Weekend getaway

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For Arnie’s 37th birthday we “surprised” him with a weekend stay at Atlantis Hotel. Surprised in quotes because he actually gave me the green light to book the hotel, he just didn’t want to know the exact details about when (that was the surprise part).

It was nice to getaway for the weekend, even if we didn’t really leave Dubai, it felt like we were somewhere else. My boys were over the moon happy! The Lost Chambers Aquarium and the Aquaventure Water Park were just an elevator ride away! Oh and did I mention it was all free – all-inclusive with the hotel stay. Which made Arnie over the moon happy hehe.20131214-181339.jpg

With Aquaventure entrance at 250 per person (less 85 for UAE residents) and the Lost chambers at 100 add (less 25 with valid UAE ID) checking in made more sense to us. We got to take our time and relax visiting these places plus we got to go in two consecutive days. This fun-filled weekend plus endless chips, juice and candy (things I always over pack when we check in) leave my boys exhausted and full of sweets and salty snacks! I’m very sure our dentist will kill me on their next check ups but I’m pretty sure this makes me Mother of the Year in their book! (that’s all that matters, right?)

I do have to give special mention to the staff of Atlantis, The Palm. Everyone was pro active, anticipating our every need and offering to help even before we ask. Kudos to their Guest relations trainer (not familiar with the lingo).

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Today is Arnie’s actual birthday and all he wants to do is sleep in (couldn’t keep up with all the activities yesterday hehe).

To my dear husband, Happy birthday and we hope you enjoyed your “surprise” weekend as much as the kids enjoyed theirs.

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Twelve thousand nine hundred fourteen

If we didn’t have birthdays,
you wouldn’t be you.
If you’d never been born,
well then what would you do?
If you’d never been born,
well then what would you be?
You might be a fish!
Or a toad in a tree!
You might be a doorknob!
Or three baked potatoes!
You might be a bag full of
hard green tomatoes.
Or worse than all that…
Why, you might be a WASN’T!
A Wasn’t has no fun at all.
No, he doesn’t.A Wasn’t just isn’t. He just
isn’t present. But you…
You ARE YOU!
And, now isn’t that pleasant!
Happy Birthday To You!

from: Happy birthday to you by Dr. Seuss

12,914 days old and I am definitely happy I’m not a Wasn’t.

Birthdays make me think and appreciate the person who is celebrating their special day. But on my birthday, I appreciate more the people I have in my life. My boys most especially are tops on my list and I am truly THE lucky one to have them in my life.

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my greatest gifts

I am very grateful for all that I am and I have, everything else is definitely gravy.


Adrian: I am four!

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Adrian turns Four today! We did not throw him a party this year but we planned a weekend for him that we think he would enjoy. We celebrated his birthday the weekend before until his actual birthday which was a total of 4 days. Four days of spoiling Adrian.

Our plan was to bring the boys to Ferrari World and stay at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at YAS Island. We were all set to go but on Thursday Arnie wasn’t feeling well, so taking the boys to Ferrari World seemed to taxing for him, thinking of a low-key activity, we decided to take the boys to a movie. We watched Despicable Me 2 and I was happy that Adrian didn’t seem to mind the cancelled trip to Ferrari World. After the movie we went straight to YAS Island to check in at the hotel for some R&R (whatever that means with two kids in tow).

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In my efforts to make him feel special that weekend, I brought some gifts to the hotel with us and hid them around the room while he was sleeping, so when he woke up, we told him his presents were hiding and he had to look for it! It was so much fun watching Adrian go on his treasure hunt. He even wanted to look for all his presents before he opened them all up and started playing for his loooong time overdue presents.

must explain: @2 years old Adrian had a party in Manila where he got some presents that were not “age appropriate” for him at that time (judged by the mother – me!) so i brought them with me here in Dubai and waited till the time was right.

He is soooo much into Toy Story lately that all his presents were in that theme.

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opening his presents at the hotel

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on our way home from Abu Dhabi

Today because it’s his actual birthday, we ordered a Toy Story cake from Park and Shop (Sponsored by ninang Xyn – Thank You!)

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We planned ahead to have dinner at Hard Rock Cafe, keeping the cake in mind, I emailed their establishment to ask if it was allowed for me to bring my cake, they replied promptly and told me that although the cake was welcome, they would have to charge 30 aed as corkage fee. Not willing to pay for corkage and order onion rings instead (priorities) I decided to leave the cake at home and just have it at home for dessert. I did ask the staff of HRC to sing a birthday song for Adrian and he enjoyed the extra extra extra attention it brought.

After dinner we promised Adrian a trip to Toys R us to give him free range on what toy he wanted to get for himself. And boy! It took him awhile to decide! It was so funny to watch him go through all the toys with matching comments like

“wow mommy look at that!”

“This is nice!”

“Mommy, mommy look! There is sound”

It was so precious watching him at the toy store that I wish I could bottle up that moment and keep it forever. (This blog helps in keeping those moments locked up … and shared-of course!)

After Toys R us he was more than excited to go home and start playing with his new toys.

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He insisted to open his Play-Doh first before we start to eat the cake.

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His last but not the least surprise present! Thank you ninang Janice!

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All in all his 4 day birthday celebration was to quote Adrian directly “So much fun!”. We may not have given him the same birthday party that Aden had last June but it was as special nevertheless.

Happy birthday my sweet sweet boy! Don’t grow up too fast mommy still needs to catch up! I love you!

Some sweet messages from family:

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Special greeting from Ate Erin

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another sweet message from Ate Julia

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My side of the woods had a dinner for my cousin Tan and family and decided to add us to the festivities by singing a happy birthday song to Adrian via FaceTime.

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Birthday with a SPLASH!

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For Aden’s birthday, we decided to do something special and went on a field trip to Ras Al Khaimah. Ok! To be honest we had coupons for Iceland Water Park that we were suppose to use the weekend before but was not able to. And because his party is not until saturday I felt it would be nice to do something ON the day itself so I asked Arnie if it was possible for him to take a leave from work and for Adrian to skip school on a Thursday. He agreed to this and I couldn’t be happier.

I don’t like Adrian to think that it was ok to ditch school and go to a water park so I didn’t make such a big deal that he was skipping school. Honestly I don’t think he noticed but you know kids can remember everything so I didn’t want to risk him remembering being absent from school because we went to a water park. #spoiledmuch

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Weekday on a water park seemed sad, there were no cues, no people to bump into, no kids to tell off to stop jumping on the slides etc etc…I know! I know! If I went on a weekend you’d hear me complaining on and on of the cues and the people. There’s just no way to please me haha. Because it was the beginnings of summer and with a baby to think about we decided to rent a cabana. It was an extra cost but I have to say it was worth it. We had our own room with AC, free towels and free drinks cooling in the fridge plus you can have food delivered to your cabana at no extra cost. Now that I’ve experienced this “treat” I can’t imagine going to a water park not renting one anymore. #At the end of the day as long as the boys enjoyed themselves we have done our jobs right as parents. The birthday boy was happy crawling on the toddler pool and Adrian went on the water slide again and again and again (positive note of going on a weekday)

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Note to self: next time buy a waterproof camera (I was so scared that I’d drop my phone on the water!)


Julianna Gabrielle

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the birthday girl

This sweet little 4-year-old is the daughter of our friends Julios and Jenette. We lovingly call her Ate Gabbie because she’s the eldest of the 2009 batch babies (there are 4 in our circle of friends who had babies that year and I love them all like they were my own).

It amazes me how grown up she is greeting guests at her party and being the gracious host in the absence of her parents, saying hi, taking our gift, saying thank you and pulling Adrian to join them at their game with her friends. It seemed so natural to her that it reminded me of one time we visited her on a weekday afternoon at their house and she started preparing a plate of milk and cookies for Adrian without any instructions from her mother.

It made me realize that children definitely inherit their social skills from their parents. Take for example Gabbie, her parents are very active in many organizations here in Dubai that leads them to interact with different people. It wouldn’t surprise me if this little girl grows up to be the President of the Philippines.

Happy Birthday ate Gabbie! All the best wishes to you our sweet baby girl. We love you!

-Ninong Arnie, Ninang Nix, Adrian and Aden

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the spread

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the early birds

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prayer before meals

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blowing the candles

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GAMES! Which Adrian enjoyed so much it was a joy for us to watch him participate and win.

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Red velvet cake from Magnolia Bakery, it was so good I’m still getting goosebumps from it 2 days after

Thanks for inviting us! We had sooo much fun!