Monday, 29 October 2012

Car Seat Part 2

Maxi Cosi Cabriofix and Quinny Zapp combo travel set for daily use 
We went to Langkawi by MAS flight and had the components checked as stroller (parted at the boarding gate, retrieved at the arrival aerobridge). The flight attendants must have been ever so gentle with the entire set because it came out unscratched, wheels all still aligned.
What we liked most was the fact that the infant insert was snug enough to keep The Little Girl warm and comfortable. It sure helped with colic reduction in our case.

The second best feature would be the small footprint of the frame when folded and placed into my car boot. The BMW 118i sure has a relatively small boot size so every inch is precious.
Another plus point would be the wheels of the Quinny frame. They are quiet and smooth, especially at shopping malls. In fact, they were specifically designed for such indoor use. However, the wheels were rugged enough for our early morning or evening strolls at the well padded walkways and jogging paths at KLCC Park (Quinny has outdoor jogger models, if you are a serious jogger/runner, and may want to consider such specifically designed models). 
The fabric material is washable, and we did wash it several times. Though easy to handwash, removing and replacing such a snug fitting, taut material into tiny hooks was a bit tough. Be sure to turn the cooling system on when replacing after a wash, as I perspired so much trying to fit it all back perfectly!
What we did not like however, was the stage when The Little Girl was too big for the "carrier basket" and too small to sit up properly in the Quinny Zapp at around 9 months old. We switched to a different stroller for her at that age, and donated this car seat/stroller set to a friend who was then expecting a boy.
Verdict: Happy baby = happy parents! Decent value for money, for 9 months.

We like this Quinny frame so much we are considering it for the second time but with the MaxiCosi Pebble seat and Family Fix. Will keep you posted!

Second Pregnancy: Sleepless in the City

We were rudely awakened at midnight of 29 October 2012 from hearing a loud thud.

Much to our horror, The Little Girl had fallen  her toddler bed onto the hard timber flooring. She must have rolled over the side protection bars as well as over the side pillows!

Like a thunderbolt, I jumped from my side of the bed to the ground where she landed in matters of seconds. Thankfully, I managed to catch her in my arms before her first wail to cushion her shock and pain.
Quickly, we turned on the bathroom lights to inspect for any cuts (none, thankfully!). The Other Half and I then dashed out to the kitchen for the omnipresent ice pack in the freezer (you can guess we took this very useful piece of advice from his parents very seriously). The ice pack was immediately placed it over her head to reduce any possible swelling.

After we had placed ice pack over her pain sites, she calmed down enough to ask to nurse...she then drifted back to slumber and is now happily snoring in dreamland while I remain watchful, just in case she throws up.

This is also my first night of heartburn too...and it is tough to go back to sleep so I am hoping the cup of milk and one cup of blueberries will help (so will blog-hopping and reading, judging from experience).

Perfect time to re-read Surah Ar-Maryam, so toodles, peeps!
An update: No swells, no bruises. Thank you, Mr Ice Pack!
Saturday, 27 October 2012

Second Pregnancy: Hadiah

We received an indicator of His Gift this morning, on 27 October 2012. JazakAllah, subhanaAllah, alhamdulillah!!

Cautiously, since this is a new gift, we will wait a few more weeks to see if it is here to grow before we make big plans.

As for now, our hearts are bursting with joy, humility and so much love...
Note: We are off to see Dr. Seri Suniza Sufian at Prince Court Medical Centre on 17 January 2013! Until then we will be seeing Dr. Haris Hamzah at Sime Darby Subang Medical Centre.

An update: One ER incident results in me now seeing Dr. Paul Tay at Prince Court Medical Centre. So far, so good. We are happy with this arrangement.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Faith Wishlist

Another new Hijrah year is fast approaching.

Time of the year to reflect and count our blessings.

What is on your faith wishlist?
What do you wish to learn, or practice in your faith journey towards God?
Mine is quite simple, and if I may share this list with you (even better if some of you can share and guide me along, much appreciated!):
1. Re-attend sekolah pondok for fardhu ain classes. Solat remains one of my biggest struggles, On a lighter note: I trip over my prayer robes much less now but is still not fluent in my solat recitation. Supplications in English is not a problem though.
Fardhu ain (individual duty) means the responsibility of each individual - shahadah, prayer, fasting, zakat, hajj, etc. while fardhu kifayah (collective duty) means the responsibility of the whole community.
2. Learn to read Arabic so that I can read the Al-Quran in Arabic, with its original text and context.
Surah 96 Ayat 1 to 5 which is the first revelation in the Al-Quran states, "Read: In the name of your Lord who creates, creates man from a clot. And your Lord is the most bounteous, Who teaches by the pen, teaches man that which he knew not."
3. Re-read and re-complete the English translation of the Al-Quran with full comprehension for better and refreshed understanding. 
Hmmh, simple wishlist but seemingly tough to achieve. I'd better get started, for it is so true in Surah 20 Ayat 114: "Oh my Lord! Grant me increase in knowledge."


Fellowship Breakfast

I am thrilled to have arranged my very first "sisterhood in Islam breakfast meet" with another Muslim revert mummy from The Other Girl's playschool. InsyaAllah, I will be able to share common topics with someone quite similar to myself and not selfishly conquer the mental chatter all to myself!
Honestly, I miss the concept of strong fellowship within a cellgroup of my former Christian community. Sure hope to keep the good practice going (and yes, the topics would be Islam-centric this time). Afterall, as "young" Muslimahs, we have our fair share of struggles too!
May Allah s.w.t. guide us along, and bless us with not just food on the table but fodder for the soul, Amin


Selamat Hari Raya Haji (and happy holidays) to all friends and readers. May Allah s.w.t. accept our ibadah this year, Amin!
If you are just enjoying the holidays and will be making road trips, keep within the speed limits and stay safe (lock your house, activate the alarm, cancel your newspaper deliveries, turn off the gas meter, turn off all heaters, put the timer on, the works!). May your holidays and time with loved ones be memorable. Isn't it lovely that we get the day off as a public holiday?
As a practice in my family, we do not "celebrate" in the "worldly feasting" sense, but more as an observation, mark of respect and reflection upon the sacrifice and journey of hajj. Instead of donning new clothes and eating rendang, we try to offer some donation and sacrifice, perform some prayers and generally spend time with family members. This is not to say we are any less happy than the first day of Syawal, in fact quite the contrary.
How about you? How do you "celebrate" your EidulAdha? Do share!
Monday, 8 October 2012

Al-Fatihah: Rosanna Foong

How do friendships come to an end? How do you really say goodbye?
From my old blog, and deserves a post here because I just miss R so much.
"The first most depressing post in my blog was about the suicide of a lady from the corner unit of 10th floor on Deepavali 2007. I did not know the late neighbour but do pray for her eternal rest in peace.

This is going to be second most depressing post in my blog. The suicide of a another lady from the corner unit of 8th floor was so difficult for me accept because I was her neighbour and friend. I also knew her young daughter of 7 years old. Her Danish spouse-to-be. Her mother.

I knew about her long and difficult relationship with her Danish spouse-to-be. I have tried mending one of their many fights once and left it at that for fear of being dragged into their affairs.

My last breakfast with her was casual after she helped to send me to the clinic when I was taken ill. Somehow, I did not take her remark of "how nice the lady on the 10th floor just jumped and that's the end of her problems" to heart when we caught up with news of the small community we live in over our bites of roti canai cups of teh tarik.

Outwardly, her life seemed to be going so well. Her daughter was being educated in a private school near by and the Danish spouse-to-be just bought and extensively renovated another bigger unit on the 10th floor for their comfort.

That breakfast was to be the last time I ever saw her.

The news came to me via M,my ex, whom I had refused to speak to since our painful break-up because I needed the space and time to heal. He broke the news to me via Skype as soon as I refused to pick up the phone call (I have since blocked M from my Skype too to avoid being bombarded by his other news) a few minutes just before the Christmas party at Toxic Office in 2008.

I was shocked into silence. M had found out from one of his friends, Annie. Annie and the lady from the 8th floor had a series of nasty arguments and fights involving complaints to the town council, police reports and suits over Annie's ferocious and noisy dog just across the condo block. That day, my colleagues wrongfully thought that I was not being participative in the office Christmas party when in fact I could not break the news to them.

Not knowing how to deal with the loss, I said goodbye by deleting the late neighbour from 8th floor by removing her from my Multiply and Facebook. I did not know how else to say goodbye. Z prayed for her when I asked him to, that evening itself. Z also prayed for our protection and peace.

Why did she jump that fateful day? Did she not think of the consequence on her 7 year old daughter's life? Did her Danish spouse-to-be drain her of every last drop of love, commitment and devotion that she had? Did she not see the beautiful life she had? Did she not fear or feel the love of God?

I only have questions that will never be answered. So as I say goodbye to Homey now, I also bid farewell to my late 8th floor neighbour. It has taken me a long period before I am able to blog about this incident.

**Goodbye, Rosanna. Rest in peace and God bless you always. I am sorry I was busy working when maybe at that critical point all you needed was for a friend to listen/share. Al-Fatihah, my dearest.**

Bachelorette Pad

One of the things I did when I turned SAHM was to sell my bachelorette pad.
"After 5 years of being a loyal bachelorette's pad, it is now time to bid adieu to Homey and welcome Mr. Long into his new home. Mr. Long is the son of the current immediate neighbour so he will be really close to his parents. Literally one door away. Or none - if he chooses to break down the wall in the hall that can connect the two units.
The sale of Homey also solves the Musical Houses Game/Puzzle that The Other Half and I have been playing since we got married. After a couple of months of the Game/Puzzle, we came to realise that Homey is unoccupied for most of the time, slightly neglected and slowly becoming a financial liability (especially after deciding that I do not want to be a landlord).
I will be taking the sweet memories with me and leave the sad ones behind as I slowly pack and choose personal belongings to take to my new home(s). The Other Half has some really sweet memories of Homey, as do some of my closest friends who visited from near and far.
Off to my new home(s) with the hope of making new happy memories in them. For a start, MIL is already making plans of buying me new larger wardrobes *heart*!"
After 3 years, I must confess that I only think of the bachelorette pad on rare occasions, and thankful that I have saved myself from possibly pesky tenants.
What about you? Did you sell or rent out your bachelorette pad? Did you renovate it to become a family pad instead?

Food Grafitti

My MIL did this *smirk*

Blooming Curry Leaf Plant

Since moving to The Apartment, my potted plants have filled the two balconies that we have to the brim. It looks a bit like a mini tropical/herbal "jungle" in the middle of the city, stark contrast to the concrete and glass everywhere.

My MIL have helped to prune some of them into discipline, added fertilisers and constantly remind me to water them as soon as we arrive "home" from The House. Honestly, since getting pregnant and slightly clumsy, I have cut down on my gardening time considerably and delegating slippery/watering/washing tasks to Z since my PIL do not approve of me taking "risks".

On weekends when it is not too noisy or dusty, we keep the balcony doors open to air The Apartment. Today, a whiff of fresh curry leaves filled The Apartment with refreshing scent, nothing like deliciously cooked curry sort though. I went to the balcony and discovered the blooms!

What a pleasant surpise indeed, as I have never seen curry leaf plant blooms before. Looks like my green thumb has not really deserted me afterall. Luckily, the blooms come during my second trimester or else I would have reacted adversely to the smell in my first trimester.

**Until the next bloom, let me know if you want any fresh curry leaves for your dishes.**

His Beautiful Creation

The year end monsoon arrived on time in 2009. This spray of lilac and lavender blooms filled the pergola at The House much to the joy of everyone at home. The colours remind us all of the July 2009 wedding we had celebrated.
Please comment on the name of this plant if you happen to know. Thanks!

The First Gift

I had the first challenge of looking for the right present for the woman who already has everything - Z's mother - when I was invited "home" for dinner on Chinese New Year Eve on 24 January 2009.

I had to get her something extraordinary and really did not know what to make/cook/buy.

When I saw this pot of orchid, I fell in love with it and hoped she would like the simple gift. Dinner went well, she liked the gift and you all already know the rest of the (hi)story.

Guess what? The same pot of orchid is still flowering to this day!

What did you bring as a first gift to your significant other's parents? Do share!

Ages Ago

Here is an entry made in 2006 from my previous blog at Multiply. It sums up what I don't miss about working in an office.

"Office politics at my work place is pretty negative these days. I came back from my much needed holidays only to find that things have escalated during my absence to an uncontrollable level.

From managers yelling at other managers with swear words to having to formally calling a meeting for all managers just to thrash things out...hostility at work has never been at this scale and drama. Not even in my practice days. Inconceivable!

There are positive office politics and there are negative politics. The stakes are high no matter which way it falls.

Usually in positive office politics, people fight to get better cases, better perks, better pay and better relationship. Anything *better*. However, in the past 2 weeks, all I have seen in negative office politics includes and not limited to bickering, fighting, backstabbing, witch hunting and simply everything *evil*.

As a bystander, I know certain parties are looking to buy my vote. If I take sides, I am bad. If I remain neutral, I am even worse than bad.

I've had enough, now let's just all go back to work. Please? Some of us have deadlines..."

Alhamdullillah this phase is over for me!
Friday, 5 October 2012

Retrospective Wisdom: Preparations & Prayers

I had pretty long working hours during Toxic Office days.
The hectic and heavy workload coupled with frequent travelling left my body with long cycles of menstruation ranging from 80 to 120 days in the period of 18 months I served at Toxic Office.
Z and I thought that that factor alone was sufficient to give us conception problems.
About 3 months before we got married, we went to Dr Ling (my regular general practitioner for about 12 years now) for a general screen. We wanted complete innoculation, vaccination, booster shots - the works. We even had the routine blood and urine tests carried out. Sangobion was prescribed once daily as supplements to prepare my body for eventual conception.
So, the coast was clear. Or so it seemed.
We got married.
We went for a short honeymoon at Cameron Highlands to avoid the A(H1N1).
We came home.
On 31 July 2009, I tried the home pregnancy test and the results were negative. Honestly, I felt sad looking at the single blue line. I shared with Z how we have to pray to Allah for His blessings if we want a present.
We started praying...
Retrospective Wisdom: "Do men think that they will be left alone by saying, "We believe", and that they will not be tested? Indeed, we surely tested those before them so that Allah may know those who were truthful to their covenant and those that lied. [Quran 29: 2-3]

Two Blue Lines I

On 10 August 2009, Annie Yin and I went to Chakri Palace at KLCC after working hours for a light meal of tom yum soup and phad thai. I thanked her for attending our wedding reception in July, she shared how she loved the food and band.

When we finished, it was beginning to drizzle lightly. Annie made an impromptu and kind gesture of walking me home from KLCC to The Corinthian, and she continued her short walk to the LRT station near by to get back to where her car was parked.
Disappointed from the negative test results on 31 July 2009, encouraged by Annie's sisterly remark about not giving up and maybe even simply curious about how bloated I was after a light meal, I pulled out one home pregnancy test kit from its wrapper.
Instructions were followed to the T.
One line emerged.
Then another clear blue line.
I could not believe my eyes!
I rushed to the drawer in the master bedroom, unwrapped another home pregnancy test kit of a different brand and repeated the process.
Two blue lines!
My heart raced, I was flushed pink and waited somewhat patiently for Z to come home that night as I did not want him to hear it over the phone.

Just to be really sure, I repeated the same test with a third brand of home pregnancy test kit.
Two purple lines!
Excitedly, when Z arrived home, I "burst" in joy.
The "new Daddy in making" too, was overjoyed and said "Alhamdulillah!" That night, our Isyak prayers and thanksgiving was full of gratitude of how Allah has really transformed us from a married couple into a mini family in the making.
Wednesday, 3 October 2012

How I became SAHM

My efficient headhunters wrote asking if I were interested in a contract administration position for the oil and gas industry last week.
Such a boost to my SAHM/WAHM ego, I admit.
Thank you for making my day, LegalLabs! Having met the founder before, I totally respect the awe inspiring choices she had made to balance motherhood and work.
Being marketable and in touch with the legal and commercial faternity of oil and gas is just so vital just in case I decide to return to work full time, someday, if it is Allah's will.
For now, The Little Girl gets my undivided attention (read: milk supply, friend, cook, driver, cleaner, doctor, etc.).

This is my account of how it all changed. From career to home-maker, nearly overnight:

The same week that I tested positive with hCG, I drove to Malacca for a work related meeting. When I arrived that morning at ten, I discovered some light bleeding.

Not quite sure what to make of it, I sent a SMS to Dr Ling. He told me to get to an A&E Room immediately as it may be threatened miscarriage. I tried keeping my calm as I was at the oil refinery and blending plant, really quite far away from "civilisation".

As I prayed to Allah to keep Junior safe, I braved on with the tender committee meeting. It was at a crucial drafting stage and my presence was rated "highly necessary". Although my mind was stayed sharp at work, I could not help wondering what if my sacrifice/action/delay in going to the nearest hospital would compromise my early pregnancy. "What price is my job?", I pondered.

However, I stayed until the meeting was over at 6 pm. Stupidly or not, I then drove home to KL in a tropical thunderstorm. Z fed me with some dinner, performed our Isyak prayers then drove me to Gleneagles, knowing that the wait could be long. We waited for almost 2 hours in the "Accidents and Emergency" Room during the peak of swine flu/A1H1. Looking back, we were silly not to have thought of PETRONAS owned Prince Court Medical Centre, which is even closer!

My vitals were read. I was then asked to wait for another 1.5 hours before a Medical Officer was free to see me. A steroid injection was administered by a nurse and I was sent home that midnight.

The next day, I waited 2 more hours in the cold and bare office before I was able to see the ob gyn. A scan showed Junior was doing alright in its gestation sac but the heartbeat was still faint. The bleeding could have been implantation bleeding so it was nothing to worry about.

Nonetheless, Z and I were dead worried. Worry worts that we are, we decided to be much more careful with Junior from now on.


Not long after that, a family poll was taken and we unanimously decided (whole-heartedly) for me to resign from PETRONAS in order to be fair to all parties, take care of the little life that was growing in me and turn SAHM. I will miss PETRONAS, and pray that my rezeki remains open.

The Gift Hunt

Hello October!

It is time of the year to shop for Dada's birthday present. If you think it is hard to shop for man, wait till you have to shop for the man who already has everything.

We cannot give him Patchi again because we have always given him Patchi. Maybe a Tiger Woods golf merchandise? Where do they sell the hardest Sudoku puzzle books? Sigh!

Any other original and good ideas that don't cost a bomb? Share!

Retrospective Wisdom: My Pregnancy Dos and Don'ts

My daily activities now revolve around a growing list of restrictive and prohibitive covenants.
1. Cannot drink water (will throw up almost immediately).
2. Cannot carry heavy objects (will feel muscle pull near abdomen).
3. Cannot clean the house (will throw up almost immediately from strong smell of cleaning agents).
4. Cannot sleep well (urinating often from smaller bladder space/cramps from sleeping on my back involuntarily).
5. Cannot travel much (throwing up in the car during the short journey between Shah Alam and KLCC is normal).
6. Cannot go to the office or shopping malls (throwing up after spending too much time indoors/lack of fresh air is not uncommon).
7. Cannot drink any tea except ice lemon tea (taste bud is altered and tea tastes like metal).
8. Cannot carry out DIY jobs at home (PIL, bestie's mother, ex-lady boss and Z all prohibit me from using the hammer/climb step ladder).
9. Cannot eat as I like (raw and undercooked food strictly not allowed for poisoning risks/anything I enjoy which is not favoured by Jr. usually backs up).
10. Cannot this, cannot that (the list goes on, apparently for my own good).

Am I used to this? No!
Am I enjoying this? No!
Do I have a choice? No!
So there, for now, I shall just be patient and live with the cannot(s) for the duration of this pregnancy.

**Retrospective Wisdom: All in the name of safety for the pregnant body and shifted centre of gravity, the seemingly prohibitive lifestyle and experience was not all that bad. Just go which activities you can handle/enjoy without harming yourself and the growing fetus.** 

Car Seat Part 1

 The Little Girl's Britax First Class Plus in Trend Line (Nicolas) fabric.

Mothercare Bangsar outlet sales assistants were kind enough to let us fix and try out the car seat in Bebe before we decided to purchase it. After looking at so many different brands comparing safety, comfort, user-friendliness etc., we decided this is IT almost at first sight!

After fitting it in a rearview facing option, it blends so well into the interior of Bebe that you'd think it came with Bebe. Now we just have to wait for The Little Girl to arrive to test drive the car seat. The colour is not gender biased although some may think it is "boyish" because of the manufacturer labelling it "Nicolas".

The newborn insert/baby padding looks comfortable and we can fully recline the seat in rearview facing mode to ensure comfort and safety (we were quite concerned about little bobbly wobbly head in some other brands that cannot perform this function). Furthermore, this is a convertible model so we can switch it to forward facing when The Little Girl hits 9kg in size.

Like any other online review of any car seat, there are pros and cons. As long as we remember why we chose it for the reasons we considered important to us, that should do *reminding oneself to stop reading endless reviews online*

Here's to 0-18kg of safe ride!

p/s: The eager grandparents approves of Britax (the other 5 grandchildren use this in the UK too).

Note: We used this as a second car seat for the grandparents' car. As The Little Girl was quite a small baby at 42.5cm and 2.76kg at birth, the newborn insert/baby padding was still too big for her. She eventually stretched out and put on weight, fitting snugly into her Britax.