a promise to my 40 year old self

At the beginning of this year I made a resolution to lose weight. I know, so original right? But I told myself that with my youngest being 4 years old this year, carrying that extra baby weight around is simply not acceptable anymore. So I bought all the Bootea on sale, skipped my meals and reduced my carbs and just all around forgetting to live life. Now I know this should mean that I’m a size 0 by now right? Weeeeell…not quite because while doing all this craziness I’ve had constant headaches that disabled me from doing anything around the house and the most scary part was that it was affecting my driving (and I never drive alone – I always have two precious passengers behind me). But my harsh realization came to me by way of my husband (my light and guide 😜) when one night as I was complaining of yet another massive headache he told me that I have to take care of myself more. Be aware of the things that harm me and not consciously inflict them upon myself because this craziness of trying to lose weight could kill me (so enlightened right?).

Anyway, his words made an impact on me (I don’t know if that wouldn’t impact anybody) and made me realize that maybe loosing weight with a “The end justifies the means” attitude isn’t exactly the best way to go. Plus if I did lose my weight and died in the process that wouldn’t be a good thing too right? Anyway…

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Better Health Ahead Sign

With my birthday around the corner and 40 being a couple of years away, I made a new promise to myself BE HEALTHY  and  FIT by 40. Healthy enough to run around with my boys and fit enough to outlive the pet tortoise 🐢 I’m going to get as soon as we have a garden to put him in (you do know they live up to a 100 right?). Now, if a few pounds get to be shed off in the process then that wouldn’t be so bad, right?

No Photoshop here! Hard work and  lots and lots of pain! #no pain no gain.

Inspired by my cousin Chinky, who’s kicking 40 in the a** by loosing weight by changing her lifestyle and being fit with regular exercise and a healthy diet (I’m so proud of her!) I’ve slowly started being active myself. I’ve dusted the stationary bike 🚴we’ve had for almost forever and made plans to make use of our community pool 🏊 when the boys start school. Of course some much needed scheduling should be put in place first which also happens to be my favorite exercise 😜. There are talks of joining a gym but then I realized I hate organized grouped activities and small talk with strangers so I’m thinking of alternatives like me and You tube Jillian in my living room.

cycling with a view

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Doesn’t she look scary?

I’m not planning to join a triathlon or lift 53 kg by the time I’m 40.  But maybe I do owe it to my family not only to take care of them but also to take care of myself too. Also, to make sure that I’m going to be here for them for a long long long… time.

Welcome to my future midlife crisis.


Manila the nth time around.

img_8052We’ve been living abroad for over a decade now and we’ve been coming home every year to no fail. I know I’m lucky to have this opportunity but every year I go home with a semi heavy heart. Not because I hate going home, eating good Filipino food or spending time with family but it’s because I immediately think of the inconveniences that I’m going to have to encounter and endure while we stay in Manila for 3-4 weeks. The traffic, the constant fear of getting mugged (thankfully it’s never happened), getting into a car accident because people drive like crazy, and thanks to TV Patrol, Akyat-Bahay gang, Salisi gang, Martilyo gang, etc doesn’t exactly help calm my nerves. As soon as I land NAIA 1 (need I say more?) my anxiety level goes crazy. I’m lucky that the husband knows how to handle me and we survive every year because if I had to depend on myself to get calm we will never carry on 😉.

But this year I think some of his care free/go with the flow/just go with it attitude has rubbed a little on me because even as I write this, I can’t remember a single thing to complain about on our recent trip. Yes there was traffic, yes there was heat, yes there was rain but for some kind of miracle I took all these with stride and wasn’t even too bothered about the whole deal.

img_8084Some circumstances helped a little too. First, we landed at NAIA 3 which is already a BIG improvement from … (that place that shall not be named). Second, WAZE helped a lot  to bring down my anxiety with the traffic. I think knowing what time you were going to get to your destination and knowing that there was hope in any traffic situation helped me get through the notorious Manila traffic. Third, Family and friends is ❤️. The support, the help and even just getting the boys entertained and keeping them happy already made the trip worthwhile.

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I left Manila feeling like I always do, 1st that the trip was too short, 2nd that I’m very sad to go, and 3rd there goes another 10 pounds I’d have to lose. But this year there was something different, while in the past I’ve always thought that one year was enough time to get over the “Trauma in Manila” this year I wouldn’t mind coming back in less than that.

If there was one thing I’ve learned from this trip, it’s the art of letting go..no this is not a hugot line. But more of letting go of things that are out of my control like the traffic.  Planning ahead is a good thing but if things don’t go as planned I’d have to accept it and move on, more often than not moving on with other plans are always far better than my own. Over thinking, over planning, and being an all around drill sergeant never really helped anybody and I’m trying my best to be less of that for my sake and my boys.

I think the best way to deal with Manila or anything in life that brings you anxiety is best said with these words:

Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

 

Imagine all this enlightenment with only a trip to Manila? Think of how much enlightened I will be if we go on a trip to...Japan?? HINT HINT! #anybodyoutthere #subtlemoves


birthdays are #betterwithjumeirah

It is my littlest one’s 4th birthday today and as per our Dubai birthday tradition, we had a mini staycation last weekend. Our accommodation of choice for our first birthday in 2016 was the Jumeirah Mina a’slam. It was a no brainer really, a few weeks ago they had a very good price offer with a free upgrade to half board accommodation so click click click and we were in.

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That’s what I call “a room with a view”

Upon check in, we got a very nice surprise of having our reservation upgraded to a one bedroom suite. First time in my life I got a free upgrade to anything so you can imagine my excitement and the boys’ as well. Ok later on we discovered that maybe the reason we got upgraded was because of the construction of the new hotel right beside us but the walls are thick enough to mask out any noise. Plus for the extra space and the view, it was a small price to pay.

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our crib (for one night only)

First thing I always check when we check in is the coffee bar and I have to say this one is an A+

Now, that’s not a bad view to play hide and seek if I do say so myself.

 

 img_7681As guests, we got unlimited access to Wild Wadi which was only a buggy away and guests had their own entrance, you still had to fall in line but it was much shorter than any line I’ve been on at these water parks so no biggie…

The boys loved their Wild Wadi adventure so much that they asked if it was possible to sleep there.

For dinner, we were given dinner vouchers that we can use at any of the  Jumeirah Group restaurants and because I’m half mexican at heart (or maybe at the stomach) we chose to eat at Tortuga. As half board, we get a starter, a main, and dessert for each voucher and the kids eat free. After eating all these our bill was only 45 aed and that was only for the water.

Kid’s meal: Chicken fingers 

Carnitas Asada

Albondigas

Churros 

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Tortuga @night

Waking up with this view with a cup of my STRONG coffee (5:30am view)

breakfast at Hanaya

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I woke up early the next day to soak in the view and to maximize my posh coffee maker for the day. Breakfast was I’d say “normal” as far as hotel breakfasts go and that’s actually my favorite part of any staycation we’ve been to.

 

We got to use the hotel’s abra to go around their property which consisted of 3(?) hotels 

After  breakfast, we brought the kids to the Sinbad Kid’s club and because the boys are older now, we got to leave the kids behind but as we got back to pick them up they were glued to the desktop watching videos and playing games which wasn’t really my cup of tea. So we brave the heat and off to Wild Wadi we go.

Before checking out, we even had the pleasure of meeting their in-house turtles which is part of their Turtle Rehabilitation program (sorry no pics- got so caught up in the moment I forgot!)

another light fixture in our room

 

All in all I’d like to say it was a successful weekend, thanks in part to Jumeirah and Daddy’s uncanny ability to sniff out a good deal. We got to celebrate our youngest’ birthday and experienced new things together as a family. My hope is that when they get older they appreciate our unconventional way of celebrating their birthdays and this results to them  having that thirst for experiencing new things. To have the lust to travel, to eat or at least try new things, and to  live life to the fullest. I think that all that is the greatest gift we can give them.

Happy Birthday Aden! Love, Dad, Mom, and Kuya

 

 


less is more…

at the airport and they couldn’t be bothered on what lies ahead…

We’ve noticed that our boys have spent more time on their gadgets and less time on conversing with us.

Conversations like “How was school?” and “Did you have fun at the party?” are all answered with a nonchalant “Fine“.

This type of behavior scares me and makes me frustrated. BUT I also know that no one else to blame but me.

Oh but wait! there is always someone or something to blame and for this instance the mighty IPAD was my enemy of choice. And so it begins our quest to make our kids spend less time on their gadgets and more time with us. And because of this there were new rules that had to be mandated.

and the new rules are…

  1. No gadgets in the car.
  2. No gadgets when we go out.
  3. No gadgets at the table during dinner.
  4. No more gadgets after dinner (except on the weekends and that’s if all their homework is done.)
  5. Every time they misbehave an hour is taken away from their precious gadget time.

It’s been over a month now and I think the boys have adjusted just fine. It wasn’t easy in the beginning but we’ve managed to keep their gadget’s time to a minimum and I think we are all better for it (at least that’s what I want to think).

Well for one, the kids communicate more. Now when I ask about their day in school, they start by telling me who was in school and who was home sick like a roll call, then we start with what they did, what food their friends had for lunch and so on and on and on. Seriously, I have to switch off the radio in the car because they want my full attention when they speak something which I don’t mind at all.

Another positive thing I can think of is that the boys obey me more…why? because I always threaten to take away their gadget time if they don’t follow me or make me upset.

But of course just like any addict trying to quit the bad habit our ride hasn’t been smooth sailing.

Kuya not happy that daddy gets to use his gadget (old dogs…) and the little one entertaining himself by sitting upside down.

One example would be when we are waiting for food at a restaurant. Before, when we do eat at sit down restaurants that’s when we always give them their gadgets so they’d sit still and not bother anyone or play with the forks and knives. But because we don’t carry their gadgets everywhere anymore (rule no.2) there’s always drama, drama, drama.

I know that this in not the end of our journey but at least for now I feel like we’re trying to raise well-balanced boys who can one day torture their children the way we did to them…


The bare necessities

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Paris is always a good idea – Audrey Hepburn

For spring break 2016 we treated the boys to a trip to Disneyland. But living 15 hours away from Orlando and not crazy (yet!) to take on that kind of flight with the boys, our next best bet was Paris. A skip, hop and a plane away and viola! We find ourselves in the city of lights.

Disneyland Paris is about 40 km away from Paris but definitely accessible by train. If you have the type of family who can backpack around Europe then by all means that route is the best and cheaper. But we on the other hand, didn’t want to kill ourselves (and file for divorce) with carrying luggage and hauling the boys around the train station so we booked a taxi to get there. It may cost a little extra but the convenience and the peace of mind was worth it. Plus, if you have a 6 and 3-year-old like us – you might want to reconsider your options.

There are quite a few Disney hotels to cater to any budget, our hotel of choice was the Hotel Cheyenne ($$). Arriving to the place boy oh boy were my boys’ mind blown away. It’s themed to be like an old town USA, cowboy theme. Which for my boys was absolutely AHMAAAAAAZIIIIIING!!!! They were thrilled to no end. From the bunk beds at the rooms to the boot shaped table lamp no detail was overlooked by these two errrr… three (husband included). As for me, I guess I was being a bit of a grown up (and a little bit spoiled thanks to Dubai hotels) that I was definitely not impressed.  The husband told me to keep  my thoughts to myself as not to dampen on the boys’ mood (his included). So with my mouth shut (for about 5 minutes) and opinions to myself (for about 5 minutes) we carried on. I don’t know what I was expecting but the amenities were basic “bare necessities” I believe is the best way to describe it.


Maybe because it was my first time in Paris and in a Disneyland hotel at that, that maybe I may have romanticized the whole thing in my mind and expected to much. Oh! and the best part was, there was NO WiFi at the rooms (Where am I? Bates Motel?!) Upon advisement by my wise friend Michelle, to look on the bright side and that the room was only for sleeping so all I really needed was a bed. With these words I carried on with my tail behind my legs.

The next morning with a renewed spirit, we hit the ball rolling with our Magic hour perk. Magic hour is extra hours at the park for hotel guests before the park opens to the public. Now that’s the kind of exclusivity that I’m talking about.

With a smile on my face and a better outlook on our hotel, we got our breakfast, hopped on our free shuttle to the park and took advantage of the short-er lines to the rides for two hours. Because the hotel was only 5 mins away by bus and the shuttle comes almost every 3 minutes my mind was at peace that at anytime we got tired or it would be too much for the boys we could always go back to the hotel to rest. We enjoyed the day riding the Dumbo ride again and again and again and again. But the boys were relentless, they would’ve stayed at the park ALL day if we let them, for a few hours there was no complaints, no whining and no fighting. Eat, sleep, repeat and day 2 was pretty much the same.  But with the boys loving every minute and seeing them so happy made the whole trip and the hotel’s shortcomings worth it.


I’m not always the best at admitting I was wrong but I have to say it wasn’t so bad to just have the bare necessities at the hotel. Having no wi-fi in the rooms made us spend time with each other and dare I say it, talk to our children more (imagine the horror?!). Maybe the Disney people have something here…concentrate on spending more time with family and less on going online. Or maybe they were just cutting corners to make more profit but whatever it was I enjoyed spending time with my boys and to see and experience Disneyland through their eyes was surely a moment I will treasure.


Lesson learned: First impressions may last but giving second chances may change your outlook on life and how you deal with the people you love.😜

 

*all that awakening and personal growth from this? Maybe the husband should take me to Paris more often no?

 

The bare necessities of life will come to you
They'll come to you!

So just try and relax, yeah cool it
Fall apart in my backyard
'Cause let me tell you something little britches
If you act like that bee acts, uh uh
You're working too hard

And don't spend your time lookin' around
For something you want that can't be found
When you find out you can live without it
And go along not thinkin' about it
I'll tell you something true

The bare necessities of life will come to you

My Dental Clinic

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The DENTIST!

We always get a bad rap on cartoons or on TV or in real life. Kids and adults alike are often afraid of us even before they meet us (Yes! I’m a Dentist by profession but a mother by trade – if that makes any sense). I think one of the things that makes us unlikable is the very “intimate” invasion of personal space by a complete stranger on the first meeting (talk about first impressions, am I right?). Poking in your mouth like its nobody’s business and if you’re lucky you get to meet Mr. Drill (every Dentist’s best friend and partner in crime).

So with my own kids I made a conscious decision to ease them into the whole dental experience as smoothly as I can. As a dentist myself, it’s my personal nightmare to have children who are afraid of the dentist and especially ones with bad teeth, I mean, can you just imagine? I didn’t want to have “that kid” who wouldn’t sit on a dental chair because they were so scared (when in reality their own mother is a dentist – ok none practicing, but still!)

When my eldest was younger, I used to bring him to my friend in Manila and I’d let him sit on the chair and have my friend check him. Since we go home every year, it kinda substituted for his yearly check up. (I’ll give you details of her clinic once I get in touch with her)

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Dr. Eva with my 3-year-old

My youngest was a different story, he’s only 3 which means he hasn’t seen my friend in Manila (only because last year instead of meeting her at her clinic, we went out for a buffet lunch-priorities, right?!). But as I was brushing his teeth, I found early signs of cavities on his upper molar teeth which is actually not a surprise since he eats gummy bears like there was no tomorrow. There really is no one to blame but me, I have no excuses.

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My 6-year-old having his teeth checked with my 3-year-old watching from the front row.

Not willing to wait until we go home for the summer, we went and saw, Dr. Eva Gorton, she’s a partner at My Dental Clinic along Al Thanya road. I knew about her because I’m very good friends with her assistant Malene. All these years that I’ve known her I have never heard her complain about her boss or her job or her working environment which tells me that the clinic and the people running it are doing something right. And having been an assistant myself, it means a lot to be taken cared of and valued by your employer, on that basis alone, I knew my boys would be in good hands.

She doesn’t actually specialize on children but they are welcome to see her. Most of her patients are children of the adult kind (if you know what I mean!). To be perfectly honest it’s exactly  what I want for my boys, I want someone who will give it to them straight, no sugar-coating. These boys are smart, if you give them an inch they’ll take a mile and this is something I am passionate about, so I’m not taking any chances. Going to the Dentist is something they would have to do for the rest of their lives so might as well get used to it, NOW.

I’m happy to report that all the procedure went well. We did have to come back a couple of times for some sealants and we even managed a visit to see Sara, their hygienist. My boy was the bravest, on our second last visit, he even got an injection to help them clean the tooth deeper (too technical? I know, I’ll stop). Point is he was braver than most of the adults I’ve seen and no one could be prouder than mommy, DMD!

Kuya say “ahhhhhhhhh!”


Yachting Dubai

This is a very very late post that it could have #throwback after it. But it doesn’t happen often and it might not happen again and I never thought I’d have the chance to do it and these are the reasons why I’d like to share it with you all.

Last December, (I told you, it’s a late post!) we had the pleasure of having family over from Manila and the US. We had months to prepare for this trip and so we tried to plan it as best as we could. Through a grapevine of networks we were able to get a good deal on a chartered yacht and since we probably can’t afford this type of luxury with no internal discount wait! let me rephrase that – since we probably can’t afford this ever doing it while we had guests over would be perfect.

Our 3-year-old loving his rented abode.

At first I thought it was a small dinghy or a motorboat or something similar but when we got to the Marina it was a proper yacht, it had 3 cabins, 3 heads, a galley and a wide deck to fit 15 people…F-A-N-C-Y!!! Right?! The interior was better than our first apartment in Dubai. Heck! It might even be better than our apartment at the moment! Aside from the Captain and 2 skippers there was a steward to help and serve us with the food that we brought on board. Soda drinks were included but we brought our own.

For two hours as we cruised around the shores of Dubai, we saw the landmarks from a different perspective. Sitting on the deck with my boys by my side, watching the sun set, life stood still. And as my 6-year-old boy would say … “ahhhhhh! This is the life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


It was so windy on the deck that everybody was cooped up in the main salon

 

Possibly our only group picture from this visit

Au Revoir Dubai! (at least for a few hours)

 It was a wonderful experience and something that would definitely stay with me for awhile.

* As I was writing this post, I had every intention to share details as to how much , where, and from whom we got the charter but upon checking the website given to me there was no mention of chartering any yachts that led me to believe that this might be more internal that I thought. So for the safety of my friend’s, friend, friend…job I decided not to…who knows I might need her/him again next time 😜😜

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