Sunday, February 19, 2017

Celebrating Valentine's Day

Dearest Maia,

Unlike most families in our circle, we are NOT big on celebrating valentine's day. In fact, your dad refuses to acknowledge that this day exist. He absolutely abhors the horrendous traffic that goes with it. And how commercialized it has become.

In our household, this year was the same as any other valentine's day in the past. It was as normal as any given day. Except that you made us a card. That as again melted our hearts. Thank you for reminding us how love should be celebrated. Not just on valentine's day. But EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.

You are growing up like the fine lady that we expect you to be, Maia. One of these days, the inevitable will come. Someone will ask you out for a date. My fervent prayer is that...may you always remember how your special dates with your dad was like. May they serve as your guide.

You daddy treated you like a real princess, little girl. (I was the queen so you have to settle with that title for now). May you find someone someday who would treat you the same way, or even better, as we continue to pray always.


Daddy and Mommy

Cafe Voila. Post-valentine's date c. 2017

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Milestone: First Holy Communion

If you are a Catholic, do you still remember your first holy communion experience?

I received my first holy communion as a Catholic when I was already 29 years old. I received 3 sacraments all in one day - baptism, holy communion and confirmation. It was a prerequisite for the next important sacrament that I was to receive - Matrimony.

Was it a memorable one? Well even if I was an adult, I don't think I have really accepted Jesus into my life then so it wasn't that memorable for me. I vividly remember getting free breakfast at McDonald's Tagaytay from my Tinong Jess right after the ceremony but that was all that was left of that day.

As much as I would want my little girl to chart her own experiences, for this particular one, I wished and prayed for it to be a lot more memorable for her than it was for me or her dad (who also barely remembered anything from his own FHC).

But how to make it memorable? Always, always a challenge.

Good thing, as I am not much of a planner, I had plenty of friends whose kids are also going to have their FHC. My good friend, Maqui, thought of getting letters from her son's godparents (with them sharing their FHC experiences). I love letters! I think what really spawned my love for writing was my love for letter writing.  And Maia also love reading letters. So it was perfect!

Next challenge, how to convince godparents to write. With such short notice. By short notice I mean 2 days prior to the FHC event.

But guess what, everyone was just so nice. They immediately sent it letters. All of the godparents I asked sent it a letter for Maia. Here are samples:

From Ninang Ching:

From Ninong Nono:

From Ninang Kleng, Ninang Manet, Ninong Ronald and Ninong Ren:

Ain't she lucky to have these wonderful people as her godparents?

Congratulations again for this milestone, Maia! We're really proud of how far you've come and how you are growing to be such an amazing child of God.

Keep the faith. Keep the spirit. Let God be your guide always.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Maia Recommends: Kite Flying In Luneta Park

One of our household's biggest struggle after a very sedentary summer was finding outdoor activities that the little miss can genuinely enjoy.

Weekend food trips to the city usually end up with her tugging us relentlessly to go home. 

"This is boring, Mommy." (translated to: I need to get hold of my gadgets before school starts on Monday)

Today, we braved the city traffic once again to try a new activity - kite-making. The NCCA has been holding several activities (all weekends of June) in Luneta Park and this weekend was the last leg of their Arts in Public Places in Luneta series. 

We left home at a little after 1pm hoping to get ahead of the traffic congestion but ended up getting stuck anyway. We arrived in Luneta a few minutes after 3. We searched for Burnham Green but after being dropped off right in front of Jose Rizal's monument, we couldn't find the venue of the event. I approached a park guard and we were pointed towards a cluster of tents across the road. 

Sadly, the event was not publicized well. At 3:30, we were the first to register. We waited a few more minutes before we started making the kites. Nevertheless, when we started flying the kites, people started noticing the activity and a few more kites joined ours in the air.

I do hope the NCCA will continue to organize events like this which parents like me highly appreciate. We get to pry our technology, gadget-loving kids away from the couch and remind them that spending time outdoors is still so much fun. 

Watch video!

I myself didn't realize how relaxing and delightful kite-flying was until I got hold of the string and started maneuvering the kite to stay up in the air. 

"It's fun to steer, Mommy!"

We will come back soon. Luneta Park as night is yet another thing that we are looking forward to experience.

The larong pinoy and kite-making event still runs until July 17th. Do drop by and join! Click here for the event page: Larong Pinoy & Kite-Making. Like the National Commission for Culture and the Arts page as well to get updates of other government sponsored art activities around the metro.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Brownie, Our Adopted Dog (And A Few Tips to Prevent Heat Stroke on Pets)

About 9 months ago, a frail, scrawny dog took refuge in our front steps. She was so thin and almost hairless, most people would feel too icky to come near her.

We were no exception. We wanted her captured. We didn't want her lingering around our property.

But she was persistent. She persevered to stay even if the village guards would chase her away day in and day out. She eventually recognized the sound of the guards motorcycles that even if they were still far away, we'd hear her growl like a tiger.

The guards and maintenance crew eventually gave up.

We couldn't just let her starve so we started feeding her. Once a day. Twice a day. And then before we even realized how far we're dragging ourselves into, it became a regular thing. A few weeks after, we started seeing her orange-y fur come out. In a month, she was far from the scrawny dog that she used to be. We saw how pretty a dog she is.

But we still weren't ready for a pet. So the husband befriended her and eventually tamed her enough to get a leash on her.  When we were about to hand her over to the guards, we asked where she'd be taken to and was told they will just throw her out of the village.

The hubs looked at me and I knew. That day was the day we officially became pet owners. My daughter immediately christened her "BROWNIE" and the rest was history.

Beginning that day, we arranged our schedules so we won't have to leave her alone for so long. Fortunately when we needed to go on long trips, we were very lucky to have family and friends volunteering to take her in temporarily. Come to think of it, her very gentle demeanor makes is very easy for people to grow fondness of her.

Soon we'll be celebrating our first year as dog owners. I never realized I'd get deeply attached with anyone else other than my little miss. But a few days ago, I lost myself in panic because I thought we were going to lose Brownie.

We were oblivious to the symptoms but it turns out she was already suffering from heat stroke. And early morning on Monday, I found her gasping for air almost breathing her last. For the first time, I was lost. I didn't know what to do. I was stroking her gently, hoping my touch would calm her down and take the pain away. But as I looked at her with tears streaming down my face, I felt her starting to close her eyes and giving in. I knew I couldn't just sit there and watch her die. I asked a neighbor if they can drive us to the vet clinic outside of our village and they did not hesitate. Unfortunately, the tricycle that we were taking wouldn't start.

I decided I will just try to carry her. I thought I had enough energy to carry her to the clinic but after about 100 meters of walking, my shoulders were already surrendering. The guards eventually decided to just use their motorcycle. The clinic was still closed when we arrived. I looked at my watch, 10 minutes to opening time. I knocked and called for help. But I guess I was too gentle, so the building guard approached and pounded on the rolled up door shouting "EMERGENCY!!!!". After a few seconds, the door opened and they let us in! "Thank you, Lord!"

They clinic assistant took Brownie's temp and shouted for the vet to come out. "Emergency doc!" They couldn't get a good reading of the temp because the 2 thermometers kept showing "E". Later I'd find out, her temp was just too high the digital thermometer couldn't display it anymore. They placed 3 ice bags on her and attached her to an IV bottle. They put her on whelping box and allowed her to rest. After about 30mins, oh boy, I was so happy to see her sit up and bark. Despite seeing her active after an hour, I was asked to leave her for the rest of the day to finish the fluid therapy. The doctor gave me some tips to prevent her from having another heat stroke:

1. Check her water regularly. Make sure it's clean and cold (as much as possible).
2. Spritz some water on her and her puppies several times in a day.. Even "aspins" need to be refreshed too.
3. Don't allow her to drink water immediately after a walk. It shocks their organs and that's not good. Let her rest for a few minutes then give her water.
4. For newly birthed dogs like Brownie, they're more likely to suffer from Hypocalcemia after 2-3 weeks of giving birth. So best to supplement in the meantime.

Brownie is doing good now. She kept us up for a few more days but I think she's recovering well already. Soon, her puppies will move to new homes. But for now, we enjoy having them around. Even the little miss is very eager to take on the responsibility of making sure the pups are well fed and well hydrated.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Maia Travels: Day 1 - Arriving in HK Disneyland

We planned this trip for almost a year. Our not-so-little girl had picked to go to Disneyland instead of hosting a party because "I'm not a party girl, Mommy". Much to my delight, this decision of hers. So we proceeded to book our plane tickets (lucky for us on one of the piso fare sale of a local airline) and started saving for this trip.

Despite our excitement for this milestone trip (her first out of the country trip), we rarely talked about it with her because we wanted to keep the excitement at bay till a few days prior. The day before we left, she was more worried about the classes she'll miss. They just got back from a week long semestral break in school so she sort of miss her classmates and teachers. Gladly, we got permission from her teachers and she was allowed her to miss 3 days. Guess what, all those worries were forgotten the minute we stepped out of the plane and boarded the MTR to Disneyland Resort. She was just ecstatic, sporting a grin any parent wouldn't dare wipe off.

We dedicated 2 days of our 4 days, 3 nights in Hong Kong for Disneyland alone. My husband bought the tickets from and opted to just claim the tickets on the ticket counter at HK Disneyland upon our arrival. We checked a few options to buy the tickets and came out the cheapest. We saved (if I remember correctly) about HK$30 for each 2-day ticket. Sign in as a member and you get additional discount as well.

Got tickets! Ready to rummmmmbbbbbble!
We didn't get lost from the airport to Disney, yay! Despite the language barrier, we didn't encounter any trouble during the train rides. We arrived in the resort at around 10:30am. We decided to take the shuttle bus to Disney Hollywood Hotel (where we spent one night)  drop our luggage first. We booked 45 days in advance and got a discounted rate for our one night stay. We weren't sure where to leave our luggage but took the chance anyways and fortunately for us, the hotel had a designated baggage drop for early arrivals. We didn't have to worry even if our check in was still scheduled at 2pm. We settled our hotel reservation and headed back to the park by 11am. We decided to just grab a quick bite at the park in case we get hungry. We were still full from the brunch we had earlier anyways.

Our Disney adventure just about to start (and those tired faces were replaced by delight when we got into the park!)
Since we arrived close to opening time, there wasn't a lot of people yet at the park. We got maps (got extras too for friends) and other informational fliers at the gate and got into the park.

We're here!!!!!
Happy to know that the park publishes a weekly schedule of activities so it was easier for us to manage our 2-day trip. The little girl couldn't wait to plan her day!

We decided to walk around first while we plan our two day park itinerary. We wanted to get as much autographs as we can (the little girl made an autograph book for characters to sign during meet and greet time). But we also wanted to take our time at each stop as well.

Let me indulge you with photos for the remaining part of this post. We spent 11am-3pm walking around and trying out some of the rides. By 3pm, we were really beat so we decided to head back to the hotel and rest. We wanted to have plenty of energy for the Night Parade (no expectations. Our goal then was just to experience what it feels like at night in Disney).

Several things I would like to note in here as well:

- We regret not taking the opportunity to have photos taken with the toy soldiers, Jessie and Woody in Toy Storyland because we didn't get the chance to meet them anymore in Day 2.
- We wish we brought more snacks for the little miss since it was allowed anyway. Best to pack light sandwiches for your little kids to munch on. Bring lots of water if you can. We were there November so we were expecting colder season but had to contend with a hot and humid afternoons instead. Winter came late for HK in 2015.
- Make sure to check the weather forecast a week before your trip so you can pack appropriate clothing.
- Our daughter can already handle long walks. But the park also rent outs strollers so you don't have to break your backs carrying toddlers and babies if you're with one.

Main Street, USA. Most of the shops are found here.

Her first ride was here. Via the Slinky Dog Spin.

The Toy Soldier Parachute Drop.She rode this with her dad.
"Parang sakit ng tyan ko, Mommy! Pero ang saya saya!!!"
See that mine cart on the left? She rode that too! Was too much for me but for her, it was just gut-wrenching fun! Haha.
I think we have one adventurer here, Daddy! Get readdddyyyy!

She passed up on this. Because we can hear the "screaming" from manor entrance.
This was her at 3pm. Sooooo tired. We decided to head to the hotel first for a quick rest.
Read Part 1 here.
Read HK Disneyland at Night here.
Review of the Disney Hollywood Hotel, Breakfast with Chef Mickey and Day 2 of our Disneyland experience here.
Read about Maia's HK Science Museum experience here.
Exploring TST and Mongkok here.

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