Saturday, January 28, 2012

Birthday wishes & thanks

It's my birthday today. Yeay! Happy birthday to me. My birthdays have never been a big deal, the highlight of which usually comes from lovely wishes from friends and family. This year I would like to remind myself of all the wonderful things I have to be thankful for:

  • My children: I am truly blessed to be the mother to three adorable, smart, sweet, funny and good kids. Okay, I am a bit biased but I truly believe that Allah knew that I would need great kids to fill my life with love and that is exactly what they are.
  • My family: I give thanks each day that I have supportive parents who have stood by me through everything. They travel from KL-Kuantan almost every weekend just to make sure that I do not feel alone and so that I get to have a break from time to time. At my age, you would think that I would be the one who should be looking after them and yet I stand here still very much leaning on their strength. Hopefully one day, I will be able to repay them. My one and only brother, who growing up was my nemesis is now one of my trusted comrades and his wife, the sister I always wanted. With their beautiful daughter, their little family is also a source of comfort to me. My extended family of cousins, and aunts/uncles and other relatives also bring colour to my life.
  • My friends: To my trusted, dear friends (you know who you are so I need not mention by name), your support, encouragement and friendship I treasure dearly. To all friends (old & new) who have been kind enough to wish me a happy birthday and for your very kind prayers, I thank you (one day a year I am overwhelmed by the number of people on FB who write on my wall, thanks FB for bringing us together). To all my virtual friends too, it just goes to show that just because we have never met (or rarely meet) doesn't mean that we can't still be friends. So thank you for all the FB, twitter, Instagram and SMS wishes. A good friend once told me that I should widen my circle of friends, now I understand why. To all my friends, near or far, "real" or virtual, in constant contact or not, I have nothing but love for you all. Thank you.
  • My life: I am grateful that I am still here, with a chance to atone for my mistakes and hopefully be a better person. Though I do not know what lies ahead, I am hopeful.
Sometimes, it is easy to dwell on things lost or feel regret for plans derailed. But on days like this, I am reminded that it is always better to be thankful for things we still have. To all those I have wronged over the years, I am sorry. Hopefully as my age increases I will be wiser and make better decisions. Though I have to confess, I would love to still be mistaken for a young person once in a while haha.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Live blogging || Pasar Besar Siti Khatijah

Okay. The kids are tired, and cranky. Well, they already finished their shopping. I guess they take after me, totally not the shopping type. Gonna get some stuff from the wet market now. Can't wait to get back home. Not as many people as I thought here but still long hours of walking doesn't suit any of us.

Live blogging || KB for CNY

It's been a while since our last trip back here. Thankfully the weather cleared up so we didn't have to worry about floods or torrential rain.
Now we are joining the throngs of people heading to KB. I need to buy a few things, hopefully there we'll be able to walk around without getting lost in the stampede.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

Basic plot

A story of a boy born in America but spent his childhood in extreme poverty in bleak, desolate Ireland with his poor mother, always drunk father and ever growing and depleting little siblings. During a time when a slice of bread was considered a luxury, baby brothers drank water with sugar and the whole lane traipses through your kitchen to dump their excrement in the one common toilet. Frank McCourt's daily life is merely a battle to survive, the dreaded consumption, thrashings from relatives who are angry when his family asks for scraps of food and a father with the Irish curse of drinking what little money he manages to earn. 

What I liked about this story

The author is truly a storyteller. He paints the harsh reality of poverty in Ireland with clarity, but even through the bleak desperation there is a touch of sombre humour. I chuckled and cried through the very same pages. With every page I read, I was so invested in the plight of Frank McCourt that I willed for his circumstances to change, for his father to change, for their lives to get better. Reading this book, I could not imagine how all those poor families survived. It made me appreciate my own life, and its many small comforts.

What I disliked about this story

Not much really. It took me quite a while, given my schedule, to finish reading. I found that I tended to speed read the many Irish songs and poems though. 

A quote I liked from the book

If I were in America I could say, I love you, Dad, the way they do in the films, but you can't say that in Limerick for fear you might be laughed at. You're allowed to say you love God and babies and horses that win but anything else is a softness in the head.

Rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to Siti for lending me this book as part of our Bookswap project.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Week 2 : #366photoproject


Saturday, January 14, 2012

First week of school || Lessons learned

What a week it has been! My eldest son started school last week (yes, I AM that old). To be honest, I was probably more nervous about sending him to school than he was about going. The past week has taught me:

  • some things are inevitable- As much as I would love if my kids stayed as cute and innocent as they are right now, they have to and will grow up. The upside is that with each day and each change, comes new experiences to share and new memories to keep.
  • things that may seem scary to us MAY not be to them- I was worried that he would be nervous, being in a new school, with new friends, meeting his new teachers but Yousof took it all in his stride. Though, to make his transition easier, I did make sure that I waited until he was settled in class, I looked in on him during lunch (his school ends at 3pm) and I am always already waiting to pick him up at the end of the day. I am thankful that his days at Educare IIUM taught him to get on well with his adults and his peers.
  • even though we think they're not ready, the only way to know is to let them try- I was apprehensive about letting him go to school by bus. I could not imagine letting him step onto the bus and not knowing for sure that he arrived at school safely each day. In the end, I made sure to choose a trusted bus company, I spoke to the driver personally, and got good recommendations from other parents. I explained to him why he is taking the bus, how to ride the bus safely and how to get off the bus safely. So in the mornings when the bus stops in front of my house and I send him up those steps, I take comfort in the fact that he is learning to be independent, slowly but surely.
  • the perfect mix of down time and study time is a balancing act- When he comes home from school, he is tired from a whole day of concentrating and learning new things, an amazing feat for kids who averagely have short attention spans. So I let him take a nap, watch TV and have a snack. After dinner, we sit down as a family to go over his homework or do exercises. Not a simple feat with 2 younger siblings not in school. But I try to make it easier by making sure dinner ends early, as little distractions as possible (no TV after Maghrib) and a proper place to study (small table and chairs for each of them). In order to make sure that Yousof does not feel like studying is a boring thing that only he has to endure, I also prepare age appropriate "study" like activities for his 4 & 2 year old siblings (mostly colouring, drawing or some simple word exercises).
  • not everything new is good- The only downside of school is that there will always be some kid who makes it less fun for others. In Yousof's case, it is a boy in his class who likes to call him Utop or Yousof Tayyoub (after the famous Ramadhan kurma ad). I was upset to hear this but I tried not to over-react. Some friends suggested that I should confront the kid and his parents, but as of now I have decided to take a less confrontational approach. We are after all talking about another 7 year old child here. However, I sat Yousof down and told him that if the boy persists, for him to tell the boy firmly to stop and ignore him, instead make friends with the other kids in his class. So far, I have learned that this boy is getting on a lot of people's nerves including the teachers'. I am going to keep a close eye on the situation, and if it warrants, my next step will be to inform his class teacher, so she is aware of my concern and can monitor the situation. Even though, I cannot shelter the kids from everything and everyone, I can try to make sure that I can reduce the possible trauma.

I never thought that when the time came to send off my first child to school, that it would be under the current circumstances. I do worry that, my kids may be at a disadvantage because of their family situation but at least they have parents who love them and a very supportive extended family. So, even though life keeps changing, and I cannot control every single thing that happens, I am hopeful and excited (though sometimes nervous) to see what the future will bring.

*This post will also be available on soon InsyaAllah.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Week 1: #366photoproject

My dad's birthday
Really window-shopping
Last day of being just a kid
First day of school
Transportation woes

A quiet weekend
Keeping it cool

Friday, January 6, 2012

Yousof's first day of school

OoopS! Shirt should be untucked

Well, it has finally happened. I am officially old. Last Wednesday, I sent my eldest son to his first day of school. I must admit, I was probably more worried than he was. Although, in my defense, I have already survived school so I know there are many things to worry about. Yousof was just excited to start on his new adventure. I am blessed with kids who adjust and adapt to new situations quickly. 

Couldn't even wait to take off the plastic wrap. Extra pull out bed for Aishah coz her room doubles as a guest room.

So, on the big morning, I woke up quite early after a night of tossing and turning. My parents were already up and getting ready to head back to KL (they usually head out right after Fajr prayer so they can get to work on time). Yousof woke up on his own after his first night sleeping in the top bunk of the boys' new bunk bed. Aishah & Hamzah also woke up a lot easier than normal. I even managed to pack food for everyone to bring to school.

We arrived early and found our way to Yousof's classroom. After filling out forms and whatnot, I had to leave him for a few minutes to send the other 2 to "school". I came back in time to see them perform solat and eat. Obviously, some kids were adjusting better than others. I saw quite a few crying and refusing to get into class. Some did not know how to eat their lunch since it was served on a tray to be shared with friends. Many of the kids were having fun though, walking hand in hand with their friends and answering their teachers enthusiastically.

InsyaAllah, Yousof will settle in well. He had a good first and second day. He came back with a lot of stories and seemed to enjoy himself. He was, of course, exhausted and slept until 6pm.

This school may not be as well equipped as I would like but the curriculum has a few extra things that I hope will help to shape my son to be a good person. I am unable to give him the best guidance on many things, so hopefully, we will learn together. 

PR: perhimpunan, AD: Akidah, BI, TJ: tulisan jawi, BM, FQ: Fiqh, AH: akhlak, BA: bahasa Arab, M3: maths, TZ: tazkirah, MM: mentor mentee, PJ1: pend jasmani, SR: sirah, SN: sains, AQ: Al-Quran, HQ: Halaqah

My hope is for him to love knowledge, learn well and become a good and well rounded person with strong foundations in Islam. Everything else is a bonus :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Happy New Year! Am hoping that the new year will be much better than the last. Just a little mention of a small new project I decided to (try) do this year. Inspired by my twitter/Instagram friend Khalilah, I decided to embark on #366photoproject. Basically, it's taking a photo a day for the whole year. Since I started tweeting/Instagramming, I 've enjoyed snapping pictures of my everyday life. So, here are the 1st 3 days of the year. 

My father, my hero
Just looking

Last day of just being a kid

My photos will not be of breathtaking scenery in a foreign country nor will they be beautiful artsy expressions to contemplate, they will simply be a reflection of my everyday life.

Anyone care to join me ?

PS: Daily #366photoposts on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook, I will only post weekly summaries on this blog :)


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