bibik a lot. I am still mentally debating if Kuvings and TMX should join my arsenal as I have limited cabinet space.

28. I have considered hiring a human bibik but I am not ready to share my personal space with one.

29. I am relatively short, at 158cm. I foresee being the shortest person in my household by the time my children are teenagers.

30. I am relatively light, at 48kg. I foresee being the lightest person in my household by the time my children are teenagers. My husband suspects I will be right. 

31. I quite enjoy housework. Mostly due to numbers 18 and 28 above. Seeing a clean flat for my children to live and play in bring me immense satisfaction. I get all irritable and nervous when the flat is messy or dirty. 

32. I detest drama and fake people in real life. I have no. 23, if I want some drama and fake people.

33. I believe in sincerity. 

34. I believe in working hard at work and on myself. Especially myself, and my walk of faith. How to be a better wife, mum, DIL, SIL, servant of Allah swt, friend, colleague. 

35. I do not obsess over any designer brands but will buy what suits me. That has somehow landed me with quite a few designer items which wear well, are comfortable and durable. Equally, there are some local designs and products that are good and serve me well. 

36. I miss working full time from an office (sometimes, wishful thinking moments) but I know that is not possible right now (and I do not envy those who are able to/ have to). 

37. I wish I earn more so that I can give more (be it zakat or charity). 

38. I am blessed and have Allah swt to thank for my life and everything in it. Syukur alhamdulillah!

P/S: this post is easier than I thought! Feel free to post yours *smile*

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Kempen Sopan-Santun

I was reading about this current local movement to "save" Malaysia and cannot help but feel like joining the bandwagon.

Start of my community service message:

I have many a times told queue-cutters off. 

Sometimes I tap them lightly on their shoulders and point to the end of the line behind me. At other times I politely reminded them, "please queue up." 

When I get all fumed up because the queue-cutter has cut in front of me, I would and did tell the cashier not to ring up the offender's basket of goods because the person had gotten ahead by cutting queue.

I admit it is wrong for me to feel ashamed for voicing up for my right in line. Heck, if I cannot voice this up, how else can I protect myself? 

Furthermore, what moral values would I be showing my children? I certainly do not want my children to think that it is alright for them to jump queue! 

Or worse, that standing up for what is right, is wrong.

Where do these incidents normally occur?

I will share my top 3 with you:

1. Isetan KLCC supermarket till lines. So what if you have only 1 bottle of mineral water and it won't take as long? Go to the express lane! Which caters for less than 5 items. That means 6 bottles of the same mineral water falls into regular till lines, not the express lane.

2. Suria KLCC ladies toilet. Notorious! The paid toilets are not as crowded but occasionally the queue-cutter harass there too. 

3. Madam Kwan KLCC door queue. Not only there is no line, they wait outside all over the corridor and stop the traffic, literally. 

Alas, the situation worsens on weekends!

I find that the polite folks go to Little Penang Café. Single line, queue against the shop facade and not block the passage way. Regimented, disciplined and best of all: self-regulated. Bravo!

The next time you get your right in line infringed upon, please speak up. Politely. 

"Please queue up."

"Sila beratur."

That should do it. It has always worked for me.

Do NOT say "kurang ajar", or throw provocative accusations like, "awak buta kah?!". That is just getting low into the gutters of bad manners. Statements like that can and I have seen them spiral into cat fights and end up ugly.

Let's start to correct our manners in public. Please bring back the glory of "Sopan-Santun" that was once part of Malaysia. Kindly practice the nation's 5th Rukun Negara, "Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan", with heart.

End of my community service message. Thank you.

I Miss My Little Girl

When bedtime beckons for her, Bean is usually nursing and trying to sleep too. I have no choice but nurse him and coax him to sleep.

But my heart is torn between duty and emotions.

Lately, The Little Girl comes to say goodnight, sometimes she would whimper pitifully and lulls herself to sleep in her own bedroom with the air cond and night light on.

I miss her. 

I miss her so much.

I miss reading her those two mandatory story books. 

I miss singing her Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars. 

I miss hearing her recite al-Fatihah and giving thanksgiving for all His Blessings.

Oh, how my heart aches for her good company!

Then, she breaks into tears randomly at whatever hour and wakes the entire household up.

Just when I am exhausted beyond words and is dying for some sleep. That is when I feel guilty for not missing this bit about her. 

And so the cycle goes. Sigh.
Wednesday, 10 September 2014

11 teeth

Bean sprouted a couple of canines and a lower left pramolar over Shawal. We have been expecting the canines but the pramolar took me by surprise.

He had some extra dribbles, and slept mostly in my arms. No fever, syukur alhamdulillah, as we were away in York when it happened.

Fiddlesticks, fruit bars, biscotti bars and stone fruits cut into little sticks/bars are his favourite snacks at the moment. 

Self-feeds blueberries, broccoli, carrot sticks and little cubes of cooked chicken. We love how he likes exploring with taste and textures at the dinner table. Arugula, lettuce, corals, kale and countless other vegetables have passed his experiment. He loves some of those, and would ask for more. Those he dislikes, get thrown down onto the floor from his Stokke.

Today, he fell in love with taste and texture of an orange, after a few failed attempts earlier. I strongly believe in letting his try a new type of fruit and food generally, presented differently for at least a dozen times before quitting. 

What an interesting milestone for Bean! Well, at least I think so, for obvious reasons.
Monday, 8 September 2014

Bye Bye Babyhood

Bean is officially a toddler by age and by skill now.

The changing table, baby cot, extra stroller, baby carrier all seem so outgrown and outdated. 

Time to bundle them up and pass those preloved items on to my girlfriends who are expecting their respective nos. 2 and 3. 

Time flies, I am feeling all nostalgic (PMS, much?).

Goodnight, peeps.

Photo Albums

No one ever prints holiday photos and slide each print into photo albums anymore, do they?

I have just uploaded 40% of our holiday photographs to my Facebook account to share with close friends and realise the above.

I feel old(er) all of a sudden.

How will my children enjoy thumbing through their holiday photos the way I did with mine when I was growing up? I must have been quiet for hours reliving the holidays back then!

Time for me to look for a photo book deal soon...

Bank Negara Malaysia Museum

Newly printed RM250 by The Little Girl. 

We tried getting into the carpark yesterday (Sunday) but failed as it was blocked with orange cones.

Today, we trailed another car to a guard post and asked for directions. A Polis Bantuan officer was on duty, and politely directed us to LG5 visitors' car park.

Free entrance, baby change room, clean toilets, decent café, children play area, and 3 levels of museum worthy material including numismatic, Islamic finance, economy, fine arts, currency timeline etc = worth a visit or two!

TMI for my little ones but they had fun overall. 

Thumbs up, Bank Negara Malaysia! We sure hope the museum will be better maintained for years to come, in sha Allah.
Sunday, 7 September 2014

Morning Routine

What is your morning routine like?

Here is a snapshot of mine:
7.30 am : wake The Little Girl up for Playschool on weekdays. Amazingly, she wakes up early on weekends when we can actually sleep in. Bummer for me, of course.

7.45 am : the second alarm to really get The Little Girl going if she isn't already.

8 am : breakfast. Despite the rotating menu, she nearly always just drinks goats milk and refuses to eat.

8.30 am : get her changed into her outfit and pack her water bottle into her backpack. She usually picks a toy/book of the day to accompany her. 99% of the time she wears NOT her uniform. 

8.45 am : out the door, into the lift, get her belted into the booster and start the short drive to Playschool. We usually exchange plans for the day.

9 am : drop her off at The Playschool gate, a quick hug and kiss.

9.15 am : grocery shopping and driving home to sort out lunch, laundry, cleaning up, errands, play time/feed Bean and let me just confess that this feels like the shortest morning hours ever! 

The Other Half watches Bean when I am out for the school run. On days when he has appointments, we exchange our duties so that he can out the door and not miss the appointment. Luckily for us, he can arrange the appointment time to suit our family routine so as to prevent chaos/being late.

Bean goes to Gymboree on some mornings so he too, has to be included in the morning school run. He is mostly a contented and happy toddler but you can tell he is starting to be frustrated at being strapped down safely in his car seat. So far, nursery rhymes and a small toy can still keep him entertained from KLCC to Bangsar.

In order to cope, we have a weekly meal planner, weekday discount summary at our local grocer's typed out in my mobile Notes, weekly chores planner and quite often still NOT have the time to do it all.

My biggest downfall? Facebook. 

It is sucking too much of my time and I had to leave some groups recently I order to regain some precious minutes back into my short mornings (and rest of the day, obviously).

My other downfall? Whatsapp.

Far too many messages on non-urgent matters. In fact, my phone memory got bogged down and the app just won't upload anymore. Blessing in disguise as I now regain extra minutes to relief my pressure cooker harried lifestyle.

Lunch is often simple and Bean is babyledweaning style eater who helps himself quite independently (small mess, bearable!). We then resume whatever we were doing to prepare for the afternoon. 

1.30 pm : leave home/ appointment place for Playschool to fetch The Little Girl home. If we are lucky and no one is having tantrums, solat Zuhur once we get home at about 2.15 pm.

On Fridays, we leave earlier for Playschool as I have to do a solo drive with Bean to fetch The Little Girl at 1 pm while The Other Half is at solat jumaah. Bean prefers to explore the waiting area at the Playschool and not be rushed back into his car seat too soon. Often times, it is much easier to just pick The Little Girl up straight from the gate at dismissal time and not have to leave the car at all. Rarely does Bean nap through the Friday pick up...and I have grown to somewhat expect the worst. 

Do all parents rush this way too? Does it feel stressful sometimes?

Please share your time management tips to simplify my mornings. Thank you!

Mooncake Festival

We eat halal moon cakes, and this year these sweet delicacy seem less sugary than years before. I say this is a good thing!

The Little Girl had built a red paper lantern decorated with some purple paper butterflies in her art class. 

This year, we opted out of the moonlight party at The Playschool as we adhere to good advice given by Ustaz Abd Rashid. It was held last Friday evening and from updates online, everyone had a great time. The lanterns were colourful, food and drinks plentiful with endless stream of fun and laughter from the little, excited ones. Syukur alhamdulillah for diversity of cultures being celebrated in peace. 

As for friends who are celebrating, have a very joyous and blessed mid-autumn festival! Watch the calories in those preserved duck egg yolks...I think I night just patter into the kitchen now to share the last moon cake with The Other Half over a cup of tea and catch up with him.

To those who are using matches to light little candles, be very careful not to burn yourself, others and properties! Is Bomba 999 or 994? Do you know?

Take good care!

Belated Merdeka

The recent course of events threw us off course, pun intended.

Here is a belated "Selamat Hari Merdeka 57, Malaysia". Technically, I am wishing you days ahead of 16 September when Malaysia was formed in 1963 so all is good. 

The Other Half and I took the kids to Galeri Petronas at Level 3 Ampang Mall in Suria KLCC today. The exhibits were simple enough to catch a gist of the independence timeline. May Allah swt Heal the cracks in this nation and Protect her from His wrath.

It was especially meaningful to see a photo of my FIL on the exhibition wall, as he contributed his effort in nation building through his various corporate stint. May Allah swt grant him Health and Jannah, Amin!

Night Terrors

My 4.5 year old daughter still suffers from night terrors and they tend to strike at 2am. These episodes have resulted in us being somewhat irritable as her sharp and loud cries would often escalate into waking an entire household up.

Added to the recent jetlag recovery (took us longer due to her night terrors), we resorted to seeking divine intervention at Darussyifa Bangi. I will blog about the treatment once I can, in sha Allah!

Ustaz Abd Rashid did advise us not to stay out later than Maghrib, to give the kids their evening baths by 6.30 pm and basically say a complete goodnight supplication for them at every bed time. We also shared our bidara-infused drinking and bath water with them for 3 days.

Syukur alhamdulillah everyone is on the road to recovery.

(Digression: My greatest challenge is solat, and to overcome this I really need to commit the entire solat to memory instead of relying on The Other Half as imam. Wish me luck, or rather, keep me in your supplication for ease to come my way. I strongly believe everything will fall in place once I am an independent Muslimah.)

Fortunately, such night terrors have subsided from a full blown 2am repertoire to a whiny few minutes of irritating noise that may be calmed with some supplications and sometimes a cuddle or two. Lying down beside her and patting her back to sleep has a 50% chance of success, and that is like saying try for whatever works. As long as Bean remains unperturbed and sleeping, all is good. However, my rage flies when The Little Girl wakes Bean up, as it can be quite a circus trying to put two kids back to sleep before subuh

Tiring nights, panda eyes for The Other Half and I as we juggle working from home and raising two kids without any external help. Can you tell we are struggling as hard as other parents with two children under 5 years old?

How do you handle such night terrors? Please do share!
Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Darussyifa Bangi

This is tough for me to blog about. In the end, I prayed about it and will share this true account to motivate those who are in two minds about seeking divine intervention in the course of healing oneself from illness.

Do not let the "was was" whispers stop you from seeking Him.

"It is good to be home. Laundry done, unpacking completed, suitcases stowed away until the next vacation, new school term - all part and parcel of homecoming after a good holiday abroad."

What we did not expect, however, was to deal with "evil". Unseen. Disturbing. Whispering. Dark.

I woke up on Tuesday morning, 2 September 2014, determined to set things right after what seemed like an eternity of viciousness since we arrived home on 24 August 2014.

I was fed up.

I had to do something constructive instead of feeling helpless and sorry.

A quick discussion/verbal exchange between The Other Half and I, followed with packing the children up for a day out at Bangi. Road trip, we told The Little Girl. She was excited to skip first day back at school! Bean is honestly too young to "protest" and will enjoy any day out!

We arrived at the Darussyifa centre in Bangi at about 11.30 am and quickly wrote our family name down for registration. After waiting for about 30 minutes with no one going in to see any Ustaz, I approached someone at the registration desk to ask.

One Ustaz asked us to return "after Zuhur". We were no. 8 on the afternoon clinic wait list.

Another quick and bright plan was hatched to feed the kids their lunch at Hotel Bangi-Putrajaya, Café La Vista to be precise. That proved to be a wise move as the kids ate, walked about, freshened up and was ready for the second instalment of "adventure" aka the waiting game.

We returned to Darussyifa Bangi, a close 5 minutes drive by car, at about 1.45 pm, parked the family car at the Surau nearby and waited. 

And waited. (The kids walked all over the waiting area.)

And waited some more, as if testing our patience. (The kids walked all over the waiting area some more and got quite agitated, as if testing our patience.)

Finally, we were called at about 3 pm by Tuan Haji Abd Rashid.

He asked gently, what happened and I replied, in Malay, "gangguan", the equivalent of "suspected disturbance by the unseen".

He then prayed over me using nothing more than verses from the al-Quran, tapped my back gently, occasionally blowed air into my left ear and held my left thumb.

At one point, I felt heated up, my left thumb felt like being electrocuted and something stirred from the left side of my lower back. Immediately I felt nauseated but did not vomit. 

Ustaz Abd Rashid asked me to pronounce my shahadah, which I did with some fumbles and twisted tongue. It wasn't easy. Strange.

The Other Half was also prayed over and he felt like something was being pulled out of his mouth as he was being prayed over. It wasn't as dramatic as my experience but he feels so much lighter now. Less furious. Less snappy. Strange.

We are now convinced that this Islamic method of healing through prayers, supplications, drinking of bidara-infused water and bathing in bidara-infused water are non-invasive and gentle. It takes faith to know and belief that this method of healing works by His Will and Grace.

What led us to seeking such divine intervention, you may ask.

Night terrors.

The wasted half days for an entire week.

The wasted precious daylight.

The wasted precious solat times.

The rage and fury from lack of sleep. 

The crumbling of routine preventing normal household activities, school, work. 

It was one vicious cycle.

Ustaz Abd Rashid advised that the unseen wants to pull us to Hell and we must prevent it by striving to be the best Muslims as we can possibly be.

So here we are. 

Trying our best. 

Home before Maghrib, cleaning the kids up by 6.30 pm, supplications for a goodnight sleep at bed time and trying to be steadfast in our solat.

To my BFF who shared her experience in healing her dear husband using the same method, I would like to record my note of appreciation and really say "thank you" from the bottom of my heart. 

Thank you for staying close to me via SMS, encouraging, troubleshooting, praying for me and being a great BFF when the going was tough and in helping to hunt for the bidara leaves. Thank you. Syukur alhamdulillah for He sends great helpers.

(Strangely, the leaves had somehow dwindled into insufficiency and thus nearly hindered the entire course of treatment, so The Other Half, Bean and I drove to Darussyifa Bangi on the Thursday just for extra bidara leaves. Fortunately, The Little Girl had an afternoon with The Grandparents at The Flat Upstairs.)

What a chapter added to our walk of faith. Hopefully one that we do not have to repeat. Lesson learnt.

May Allah accept our repentence and grant us Ease, send us Taufiq Hidayah towards The Straight Path and shine His Light on us. Amin!