the umpteenth time

It still amazes me that we still remain friends after so long. Even so, I have never doubted our friendship, which reaches its 14th year this year. I know we would come this far. Alhamdulillah.

My sisters from other mothers, Hidah and Ina

Like every other year, we try to make it a point to meet every weekend and since it's Ramadhan, we went out for iftar yesterday. Like always :)

We opted for something light - Subway at Plaza Massalam Shah Alam.

Alhamdulillah, kenyang!

Thanks for a meaningful and fun girls' session, and thanks Hidah for climbing over the gate (again!) because yours truly forgot the gate's control.

May we continue this for many many years to come!

self-control

Alhamdulillah, we are now on our 11th day of Ramadhan. We are now entering the second phase of the month which is Forgiveness. Alhamdulillah, Allah has given us the opportunity to experience our xth Ramadhan.



Talking about Ramadhan, this is my most challenging so far. I don't mean challenging in terms of abstaining myself from eating and drinking. Yes, I had my worries but as it turned out, I'm surprisingly fit to fast and I have been doing fine so far. I try not to overeat and eat healthily to compensate for the energy loss. I can feel that my body is healthier and alhamdulillah, the baby is doing just fine, too.

It's just that I can't help feeling like a slob most of the time. I don't know if it's the hormones or the weather (or the two together), moving around proves to be such an ordeal, really. Most of the days, I don't feel like doing anything at all and I have to force myself to get out of bed and make my way to school. Once in school, it's a different story altogether.

Self-control is something that I am struggling with.

You see, it is understandable that when you are fasting, you are coming from a hungry and lethargic place so definitely your emotions tend to strike much sharply. Adults, kids - we are all the same. Only we adults are expected to be better in controlling our emotions as patience is a virtue expected from every Muslim especially in this Holy Month.

I realise that I tend to get easily irritated over little things that my students do. Petty things seem to trigger my temper. If a student enters the class late, I can feel the heat rising. If they make too much noise I can sense that I am going to tick off anytime soon. Despite constantly reminding myself not to spoil my fasting by indulging in anger that contradicts the very essence of the month, I still am challenged by this test.

I make du'a everyday so that I will be given the strength to control such emotion which I know is His test. Lagipun, orang selalu pesan, banyakkan bersabar masa mengandung. Takut nanti turun dekat anak. And I have to admit the truthfulness of such reminder.

It has been narrated by Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with him) That Allah's Messenger Muhammad ( ) Said:

“ The strong is not the one who over comes the people by his strength”
"But the strong is the one who controls him while in anger."

May this be a reminder to myself and all of us. Strive for the best and may we be able to discipline and self-restraint ourselves to fully achieve the meaning of Ramadhan, insyaAllah!

SAPS

I'm pretty sure by now most teachers are familiar with the new web-based system known as Sistem Analisis Peperiksaan Sekolah or SAPS in short. According to the NKRA Unit,

"Sistem ini diwujudkan untuk kemudahan kepada pengguna-pengguna di setiap peringkat warga KPM (sekolah, PPD dan JPN) supaya boleh melaksanakan tugas-tugas Pengumpulan data secara yang lebih sistematik dan praktikal berkaitan, Head count, Data mata pelajaran, Enrolmen murid, Data guru mata pelajaran, Profil sekolah"

Implemented in July, SAPS has received raving feedback from teachers nationwide.

Frankly, I had my significant reservations when I was first told and briefed about SAPS. I thought it very unlikely that such system would work. There were a lot going on my mind and I had my worries as a Setiausaha Headcount (I work closely with Setiausaha Peperiksaan) while I prepared myself to drop the bomb to the teachers at my school. I was very skeptical. Many teachers question whether such system is necessary, too.

You see, even with our previously adopted assessment system, my school has been facing problems of our own regarding keying-in the examination data. Getting all teachers to meet the dateline is such an ordeal that we (myself and our S/U Peperiksaan) have to constantly console each other to keep our sanity. It is such a hassle chasing teacher after teacher who don't seem to care. So yes, with this new system, I am very very skeptical, what more with it being online.

As expected, SAPS proves to be a lot of a problem. We started with a fitful attempt just trying to log into the system. For one, the server is always busy and it takes hours to just key-in the data for a class. It causes major frustrations to us teachers and it affects our lesson as this is what we can only think about. With a shared dateline, it's no surprise that the server always hang due to heavy traffic. Plus, with a weak Internet connection at school, most of us have to work at home. To me, SAPS is sapping us, already tired teachers.

Ever since this system is implemented, my husband has seen me work extra hours at home. He's complained a bit, but there's nothing that I can do. I have to constantly monitor my school's progress and try to solve the problems faced by teachers so that they can key-in the data online, which I don't have the time while I'm in school. I am giving the best to help them but sometimes that's as much as I can do because the server, more often than not, does not do us justice.

However, I have to say that I am surprised and grateful to majority of the teachers in my school because they seem to cooperate well. They waste no time keying-in and it made my job a lot easier. Their effort is something that I truly appreciate, especially those senior teachers who are 'technologically challenged' to put it nicely. Of course, with only a week left, there are still some (expected) beings who don't seem to care and show no effort or signs of wanting to start. Being the Admin, I have the advantage of knowing who's done it and who's not, which is cool by the way :)

While I appreciate and applaud the Education Ministry's project in reducing teachers' workload, for now, all I can see is the system is failing most of us. I still don't see how it will be really useful and I am anticipating future decisions about this.

I am still remained skeptical, but of course, I hope what seem like an aimless start will create the beginnings of a common ground which we all can work together to achieve the initial objective.

apple of our eyes

How can you not love such smile, such laughter and such adorable face???

Adam, Mak Su misses you! I am going to gomol you tomorrow!! :))

of food and cravings

I get asked a lot about my cravings, especially now that it's Ramadhan. Well, to tell the truth, I don't have any particular food or meal that had me really salivated (yet). So far, the cravings have been mild, nothing out of the ordinary. But I remember being a big eater for the first three months of my pregnancy. I feed on nasi lemak anytime I had the chance and swallow almost any food that's within my reach.

Occasionally, I would feel like eating something special like a dish my mom has never cooked for a long time, the laksa Jusco at Mid Valley (oh, it is heaven!!) and roti canai - it being special because I don't eat that much of roti canai and it has been ages since I ate one so it is kinda special. Once, my throat longed for that yong tau fu at Subang Restaurant and I raised both hands once they touched my tongue and made its way down to my stomach. It was that good, really, to have your cravings satisfied.

And that Dumpling Set Noodle at Ketam Village Steamboat which I am lost for words. After sooo long, it tastes so so good and boy, how satisfying it made me. My mother-in-law has been really kind so as to cook fine and scrumptious food whenever we pay a visit. She's an excellent cook, so my ferocious appetite has always been fed, without fail :)

As I am nearing my 5th month, I realise that I can't stuff myself with too much food. The result? Instant vomiting, which is gross and painful. Sometimes, I can't even finish the small portions on my plate. I have now grown accustomed to eating small every 2 hours to avoid being hungry and to save myself from vomiting. As for cravings? They are still very mild, but for now I have grown a liking for soy milk and anything soupy. And since it's the Ramadhan, Roti John has its permanent space on our dinner table, so far :)

Alhamdulillah, my fasting has been good and I managed to perform my tarawikh. Sometimes my feet hurt and they cramped but nothing serious. I hope to be given the constant strength to face the remaining Ramadhan.

As for now, I am looking forward to tomorrow because I can't wait to have Nandos for berbuka! Just something I feel like having, suddenly :)

parenthood experience

As newbies, you could imagine how psyched we were making our way to the Parenthood Expo last Saturday. I, especially, was anticipating many things. For the most part, we were anxious to know what awaits us. Even as early as 11 am, the exhibition hall was already jam-packed with eager parents and their kids. Pregnant moms were everywhere! Strollers of all kinds were being pushed here and there, causing some traffic which to me was unavoidable. I tried my best to squeeze into tiny spaces to save myself from the suffocation. It's a good thing my tummy is still tiny or I would have bumped mine into others'. That's how crowded the area was. My husband had to hold my hand all the time for fear of losing me in the sea of people as one poor husband did.

At the entrance
So, we scouted around first. We pretty much went to all booths and marked those which we thought could do with a second visit. To tell you the truth, we weren't that familiar with most of the brands or outlets so we only focused on names/brands which we planned on buying initially. Our first stop was at a booth which displayed the breast pump that I wanted. I finally resorted to buying Spectra 3 Electric Breast Pump after getting good reviews from a few friends who have and been using it. Plus, it isn't costly which certainly is up for grabs. The specifications are pretty similar to an international brand I know so I will have to wait for another 5 months to know if it really functions well. I don't want to pay too much attention to brand because I feel that what works for some might not work for me. So, I am just going to be happy and certain with my choice. I also bought some storage bottles which were on sale. Next, we moved on to strollers. This was mostly my husband's choice. He eyed one from Graco and off we went to the booth. For starters, there were many to choose from so I got dizzy for a while. Like seriously. My husband was so ecstatic it's like he's buying a car. I have never seen him that excited so I let him be. We then decided to get the 3in1 kind which we planned on buying. Just so you know, all the items were on discounts, so you could imagine how thrilled we were. The price was in our range of budget so we closed the deal before we started to change our minds.
Ours is similar to this googled picture, only it is in one colour tone.

While waiting for the worker to assemble our stroller

Next, we searched for infant feeding bottles. I only want bottles which are BPA-free because I do not want my baby to be exposed to chemicals which might leech from BPA plastic bottles. However, most feeding bottles now are BPA-free since all products are beginning to take heed the government's safety measure. A friend suggested The First Years and I searched for it. I loved the product instantly! I grabbed The First Years : Breastflow Bottles set for only RM79.90 with a 30% discount.


This is what the set contains

Besides, these bottles work naturally like breastfeeding. The baby will be able to control the flow of the milk when they drink from the bottle just like when they are breastfeeding. I plan to breastfeed my baby so these bottles will be used only when I am off to work, insyaAllah. Plus, the nipple or teat mimics the feel of a breast so hopefully my baby will not face confusion later. Still, I have to wait for another 5 months to really know if it works well or not.

I also grabbed the Safe and Certain Microwave Sterilizer from The First Years. This will be used to sterilized used bottles and all the equipments using the microwave. It was cheap after a 50% discount. I couldn't help buying, but of course it is necessary.
After that last purchase, I decided to call it a day. My feet were failing me and I was exhausted. Plus, we were starving so we made our way out with all of our purchases (now we became one of those who caused the traffic with our stroller!) and I couldn't be more relieved to finally breathe the fresh air outside the stuffy hall.

So there. My sharing of our parenthood experience. December baby, we can't wait!

Ramadhan

Yesterday marked the first of Ramadhan. Unfortunately, I was down with viral fever which was quite frustrating. I had to break fast as my health condition did not permit me to continue. The vomiting left me no strength and I was worn out. I finally gave in and took my medication as instructed by the doctor and tucked myself in bed for hours.

Today, I woke up feeling much better but the flu and the sore throat still persist. So, here I am in school, following my routine. For now, one class is over, two more to go. Alhamdulillah, I am still fasting.

Thankfully, we all get to go back early due to the fasting month - a luxury that we didn't get to experience last 2 years. As a one session school, we are not entitled to a 'jadual anjal' but whatever it is that caused this wind of change, I am very very grateful.

Happy fasting everyone!

her second

She was the first to tie the knot amongst us. She was the first to give birth to a cute little girl 2 years ago. She was also the one who organized the hen night for the three of us (Hudah, Shaf and myself) when we were getting married last year. At her 6th month, she managed to throw Iwani her baby shower 2 months ago with our help.

Being thoughtful, Iwani decided to throw Nazliah her own baby shower in return. We agreed in unison since she didn't have the chance to have one during her first and we didn't even throw her a hen night when she decided to get married. Although her second, we believe it would compensate. After all, it's the thoughts that count.

So, last Friday was chosen to celebrate the arrival of her second child. It was a perfect timing before the fasting month and also a time for all of us to meet after quite some time. The usual suspects, us homies, met at a decided time at Nazliah's house.We planned this surprise with her elder sister who let us into her family's house and her husband who supportive enough to take her out for some grocery shopping to give us time to set up.

After the simple set up

We got excited over the balloons

While waiting for them to come home

Don't know what I was so serious about :)

We bought KFC, ordered some cupcakes, and some refreshments, enough to feed us for a late dinner.

Cupcakes ordered by Iwani, which arrived later than the celebrated lady! Haha

So when they finally came back, we didn't know how to surprise her because she got in from the other wing of her house. Fortunately, her elder sister baited Nazliah's daughter into coming to the other side of the house, where we were faithfully waiting. The little toddler came and we gave her the balloon and made her call her mummy. It worked!

Thank you Nia!

She was surprised, alright! The simple shower cum mini gathering went well. We had a great time catching up and laughed over silly jokes. We took our leave when Nazliah's husband came down bringing a tearful Nia who insisted on her mummy putting her to bed. Auwww.

To dear Nazliah, wishing you a safe delivery and all the best!

The Writer

The Writer
I am a wife, a mother, and a teacher by profession. At times a pessimist and one who is easily amused. I find comfort once entering the threshold of my bedroom. I write because I want to and it makes me feel good :)