Monday, March 31, 2014

We're Back!

alhamdulillah, we've arrived safely from our tenth-year-anniversary-back-to-where-we-had-our-honeymoon holiday. it was a good holiday right from the word go. we were particularly worried about coming in and going out of australia based on our past experiences but both times were smooth and quick. coming in, dragging four boys with us helped a lot because attention were somehow on the boys. and going out, dragging four boys with us helped because they opened a new line seeing us in the queue. it sort of erased (but not quite) the bad experiences we had.

daily updates can be found at our travel blog, travel with eiseai

the first accommodation booked lived up to expectations. the moroccan in surfers paradise was huge, had the important kitchen essentials (though some needed an extra bit of cleaning), starter sets were given (coffee, tea, sugar, dishwashing sponge, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, simple toiletries). they even made up a sofa bed though we didn't use it. only the master bedroom had an aircond unit though, the boys were a bit upset about that but their room was small that a fan was sufficient (not to them however).

the traders hotel on roma street was ok. near the centre of the city, next to the transit centre (as we travelled into brisbane by train) with sufficient food outlet. but they would not let all of us in one room so we had to get another. for us though, having two rooms is really an extra and we don't really need the space. the reception guy was rude about it. he wouldn't even look at us and kept talking to agoda on the phone instead of asking me the questions he needed answers to. the windows also made a lot of noise, it was especially irritating on the second morning as it was noisy from 5am. the reception said it was due to the wind hitting the window, which i doubt, as if wind don't hit windows at other places in the world (sheeshhhh…). because of those two factors, we know to avoid this place in the future.

food wise, it was easy. there were halal outlets at every place we went (except currumbin and lone pine). of course we had kebabs and pizza on overdrive throughout the ten days. next time we'll buy seafood to cook at home. not that we didn't know to do that but we didn't want to spend so much time in the kitchen when our main plan was to be out and about with the boys. when the boys are older and can learn to control their mood not to base everything on their stomach, we'll have homemade meals more often.

shopping was good. i planned for shopping to be done only at harbour town and extra bit at target and stuck to that plan. souvenirs are of course a must and we had ample time to grab them at each park's gift shop. i bought all i wanted but i'm a bit miffed that i didn't get a seaworld fridge magnet and more water tumblers for the boys (i should have bought the nice ones at movieworld).

the boys were generally wonderful throughout. we had mood swings and pouting incidents and fights and screams like we do at home. but generally, they were great. we spend a lot of time outside, leaving after breakfast and coming back just before dinner every day. they walked a lot and all were good sports about it. they walked until they had blisters and even then, did not complain much.

the boys learned a lot on this trip. they learned about time difference, about eating right, about various transportations, about keeping time, about keeping to schedule. the parks we went to weren't crowded so they were spared of queues and having to wait. that helped a lot with their mood and how they were the rest of the day. they were confident and made friends easily. they talked to people around them while watching shows at movieworld, while playing at the beach in southbank, with the drivers on the bus and airport transfers. they were a bit difficult when it came to eating and waiting while we shop though those were expected. they were irritating when they didn't get their way and that got them a good and long nag from both parents.

this was the first holiday we had without having to bring diapers, formula and strollers. its a big relief not to need that formula break but toilet breaks are now essential (else we'd have the asyraf in coles incident) and akmal asked to be carried quite often (and would do so even if he's not tired). the boys were also fine and healthy throughout. no fever, flu, stomach ache (amir in particular). they only suffered rashes that we concluded were due to the sunscreen (it was between the qv cream and the sunscreen). we got an antihistamine from the chemist and it cleared up rather quickly.

all in all, it was a great holiday. we were out and about all of the ten days we were there and took back with us many wonderful memories, used up all the phones' memories, taking, in total, over 200 pictures a day. this holiday gave us a boost for our next, longer holiday (ehemmmm). now my focus will all be on that. may it be smooth for us too, that one, insyaAllah.

i compiled a few picture collages of us.
 at currumbin wildlife sanctuary

on the theme park shuttle from currumbin 


at seaworld 

 at movie world
at dreamworld 

a day in brisbane city 

at the aquativity

the boys were especially proud of their transformation of taking the park rides.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

The Baby Is A Whole Hand

for a whole five years, he has graced my life. after three, you would think you've been there, done that, seen it all, but he kept giving me things to learn, things to wonder, things to ponder upon. from his bird's chest and small airway and milk dripping for six months to his need to read and count and dance everyday.

not that i'm choosing one over another but akmal is just pure joy. he is lovely to have, wonderful to talk to, excellent to have around. he has his bad points, seriously he does - he's whiny, he's cries quite a bit, he can be an irritating shadow, he has some strong lazy bones in him - but he is just wonderful. ok, i don't actually know if that is true or its just that 'youngest child' syndrome i seem to suffer from but let's just entertain the blogger and go with the former.

akmal's been looking forward to his birthday. its been quietly tucked away because he had his school trip the week before but once that was over he became excited again asking about his birthday. he's pretty easy to entertain, they all are actually, he doesn't ask for much. he just said he'd love to have a jake and the neverland pirates party and hinted strongly he would love the jake lego set that's been airing on telly.

i got a friend to bake his jake cuppies for school. then i got another friend to do a simple jake thank you stickers for his party packs. his party packs were pretty easy to do, just a box of milo, a pack of cookies, a party toy and a pirate tattoo. i did 30 sets within an hour. unfortunately the thank you stickers did not arrive on time and i put a pictured sellotape instead.







on the way to school, he asked if i was coming to school to celebrate his birthday. i gave him a hard time, asking who is doing a party, who is getting a cake, what about his party packs. he got a bit upset and i said, let's see if i have time this morning. when i came to school bearing cuppies, party packs and a tub of fries for his friends, he was absolutely excited.






he went around giving out the pirate party hats and the party packs, smiling widely when his classmates sang the birthday song. it was a short and sweet party for him but he was so happy, repeating 'i love my party' throughout the day.

we opted not to go out for dinner like other birthdays. instead, we got food delivered from our favourite birthday dinner outlet. while the boys bathed, i set up the table with the food, cuppies of his favourite colours - red and purple, his birthday gift and leftover party packs for the four boys.


his brothers of course we excited beyond words to surprise him. when they led him to the dinner table, akmal was glowing and laughing and smiling. and he didn't stop saying 'i love my birthday and my party'. ah so easy to please, all the more reason to adore him.