UCB playdate

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Last weekend we attended our last playdate before we go for summer holidays. It was a playdate straight out from a United Colours of Benetton catalogue. We had delegations from Poland, Germany and of course the Philippines. You think that with the cultural diversity of Dubai we’d have more of these mixed nationality playdates, but we don’t. Firstly I think it’s because we Filipinos tend to stick together like “white on rice“. And with over 450,000 Filipinos living in Dubai alone we tend socialize and make friends with our own kind (most of the time). Secondly, and I think this is the main reason why…is because Arnie and I are not really sociable people (SHOCKER!). We like socializing with friends that we already have but to make the effort and go out of our way to make new friends…well (I can’t comment).

20140622-090838-32918753.jpgBut with Adrian being 1 out of 3 Filipinos in his school, a diverse playdate was inevitable. I had to suck up and face any insecurities I have and take my child to any playdate he gets invited to. I’d like Adrian (and Aden) to grow up without any reservations on making new friends with people of different backgrounds. I’d consider it a personal failure if they don’t at least try.

We were asked to bring “whatever” we wanted and I thought what would the boys like to eat. Viola! Chocolate cake! Our table spread turned out great. Mommy A, or shall I say Daddy A made pizzas for the kids and mommy B brought a whole assortment of mezzes that she said we could eat for a week! She even brought a bottle of wine (shhhhh!) for all us to enjoy. While the kids enjoyed playing by themselves (Thank God Adrian can somehow swim) The adults  were feasting on our “lavish” spread and socializing with each other. I’m sorry I have no pics, I’m so rusty with my social skills but I’m pretty sure checking on your iPhone every minute is not on the list so I kept mine hidden in my bag.

The kids adjusted well to each other since they go to school together but the more interesting and fun to watch dynamic were the adults easing in to each other. Aside from the polite smiles and good mornings while doing the school run everyday we actually don’t know each other so trying to find the right conversation topics took awhile to warm up. Nevertheless we made it work. Mommy A was such a gracious host I don’t think anybody felt left out. By early evening we had to cut it short since it was time for bed for our little ones. The boys didn’t want to go home, of course mine was extra vocal about his feelings even suggesting we continue this “party” in our house! We left the get together with such high spirits and positive energy (with a bit of a buzz) from the fun and relaxing afternoon. We made plans of doing this again next weekend but sadly we are leaving this week which made me regret it for two seconds 😉.

I do hope Adrian gets to see his nursery friends once again but the fact remains that they will all go to different schools come September. But if this get together has taught me anything it’s to always say YES to new experiences and open my doors to new possibilities and friends. Looks like in this scenario, my Adrian has taught me some important life lessons for a change.

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vacation equation

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I’ve got vacation fever on my mind!

I can’t do anything properly anymore let alone write a decent post. My head is on cloud nine thinking about our upcoming holiday. Going to new places is fun but coming home is another level! We always want to relive old memories but also make new ones! (naks!)

 

“Never forget that anticipation is an important part of life. Work’s important, family’s important, but without excitement, you have nothing. You’re cheating yourself if you refuse to enjoy what’s coming.”
― Nicholas Sparks, Three Weeks With My Brother

 

And because I have so much time on my hands (NOT!) I’ve devised a simple equation on how to manage our time effectively. I know OC to the next level stuff!

 

“The pleasure isn’t in doing the thing, the pleasure is in planning it.”
― John Green, Paper Towns

 

At first it seems like a simple equation:

X = a + n

X being the several days we are in Manila; a – days spent with Arnie’s side and n – on my side of the family. Isn’t it so simple?

Weeeeel, it gets kinda complicated when you factor in that I am close to my father and mother’s side of the family so my half of the equation gets sub divided into 2.

 X = a + (½ n)

Mind you, not so easy to manage when people are only free on the weekends.

Then there’s the time with friends. Arnie is ok to see either his College or Highschool buddies unlike me who has to see both sets of friends every time we come home.

X = [a – (CF or HS)] + [½ n – (CF + HS)]

and then the errand days and trip to the salon (for both mind you), derma, massage, shopping etc etc

X = {[a – (C or HS)] + [½ n – (CF + HS)]} – e

Exciting stuff isn’t it? I’ve given you a glimpse of how much my brain can complicate seemingly simple stuff. I’m sure and admit that if I don’t obsessively schedule, things will still fall into place and we could still somehow manage to see and go out with all the people that we like to see. But isn’t it so much fun this way? Hehe

 Wishing everybody a fruitful and fun summer ahead! ☀️

 

“The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting”
― Andy Warhol


Happy Birthday Aden!!

He’s always happy 😊 when mommy ❤️ is around.

I hide behind a corner and his smile turns to a frown😫.

He loves his brother for life they are bound👬.

They pick each other up when one is feeling down.

 

He runs to daddy 💙 for some fun and games.

He laughs the loudest when the ball ⚽️ is in play.

He rules our house like he is King James👑.

His cry 😭 makes us tremble every night🌙 or day☀️.

Today he is a year older from one to two.

Baby 👶no more, now he is my little boy🏃.

We wish him only happiness like any parent 👪 would do.

Now it’s time to stop writing 📝 and buy him a toy🎁.

 


HHWD

Driving home from Sharjah airport where we just dropped off our family to go back home to the Philippines, my eldest was extremely sad. He wanted to go with them and play with them some more. He was so upset that instead of his normal reaction of kicking and screaming he had his head bowed down (chin to chest) and was silently crying. I asked him if he wanted to sit in front with me and he nodded his head sadly. I know it’s not safe for a child to sit at the passenger’s seat – I already got a lecture from the husband so please spare me.

I wanted him upfront because I wanted to try to explain to him why we cannot go home with them today and I wanted to do it being able to look into his eyes.

At first he had all sorts of arguments and excuses and I was trying my best to stay calm and not lose my temper and ask him to “shut up!”. Then I won via a technicality, I said we forgot our passports back home and would have to go back to the airport next time. This appeased him a little but he was still very sad. Winning the argument was bittersweet, on one side I was happy, I got him to stop arguing with me but on the other, I know he was still feeling very upset with the situation.

As a mother, I felt for my child I wanted to protect him from the pain he was feeling but what can I do? This was the reality of our situation living abroad – people visit to come and play with them but they have to go back home eventually. Maybe a bit more visitors and he’ll get used to the routine (ahem ahem).

I tried to console him by saying his cousins will be waiting back home in the Philippines when we come over and that we can always call them up via FaceTime. He accepted these reasons but still kept his head down. Then uncharacteristically, he asked if he can hold my hand. I was surprised by his request but obliged reluctantly because I was driving the stick shift. We drove in silence for a bit and he eventually fell asleep and I got my hand back just in time to shift gears.

I shed a tear for my boy that afternoon and prayed to God to give me strength and the wisdom to help him deal with this pain.

I know Holding Hands While Driving was very irresponsible of me but at that moment knowing that by just holding my hand was easing my son’s pain, I felt like I was doing a great job as his mother.

Photo on 6-6-12 at 11.42 AM #2

Adrian 7 days before he became a “kuya” which prompted him to grow up.


moving up and forwards

IMG_6884Last week, we attended Adrian’s graduation. No he’s not off to college yet! In fact he has only completed his first year of school but because they are just so adorable – I cannot complain. I wish there was a “official” videographer so we could all have clear copies of the event. But because there was none, you and I would have to make do with our “amateur” video of the said event.

Warning: screaming children in 3,2,1…


Buenas Dubai

deer-in-headlightsLiving in Dubai for almost a decade we have gotten used to a certain order of things in our everyday lives. We wake up-office/school drop off /pick up-home-chores-wind down-sleep and the cycle begins again the next day. So when family announces they’re coming over to visit we had something exciting to look forward to. But aside from the early warning and a year to prepare, I was still caught unprepared like a deer in headlights.

My husband’s whole family came over for a visit and “whole” as in all, well except for the parental units. I know it’s no big deal to host 4 adults and 5 kids but you have to understand, I’ve never even hosted a lunch or dinner in my house for more than 10 people (mind you it’s not by chance, it’s by choice) and here I am hosting a whole week to 9 people.

This is our second time to take a holiday with them outside the Philippines so I guess it’s safe to say we don’t do travelling in small groups, we prefer to do it in herds! My husband acting as the host this time, actually prefers it this way because it would mean we don’t have to do all the touristy things all over again if they did travel in 2 batches. But the OC, wanna be perfect hostess in me was in panic mode days before they arrived. I wanted each and every one of them to feel welcome and special. My inner Martha Stewart was being tested and challenged.

20140606-171839-62319330.jpgWe were 6 adults and 7 kids living in a 2 bedroom apartment with only 2 toilets and baths for a week. But aside from the three-hour prep time before we could leave the house, there was no major issue with our living arrangements, at least that’s what I would like to think. Everybody apart from one brother-in-law slept in the kids’ room, there were some issues with snoring but I think even Martha can’t do anything about that…or can she??? I kept my ears to the ground and my eyes open for any sign of discomfort, I wanted to give them what they needed before they even ask.

The husband was ever so coolly relaxed, so much that it was like we didn’t have any guests in the house, which drove me crazy. I guess because these are his brother and sister and plus he’s the youngest so nurturing and taking care of them was never in his vocabulary. He has always been used to being the one taken cared of by them and taken cared of we were. My sister-in-law brought so much food it sustained us for almost a week. My brother-in-law was the over all general manager of the kitchen with his wife as his right hand (awwww so sweet!).

With their comfort and tummies taken cared of, my only assignment was to plan the days’ activities. Adrian had 3 days off school but was requested required to go to school on the remaining 2 days to practice for graduation. So I had to plan activities around his schedule but only for the two days at that time it felt like a big challenge haha.

Our schedule were as follows:

SUNDAY: We started off with a drive around Dubai taking pictures of iconic places but it was sooooo HOT it didn’t last long until we decided to go to the Mall of the Emirates, which made my sisters very happy.

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We were so many you can barely see Burj al Arab.

MONDAY: A visit to At the top of Burj Khalifa which meant more shopping because it was at the mall hehe.

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I bought the At the top tickets in advance (much cheaper) but I bought one for Adrian too not expecting he’d be requested required to go to school that day…so we were like contestants from the Amazing race running all around Dubai Mall just to make it to our scheduled time.

TUESDAY: Desert Safari afternoon, it was ok but VERY HOT! I was the one native from Dubai and I was the one who broke down from heat exhaustion – so embarrassing!!

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We had two group pics like this the other one I was in it, but I like this one better because almost everyone had their silly face ON.

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Love my boy’s expression here, he looks so happy even if it was freakin’ HOT!

WEDNESDAY: Yas Water World and THURSDAY was Ferrari World. We stayed one night at the Park inn hotel Yas Island. With the comfy beds and buffet breakfast I know my guests were well taken cared for (at least for a night). We even got a room only for the big kids to give the parents a small break from the noise and chaos.

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These two are 6 weeks apart. I love how they immediately gravitated towards each other on their first day.

FRIDAY: Was IKEA day, not a good idea on a FRIDAY, BUT the boys were so overwhelmed by the crowd they opted to take the kids and go home instead, leaving us girls to go crazy in the household department.

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The kids under their fathers’ loving care. They passed by the electronics shop before heading home.

SATURDAY: Ski Dubai day, I think the kids enjoyed it more than the adults.

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SUNDAY: was reserved for some last-minute photo ops on some landmarks we missed and dinner at Dubai Mall and to see the fountain after.

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TIP for your picky eater: Tell them it’s One Direction‘s favourite food and they will eat it with no reservations.

MONDAY: Their last day was dedicated to buy some pasalubongs and some last-minute shopping at Outlet mall.

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Which meant the kids were at Chuck E. Cheese.

Viola! one week has come and gone once again. The long wait was over with a blink of an eye but I hope the experiences and the things they saw and learned will last them a lifetime! naks! may ganun?

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We rarely had group pics, a picture with more than 3 people is very rare and have to be posted.

 

 

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cousins❤️

 

 

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My Brother in law in his favourite theme park in the whole WIDE world!!! 😉 (insert inside joke)