Allie’s 27 Month Birthday

And lo, the child speaks!!!!! Seriously, Allie finally started talking! It all happened starting about two weeks ago – but hey, better late than never, right? [[image:20101122-15.jpg:Smiiiiiiiiiiiiile:center:0]] The smile-grimace hasn’t changed though. ūüėČ So now, at 27 months, Allie has been actually speaking (intelligibly) for about two weeks. I guess something finally clicked, and instead of conversing with us in her own special baby language, she’s speaking. Real words! It is all very exciting. It started, as I said, about two weeks ago, after a bath while I was toweling her and getting her diapered and dressed, she pointed to her feet and said “Toe”. And she would do this consistently! And then she pointed to Vin’s hat and said “Hat”. And then it snowballed from there! The words she says now include: * Body parts: Eye (said with a distinct southern accent), Telinga (which means ear, her first Malay […]

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Finale 8

Last Day In Malaysia

It was the last day of Alya, Vin and Sila’s vacation in Malaysia. It was a sad day for everyone. It was sad. Thankfully, the cousins did not feel a smidgen of sadness. They both rocked all day from the breakfast at the mamak restaurant, to the final minutes at KLIA. You know, I think I’ll just leave the photos here mostly without any commentary, funny or otherwise, because I honestly have no idea what to pad out the entry with. ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Bon voyage, the Renstroms. See you whenever we see you next!

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Mak Lan, myself and Yaya

Lunch with Mak Lan

It has been a while since we last saw Mak Lan – she is Vin’s “foster mother” and our long-time neighbor and friend in Sitiawan. She and her late husband have been my parents friends longer than Hisham and I have been alive, and Mak Lan and Abah Lan played the part of the groom’s family at my wedding, even preparing hantarans (traditional wedding gifts) and playing the part of Vin’s family to menghantar (send) Vin to our place at our wedding. However these past few years, Mak Lan has been living in KL. So we arranged to have lunch at Mak Lan’s place in KL on the last day we’re in Malaysia. It has been too too long, and so good to see Mak Lan again! Mak Lan had prepared nasi beriani, ayam masak merah, jelatah and other yumminess. We spent the time just hanging out, talking and catching […]

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Six Degrees of Separation of Old Friends

After years of not being together again, Zarin, Ida and I finally managed a meet up. Last time I saw Ida was at my wedding (that’s over 5 years ago!). And look, Ida’s about to have a baby! Apparently 3 different doctors independently of each other confirmed it will be a girl. The only person missing from this picture is Restu. The four of us Animalies have not been on the same continent together since, probably, 1998. Ah well! One day! ūüôā [[image:2010-sept-friends01.jpg:Me, Ida & Zarin:center:0]] If you want to know what “animaly” means, well, you had to be there in 1993 *arf!*. * Mouse over the pictures for more captions After adjourning from the Nando’s at Alamanda, we then went to a donut place for dessert (I forgot the name lah.. Zarin remind me again?), and to kill time until Hisham and his family could take us to Eliza’s […]

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Water coloured Alya

Alya Jean’s Portrait

As Alya and her parents frolicked further at the hotel, we had to return home Friday to get Irfan prepped for school as well as Jumaat prayers. However, after leaving Irfan at school and before picking him up I had an afternoon to spare. So, I painted a portrait of Alya. Too bad I haven’t done water coloured portrait work in a while. It could have been better with more practice.

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Fun at KL Hilton

Since Irfan had no school due to the UPSR exams, we took the opportunity to go for a mini-vacation and spent ultimately two nights at the Hilton KL Sentral. This is freaking best Hilton in the world! Seriously! We stayed here after our wedding five years ago when Irfan was not much older than Yaya is now, and we were hoping that it would be just as cool this time around. And we were not disappointed! Unfortunately, due to Abah’s commitments in Sitiawan, our parents had returned to Sitiawan and did not come with us. That first night (Thursday September 23) it was Vin, Yaya, myself in one room and Yope, Yong and Irfan occupying another – we were on the 31st floor! [[image:2010-sept-hilton23.jpg:Yaya and Purrsley admiring the view from our room:center:0]] After checking in, we relaxed for a bit and then with an excited Yaya and Irfan, hit the […]

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Guiding little Alya around the zoo

Allie’s 26th Month Birthday – Zoopocalypse Now!

In case you haven’t notice, it’s Hisham writing this birthday entry for Alya instead of Sila, because Alya was at the Tenth Floor when she turned 2 years and 2 months, and Sila thought I should write a word or two about my awesome little niece. From the first time we met her, she was a darling. She was warm, funny (sometimes hilariously) and loved interacting with everyone. I was ecstatic that she got a long with her cousin Irfan great. They played together, read books together, and she always had something to say about anything, albeit her language skills were still that of a two-year-old. Sometimes, she’d get me to draw animals, like bears and cats and bearcats, like I just did in the photo below, where her hair was going every direction under the sun and Atok tried to fix it. The photo was taken in the morning […]

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Some Kryptonian symbol

After Eight Years, Irfan Reaches Eight

Irfan’s eighth birthday occurred when Alya, Vin and Sila were visiting at the Tenth Floor. I was happy they were around for the birthday bash, seeing that they don’t usually have a direct train or bus line from Ohio to come regularly. We ordered a cake that was in a shape of the number 8, because having a cake in the shape of the number 9 would make absolutely no sense. Moments after this photo was taken, Alya joined Irfan and they both held the knife together (under supervision) to further cut the cake. Irfan and Alya showed off their still-wrapped presents from Atok and Opah. Irfan was really into unwrapping his presents, though he needed some adult help to take apart the wrappings and open the boxes. Alya played with the wrapping ribbons. Atok and Opah got Irfan a chess set. What does Irfan have to say about chess? […]

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Having a lot of fun

Pool Time with the Cousins

It wouldn’t be a visit to our place without a dip in the building’s swimming pool. Irfan practically learnt to swim by himself here. Sila and Vin had been training Yaya the same way. She was totally unafraid of the water. Everything about splashing around in the pool just screamed “unabashed fun” to her. That of course meant we had to accompany her every step of the way because she was oblivious to the dangers of jumping off the deep end before learning to swim. In any case, as the photo above illustrates, she had lots of fun. Irfan swam all over the pool, showing off his skills to his aunt and uncle, spinning as he propelled himself through the water. Here he balanced himself on one leg as Atok took a photo. Alya couldn’t really play with her cousin in the pool itself because she has yet to develop […]

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Pangkor with Jenn

After a decade away, I finally made it back to Pangkor. And this time, I got to share the experience with Vin, Allie and Jenn, Vin’s cousin who is teaching English in Jakarta. Jenn hopped over to visit us for a few days in Sitiawan, arriving after Hisham and his family returned to Kuala Lumpur and the Tenth Floor. Abah helped me book two chalets at the Puteri Bayu Resort on Pangkor. Unfortunately, Abah and Mak had other commitments and could not come with us. [[image:2010-sept-pangkor18.jpg:Pantai Pasir Bogak:center:0]] We left on Friday afternoon, September 17th. Abah dropped us off at Lumut, and it was pouring rain. We bought our tickets, waited a little, before we got on the ferry. [[image:2010-sept-pangkor01.jpg:Ferry looks like a train, no?:center:0]] The ferry to Pangkor has certainly come a long way! It used to be more open air, less organized, and certainly not air-conditioned. Plus instead […]

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Here's cousin Irfan!

Journey to Taiping and Ipoh

The journey began on the morning of the 12th of September. The planned route would have taken us from Sitiawan, up north toward Taiping to two houses, Opah Teh and Tok Teh’s in Matang and Pak Unggai and Mak Unggai’s in Taiping. Then, we’d drive south-east using the North-South Highway toward state capital of Ipoh, to Wan Cu’s new abode. Just three houses to visit for the day. By normal reckoning, it would take us an hour to get to Taiping, then another hour to get to Ipoh, and finally another hour to get back to Sitiawan. If we spent 30 minutes per house visit, we would be back before it was late afternoon. Little did we know… Before we began our journey, we stopped for supplies at the local Giant hypermarket. It’s still weird to think of having a Giant hypermarket in little Sitiwan. Of course, Sitiawan is no […]

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Yati Comes a-Calling

On the fifth day of Aidilfitri (September 14th), my old friend Yati stopped by for a quick Hari Raya visit: [[image:2010-sept-yati04.jpg:Onyang Yati:center:0]] It had been a while since I last saw Yati, and it was really good to see her again, and also to see her husband Zukry, and to meet their beautiful daughter Fatihah: [[image:2010-sept-yati01.jpg:Zukry and Fatihah:center:0]]¬† Yati brought some mini-cheesecakes (or cheese-tarts) for all to enjoy. Does this make her the Queen of Hearts? [[image:2010-sept-yati02.jpg:Irfan, Yati and Opah checking out the tarts:center:0]]¬† The kids got along famously: [[image:2010-sept-yati03.jpg:Hands up, Irfan!:center:0]]¬† [[image:2010-sept-yati05.jpg:Yaya plays congkak:center:0]]¬† Yati was obsessed with trying to fix Yaya’s hair. After about thirty minutes and about a million tries, Yaya finally acquiesces and allows her hair to be ponytailed (for all of about 3-4 minutes, but that’s ok). Yati was so involved in fixing Yaya’s hair that Fatihah, that sweet little daughter of Yati’s actually told […]

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Guess Hoos Coming to Raya?

On the second day of Aidilfitri (September 11th), the Meis and their family came for a visit. By family we mean Mei Lin, Mei Chin, their husbands, their daughters, their parents, and their little brother Colin-boy. Hoo did you expect? ūüėČ [[image:2010-sept-hoos01.jpg:Me and Yaya, and Mei and Immie:center:0]] Hisham and I had to decide which of us would actually write this entry (since Mei Lin was his classmate and Mei Chin was mine). But here’s my take on the day! * Mouse over the pictures for captions Mak had made chicken curry to eat with roti jala for the guests (mmm mmmmmm!) since we had basically polished off the rendang from the first day of Aidilfitri. What can I say, I haven’t seen my mother’s rendang in a while, and coupled with ketupat and lemang, I just could not resist. Nor did I. Not to mention Yong’s righteous nasi dagang! […]

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That piano needs to be repaired

Young Book Readers during Eid

The most awesome thing which was agreed upon by everyone was that Irfan and Alya were friends almost from the get go. Even when Alya was grumpy, badly affected by jet lag, she will more often than not smile or even laugh whenever Irfan came around to cheer her up. Once she even climbed onto Irfan’s bed to wake him up in the morning: Later that day, they both did something which was not planned at all. Irfan started reading for his little cousin as they sat together on their grandparents’ couch. At first, they both flipped through a Reader’s Digest magazine and a book Ayah Cik was reading at the time: Alya was fascinated with photos of cats in the Reader’s Digest. Irfan also checked out the pictures sitting at her side: Then Irfan remembered the children’s books Cik Dik bought for him as presents, so he rushed to […]

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