Habitat for Humanity in Sentul

A couple of weeks ago, Putra was invited by Habitat for Humanity to document their volunteers helping to paint and build houses for people in need in a small village in Sentul, on the outskirts of Jakarta.  We were picked up at 4.30am while the skies were still dark and the roads free from traffic, and little Samudra was still asleep in my arms.  Arriving in a small hillside village as the sun rose, we walked up the dirt track, past goats bleeting and chickens running around and lots of curious little kids coming to peer at us while keeping their distance as they were all still a little shy at that time.  We had to wait a couple of hours for the volunteers to arrive, so in the meantime, I took Samudra around and we looked inside the beautifully decorated classrooms of the primary school and met the teachers, and some of the students who proudly showed us their classrooms.

Finally the volunteers arrived, all of whom were students of international schools around Jakarta and a few teachers, and they assembled under the tent shade on chairs in the middle of the school grounds.  They had entertainment and competitions and one student won an iphone, and they all seemed to be enjoying themselves, but I noticed one strange thing, that all the locals in the village stood on the outskirts and were not invited to join in the fun.  The kids and parents lined the benches and ground surrounding it but were not really involved in any of the activities.  The volunteers then spent an hour painting walls and digging foundations for new homes to be built, I was told that the professionals would come and finish the half finished painted buildings at a later time as well as construct the houses.  I spent the day watching Samudra being entertained by and in turn entertaing, all the local kids, being carried around by small children and women, and having a great time.  We actually missed half the event as we were busy having fun laughing and exploring the village, before he fell asleep in exhaustion into my arms again.

I am sure their intentions were good, but for future, if people want to hold events in remote villages to do something positive for the community, then remember to actually include the community in your event.  Perhaps the students would have been better off to actually spend time with the local people and speak to them also, rather than coming and going with no interactions with the people they were supposedly helping.  That’s just my thoughts anyway.

A huge thank you to the volunteers who actually chose to go there as part of their extra curriculum activities, but especially thank you to all the local children and adults who welcomed us to their village and kept Samudra and I entertained with their curiosity and kindness.

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Hanging with the boys in the village

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Early morning and the kids are curious

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Sweet local girls

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Gorgeous little girl

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So sweet

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Beautiful girls, still a little shy so early in the morning

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So much fun with a bucket..

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Samdura entertaining us waiting for the volunteers to arrive

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Samudra entertaining the local kids

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Watching the event from the sidelines

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Volunteers painting the school walls

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Playing with a chicken… oh village life!

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A little monster in the village

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Volunteers hard at work building house foundations

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Old school manual hand winding fairy floss maker

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Samudra being serenaded by staff

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Little boys entertaining Samudra

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Thanks for a super fun day to all the little girls

Cooling off at Pondok Indah Water Park

Hello again! It’s been quiet here in the land of We Love Jakarta after the site was overtaken by little gremlins and spam, forcing the site to close down temporarily.  The biggest thanks ever goes to my dear friend and travelling nomad, James Clark (www.nomadicnotes.com), for always coming to the rescue when I need help with my blog.. and once again he saved the day and got us back up and running… THANK YOU!

It seems to me that Jakarta has been getting super hot lately, so I thought it appropriate to post some pictures to help cool you down… or give you an idea of where to go to cool down at the very least.   Once again these pictures were from around Ramadhan time when Jakarta was quiet and easy to get around..

The water park is quite big and most importantly, clean, and is beside Pondok Indah Mall (I think it was beside PIM 1, but my memory escapes me right now..).  There are big yellow water slides with kids squealing as they come splashing and zooming down into the pool, another circular pool with swimming tubes for you to float along in, a little area for swimming with climbing equipment which is great for little kids, a huge lap pool, and a big wave pool which you can surf in if you’re game, and some sand to relax in and pretend you’re at the beach instead of a big crazy city.  It costs around Rp 100,000 during weekdays and Rp 150,000 on weekends, and although it’s a little pricey, once again it is really clean and a fun place to cool down.  They do have a food menu, but you also have the option to eat in one of the hundreds of cafes or food halls inside the mall.

Next time I will remember to pack my bathers so I don’t have to sit on the sidelines watching Samudra and his bapak have all the fun!

Hope all is beautiful for you too wherever in the world you are.

 

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Bapak having fun in the wave pool

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Splashing around in the little kids pool

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Samudra loves his floatie ring

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Doing laps in the big pool

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Oh no.. and gets a mouth full of water..

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Here come the waves..

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Kisses for my beautiful boy

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Tired after a fun morning swimming

 

Popcon Asia 2014

Last Sunday was the final day of Popcon Asia 2014 (Popular Culture Convention) held at the SMESCO Convention Centre. I had been really looking forward to it after hearing about it from my friend Eric (thespacewanderer.com) as he had a booth set up for the event.

As soon as the lift doors opened, we were surrounded by thousands of people, and there were graphic tablets with people sketching, people sitting at tables sketching on paper and I was in heaven! So much talent everywhere we looked. I was thinking my brother Nick would have loved it as there were comic artists everywhere and I know he would have been inspired being there too. This festival celebrated the popularity of comics, toys, film and animation and had cosplayers walking around posing for photos.. I must admit I have no idea who any of the anime characters actually are, but I love seeing people so passionate about it that they are ready to step into character and lose themselves for awhile.

They had events happening up on stage which was super LOUD and a little overwhelming for poor Samudra so we hurried past and he was loving seeing all the toys, cushions covered in cool artwork and figurines everywhere. We met Peter Van Dongen who wrote and illustrated the Rampokan Jawa Selebes comic book, and after asking him to sign our copy, he instead drew a picture of Samudra, so we felt incredibly honoured as he was pressed for time and had to leave as soon as he’d finished.

It was awesome as always to see so many creative people in one space and to see them creating amazing drawings.. as one of the organisers said, it was a great place for creative geeks to meet!

Hope to see you there next year!

 

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Everyone loves Lego!

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Cosplayers in action

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Some cool doodling for sale..

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Peter Van Dongen sketching in our book.. yah!

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More anime characters… busy drawing..

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I loved this picture!

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One of Eric’s (thespacewander.com) characters

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Some freaky little figurines

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…weird and wonderful creations

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Run Fat! I wish I’d bought this..

Yummy Mummies and Adorable Animals..

I couldn’t resist a second post for today going through my photos from last Monday’s Yummy Mummy Playgroup in Senayan. The theme chosen for the day was ‘animals’, and can I tell you it was tricky trying to find an appropriate costume in Jakarta to fit Samudra.. I finally came across a little yellow cat outfit in Mothercare at Lippo Mall, and hoped it wasn’t intended for girls as it looked so cute on him!

All the kids were dressed in the theme and we had a lovely morning of singing and being entertained by Zoe who is by far the most outgoing of the group and always has us laughing. The kids are so cute together, and I couldn’t help but notice Samudra and Zoe getting some footsy time in which I managed to capture before I got caught.

Thanks again for a great catch up and play date for the kids, it’s a lovely way to start the week.

Happy Weekend everyone!

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Don’t think playing footsies went unnoticed Samudra and Zoe!

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Gorgeous Leighton loves his mummy so much!

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Super sweet Zoe and her animal friends

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Ash as a husky dog… soo cute

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Curly Carlton as a little Moose

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Ok it’s officially impossible to get them all to look at once..

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Hello Samudra!

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What a gorgeous little group of baby animals we have

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Just like a little angel

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Ash transforms into a Lion… roooooaaaaar

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Vicky as the cutest ladybird ever!

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If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands! YAAAAH

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Mumma’s and bubba’s..

Super Car Free Sunday and a Dose of Art

How can it be Friday afternoon again already? I promised myself I would get up to date with photos and posts throughout the week and have so managed to post zilch, nil, nada, NOTHING… so it’s almost the weekend again, but before it officially is, I will share some photos from last Sunday at Car Free Day.  Last time Samudra and I went to Jl. Sudirman on a Sunday it was still Ramadhan and the streets were virtually people free.. this time they were back to normal with people in their thousands fighting for some space on the road to ride bikes, jog, walk, and soak in the atmosphere.  This time we were joined by Putra too as he wanted to rake in some steps on his new UP Jawbone step counter.. me too! Considering how much walking I was doing at one stage, I seem to be falling rapidly behind with so many visits to playgroups etc.. so time to get out and about and get healthy again.

So it was fun to be out in the hustle and bustle again today and Samudra was mesmerised by the buskers on the side of the road, their violin and guitar playing seemed to put him in a trance and he was watching, occasionally dancing, and completely oblivious to people around taking photos of him as he sat in his pram.

After a quick trip to the mall, we met up with Treen in Pejaten and headed to the Korea-Asia 25th Anniversary, New Icon : Pop in Asia exhibition at Salihara.  Sunday was the closing day of the exhibition and I had been wanting to go for weeks just to see the monks on their tin phone painting up close.  It made me smile just as much as it had when I saw a picture on Facebook and I was happy to finally get a dose of Asian art as it’s been awhile, as I have spent weeks surrounded by kids.

It was a beautiful Sunday, and we even had a chance to spend the afternoon playing across the road in the grass outside our new abode.. Samudra seems to love it here and hopefully we’ll finally meet some toddlers around the area for him to play with soon.

Happy Friday everyone!

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Samudra couldn’t stop watching the violin player

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Super Samudra..

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My favourite art installation at Salihara

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Getting hyper with Aunty Treen

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This painting makes me smile so much!

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Checking out the animal origami installation

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The Love Wall

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Everyday Super Hero Indonesians

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Fun in the park with bapak

 

 

Carniville at Grand Indonesia

In between packing I decided to clean up my desktop and found these photos from the end of Ramadhan when my dearest friend Ulet came to Jakarta for a holiday from Jogja with his gorgeous family. Ulet was one of the first people I met when I first arrived in Jakarta in 2009, at Jakarta Fashion Week, and he has been a great friend ever since, and I am so happy that we also have little boys around the same age.

Where to go on a steaming hot day in Jakarta near the centre of the city to entertain three little boys? Well, we decided to not venture too far and headed to Grand Indonesia to ‘Carniville’, in the East Mall Level 3A, which was a complete sensory overload for the kids. It was pretty busy there and lots of noise coming from all the amusement rides and not to mention excited children running around.  They have a carousel, jumping camel, mini ferris wheel, dodge ‘em cars, train, air carriages, row boats and a small play area, all of which can be accessed with the pay-per-ride with a FunWorld card.

The boys were excited and went on a few rides, before we stopped and headed upstairs for lunch, only to be followed by a return to Carniville again for them to run and crawl around in the play area. Needless to say they were all fast asleep in the car 5 minutes after leaving on the way home again.

Another funny day in Jakarta and great to catch up with awesome friends and kids.

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Gorgeous Lava testing if he’s tall enough to go on the rides..

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Hara and Samudra waiting patiently for their turn on the train

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Watching the train on the tracks..

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Such a super sweet boy!

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Our turn at last!

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Lava on the carousel

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Hara enjoying his ride too

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Pita with her beautiful boys

 

Boys Don’t Cry..

We were over the moon to receive a spontaneous visit from our dearest friends, Deasy, Tommy and Amaru last school holidays. It’s difficult to catch up these days as they live quite far away thanks to the macet (grrrr….) but seeing as it was the end of Ramadhan and the streets were car free, it was a much easier drive for them and it was awesome to see the kids together now they’re that little bit bigger and able to interact (well, sort of!).

Amaru is surrounded by music at his home as his dad is a musician and band manager and his mum has a beautiful voice and it must be a lovely way to grow up. Samudra loves to make noise and dance whenever there is even the faintest sound of music around, so we decided that when they grow up they can start a band together and call themselves ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ (both babies have proven that this is NOT true and boys DO cry…. alot!). Amaru gave Samudra a drum on this visit and he was loving banging on it and making such a racket. Oh how I miss the days of hanging out around Jakarta watching awesome live bands with Deasy and Tom while having a drink and a big sing along, but this phase of life is also amazing fun too and I’m glad we are experiencing it together.

After their visit Putra and I took Samudra over to Pejaten Village for a ride around the mall in the train. He was loving waving to everyone and having a great time while I sat beside him in the little carriage.

It was a beautiful day overall and we look forward to the next school holidays for more visits!

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Amaru giving Samudra a new drum to make more noise.. yah!

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Bang! Bang! Bang!

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Taking a ride on Samudra’s new bike and loving it

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Ummmmmm way too much cuteness here..

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With my beautiful friend Deasy and our lovely boys

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Taking a train ride in Pejaten Village mall.. toot toot!

Monday Yummy Mummies Play Date

So it’s been very early starts since we returned to Jakarta, with Samudra back to waking in the wee hours and ready to play, which has meant that Putra and I have been up as the sun rises to take Samudra for walks around the complex together.  It’s a miracle to see Putra walking anywhere so it’s been great to get up and be motivated together before the days become full and crazy trying to organise everything for us to move house this week.  I am certainly going to miss seeing all the beautiful familiar faces of this complex on a daily basis, but hopefully we can find some new friends also in the new neighbourhood.

This morning was the first meet up of a group of lovely mum’s and toddlers in Senayan, and seeing as Samudra and I made it there in miracle time minus unbearable traffic early in the morning, we took a walk around the lush surroundings of mansions and trees and met some lovely people out in the street.

It was a really fun morning catching up with the mum’s and having a song circle with the kids (Samudra decided to start crying as soon as we did this!), then morning tea and a play outdoors in the grass on the slides and in the sandpit.  Our lovely host Sarah has the best house for entertaining young ones, with so many toys and a great yard for being outside, shaded from the heat of the sun.  In Jakarta it’s really tricky to find any outdoor areas to play in, let alone play areas that you don’t need to pay for which area mostly located inside all the malls, so it’s always fun to get together at people’s houses where it’s more relaxed and a little less hectic.

Thank you for a beautiful start to the week and now time to get back to packing!

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Samudra meeting super cute Zoe for the first time

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Ash and Carlton at morning tea

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What a bunch of cuties.. What are you doing Samudra?

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Ash the explorer in the garden

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What a great space for the kids..

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Samudra and Carlton at the sandpit

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Milady was all smiles!

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Catch me mummy!

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Carlton and Vicky enjoying the slide

Play Date at Ragunan Zoo

Heeeeeeeeeey!! We’re back!! Samudra and I just returned from a super lovely three week trip back to Melbourne to visit family and friends. The crazy drop in temperature from 30+ degrees to 0 degrees left us both with a dose of flu when we first arrived and knocked us out for two weeks, but it gave us a chance to chill out and unwind after a crazy few months.

So now we’re back, getting ready to move house, and the madness will begin all over again.. so while I have a spare few minutes I thought I would post a quick hello, and to also share some pics from Jakarta before our trip away.

Since having Samudra I have met so many lovely mums and children here, and while it was school holidays just before we left, and so many people had gone pulang kampung to visit families overseas, those of us left decided to have an early morning get together and walk through Ragunan Zoo.

It’s always a great way to start the day and a good place to catch up with friends outdoors, which is a rare find in this crazy city.

So let’s see how I go with trying to be more frequent with my posts from now on… and remembering to pack my camera once again….

Have a beautiful day everyone!

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Beautiful Iuna and Finn at the animal wall

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Sprung! Trying to sneak a photo..

 

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Watching the elephants feed

 

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Too cute for words..

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I LOVE seeing how much these babies have grown each time we visit

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Motherly love xox

 

Happy 1st Birthday Samudra!

Well today marks the beginning of August.. so July just flew by and I have barely sat at my computer as life has been filled with adventures, play dates, birthdays, voting, Ramadhan, Lebaran, and most importantly for me, July marked the first Birthday of our beautiful boy, Samudra.

Due to school holidays and Ramadhan, most people were leaving the country to go visit family or to enjoy an escape from this city, so Putra and I decided on a very intimate gathering for Samudra, as we had both agreed that he is too young to understand what a birthday party is. So to celebrate his birthday week, firstly I took him on a quick trip to Bali to visit some beautiful friends visiting from Sweden. While we were away swimming and enjoying the fresh air, Putra had other plans going on and had decided to morph the intimate gathering into a big party and cocktail party for after 6pm… it seems Indonesians are happier the bigger the crowd. If you have ever been to an Indonesian wedding, or seen a group of Indonesians travelling together, you will know what I mean!

So on the day, the house filled with lots of kids from the neighbourhood and friends, and then groups of friends came and went until after buka puasa (break fasting for Ramadhan) at 6.00pm and Putra took his place at the bar and mixed up mojito’s and martini’s until the early hours of the next morning.

I want to say a huge THANK YOU to all the family and friends who made the day so special, for the embarrassing mountain of gifts that Samudra received, delicious cakes, and giggles.

Happy Birthday to our beautiful ray of sunshine, thank you for filling my days with love and pure bliss, tears, laughter and craziness. I love you from the tips of my toes to the stars and beyond. xoxoxoxoxo

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Happy Birthday my beautiful boy!

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Happiness to start the day in his new ball pit..

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Hanging out with Daffa before the party

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Ok, I’m ready!

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The kids arrived!

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Happy Birthday to you!

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Blow out your candles..

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..Or maybe I’ll help you sayang..

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A sneaky finger into the icing..

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Feeling a little overwhelmed by all the love..

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Bapak, help!

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Jeremy taking some time out with the phone

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The birthday boy with his kakek

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Delicious birthday cupcakes by Tasya

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Azzam enjoying cake with his lovely mum, Fithri

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Happy Birthday nenek and Samudra!