Thursday, May 31, 2018

Resting Bitch Face

I've been meaning to blog about this for a while, cos this subject has been constantly on my mind. I personally find it extremely insulting to judge a person by its cover. Meaning to judge a person by their face, i.e. to form a quick opinion and judgement based on a facial expression.

Why? Well because it feels like a personal attack. I know very well that I have a Resting Bitch Face (RBF). I don't have a smiley face, hence I come across as very garang and unfriendly. I've had a few friends telling this straight to my face (which I appreciate very much). And honestly? My sullen face doesn't bother me much. (In fact I pretty love it especially whenever Hubby and I come across booths signing people up for credit cards; Hubby always gets approached while everyone tend to stay clear of me!) *chuckles*

I am quite comfortable in my own skin, that I actually don't mind it when my boss calls me out for having a garang face *smiles*

When does it start to bother me? When I hear stories about how people in the workplace (especially the junior ones) shy away from me just because they are too scared to face me. In one extreme, a graduate actually cancelled lunch with a friend, just because my friend said that I was going to join them for lunch! (What's that all about??!!) Like seriously, I don't bite.

I recently had coffee with a friend and he point blank told me, "Liz, you have a garang face while Ms. X has a more pleasant face. Tapi sebenarnya, you lagi baik dari Ms. X!" *rolls on the floor laughing*

On a different occasion, a friend started gossiping about someone new who just came into the company. She said, "Muka dia tak friendly langsung! Sure berlagak tuh." I told her off immediately. Told her that it wasn't nice to make assumptions.

So there you go, my vent about RBF. Honestly ladies, I don't bite.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Salam Ramadhan 2018

Hello everyone! *blows cobwebs away from the keyboard*

Sorry for the quiet hiatus. This pregnancy is making me have absolutely zero interest in anything and everything. Well other than work (cos that pays the bills) and family, of course.

How is your Ramadhan treating you so far? Alhamdulillah for us, it has been quite a breeze although I am bracing myself for the upcoming turbulent period when my helper goes for her annual balik kampung. (She initially wanted to balik kampung later in the year but with the baby coming, she decided to return home earlier cos she expects to have her hands full once baby AY is out!)

This is Aiden's 3rd time attempting to puasa penuh, so far so good. Last year he was extremely cranky during sahur - but surprisingly this time around we don't get so much drama. He doesn't want fancy food during the wee hours of the morning so it's usually ayam Bob, fried egg or roti boom for sahur. As for Ian, he's starting to show interest in fasting (from exposure at the kindy), but still doesn't fully understand the concept - especially since he insists on enjoying food and drinks in front of his brother, much to the chagrin of the latter! *chuckles* In one instance, Ian siap offer food to his Babang, "Babang you want some?" *giggles*

Spiritually, it's slightly different for me this year. Due to the pregnancy, I am already praying guna kerusi, so terawih is slightly challenging especially when the surau/masjid is packed. I've been doing my prayers at home but I look forward to walking to the surau as usual this week, as the crowd usually dissipates by the second Ramadhan week onwards. Other than that, this is my third year wearing a headscarf during Ramadhan so it feels significantly easier for me. The only tricky bit was managing perception at the start, especially as I am in a new role at work. My Upstream peeps are used to seeing me in tudung, but the Downstream folks have never seen me in one. But Alhamdulillah, so far Allah dah banyak permudahkan the transition for me.

In matters of worldly preparations, I am absolutely done with Raya shopping. *pats self on the back* Again, due to the pregnancy, we made it a point to head to Jalan TAR two weeks before the start of Ramadhan. Which was an excellent idea because we ended up making so many stops to eat and drink cos it was so hot! My bulging tummy did not make it easy to shop for clothes (and I didn't bother on tailoring anything to wear only once). In the end I settled on a simple batik long dress from Jakel in peach. Armed with that, we then headed to Masjid India to get coordinating baju melayu for the boys. Recycle songkok and sampin from last year. Settle!

Sneak peak of the boys' outfit - siap ada tag lagi! BTW Ian no longer cries at kindy - it took him a good 4.5 months to cultivate the love of school!

I also bought two new telekung for Ramadhan - one from dUCk (love the bag that comes with it) plus a very comfortable piece from Siti Khadijah. As for the kids, we bought for them new jubahs as well, plus a few pairs of casual baju raya. The only person that I cannot stop shopping for, is for this little princess in my tummy! Oh my gosh - so many cute outfits! I've even had to resort to taking flat lays of her outfits according to size just so I have an inventory of what I've purchased. *shakes head in dismay*

Our first Ramadhan was spent at my in-laws, and then they came over to our house for the second Ramadhan iftar. But the most memorable was the third day; I was so excited to head to Param Seksyen 13 but by the time we arrived, we all got caught in the most horrendous downpour. Even with umbrellas, we were soaked to the bone! Ian clung to Hubby like a koala bear while saying "I want to go home!!!" but by the end of the trip he ended up enjoying the whole affair, jumping into puddles and all. We climbed into the car with wet clothes and our shoes filled with rain water. Absolutely crazy, but oh so worth it - everything we bought (rojak, roti john, akok) was so tasty.

If you're ever in Shah Alam and a big fan of akok, this stall gets two thumbs up from me!

Last Friday, I had the SPK ladies over for iftar. Two couldn't make it while a third was late due to a last minute emergency. It was a potluck affair, so three families feasted over mee kari, daging dendeng, ikan kurau masak lemak nenas, ayam goreng kunyit and sayur buncis goreng. *nyum* This year, my helper's specialty was daging dendeng which was definitely a crowd favourite that night. For dessert, other than kuih melayu we also had a scrumptious birthday chocolate mud cake - interestingly flour-less but very chocolaty!

Birthday cake and present for the birthday girl. Unfortunately no pictures of the food - totally terlupa!

After that, we adjourned into the garden for our yearly tradition - our 7th year writing messages using sparklers! As usual, here is a compilation of our sparkler shots since 2012:

Seven years in a row... and counting!

Unfortunately we didn't get it right on the first try. My trusty Samsung camera is starting to give me problems *cries* so a lot of fiddling with the settings and shutter speed before we finally got it right.

A new try for us this year - writing in jawi! I nearly peed in my pants with this one. To write 'ya' we had to enlist a husband's help to do the double dots at the bottom - literally cium buntut bini! *rolls on the floor laughing*

Behind the scenes.

Phewww... that's a long enough update, I think. To my Muslim readers, I wish you all a blessed Ramadhan, and selamat berpuasa! And hopefully I get my blogging mojo yet again. *chuckles*

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Aiden is 9!


April rolls along, and for the first time in a longgggg time, I’m not swamped with party prep. *chuckles* This pregnancy is really turning me into a couch potato!

But I simply cannot let my firstborn’s special day go to waste! So instead of a fancy party, we decided to organize a simple low key brunch with my in-laws at Birch KL. After all, the birthday boy loves the breakfast spread and the burnt cheesecake there.

Missing two more sister-in-laws.

My two boys.

It really was a simple affair. 10 people sitting together enjoying brunch plus each other’s company on an early Sunday morning. Food was good (didn’t really match my baby Melayu taste buds but oh well!) and we had a fun time sampling everyone’s dishes. Hubby and MIL had the Birch Benedict, Ian had the Brûlée French Toast, Aiden and FIL had the Breakfast Plate while my SILs decided to go adventurous with Shakshuka and Morning Glory Bircher Muesli. Pictures ahead:

Enthusiastic photographer in the family.

Aiden enjoying his Breakfast Plate - two eggs on toast, cheese and mushroom chicken sausage, beef bacon, hash, mushrooms and charred tomato. 

Brûlée French Toast - brioche, dulce de leche, charred pear, white coffee crumbs paired with vanilla ice-cream. The charred pears were awesome!

The Birch Benedict and Shakshuka - baked eggs, harrisa spiced tomato and red pepper stew, Greek feta, crispy kale with sourdough bread.

Us.

After that, it was cake time! As mentioned in my previous review of Birch, the Burnt Cheesecake is one of the best I've had. Every time we buy a slice, we all end up playing fencing with our forks for dibs on the gooey creamy center. So good! We opted out of buying a whole cake (>RM200) because everyone was too full from brunch, so we ordered three slices to share instead.

Happy 9th birthday, Aiden Irfan!

And then it was presents time! My in-laws gave Aiden a sack of coins (they always do that, I don’t know why - perhaps to symbolize rezeki coming in or something) and Ian was so gutted that he didn’t get one too! Although I explained that his Babang will share all presents with him, he insisted on having one too. He even nicked the coin box and refused to give it back to Aiden. *sigh* This soon-going-to-lose-bongsu-status boy really needs to learn how to share soon!

Ian insisted on making the presents his.

And started sulking after we told him off. *tsk*tsk*

Last photo for brunch.

After brunch, we headed to the nearest ToysR'Us. You see, I had made a deal with Aiden. He only agreed to cancel his birthday party this year in return for a shopping spree at ToysR'Us - within a stipulated budget of course. Oh he had such a good time choosing to his heart's content. He went from aisle to aisle, touching and testing every toy he desired. In the end he decided to get a Nerf gun. But even then, he shortlisted three guns and insisted on watching reviews of each gun before deciding. In the end he went with the most expensive (as expected!), but it was quite a good buy as it was on sale.

His chosen Nerf gun - fastest motorized dart blaster, fires 5 darts per second!

Last photo before we ended the day - matching Onitsuka for the boys. Perhaps I should get one too!

Happy 9th birthday Aiden Irfan. I am so blessed to have you as a son, especially since you made me a mother. Mummy and Daddy doakan the best for you, and we will always be here for you. I hope one day when you discover this blog and read this, you will realize how much we both love you.

Much love, Mummy and Daddy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Ian's First Sports Day



My oh my, ever since I announced the pregnancy, this blog has been all about baby AY. I feel like I’ve been neglecting stories about my boys!

So Ian attended his first sports day recently. Back then, I already knew that I was pregnant but did not know the gender, hence had zero interest of blogging about it. Now, I think I owe it to Ian to at least attempt to do so.

The day before the said sports day, we had an early dinner at Citrus in BV2. I needed my share of rice so Citrus was a good choice because it offered a fusion of both local and western dishes. I also ordered a soya bean drink, which is a staple part of all my pregnancies. The drink arrived and upon my first sip, I felt as if the taste was a bit off. Aiden took a sip but claimed that it tasted fine. I did not return it as I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt; perhaps it was just a different brand with a different taste. Aiden then hogged the drink and finished nearly half of the glass, while Ian took one small sip.

Boy oh boy, that soya bean drink really screwed us all. Aiden started feeling sick by the end of dinner and Ian started vomiting nearly immediately after arriving home. Thankfully, Aiden recovered after some paracetamol and vomiting medicine, but Ian just continued vomiting through the night. We honestly thought that we would have to pull him out of his sports day the next day.

The morning of the sports day, we were all zombies from being awake that night; monitoring Ian and cleaning up after his vomiting sessions. But still, we persevered! We cautiously got him ready, lined the car seats with towels, packed a spare set of clothes and a vomiting pail, and off we went to the stadium. Ian’s hands were cold but he refused any form of food/drinks cos he was so worried that he was going to vomit. Poor boy. Texted his teacher to inform her of the situation.

First photo at the stadium. Ian's fingers were dead cold here.

First event was the march past. I was flabbergasted when I couldn’t find Ian in line. Suddenly Hubby (who was outside the hall) sent me a picture. Apparently they kept Ian and a few other unwell kids outside, so they won’t over exert themselves. He eventually joined the rest during the school song dance, but of course nampak lembik lah.

Unwell boys sitting out of the march past.

Finally, it was time for his sports event! Boy oh boy, so proud of my boy! He did so well... siap buat extra than anyone else! The kids were supposed to langkah over two obstacles and then step forward to throw a bean bag towards a target. What did Ian do? He jumped over both, I repeat both obstacles! Dah la the obstacles were close to each other, nasib baik he didn’t trip. Then instead of stepping forward, he maintained his distance at the obstacle, aimed and threw his big bag. Despite the distance, he was quite close to hitting the tin cans but because he was far away, it wasn’t strong enough to topple any of them. But still, good try sayang! Watch the video and see for yourself:



After his event, I thought of picking him up early but his teacher texted saying that he looked fine and even having a hot dog bread as a treat. At the end of the day, they finally released the kids and Ian came bounding out with a huge smile on his face, showing off his shiny gold medal. Alhamdulillah, he survived!

Proudly showing off his medal!

One of the rare occasions that Aiden doesn't have to match with Ian. So he matches with Daddy instead!


Proud of my boy!

Last photo before heading home.

The minute we arrived home, he immediately made his way upstairs. We asked why... rupa rupanya he wanted to go hang his medal with all our running medals and Aiden’s medals. Dah lama dia tunggu to have his own share of glory on that wall. And finally the day arrived! *chuckles* We laughed our heads off at his innocent gesture. Of course, we relented and made space for him to proudly show off his first medal.

Great work, Ian Iskandar! We are so proud of you, as always.
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