repetto dreams

I’ve been in the hunt for a comfy black ballet flats for some time now. I’ve bought a few before but I always have buyer’s remorse as soon as I wear them because simply put – they HURT!  And with running after the boys and doing my errands I simply can’t afford to wear insensible shoes. I’m so adamant about my comfort that when I find something that I like I really use it over and over ( Just ask my dilapidated FIT FLOPS)

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Picture borrowed from ShoeRA.com

Introducing Repetto shoes, their shoe store at Dubai Mall caught my attention because of their dainty window display and the big “Part Sale” sign outside. The brand sounds familiar to me but when I checked their prices it was a little on the high-end of my budget so I had to leave and do more research before I go ahead and get myself a pair. After some online research I found that lots of bloggers were raving about this brand (which got me excited). The final nail to the coffin was reading it in my fashion blogger guru Manila Fashion Observer‘s blog, I love her laid back style so much that I “try” to apply her style to mine with my twist of course.

After running some errands with the boys this morning, I brave myself to go to Dubai Mall. Two boys, one mom, no food available (Ramadan), and shopping is a deadly recipe for tantrums. But I was so determined, I went ahead and braced myself. My plan for action was to satisfy the boys first, I took them to Hamley’s toy store and gave them time to go around and play. As we left the toy store with NO purchases (mind you) I told my eldest that it was time for mommy to look at something and he agreed to this. While at Repetto I just set them on the couch with the iPad and I was ready to go. They were well-behaved as I was looking, choosing, fitting and paying that it made my shoe buying experience all the more sweeter. (Phew!) (#kayangkayakahitwalangyaya)

This was my choice, a wedge heeled ballerina aka NORMA in Glazed calfskin and Goatskin suede. I know I said I wanted flats but I thought for the price might as well go a little more than the norm. The lovely and accommodating sales rep taught me that if the suede gets too loose in time (like they normally do) all I had to do was untie the bow and pull to tighten the shoe (my thought bubble: “what! the bow is not just for show?“) I’ve used the wrong ballet shoes all these years! These are the true deal!

20130728-190254.jpgI wore them out of the store and I have to say they were so soft and comfy even when I got home I didn’t realize I was still wearing them while I was doing my chores. That’s how much my feet loved them.

Hello Repetto! It was nice to finally meet you and I’m sure your “NORMA” shoe is not my last.*

Love, my tired big feet

*subject to approval of the budget from hubby

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Modesh World

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Modesh in a Golf cart saying hi to everyone

Summer here in Dubai is also known to us residents as Dubai Summer Sale but along with that, a familiar character also shows up on posters and billboards all around the city and his name is MODESH.

To keep the kids happy (not just the adults with all the shopping) they made Modesh World. From the website Modesh World is:

The largest indoor edutainment venue in the region, Modhesh World’s Summer Camp features a host of themed games, fun activities and allows supervised access to the wonderful world of Modhesh.

On this particular weekend we visited Modesh World after Iftar (Iftar (Arabic: إفطار‎ ifṭār “breakfast”), refers to the evening meal when Muslims break their fast during the Islamic month of Ramadan. – from wikipedia). Momma’s gotta eat her carnival treats you know!

Visiting the place on a Friday during Ramadan after Iftar I was expecting the place packed with families but the place was surprisingly empty and I loved it!!! Ok, the sponsors may frown upon this but as a mom of two boys with one running all over the place, a big open area is not a bad thing. The place was cool because of the strong AC (and that’s the way I like it). There were no lines to anything and we weren’t bumping in to people because the place was so big. Need I say more? I loved it because it was not crowded (period).

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My observation was if we remove Modesh from the picture, the place looked like a big arcade! Husband even compared it to Fiesta Carnival (it’s an indoor theme park back home that was the place of our youth – feeling old!) Everything had a fee but how can you say no when the kids are looking up to you with those big puppy eyes! I was glad when Adrian saw this sandbox with a playground set in it. I bet he would have loved to spend all his time in there if we let him. Btw, this was free.

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even Aden joined in on the FUN

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Adrian as usual was in 7th heaven. With him expressing himself clearly now it’s such a treat to hear him call out “Look mommy!” or say “That was so much FUN!” I swear I think I only take him to places like these just so I can hear him scream with excitement (That’s what parenting is all about right? haha). Since the place was not full, I let Aden out of his stroller and walk around. He is still in the process of learning how to walk and so he is very slow that’s why I refrain from doing this when we are in a crowded area because I don’t want him to get trampled on but because we had the place all to ourselves he was walking all over the place.

Food wise it was ok, It had the usual carnival fare popcorn, snow cones, corn in a cup, chips in a stick, crepes and more. There was something new that caught my eye “Chocolate Shawarma” but when I was going to try it the attendant was on a break and no one was relieving his place so I just hoped on to the next store to get my gelato from Napoli Ice Cream instead which made Aden very happy.

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The place had a petting zoo (with a fee – of course) and rides, arcade games, and carnival games but most of all Adrian loved the big slide, he’s actually in to it a lot lately so we spent a good hour just waiting for him finish his appetite for the thing and even after an hour he was not ready to go.

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We thought that after all this FUN, the boys would be tired but when we got home they were back to their hyper selves. Boy oh boy! These kids have a lot of energy! (feeling  old – AGAIN!) But despite of living in the Middle East, during Ramadan, in the middle of summer we have a place that’s kid friendly and cool to visit and enables you to have some FUN with the family.


Summer is for sports (?)

To keep my little man entertained for the summer, we enrolled him at summer camp. There are a lot of establishments offering summer camp programs here in Dubai you just have to choose the program that your kid likes. For us it was really a no brainer, we have boys so it had to be something with sports. E-Sports Holiday camp was perfect for Adrian, since he has not shown any inclination to any specific sport yet E-Sport’s summer camp have different sport activity everyday for the kids to play. One day they could be swimming, then tennis the next and basketball etc etc.

They have many venues here in Dubai and the closest one to our house is in Winchester School. They only have the program for the month of July at Winchester and so we enrolled Adrian during the last two weeks of July. If I had my way, I would’ve applied Adrian from the first week on immediately after school ended but Arnie wanted Adrian to rest a bit from school, after all it is HIS summer vacation.

From the beginning Adrian has resisted going to summer camp every morning but in the afternoon when I pick him up he is his usual smiley self. I was getting worried because he might be being bullied by the bigger boys at camp but since they separate the groups by ages I hope that is not the case.

At the back of my head I am always wondering and a bit worried why he always cries in the morning, it’s so out of his character because he loves going to school. But every time Arnie drops him off at camp there’s always a big drama fest one time Arnie said 3 coaches had to carry him inside the gym because he was kicking and screaming.

Then this morning as we were getting ready he said

“Mommy, I don’t want to go to camp, want to stay with mommy!”

I think my heart broke in a million pieces when I heard him say these words. But kids are smart you know, they know how to pull on your heartstrings, it may be because he can watch Disney channel all day or play with his iPhone when he is home but in my mind my son wants to spend time with me (delusional but a mom can dream right?). And so,I made the decision that instead of enrolling him in the same program in another school for August maybe I’ll just keep my Adrian close to me for a while. Soon enough there will be summers where he would rather go out with friends than spend it with me so I’m going to cherish these moments for now.

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Adrian being consoled by his fave coach

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free play for early birds before the session starts

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activity schedules for the different age groups

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Stranded at Home

We are in no shape and form what you call “home body” people. Every weekend we try to go out anywhere to do anything, sometimes we go out just to do nothing at all. But last thursday a pipe burst along Ibn Batutta blocking our main exit/entrance to our residence area (here’s the news piece on that http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp?xfile=data/nationgeneral/2013/July/nationgeneral_July316.xml§ion=nationgeneral) leaving us stranded at home during the weekend. There is another way in/out of our place but since this is a smaller one there is a lot of traffic. We tried to go out last friday night for some ice cream for dessert but as soon as we saw the long line of cars we decided it was not worth it. This incident and The holy month of Ramadan does not exactly present an ideal 6 year wedding anniversary celebration but as we always do, we make the best out of the situation.

and this is how we did it…

My morning was greeted with a sweet surprise anniversary gift from Arnie. Waiting for me at the kitchen counter was this Nescafé Dolce Gusto machine. Props to Arnie, you think he doesn’t listen when I give hints on what I want but in the end he always shines through.

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I only had one cup today but I’m looking forward to more great cups of coffee and will definitely share with you my thoughts.

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For lunch, because we couldn’t eat out (for more than one reason, can you believe it?), we called in for delivery. Arnie suggested we call Oregano it’s an italian restaurant close to his office (they do have other branches) and he only has nice things to say about the place. If you know my husband, this is totally out of his character. He prefers to eat his sinigang over and above anything else. This may seem insignificant to the normal person but I appreciated this small gesture.  I have to say I was impressed with the food from Oregano plus the boys loved the Spaghetti Gamberetti and I loved my Risotto con Salmone as well. Everything we ordered was a home run delicious. Would highly recommend this place if you are looking for a change in pace once in a while. Husband did say it does take a bit of a wait to receive your order when dining in, make sure you are not super hungry when you arrive.

Good coffee, with an even cooler coffee maker, good food that I didn’t have to cook, wearing our PJs and staying in bed the whole day definitely constitutes to making the best out of a bad situation wouldn’t you say?

Capping up our weekend anniversary are these sweet macaroons from Ladurée. (Need I say more? They’re the best!)20130721-091253.jpg

If all our future anniversaries will be as sweet as this one, I have to say I am looking forward to many many more.


KUYA

When I was pregnant with Adrian, my first born. My doctor was concerned about having a baby with Down Syndrome. Aside from my age it is also very common here in the Middle East because of the mix marriages that are common in these parts doctors here always make sure to test for this. My Arabic doctor suggested I take a amniocentesis. It’s a medical procedure where they take a small amount of amniotic fluid from the surroundings of the fetus and then it is examined for genetic disorders.

I was not sure about this procedure so I went to another OBGYN for a second opinion. My German doctor informed me of the risk of hurting the fetus then he asked me how important it was for me to find out if the baby had down syndrome. I was surprised about his question and when I couldn’t answer immediately he went ahead and said, “Are you prepared to terminate this pregnancy if the baby had Down Syndrome?” I quickly answered “Of course, not!” so he said why take the test and risk the fetus then. In the end we didn’t take the test and everything was fine.

But during those few weeks where we were waiting for Adrian to develop more so we can see signs via the ultra sound and we weren’t sure about him having the genetic disorder, I’ve accepted the possibilities and promised the fetus that I/we would love the baby no matter what. Ever since then I’ve had a special place in my heart for babies/children with Down Syndrome.

This commercial made me think of my two boys IF Adrian did have Down Syndrome. But even without the genetic disorder, I would love it if they grew up taking care of each other just like the two brothers in the commercial.


Lumpiang Togue

20130712-095434.jpgThere’s something about Ramadan that makes me think of Lent and during Lent because we can’t eat meat we always have Lumpiang Togue (bean sprouts in spring rolls in english?)  so I decided to make my own.

I think because of my OCD and having the need to always clean out the fridge I cook whatever is available to me and make it work. Sometimes I hit the jackpot but sometimes I fail. This is one of my success stories…

Here are my ingredients:

  1. one pack of Togue (we buy them by pack here)
  2. 1 pc onion
  3. 5 cloves of garlic
  4. 1 pack of ginisa mix from Ajinomoto (My fave)
  5. 1/2 Kilo of Shrimps (small ones)
  6. Lumpia wrapper

20130712-095442.jpgDirections:

  1. Saute onions, garlic and shrimp
  2. add togue
  3. I added some soy sauce and Knorr seasoning for taste
  4. let it cook for a while until everything looks cooked
  5. set aside and cool for awhile
  6. wrap with Lumpia wrapper
  7. keep in the fridge until you are ready to cook
  8. fry and serve (best served warm)

Ramadan Kareem

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I have been living in a Muslim country for almost 9 years now and I’m ashamed to say it but I still have a lot to learn about their culture and the holidays they celebrate. 

Ramadan in particular is a very meaningful time for them and upon research I have discovered these facts about it.

 

Ramadan is a Muslim holiday and is observed in the ninth lunar month in the Muslim lunar calendar. It is believed that in this month that the Qu’ran was revealed to the prophet Mohammad.

During Ramadan, Muslims all over the world restrain themselves from:

  • food
  • drink
  • sexual contact and intercourse
  • smoke

The fast is done during daylight hours for 30 days. 

What most people don’t know is that Ramadan is more than refraining from food and drink, but the follower must not partake in gossip, unlawful activities or thoughts. Worshippers must not look at unlawful things. Of course, those who are ill or small children do not fast. 

Ramadan is basically the spiritual cleansing of the soul through self restraint.

 

The Sudhoor and Iftar

The sudhoor is the light meal eaten prior to daylight. The fast begins after this meal and resumes until sundown. 

The iftar is when the fast ends for the day and a halal meal may be eaten. Any type of food may be eaten, however, the most popular are honey, breads, figs, dates, fruits, and olives. 

It is popular is some cultures for families to host “iftar meals”, in which familes and neighbors will come for the evening meal.

Eid al Fitr

The Eid is a 3 day festival following the end of Ramadan. During this time, Muslims recognize the poor and give to charity and to celebrate the blessings of Ramadan.

When is Ramadan?

Ramadan occurs once a year and the month and day varies from year to year. The sight of the crescent moon marks the start of Ramadan.

 

from: http://mideastfood.about.com/od/middleeasternfood101/a/ramadan.htm

 

Raising kids in a different country exposes them to different cultures. Opening their little minds to a diversity of nationalities makes them respect different people. As a parent I feel like it’s my responsibility to help them learn about it and guide them to treat people equally. It’s not easy sometimes because I as an adult already have my own views on different people and where they come from but maybe with my boys growing up here in Dubai, I can also learn to open my own eyes and maybe grow up a little too.