Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Oh my Aisha!

Last night, we were all on the bed ready to sleep when Aisha decided to hop down the bed cheekily.

I was tired by then and started to scold her.

She then took Khaira's telekung and sejadah, rukuk and sujud, then went up to the bed again. An act that she usually did with Love before they went to sleep, only that day, Love had performed his prayer earlier.



What a view. :)

In a mean time, enjoy Aisha's videos which I played again and again in my phone for weeks!




Monday, April 25, 2016

What a kid's painting tells us..

Khaira was so into drawing and painting these days. A trait, which unfortunately skipped a generation. Dad was really good at this artsy stuff.

So, my Dad was ecstatic with Khaira's fond in painting and drawing that he bought so many water colours, painting board, brushes, etc for her.

Each day, Khaira got better in drawing. One drawing that I fall in love with is me at work, teaching. I framed it.

A drawing of my 4yo

Most of the times, its just funny drawing as this..



I did not give it a second look when she first showed me.

But, the next morning, it hit me..

This picture is about her loss.

That week, a day after another, she lost something precious to her.

On Friday, her class teacher moved to a different kindy. Her name was Teacher Ezzah (She spelled it Iza), hence the girl with the letter 'iza' on top.

On Saturday, she woke up to feed her fish to discover her Flowerhorn was dead in the aquarium. Hence, the dead fish in the aquarium.

I did not talk about the drawing with her, neither did she. The following days, her mood was cranky. But we pampered her as we realized from her drawing that the two losses impacted her more than we thought.

The picture of the dead fish in an aquarium appeared in many of her drawings after that, it broke both our hearts to even capture the photo of them.

A few days after that, she was cranky as usual, got scolded just a bit by my parents, but she cried so bad, that I got up to her and hugged her, said to her, "It's no big deal, why are you crying so badly?" I consoled her, probing slowly.

"Khaira rindu Teacher Ezzah," and she broke into tears, finally. "Khaira nak jumpa Teacher Ezzah," she said.

Finally, something at first she couldn't express in words.

After she talked to me about it, her mood was as usual again.

But the incident hits me that children tell us stories in so many ways. In her drawings, in her lego bricks, in her paintings, in her moods. Simply because, they are not yet able to express it in words. And, we just need to look closely to listen to them, to connect to them.

Khaira, Aisha, I hope you know that I am always here should you need to tell me anything at all. I won't push you to tell, I might probe you a bit should you need that encouragement, but do know that I am always always here, ever ready to hear what you are going to throw at me.

Much love XXX.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Kuching!!!

Kuching trip officially marked as the 14th states in Malaysia I have visited, woot!! 5 days in Kuching for work/holiday had been exhausting but fun fun fun!

Day 1

Arrived at Kuching International airport around 12 noon, rented an Innova for all 8 of us (6 adults and 2 kids) and took 1.5 hour drive to Sarawak Cultural Village.

Entrance fee: 
Adult - RM60
Kids - RM30

Was starving the moment we arrived, so had our lunch at Restaurant Budaya Sarawak, with all the traditional food, highly recommended!! So delicious with free wifi some more.



Sarawak Cultural Village was so so fun for us. It is like Sarawak's version of Taman Mini Malaysia, only better. We went to the long house, Melanau's house, etc.



You could also by souvenirs here.

Their traditional bridge, so much fun for the girls.



A very peaceful lake in the middle.



And if you walk until the end of the village, you will discover an isolated small waterfall. Water was so refreshing and it was just us, we had sooo much fun!



Everyday at 11am and 4pm, they have a show in the theater. Please try not to miss this, because it is one of the best, if not the best show I have ever experienced. Look at my brave little girl went on stage to dance with the dancers!



We checked in at Merdeka Palace Apartment, a very decent 3 bedroom apartment that cost us RM350 per night via Agoda, sooo worth it!

Later that night, we went to Top Spot for our dinner, had luxurious and omg so affordable dinner, half the price in Semenanjung. Ayam goreng Nestum so yummy! Sorry no picture, because it is a seafood restaurant with alive lobsters and crabs and fishes and the kids would all the time want to look at all of that. Tiring!

And we wrapped our Day 1. I love Kuching already :)

Day 2

Woke up super early and and an hour journey to Mt. Santubong for a sunrise. View was beautiful along the way, we met an old man jogging with Sumpit, so so Borneo!

Back to Kuching for our breakfast at Kopi O Corner, which is well known for their Mee Kolok and Laksa Sarawak. Mee Kolok best sangatttt!! And had my teh sibeng, yums!

After breakfast, we went to Kubah Ria Sunday Market. Kubah Ria is a wet market with fresh fruits and veges, some you couldn't find in Semenanjung. But on Sunday, the locals gather to sell various things including their traditional crafts.

Headed back to the hotel, freshen up and went to the famous Kuching Waterfront. This 50 cents boat, I love!



Had lunch at the foodcourt opposite the forefront (need to cross the river), I had my yummilicious dried mee kolok.

Then, walked further up to buy our ikan terubok masin (soooo cheap btw) and kek lapis Sarawak.

I had a meeting that evening, so my loved ones proceed to Damai Beach where the girls played sands for three hours!! Balik, terus tanned (T_T).



At night, we strolled along the forefront, had our dinner at Ara Ikan Terubok by the side of the river. Weather was nice, view was beautiful, food was.. omg superb!! My Nasi Goreng with seekor ikan terubok = RM5. Crayyyy zyyyy!!!

Before we headed back to the hotel, we took our compulsory Kuching shot here :)


Day 3

I woke up early as my conference started that day. I was the Secretariat Chair and was busy running the show.



My loved ones had fun at the padang opposite our hotel and had the best rojak in Kuching, before all the boys headed back to Seri Kembangan including Love, his leave was shorten and hence we need to rearrange back all our flight schedules.



MIL arrived from KL that evening, leaving just us girls; Mom, MIL, the girls and me.



That night, we had a dinner at Hilton. It was a fun one :) Food was good and show was superb!




Day 4

Work some more while both moms and both girls went to Sarawak museum, 5 minutes walk from our hotel. Entry was FOC, and they had the best meehun soup opposite the museum.


I picked them up for lunch and again, went to Kopi O Corner. Then, headed to Kubah Ria, mak-mak loved the market.




After lunch, I headed back to Hilton for my conference. Arrived back in my hotel in the evening to bring Khaira swimming. Aisha was sleeping peacefully back in the hotel.



In the evening, we strolled along Waterfront and had a nice dinner.



Day 5

The end of my conference. Alhamdulillah, all went well. Packed our stuff so that the courier could pick them up later.



Then, headed to our hotel to check out, dropped by Fort Margherita and headed home.



Kuching, both the holiday and the conference were fun. Tak puas. Would like to go to Kuching again, next time.. to Bako National Park when the girls are big enough, in shaa Allah.

Next trip?

I just booked a flight to Brunei!!! What can I say, I love Borneo too much!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Leaving Aisha..

Work has been demanding lately. Apart from teaching and research, I am also heavily involved with consultancy.

Recently, I had to go to Bersia, leaving the girls for a night.



Aisha was just 18 months at that time, still breastfeeding and it broke my heart so badly leaving both of them crying inconsolably.

But, I just have to. I have been asking for too many exemptions before.



You know, that time when I naively thought a lecturer's job is just to teach, that time seems too funny now, yet I am not laughing.

Oh life..

Friday, April 15, 2016

Little Musolla Trip

Khaira's first day of school in 2016 was a month later than her friends due to our umrah trip.



All was smooth sailing this time around, Alhamdulillah. No more crying or sad face, in fact she was at peace. Not the happiest, but major improvement than last year.

I continued with Genius Aulad after her never ending drama in Little Caliph, couldn't be more thankful.

She was looking for her class teacher when she was 4 yo to give her flower, but the teacher already moved out. So, one for her class teacher, Teacher Ezzah.



Less than a month in school, she had her first trip already, to Masjid Putrajaya. I let her go, can you believe itttttt??? This clingy mommy, I'm so proud of myself *pat at the back*

Of course, I was so itching to follow her but I had meeting on that day. But right after the meeting, I just had to see her at the mosque. My baby was so so happy.



Recently, she had another trip to Zoo Negara. Itu, jangan merepek. Haha. Of course I said NO, I just make a big giant leap, take it easy.

"Why won't you let her go. If it was me, I definitely would," my dad protested.

"HELLO!!! I was the only.. I repeat.. the ONLY one among my friends whom never attended any school trips before up until I was in high school," I almost snapped back. But I just laughed and said,

"Are you sure, Ayah? Are you sure?"

True story, peeps. (T_T)

Guess what? He couldn't even reply me back. Cheh.

Sighhhh.. how come the kids grow up so fast nowadays. So true what they said, the days are slower, but the years are faster..

Just a few weeks ago, I registered her to Standard 1, can you believe it? Didn't I just give birth to her, peopleee???


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Hello Kitty Go Around 2016..

..was one I regret going.

Little girls had been obsessing to go to Hello Kitty's house forever. So, I thought it was a good opportunity for us.

With the price of RM48++ for adult and RM38++ for 3yo toddler and above, and another RM50 for 5 vouchers, it was a waste of my time and money, baik pergi Sunway Lagoon.



Firstly, because it was small, and only places to take pictures. No rides whatsover. And the games were too hard, even for expert adults like my husband (he always won something), what more for the kids.

My review, it is not worth it especially if you bring your kids. At least have a Hello Kitty mascot walking around pon the kids dah happy.

But if you're a big fan obsessed with collectibles, perhaps you would enjoy it.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The religion is simple - A review

Some time ago, my boss gave me this book.



He is one of those old slick professor, trying to give dakwah subtly in his everyday life.

When he was invited as a speaker during one of the Photonics conference, he started his talk with surah An Nur talking about light, then relate back to Photonics.

When he gave his Professorial talk, in one slide where he talked about his achievements in life, he put a figure of Kaabah in the timeline, indicating that was the year he performed his hajj.Though he didn't mention it during the talk, but it indicates that hajj was his biggest achievement, perhaps more than the professorship itself.

Nonetheless, when I was not wearing my hijab last time, I used to always listen to his advises on hijab.

So, when he gave me this book, I thought it was so typical of him.

I read the first page and immediately hooked.

You know how in school you have learned about the six principles of faith or rukun iman, but you actually never understand it in details? Well, maybe it is just me because I didn't attend sekolah agama back then.

This book talks in detail about the rationale of each principle, especially a whole lot about qada' and qadar in a simple words; QnA type.

I rate this 5 over 5 and I believe it is a must have book in every Muslim house! 

Monday, April 11, 2016

My umrah story with a toddler and a baby - Part 7: Saying goodbye

Read my Part 1 story here, Part 2 story here, Part 3 story here, Part 4 story here, Part 5 story here and Part 6 here.

I first saw the Kaabah from the entrance of King Fahd's gate 79. The inside of Masjidil Haraam appears to be quite dark from the outside, and then in the middle.. the Kaabah appears to illuminate with all its black and gold beauty, looking all grand and proud.

I was speechless.. of its beauty.. of all my sins.. of whether or not Allah swt allows me to just for a while hold the Kaabah, to do the tawaf with all the sins I came in.. so unclean.

Never have I met something so beautiful in my life.


My favourite gate

Love at first sight, that's it. Not a single day goes by that I haven't think of the first time I looked at Kaabah. Not a single second goes by without me wishing to go back there again everytime I thought of Makkah. 

Masjidil Haraam is oneee big mosque, it is so understandable how people could get lost inside. So many things to see, to do, to venture, you just do not want to get out once you're inside. It even has a library!

I performed my tawaf at the mataf, the highest level. Weather was cold during our visit, so it was okay for us considering the highest level is open air. I figured it was just nice, since not many people at the highest level and for me, personally I found that I could focus more.




Tawaf slowly at the highest level would take approximately around 20 minutes. Personally, I would prefer to take turns taking care of the kids during tawaf. Though I saw some super mommies just put their kids on the wheelchair and the kids had fun as well while they could focus on their ibadah. As for me, the sight of Kaabah was so overwhelming, I would prefer my time alone with my Creator for a while.

Your preference, after all, nobody is judging you in the Allah's mosque.

Sai'e is more relax and free flow although it was a bit tiring. 40 minutes for me to wrap up my Sai'e. Maybe I did it leisurely. I guess, here the kids could get involved as much. Along the way, you could see zam zam water by the side and could stop for a drink.


Sai'e

At the ground floor, the level of Kaabah, you could see that people come and go to perform their tawaf, it is sooo packed. But afraid not, all of them tawaf with a flow. You just follow the flow, bit by bit closer to the Kaabah, in shaa Allah you would get closer. Love directed me straight to the Kaabah one Friday evening, and holding the Kaabah flashed back all the sins I've brought in this Tanah Haraam, I cried like there is no tomorrow. Like everyone around you didn't exist, somehow. Despite of the chaos, it was just me and my Creator. I didn't realize if people were pushing me or pulling me or anything, I was just too mesmerized.

Suddenly, I heard my husband said, "You're in the Hijir Ismail, Sayang. Would you like to solat here?"

I don't know where or how or when I got there, like I told you, the flow will direct you.. and you know when you're there, everybody is helping each other. One big Moroccan lady kept making way for me to hold the Kaabah and hence, to Hijir Ismail. Of course, my husband wrapped me around him all the time. So, I performed my two raqaat solah there.. Peacefully.. despite the chaos..

Nothing else matters at that time. NOTHING.

Just me and my Creator. Just us.


You could even pray near the dome, open air :)

If you think of it logically, it was on Friday right after Friday prayer, you could imagine how full Masjidil Haraam was, even more at the ground floor for tawaf, and me being soooo small to make my way there to Kaabah, but Masha Allah, Allahu Akbar, for sure everything is possible for Him. 

My point is, don't attract negative vibes much from the stories you have heard. Makkah and Madinah are such beautiful places with beautiful people; the Arabics and Turks that just loooveeee kids. I would everyday miss. I would everyday long to go there again.

Sighh...

Saturday, after Tawaf Wida', as early as 12 noon, we quickly got out of hotel and left Makkah with so much sadness. About an hour drive to Jeddah international airport, freshen up and waiting for our flight at 11pm. Imagine the long wait for the kids. Not a good start for a long hour flight. 

And we had one tiring flight with cranky toddler, but Alhamdulillah sleeping baby throughout.


I miss!

One of the worst flight I had in life, 90% because, I don't want to go back at all.. No "home sweet home" phrase as we arrived at KLIA, not from me, not from Love, the first among 8 countries we have visited together before.

Dear Allah SWT, please invite us again.

Until the end of my Umrah sharing, I sure hope it will be beneficial to you :) 3 months have passed since we performed our Umrah and I still cry a bucket the moment I write this.


Pic from shafiqolbu

Thursday, April 7, 2016

My umrah story with a toddler and a baby - Part 6: Ziarah Makkah

Read my Part 1 story here, Part 2 story here, Part 3 story here, Part 4 story here and Part 5 story here.

Day 6

In Makkah, we went to two mountains (jabals); Jabal Thur and Jabal Nur.

In Jabal Thur resides the Cave of Thur in which Rasulullah and Saidina Abu Bakar hid from the Quraish during hijrah to Madinah.

In Jabal Nur resides the Cave of Hira' where Rasulullah received his first wahyu there. It took approximately one hour to climb the mountain to get to Gua Hira'.



Lil K was forever obsessed with the sand in every jabal so yeah.. whatever it was, play time was her priority. Not a second to waste for a proper pic, so I gave up.

Then, we went to Mount Arafat, a place that is believed to be where Nabi Adam a.s and Hawa met once again when they were sent down to reside on earth.



We also passed by Muzdalifah and Mina for the haaj. The stay at Muzdalifah is preceded by a day at Arafat, consisting of glorifying Allah, repeating the Supplication, and repentance to Allah and asking Him for forgiveness. Whereas, in the valley of Mina is the Jamarat Bridge, the location of the ritual of the Stoning of the Devil, performed between sunrise and sunset on the last day of the Hajj. Mina is the place where pilgrims throw stones, commemorating the occasion that the Prophet Ibrâhîm (Abraham) stoned the Devil that came between him and the command Allah had set him.

Before we arrived to the hotel, we dropped by to Jaaranah, a miqat place for those who stayed in Makkah.

Other days

Other than Bir Ali and Jaaranah, with Rayhar, they provided you with four times umrah; two more are at Taneem and Hudaibiyah.

Also once, they provided a visit to Museum. Overall, the journey to these places took around 15 minutes to 1 hour max, so you could just travel lightly with the kids.

The museum

Until my part 7 :)

My umrah story with a toddler and a baby - Part 5: The kids in Makkah

Read my Part 1 story here, Part 2 story here, Part 3 story here, and Part 4 story here.

Day 5

Day 5 was one relaxing day for us. We stayed in Al-Maqam, 120m away from Masjidil Haraam. Basically, you got out of the lobby, and you could see the grand mosque already. During Friday prayer, there were lots of jemaah that they prayed from the mosque up until the outside of our hotel.

Hotel room in Makkah was a lot smaller than in Madinah. Aisha would get cranky if she stayed too long in the hotel. I would suggest to find out the size of the hotel as well, other than the distance if you bring your kids with you. My friend whom stayed in Hilton said, her room was so big that the kids could even run round. For a week stay, I would say it is worth spending on a better hotel with the kids around for their comfort.

Makkah was a bit hotter than Madinah, it was around 19 degrees when we arrived. Next to our hotel resides an ice cream shop, and everybody was crazy about it. They said the ice cream here is a must. Plus it costs only 1 riyal. So, every other day, the girls were treated an ice cream.

Just outside of our hotel was an area where pigeons and doves hang around almost everytime. You could purchase the bird foods and let your kids feed them. This became their everyday routine in Makkah.



In Makkah, the gates to the mosque close an hour before azan. And during winter, the gap between Zuhur to Asar, then Asar to Maghrib was so short. If not because of the kids, I would prefer to stay from Zohor until Isyak there. Because there are soooo many things you could do and explore in Masjidil Haraam, just don't want to get out.

Contrary from Masjidil Nabawi, I was not so comfortable bringing in the girls during prayer time. First, because it would be too long and secondly because there was not as many kids as in Masjidil Nabawi. The toilet was quite a distant as well, so.. most of the time we took turns.

During my stay, I did not see any strollers inside Masjidil Haraam. Though, I have been told that sometimes they allow, but most of the parents obliged with the rules to leave theirs outside. I, myself honestly did not have the heart to bring the stroller in as I am scared that the wheel of the stroller would stained the holy mosque.



Normally, people would rent the wheelchair and put their kids on it while they do tawaf and saie. For us, we figured they would have more fun walking on their own. Hopefully, by the end of it, they would get tired and we would have a better sleep ourselves.

Every other day, we would bring the kids to shopping malls as not to bore them and to make sure they associate Makkah with fun. And at night, we would buy some snacks and enjoy our picnic Arab style outside the beautiful grand mosque with the breezy beautiful weather. Mashaa Allah, I miss!




Until my Part 6 everyoneee!! :)




Tuesday, April 5, 2016

My umrah story with a toddler and a baby - Part 4: The journey to Makkah

Read my Part 1 story here, Part 2 story here, and Part 3 story here.

Pardon me for the delay in sharing my Umrah stories. Have I been busy? Yes. But mostly I have been contemplating. Because it aches so much everytime I start to write. The memories, the pictures just break my heart. Rindunya mashaa Allah never have I experienced this kind of feeling before. I could still smell the air of that holy land. Simple solution is to just stop writing this altogether so the pain become somehow unbearable, but I just need to share this in case it is beneficial to some.

Here is my Day 4 story

Day 4

Imagine waking up in your dream land, knowing you have to leave everything in a jiffy and not knowing whether you will come back again.

That morning was one sad day. Woke up early to do my ziarah wada'. Saying goodbye to Rasulullah, not that I want to. I'm gonna miss the green qubah for everyday for the rest of my life now.

Meanwhile, Love captured this picture of me outside Raudhah.. later we realized the reflection was breathtaking, couldn't find out how it got there.



A about 11am, we left Madinah with non-stop tears in my eyes. I must have cried until I became dizzy and finally developed a fever there.

It took us 9 hours bus drive to Makkah due to heavy traffic that weekend. Even more challenging with the kids around. So, make sure you bring lots of snacks and lots of toys to entertain them. With only 2 pit stops, I would strongly suggest to wear diapers even for toddlers. I did that with 4 yo Khaira.

Our first pit stop was at Bir Ali mosque, miqat place for those who want to enter Makkah from Madinah. Bir Ali is a very simple mosque, so we performed our jamak Zuhur and Asar here and niat umrah, and so the ihram begun.


Second pit stop was for late lunch. Food was not provided, so you have to buy food of your own. Delicious Nasi Arab everywhere. Toilet was okay for me, clean enough to freshen up yourself and the kids.

Arrived the hotel at 8pm, was already super exhausted to even had my dinner. An hour freshen up anddddd.. the first umrah.

We decided to take turns, leaving the kids behind because it has been a long day for them. We let them rest.



Until my part 5 journey, in Makkah with the girls :)

My umrah story with a toddler and a baby - Part 3: Ziarah Madinah

Read part 1 of my story here and part 2 of my story here.

Day 3

After breakfast, we begun our 15 minutes journey by bus to Masjid Quba'. Masjid Quba' is Islam's oldest masjid in the world.

It is stated in a hadith: "Whoever makes ablutions at home and then goes and prays in the Mosque of Quba, he will have a reward like that of an 'Umrah."

So we took ablutions at home and perform our solat tahiyatul masjid, solat taubat and solat hajat there. We still have time for sujud syukur and Quran recitation.



Then, we headed to "a mountain which loves us and which we love", Bukit Uhud, the largest mountain in Madinah where the Battle of Uhud once took place.

I think it is so worth it to tell the story about Perang Uhud to your kids prior to your visit to Bukit Uhud so they appreciate the visit. I did some reading about Rasulullah before my Umrah, so every now and then I shared my story with 4yo Khaira. I must have forgotten to tell her that Rasulullah has passed away. She only knew that in Raudhah, and guess what.. she cried so bad sampai mimpi2 as she was soooo excited to meet Rasulullah.

So much love for this messenger of Allah. Rindunyaa..


Afterwards, to Ladang kurma Saidina Uthman, in which his waqaf is still on going up until today. Must be one genius skilful businessman!


We had to rush back because it was about time for Friday prayer. On the way back, we passed by Majlis Qiblatain; or the Mosque of the Two Qiblas. It is the mosque where, after Rasulullah received the command to change the direction of prayer from Jerusalem to Makkah, the entire congregation led by a companion changed direction in prayer.

In Masjid Nabawi, it is common for women to follow for Friday prayer, but not in Masjidil Haraam. So mom joined in while I stayed in hotel with the girls. I figured it would be too long for them to be in the mosque, I could not afford having cranky babies while everyone wanted to focus on their solat.

That night was one sad day for me, I did not want to leave Medina.. It felt so heavy to leave Rasulullah, I cried the whole journey from Medina to Makkah, so unlike me. I miss Rasulullah too much already, it breaks my heart to type this.

Pray for the strength for me to write my Part 4. The journey to Makkah.