Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Prayers Requested

I am finally back from my extended business trips. The kids had fun at Sentosa Island, Singapore while I attended meetings. I then had a whirlwind repacking frenzy - less than 12 hours back home to drop the kids, unpack, swap luggage and repack, and then Hubby and I left for Incredible India where we spent a couple of days touring Delhi and Agra before I started my string of conferences. 

While we were in India, we received news that my dad was down with the common flu and cough. What was worrying was the fact that he fell down. Despite our insistence that we bring him to the hospital, he declined. I don't know how the siblings managed to coax him, but eventually they went to the hospital where he received nebulizer treatment for his persistent cough and phlegm in his lungs. ECG was done but found to be normal and he was allowed to go home. 

Unfortunately he fell down again at home, a few hours after they left the hospital. This time, no one realized that he had fell and they only found him during Subuh. He barely had the energy to pull himself up, so collectively the siblings decided to admit him to the hospital for one night. He had a fever, high BP and his lungs were congested that the doctors were worried that he might have developed an infection. Closer to the afternoon, he started talking nonsense and didn't make sense. Everyone thought it was because the medication was so strong and he was groggy. 

Mind you, when all this happened, I had just sent Hubby to the Delhi airport for his journey home and I was busy preparing for my conferences in Delhi and Mumbai. I barely had time to look at my phone. 

As the days went on, my dad's condition continued to decline. He couldn't pass urine, his lungs were congested and his speech was still slurred. But he was able to move his hands and leg normally and he had a good appetite. 

Finally, I arrived home on Friday morning. Papa's condition was still the same. They did an echo but found that his heart was fine, and there were even talks about discharging him right after his lungs cleared. After discussing with Hubby, we decided to make a trip home to Ipoh for the weekend, to visit both Papa and the new baby (I had a new nephew while in India). 

We arrived at the hospital on Saturday afternoon. He looked absolutely fine except for his speech (macam lidah pendek, so I couldn't make out what he was trying to say), the occasional nebulizer treatments for his lungs and a slightly elevated BP. He kept indicating that he wanted to go home. I guess he had enough of the hospital already. 

We left the hospital late afternoon to check in to our hotel. I promised him that I would come again at night, and he nodded to indicate that he understood.

Well, everything spiraled downwards right after that. He complained of chest pain, his oxygen level declined, high BP. Drastic change, so the hospital decided to move him to the High Dependency Unit (HDU). They did an MRI on him and found a small blood clot in his brain. Due to that, they suspected that he had a mild stroke. During the night, his heart rate spiked and he developed AF (irregular heart beat) so they gave him medication to prevent the risk of stroke.

The next day he was struggling to breathe, so the hospital moved him to ICU. His body was weakening and the doctors suspected that it was because of the lung infection. We rushed to see him that morning, and he looked so sickly. He was struggling to breathe, gasping for air and wearing an oxygen mask. They gave him some relaxants so he was asleep when we came in. In the afternoon visiting hours, he heard us and opened his eyes. He tried to remove the wires on his body and indicated with his hands that he wanted to leave! We tried to calm him down and coaxed him to sleep. That night, since his oxygen levels were so low the doctors decided to put him on life support. 

The next day (Monday) he was still on life support with no improvements. Monday night, the doctors told us that he was in critical stage, and asked us to sign a DIL notice. DIL stands for Death In Line, meaning the condition is very serious and can lead to death. The doctors asked us to prepare for the worst. As of today, there is still no change in his condition. 



 

I've never been close to my dad as I practically grew up without him in my life. But still, it hurts to see him in so much pain. If it is not too much to ask from my readers, can I ask that you extend a prayer for my Papa. If the best is for him to recover, then pray for him to get better soon. However, if it is time for him to go, then make it quick, easy and painless for him. Let him go dengan tenang, mudah dan selesa.

Thanking you in advance, for your sincere prayers.

Much love,
Liz

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Farewell January

Anddddddd... it's the last day of January.

Like seriously, why is time passing by so quickly? I felt like just yesterday, I was pulling my hair out with our renovations. Then we were packing for our trip to Pangkor Laut Resort. And in a blink of an eye, I'm pulling my hair, packing for a different trip altogether!

The boys are growing up fast too. Aiden is very brotherly, and he takes it to heart whenever Ian refuses to say "I love you" to him. Since he's such an 'abang-abang', I always have to remember to manjakan him as well, especially if I cuddle or kiss Ian in front of him. He enjoys the attention, but obviously refuses to acknowledge. Lagak macam dah besar. His Malay is Alhamdulillah, getting better. He speaks to my helper in Malay now, so that's a good sign. He's very independent too; when we are out, he takes care of his brother diligently, I can depend on him to request for a plate or tissues at a busy restaurant and he can even queue up and buy his own food/drinks.

Aiden and Ian went Koi shopping!

Aiden's warming up to the idea of sleeping with Ian in their own room, especially since we painstakingly went to three shopping malls yesterday to find a Star Wars bed sheet and comforter set for his room. His Star Wars bed lamps and pillows have also arrived, but I'm itching for a small matching rug to complete the whole look. Unfortunately, we watched Train to Busan after dinner last night, and the boys got so spooked that they requested to sleep with us on our bed. *sigh* Now that's going to take quite a few days to wear off. Note to self: no more scary movies for us!

Aiden and Ian's first bumper car ride, at our second (out of 3) shopping malls yesterday. Ian was laughing gleefully during the ride, while Aiden couldn't stop talking about his driving skills, afterwards! *chuckles*

Ian on the other hand, dah banyak cakap! He still jumps every time we get to the end of an escalator ride (while holding our hand, of course). As always, I am amazed at his accuracy and distance. His strings of words are getting longer. Loves going to the shopping mall; despite complaining "I'm tired", he offered, "Drink susu, bom bom, at ToysRUs?" *chucklesSanggup nak rest sambil minum susu in ToysRUs as long as we don't go home!

Bed hair versus combed hair.

Work wise, I will be travelling next week and only back in KL the last week of February. One of my destinations is Singapore, so I am taking advantage by bringing the kids (and helper) to Sentosa Island. Kalau tak, rindu woooo tak jumpa the kids for over 2 weeks. With that being said, I apologize in advance for any hiatus in blog posts!

Welcome February!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Turning 34 at Marini's on 57

Catching up on my blogposts before I start getting swamped with work! #ceritabasi

So here's the third (and hopefully final) part of my birthday celebration recap. Similar to Hubby's birthday celebration, we decided to leave the kids at home for a special dinner for two. Since Hubby refused to provide any clues for the dinner destination, I decided to Uber to KLCC so that he can then pick me up from his office and chauffeur me to dinner.

It turned out that he didn't need to chauffeur me anywhere! He had pre-arranged for a beautiful table by the window at Marini's at 57 (incidentally just one floor above Hubby's Nobu dinner celebration). It was my first time at Marini's 57, and although the floor to ceiling windows and mesmerizing view of KL cityscape beneath your feet was enough to take anyone's breath away, I was even more enchanted by the fact that there was a bouquet of flowers and a gorgeous orange paper bag right beside our table. Sweet Hubby actually took the time to scout the place and personalize our table before my arrival! #ohsoromantic

(No wonder the ground staff greeted us by name as he was ushering us into the elevator!)

The view from his eyes.

Helpful menu reading gadget, so you can clearly see the price of each meal you order. *giggles*

Our cosy seats by the window.

Hubby further charmed me by telling me to order absolutely anything on the menu (apparently there was minimum spending price for our seats???) but I literally balked at the price of the Wagyu beef steak that he suggested. Thanks for the suggestion Hubby, but Wagyu tak Wagyu, I would never dream of spending so much on a piece of meat that would be purged out of my body the next day anyway. #okaytoomuchinformation *giggles*

Assorted bread, crackers and cheese to start.

Our starter course for the night; "Capesante" (RM188) - pan seared Hokkaido scallop with parsnip purée and shaved truffle.

For mains, we decided to share a course of beef and also pasta. My favourite out of the two was the “Capellini All’aragosta” (RM188) – al dente angel hair pasta, cooked in light tomato sauce with fresh chunky Maine lobster tail on the side. It was exquisite!

Don't be fooled by the simple presentation. It was sooooo good!

Our second course for the night; 'Filetto Di Manzo' (RM189 for marbling score 3 and above, or you can always choose Wagyu marbling score 8 with a higher price tag). 

Roasted 180gm beef black Angus tenderloin served with baby carrots, bone marrow and caramelized onions. We had a fun time clawing our way through the bone marrow! 

Service was attentive and polite, yet not overly intrusive. Amazing ambience and such a romantic setting. I'm so glad Hubby brought me here!

And just when we thought that it was time for dessert, this complimentary massive white cloud arrived at our table. Imagine, eating clouds on the 57th floor! (Ok fine, it was just good ol' cotton candy!)

Bigger than the size of my face!

While waiting for our dessert, it was time to read my birthday card. Hubby even got the kids to record a birthday wish on his phone too!

Hubby explained excitedly that he explicitly requested for the flower wrapper to be orange to match the orange box! #iamimpressed

What's in the box? #nottelling :P

Fondente Al Cioccolato (RM48) - 70% Valrhona chocolate fondant served with vanilla gelato. A fancy name for what we typically call a chocolate lava cake.

Because we took so many pictures, the vanilla gelato actually slid off the warm cake! The waiter graciously gave us another scoop, on the house. 

The conclusion to our dinner - the Marini's 57 Chocolate Box. The waiter opened the box and we were allowed to choose pralines and chocolates to our heart's desire.  

After dinner, we took a stroll at their open-air outdoor sky bar. The view was unforgettable, simply because the bar was right smack beside the KLCC twin towers! Breathtaking, stunning views which you can't get, even from Nobu. We were so impossibly close that we could even see the tower design details close up. We definitely saw a different unique perspective of the towers that night.


Such an iconic experience!

Best photo we could get with the Twin Towers in the background. Must do this again in daylight!

Couple the view, with excellent service and awesome food, I would definitely recommend a visit. Thank you Hubby, for the incredible night out. You definitely took my birthday celebration to a different level this year!


Last photo of the night.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Bento Challenge

And so... It is that time of the year again. When mummies scramble to get everything ready to ease their children into the new school year. I've been busy checking items off my checklist, and I bet you're doing the same too. A trip to the mall for school uniform and shoes, oh... and a visit to the book store for text books. I’ll need to sew badges to school uniforms, plus label school books and stationery. He'll probably need a school bag and a water tumbler too. And the list goes on and on. But, did you realize that you may have forgotten one important thing on the checklist? Well I'm about to tell you what it is: PLAN your child's recess bento-box meals!

FACT: Packing nutritious food for your child to consume at school can ensure your child stays energized to take on the day.



Active children may experience energy deprivation at various intervals during school which may affect their concentration in class. Hence, many working parents (yours truly included), depend heavily on the school canteen to provide meals for our children during the day. It is as simple as giving them a stipulated budget every day, so they can buy anything their heart desires. Of course, we tell them to not buy ice-creams and candy, but instead to splurge on 'proper' food instead such as roti canai or mee goreng. But in reality, do we really know how these meals are prepared? In contrary, when meals are prepared from home, we are in control of the quality of ingredients and the portion of food group servings they consume in a meal. Once they are used to eating nutritious meals daily at school, it ultimately reinforces healthy eating habits that help them make better consumption choices out of home, especially when we are not by their side. Sounds easy enough to say, but is it easy enough to do?



So when Milo Malaysia invited me to join their "Bento Box Workshop for Bloggers", I immediately jumped at the opportunity to learn. The workshop, in collaboration with Kelab Bekal/Bento Malaysia, shared three simple recipes for mothers when packing to school. And all those recipes were assembled in less than ten minutes! *entershockedfacehere* I was definitely impressed!



Cute giraffe baguette sandwich.

And here are my biggest takeaways from the workshop:

1. Start small. Start by planning simple bento meals that you know your child will eat (instead of throwing it into the bin). Who cares if they want to eat nasi goreng with a side of grapes all week! You will feel a sense of accomplishment when they come home bearing empty bento boxes. (Versus you making complicated meals and them coming home with a half-eaten box.)
3. This sense of accomplishment will help you maintain the momentum throughout the year. Many mothers call it quits after the first month or two because they get demotivated after their child refuses to eat their carefully planned meals.
4. Gradually introduce vegetables in their daily bento box. You can assess what they like and what they don't, from what they bring home unfinished from school. Common mu
mmy trick; hide the vegetables in the meal!
5. Invest on a proper sized bento box and an insulated bento bag. One that will preserve your well thought food presentation (despite it rolling around in their school bag) and can keep the meal at an optimum temperature so it will last the day.
6. Plan ahead! No one wants to wake up an hour early just to peel onions and such. Plenty of the preparatory work can be done the weekend before or the night before.
7. Help your creative juices flowing for food presentation. There are plenty of simple inspirations available online for you to copy from.
8. Last but certainly not least, packing MILO® UHT in your child’s daily school bento box is a convenient way of ensuring that your child receives the energy to maximize their potential during the day. Activ-Go™ in MILO® is a unique combination of PROTOMALT®, minerals and vitamins such as Vitamin B, specially blended to provide efficient release of energy from food to help them take on a full day’s challenges. It also contains calcium to maintain stronger bones and teeth and Vitamin C for increased absorption of iron from food.

FACT: Children who consume malted drinks (such as MILO®) reflect greater micronutrient intakes and are more likely to meet the Recommended Nutrient Intake (RNI) for total energy intake, protein and other vitamin which suggests that malted drink consumption can be an effective and simple dietary strategy to improve overall diet quality. (Source: MyBreakfast Study)

And what cooking workshop would be complete without a cooking competition? Using the ingredients and tools provided, each blogger and child were tasked with the daunting mission of making the most creative Recess Bento Box! Afterwards, the children were asked to vote for their favourite bento boxes, by placing a flag (vote) on their chosen favourite.

Aiden watching me handle the scissors while he thinks of a creative idea for his bento box.

Our end result! I’m not entirely sure whether we made a cat… or a mouse???

Fantastic bento boxes by other bloggers and influencers. Can you spot ours?

Ian placing a flag on our own bento box! #cheating *giggles*

Amazingly, we were tied for third place. A professional chef was called in to judge the tie-breaker but unfortunately we lost and settled for 4th position.

It was certainly a fun and educational session for both Aiden and I. Not only did he enjoy deciding what to put into his bento box, but I also discovered how easy it was to assemble a nutritious meal for him to bring to school.



Our cat/mouse received seven flags (votes)!

Back home, Aiden was excited to try out his new found skills. After countless of hours poring over bento box ideas on the internet together, we finally agreed to try making a ‘sheep’ sandwich. Since he was in charge of making the decorations, he agreed for me to include broiled carrots into his bento box, as long as it was shaped into adorable flowers. Here are our end results:


Can you spot the sheep? Aiden has since requested to bring this for his first day of school.

Beef pastrami sandwich, with fresh salad, broiled carrots (with cheese hearts), and grapes. And of course - a packet of MILO® UHT as a rewarding end to the meal.

Aiden and I are definitely looking forward to the new school year! For more information on MILO® UHT and the “Pack in the Energy for Champions” campaign, please visit the following websites:

http://www.nestle.com.my/brands/beverages/milo_uht
https://www.milo.com.my/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtIVyHFUfRY
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