Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Boys in London

one of the main reasons why we're excited about the trip is to see from the boys' point of view. of course the reminiscing at kent is wonderful, visiting the stadiums are great, the shopping...jangan cakap lah kan. but to see their reaction and to learn what they absorb is priceless.

we've been telling the boys about the trip since we decided to go back in january. as we plan, they learn. as we discussed, they listen. we were very scared, to say the least. scared of the crankiness, scared of the cry outs, scared of itchiness and rashes, scared of the fever, scared of flu. but alhamdulillah, as we reach the halfway mark of the trip, they have been great (of course with doses of cries and cubits and pukuls here and there).

amir is the best out of the lot. of course being the eldest, he gets to share more with his parents. he's also more adaptable and knows more and absorbs more than his brothers. he's not scared of the weather and sometimes, is so arrogant and would prefer not wearing his winter jacket and gloves - then he shivers and asks to be carried. he understands the places we visit, remembers almost all he saw and relates back to us what he feels.

amir fell ill the first day we were here. a bit of a shock because of all the boys, we didnt expect him to be unwell. we finished off 4 voltaren suppository on him and almost half bottle of piriton. it was the same in langkawi and we have a feeling its because he doesnt eat during traveling and when we arrive he's hit with angin and is lethargic. alhamdulillah amir is not one to be so sickly and recovers quite well whenever he's under the weather. by the 3rd day, he's already up and about and showed no signs of being ill.

asyraf, like amir, understands quite a bit too. going to school early helps him a lot. he's opened his eyes and learn along with amir. he looks up to amir and absorbs a lot when they talk. usually what amir knows, he would speak out loud and asyraf grabs quite a lot from that. he usually parrots amir and if amir is on the right track, more of than not, asyraf follows suit. he doesnt take in as much as amir, understandably, but its good that we dont need to explain in great detail to him as that's done by amir.

asyraf, not surprising, is the first boy to be hit by rashes. his body is full of small rough dotts caused by the dry weather. we've packed a couple of tubes of qv cream and they helped a lot as its not as bad as the one he suffered in perth. but out of the four, asyraf's the only one with dry nose. he doesnt have flu, which is wonderful.

asyraf however is very moody and cranky. if he doesnt get his way he would hit and scream and shout. he was terrible when we couldnt go up the roller coaster in Thomas Land, he was not a happy camper when we didnt get him the toys he wanted in Hamley's, he would cry out bloody murder when we wants to get out of the car after being in it for hours. unlike amir, asyraf doesnt listen to reason and would just scream and shout.

ariff...oh, where do i start with this boy!!!! i dont understand why so many people refuse to accept his true nature and still thinks he's the quiet baby he used to be. that's 3 years ago...he's grown and aged and developed a terrible personality. trust his parents who have seen the change in him. ariff is one hard-headed boy. he would just attack his target without care in the world. if he wants to go somewhere, he would just march to his destination, regardless the danger, the shouts for stop. if he wants something, he would just grab, regardless who owns what he wants, whether its safe or otherwise. that explains why he went missing in doha airport. 1 minute he was seating at the table with us eating chips, the next he was gone. we were right in front of him, at the same table in fact.

when ariff doesnt want to sit in his stroller he would scream and shout. he wants to stand on the buggy board like his abang long and abang but doesnt understand that we cant let him as he is a wanderer. he also refused to sit on the booster seat and was screaming and shouting to be let out. when looked back at him after 5 minutes, he legs were on the windows and his head was on the car floor. just because abang and abang long were not using boosters.

the worst part of ariff is his cries. he has such an irritating cry, complete with a 3-4 fingers in his mouth. terribly irrating...

akmal...oh how beautiful he is. we were scared for him the most. from flu to fever to stomach bug and dirrhoea. and that leads to crankiness and mood swings and tiredness. we had bad signs on the plane coming over as akmal couldnt sleep not being the bassinet and cried out so much. once he got a place to sleep on the second leg of the journey, he was better. when we arrived, he adapted to the cold weather and the layers of clothing so well, it was wonderful. he doesnt bother about the cold, doesnt cry, doesnt get fussy, no problem whatsoever!

he was alright sleeping in the cot the landlord gave, he was ok falling asleep on the strollers while being pushed around the whole day, he's great when he was put into the car seat and would sleep throught the journey. he's ok being smothered with qv cream every time after bath, being slapped on with lip balm every so often, he doesnt mind wearing gloves and snow caps and mufflers. we didnt bring much of his formula, just enough for the flight and first day here. we bought formula here and face the risk he may not like it. but he just frowned and then drank the whole bottle the first time trying 'cow & gate'. he's really so very easy. maybe that's why he's everyone favourite adik baby.

he did get the flu though and had nose bleed but that was about it. the piriton and ibuprofen helped quite a lot. he also hated to bathe in the cold weather. everytime he sees the tub he would scream 'nanakkkkk...' and when asked 'tak nak kenapa?' he would shout 'jukkkkkkkkk...' but once in the tub, he refused to come out.

Friday, December 17, 2010


we are on a break and have moved (temporarily) into a new house...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

...and so (much more)

we're off. will try to blog as regular as possible via our travelog. i would like to thank those who wished us well on our trip and those who are looking forward to hearing about our trip. i cant believe some actually follow from the beginning. thank you so much.

for's us ready to go. clothes, suitcases, shoes...

Monday, December 06, 2010

Reality Check

off the topic of the trip for a weekend. this weekend is dedicated to finalise the boys' school items.

i've bought amir & asyraf's school bags a couple of weeks ago. used up the isetan vouchers i got during the k amazing race. the boys both wanted toy story bags. unfortunately there was only 1 design, so i bought the same for both of them. i wanted a slightly smaller bag for asyraf, him being smaller than amir but had to settle for the only 1 sold. also bought their water tumblers for school. ariff also got a new school bag. he wanted a bullseye bag but i could not find any (maybe because bullseye is only a supporting character...sorry ariff!) but we managed to pujuk him with a nice mickey mouse bag & water tumbler. akmal has a thomas bag that we used for weekend jalan-jalan and since its off a good size, he'll use it for school next year.

hubby and i went over to 1utama to get a few things, amir & asyraf's school shoes and socks, among them. went to bata but could not find any in their size...weird. i wanted to get a bubble gummers pair in beige but hubby said to be safe and get a white pair. so we walked some more and i stopped just outside parkson where they were selling bags, uniforms, shoes and other school-stuff. we decided on a nice ben10 pair in white for both of them, amir in size 11, asyraf size 10. we also grabbed a few pairs of socks on the way to the cashier. the boys dont need to get books and stationeries just set, so school stuff is done.

in a few weeks time, both will be starting the new year in their new school. i'm a bit anxious, sometimes i feel like its my first day of school. the registration's been paid, documents & pictures been sent. we're waiting for the timetable so that we know what they'll be learning in school as well as what to wear on which day.

amir's pretty excited about the new school. he's a bit upset about leaving haziq, his best friend though. everytime he talks about his new school, he would ask 'haziq sedih kan mummy?' i'm sure he is, amir. he's also been asking haziq to come over to the house on weekends. its even sad for hubby and i to see the 2 part, haziq's been amir's best friend since they were 2 years old. apart from haziq, he's quite looking forward to the new school. he's very excited about learning english more intensively. he's been trying to use english at home but its a bit difficult when he doesnt know many words and when his brothers dont converse in english. i guess it turns him off sometimes.

asyraf, on the other hand, is kind of so-so. he's pretty ok with the thought of going to a new school, he calls it 'mat reader' for smart reader. he doesnt have a close friend that we know of, he's leaving behind. more of a favourite teacher, than a close friend. but at the same time, he doesnt understand english as much as amir, so its quite worrying sending him to school which uses english as the main medium. i do hope asyraf can adapt quickly with the change. he's been doing so well in school, it would be terrible if the change brings him down.

we're thinking of circumcising asyraf when the school term begins. yes, a bit weird when others do it during school holiday but we're a bit busy now and we'll be away very soon. maybe we'll do it nearer the chinese new year break at least we'll be home to keep an eye on asyraf. once that is done, we'll be happy parents of 4 circumcised boys...finally (rolling eyes towards a certain EI). on a similar note, all boys are up to date with their immunisation. they're pretty much have settled their primary jabs, amir and asyraf only has the 6-year-old jab while ariff and akmal has the 4 & 6-year-old jabs pending. once those are done, we're sorted.

ariff now is in his toilet-training phase. we're been over-using the 'let daddy & mummy know if you need to doodoo and pee' sentence for a couple of weeks now. we've tried on and off but always met with accidents. this week ariff's been diaperless in school. i think he's had 3 accidents in school and 2 when he's at home but the past 2 days have been better. the problem about ariff is he would not open his mouth when it comes to things like that. he would not let anyone know he needs to go to the toilet and that's where toilet-training becomes a hassle.

what is even more irritating is ariff would cry easily and cry non-stop when the slightest thing doesnt go his away but to open his mouth to let us know he needs to go to the loo is such a burden for him. our patience is sorely tested with this boy at the moment.

akmal, alhamdulillah, has been fever-free for 2 months. i was a nervous wreck when it was almost a month to the time he last had his fever but, alhamdulillah, the high temperature didnt come. he did have other stuff - slight flu, stomach bug, diarrheoa but that was it. nothing major that had him sporting a high temperature. he was well enough to get his final primary jabs about 2 weeks ago. hopefully the monthly fever phase has passed.

akmal's changed a bit in school. his favourite teacher aka cikgu fakin aka mama left early last month. akmal's been on his own since then. he has another teacher to berkepit but its not the same. akmal last saw his teacher when the boys had their convocation, fakin requested akmal be sent over after the convo ended and he stayed with her until he slept that night. now he calls her quite often. smiling and laughing when he hears her voice over the phone.

akmal's grown up a lot over the past month, he's picked up a few things. he absolutely love to sing and dance to the '1-1, saya sayang ibu...' song. he loves pointing to his nose, head, ears and eyes, he loves to eat - he can finish 3/4 of an adult portion of fried rice, he can say a few words here and there 'susu', 'seluar', 'tak nak', 'nak', 'daddy', 'meow' are the main words. his favourite question is 'ne??' as in mana/where. its the same question for everything said to him - akmal, ambik towel tu...akmal, jom ikut mummy...akmal, sapa letak bottle sini. his reply would be...'ne??'

while he's grown a bit, he's pretty much the same - still falls asleep easily, and still sleeping in his cot, still easy when he's out with us, stays put in his stroller, car seat or the high chair, plays comfortably on his own, still using his changing table after his bath time.

ahh my boys. they grow up so fast *sigh*

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Errrr... how i'm feeling at the moment. i've finally completed the traveling booklet. happy is what i'm feeling, well yeah, but at the same time, i'm anxious, i'm scared. this would be the first time hubby and i would be taking the 4 boys so far on our own. the last holiday we went to was a local holiday. perth and gold coast dont count as we had only amir & asyraf then. plus my sisters went with us.

so with 4 boys in tow, hubby and i need to be prepared. we cant have the 'so where to now...' conversation or the 'what to have for lunch...' question. with the weather being so cold and us being out for hours each day, we'd have to make things as smooth as possible. if not there would be tears and screams and majorly annoyed parents.

so this is where my booklet comes in. my blood, sweat and tears for one year. and frankly, i'm pretty darn happy with my work. i just hope we stick to what has been planned...

siap divider lagi haha...

Friday, November 26, 2010


i dont really like updating the look of my blog. i do like the new look every now and then. but being my usual neurotic self, i feel like editing all my previous entries since all the text and pictures are jumbled up. argh...stressness to the max!

on a brighter note, we've booked everything we can for this trip - the stadium tours, the hotels, the trains, buses, entry tickets. the only pending item is the airport transfer from heathrow to the city centre. other than that, its just tearing out the daily calendar.

this weekend will be a weekend of storing old clothes and preparation for the boys' new school year. ah...and maybe i'll edit the jumbled entries then too.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

First Books

the first books given to the boys were their immunisation cards. i love looking at them. more to look at the immunisation schedule and to plan when - when to take leave, when to take them to the hospital - and of course, who - who to take. because the boys are so close in age, their jab schedules sometimes coincide. i try not to take more than 2 at the same time but i think i have done that.

seeing the cards bring back a lot of memories - how each react when they get their jabs, how they react a couple of days after that, how the parents react at their reaction, how they behave at the clinic, how they behave with their pead. there's a lot a parent learn at immunisation sessions, other than of the immunisation itself.

its been a while since we've taken the boys for their immunisation. we're always at the paed's clinic but usually for something that akmal has. the next appointment would be for asyraf's MMR and akmal's two jabs of double antigen & hep A.

while preparing the 2 cards (of asyraf and akmal) i start comparing how each was at birth. time wise, 3 of them were born at almost the same time. almost similar delivery from the time i came into the hospital (8:00am) to the time i was brought into the labour room (8:30am) to the time my gynae came and broke the water bag (yes...she broke all 4 at 9am, i never experienced a water bag breaking before) to the time they were delivered - amir at 2:55pm, asyraf at 2:05pm and akmal at 2:31pm. ariff, the easiest delivery was born at 11:27am. ariff was the only 1 who came out without assistance while the other 3 had to be vacuumed out.

weight too, were similar. amir at 3.08kg, asyraf at 3.07kg and ariff at 3.05kg. akmal came out earlier than his brothers at 36 weeks was slightly lighter at 2.8kg. if he had lasted another week or 2, he may be the same weight as his abangs. their length was also close. asyraf slightly tall at 49cm, amir and akmal both at 48cm and ariff at 46.5cm. head circumference was also within the same range, amir at 35cm, asyraf and akmal at 34cm and ariff at 33cm. semua lebih kurang lah tu.

looking inside the card, all their primary jabs been taken. all except akmal's last 2 jabs. kinda bittersweet. sweet that we dont have to take off work on a monthly basis for jabs anymore but sad, at the same time, that they are all grown. in a couple of months, amir will turn 6 and in a few months, akmal will turn 2. next year, we'll be preparing for amir's entry to standard 1 while akmal will be starting his lessons under cikgu sally. sigh...dah besar dah our eais...

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Itinerary

i know some may be wondering how our balik kampung itinerary would look like. i dont really want to share this. not because of kedekut ilmu or anything but its kinda heavy for me to share something i've spent a year doing, something i spent hundreds of hours compiling and most of all because its for the 6 of us, list of things that we like doing, that we look forward to. hence i feel its a bit funny when people ask to see since what you want to do wont be what we want to do, would it? plus they are all easily available on the body of mr google anyway...

but since people have been asking, here's a glimpse of what we'll be up to. the booklet (all 65 pages of it) will only be shared with certain 'chosen' people (you know who you are) but, as i said i'm not kedekut ilmu, so i'll share our itinerary.

we're flying out on wednesday, in the wee hours of the morning, at 3:45am to be exact. the boys would be fast asleep then, so to ensure they sleep for the 7 hours of the journey we rely on dr piriton (with the blessings of the boys' pediatrician). the piriton will also be taken by the parents as we too need our sleep. we are to transit in doha and loved that the travel agency was very attentive and booked us on a connecting flight 2 hours after landing. not too short, not too long. i'm a bit nervous about the 2nd half of the journey as the boys would be up and awake.

our arrival time is quite good, 1:30pm local time. enough time for us to go through immigration and take the airport transfer to town and meet the apartment owner before it gets dark. then it would be unpacking and refreshing time before we step out to get our groceries. we were lucky to get a good apartment, a one-bedded which can sleep up to 6 people, right smack in town. its just off marylebone road and a stone's throw from oxford street and edgware road. kinda like the apartment we used to stay in at stourcliffe close. close to the amenities unlike the hyde park gate apartment - but of course the hyde park gate apartments were of a higher class being right in front of kensington palace (i saw the late lady di in her car once).

anyway, to keep the boys awake to follow the local time, we plan to bring them out - just to the nearby sainsbury's - and get them to fight the jet lag. hopefully we can get them to stay awake until 8pm, at least. then they'll be up at a good time the next day.

day 2 (thursday) - on our first proper day, we plan to take the hop-on-hop-off bus to get ourselves familiar with the area, what's new, what's attractive, what's changed. then we'll take the river cruise and hop back on the bus to get to rainforest cafe at trafalgar square for lunch. after that we'll go around leicester square, picadilly circus before taking a walk towards regent street (or hamleys to be exact). as we'll be indoors early every night (isyak is at 5pm) and on both weekends, we need to keep the boys occupied.

day 3 (friday) - this plan was a bit last minute, it was only finalised in october. i wasnt too keen on outdoor touristy stuff as it would be too cold. i was afraid hubby and the boys wouldnt enjoy being in that weather for too long. but after a lot of thoughts and discussions, we felt that a trip to england would not be complete if we did not visit a 'proper' castle. granted there's buckingham palace and kensington palace in london town itself but it would be nice to see a castle with nice greenery background. so we decided on a coach trip to windsor (being the closest external castle). while googling we found some tours which include one or two other destinations and decided to do a windsor plus oxford tour. the whole trip would be roughly 10 hours with traveling time and we wouldnt get to spend much time in each town (probably about 3 hours max each) but at least we get to cover 2 places in a day.

day 4 (saturday) - this would be hubby's footie day. he's gotten himself tickets for the arsenal-chelsea game. if we have time, we'd take a walk on oxford street in the morning before going our separate ways - hubby and amir to emirates, me and the other 3 back to marylebone.

day 5 (sunday) - we'll probably go down to spitalfields market. one of the apartments that we were looking at was in that area and i have slotted down one weekend to see the market. now that we've booked an apartment in marylebone, i still would like to drop by the market, but only if we're up to it.

day 6 (monday) - we plan to drive down to canterbury. there's a budget car rental very near the apartment, on marylebone road. they've got a good deal for vw sharan (which is even bigger than our 5) and its automatic. most car rental outlets offer a manual vauxhall zafira for the same price. the drive down wont be too long, about 1 and a half hours if i remember correctly. we'll be visiting my old uni (university of kent at canterbury), my lovely eliot college, the beloved parkwood, the high street and maybe the rupert bear museum. when i was there 15 years ago, there was no halal food at all. we bought our meat from 1 guy and it was difficult to get him. now i hear there's a couple of halal outlets in town, alhamdulillah for that. after lunch, we'll drive to ashford (about 25km away) for our pre-christmas shopping at the mcarthur glenn outlet.

day 7 (tuesday) - i found out that the place we'll be heading to will only be open at 12pm. i initially planned to leave the house by 8am to be first in line at the entrance at 10am but now we can leave around 9am and take a slow journey north to staffordshire. i think the boys will scream their lungs out when we arrive at 'thomas land'. right now hubby and i would use codes when discussing some of our plans, thomas land is 'tempat keretapi'. if they boys knew we're planning a trip to their heaven on earth, they would bug us everyday since january. we plan to stay until around 4-430pm before the park closes and before the evening rush hour starts. the we'll be taking the m6 to manchester and spending the night there.

day 8 (wednesday) - i've booked 2 rooms at premier inn without breakfast (i still cant believe a family room costs only £29) so we'll be having our own simple cereal breakfast in the room. at 10am, we would have to be in old trafford for a stadium tour. then we'll drive back to the inn, solat, freshen up and check-out. just a short overnight trip up north. on the way back we plan to stop by bicester village. we're not big shoppers so maybe 3-4 hours would be enough. after dinner at either harry ramsden or pret a manger, we'll start our journey down south.

day 9 (thursday) - early in the morning hubby would be returning the rented sharan. then we'll make our way via the victoria line to emirates stadium. hubby's looking at the legend's tour so we'd prolly be there til around lunchtime. after the tour, we'll take the victoria line to oxford circus and do a bit of shopping. we're trying not to overdo our plans for this day as we had 3 days on the road.

day 10 (friday) - the morning will be spent at madame tussauds. its near the apartment so that we can go back easily when hubby goes off for his friday prayers. after lunch we have no specific plans laid out as its christmas eve. dont think there'll be many places opened and the transport services wont be at its full capacity. so this will be the start of our 3 days at home.

day 11 (saturday) - its prolly good that christmas falls on the weekend at least we wont lose any weekdays. i'd love to go around to look at christmas lights but then again, the transport services may not be encouraging.

day 12 (sunday) - boxing day. another day of footie for hubby. this time its arsenal v stoke. so another day at home for me plus three.

day 13 (monday) - this is another trip where hubby and i use codes. for this its 'tempat tikus'. i cant even spell as the boys know how mickey mouse is spelt. we'll be taking the early morning eurostar down to paris. i wanted to get a train+hotel+park tickets package but they only offer certain train schedule and i'm not keen on leaving the park at 7pm and arriving at st pancras after 9pm. so a better option would be to take the eurostar to paris then take the local train to marne-la-vallee. that would also give us the opportunity to walk around paris. hubby wants to see the eiffel tower and the arch de triomph. i googled a bit and managed to prepare a sub-itinerary for paris, which includes where to leave our luggage, what time is the local train, etc. as we'll be arriving in paris quite early, we'll be able to walk, see the sights, have lunch, take the train and arrive in disneyland around 4pm. i booked us at sequoia lodge. it was a toss between that and the newport bay hotel - both same star, nearby, similar amenities. i stayed at the newport bay with tisu and nenny in 1997 and really liked it. but i have a feeling hubby would like the outdoor-ish environment that sequoia lodge offers. i was lucky to come across a website that lists down the menu of all restaurants in disneyland, so i could browse and decide which would suit us beforehand. we'll be dining at annette's diner on our first night in disneyland. i was attracted by the waitress in rollerskates concept. i'm also thinking whether we want to take the boys to see the wild wild west show but i'm afraid they'd be too tired from the journey.

day 14 (tuesday) - whole day in disneyland. i hope the boys love it. lunch would be at buzz lightyear pizza planet - more for the decor than the food (as the review says) and dinner would be simple mcdonalds at disney village.

day 15 (wednesday) - we'll be checking out and taking the eurostar from paris at 1:04pm. i do think to cover all parks we need more than 2 days but not this time. not to mention, the outlet shopping. an excuse for us to go back??

day 16 (thursday) - final shopping day to buy anything we left out and to take advantage of the boxing day sale. one item which is a must is luggage...i have a feeling we'll be going back with double the amount we came with. packing day for me.

day 17 (friday) - our last day in my kampung. even as i write this i'm getting chills. 17 days, pass by just like that.

so there...our itinerary for the trip. our booklet is more detailed with solat times, info of places, pre-travel, post-travel, timing, maps, booking info. i hope it satisfies those who asked to see the list. if it doesnt, then do look for everybody's best friend - mr google


the value of marriage is not that adults produce children but that children produce adults - peter de vries

grown-ups never understand anything for themselves and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explainning things to them - antoine de saint-exupery
Images by Freepik