Sunday, March 28, 2010

2010 Family Retreat...The Story

this is the 3rd retreat i've been able to join since joining K. we didnt make it to last year's retreat as akmal was only 3 weeks old, if he was over a month we would have gone to cherating with the rest of the K clan.

this year's retreat was at penang. i think people were just waiting for it to be held there, after retreats in east coast and lumut in previous years. we managed to spend more time outside this time around, packed less and came home with less laundry to do. the boys are big enough to socialise (with the occasional screams of 'stop it' from hubby and me), they're also fully diaper-less and formula-less (except akmal) and we've learned that doing laundry on trips longer than 2 days is crucial.

leading up to the retreat was hectic. with hubby being away earlier in the week, akmal and his wheezing and me doing lists for 807 employees of K and their family members.

the first couple of days there were packed with meetings, goodie bags preparation, registration and running after the boys. good thing the hotel had a play area and babysitting services and mummy had loads of friends to watch over the boys.

the first full day of the retreat started with telematch (for adults and children), sandcastle building competition, animal shows, sand art, face painting and for those who dont like the hot weather can venture into the adventure zone, which is a covered play area. we left ariff and akmal there with a baby sitter and took amir and asyraf to see the activities on the beach front. the boys loved the animals and spent some time at the sandcastle building area.

after lunch we took them to the pool. the sun was directly above but hubby wanted to tire them out. that he did. we spent over 2 hours in the pool. once we got back to the room, the boys slept for ages. we then took them to the beach. i wanted to try some of the water sports but the boys were well below the allowed age. the only thing they could do was take a horse ride.

that night we had a themed dinner, for this year it was 'night at the safari'. i suggested to hubby that we go as rangers and the boys as animal (which is the story of our lives) but i couldnt find any safari animal outfit and had to settle with any (seriously any) animal outfit. so that night amir transformed into a frog, asyraf a sheep, ariff a monkey (complete with tail) and akmal the (kung fu) panda. surprise, surprise amir got call on the stage as one of the best dressed boy.

overall, we had a good working holiday. the hotel was great, the food yummy, the weather just nice, the road to and from penang was clear and the boys were wonderful. a bit sad that we had to leave ariff with the babysitter and akmal. he would have loved to run around on the sand with amir and asyraf. maybe next year, ariff.

hopefully, next year K will be in L...

2010 Family Retreat...The Pictures

the hotel...


hubby took the boys to the adventure zone

the boys during registration (embarassing!!)

wandering around at the telematch, the mini zoo, the sandcastle area

2 hours in the pool

the beach

during dinner (first and second night)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Honest Lies

hubby and i have (finally) come to a stage where we can let go a little. over the past month, both hubby and i have had to leave the boys and go on an overnight work trips. we don't really want to, and we're very particular with the 'trips' that we go on (only if extremely necessary), but we now can.

the boys are becoming more independent and we've become more confident in managing them alone (note - confident doesn't mean we think its easy becasue its never easy). amir and asyraf can be left to entertain themselves with their gameboys, ariff has always been a loner but now he has akmal to pair up with, while akmal...well, he's no longer clingy and whiny and needs to be carried all the time. Alhamdulillah to that!

its easy because of the routine life we have. what happens when we pick up the boys, what happens when we get home, when we're about to sleep, when we get up the next day. its more or less the same everyday. when hubby's away, he knows what we're doing at home and when i'm away i know what they're doing at home. we discuss and agree on how to do things when the other is not around and that makes it much easier.

the one thing hubby and i differ is telling the boys. for me, i like to pre-empt them. a week before i'm about to be away, i will let them know. i'll tell them to be good, don't cry, don't disturb hubby with 'nak ni...nak tu' as he's alone. i'll tell them that they need to stay in school longer than usual to have dinner, to bathe. this is esp for amir and asyraf who hates being picked up when its dark outside. 'kerapa mummy lambat, kan ada lights dah' they would cry out. i feel that preparing them would make it easier. the boys would remember what i have told them and i would feel better knowing they are not angry.

hubby, on the other hand, prefers not to tell them. he doesn't want them to cry he says. well, if they want to cry, they will, won't they? that certainly doesn't stop them from bombarding me with 'mana daddy' and 'nak daddy' cries. then hubby would continue by telling them he'll be back late. sigh...not a good idea as they'll still cry out the next morning and having crying children in the morning is stressful to the max! one lie doesn't cover another. oh well, that's his preference.

is it right though, should we tell them little white lies so that they don't get upset? wont a lie lead to another, making little white lies huge black evil 'penipuan besar'?? i read an article recently to support hubby's theory "eight in 10 parents said they often told little white lies to their kids to protect them from the truth" but will that work for the boys in this situation? will they not just cry and cry and cry until they see their father again? i still believe preparing them for what's to come is better than protecting them from the bad news.

for those who are interested, the article can be found here -
A study of 3,000 parents found every day each mum or dad will tell at least one fib to get their offspring to comply with their wishes.
Among the classic white lies wheeled out in homes around the country are that Father Christmas only gives presents to good children, spinach gives you big muscles and sitting in front of the television for too long gives you square eyes.

Others include eating crusts puts hair on your chest and that the jingle of an ice cream van signifies that it has sold out of lollies and cornets.
The study also found that 66 per cent of parents were prepared to turn to a white lie if all else failed.
Kathryn Crawford, of The Baby Website, which commissioned the study, said: "The funny thing is that most of the little white lies we tell our own children are ones that our parents told us and chances are, they came from our grandparents too.
"So the fables get passed automatically from each generation to the next.
"We were somewhat surprised by the fact that one of the biggest white lies of all slipped through the net.
"That is the fact that every year, some drunk fat bloke in a red suit and false beard manages to get down a chimney or even a gas flue, complete with bicycles, wendy-houses and other large items, and completes a global distribution round, pulled by flying reindeer."
The most common lie - told by 84 per cent of parents - is that Father Christmas only gives presents to good little children.
Second was that Father Christmas only visits children who go to sleep nicely on Christmas Eve - used by eight in 10.
A further 60 per cent of adults have told their children that sitting too close to the television will make their eyes go square.
And forty eight per cent of parents have convinced their offspring that eating spinach will make them strong.
Another 39 per cent said they frequently told their children not to cross their eyes - as the wind will change and they'll stay like it.
A quarter of parents have told their little ones that their private parts will drop off if they play with them too much.
Whilst 20 per cent of kids have been warned that the police will arrest them if they swear.
Interestingly, the majority of parents polled agreed their children pretty much stopped believing everything they were told by their eighth birthday.
But the study found until that point, youngsters absorb everything mum and dad say, repeating it to teachers, friends and even family members.
Eight in 10 parents said they often told little white lies to their kids to protect them from the truth, whilst 46 per cent made lies up if they didn't know the real answer to a question.

Friday, March 12, 2010

First Birthdays

its been my dream (since like forever) to have a big celebration when my baby turns 1 year old. turning 1 is a big milestone, for the parents as they learn and grow with their baby and, of course, for the baby who moves into toddlerhood. it doesnt take a genius to know that a first birthday celebration is more for the parents than the baby.

planning for a first birthday, for me, would take longer than any other birthday party. the parents obviously doesnt know the personality of the baby, what he likes, what he's inclined to. so you have to google for a few themes before deciding which would suit the baby best. you could also have a no-theme party but that's no fun, is it?

then you need to choose a date - try not to do on a long weekend because many of your guests may have gone for a break. a party on saturday works the best for hubby and me, we can take the friday off to finish any outstanding tasks then rest on sunday (believe me, you need all the rest you can get after the party). timing is also important...lunchtime, late morning, tea time. unfortunately no matter how early you end the party, there will still be people who come after the doors are closed.

i've had 4 different themes for the boys' first birthdays. for amir, it was pretty easy to choose - a football theme. the favours were pretty easy to find, surprisingly. for asyraf, i took the easy way out - no 1 theme (obviously for 1 year old). for ariff, we chose animal theme, which suit him to a T. i searched for the favours everywhere and got them sent over from the US. for akmal, i was out of ideas. i prefer not to have a character-theme but i succumed to thomas and friends for akmal. surprisingly it really suited him, he loves thomas and would just stare at the tv when thomas comes on. the favours too came from the US, they sold so many of them on the net. juling-juling mata.

i think hubby and i have gotten better at planning for the parties, akmal's party was so much different than amir's. we've learned from past mistakes, added here and there, deleted here and there, including:
  • delete those who give weird comments when receiving our invites
  • stop inviting for the sake of inviting
  • dont order too much food
  • dont keep leftovers, give them to other people
  • have activities for the children to keep them occupied - for akmal, we had colouring and projected movies
  • eat before the party because you wont be able to eat until all the guests have left (and that could be veryyyy late)
  • its ok to ask for no toys. actually i dont know how the guests took my note on the invitation but i was happy with the presents akmal and ariff got, so i think its ok to put in a little request
another i've learned is - do not bring cakes to a birthday party, i'm sure the host have cakes all prepared, duhhhh.

we spent quite a bit (of energy, time and money) on the boys' first parties because we only have parties at home when they turn 1 year old. after that, we pack some food and cake and send them to the school for them to celebrate with their friends. the next party we may have for the boys will probably be a big one, a combined party for all 4 and their friends. at that time, they would have their own preferences so i probably wont have a long list and would not need to google as much anymore. that's why i overly indulge on their first birthdays.

hubby took some photos during the party but i'm waiting for the photographer to give the formal photos before uploading them on the blog. hope it will soon, hint hint cik adik ila :)


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
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