Sunday, March 01, 2015

Every test in our life makes us bitter or better. 
Every problem comes to make us or break us.
Choice is ours, whether we become victim or victorious. 


There are days when you feel down and starts to questions the things happening in your life; like why are all my friends migrating somewhere awesome and I am still here, 6 years and counting, why is this happening to my career when I’ve always been honest, ethical and professional since day one of this journey, why does this have to happen to my loved ones while others have normal, perfect lives. Am I not worthy of a better life? Why can’t I afford that thing I want? Why does this happen to me? Am I a bad person? Does Allah love me? Have I been a bad daughter? Have I not tried lived my life in the most positive manners? You know, self-deprecating stuffs like that. 

But then, Allah answers them with my own voice inside my head; that dunia is nothing but temporary and life is short and fleeting, that He tests us to bring us back to His path and remind us that a perfect dunia is never the destination as it is unattainable, that with prayers and lots of doa, we will be closer to our Creator and be reminded that everything that happens in our lives is by His will and He is indeed the best planner. And as Imam Zaid Shakir aptly put it, “How bad can any suffering in this world be if it opens the door to unimaginable, eternal good in the life hereafter?” 

I read that sometimes prayers are not answered in the most literal sense. The writer gives example of a successful man who prays to achieve consistent khusyuk in solat, then his business hit rock bottom and failed. He questions why God do this to him when he has been nothing but a good Muslim. But then, when his business - that always kept him away from Allah, that always made him rush in his prayers and ibadah – failed, he submits completely to Allah and realized, his doa for khusyuk has been answered. When life knocks you down, you’re in the perfect position to pray! 


Today I choose to be grateful for the little things in my life right now that makes me happy; like the fact that Tan Hiok Nee nestles the most awesome kopitiams, that today MIL made masak lemak ikan merah with belimbing buluh and lotsa cili padi, our (Hadi and I) little ice cream fun this scorching hot afternoon, that Noah is literally a sumber ketenangan jiwa, how my husband, after almost 7 years of marriage, still makes me laugh almost every day, the flexibility of my work, albeit the lack of monies, that awesome Kingsman movie, and mostly for the little voice inside my head for those positive affirmations that I sometimes need so badly. 

Today I pray Allah grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change and to always be thankful for all those little tests and blessings. For growing trees are strengthened, if they withstand the storm.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

There are two classes of travel; first class, and with children.” – Robert Benchley 


I’ve been scouring the internet for tips, reviews and suggestions for kids-friendly places and events for our impending trip and I am so thankful to each and every one of you dedicated hardworking bloggers for taking the time out of your busy life to assist other information-hungry mommies in making our trip with kids more manageable. And so I decided to write one for anyone who plan to travel to Sydney with kids, based on my not-so-recent trip there with my firstborn Hadi, who was 3 at the time of the trip (Noah was 3 months old in my tummy during our visit). 
  

TRIP TO SYDNEY WITH KIDS: WHAT’S FUN AND WHAT’S NOT!

Firstly, I cannot say this enough: Sydney is a truly vibrant city. It’s sunny and clean, you feel safe walking anywhere in Sydney, the buildings are modern and nice and the beautiful, well - maintained beach is just nearby --- what’s not to love about that? There’s definitely something for everyone in the family, including the kids! 


STAY IN AN APARTMENT

Especially if you have a large family, apartment would be a better choice, monetarily and space-wise, as compared to staying in hotels. You can also save money by cooking in your apartment. Most days I would prepare fried rice / pasta to bring for my boy for our outings; this would save you some money and mostly, this save you from the trouble of looking for eateries that are both adult/kids friendly. Hungry kiddos are no fun.


SYDNEY IS A STROLLER-FRIENDLY CITY 

… so you don’t have to be worried about bringing your baby/kid’s stroller, except maybe when you go into the main attractions, perhaps you will piss people off with your bulky Quinny if the place gets too crowded. Umbrella strollers are always the best travel companion! My brother wore his baby who was a few months old then with a carrier and that certainly is a better choice when you go to the main attractions. 


SKIP THE SEA LIFE SYDNEY AQUARIUM 

… if your kid is younger than 5. The place is too huge, they’d get tired easily. My boy enjoyed the first 10 minutes and was more interested in the gift shop full of sea animal plushies afterwards. Older kids might appreciate it more I guess. 



A 4-year-old Hadi might appreciate the huge shark on top of his head more than he did last year. 

 He and I ended waiting outside for everyone. 


SAND DUNE COULD BE LOTSA FUN 

… if your kids, like most kids I know, love the sand. Mummy and daddy can go sand-board all you want and your kids will be content with the abundance of sand all around them. Older kids can join boarding, of course!



Trust me, my boy enjoyed himself too much here. 


GO SEE SOME ANIMALS 

And I do not mean animals in zoos like we have here in Malaysia. Go to farms where animals run free here and there and your kids will be all happy in their element. We went to the Oakville Farm in Newcastle and I believe that was the highlight of the trip for Hadi. We adults had so much fun too though.

 It was a gorgeous day at the Oakville Farm.


DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT SKIP THE BEACHES 

We went to Bondi Beach when we were in Sydney and truly enjoyed ourselves. You can rent the surfing / body-boarding supplies and even umbrellas and chairs there. If the waves are not for you, younger kids can enjoy the small ocean pool and soft sand. I read that the best beach for kids in Sydney is Balmoral Beach but we didn’t have the time to go.

 I miss his chubby cheeks! He's too thin now!


IF YOU HAVE OLDER KIDS, GO TO THE THEME PARK 

The famous one in Sydney is Luna Park and we opted to not go because Hadi was just 3 last year, he would not have enjoyed it to the fullest. Maybe next time?


CHURROS, MUST EAT CHURROS 

Kids are definitely going to love ‘em! Holidays are cheat days (for you, mommies)!


IF YOU MUST GO TO THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE 

… you can! While kids may not appreciate the majestic building, they can run around, watch and dance to the sound of didgeridoo, eat ice cream. And be sure to board the ferry to the Opera House, older kids would surely love the ride (although my boy slept all the way on the ferry ride, tired from earlier ventures to the main attractions, booo). 


THE DARLING QUARTER IS A PLAYGROUND HAVEN 

Due to late start of the day, we did not have the time to go and we headed straight to the Darling Harbour main attractions, but promise me please that you will go and bring your kids to enjoy the vast and spectacular kids haven! 


GOOD LUCK, MOMMIES!

Like I have said for too many times, I truly enjoyed Sydney, the city is so amazing and kids-friendly, I could just pack my stuffs and move there in a blink of an eye. I hope to visit the city again one day, but next time around, I will skip the main touristy attractions and opt for more picnics and BBQ, playground adventures and of course, more visits to the beach! Good luck with your trip (this is inevitable when you’re travelling with little ones har har) and I hope you will enjoy Sydney as much as I did, if note more! 


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.” - Lady Bird Johnson 


I can’t believe Hadi has completed a whole school year! Where did the time go? Did I even properly blog about his first day in preschool? I don’t think I did! Towards the end of 2014 school year, the teacher said she has seen a lot of improvement in him. He’s usually really shy around strangers but hey, he did really good at his school concert last Sunday. Although he couldn’t keep his eyes off his class teacher Puan Pipah most time of the performance, he danced and sang his heart away wholeheartedly and I was overwhelmed with pride and joy for my firstborn. 


Although I must say that attending your child’s school concert will make you feel like a real grown up grownup, you know what I mean? Tsskk. 




Here's my big boy, taken on one of the last few days of school. He suddenly decided he wanted to bring the Batman cape I made for him to school to show to his friends. He never bring any of his stuffs to school and I finally found out why! His teacher will make anyone who bring anything from home to go in front of the class and tell a story about it. A sharing session, they call it! And Hadi has been refusing to bring anything because he was too shy to tell stories in public! Shy lah sangat kamu kononnya! But on one of the last few days, he wanted to bring his cape voluntarily so I hope this is a good start. 

School holiday has only officially started for two days and already the boy has been bugging me that he misses his school! Tssskkk. One month ++ to go, dude.

Friday, October 31, 2014

A one-year-old child is so many things -- 
A tiny discoverer of butterfly wings, 
A hugger of Teddies, 
A sweet sleepyhead, 
And someone to dream for in bright years ahead 


My Noah turned one on October 19th and we celebrated with a picnic with our mini family (+ Tok) at our favourite park. I love picnics and it’s a curse that I live in humid, hot Malaysia. The birthday boy got cranky after the first 1/2 hour due to the heat but thank goodness his big brother enjoyed his time at the park playing frisbees, ball and what not. 

I know we did a much bigger bash when Hadi turned one back in 2011 but that was just because we got over excited, with him being our first born and all. Noah has to know, hence I’m writing this, that this does not in any way mean we love you any less than we love your big brother, OK? It just meant that as seasoned parents (har har har), we’re more practical now and this year we decide that we’d rather spend on perhaps a family vacation (soon, I hope). 





It has been an amazing one year with you, Noah. My darling sweet Noah. One peaceful and easy baby who comes with other sorts of challenges, dramas and fears, which perhaps I’ll share one day. But for now, I am thankful for this blessing and I look forward to many more years with my Noah. Alhamdulillah.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"Love can change a person the way a parent can change a baby- awkwardly, and often with a great deal of mess.” - Lemony Snicket, Horseradish




A darling friend Ayuni requested from Ayin and me a checklist of stuffs needed for a newborn. True there are a lot on the net but some are way too extensive, like what do you need an RM189 brush and comb set for? And expensive night light with lullaby? Sure, if you have money to burn, go ahead, but if you're practical (and kedekut) like me, soft light from a semi-closed bathroom door and your own zikrullah lullaby would do insyaAllah. 

So yeah, because I was bored, stressed out and was melayan Hadi painting anyway, I doodled this one for Ayuni and you can share it too! (I think I left out some essential items here, like a thermometer perhaps - thank you, Ayin for pointing that out. And yes Ieja, maybe a baby carrier too)

Till then, enjoy your pregnancy, mommies-to-be! (And enjoy shopping for you baby!)

Monday, September 29, 2014

A morning coffee is my favorite way of starting the day, 
settling the nerves so that they don't later fray.” ― Marcia Carrington 


My mom is an avid fan of tea. She’s a tea-holic, she actually survives on tea, really. She could go days without rice and proper food but could only last a few hours without a cup of steaming hot tea. So naturally I was never raised to be coffee lover. The first time I tasted coffee was probably when I was 10, at a relative’s house and they served us hot black coffee (yes, to the kids as well) and I remember thinking that the taste wasn’t anywhere near good. 

Little did I know the day will come when I will be finally introduced to good coffee, become obsessively dependent on them (oh those sleepless mombie nights and sleepy mombie days) and the rest they say is history. 

[Mombie: a mommy who is a zombie, weee!]


Coffee; in support of mommyhood since forever (so my mom preferred tea but to each moms their own caffeine, yeah?) Happy International Coffee Day, coffee lovers all over the world! Thank you for existing in our lives!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

"All kids need is a little help, a little hope and someone who believes in them." - Magie Johnson




I saw this Baby Mugging meme on Pinterest this morning and thought that this is too cute and doable too! Apparently it is the current Instagram sensation replacing #sleepingbabyart, which by the way is super hard to be done, phewww. I have some of Noah's #sleepingbabyart and I shall produce them when I have the chance. Look for #babymugging or #babyinamug hashtags on Instagram for so many other cute photos! 




And naturally, I have to come up with one of Noah! Here's my darling Noah, popping out of Hadi's Daiso RM5 mug, weee!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monica: "Welcome to the real world. It sucks. You’re gonna love it!" 



Twenty years ago, 6 friends came into our lives and set the highest standard for TV show. Twenty years later, no other sitcoms even come close to be as good. I can watch one random episode today for perhaps the fifth time and still laugh as hard as I did the first time I saw it. Happy birthday and thank you, FRIENDS. Best. Sitcom. Ever.

Monday, September 15, 2014

There are lives I can imagine without children but none of them have the same laughter and noise.” - Andreas

 

One day, our kids will outgrow our laps and leave our home, and this is a reminder that every single thing we do with our kids, we could be doing them for the very last time. There are days when we are too tired and crappy from everyday stress and we get cranky and angry with the kids behaving like well… kids, we forget that these days shall pass very soon and one day, we will only be left with the memories of their childhood innocence and the lingering sound of their sweet voice calling out for us.


Ups and downs, craziness and fun; cherish them all, we shall.

Monday, September 08, 2014

"Women are not moody. We simply have days when we are less inclined to put up with crap." - Karen Darby


If women talk gross you out, then stay out of this post. It’s the time of the month again. This is my second red flag after I gave birth to Noah (breastfeeding tends to do that to you – delay your cycle) and I was a few days late. So I was hoping to get a positive result on the PT, what’s with all the crappy mood swings and bloated (more than usual) tummy but sadly it was a negative and today, it came. Yikes. Sucks. Crappy. Mood. Swings. And. Even. Crappier. Period. Pain. I know, I know, people don’t think typing like this is cute anymore. I’m stuck in my own time bubble. Anyways yeah, I need some hazelnut latte. And someone to tell me I’m cute, in spite of the zit on my nose.



PMS women 101. Perpetually torn between loving food too much and wanting to be skinny.