Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dade's First Halloween

Here's a snapshot of my li'l munchkin in his costume:

where's my banana?


For his first ever halloween, we dressed him up as a monkey. And I say he's the cutest monkey I've ever laid my eyes on *biased Mommy!*.  Here are some more pictures:

one of a kind monkey indeed


family pic


with the cutest bumblebee of all, Guianna


Mommy Gayle & Mommy Gracie with the trick or treaters


Happy Halloween everyone!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Emergency

11:00 pm: just when I have handed over Dade to the husband so I can finally go to bed, our doorbell rang. On the way to the door, I heard voices that sounded panicky so I rushed to see what's going on. When I finally peeked at our peep hole, I saw our neighbors' doors open with people hurriedly leaving their apartments. As I flung open our door, the watchman told me to evacuate as the building next to us was on fire!

I ran back to our room and immediately told Ryan about the situation. In a matter of seconds, he took out all the important stuff we had on our safe - passports, various documents and jewelry, while I held Dade. When he was through, I passed him the baby so he can be swaddled then I grabbed hold of the nearest bag within my reach which was thank goodness my open mouthed Neverfull GM.  I unceremoniously dumped all the items there. I swear, Neverfull is not called such for nothing! I was also able to put inside it my Macbook, our SLR, my G9, and my Freecom External Hardrive that has all our pictures. With a bit of support at the bottom, I say it managed to carry the load.

We went down through the stairs in one of the fire exits and when we got to the parking level, the burning started to smell. We quickened our pace and as soon as we reached ground level, I was relieved that we were able to exit the building safely. No one panicked and everyone looked calm. The huge lobby of our building that serves as a common area for all 4 towers of our plaza looked like an evacuation center swarming with people in their PJs.

So we moved outside next to the grocery in one of the towers, and stayed there for a bit. But after about an hour, we decided to get back inside the lobby because we saw people going back in. That was probably because it started to smell of smoke outside. Our building was still safe anyway as the fire was on the top floor of the next building which was being constructed. We were asked to evacuate for precaution just in case the fire spreads out. Anyway, we also wanted to head back because we also needed to sit down and settle ‘cos we started feeling tired already. We were lucky because we found a vacant chair amidst the number of people inside waiting for an update. So I sat there with Dade in my arms while hubby guarded our things.

Now in this kind of situation, I was extremely thankful for a lot of things. First, I felt very grateful that I decided to breastfeed. With my nursing bib packed on Dade’s nappy bag, I was able to confidently nurse him in the middle of hundreds of people. I didn’t have to worry about him getting hungry and not having a bottle of milk to drink.  Secondly, I was thankful for the sling that we bought for Dade. It proved to be very, very useful. It was easier for hubby to carry Dade & I saw that they were both comfortable. Thirdly, I was thankful that we have all the documents we needed in just one place. Dear hubby was asking me to keep my big bag in the closet but for some reason, I was always putting it off. Apparently, there was a reason why my bag sat on top of the safe for weeks already. Now I've decided I'm gonna keep it there when I’m not using it. And the last reason I was thankful for was the fact that we were still awake when it happened.  Had we been asleep, we wouldn’t have known that there was an emergency already. I know you might be asking why our alarm didn’t go off. Since the fire wasn’t in our building, nothing triggered the smoke detectors so no alarm rang.  Although it would’ve been much more efficient if someone just broke the glass to pull the trigger to announce an evacuation, I am still glad our building administrators made sure we were all put to safety. Before we were even allowed to go back in, the firefighters made sure that our buildings were safe from fumes. So for that, I say yay, Dubai Civil Defence for a good job!

It was a long night for us, and up until now, my calves still hurt from taking the stairs (thank goodness we live at the lower floor! imagine those who live at the 25th floor!). Dade was well-behaved the whole time, probably in awe at the number of kids and babies he saw in the lobby that night. He managed to squeeze a nap even. Actually, it was the first time he’s ever been there because we always go straight to Parking Level 1 whenever we leave the flat, so for him, it was a completely new environment.

To those who left messages in FB, thank you to you all! We’re safe, and we’re all good. There were lessons learned after the incident, and I sure hope it doesn’t happen ever again.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Save-The-Date Card for Dade's Baptism

Hubby tinkered on the scrapbook kit, and came up with this:


Finally, the save-the-date card for Dade's baptism is ready! I actually had him copy it from one of the invites I saw online. This was his interpretation of it, and I must say I love it! And yeah, I know you're reading this so I'm officially admitting to the public that between the two of us, you're the one who's more creative.

Thanks hon for doing this! :)  How about working on the gift tags next? :P

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My Friday With The Boys

Yesterday, we woke up early to meet Ryan's ex co-worker at the south of Dubai. After the quick meet up, we went for a little road trip down our favorite strip - Jumeirah Beach Road. Since I planned on going to the Magrudy's Warehouse Sale, we made a pit stop at Choithram next to Mercato to buy their yummy breads for breakfast. I got a Cheese & Chicken Roll while Ryan bought a Steak Pepper Pie, which we both loved. Yup, that's us - we love simple pleasures :) Afterwards, Ryan dropped me off at Magrudy's. he & Dade just stayed in the car while I did a little shopping.

on the way to Choithram

When I got to the Magrudy's Warehouse Sale, there was a bee line of people - kids and adults alike - who were just as eager as I was to get in to score some cheap finds. But I was bitterly disappointed when I got inside because the books were not properly zoned so you'd end up looking at each and every box to find a book to pick. The prices were really marked down to as low as AED 5 each book, but I didn't think it was worth my while to bend so low to scour through the boxes and elbow my way through those people on a covered parking lot at 11:00 am. All the toys were gone, too :( I guess the best deals were actually the Clark's Striderite school shoes and cute sandals for kids, which were priced between AED 50-100 a pair. I say that's really a steal considering their original prices were AED 310 at least. It's just too bad they didn't have sizes for babies. I left empty handed and wasted at least 30 minutes there.  Oh well!

Since the heat made me feel hungry, I asked the hubby to drive around and find Sugar Daddy's Bakery for a Red Velvet cupcake fix. We found ourselves getting lost as I couldn't remember which mall it is located (ok, now i know it's in The Village Mall - dang those malls in Jumeirah Beach Road - i always get confused!)

We ended up going to Kitsch instead at Umm Suqeim 1, near Al Manara Street. We were happy to stop for a while here, too, for Dade's lunch. It was our first time to try Kitsch, and we were happy with their cupcakes. Though their cupcakes were pretty dense, they had perfect sweetness!  Hubby and I both had Red Velvet flavors, but he chose the one with vanilla icing on top while I went for the cream cheese icing piece. Satisfied with the taste, we bought half a dozen to bring to our goddaughter, Yesha, for her birthday celebration that afternoon. Plus I went home with a loyalty card to boot. For every 36 accumulated pieces I buy, I get half a dozen for free :)

up for some cupcakes
freshly baked goodies
having his early lunch (EBM)

Suffice it is to say, dessert came first because after our stop at Kitsch, we went straight to Bobby & Ditas' place to have lunch to celebrate Yesha's 2nd birthday.  When they invite for gatherings, we always make sure we go because we are guaranteed of uber yummy home cooked meals! :)

We got the little princess a pretty dress from Carter's with matching bloomers, which we hope would fit her perfectly. It's a traditional summer dress every Mom would love because it brings out the youth and innocence of a little girl. *sorry, I just hate seeing little girls wear clothes inappropriate for their age!*


Ate Yesha & Dade

The afternoon was a good one spent with close friends as we all had fun celebrating little Yesha's birthday with good food and enthusiastic catching up. We're all excited as Armil's wife is due to give birth anytime, so another addition is brewing (and I say almost to a boil as she is already on her 39th week and ready to pop!) It's too bad we had to leave before I had a second helping of the food because I nursed a terrible, terrible headache & slept through the trip back home with Dade sleeping in his car seat next to me.

the Ranolas, the de Gracias & the Velosos

Looking back, it was a well-spent day with the boys outside, and I just can't wait for the cooler weather so we can enjoy spending more time outside the house. Fridays well-spent with the family are always the best!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Baptism Preps

Call me overly excited but would you believe I’ve started working on our little boy’s baptism before he was even born?  During the last few weeks before I gave birth I was already scouring for suppliers left and right. Well, you can’t blame me. The baptism is in December, and you know what December is like back home - weddings, gatherings and parties galore!

Finding a reception venue was already a challenge, I tell you! I had to contact more than a dozen venues to find the right size that’s still available and that suits our budget. And because December is a busy month, we ended up getting a weekday schedule. Good thing our chosen church holds baptism in the afternoon so the reception time is still ok for the guests who will come from work.

So far, I have managed to book the major suppliers. I’m so relieved that the only things we need to worry about are the minuscule details which we can work on when we arrive in Manila. Being an overseas parent, I’ve learned a great deal when we were doing our wedding preps. I definitely do not want a repeat of all the stress I’ve gone through back then!

Meanwhile, let me share with you my first ever scrapbooking project – Dade’s letter to his Godparents-to-be:


One artwork done, two more to go. I hope I can find time to finalize them this week.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Merci Beau Coup!

To all those who left messages on my comment box related to this post, I just wanna say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for your support, encouragement & kind words. You just don't know how much your short notes mean to me. Not only did they make me feel better, but they also made me feel stronger & more confident in facing the future. I'll be a total hypocrite if I'd say I'm not one bit scared but reading all your messages has made me realize that there is actually no reason for me to feel insecure and doubtful because something much more wonderful is in store for us. This decision is perhaps one of the toughest ones we've ever made, and I'm very glad that we took the road less traveled - all for the love of our son. I didn't think many people would understand but through open-minded sisters like you, I came to a realization that it's nothing to be ashamed about and we owe no one any explanation.

Again, thank you to each and everyone of you. here's a BIG HUG from me. God bless you all!

LV's l' excellence du savoir-faire

Last Saturday, I received an invitation from Louis Vuitton for their L' Excellence Du Savoir-Faire Exhibit at the Dubai Mall Fashion Avenue. And thanks to my bessie B who volunteered to baby sit Dade, hubby was able to drive for me to go see the exhibit.

The exhibit was all about the six limited edition Special Orders to benefit Red Cross, which celebrates its 150th anniversary. LV commissioned six designers and artists from various industries to create one-of-a-kind luggage pieces according to their lifestyle & profession. These personalities are master Chef Ferran Adria, the most sought-after portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz, British artist Damien Hirst, Oscar-winning musician & composer of LV's soundtrack for the film "All You Need Is Me" Gustavo Santaolalla, the head of LV Special Orders & member of the 5th generation LV family Patrick-Louis Vuitton, and of course, Marc Jacobs. The pieces, along with a limited edition Red Cross medical trunk, will then be auctioned on 17th November at Sotheby's, and proceeds will be donated to Red Cross.

I'm grateful that i was able to see the exhibit as they are only held in six key cities around the globe - Mexico, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Dubai, Seoul & New York. And I was so pleased that the pieces were not enclosed in glass, unlike in Tokyo, so I was able to feel the leather especially the alligator one made by Patrick LV.

Here in Dubai, the exhibit runs from 13th - 17th October. so if you're anywhere near Dubai's largest & hippest mall, do drop by. Whether you're a bag hag or not, it is worth the trip.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pasalubongs

Not for me but for the wee one.

My cousin Sarj & her hubby had a 2-week vacay at LA, and brought home these goodies for Dade (yay! they saved me the trouble of ordering the Aveeno stuff online):




Thank you, Ninang Sarj & Ninong Mark!

My friend at work, Linda went for summer holidays at Dublin, and handed me over this bag yesterday:



I thought she was giving my son some cans of beer (hehe!), but saw these cute bits and bobs inside the bag instead:



So cute!! I love the shirt – it’s so Irish!

Thanks, Aunt Linda!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Temporary Change

Since I got back, everyone kept asking non-stop about our baby boy. I feel that because he’s my firstborn, the attention we both got was extra special. People would enthusiastically ask about how he’s doing, how he’s feeding, and his sleeping patterns among other things. But one of the most common raised questions was who looks after him now that I’m back to work.

After weighing the pros and cons, my husband and I decided that it’s best if he stays at home and take care of the baby while I work and earn for the family. I know it’s not the norm of society that the wife is the breadwinner and the husband is the stay at home parent but before you raise an eyebrow and judge about this reversal of roles, let me share with you why we opted for this choice.

The husband recently decided to leave his work, and he has a very good excuse why – the company he’s working for was showing signs of folding up and has been delayed in paying their salaries. As I write this, he still has 2 months outstanding pay which he is yet to receive. So instead of adding more expenses (gas, toll fees, time & effort) and not being compensated of what is due him, he decided to quit early on before the outstanding salaries piled higher. My friend at work who learned about our situation said that it was a wise decision for him to leave immediately because she has some friends around town who have not received their salaries for a year, and up to now, they are still waiting with much regret.

I admit that because of this screw up, our cash flow was affected along with our plans. We couldn’t hire a nanny, pay for her visa (which comes with a hefty price, by the way) and fly her to Dubai. So we were left with no other option but to have Ryan stay at home to take care of Dade while I went back to work. I just feel immensely blessed that my job is stable and that I am paid enough to cover our monthly expenses. We just have to sacrifice & cut back on a few things such as our weekly entertainment (dining out), and limit our shopping sprees - groceries included.

It’s a bit tough, but with faith, I’m sure we will get through this. It’s just temporary anyway. As soon as we get back from our holidays this December, we will proceed with our plans of hiring a nanny so Ryan can start looking for a new job. The start of the year is always the best time to try and find work as budgets have just been set, and additional manpower is usually included. We pray that everything works out by then.

In the light of my husband’s loss of job, we consider what had happened as a blessing in disguise because both of us have peace of mind that our son is left in good hands. No worries of dealing with insane, horrible nannies (for the time being) especially that Dade is just 2 months old. I can focus on my work worry-free, and I don’t have to deal with nanny issues especially in this part of the world where immediate help from family members is difficult to get.

So now our household is part of the statistics of a househusband and a full-time working Mom & wife. Apparently, there is a good percentage of such in UK, and even in the US especially after being hit by recession. I guess it’s because there are more jobs available for women, thus, we are more bankable. Talk about women empowerment! I am greatly touched by those people who choose to support us and admire the kind of set up that we are living right now instead of throwing judgments at us and looking down on our incapability to live according to the rules of society.

We have all that we need and want in life, and we are extremely grateful. It may be a different road that we are taking, but we are enjoying the trip and the scenery. We are not worried because God is doing the navigating.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Happy 24th Birthday, Sib!

To my black beauty sis/Ysha's hot momma/Dade's superdiduper sweet Aunt/future chef of the family - happy, happy birthday!! May all your dreams come true, my dear! Love you so much!


Now go and party like a princess! :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Weekend Morning

...is perfect when you're having breakfast consisting of home made bread pudding made by the husband & a cup of decaffeinated coffee (I'm easy on the caffeine intake as I'm BFng) while watching a thing of a beauty next to you.


Ah, bliss!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Survived

...the first couple of days back in the office.

I knew it wasn't gonna be easy leaving the little munchkin for work but I did what I had to do. At 8:05 am, I arrived at work with my laptop, purse, lunch kit, and my latest gadget - the breastpump in its backpack! I summoned the yummy mummy in me and came in looking my very best in months: daytime make up, neatly tied hair, new black dress, 4 inch killer heels, and my favorite bag in one arm - just so I can motivate myself to come to work feeling great, even though in reality I was feeling heartbroken and was wishing I could simply teleport and be with my kiddo in a snap.

Anyway, as soon as I arrived at my workstation, 5 female colleagues came over one after the other to give the congenial beso-beso and felicitations. I haven't even logged in to my system yet when I realized I had to express my milk so I rushed to the Human Capital Department to ask where I could pump privately since we currently have no available clinic at our building. Good thing our Hospitality Team was able to suggest an enclosed room 2 floors below ours so that solved my dilemma.

I am so grateful I came back to work towards the end of the week. It gave me time to adjust to my new schedule and get some rest thereafter, courtesy of the weekend. I considered yesterday and today as my 'dry runs' for the major comeback next week. I hope I'll manage to get through the whole of next week without feeling burned out by midweek...LOL!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Last Hurrah

...before going back to reality! (yes, I felt I really needed that)

After more than two months of my short but fulfilling taste of being a SAHM, I'm finally heading back to workland again tomorrow *boo!*, and I am not one bit excited. But what can I do? I need to earn some moolah in order to help save up for Dade's college fund. Anyway, to brush off the unhappy feeling, I just decided to savor my last remaining hours outside the office exclusively with the boys.

Since we had to make a trip to baby's pedia for his shots of DTaP, Polio & Rotavirus yesterday, I asked the hubby dear to do a couple of detours before heading home.

while waiting for the pedia (still giddy here)
someone's having lunch

ouchie!!!

First, we swung by the Philippine Consulate Dubai to pick up Dade's passport, which I need to bring to work tomorrow to process his residence visa. Finally, a proof of his nationality! Afterwards, we trooped to Festival City for a (very) late but yummy lunch - where else but at our favorite family restaurant, Chili's. We also made a quick stop at Toys 'R Us to scout for a halloween costume for the little tot as he is to attend his first halloween trick or treat party by end of this month. We couldn't find an infant size so I guess we'll have to make do with the 12 months size and just have it altered. After that, we went straight home after two hours of trotting at the mall.



As we three cozied up at the sofa in the evening, I realized that no matter how busy I'll be during the weekdays balancing my time with work and family life, I still have the weekend to look forward to. From hereon, I will make sure that every weekend is spent with my wee one to make up for the lost time during workdays.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy 2nd Month, Dade!

My, my, my! Has it been 2 months already since you came into our lives? Talk about time zooming past us at an incredible pace!

blow the candles before the ice cream cake melts

Happy 2nd month birthday to our dear little prince! We love you so very much!

My Kind of Radio Show

I'm listening to rx 93.1 as I type this. and guess who I'm listening to? of course, Chico & Delamar, c/o rx931.com's live streaming!

Hearing their voices brings back fond memories of my work life back home. Every morning, I listen to them on my way to work, which makes traversing through EDSA's traffic tolerable. I laughed by myself more than many times behind the wheel at the risk of looking like a lunatic to a lot of commuters who see me by their vehicles' windows. Well, I didn't care then - as long as I was having fun, the heck with all those eyes staring at me!

I even had a couple of entries that made it to the top 10. Damn, with my memory gap I couldn't remember what entries I texted then!

Oh boy, listening to them makes me miss Manila very much!  I just can't wait to get home on December. countdown: 2 months & 3 days left. Yay!