Thursday, 16 December 2010

Ariq's First Performance

I really don't know what to say.. My heart feels like a mug full of hot chamomile tea.. happy, warm and content..

The first time Ariq asked me to enroll him in drum lesson, I wasn't sure if it was going to be a long-term thing. He was only 3 years old then, but he kept asking every week, until I took him seriously and finally started searching for a music course which would accept a child his age.

While Ariq was half way his KG-1, I finally found a music course that was close to home. It was not too expensive and had a reasonable length of sessions for children. Each weekly session was 45-minute long (they aimed for 30-minute learning time, allowing 15 minutes to keep the student/child comfortable and happy). I thought it was good!

At first I was worried about Ariq running around the place (the music course). He would enter each room and try every type of musical instrument he found. To my surprise, the staff said to me to let him be. The place was meant to make children interested and happy in learning music.

My memory of taking music lesson when I was about Ariq's age was that music learning was a 'serious business'. It was about hard work, pride and achievement. For 6 years, I had to come to weekly lesson without ever having any examinations or having any performance/concert because my development was considered 'out of schedule'.

I was just a child and having to do something repeatedly without ever seeing an appraisal or achievement was eventually becoming a burden. After 6 years of what felt to be an unbearable burden, I finally got my chance to 'escape' from my music lesson because I was facing Elementary School Final Exam.. :-(

I still liked playing the piano and guitar after quitting my lesson, but thinking about music lessons would make the hair at the back of my neck stand up! It was a thought that could make me feel more than uncomfortable. That was partly why, I had to take some time to prepare myself to enroll Ariq in his drum lesson. That was also why I was really worried about Ariq wandering around his music course place.. I was so relieved seeing the attitude of the staff at the music course, and I started to feel more comfortable being in the music course place.. :-)

Anyway.. after some time, Ariq was confident enough to ask his drum instructor to show him how to play the piano, the guitar and the violin. His instructor showed him all and Ariq was very happy.

Ariq had been going to the drum lessons for almost a year, when we (my husband and I) made the decision to move to Mother's house. It was impractical for Ariq to keep going to the music course since it would be quite a distance from where we would be living. So, I asked him to be patient until we could find another music course. I was relieved when he agreed..

After one year living in Mother's house, Ariq felt that he was settled at school. He started asking me to start his drum lesson again. So, I started searching for a good place for him, and I found one, which was very close to home.

This time, Ariq was a little older. He was already in Grade 1 of Elementary School. He was excited to start drum lesson again. I was also very happy, taking a one-year break from drum lesson did not make Ariq feel relieved, instead he was really missing his drum practice. I was relieved that drum lesson was not a burden for Ariq. He enjoyed it a lot, and I started to realize that he loved it!

This music school is slightly different from the first one Ariq went to. Here, the lessons are only 30 minutes/session, once a week. It would've been a struggle if Ariq doesn't like his drum lesson, but since he loves it so much, he is always eager to go to every lesson (on rare occasions, we have to rush him when he enjoys playing with Aza too much nearing lesson time, but most of the time, there is never a big problem getting him to).

After the first three months of lessons, I asked Ariq's instructor about how Ariq was doing. The instructor told me that considering that Ariq was still very young, he was doing well. I asked if Ariq needed to start using music books, the instructor said not yet. Ariq's instructor said that, for the time being, Ariq was learning much faster by listening to the beat. All Ariq's teachers at school always say the same thing. It doesn't matter whether Ariq is looking or not, reading or not, paying attention or not, as long as he is listening. He understands and absorbs everything well.

The following six months, Ariq's instructor was aiming for Ariq to be able to count musical rhythm. It was a process of putting logic and feeling into the music, something that would definitely bring Ariq to the 'next level' of playing the drum.

Amazing! Once Ariq could count musical rhythm, he could find the beat of many songs by himself, as long as the song is not too difficult for him to follow by listening. He also became more confident in adding some of his own combinations when he was playing.

Two months ago, before Ariq's aunt (Sinta) departed to Italy, she saw an invitation at the music school's wall for all students of the music school to join the year-end concert and suggested that Ariq be included in the concert. I asked the music school staff about it, and Ariq's instructor agreed to let him perform.

At first, Ariq's instructor planned to play duo with Ariq on stage, but after a couple of week practices and saw Ariq's progress, he decided that Ariq was ready to play solo and he (the instructor) was just going to stand next to Ariq during his performance.

Around the same time, Ariq has been asked a few times at school to play the drum at school events, but he kept refusing. When I asked Ariq about this, he said that he would only perform at school after he's done his first performance with the music school. I guess he was not completely sure about his confidence playing in front of a lot of people without his instructor's presence.. :-)

Last Saturday (11 December 2010), was Ariq's final practice for the concert, at the music school. During that practice, there were a few spots where Ariq was really struggling to keep his timing right. After practice, my husband continued helping Ariq practice at home until Ariq was comfortable and confident playing the song he was going to perform.

Sunday morning, on the day of the concert, Ariq woke up and practiced straight away. He smoothly did his song in one go. I was still nervous, remembering how he was struggling during his final practice at the music school. However, we had to go, and I couldn't waste time worrying..

We arrived at the mall where the concert was held at lunch time, and we were hungry, so we quickly had lunch. Mum, Dad and Aza were meeting us there. My uncle came too. Mother stayed at home because she was still having a bit of cough and didn't want to risk a more serious flu. Kyra stayed home with Mother, as we thought the concert would be much too loud for her tiny ears.. :-)

I was really hoping Mother would come to the concert, because Mother is always very excited about Ariq's progress in playing the drum, but Mother's decision to stay at home was somewhat a relief for both Mother and me, because Kyra would be home with her grandmother, not only with the maid and the nanny...

Anyway.. Mother must come to Ariq's next concert!

Back from lunch, Ariq's instructor was already at the concert area. Ariq was happy and confident of having him at the concert, especially when Ariq saw him testing the drum set on the stage. I guess, for children at Ariq's age, the presence of the people who are parts of his 'world' (in this case, his drum 'world') was everything to him. I could clearly see that Ariq was so proud of himself to have his family and instructor there for him and his performance.

The concert started out with all keyboard and piano performances, then the guitars. After that, it was finally the drum performances and Ariq was the third to go on stage. During the second drum performance, I set up the camera to sit nicely on one of the keyboards off stage, facing the drum, while I was holding Mum's mobile phone, ready to capture the event from a different angle.

I was holding my breath almost all the way throughout Ariq's performance, especially at the spots where Ariq was struggling during his final practice. I was finally exhaled when Ariq completed his performance without any noticeable mistake.. ;-) (He missed one beat at the beginning of the song, but he smoothly corrected it, and played beautifully throughout the rest of the song)..

Beautiful! Extremely beautiful!! Well, for me, it was.. :-)

We often reminded Ariq that he shouldn't come late to his drum lessons, and he has to be disciplined himself in practicing at home, but he pushes himself harder than we do. I'm often worried that he would feel burdened and decide to quit, but it has been about three years since Ariq first started going to drum lessons, and he never looks bored. He always looks more and more enthusiastic..

I'm so happy seeing Ariq doing something that he loves doing. I'm also relieved that my experience  does not become the same kind of experience for him.. :-)

Aza and Kyra might have different talents and interests, and I will surely observe them first before helping them decide what they should do outside school. It is always nice to have a special thing that we love and enjoy doing.. like Ariq and his drum practice.. ;-)

Finally, here is the video of Ariq's performance at the concert. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.. ;-)

Note: the concert was held at Depok Town Square, on Sunday, 12th December 2010.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Aza's trip to the tofu factory (pabrik tahu)

Last Thursday, Aza's class went to a tofu factory as a class excursion. The kids were allowed to bring Rp 5,000.- (US$ 0.50) to buy some tofu. When Aza got home, Mother asked him about his trip to the tofu factory..

Mother: Wow, Aza.. You went to the tofu factory?
Aza: (excitedly) Yes, I did!
Mother: So, how was it?
Aza: (serious look on his face) Well, it was pretty hard..
Mother: (holding back a burst of laughter) Wow! I'm sure it is very hard for me, because I don't know how to make tofu..
Aza: Well, Grandma, it was really quite difficult..
Mother quickly left the room, not to worry Aza further..

The next morning, while having breakfast, Aza was having breakfast with the tofu he bought at the factory. So, I asked him about the trip.
(Aza is 4 years old and sometimes still confused with similar words)

Me: The tofu you bought is nice.
Aza: Is this the tofu I bought?
Me: Yes, this is it. So.. What did the factory look like?
Aza: It was big and there was a lot of 'keledai' (donkey)
Me: Wow, a lot of 'kedelai' (soybean)?
Aza: (grinning) 'ke.. de.. lai..' Yeah.. The soybean was blended, then stirred, then boiled, then made into boxes, then put into plastic bags for us to take home..
(It sounds too simple to be true, but Aza actually got it right!)
Me: Sounds like a lot of work..
Aza: It was!
Me: Well, thank you for bringing some home.
Aza: THREE.. Everyone had exactly three pieces to take home.. Not four, not five, not one and not two.. But exactly THREE!
(Yes, you guessed right.. Aza is in that phase where he loves to show off that he can count properly)

The picture above was of the tofu after being cut into quarters and shallow fried.. ;-)

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Lomba Blog Depok - Top 10 -

Artikel yang sama dalam Bahasa Indonesia

I didn't make it to the TOP 10! But I'm not disappointed at all because through this event, I have met many great bloggers and it means so much more to me than winning the competition.. :-)

However.. Mother made it to the TOP 10! And she is rounding everyone up to vote for her.. well, I AM rounding everyone up to vote for her.. ;-)

Don't vote blindly.. Go to her BLOG

and read her POST that is in the TOP 10..

Then, you can VOTE for her in the competition website.

Mother's post being competed under the group 'IBU RUMAH TANGGA' and her post title is "B.H. Yess." It is shown like this on the voting list:

By voting for mother's post, you are not only supporting her to win the competition, but also supporting the activities of the Senior Citizens Group 'Dahlia Senja.' Mother always posts activities of the group on the blog. So far, the blog has intrigued the interests of the local government and elderly care support organization. Your visit will spread the interests further and hopefully will bring new and brighter future of elderly care program in our country.
Happy voting!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

My New Camera..

FINALLY!!! I have a new camera.. :-D

It is not the best camera in the world, but for something that is very inexpensive, this camera really has a complete function..

Last Thursday, as I was browsing the internet, I came across a camera advertisement from the brand 'Brica'.

The newest product of Brica had many functions; auto (general photo), daylight, night, program (for manual setting) and UNDERWATER!!

The most appealing factor for us was of course the price.. second, there were five colors we could choose from.. and Ariq and Aza chose the purple one. So, we decided to give it a try, and here are the results..

(left and above are outdoor photos with daylight and macro settings)

(outdoor photo with daylight setting)

(outdoor photo with night setting -this gecko was behind a large painting on the back porch wall)

(left and below are photos with underwater setting)

I haven't mastered all the functions, and I still forget to change the date again everytime I recharge the batteries.. but, for the price I paid -which is less than $70.00-), I'm very happy with this camera..

We are still saving up and planning on getting a camera with long range and better focus, but for now, this Brica camera is perfect for our family use, and we don't have to worry about the kids using it.. ;-)

The only funny thing is.. I have read the manual and turned the box around many times, and I still couldn't find where the camera was made.. so, I can't tell you...

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Museum Tour

"Where do you want to go to this holiday, kids?" I asked my sons with a 'slightly' worried tone.. and I was quite relieved with their answer.. "You promised us to visit the museums! That's where we're going!"

My husband and I were glad that the boys chose the museums for their holiday activity. Amusement parks were surely packed. It would be the same with picnic areas -which are few  around Jakarta-.

I quickly discussed with my husband about which museums we should visit. We came up with two well-known museums; The National Museum and The Museum of Jakarta History. We thought Aza would be excited to see the National Museum as there are lots of statues, while Ariq has been curious about The Museum of Jakarta History, as the other name of the museum is Fatahillah Museum.

Fatahillah originally came from Gujarat, India. He became a resident of Jakarta, and he fought against the Dutch soldiers occupying Jakarta. We gave the name to Ariq as his middle name. We hope it would lift his confidence, knowing that he was named after a hero from his hometown.

We were taking Kyra on the trip, so didn't have to worry about her feeding times.. ;-)

We were a little worried about whether Kyra should come inside the museums. I suggested -since I am the one who loves history-, if the museum looked to dusty or scary, Kyra would stay outside with my husband. My husband agreed, so the biggest problem was solved.

We were staying at my parents' home during the last week of holiday. Therefore, it was half the travel time to the museums, compared to if we were staying at home. We departed at 9.00 and arrived at the National Museum about 9.30.


We entered the museum from the entrance door and went straight to the open area display, then we headed to the main display section. Both sections are the same as the last time I visited -it was about eight years ago-. While I was taking the boys around and explaining things that they were interested in, I saw something familiar.. my husband and Kyra, who were supposed to be waiting at the foyer.

It turned out that the foyer had started to be very hot -being outside-. Moreover, as more cars passing by, the air was not as fresh anymore. My husband didn't stay in the old section of the museum. He took Kyra straight to the museum new section, which was cleaner and better air-conditioned.

These are pictures from the museum's old section:

After the boys had had enough of looking around, asking questions and having their pictures taken, we went to the new section. This was very different from the last time I went. It was completely renovated into a modern-looking building. All the information was displayed both in Indonesian and English, the same with the signs and directions. It was beautiful.

The new section had five floors; floors 1-4 were displays, and floor 5 was office and admin.

On the first floor, we saw various fossils that were found in Indonesia and the hanging posters with information about each fossil. There was also a display stage with pre-historic family mannequins having dinner.. :-)

On the second floor, there were displays of various equipments and vehicles from different eras.

On the third floor, there were displays of various social/cultural structures and an 'Asia' section.

On the fourth floor, there were displays of various ceramic and jewelry from the old kingdoms' royal families.

Unfortunately, on the 2nd and 4th floors, we were not allowed to take pictures. I couldn't see any potential harm, but I was sure the museum had reasons. So we didn't take any pictures on those floors.

A normal visit would take about 3-4 hours around the National Museum. However, since it was a 'children' visit, the fact that Ariq and Aza were still excited after an hour, was a great thing. They would not object staying longer, but lunch time was coming up and most museums in Indonesia close at around 3 p.m. I shifted the boys' interest to lunch, and we were ready to leave the museum in a few minutes.

These are the pictures from the new section:

We had lunch at a seafood place on the way to the Museum of Jakarta History. The place was very busy, but other places are busier -especially fast food outlets-.

After lunch, we quickly continued our trip to the Museum of Jakarta History.

Museum of Jakarta History

This museum is located in the Fatahillah Square, which was the actual 'city square' during the Dutch occupation. The museum was the home of the Governor General, with an underground jail underneath the museum. The guards' hall was located across the museum's backyard.

When we arrived at the museum, it was about half an hour before closing time. There were many people there, and the sky was getting dark -ready to rain-. Being considered a late entry, and coming in with two young boys -which meant the visit would be a quick one-, the attendants gave us a discount on the entrance fee.. Haha..

It was only Rp 200.00 discount -a few cents-, but I found it funny because it wasn't the first time I had a discounted entrance fee at a museum. A few years back, my sister and I visited the Reptile Museum in Canberra. We took the wrong bus and arrived at the museum half an hour before closing time. The attendant suggested us to come back the next day, but we explained that we came from overseas and was only staying a few days. He, then, gave us a discount on the entrance fee.. :-D

Anyway.. we quickly proceed to the upstairs part of the museum, as the attendants suggested. While we were walking up the stairs, Ariq made a comment, "Wow, Mum! These stairs are strong.. They've lasted a long time with so many people walking up and down everyday.."

Every room on the second floor was kept as it was when the museum was still a home of the Governor General. I wanted to take many pictures there, but there were just so many people in the museum, while Aza was asking to go to the bathroom.

The museum was originally built as an office and a house. Therefore, it has many windows and when the windows were open, the air was very refreshing. That was why so many people came to visit the museum nowadays. More than that, the building is an old one with Dutch architecture, which makes it a lovely site to take pictures -even when you are not a big fan of photography-.

After taking Aza to the bathroom, the boys instantly found the old cannon in the backyard, between the museum and the guards' hall. The cannon used to be placed right in the front of the museum, between the two punishment ponds. When the government declared Fatahillah Square a culture reserve and did a major renovation of the site, the cannon was moved to the museum's backyard.

Yes, you read right! There used to be two punishment ponds in front of the museum, but there were not there anymore now. The ponds were about the size of two bathtubs sitting side-by-side with chest-high depth. The current government was probably worried somebody would fall into the empty space by mistake and get injured. In some ways, I was glad the ponds were not there anymore. They always gave me an eerie feeling, whenever I went to the museum..

As the boys requested, I took their pictures with the guards' hall as the background, with the cannon and with the underground jail cell. I never really felt nice seeing the jail, but I thought it was an important point to show the boys, as it was a part of the building and a part of history.

When they had enough for the day -with a promise for a second visit-, we decided to exit the building and took some picture in the Fatahillah Square. There are several other museums around the Fatahillah Square -the area is maintained as culture reserve-, so we will go back there, we just haven't planned it yet.. :-)

When the wind started to blow harder and sky turned darker, we quickly went to the car where my husband was waiting for us with Kyra -Kyra was asleep when we arrived at the museum, and we saw a lot of people at the museum window, so my husband decided to stay in the car with her-.

Phew.. I was glad our first museum visit last year was so much fun that the boys were asking for another trip. Children learn from everything they experience and museums are places where they can learn about things that are not normally present in everyday life.

From the Museum of Jakarta History, we went straight back to my parents' home. Ariq, Aza and Kyra fell asleep right away  car. They were exhausted and so were we.

We slept well that night and planning to rest the next day, but... unexpectedly something else happened.. and we had to make another museum visit.. I'll write about it tomorrow.. ;-)

See you later!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Idul Fitri

picture by: Ariq Fatahillah Ahmad

Selamat Hari Raya Idul Fitri

Mohon Maaf Lahir dan Batin

Achmad/Tanjung, Indri, Ariq, Aza & Dinda/Kyra

Father and Daughter..

Can you see the resemblance?

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Can you go shopping, honey? I'm very busy..

Yes, Mum.. Sure I can.. I just hope the guys in the supermarket are bigger and taller than me..

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Aza is back at school..

For over 2 weeks Aza had to stay at home, due to a very bad allergy case, coupled by bad flu..

This week, Aza was already feeling better and he was bored at home..

So yesterday he was back at school.. And he was very happy..

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The big boy 'Ariq'..

Ariq is now 7 years old, and I'm starting to notice that he is changing a lot.

A few months ago, he surprised me with his enthusiasm in learning to play Monopoly. I still remember that I didn't handle the game too well, the first time I played it when I was his age.

Ariq is still as energetic as always, but he is far more responsible now, and he is more aware of people and situations around him. With a little hint, he is usually ready to act accordingly. When he senses that I am being tactful with Aza, he will follow my lead. Whenever I need to do some things quickly around the house, he can be relied on to keep Kyra entertained for up to an hour -even longer when he is in the right mood.

Last night he amazed me with his impromptu coloring competition with Aza. Well, it wasn't really a competition, they just happened to like this one picture -in Kid Pix- and decided to color it in their own style. Ariq did it first and came up with this result..

During the time Ariq was coloring his picture, Aza kept complaining that Ariq was taking too long, and that he wanted to color the picture. Ariq responded calmly to Aza to wait until he was done.

As soon as Ariq finished his picture, he left the computer to let Aza start coloring his picture. Aza happily started from scratch -the same picture without any color-. He sat quietly for a few minutes and when he was done, he announced it and asked me to save the result, which was this..

As Ariq was watching Aza coloring this picture, he said to me, "Wow, Mum! Aza's picture is much better than mine!"

I said to Ariq that Aza is better in coloring because coloring is Aza's hobby. I also told Ariq that he was better in other things, like playing computer games and handling electronic appliances.

Ariq was happy with my explanation because he knew it was true. However, even without my comment, Ariq was sincere when he complimented Aza's picture. I saw it as a good thing that, Ariq was happy about Aza's ability without being jealous of it.

Ariq is growing up and soon he will not be a little child anymore. I'm happy that he is more mature now, but sometimes I miss his childish mischief. I hope he is not growing too fast..

Monday, 30 August 2010


I was only playing around with this picture.. But it came out nice.. :-)

Friday, 13 August 2010

Photo time..

Dad: I've got you, Aza.. You can't runaway..

Aza: Move your head, Dad.. It's heavy! Haha.. I've got your hand, Kyra!

Kyra: No.. No.. Aza, don't bite my hand! Ariq, move your fingers! I want my face in the picture..

Ariq: Take TWO! Quick, Mum.. Before Kyra cries..

Mum: Hold still, guys! Stop talking! Stop moving! This one has to be perfect..

Dad: Be still, Aza!

Aza: I'm bored.. Glad that Kyra's hand looks nice..

Kyra: Oh no.. He's going to chew on my hand..

Ariq: I've run out of smile here..

Mum: 'click' .. Ugh.. Can we do it one more time?

Everyone: Not a chance!

Mum: Ah, well.. At least I have the four of you in one nice picture now.. ;-)

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The awaited wedding.. at last.. :-)

After all the hectic days following Sinta and Joe's unique engagement ceremony.. (which felt almost like living without breathing for days..)
Finally, the bride came home two weeks before the wedding and the groom came home one week after her.

Thanks to the confident management skill of the bride and grooms parents' and the high expertise of everyone involved (family and friends who were in the wedding committee), Sinta and Joe's wedding successfully took place on Friday, 30th of July 2010.

Our home was brilliantly turned into a spacious and beautiful hall for the wedding ceremony. The ceremony went well and not much off from the scheduled time (despite the very bad traffic near home that morning).

After the ceremony, The newly-wedded couple, Mr. and Mrs. Jauhary Arifin, were greeting all the guests with a happy smile.

Sinta and Joe were wearing semi-traditional Javanese outfit for their wedding day. Sinta designed the dress herself (after she was home) and the dressmaker successfully made it in one week! (I can't think of anyone else who ever had their wedding dress made in one week).

The wedding ceremony was quite simple and straight forward and early lunch was served afterwards.

Wedding procession was followed by the wedding reception on the Saturday noon, 31st of July 2010, at the reception hall (Gedung Serbaguna Senayan).

For this occasion, Sinta had chosen for both of them to wear 'Solo-Basahan', a traditional Javanese outfit that is always worn by the Javanese royal family in their weddings. This outfit, with several layers of cloths covering waist down and a thick black velvet top with gold embroidery, shows grandeur. The accessories (the groom's crown and the bride's head ornaments) are made of gold-colored material, but in a real royal wedding, they will be made of real gold.

Everyone (the wedding committee and family) has been ready at the reception hall for a few hours, so, the procession started on time and everyone (family and guests) was having a great time.

Oh.. It has been a few years since our own wedding.. but, we couldn't resist the temptation to have our picture taken and have it displayed here.

We -and all other family members- were wearing simple traditional outfit. The men's outfit was completely traditional, while the women's outfit was semi-traditional.

This picture was taken in the dressing room, after the reception, before we changed back into our everyday clothing.

The whole wedding procession was really nice, and was definitely worth waiting for..

Congratulation on your wedding, Sinta & Joe..
All our best wishes for the future throughout your married life..

A new skill..

I woke up at midnight and wondered why Kyra hadn't 'screamed' for milk..
Apparently, she has learned a new skill to overcome her hunger and thirst.. :-P
Don't you know that your mother is a light sleeper and a nocturn, honey? She is often still up when you are already fast asleep.. Feeding you is never a problem, sweetheart.. ;-)
Having said that..
Please take your thumb out of your mouth, before it becomes a habit!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

A Baby's Dream..

Sleep little baby.. Sleep..
Don't you worry about the future yet..
Just dream about the stars..
And place your future around them..
Sleep little baby.. Sleep..
Don't you worry about the world yet..
Just dream about Mum and Dad..
As their love will protect you inside the little world called family..
Sleep little baby.. Sleep..
Don't you worry about life yet..
Just dream about butterflies..
And imagine you are as light and free and colourful as they are..

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Just in time for picture taking.. :-)

No special occasion.. Just happen to be the right people at the right time.. Mother just canceled her plan to go somewhere at the last minute.. and Kyra just finished her afternoon bath.. and I had my mobile phone in hand, ready to sound 'click'.. ;-)

Being (over) creative on the mobile phone..

I'm still at the stage of being a 'photographic mother' whenever I see Kyra up and smiling.. Once I manage to capture a 'perfect' picture of her -meaning she is not closing her eyes or suddenly crying- I edit the picture on my mobile phone and send the picture to Mum and Mother.. :-)

This evening.. Aza caught me editing Kyra's picture and this is what happened...

This is the original photo that I took of Kyra..

This is the picture after I edited it..
This is the picture after Aza made his 'additional' editing..
Hhhmmmppphhhh.... Creativity can really mean two different things for me and Aza.. :-P

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Little girl's self defense 101

Never underestimate the 'inner-power' of a little girl over her big brothers..
This is how Kyra shoo-ed her brothers to bed when she was ready for her beauty sleep..
Believe it or not, 5 minutes later, the three of them were already fast asleep..
It's now time for my beauty sleep.. Good Night, Everyone.. :-)

Friday, 16 July 2010

A new masked hero

Aza came into the bedroom, carrying his paper sword (I personally thought it was a handheld fan) and put himself on a stance. I quickly caught his action with my mobile phone's camera.

Then, I started playing around with the 'edit' function in the mobile phone's photo gallery.. I found the 'clip-art' for hat and eye-mask and it fit pretty well on Aza's face.. ;-)


Toy for Kyra

Of course Ariq's intention is well..

.. but ..

Ariq still doesn't understand that Kyra should be playing with DOLLS and FLOWERS.. NOT GUNS or RIFLES!!!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Tough, huh?!

Aza: I'm a big boy, and you're a little girl..

Kyra: Yeah.. That's why when you cry, Mum tells you to be quiet.. And when I cry, Mum picks me up and feeds me..

Aza: ....!!!!

Monday, 21 June 2010

Aza: Look, Sis.. I can touch my ear and drink my milk at the same time.. Hee hee..

Kyra: Yeah.. So..???

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

I'm small and cute, but.. He's big and strong.. You know!

So.. Don't mess with me, unless you want to face my big brother.. !

Deep talk..

Kyra: I'm so upset.. I'm so GRRRRR.. you know?!

Ariq: Ah, you'll be fine, little sister.. Just take a look at me, and you will start laughing again.. :-)

Monday, 14 June 2010

Definitely not my genes.. :-P

(left to right: big knife, Christmas tree and keris)

Aza suddenly asked me if he could use Kyra's nail scissors (it is the little scissors to cut baby's nails, not the clipper thing). First I said 'NO', but then I realized that if I kept doing that, he would only be more curious and he would start trying to get the scissors when I wasn't looking.

So, I told him he could  use the scissors as long as he doesn't take it away. He agreed to use it to cut a piece of paper while sitting on the floor near me..

After a couple of minutes (if not a few seconds), I was really surprised when he showed me these three objects.. (I am very sure that he did not have any kind of writing tools with him).. I asked him how he drew the objects, and he confidently answered, "I didn't draw them.. I just cut them! A big knife, a 'keris' (Javanese traditional knife) and a coconut tree like in 'Home Alone' movie." .. I'm very sure he meant Christmas tree from the movie ;-)


Have any of you seen a silhouette artist? I mean, the people who can cut a piece of black paper while looking at you facing sideways and the piece of paper would come out to be a silhouette image of you? Well, I have seen one while he was working and I think it was amazing how a person can do such thing..

Aza could actually visualize the things he wants to make from the paper and cut them into shape without drawing them on the paper first.. WOW!

I was speechless.. completely speechless.. until he asked me, "Mum, can I show these to the fish in the pond?"

I shook my head and replied, "Well, you shouldn't. If the fish swallow them, they will die."

Aza asked again, "But I can just put it on the ground next to the pond."

I tried to answer as calm as possible not to disappoint him, "If you put it on the ground, the fish cannot see them, because fish can only see the things that are in the water.. But if you put the shapes in the water, the shapes will be wet and ruined and if the fish swallow them, they will die."

Aza finally gave up and just asked me to trim his nails and let me have the nail cutter back.. but I don't feel that it was the point in the whole thing anymore.. :-)

One last thing.. please don't ever ask me to cut shapes directly from a piece of paper! I can assure you I can never achieve the shape I'm meant to have.. ;-) If this is a talent Aza inherits.. it is definitely from me! It is definitely not my genes.. :-)

Saturday, 12 June 2010

The end of my absence..

"Have a lot of rests and increase your food intake!" That's the line the doctor always said to me for the final trimester of my pregnancy period.

The baby was fine.. the heart rate was strong, the umbilical cord was neatly positioned on top of the baby, and the baby was already head down. However, the baby's weight, though steadily increasing, was not increasing as much as it should.

My mind could not go anywhere else but towards the baby I was carrying.. I was a little worried, but trying not to let my worrying take away my nutrition.. :-) I tried to stay calm and relaxed, I only did things that I found exciting and fun.. I tried to eat healthy food and had a lot of rests (a little too much, maybe)..

I could not write any stories or poems.. I could not even put words together into this journal.. My mind was too focused on my little baby.. although at so many times, when I found myself a little over-worried, I could almost hear the baby whispered to me, "Don't worry, Mum.. I'm fine.." Every time it happened, I took a deep breath and assured myself that everything was fine.. my baby was fine.. :-)

On the 39th week the doctor said, "Is there any possibility that we miscalculated your ETD? Your baby's weight looks like -2 weeks.."

I replied, "Could be, Doc.. Is the baby alright?"

The doctor answered confidently, "Oh yes, the baby is fine.. The baby's heart rate is strong, and it is active. All the vital organs look fine too.. It's just the baby looks very slim for its age.. We'll wait and see next week. Have a lot of rests and increase your intake."

I replied, "I don't know how much more I can increase my intake, Doc.. I eat until I can't see food anymore.. I have put on 20kgs as it is.."

The doctor smiled, "Everything looks fine.. Don't worry.. We'll check the baby again next week."

On the 40th week, the doctor said, "Your water is still clear, a lot and intact. Let's give the baby as much time as possible to give it a chance to put on as much weight as possible."

On the 41st week, Monday, 17th May 2010 at dawn.. I felt the contraction. Still mild, but not false ones anymore.. I asked my husband to take me to my parents' house (the hospital was near my parents' house) before morning rush hour started. We left right away. My husband got ready for work at my parents' and the same thing with me, before we went to the hospital.

My husband and my parents stayed with me during the observation session. When the midwife told us that there was an 'opening' already, my husband quickly arranged for a paternal leave from work.

What I thought would be a midday birth, turned out to be a whole day wait at the hospital.. :-) The opening stayed the same until the 5 pm that afternoon! The doctor let me decide whether to wait or be induced. I decided to be induced before I lost more strength, because I could not sleep between contractions. At 7 pm, after dinner and a shower, I was moved into the delivery theater and the midwife started the drip on me. My husband left to have dinner while my parents stayed with me.

For almost half an hour being on the drip, the contraction and the baby's movements were still happening at different times. I was preparing myself to face a few hours of increasing contraction strength. Nearly 7.30 pm, around the time when the midwife came to increase the drip, I felt the contraction and the baby's movements were becoming synchronized. The midwife left to report to the doctor, she told me she would come back at 8.00 pm for the next check and to increase the drip again. My parents' turn to have dinner as my husband was back.

After the midwife left, I was just talking to my husband (in-between breaths and contractions).. Closing to 8.00 pm, I felt the contractions were escalating, and suddenly, my breathing could not contain the situation anymore. My water broke, and I told my husband to call for the midwife. He called the midwife and then called my parents on the phone. The midwife quickly called the doctor who, at that time, was in the middle of practice hours. The doctor quickly came into the theater.

Quickly, the nurses/midwives prepped me, but before the doctor could put on her coat, before the grandmother entered the theater, the baby had already decided that it was her time to come out.. :-) So, she did! A beautiful baby girl.. She was little (2,410 gr and 47 cm), but her cry was loud, her heartbeat was strong and her kicks were firm.. All my worries just disappeared once I heard her cry and felt her kicks as I was holding her.

We named her 'Adinda Shafia Kirana'. Adinda (Indonesian) means little sister, Shafia (Arabic) means cooling/soothing, and Kirana (Indonesian) means beautiful.

The pediatrician was puzzled on why Kyra was healthy yet so little. However, since she was doing fine, the pediatrician decided she could go home on the 2nd day (Wednesday). My doctor decided the same thing. After being visited by Ariq and Aza on Tuesday night, once they left, I felt very lonely in the hospital room.. So, when I received the news that we could go home, I asked my husband to check us out, and he gladly did (he really wanted his time with his baby daughter without the limits of visiting hours, etc. :-P ..)

Kyra is now four weeks old (almost one month old). She feeds well and has nicely put some weight on. I am very happy about it. We will see the pediatrician again next Friday, and I hope he is also happy with her development.

Now that my mind is free of over-worrying (no one can blame me for worrying a little every now and then, though..), I decided to end my absence in this virtual world by writing this post. I don't know how often I can write for now, as I am still going through changes and enjoying my precious time of early nursing period when Kyra and I are almost 'an item', but I still enjoy writing and blogging.. I just have to take it easy for a while (I took several breaks in writing this post)..

Anyway, it feels really nice to be writing again.. and it is really nice to be among all of you again.. :-)

See you later.. :-)

This is Kyra, 2 weeks old.

(The picture on the top of the post is Kyra, 1 day old)

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Only in Indonesia..

A sequel???

Not really..

A sweet girl in Moscow (namely my sister-in-law, Sinta) just suggested to put together all the photos of the animals in Taman Safari that are indigenous to Indonesia.. So, here I am writing a post about it..

This is not going to be a scientific report, because I am neither a veterinary or an animal scientist.. I just like watching and learning (a little thing here and there) about various animals because I think they are fascinating.. :-)

Anyway.. here are the animals that are indigenous to Indonesia..

ANOA -indigenous to the island of Sulawesi (Celebes)-

Anoa is currently endangered and protected as the population has decreased a lot. At the end of April and early May, 2 Anoa babies were born in Taman Safari. These babies are now living in Taman Safari compound with their families..

CENDRAWASIH -indigenous to the island of Papua-
-I am trying to put the video here... Please be patient.. Thank you..-
Cendrawasih is currently endangered and protected. People love the beautiful colors of Cendrawasih and many people would pay a high price for the captured ones, either alive or dead (embalmed and decorated in a glass display).

SUMATRAN TIGER -indigeneous to the island of Sumatra-

Sumatran Tiger is currently in the brink of extinction as only a handful left in the wild.

ORANG UTAN -indigenous to parts of Indonesia-

Orangutan is currently protected. Orangutan is a type of big ape which is very shy and gentle.


KANCIL -indigeneous to South East Asia-

Even though Kancil is not an animal indigenous to Indonesia only, I still think that it is quite unique to mention here, as even in South East Asia, it is becoming quite difficult to see it in the wild. Kancil looks cute and mischievous. In local fables it is pictured as a naughty vegetable thief. As far as I know, in most South East Asian countries Kancil has the same name.

If you are interested in finding out more about these fabulous animals, you should be able to find more information about them on the internet. I will try to add some links here in the future ;-)

Thank you for reading this post :-)

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Another successful family day...

It wasn't really planned.. It was only Aza's words every now and then, because this plan kept getting cancelled.. "I haven't been to the Safari Park (Taman Safari). The last time we were going, there was a long traffic jam on the toll road and we had to turn back!"

Aza has been very patient about this, so, we were really thinking about the perfect time to take the boys to the Safari Park.

Safari Park is an open-range zoo, where the animals are free to walk around their compounds, while visitors have to remain in the cars. In tame animal compounds, visitors can slightly open the car windows to give carrots to the animals (for the animals that include carrots as they normal food -otherwise, a sign will be put up, not to feed carrots to the animals-).

In the wild animal compounds, car windows must always be locked and cars must not stop at all! If the car is broken during the tour, we have to sound the horn three times to notify the park staff.

From Tuesday to Thursday, Ariq did not have school because Grade 6 students were having National Exams. Therefore, my husband applied for one day leave on Wednesday (at the last minute). The leave application turned out to be still pending, but nothing urgent came up, so, we could go ahead with the plan..

On Wednesday morning, amazingly, the boys woke up early and had breakfast right away. Once everyone was ready, we got in the car and started our journey to the Safari Park.. :-)

It was a nice morning.. the sky was clear but the air was not too hot.. perfect for outing..

The toll road were clear, although we finally had to face a traffic jam anyway, going through a famous local market on the way to the park (Cianjur market).

We decided to have lunch just a little bit before the market, at this new restaurant that has kids playground. The kids had lunch and fun there.. ;-)

This restaurant is a local enterprise, where they grow cows (in a separate farm, of course) for milk, yoghurt and sausages. The company is called 'Cimory'.


After lunch, we continued our journey to the Safari Park. There we saw all the animals..


... and .. we fed some of them with carrots ..

Some animals were having their own lunch feast when we went through their compound..

And here are photos of animals that I had to take with car windows closed and the car kept slowly moving (the sign says 'Don't Stop')..

The following is the ANOA family, animal indigenous to Sulawesi, Indonesia. Far to the back, there are the mother and two babies who were born in April and May 2010 (yep, they were only about 1 month old). The father is showing a protective stance, watching all the cars passing by..

I wish I could get a closer shots at them, but, I was using my mobile phone and using the zoom would only degrade the picture quality... :-(

At the recreation part of the park, Ariq and Aza were having a great time riding a camel and ponies..


Aza also asked for a photograph with a baby orangutan (I really need to take this photo to a shop to have it colour-fixed and enlarged)..

Aza also asked for a photograph with the baby tiger, but my husband shudder at the thought of Aza being considered a fresh-lunch for the baby tiger.. and I thought his worry was not unreasonable.. :-)

So, we said NO.. gladly, Aza was happy enough being allowed to stand next to the baby tiger photo area, watching other visitors having their photos taken.. -gladly, there were no other little kids having their pictures taken with the baby tiger, otherwise, it would be a very hard job to keep saying NO to Aza-.

Finally, it was time for us to go home.. As soon as we were in the car, Aza found his peace of the day in the middle of the traffic jam... -we adjusted his position after a few minutes-.. ;-)

It was really another great family day out.. :-)