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 😜😜

International day

 

 

Raffles International day: students from 92 different countries

With almost half of Dubai being populated by expats. It’s only fitting that the schools here celebrate their diversity. Thus I present to you, International day. It’s one of the or maybe THE most looked forward to event on the school calendar. And why shouldn’t it be? There’s music, there’s dancing, you get to learn different cultures, you get to see each country’s landmarks and natural resources, you get to hear different languages being spoken to all around you, and of course there are a lot of food for you to sample!


Each country is assigned a stall which is usually represented and designed by a parent/s who shares and talks about all sorts of interesting facts to the kids about their heritage.

In both of my children’s schools it became like a food stall festival, with every country offering us famous foods they are known for which I thoroughly enjoyed!

It was like my boys and I travelled the world in 3 hours and we are definitely better for it. Living with so many different nationalities opens your minds to different cultures and it makes you more accepting of each of our differences.

 

JINS: “Everyone Belongs” I love this mural (?) they have on the school lobby

If there’s anything I could hope for my boys to understand after all this is that people are different, but no matter who we are and where we come from, no one ever has the right to belittle one another, whether through words, actions or in their thoughts.  And once they’ve had that maybe they can teach it to me too.

 

Aden and I circa 2013@ JINS for Adrian’s International day


Aden and I 2016 @ JINS for his International day


Dome Box Dubai

The Dome Box is a dome theatre with a state-of-the-art 360-degree screen that offers a unique audio-visual experience.¹ In lay man terms it’s like going in a planetarium but like 1,000 gazzilion times better!!! Totally blew my inner geek nerd mind away…

We got the tickets by winning it from Dubai 92, 5 months ago. I’ve had it for the longest time but never really got to doing it because to be really honest, I had second thoughts of bringing my 3 year old. His attention span is so fickle that I’m always so scared that he’s going to blow a fuse any moment. (FYI, it is getting better at least i’d like to think so…)

But then, their nursery class got to go on a class trip and he absolutely loved it!!! He has been talking about it non stop that it raised our curiosity and we finally decided to go last weekend before the 6 months validity of the ticket expires.

When we arrived there had just been a birthday party at the site and my curious side asked the staff if it was possible for me to see the set up and take pics while they were cleaning up. It really looks like a cool place to hold a party especially for those around 7 and up ages. Upon inquiry the birthday party starts at about 125 aed per head with a minimum of 10 kids. Of course ++ if you want them to have popcorn during the movie or for their adult companions to have a small snack, anything is possible, if you have deep pockets (as it goes in Dubai😉).

The movies are 30 minute shorts that are educational and at the same time entertaining. I learned so much on “The life of trees” that I didn’t know about. Our second one was about astronauts which takes you to the everyday life of an astronaut living at the space station. I’m not sure how often they change the movies but I’m hoping they change again before our other tickets expire.

 

Check out their website for more info but personally I found it more interesting once I walked in on their space. Plus the staff was extremely friendly so inquiring alone was a pleasant experience in itself.

¹http://www.thedomeboxdubai.ae

Little Bangkok

I’ve been meaning to try this place for awhile now, so imagine my excitement when the husband said he wanted to eat here for Friday lunch.

They open at 12 noon on Fridays and we were the only ones there. Susi our server said people usually come in around 2PM on Fridays but to be honest I didn’t mind it at all that we were the only ones there

As soon as we came in they escorted us to the kid’s play area which was a great surprise!!! (First impression: 5 stars!!!) We ordered in peace while the boys played in their own area. I loved the quiet time alone with my iPhone husband that I didn’t even pull out my big ball of yarn 😜

Here’s what we ordered:

Now, normally I’m a water only please type of girl but the drinks menu looked soooooo good that I thought to myself “Hey! Maybe, it’s worth it!”I’m sorry to say this but it wasn’t.

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From left to right: Cha Nom Yen: Street Styled Thai iced tea with milk 😃; Oriental Fuse: Iced Jasmine green tea with mint leaves😕; Nana: Honeydew, cucumber, and mint😕

A staple order for my husband: Cream of Tom Yum with Seafood

Best dish of the day: Yum Talay Krob: Crispy seafood salad with celery, onion, and tomatoes in a spicy Thai dressing
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Left to right:Guay Tiew Gai Ruam:Crispy batter-fried chicken and red roasted chicken, and your choice of noodles; Bamee Poo Nim Tod:Crispy fried soft shell crab served on a bed of egg noodles (picture grabbed from Little Bangkok website);Guay Tiew Ped Yang: Crispy-skin roasted duck and aromatic gravy, with your choice of noodles

I was having a ramen craving and I guess the boys got it too because we all ordered noodles with different toppings. You get the noodles dry with the toppings on top and a separate bowl for the broth along with that an array of condiments to suit your taste. So in other words I guess it’s like a make your own noodle bowl mix kinda thing. Which I loved but  I have to say the boys didn’t appreciate, My six year old who had the chicken, ate the chicken and asked for white rice and left the noodles alone. My husband ate his crab but said he didn’t taste anything mind blowing, it was all batter. But if I can put his comment in an emoji, it would look like this 😐. Meaning it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good either. I on the other hand didn’t care for their comments because…I LOVED IT!!!!! Susi our server asked us if we wanted my son’s leftover noodles for take away and my husband said “No!” but until now I’m kicking myself for not saying “YES!

So all in all it was a good Friday lunch, we tried something new and our tummies are bigger and better for it.

😋😋😋 3 yummy face out of 5.