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Do You "Feel" Christmas?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

I have seen a few status of my friends' status on facebook that they do not yet feel Christmas even if it's just one day away. What is it to like to "feel" Christmas? I suspect that what they are talking about has nothing to do with what Christmas is about. I am guessing that the Christmas "feeling" that they are hoping to experience is all about the excitement of gifts and parties and Noche Buena preparation and such things. I admit I used to be like them until than a decade ago and maybe it all started when we were little and believed in Santa Claus.

But really, these FB friends who are my grade school and high school classmates are now approaching middle age like me and they are still talking about that Christmas feeling. I have stopped "celebrating" Christmas more than ten years ago. By celebrating, I mean stressing myself with buying gifts until the 24th of December, standing in line at the grocery for the Noche Buena, doing a lot of cooking and pushing ourselves to the point of exhaustion just to keep up with tradition not to mention spending tons of money to have that Christmas "feeling."

Of course, I always went to mass on Christmas day and for some people, completing the Simbang Gabi gets them into that Christmas spirit as well as celebrating the real reason for Christmas, which is the birth of our Savior. All those other things we do are mostly from tradition. That we should do this and have that. It took a lot of hardship and trials to make me realize that what some people do to celebrate Christmas does not really mean anything and has nothing to do with what it is about. And sometimes what it is all about is forgotten amidst all these preparations because we get carried away by the "feeling."

My life is a lot better now but I continue to not "celebrate" Christmas. I have no decoration at home. I haven't bought gifts. We do attend parties and take them as that, parties the way we have the rest of the year.

P, being of a different faith (although he is also a Christian) from me has a different belief about Christmas. If I had not gone through what I have, I would not now have shared his view of it which is all centered on Him. I am considering converting to his faith next year. What did we do? Christmas eve is on a Saturday this year and Christmas day is on a Sunday. Via and I went to church just like we always did on Saturday to worship and on Christmas day, well, my Aunt whose husband passed away recently, has invited us for lunch. So we went and visited her.

PhotobucketI have not told Via about the Santa Claus of my youth. How I used to think that all those gifts were really from Santa Claus and he was real just like other children. Such fairy tales make it more difficult to deal with realities of life. Especially now, we are celebrating all these things that are just driven by big businesses like halloween, etc. Halloween never used to be celebrated in this country. Malls and hotels started promoting it in the 90s I think. So what do I tell the Twerp about Santa Claus because she does see him at the mall and on TV. I say he's a cartoon character just like Winnie the Pooh and Micky Mouse. I don't think I'm depriving her of anything by doing this. She is a happy and well adjusted child and very perceptive.

A lot of people will not agree with me and that is all right. This is my opinion and that I find some of those FB status really absurd.

Wishing you all happy holidays!

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Super Bowl of China, Gateway Mall

Friday, December 23, 2011

FTFBadge

So I had lunch yesterday with my friend Nono with the Twerp tagging along. Via and I took the MRT to Cubao and met Nono at the Gateway Mall. I let Nono decide where to eat since she was more familiar with the place. I had only one condition. The restaurant must have it's own restroom because the Twerp almost always needs to go to the restroom when eating out. She chose to eat at Super Bowl of China. We were given Shrimp crackers as soon as we sat at our table and they kept filling it up. The Twerp ended up eating four bowls of those Shrimp Crackers.

Hakaw (P125)

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Pork Ribs with Spicy Salt (P285)

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Steamed Fish Fillet with Garlic (P265)

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Yang Chow Fried Rice (P210)

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Via's Mango Shake (P90)

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Chinese food is always great and Super Bowl of China at Gateway Mall had really good service. Linking this up with Food Trip Friday.

After lunch, we took time to buy this snap on watch at the bazaar on the top floor of Farmer's Plaza. I wanted to buy them in Greenhills when I finally decided to buy them, it was getting crowded and difficult to move around. Good thing. I got 2 of these for P145 with batteries thrown in. These were P100 each at Greenhills. The purple one for Via and a pink one for her cousin who's with us for the holidays.

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We stopped by Megamall to buy her cousin a gift, then Via had a couple rounds at the Merrygoround. Dropped by my office to wrap the gift, then headed home. Via loves to run now and she was running along the sidewalk on our way home. She was going too fast and next thing I knew, she was face down on the sidewalk and crying so loud. Her first scratched knees.

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Of course when I told P about it, he had to see photos. They don't look so bad but she kept on pointing at them later, showing anyone who would listen.

Happy Weekend everyone!

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A Break from Work

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Been off from work since Monday until the 2nd of January. How to spend it? If P were here we would be off to Bangkok again most likely. But he's not and cannot join us for the holidays. So what to do?

It's good not to have anything planned. I'm really exhausted and all I want is to stay home and do nothing. Well not nothing. I'll continue reading "A Dance of Dragons" which I started reading sometime in October. I haven't gone past the first few pages. I went through the first four books in about a week but got caught up in work when I started with the fifth book.

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I will watch a lot of movies, have a Modern Family marathon (I love it!), play a lot of FB games (rearrange my city and build my kingdom), and best of all, enjoy this time with the Twerp. I love the city during the holidays, especially on Christmas day and New Year. The business district is deserted and it's great to walk around.

The other day, the Twerp and I went with my friend Bex to Greenhills. It's much like MBK in Bangkok and I haven't been there for ages. I was enjoying just looking having no intention to buy anything (I need to get rid of stuff at home before the New Year). However, I saw this small "Longchamps" bag which I have wanted to have for ages and Bex got a really good price. I'm no good at bartering myself and wouldn't have gotten it for P250.

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We got out of Shoppesville when it started to get crowded and had lunch at Yellow Cab. We had our all time favorite, Dear Darla pizza and Charlie Chan pasta.



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Today is my friend Nono's birthday. She's my oldest friend. We met in 3rd grade and have been the closest friends since. The Twerp and I will have lunch with her. Later today, I hope I'm not too tired, we will have a swim and try out Via's new swimsuit from Tita Bex.

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Bye now, I'll  do a little yoga before we go. Yoga, by the way, has been a life saver during the stressful peak season at work and Esther Eckhart is the best yoga teacher! Check out her site and youtube videos.

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The Twerp is 3!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Via turned three a couple of weeks ago. I had initially planned a proper children's party for her, inviting her friends, relatives and all the kids we know :) I had already reserved the venue and was planning the cake, giveaways, and other details. However, work was just too much the past two months and I felt too exhausted to arrange Via's party. I opted to have a simple lunch, inviting some of my friends and Via's two constant playmates.


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She had plenty of presents. She's old enough to appreciate them and of course happy to have a lot of it. She needed help opening her presents though.


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One of her favorite toys now is this cake and ice cream set from her Ninang Pearl. My friends also gave her a toy kitchen which needed their collaboration to put together. Children's toys are much too complicated now.


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I ordered Via's cake from Red Ribbon because last time I checked, Goldilocks did not make marshmallow icing anymore. When I was still planning the children's party, I wanted to order from Marta's Cakes because they had a really nice Angelina Ballerina birthday cake which, by the way, is Via's birthday party theme. I went to Red Ribbon to order the cake 5 days in advance to make sure there was no mishap with the cake. On the day itself, I called an hour before to remind them but couldn't get through. The phone was busy. When I finally heard it ringing, no one answered and it went to voicemail. After several tries with the party already underway, I finally left a message on their voicemail.  I am sooo disappointed with Red Ribbon. Via's party was almost halfway through when it arrived. Never again!


Also, Red Ribbon had limited themes. I ordered a generic cake with some figurine on top (which I did not place on the cake) and made the Angelina Ballerina cake toppers myself.


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Via's party, small as it was, was a big success. Like my friend Bex said, it was a blockbuster. Our small unit, was packed. I did not expect so many people to come. Good thing we did not run out of food.


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The food was super too. I ordered them from a friend from badminton who does catering. We had spaghetti, chicken lollipop, laing, and fruit salad. I made Beef Rendang and Tita N made Pancit Molo, an Ilonggo specialty. The photos don't do the food justice especially the laing. It's really a must try!


We were in constant communication with P, sending him photos  and videos through BBM. It was like he was there too. I so love BBM!


The next day at Sabbath School, Via also had a celebration. We gave lootbags to her classmates and they sang happy birthday for her. The teachers had a cardboard birthday cake just for singing happy birthday to little kiddies.



Until three years ago, I told friends I did not particularly want children and I was content to have a dog who adored me no matter what. I said having a dog is the same thing. Now that I have Via, it certainly is NOT the same thing. I still love dogs but I am so very grateful to have this very special little girl. She has enriched my life in ways I have never imagined.  I am also thankful for having P in my life. Before him, I did not know how limited my life was.

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Against Doctor's Orders

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Having been discharged from the hospital didn't mean Via could go back to her normal routine. She still had medications every few hours and the doctor said to stay home for two weeks. However, we live in a building and staying home for two weeks will definitely make her cranky. So we went to the mall across the street. 

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We went out for a couple of hours again the next day, a holiday.  She had the playroom all to herself.

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We didn't stay out too long as her meds had to be taken every 6 hours. However, short it was, she enjoyed it.

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A Bad Scare

Monday, November 28, 2011

Nothing is more scary for a mother than her child getting sick I woke up one morning to see Via breathing a little too fast. I decided to give her ventolin through the nebulizer. I asked her aunt who's taking care of her to give her ventolin once more at lunchtime. When I got home after work, her breathing was worse. Even her stomach was heaving with the effort to breathe. We went to the ER at Medical City. She was given ventolin again as soon as we got there. There is a pedia section in the ER and it was full of children. Her breathing was checked through a breathing monitor which indicated she was not getting enough oxygen. After nebulizing, Via had a blood test done. She was given ventolin through the nebulizer twice more, then we were told she had to be admitted. She had bronchial asthma.


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She was connected to an IV. I remember last time she had a blood test, she did not cry when blood was taken and she didn't cry this time either. It looks really awful on a toddler though. Through all this I was communicating with P who was in Jakarta by BBM. I so love BBM. I just got my Blackberry two days ago and it helped me through this tough time. I took pictures and videos of Via and sent them to P by BBM. Doctors in the ER can make mistakes and it was calming to know that he was there to guide me and help me understand what was going on and what had to be done.


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We stayed in the ER for about 5 hours because there was no private room available and Via had to have an x-ray. The hospital was full. While at the Admitting section, I overheard a mother being told she was number 16 on the list and there were no check outs expected that night. The earliest check out would be lunchtime the next day. What! I didn't want to spend the night in the ER even if Via did have a bed and cubicle. So I asked if maybe there was a ward available. After some checking, I was told there was an available bed in the ward and I took it. After getting her x-ray, we were brought to the ward on the 6th floor. I have never stayed in a ward and I had an idea that it would be cramped and dirty and noisy. I was really surprised to see that it was very clean and spacious. The bathroom was roomy as well with a shower stall (with hot and cold water), and a toilet for male and female. It was very clean with each cubicle having 2 trash bins emptied regularly.


A resident under Via's pediatrician came to see us that night to check on Via and her pedia also came in the morning. The x-ray result said she had pneumonia but that was expected because she had difficulty breathing.


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Finally getting some rest. The effort to breathe has really tired her out. We stayed there two nights because she had to be nebulized every two hours. When she improved, we got clearance to go home and continue treatment at home, this time at 6 hour intervals which was manageable at home.


I'm very happy with Medical City. This is where I gave birth and I've been satisfied with their service every time. Prompt meals, efficient nurses, and efficient billing/check out. It took me all of 5 minutes to settle her bill.

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Ready for Pre-School?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

One Saturday, the Cradle Roll (0-3 years old) Sabbath school did not have a class. Since we were there, Via and I dropped in on the 3-5 year old Sabbath school. I had only intended to observe to pass the time before church service. However, the teacher included her in the activities. It's coloring a picture of Joseph imprisoned by the Pharoah. She enjoyed it and yes, I think she's ready to go to pre-school. She has fond memories of her summer pre-school class and still remembers the friends she made there. Hopefully, she'll see them again when she goes to pre-school fulltime.


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The finished product. Needs a little work on coloring :)

 

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Mercy is Underserved Kindness

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A nagging question in my mind has always been how to be kind to bad people or even those who beg in the streets seeing that they are strong and healthy but prefer to beg. 

Today I got this on my email and wanted to share:

The Bible says that God is kind to bad people (see Luke 6:35-36). We somehow know this already, but it still jars our sense of “justice.”

One day, some brilliant men were debating about what makes Christianity different from other religions. The discussion was heated and lively, with all sorts of answers being raised.

That was when the great thinker and apologist, C.S. Lewis, entered the room. The men turned their attention to the late comer and asked him, “So Lewis, what makes Christianity different from other religions?”

He looked at them and said one word.
“Mercy.”

When he spoke, everyone remained quiet.

The debate was over.

What is mercy?

Mercy is undeserved kindness.
We believe God is kind to those who do not deserve His kindness at all. In another part of the Bible, it says, When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy (Titus 3:4-6).

Now I know what to do.

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Exhausted!

These past couple of weeks have been truly exhausting. I worked overtime until very late at night almost everyday including weekends. The Twerp is asleep when I get home and the only time I get to spend with her is in the morning about an hour before I go to work. Sometimes she's not awake but I wake her up to have breakfast together.  It's been very stressful and I always try to do a little yoga when I get home, no matter how late it is. It helps me to sleep well and feel refreshed in the morning even if I have less than 8 hours sleep.

The past few days when I say goodbye to Via in the morning to go to work, she would say, "I coming, I coming." Of course I can't take her with me and she would dissolve in tears. This week will hopefully be easier as we near the end of our peak season. Today I brought Via to the office so we could have breakfast together. That satisfied her and she didn't cry when they went home after breakfast.

Her playmates had their birthdays at the same time last Sunday. She attended the one that's nearer. Her Tita (aunt) who takes care of her went with her to the party and apparently she joined the games and even got a prize :)


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Amici at the Atrium, SM Megamall

Friday, October 14, 2011

Last Friday, my friend Pearl and I wanted to treat ourselves to a nice lunch. But where? We seemed to have gone through all the food places in SM Megamall. Then she said, I'd like to eat pasta. That decided it! I suddenly remembered Amici at the SM Megamall Atrium. It's been ages since I last ate there. I was also in the mood for gelato :)


I had Spinach Ravioli, I think it's new. Wasn't on the menu last time. I forgot how much, about P230. Yummy, I loved that it was creamy with some sprinkling of parmesan cheese, love cheese. The waiter placed it at the center of our table, he thought it was for sharing. I said, no I don't share, it's just for me  :)


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We did share this Al Quattro Formaggi (Four Cheese Pizza), P290. Did I say I looooove cheese?


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Pearl had Spaghetti Al Pomodoro, P175. I like that one too.


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Of course, must not forget my gelato, Mint with Chocolate, one scoop, P60.


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Pearl had Choco with Nuts.


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I also had iced tea, bottomless at P90 and Pearl has a coke. Always happy to eat at Amici. Linking up with Food Trip Friday!
FTFBadge

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Disney Live! Mickey's Musical Festival

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thanks to my friend N, we got to see Mickey's Musical Festival for free yesterday at the Araneta Coliseum.  The show featured popular Disney characters like Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, Under the Sea's Arielle and the lobster watsisname :) and Toy Story. Via sat quietly on Daddy's lap at first during the introduction done by Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy. Mickey did his usual spiel but we missed "Plutol."  He wasn't in the show.

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Daddy got her to sit in her own chair just when Under the Sea was coming on. She's not that familiar with Arielle but she liked the dancing.

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But when Aladdin and Jasmine came on, she stood near the railing, completely engrossed in the show. She knows the story from her Disney videos.

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It was a great experience for her, first time to watch a musical on stage. There were souvenir items for sale at the lobby area and P wondered why they put a foreigner in charge there. People would be shy to ask how much the items were and true enough, nobody even went near there. Since Via did not seem interested, we didn't go near there either. I don't want her to get into a habit of asking me for souvenir items or shopping for things that will end up as clutter.

Saturday night we played badminton with this queuing group we usually play with. When P left last June, I only played badminton at the office because I didn't feel like joining our usual groups. I forgot how much I enjoyed playing competitive games with different players. First time back playing here and he got invited right away to partner with this trainer in our queuing group to partner him in a tournament. He had to decline though.

All in all we had a happy weekend just being a family again.

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Drowning in Work

Friday, October 7, 2011

The much awaited dreaded month (October) is here which means work in my office goes into high gear. My co-workers and I have mixed feelings about it. We dread the long work hours including weekends but we love the overtime pay. So we just focus on the good part.


The good news is Daddy is here to visit! He arrived this morning unannounced (well I knew he was coming but kept it a secret so Via will be surprised). Via was a little disoriented at first and could only stare at Daddy but after a while she wrapped her arms around him. She was so excited that we couldn't get her to go back to sleep. Here they sit "chatting."


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Daddy gave us a little something from Indonesia. I got a nice pashmina/batik shawl and a coffee mug and organic Bali coffee.


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I like that his gifts always show how he chooses them carefully taking note of what we like. Because it's so cold at work I like having a lot of shawls to keep me warm and I also love a cup of coffee in the morning. He's not showy but his thoughtfulness comes through his actions. That's it from happy, happy me :) Happy weekend everyone!


Linking up with Food Trip Friday!


 

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The Twerp's Goodies Haul

Friday, September 30, 2011

Whenever I bring my daughter to the office, my bosses and co-workers just love to give her cookies, chocolates, anything they think she will like. Her haul this time will probably last her a month if Mommy can help herself not eating the chocolates  :)


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One boss was passing by my workstation when he saw Via.  Oh, the Princess is here! he said. I'll get her cookies from the Commissary, butter cookies okay with her?  :) Then a Japanese boss saw her and said I have goodies from Japan, it's healthy and good for her. Another boss also rushed to the Commissary and got her 4 chocolate bars! And they all took some time talking with her. It helps her improve her sociability.  Now she doesn't cry when other people try to carry her and she remembers some of Mommy's friends and gives them a kiss when she sees them. Her favorite seems to be Tita Becky for now  :)


Happy weekend everyone!

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The Twerp at 33 Months

Monday, September 26, 2011

A friend's toddler went through a "belt" phase. His daughter wanted to wear a belt with everything. I guess this is the age when toddlers get obsessed with certain things or behavior. Via is obsessed with being a ballerina from watching Angelina Ballerina. She calls her dresses tutu and her sneakers, ballet shoes. That will be the theme of her birthday party and I will buy her a tutu and ballet shoes for her birthday. But for now, she's happy with her sneakers/ballet shoes.


 


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She likes these shoes because she can walk on tiptoe like a ballerina as it's hard rubber on the toe part.  She wears them everywhere even at home. She only takes them off when she goes to bed or taking a bath.


A photo of her at the park in her pajamas standing on tiptoe.


 


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I wish I could document everything she does. Most of it are amusing and some surprises me with her understanding. Another development is that she reads out the letters in words. I've been teaching her how a letter sounds like. So when we read, I spell out the word then read it by how each letter sounds. As in B-A-B-Y. Buh Ah Buh e....BABY! This morning at breakfast, she was buttering her bread when she read out the letters of the brand of butter.


 


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D-A-R-I  C-R-E-M-E


Now read it out Via, I said. So she read it out:  Buh buh TTER! So much for my reading lessons  :)

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