Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ian is Finally 3!

Finally 3!

Ian turned 3 yesterday! (Well I turned a year closer to mid-thirties too, but let's pretend I'm still 28!)

Where do I even start with his milestone review??? I mean, Ian has grown leaps and bounds from when he was 2. (I miss that little 2 year old baby!) His vocabulary has grown and he has lost a lot of his pelat dialect. For instance, it used to be "Where yoying?", but now it's clearly "Where are we going?" He used to call himself "Ian Inina" but now he protests whenever we call him that. It's "Ian Iskandar"! And just yesterday he corrected himself - "Where's Poyon card, eh Po-ke-mon card?" *giggles*

Ian's quite the chatterbox too. Unlike Aiden, he is bilingual, but with a preference for English. (He can even use the word -lah correctly!) He has an improved diction and an amazing grasp of basic grammar. It is significantly easier to understand his wants, as he is able to form longer sentences (three words or more) to make himself understood. If he really likes something, he can even say "Ian like this one" or "Ian nak bawak (balik)" (I want to bring this home.) He can also ask for help: "Mummy, help... tablet" (Mummy, help me turn on the tablet).

Here are some of his pelat dialect, most commonly used when he was 2.5 years old, that are just too cute to forget: Hetetote (helicopter), Achum (thank you), Momest (Thomas or Transformers), Fawer (flower), Wegow (Lego), Jombi (Zombie), Oyeo (Oreo), Nano (Piano). He can also do basic Malay words: Chakit (sakit), Tumpah, Hujan, Aju (baju), Asik (nasi).

He also knows his Ps and Qs. He will automatically say thank you whenever the situation deems it. If something happens (say he bumps himself into something) and we ask, "Are you ok?", he'll answer quite politely, "I'm pine (fine)". If I am the one grumbling over something, he'll ask cautiously, "What appen Mummy?" (What happened, Mummy?) He also has an incredible eye and ear for details.

Apart from verbal skills, his physical skills have expanded significantly too. Ian is definitely more adventurous than Aiden. He confidently climbs slides and jumps into kiddy swimming pools. He can take his own cup and get a cup of water from the water dispenser. He can also take his own UHT milk from the fridge! This conversation happened as I'm typing this post:

Ian: Nak milk...
Mummy: Go ahead.
Ian: (In the) fridge?
Mummy: Yes...
Ian: *opens the fridge* Takde lah... Milk is gone.
Mummy: Where is the milk?
Ian: (It's) not in the fridge!

But the one thing that hasn't grown in Ian, is his appetite. He doesn't eat any rice or noodles at all. He lives on roti canai, bread and cheese (rarely), cereal with milk, cookies (Oreo being his favourite), fries, desserts (chocolates, cake and such), and of course, susu. He loves things that are crunchy, hence he enjoys the pleated sides of a karipapkeropok, and potato chips.

As I mentioned briefly in a previous blogpost, he stopped going to school. Despite just turning 3 yesterday, he will have to join the four year olds in just a month's time. Hubby and I are still on the fence about registering him to kindy, especially since he's so adamant about not going to school. He doesn't even want to look at his school uniform, nor even walk past his school. That, and also because he's justttttttt turned 3 and I cannot imagine him socializing with the four year olds. But then again, if given a choice I wouldn't want to go to school either. Hmmm... perhaps I'll compromise by registering him mid-year?

Despite not going to school, he can correctly identify all upper case alphabets, basic numbers 1-10 and colours. This is a significant leap from where Aiden was at the same age. (Aiden was still struggling with alphabets when he was 5.) He naturally knows which shoe goes to the left or right, despite none of us teaching him the basics. Ian recognizes my type of car and Hubby's type of car on the road, and can correctly identify them even on billboards. Ian also loves identifying petrol stations (dah mak bapak orang minyak kannnnn). Whenever he sees a Shell petrol station, he'll call out, "Mummy's office!" And soon after that he himself had an office (Petronas), Daddy had one (Petron), Babang had one (BP) and Achik (my SIL) had one (Caltex). Future Petronas engineer coming up? InsyaAllah, Amin....

Ian loves his big brother, Aiden. Although he will never admit it (if you ask him, "Ian love Babang?" He'll answer "No!") but they are actually the best of buddies with a somewhat symbiotic relationship. Aiden needs Ian to accompany him to the toilet (Aiden is such a scaredy cat) while Ian needs Aiden to be beside him to sleep at night.

The loving siblings. See the spontaneous hug Aiden gave Ian during Ian's birthday party (stay tuned for that blogpost)...

Ian is and always have been, an easy toddler. He rarely cries or whines, and even if he does, it is easy to distract him or coax him to stop. Ian is a very giving person too. He's not shy to give hugs and kisses, even to people he has never met before. When asked, he will typically give a kiss on both cheeks, forehead and even a smack on your lips! He has no qualms about sharing his food with just about anyone who asks (except for his Babang... sibling rivalry). Talking about sibling rivalry, Ian is still very strong minded. He doesn't mind squabbling with Aiden until he gets his way. He is very quick with his hands too - I've seen him give his big brother quite a few quick smacks.

Occasionally, he will demand to wear a certain particular shirt or pants. (Aiden never went through this phase, he's typically content with whatever we put on him.) Ian also insists on having everything his brother has (also, everything his brother wants). Kesian Aiden, he still has to mengalah every time. I find myself having to buy two of everything; Happy Meals, toys, books... even food! Ian is still very much a Lego fan; he can sit independently for quite a bit, constructing different types of contraptions with his Duplo. And just two months ago, he finally understood the concept of smiling at the camera! I hope we catch more photos of him smiling - as you can see from my blog header, he usually gives out a sullen face.

Other random things... he's slowly transitioning out of the need for afternoon naps. Not shy to admit that he's tired and sleepy, "I'm tired... nak sleep". Loves going "opping" (shopping) and doesn't regard going to Jaya Grocer as a proper shopping trip to the mall. Still not potty trained. *aaaccckkk* Insists on getting some powder on his face whenever he observes me put on make up. Sang "Happy birthday" on repeat throughout the entire month of November (for obvious reasons). Blows out candles with pursed lips (too funny)! Loves Play Doh (which I've since banned from our home).

Well, that's all I can pour out in this already very lengthy post. I hope Ian will one day look back and read these milestone review posts, and see how much joy he brought to our lives. Happy 3rd birthday Ian Iskandar. We all love you sooooo much!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Finally 34!

Finally 34! ;)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Countdown to Turning A Year Older

I'm back!!!

After spending the week in India, it's good to be back home. Although I love the business class seats and frequent flyer points, I honestly rather stay home and get squashed in bed by the kiddos all night long (worse than economy seats)!

Anyway, November is a special month for me, because yours truly was born on a historic day in this month. Although my birthday is a good one week away, my gang pagar sekolah decided to kick start my birthday celebrations before the school breaks for year end. (Frankly, I barely see the girls when it's the school holidays!)

Since our usual haunt was closed, we decided to visit the new cafe that had just opened at D'Bayu Bukit Jelutong. I had pretty low expectations, as I'm rarely blown away by any new joints that are simply mushrooming around town. But I must say, I was pretty impressed with the food. Real Pit Stop, Bukit Jelutong, you have my two thumbs up. Your Soft Shell Crab pasta was finger licking good, and your Nutella Oreo ice-blended was so rich, I'm still processing the calories. *giggles*

Nutella Oreo ice-blended. It even came with mini Chipsmore, 'glued' to the side of the glass with sticky chocolate.

Soft shell crab pasta... soooo good!

I had so much fun with the girls. I was especially touched with the gesture from Min, who baked a pretty birthday cake just for me. It was just the right size too, as we all managed to finish the whole thing in one sitting.

Petite chocolate cake.
Candle problems, due to the strong air-conditioning.

It's my first birthday! :P

Thank you ladies, for taking the time to celebrate my birthday (albeit a week too early). *chuckles* I am extremely blessed to have friends like you. Without you ladies, I may not be quite on top of Aiden's daily homework and school runs.

My takeaway thoughts from the birthday session today? Love your friends selflessly. Surround yourself with friends that offer you positive vibes. Friendship isn't simple, but don't cry over poor friendship choices. Love without judgement. At the end of the day, "You owe yourself the love you give so freely to other people."

Looking forward to turning a year older!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Taking Over India

Hello peeps,

As most of you may know, I'm currently in India. (If you don't know, it's probably time to start watching my Insta stories. *cheeky grin*)

This is my first trip to India... And a work trip, to be exact. Before I left, so many people 'offered' me so many stories about India, it was quite unnerving. I heard everything from "Don't eat cut fruits or ice cubes" to "Beware of bottled water that may have been recycled and resealed". Horror stories of food poisoning, even from just brushing teeth using hotel tap water. It was so bad, that I decided to bring 5 liters of my own water! Not exactly a great first impression.

Well, they say never judge a book by its cover. Upon arrival in Bangalore, I was mighty impressed with the international airport; even their toilets were cleaner than the ones in KLIA. However, once I stepped out into the local streets, I noticed the glaring disparity between the rich and the poor. Proud modern buildings stood in between stretches of slum. Despite the rapid growth of the technology industry in Bangalore "Silicon Valley", plenty of people still live in poverty.

My journey from the airport to the hotel was interesting to say the least. We got stuck in a severe congestion, accompanied by a chorus of honks (honking is actually encouraged), vehicles weaved in and out dangerously, three to four vehicles would squeeze together into a two lane road and honk at each other while they race to inch ahead, and pedestrians walked on the main roads with vehicles passing barely inches from them. I don't think I can ever drive here, it is ridiculously scary.

We took some back roads on the way; where I observed slums with tiny houses and small businesses such as workshops, markets and convenience stores. Kids walked in groups to school. I even saw a mosque! (14% of India's population are Muslims.) Once we got into the city, we went into wider roads. There were people sleeping and even washing clothes under the flyovers. Cows roam freely on main roads, going through dumps of trash by the roadside. Ladies walk, balancing ridiculous basket of loads on their heads. We also passed by some pretty bungalows and residential apartments. Weather was nice - sunny like Malaysia during the day and slightly chilly (like Genting) in the night.

To get into the hotel, our cars were checked by security guards. To enter the hotel lobby, you had to scan your bags and go through an X-ray machine, even if you are a hotel guest! (X-ray machines are even installed in major shopping malls.) My hotel was stunning. Professional service and comfortable rooms.

I'm also here amidst the cash chaos; the Indian government decided to retract all their 500 and 1000 rupee notes (~RM30 and RM60 respectively) and replace them with new currency, in an effort to stop the spread of black money. Unfortunately, the government instructed the country to stop receiving the old currency before introducing the new currency!!! So stores stopped accepting most cash, long lines at the banks as people went in droves to withdraw smaller denominations, and the ATMs were empty! Even in Malaysia, Bank Negara stopped transacting Rupees until the new currency kicks in, hence I was in India without a single rupee in hand. Thankfully, my hotel was able to arrange for a taxi to be charged to my room for a trip to the mall and back. I also used credit cards for all my shopping purchases.

Anyway, I'll be back soon in sunny ol' Malaysia. Meanwhile, here are some pictures that I took from my week here:

Yes, you can call me Yasim.

Sunny selfie at the new international airport.

Auto rickshaws hanging out under the elevated roads.

Pretty cow!

Tractor on the road.

Medical check up, anyone?

Simple hotel, I wonder how many rooms they have!

State of the art scaffolding.

My hotel room.

Breakfast - Dosa (thosai) and Paratha (doesn't taste anything like roti canai).

The shopping mall right outside my hotel.

The exterior of Phoenix Mall, Bangalore's largest shopping mall.

Bought this Punjabi suit for myself.

Shell Technology Centre Bangalore.

Scrumptious vegetarian packed lunch at the office.

Visiting the R&D labs.

Told you, honking's encouraged!

Dead chickens sold right beside a bus stop.

Entrance to a row of fancy residential bungalows.

The only mosque I saw during my trip.

My boss agreed to splurge on lobster!

You must have a printed itinerary to gain access into the airport.

Posing on an auto-rickshaw on display at the airport.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

One Off The Bucket List

Do you have a bucket list?

Well, honestly I don't. But a lot of people tell me, that having your face plastered all over Siakapkeli warrants a tick of the bucket list. *giggles* Remember the green screen interview I wrote about? Well, it is finally up on various social media platforms, but my personal favourite is the one where it went viral for Siakapkeli.

(Oh, how I wish the interview was held after the Samsung Note 7 launch and the entire saga of fire, explosions, and subsequent recalls. My iPhone teammate and I would have a field day poking fun at the Samsung team and their debacle!)

For Siakapkeli.

Thanks Siakapkeli - not exactly my most flattering closeup shots!

Business Insider did a short write-up as well. Here's the excerpt.

Anyway, before you go off and search for the YouTube video, I will have to warn you - take it with a pinch of salt please. For starters, they slashed a lot of materials to produce the final footage, so I think I sounded like I was merely agreeing with everything that my teammate said instead of pulling my own weight on the debate. Secondly, we were all asked to act over the top to make it viral worthy, hence forgive our OTT antics please.

Okay, next bucket list. Get myself on Beautifulnara.... *kidding*

Friday, November 4, 2016

Jaslyn Cakes @ Telawi, Bangsar

If you've been following my Instagram, you would have noticed how crazy I am over Jaslyn Cakes. Just this week, I've been there for four consecutive days. It's crazy, not just for my diet but for my wallet too! (Thank god for Uber's LuckyNumber7 promo; my trips from office to Bangsar and back are usually only ~80cents per way!)

But before I continue, I need to manage your expectations. Jaslyn Cakes is a tiny cafe located in Bangsar. It is not a place suitable for birthday parties or big group lunches. It occupies about half a shop and has very limited seats. Whenever I go, I typically do takeaway. So big lunch in BV2 and then walkover to Jaslyn for desserts.

What makes Jaslyn Cakes so great? For starters, the moment you walk in, you are greeted by the smell of freshly baked cakes and cookies. Ohhhh soooo heavenly! Secondly, their cakes are all moist and flavorful. Made with good butter and a myriad of flavours. Love in every bite! Premium ingredients too, hence the slightly inflated prices. Note the generous compliments, coming from this half decent home baker!

So which cakes do I recommend? Here's my top five sinful decadent delights:
  1. Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
  2. Yogurt Banana Loaf
  3. Butter Loaf
  4. Salty Valrhoma Brownies
  5. Chocolate Chip Cookies

Other than that, I've also tried their Earl Grey Chiffon cake, Madeleine and Carrot cake. Hubby especially loves their Carrot cake, but I on the other hand wasn't too fond of the strong cinnamon taste!

However, if you are not a big fan of sugary delights, I think you should stay away from the Butterscotch Blondies and the Sticky Date pudding. The former was slightly sweet but still bearable, however the latter was way way way too sweet. Even with my Kelantanese heritage, I struggled to finish half of it. So I would probably give these two a miss.

The next time you're in the Telawi area, try this out! You can thank me later. *giggles*

Jaslyn Cakes
7A, Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar Baru, 
59100 Kuala Lumpur
T: +603-2202 2868
11am - 6pm (7pm on weekends)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Birthday BBQ

After a whirlwind of celebrations for Hubby's birthday, we finally ended the festivities with one last BBQ night with our close friends. It also marked our first event at our newly sanctioned outdoor gazebo. Since it was a potluck gathering with a couple of equally crazy Le Creuset fans, I decided to turn it into a Le Creuset party! I requested for everyone to bring their goodies in their prized Le Creusets. Bless their sporting souls; absolutely everything arrived in Le Creuset cookware - cast iron, stoneware and even ceramics.

Officiating our new outdoor gazebo.


The men hard at work.

The women did their fair share too.

Raw seafood posing in their own Le Creuset.

We had a feast that night! I made Hubby's favourite beef lasagna. But since it was my first time making it in my LC stoneware yang besar gedabak, I underestimated the ingredients required. (Note to self, next time it needs two packets of minced beef and four canned tomatoes!) We also had mee goreng, grilled hot dogs and corn, marinated lamb, squid, fish and chicken, complete with air asam and sambal!

Everything on the table was Le Creuset, except for the cake stand.

My beef lasagna. My neighbour's mee goreng was served in the exact Le Creuset - we both bought it together at the Mitsui Outlet in Sepang.

My neighbour's famous air asam. Sticker LC pun tak bukak lagi! While the yellow cast iron Le Creuset in the background was my first LC, purchased dirt cheap in Houston. Around RM350 for a 5.5 quart Dutch Oven. Crazy murah!

Gang kuat makan.

One last pose before everyone started gobbling the food.

While the men ate, we tended to the barbecue pit.

Nampak sangat tipu cos we were all crammed in front of the pit!.

These two... kejap Ian taller than Dafiya. Now Dafiya pulak taller than Ian.

For the cake cutting ceremony, of course the kiddos jadi mangsa buli. Hubby forced them to sing the birthday song on repeat! But Ian was the happiest; now that he finally knows how to smile and also understands what a birthday means, he was the most excited of them all. Nowadays he would enthusiastically tiba-tiba sing the birthday song with his name in it. Macam tau tau jer his birthday is coming up at the end of the month! (And Mummy is back on party planning mode!!! *sigh*)

The kiddos surrounding the birthday boy.

Ian and his pursed lips, helping Daddy blow out the candles.

Happy 35th birthday Hubby. Love you to the moon and back! Cukup lah kan tiup lilin sampai empat kali? Now let's see how you top this... for my birthday! *good luck*

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