Thursday, February 28, 2008
And then, I made sure I would have time. In fact, although I asked my husband if I could leave alone: my whole family made the trip to The Old Spaghetti House. It was an adventure as we couldnt find the place, we got lost, and when we did found the restaurant -- the PMN moms were not there. In fact, were were in The Old Spaghetti House in QC and the PMN moms are in The Old Spaghetti House near Ateneo!
Well, despite the traffic we got there on time: finally the right restaurant. I met with Dine, Noemi, Jane, Annamanila, and Chateau. And you know what, it was like meeting old friends! We chatted up, smiled and posed for the camera, and got updated in between food tasting :D My first real eyeball experience and it was great!
And tonight would be another date with the PMN moms, I am not sure who would come but I am too excited to really ask!
PMN: home and garden features Good Cooling while PMN travel talks about Being a Family on-the-Go
Friday, February 22, 2008
Since I'm already too excited to sleep, I simply daydreamed the night away and I was so happy when it was already 4 am :) It went faster when we were in the airport and through the check ins. But it was a real bumpy flight! I had to drink my water in one gulp as I was afraid to get wet. Good thing the kids slept all throughout the 3 1/2 flight to Manila or else we'd really have a problem.
Touch down went ok. We passed through the immigration in a breeze because we got a special pass from the DOT. Although the immigration officials have always been helpful esp whenever they see travellers with small kids: we have always been given a special privilege to proceed to the next available lane :D
And then our drive to the hotel was another experience for the girls. The traffic: the jeepneys, the tricycles, the sidecars, the motorbikes, the bikes, the trisikad -- all of them fighting for their own way through the very busy streets and intersections. And the Jollibee and McDonald"s signs that greeted them along the way, they cant believe they are all over the place!
We checked in. I unpacked the gifts. And proceeded to my parents' house for the traditional family dinner. My kids got to meet and play with their cousins although they were already too tired. And what was for dinner? My husband and the kids requested for the following: puchero, inihaw na baboy with spicy dip, hotdogs, chop suey, and rice; while I specifically asked for a daing na bangus (marinated milk fish).
Around 10 pm, we got back to our hotel. Nope, not yet ready for bed. I still had to unpack. And the kids were too excited to sleep! We slept around 12 midnight just because our body just gave in to the excitement, finally :D
Analyse talks about Temple Hopping Guides in Bangkok at PMN: Travel while Mary shares her enthusiam on yard sales at PMN: Home and Garden.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Tonight would be our last night in Bangkok. I met with friends and former officemates here. Had dinner with them; and of course, took time to shop, shop, shop!
The kids were so excited, they would, could not sleep at all. In fact, IC would fight against sleep which is really not normal for her. And then when she does sleep, she would be up after two hours and would demand to go out. Oops, and the kids are up at 5 am!!!
Oh well, I also didnt get to sleep on my first night, too. I simply watched the busy highway of Bangkok from our hotel room until 3 am. Jet lag or too excited, I dont really know.
Food, as usual, is great. But I am a bit disappointed with shopping as I would get an automatic 100% mark up just because my husband is white :(
Well, I didnt buy much as I do plan to buy Philippine-made products. Love your own :D
Tomorrow we would be flying to Manila. I dont know if I would get to sleep at all!
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
1. Throw the thrash
2. Wash the dirty dishes
3. Clear the ref
4. Turn off the heater
5. Make sure all the doors and windows are closed
6. Check that all lights are turned off
7. And make sure to unplug!
Now, we're off to lovely Asia - Bangkok and then the Philippines! I cant wait :D
Indeed, love would be in the air as we would be in a jumbo airplane on our way to our much awaited long vacation on Valentine's Day itself. We would be celebrating the love day up there!
I have bought some small Valentine surprises for the kids, things that I hope they would bring during our long flights - colored pens and coloring books. Although I do have some toys with me including a crocodile game and some play cards to keep them entertained.
As for my husband, since his pair of garden clogs needed replacement; I bought him this pair of unromantic garden clogs for Valentine's Day, hahaha. I dont really have enough time to think of what to give him although I was planning on inviting him for a romantic dinner in Bangkok. I was going to ask a friend there to arrange everything for me. I hope it would be okay.
I know that I would be getting something special from papa and the girls, I already heard him whispering to the kids about making sure that they would take care not to break those things (although I did hear some crashing sounds already while they were trying to hide those gifts :D). I pretended I didnt hear anything at all.
What was our ritual during Valentine's day? Hmm, almost the same. We would wake up with our gifts (yes, the kids would also get gifts from me and their papa) waiting for our in our breakfast places. Papa would have been the first one to open his as he would be gone long before the girls wake up.
And then we would have dinner in the same restaurant where we celebrated our wedding reception; with the kids in tow, of course. Between that, we would visit oma and opa as the kids would present her with pralines or Valentine's day chocos - which they would proceed to eat together in one sitting, hahaha. I dont know why we dont give something to opa, but that is just so.
We would be doing this Valentine's day visit tonight as there would be no more time tomorrow; this would also be the time to formally say adieu to them - another ritual whenever we go for a vacation, long or not.
And to all of you, enjoy the love day!
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Ooops, did I clearly state that it was only MC who's got a ban on the TV and not IC? I guess I did not made that clear the first time there. MC is banned from TV watching and IC is allowed to watch the TV. But during the first few days, I didnt tell the kids that. It was only when IC asked the papa for a permission to watch the TV behind my back that she learned she's not being punished.
She proudly said, 'Mama, I am allowed to watch the TV only the 'ate' (sister) is not allowed to watch with me; that's what the papa told me.' What can I say? I should have told my husband what I did before it's too late :D
Now what should we do? Ask MC to leave the living room when IC is watching the TV? That is a bit hard; but she should learn, right? Right! But we made it a bit subtle for both of them. When IC wanted to watch the TV, the papa would ask MC to help in the kitchen. When IC wanted to watch the TV, the papa would ask MC to take a stroll outside. Noticed that I only mentioned MC and papa? That's his punishment for not asking me first, ahahahaha.
Two weeks is a long time but you know what? The kids actually didnt mention TV watching for a few days. They simply got busy playing together. In fact, I noticed that they played better and without fighting, for a longer time! They find things to make them busy. They even stayed alone in one room for a long time; unlike before when they always make sure that I am within seeing distance.
What made them busy?
1. fantasy games - they dressed up like princesses and marched on to imaginary weddings and parties
2. drawings - they used up most of their coloring books and even our scratch papers to draw and draw and draw (the thing is, IC became so enthusiastic that she started painting our walls, herself and her sister!)
3. beads and pearls - they started creating necklaces, bracelets, anklets and artworks which they wanted to give as gifts to their cousins and friends in Manila
4. they enjoyed wriring letters - they used up most of our envelopes for that, too. Well, I had to sort out those that we could send and those that would have to wait
5. they got to play more table games and card games alone - when before they always needed me to help out or to sort out or to read and explain the rules to them; they simply hatched up their own rules which my husband and I are now learning :D
They were indeed busy. And then after three days of not even noticing that we have a TV, here comes my husband with his enticing offer, 'who wants to watch the carnival parade on TV?' Arrgh, I could really shake him during that time. I glared at him and gave him a piece of my mind, really. Well, he watched the parade on TV with the kids for an hour. But that was that. MC also wondered out loud why she was allowed to watch the TV when she's not supposed to!
I explained to her that since carnival time is a special day, that is an exemption. Although I could have told my husband to explain to her the reason why he invited the kids to watch the TV during this no TV days. Now you know who the softie is in our house :D
Okay, I would think banning the TV gave me a lot of food for thought. The kids could really get busy with more creative things, and alone at that; and my husband should know now to strictly follow his own rules.
New post at PMN: Travel about Visiting Adarna Bookstore.
Monday, February 11, 2008
In a few days, we would be flying to Asia for a long vacation. We would have a few hours to celebrate Valentine's Day at home, exchange some gifts, and then we'd be off to another long flight to Bangkok. The thing is, we are taking advantage of the fact that both kids are still in kindergarten; thus we could enjoy longer vacation even if there are no breaks.
But since MC would be a school girl this coming September, we needed to take time out now. For after that, it would mean our vacation would depend on the school breaks. Let me tell you, we already booked our winter vacation for February next year. That's how forward looking we are :D
Anyway, we have booked this vacation to Asia since early last year. And since then, I have spent loads of time on the net, searching for resorts around the beach. We settled for the beach resorts of Batangas; I hope I did right! As for our city stay, we've decided to go back to Astoria Plaza Hotel as we did enjoy our stay there last time.
But before that, I need to work on it seems like a hundred things to do.
1. Clean the house: We used to have a cleaning woman that comes a day before we would arrive; but since she's gone now; we have to make sure that we would go home to a clean house.
2. Change the bed sheets: Fresh bedsheets would be a great welcome, too.
3. Decide who should take care of our house plants: Our orchids always suffer whenever we go for a long vacation, even though someone comes once a week to water them. Maybe it is too cold inside the house as we usually turn off the heater when we leave. This time, we asked my sister in law to bring the orchids home.
4. Listed down things to buy, things we would need: Since we would arrive back on a holiday, the shops would be closed here. We have asked our tenants to buy us a pack of eggs and bread so we would have something fresh to eat when we arrive.
5. Ask someone to empty our mailbox: We usually ask our tenants to do this for us, giving them our spare key. They would also get our spare key for the house, just in case.
6. Make sure someone would bring us to the airport and pick us up, too: We have asked my brother in law to do this for us; giving him our itinerary.
7. Share the telephone numbers and cell phones: We would be giving our tenants and the immediate family the contact details of where we would be staying; of course, they already have our cell phones.
8. Bought all the necessary medicines, creams and sprays: These would include those homoopathy pearls for fever, aches, etc.; the nose spray, the sunscreens, anti-mosquito spray, after-bite sprays, etc.
9. Got the shots needed for a travel to Asia: Our doctor recommended shots against Hepa A; plus he was saying I should also watch out from eating street foods as I have been staying in Germany for a long time and my body might react differently now.
10. Packing, repacking, packing re-packing: I would be doing this until it is time to load the luggages to the car on our way to the airport :D
11. List down things to do during our vacation, things to buy, confirm schedule of our reunion dates in Manila: to make sure everything's done, everything's bought and everyone's happy
12. Make sure all the plugs needed for all our gadgets are also packed
13. Visit opa and oma: We would need to formally say adieu to them a day before we fly; this is always done and is expected. Although I would say, this is a great tradition to keep.
14. Inform formally the kindergarten, the sports club, MC's ballet that we would be away for a period
15. Create a program for the next gymnastics classes with my partner as she would be alone for a few weeks
16. Work on PMN: Travel and PMN: Home and Garden: to make sure there are updated articles even if I am not allowed to blog during our vacation:D For that I would like to thank Geri for her assistance with PMN: Home and Garden
17. Separate those creams that I would need to put in my hand carry and put them into the official plastic bag to make sure our checking in would move on easily
18. Make sure all the padala, pasalubong, pabitbit would get into the luggages :D
19. Cancel the newpaper subscription
20. And since we would arrive back to Germany a few days before Easter, I have also bought most of the gifts for Easter: I dont want to disappoint the kids, especially
21. Check the ref and the pantry: Look into the expiry dates and give the 'not used' food to the oma and opa or to the tenants; and use the rest within the days
22. Wash the dirty laundry and iron clothes: I am sure there would be a ton of laundry after that long vacation!
23. Attend the nutrition program in kindergarten tonight: Theme is the oasis of drink and food -- informing the parents on how to deal with nutrition for kids and how to introduce them to new, healthy alternatives.
24. Talked to MC and IC's teachers in kindergarten about their progress and be updated on how they are doing in kindergarten.
21. Ticking on my list if I have packed all the things, if we have done all the things in our list: This is the last thing I would do before we leave the house.
Hmm, now I hope I did not forget anything!
Check out the new post Building a Tree House at PMN: Home and Garden.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Before going for a long vacation, we found time to watch Holiday on Ice this Sunday. The ticket is my gift to my husband last Christmas. I was hoping he'd take it as a date for us as a couple; but as expected, he wont leave the kids behind.
Well, no matter. Holiday on Ice is afterall magical for both kids and adults alike. Good thing we got a ticket for the earliest show, at 11 a.m. The kids, already too excited because of the coming vacation; could not contain their bursting energy anymore. They slept late and woke up early! Help! I also needed time to pack up and take care of the household chores!
Of course, we were already in SAP Arena in Mannheim at 9:30 am. Too early, I know. But what can we do? Good thing the sun was shining and staying outside to wait meant some pretzels and a chair under the sun.
The gates opened at 10 am to an already complaining IC. She said it is too cold; and in a second she would compain that the sun is shining too much. Now what about if we are in Asia, how would she take it then? Let' see.
Having given both kids pretzels to munch on; they got busy. Plus, the SAP arena have some play of lights via the advertisements that really took the kids' interest. And when it started, I had to take my eyes off IC and MC; I was having more fun watching their reactions on the show that I cannot concentrate on the show itself.
But it was great: magical and full of fantasy. The kids have been giving me a list of costumes that I should do for them as the show goes on. As if I would remember them all; as if I could really sew, hahaha!
Of course, I had to force the kids to join me in the toilet in between breaks; I simply refuse to stand up while the show is going on. Good thing their private businesses were done accordingly. Although I did see a lot of moms and dads accompanying their little ones during the show. I pointed them out to the kids who simply nodded and MC later said, 'It was good that I didnt miss anything.'
Tomorrow is Holiday on Ice 2 - the kids promised to re-create the show one more time, just for me :D
New articles at PMN: Travel from Megamom and from Lovelyn.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
The group during our Carnival Party 2008
I have been talking about them, my gymnastics group for small kids; and now I am introducing them to my blog.
I started taking over this group, with another mom, last September 2007. Well, we have already finished two seminars; one more weekend seminar this April and we would have our licensed instructor status.
I am grateful to the director of the sport club for her confidence in me. I know that my only qualification was that I am a mom of two girls who are both active in gymnastics; and that my girls are regularly present everytime there are training sessions with mom in tow; or maybe I impressed them with my being a real sport as I always ready to do some turns with them and I always have a hand free to help them. I dont really know.
But you see, they have been looking for a trainer for almost half a year already and they are ready to cancel the gymnastics for small kids if nobody would be found. And that would be a pity; since there are really kids who are enthusiastic with gymnastics; one would be my IC. The director was already on the verge of breaking down when she looked for me, stared me in the eyes and asked me with tears and a pleading voice if I would want to take over the group. Well, what should I say?
IC, my real big inspiration why I am pursuing this gymnastics group
Should I say no when I know IC's would be one of those disappointed when the group would be abandoned. Should I say no when I know I should help? Should I say no when I felt this flicker of excitement inside of me for a new challenge? Should I say no when I know I might be needing this gymnastics group to stay fit? Should I say no when I know I could actually do it! These thoughts were running in my mind plus the fact that I was touched that she actually wanted me; with all those mom around her, why me?
Well, why not me? I enjoyed the first two seminars and I cant wait for the third one. I am learning a lot of things, which benefits not only my status as a trainer; but my being a mom and my being an active and fit person. The kids are more enthusiastic about sports, they are into action, into movement. I learned new games, new songs, new ways to deal with little kids, new ways to deal with strangers -- and I am discovering a lot of things especially about myself.
One discovery is that I should not let my insecurity about not having mastered the German language as a hindrance from taking any challenges. I know I still have a lot to learn; but hey, I am now opening not only my mind but also my heart to future challenges.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
We were having dinner: waffle and mini burgers, requested by the kids. It was my husband's specialty, so, he was busy making the waffle during dinner. After making two batches of waffles, he discovered that the waffle machine conked out. Instead of enjoying dinner, he got up to try to repair it.
Well the kids, since they were the ones who got the first batches; were already full. Instead of staying seated, decided to play wildy in the kitchen. I always tell them that playing in the kitchen is a big no-no. Our kitchen tiles tend to be slippery; most especially since MC helped the papa make the dough for the waffles and she then helped in frying the mini burges (flour and oil mix on the floor!). And we havent cleared up the dinner table.
Added to that is that papa is trying to fix a waffle machine that is still hot. Accidents could happen, right? Well, I warned the kids for more than a dozen times to stop running around; to stop standing on their chairs, etc. Of course they did not listen. And then in a second, we saw IC on the floor and heard her crying. She banged her head on the floor.
That was when I turned away. Instead of running to comfort her, I left the kitchen. After a moment, I returned and gave IC a hug and sat her on my lap. She's ok. I wont turn away if I had known that it was a big 'ouch'. I gave both kids my piece of mind after IC calmed down. I repeated the house rule: no playing in the kitchen. And I didnt have to tell them again the reason why, they know now.
But that action of mine puzzled my husband. I explained my action to my husband. Why did I turn away? Because my temper was already flaring and I am afraid of screaming my head off; thus, I decided to calm myself down first. Plus, I know that papa is there for the kids. Does that make me a bad mom? I dont know.
While the kids were playing, he was telling the kids to be careful; and I was telling the kids to listen to me and stop running wildy in the kitchen. I guess, the words that we use does sometimes create a difference right?
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Well, they have chosen; they only needed a bit of face painting to complete their costume. We took off an hour earlier as I would need to help with the preparations. It was okay for the kids as they got the chance to play around the still empty hall.
I'm banished in the corner to sell coffee, pretzels and berliner (filled doughnuts); which are traditional carnival snacks.
And then some games like this one, too.
The program was not too long for the kids to get bored; not was it too short for the kids to want to cry for more. Nope, the party was fun and action-packed that almost everybody got busy. Kids were allowed to play around, run around and dance around; but they must take a break when there is a game being played or they could choose to participate and get some prices. Of course, nobody looses, everybody gets a prize.
Monday, February 4, 2008
Well, I did attend a costume ball: the one that involves women of all ages dressing up, drinking, dancing, having fun and partying until the wee hours of the morning. That was during the Weiberfastnacht or Fat Thursday.
I did say my friendly neighbor helped me create a sort of Alladin costume; and she even took time to sew the rest of the materials left for MC's gown.
What did we do during the costume ball? Well, I arrived early, although the program would officially start at 20:11; I decided to come early, around 18:30 pm, just because I wanted to find a nice seat. And whoa, there was already a long line of witches, bees, pirates, hunchbacks, etc! When I got in, I cant believe my eyes, the hall was almost full! I am glad I told my group I would be joining, or else I wont have a reserved seat.
I sat between the cats and the 80s girls. Well, of course my eyes got busy. I saw a group of bees, a group of jungle women complete with real leaves, a group of big haired blond girls -- I saw funny costumes, chic costumes, simple ones and those really creative ones. Fascinating! Since I was wearing a sleeveless dress, as per my husband's advice, I asked for a rose wine to keep me warm; and had a nice mushroom soup with it. Knowing that it would be better to eat and order my drink before the program -- I immediately asked for a plate of french fries and a bottle of mineral water! Then I am ready to party!
We were the first on the dance floor! I so love dancing and I so miss it! And of course, there were a great program consisting of women from age 80s to 15 -- everybody were simply awesome: belly dancing, the 80s with Abba, etc but the highlight of the show was the All Men Ballet!!! Really! Wearing tongs and fake eyelashes and high heels and leather sexy tops, they gyrated with their beer stomache to a disco tune. They really brought the house down! I was really sorry that I decided not to bring my camera :(
But here is something that I only discovered though I always see this on the television everytime there is a festival around Germany -- the Schunkeln dance. There are really no words for it in English; but this dance is fun!. You link arms from with all those in your table and sway from side to side in rhytmn with the music, then in a minute there would be someone who would be standing up and down, still with arms linked, until everybody would be swaying standing up -- the adventurous ones would even stand on the chair! Well, I do love this schunkeln dance! Good thing the chairs were stable enough! We did this dance for how many times I already lost count!
Well, do I need to tell you that I was there with my group until the dance music stopped? I so enjoyed it so much. Plus, I had to take care of an acquiantance who had too much to drink. She's with someone but that someone was also tipsy already. I had to know how they would go home or else I dont be able to sleep.
But first, they had to find a corner to loose off some of those excess drinks. You know what I mean. Good thing they would be walking home. But still, it took sometime before the other mom could really find her orientation. I saw them off, both swaying their way back home. (I saw them the next day and am glad they were okay).
I was home before 3 am. My shoes were killing me but I dont care. I got to dance! But before making myself ready to bed, I had to make sandwiches for my kids for kindergarten; I had to tidy up as toys were scattered all over the floor; I had to prepare clothes for the kids for the day -- I feel like Cinderella after the ball :D
And the kids woke me up at 7 am; and my husband leaving a message on the answering machine apologizing for waking me up so early but the kids must go to kindergarten. Actually, we arrived late in kindergarten, not because I slept late; but because I had to tell the kids everything about Mama's first costume ball.
And here's MC's note: 'Papa should join the All Men Ballet,' which made me really laugh!
Sunday, February 3, 2008
These Maerklin H0 model trains and accessories are now considered toys for the big boys. Number one because the models are now rare and number two because they now cost a small fortune.
Friday, February 1, 2008
This is always celebrated right after the Ash Wednesday, and they call that day the German Fettdonnerstag or Schmutziger Donnerstag (roughly translated Fat Thursday or Dirty Thursday), or the Weiberfastnacht (Wives Carnival) which means the official start of the carnival.
According to wikipedia: Fat Thursday (Polish Tłusty czwartek, German Fettdonnerstag, Schmutziger Donnerstag, or in areas where carnival is celebrated Weiberfastnacht) is a traditional Polish and German feast marking the last Thursday before Lent. Because Lent is a time of fasting, the next opportunity to feast would not be until Easter. It is similar to, but should not be confused with, the French festival of Mardi Gras ("Fat Tuesday"). Traditionally it is a day dedicated to eating, when people meet in their homes or cafés with their friends and relatives and eat large quantities of sweets, cakes and other meals forbidden during Lent. Among the most popular all-national dishes served on that day are pączki or berliner, fist-sized donuts filled with rose marmalade, and faworki, French dough fingers served with lots of powdered sugar.
The center of this Weiberfastnacht festival would be Cologne or Dusseldorf where the airports issue right inside the airplane a travel warning to men passengers. Women armed with scissors are out to cut those neck ties, a traditional 'game'. And men would be then comforted with kisses afterwards.
Well, most of the men leave their neck ties at home now. But my husband, wanting that the girls could experience this tradition; took two old ties and asked the girls to cut them (see photos). And then of course, I have been preparing for the Ladies' Only Costume Ball for months now! Thanks for the women above 50 who took me under their wings, they asked me to join their reserved table for that ball :D
I asked a neighbor for her help to create a costume. I choose the dress of Jasmin (from Alladin) as inspiration. We went together to buy the materials and for the rest of the week before the ball, we were busy cutting, sewing, and putting the whole costume together. And then the big day came. My husband had to come home earlier than usual because I should meet with the 'girls' at 6:30 p.m.
My girls were too excited, they wanted me to get ready as early as 3 pm. And when I told them they should help me, well --- I dont have to do anything after that. IC sort of dressed me up; while MC stood on stand by, holding her friseur and make up set! Well, I had to wait until their ministrations were finished before I could really do my thing. And my husband, he had fun taking pictures, just like a parent during her child's first prom date!
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And these are the people who already took part on this tag:*The Strategist Notebook *Link Addiction *Ardour of the Heart *When Life Becomes a Book *The Malaysian Life *Yogatta.com *What goes under the sun *Roshidan’s Cyber Station *Sasha says *Arts of Physics *Dagboek *Dutch converted Asian *Enjoy Your Meal *And the legend lives *My View, My Life! *Pusang Maganda *Spontaneity *Maruism *Wapita *Unforeseen Existence *Ako ay Tamad *The Balmy Zephyr *bhabypau *KiCHi *Mae-Mae *Gayle *Karen Dayle *http://phinkness.com/ * Karen -AP- * pinkyish *Kritz *Ninah * Laine * Youngmaze* Homeworked
Now I am tagging: Rach, Marysmom, Janet, Arlene and Lovelyn.