30 October 2013

when they turned one

The other day, I searched our files for the first birthday pictures of Caila and put one of her solo shots beside Sophie’s.
Caila (left) in February 2010
Sophie (right) in September 2013
So cute!

dubai 24 hours

For the second consecutive year, Dubai had malls open for 24 hours during the Eid holidays. And because we had two reliable people to leave our children with at home, we took advantage of the opportunity to go malling late at night on the second day of Eid Al Adha at the largest mall in the world: Dubai Mall.

As we were approaching the mall, we could see that there was a long queue of cars trying to get in. Fortunately, Hubby had already expected this and came up with a simple but great idea: he parked Pepper just outside Al Murooj Rotana and we walked across to the mall. No queues, no waiting.

Upon entering the mall, there were so many people inside…just like how it is on an ordinary weekend. Ok, it might not have been that late (we got there around 10:30pm), but I honestly thought there wouldn’t be that much people there. Obviously, I thought wrong. So anyway, we headed to Reel Cinemas (it’s one of the best ways to pass away the time, after all), purchased tickets, bought nachos and a big drink to share, and headed to the cinema showing "About Time" starring Rachel McAdams.

The movie wasn’t that exciting; it was just a normal romantic-comedy with the twist that the leading man could go back into time. Still, I enjoyed it. Hubby, on the other hand, dozed off about 45 minutes after the film started. Either he found the story too slow-paced, he was too tired, it was his normal sleeping time, or all of these reasons =) He did manage to stay awake during the last 30 minutes of the movie, though.

After the film, we just walked around the mall and bought a few things for the girls. We were toying with the idea of having a bite to eat, but then decided not to since we weren’t really hungry. So we continued window-shopping. By 2:45am, we were getting pretty bored. There actually wasn’t that much to do; the mall was pretty much the same as it would be on a normal Friday or Saturday. Plus, we were getting sleepy. So, instead of staying until 5am, we walked to our car and headed home 2 hours earlier than planned.

It was a good thing we did because as soon as we arrived at the apartment, we found that Caila had woken up a few minutes earlier and started crying when she noticed she was alone in bed; and no matter what Jovy did to pacify her, she wouldn’t stop. She very rarely wakes up in the middle of the night, so you can imagine how shocked (and maybe horrified) she was when she found we weren’t beside her. Upon entering the room, I changed my clothes as fast as I could and lay down beside her, apologizing and assuring her that she wasn’t alone anymore. Almost right away, she was sleeping soundly as if nothing happened. Whew!

If the malls open for 24 hours again for any special holiday, I don’t think we’ll try it again. Well, maybe we won’t go in the middle of the night. We’ll probably try malling in the early morning when our whole family can go and most of the people are going home or in their beds…err, at least, I hope so.  Maybe.

28 October 2013

typg #2: yesterday’s accomplishments and lafayette gourmet

Another 27th of the month, so another chance to dine out and celebrate. However, our monthly tradition wasn’t the only reason to celebrate yesterday. Hubby was able to get 2 things done on the first day of the work week: Caila’s passport renewal and our new nanny’s Employment Visa. Hurray!

It wasn’t easy, though. We didn’t have an appointment at the Philippine Consulate, but since Caila’s visa would be expiring in December, and her passport in April, we had to process the renewal ASAP. And since she didn’t go to school yesterday (she was still recovering from a fever), it was the perfect time to go. So yesterday morning, Hubby and Caila headed to the Consulate where they had to wait a looooooong time several times. Initially, they were rejected and told to get an appointment for a later date, but after explaining the situation about her visa and passport, they were finally allowed to complete all the procedures.

In the afternoon, Hubby waited several hours (again!) at DNRD. With the Immigration, it’s always nerve-wracking while you wait for the Officer’s decision whether your application will be granted or not. As he or she looks through the papers, you never know if the documents you have are complete…and even if they are, he or she might ask for something else. Fortunately, everything went pretty smoothly. The Officer asked Hubby a few questions, wrote on the application, then told him to pay the Deposit (Dhs2,020) and Entry Permit Inside the Country charge (Dhs680) at the payment counter. After Hubby did these and presented to him the receipts, the Employment Visa was finally issued.  Whew!

Since we were in the vicinity, we headed towards Dubai Mall for our traditional monthsary celebration. We’ve been meaning to try out IHOP for some time now, but Hubby wanted something more filling (all the waiting made him hungry!), so we decided to eat at Lafayette Gourmet. It was a good idea too because we had an Entertainer Voucher that we could use.
Walking around the store, we saw a grocery and various sections offering all sorts of food items: meat, seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, coffees and teas, pastries and desserts, and many more. There was even a separate pork section. We saw diners enjoying their food at the area with the wooden tables, but since we wanted to sit back and relax, we opted to eat at the area with the soft red chairs. Here’s what we ordered:
Hubby's Pomegranate Iced Tea (left) and my Berry Blast (right)
California Roll
This was on the menu so we couldn't miss this
Hubby's Lafayette SLIDERS
I found the stamped BURGER on the bun pretty cool and unique
my Traditional Crispy Duck with hoisin sauce...
...and pancakes
Unfortunately, we were too full to order any dessert. Ok, I admit, the dessert selection just didn’t seem to have anything that tempting…even for take away. So we just settled for what we had already ordered. Not that we were disappointed, though. The food was actually really good and very tasty. Except for the California Roll…it just seemed too ordinary.

In spite of this, I’m sure we’ll be visiting Lafayette Gourmet again before the year ends…because it would be a shame to not take advantage of our 2 remaining Entertainer Vouchers at such a nice restaurant that offers so many international cuisines in their menu.

Thank You and Praise God for the day’s accomplishments and another opportunity to spend quality time with Hubby.

23 October 2013

she misses her

It’s been about a month since Juliet left us. Thankfully, we didn’t have to suffer that much for long because Mama was here, and less than a week after that stressful day, our new nanny joined us. So far, we haven’t encountered any problems with the new nanny. Actually, we’ve known her for a few years already because her previous 2 employers were our members in our CFC and KFC households, so basically we know we can rely on her to take good care of our girls. Fingers crossed that she’ll stay with us a long time.

However, this post isn’t about our new nanny. This is about what happened last night.

All of us were in bed (Caila, me, Sophie and Hubby…in that order) and the lights were already out. Sophie and Hubby were already fast asleep and I was already dozing off. Suddenly, I heard a sniffle beside me, and to my shock it seemed my eldest daughter was crying. When I asked her why she was sad, her sniffles grew louder. I was afraid it would wake up the little one, so I pulled her near to me, gave her a hug and gently asked her again. In between sobs, she answered “I want Yaya Juliet.”

Oh shoot! I did not see that coming.

So I said the only thing that I could think of. I told her “Anak, di ba Yaya Juliet went away? She didn’t say goodbye and I don’t know her number. Maybe she went back home or she went to see her friends.”

Still, she told me sadly “I want Yaya Juliet. I miss her.”

Augh! “Di ba you like your new yaya? Sabi mo nga sa kanya the other day na love mo sya.”

She shook her head and answered “No, I want Yaya Juliet.”

This went on over and over until I didn’t know what else to say to take her sadness away.

Finally, I just kissed her forehead, wiped her tears and said “Shh…it’s going to be ok” while embracing her tightly. Caila became quiet after that until she finally fell asleep, either from crying or from sleepiness or both.

I really don’t know what to make of what happened. Caila never did that when Ate Cel left, and Ate Cel was her nanny for more than 3 years whereas Juliet was with us for just 7 months. I’m guessing it’s because Juliet treated her more like a playmate than a ward, and whatever Caila wanted (or didn’t want to do), Juliet just let her be. Ate Cel, on the other hand, was more authoritative and wouldn’t let Caila fool around.


20 October 2013

mama has left dubai

This morning, Mama boarded the plane for her flight back to the Philippines. Being an OFW, it’s practically normal to have to say goodbye at the airport. But despite it being a regular occurrence, it’s always difficult to say goodbye to loved ones. So you can imagine that before we separated, tears started flowing down my cheeks as Mama put her arms around me for a tight hug. Before letting go, she gently whispered “Di bale, babalik naman ako.” To which I replied tearily “Promise mo ‘yan ha.”

Of course I didn’t leave right away. I stayed and watched as she she stood in queue, went through Passport Control, and finally waved goodbye as she headed to the area leading to the gates.
At 8:30am, she called me to say she had already reached the Boarding Gate and was just waiting for the announcement to board the plane.  And a few minutes after 9am, she called again to say that she was already in the plane and just waiting for the rest of the passengers to board. 

Haaaay!!! She just left this morning but I miss her so much already.

Even though you’re an adult, there will always come a time when you’ll want to be treated like a child…by none other than your mom. Kasi iba talaga ang pagmamahal ng isang ina.

14 October 2013

little explorers

Several weekends ago, we decided to give Caila a treat to mark the beginning of a new schoolyear ahead. Taking advantage of the Entertainer voucher we had, we invited our friends so that their son could also enjoy the experience. So as agreed, we met up at Mirdif City Centre on a Friday morning, purchased the tickets, and the two children entered Little Explorers with their daddies. For almost 2 hours, the kids had a great time with their daddies following them as they explored the 5 zones of the edutainment centre:
     • I discover myself
     • I can do
     • I locate myself
     • All together
     • I experiment

As you can tell, the centre is generally about self-discovery, experimenting and understanding your surroundings.

While they enjoyed themselves at Little Explorer, we (the mommies) and the kids’ baby sisters went window-shopping around the mall. By the time it was 12:30pm, we received a call from the daddies saying that it was time to have lunch and get some rest so we all headed to California Pizza Kitchen where we used another Entertainer voucher. We ordered their Cheeseburger Pizza and Original BBQ Chicken Pizza, two types of pastas (I can’t remember what kind), and drinks.

After a couple of hours when we had our fill, the kids returned to Little Explorers, this time with the mommies accompanying them. Even though our kids had already explored everything earlier, they still couldn’t help trying out all the zones all over again. And it was actually fun for us adults too as we tried them out as well! From time to time, you could hear us say “Ang galing!” or “Ang cute!” and “Ganon pala yun!” and even “Ang saya!”  Seriously, ang galing, ang cute and ang saya talaga!  There were so many things and contraptions to keep the kids busy and entertained.  Here are photos of just some of them.


It was a great way to spend the last weekend of the summer vacation…for the kids and parents!

Little Explorers
Mirdif City Centre
Dhs130 per child (with 1 adult) for an All-day Access Pass in the 5 Zones

13 October 2013

timings and festivities during eid al adha

image source
As my colleagues and I look forward to enjoying a long Eid holiday (but not as long as the government offices and schools, though), here's some helpful information I found from Gulf News with the timings and festivities that will keep everyone in Dubai busy until Saturday:

Metro Stations:
October 12-14: 5.30am to midnight
October 15-17: 5.30am to 3am (next day)
October 18: 10am to 3am (next day)
October 19: 5.30am to 3am (next day)

Parking: Free during October 13-18, except at the Fish Market parking zone and multi-stories parking

Fireworks: 9pm daily during October 15-18 at Jumeirah Open Beach in Umm Suqueim 2

Malls: 10am-2am daily

Dubai 24 Hours: Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, Deira City Centre, Mirdif City Centre, Dubai Festival City Mall, Oasis Centre, Arabian Centre, and Lamcy Plaza during the first 2 days of Eid Al Adha

Global Village: Open from 4pm to 2am during October 10-19

Dubai Parks: Al Mushrif Park, Al Safa Park, Al Mamar Park, Creek Park, Jumaira Beach Park, Zabeel Park will be open from 9am to 11pm

Eid Mubarak!

12 October 2013

congratulations dlsu!

DLSU = 71
UST = 69
Game 3 with overtime

lace crazy

These finds were bought on a whim while I was walking in Deira City Centre on my way to the metro.
I had no plans of buying anything, nor was I looking for anything in particular, but these just seemed to call out to me as I passed by Jennyfer and Splash.
I guess I'm a girly-girl more than I'd like to admit =)

09 October 2013

sophie's rainbow birthday party (the actual party)

In an earlier post, I shared the things we did to make the party fit the theme. However, I wasn’t able to share how the party went. So, here goes…
Since ours was the first event of the day at Chowking, we had enough time to check the set-up and arrange the cakes and cupcakes. Guests began arriving at 10:15am, and by 11:30am, the Chowking host started the program. Sophie’s Ninong Eugz said the opening prayer, everyone sang Happy Birthday, and the games began immediately after.
For the first game, all the kids were each asked to say Happy Birthday Sophieeeeeeee for the longest time possible.
The next game was a team relay, again for the young kids, wherein they had to balance a small object on a spoon in their mouths.
What followed next was a trivia game where 2 teams (men vs. women) had to answer the most questions correctly. The questions were mostly about Sophie and our family; it was fun to know who really knew us and the birthday celebrant. Naturally, since all players were adults, the game was a riot. Puro asaran at kulitan.

with the winners
While waiting for the food buffet to be set-up, the walang kamatayang Bring Me game was played. However, I made sure the items that we asked for were not that common: an insurance card with dental coverage, key-ring with the most keys, mobile phone with the oldest sms, any object that started with the letter S, etc.

Finally, it was time for lunch and Mike Y., another of Sophie’s godfathers, lead the thanksgiving prayer.
During this time, Sophie had fallen asleep, so it was a good time for Hubby and me to eat and mingle with the guests.

When we noticed that most of the guests had had their fill, the host called for another game. This time the kids had to fix up their moms’ hair, and the mom who had the best-looking do (judged by the rest of the guests’ applause) was the winner.

After that game, everyone’s attention was on the birthday celebrant as we all sang Happy Birthday again, helped Sophie blow the candles, say a few words and wishes, and cut the cake.
all of us blowing the candle...except the birthday girl herself
Mama sharing her wishes for Sophie...and the little girl listening closely
Sophie may not be able to remember that day, but as they say, the first birthday is usually for the parents…and I definitely had a good time that day.

07 October 2013

mama's visa cancelled

Less than 2 weeks left of her stay in this sandpit because she’s leaving us to go back to the Philippines.
She keeps joking that matatapos na kasi ang kontrata nya at ayaw nyang irenew.
Ang daya mo, Ma! Sabi mo, mageextend ka pa dito.
Paano na yung date natin sa Burj Al Arab?
Hindi mo pa ako tinuturuan magluto ng kare-kare, pakbet, at yung iba mo pang masarap na recipes. Waaaahhhhh!!!!
This post tells how we applied for her Residence Visa last year.

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