John Karl’s 7th birthday

We were partygoers last weekend. The first was for Mischa’s old classmate in her previous school and the next was for a very distant cousin. Events like these, which entails trips, either short or long ones, are almost always a production within our household. ‘Tis a little hard to prepare the two kids and their stuff, not to mention, our stuff, but it is worth it all the time when I see them have fun. There’s really no substitute for memories, and as a parent, I enjoy everything as much as I can. It’s so cliche but it’s true when people say that “they will not be kids forever”.

John Karl’s party was Minions-themed. The kids were even requested to wear yellow in the spirit of the theme. Good idea, though, because the day of the party was a little gray so it helped lighten the mood, and made it a cheery one. As always, Mischa was also happy to see and play with her old pals. Maxine is still small to enjoy the party but I know she’ll be jumping into the fun soon enough.

The party was held at Pixie Forest inside the Festival Mall in Alabang. Mischa also played a role being one of the “7 chocolates” (kinda like a debut where you have the traditional 18 roses). She wished for John Karl to grow up and be good. After the party, the kids get to have passes for all the rides inside the play complex.

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The tenth month

Whoa, can’t believe my bunso is two months shy of turning a year old. This time last year, I was probably heaving and puffing while making my preggy way to and from the house, to the office, to the mall, to the church, scared shit that I would bleed as I was wont to experience for the duration of the pregnancy.

Now, Maxine is here, strong as a horse, and as likot as a spinning top. Happy tenth month, my darling babe! You are so a hundredfold more active than your sister was at the same age. With Mischa, we could leave her on the bed, for example, for a minute to get something across the room. But with you, two seconds alone could get you into so much trouble. No wonder you always seem to be bumping your head on the wall, or on your crib. You must be the girl incarnate of the son we were dreaming about. Ate was more finesse than you. But we love you both so, so, so much. You can now sit on your own coming from an all-fours position. And you’re beginning to reach up and stand on your playpen, although you’re still wobbly for the most part. The days when we could still restrain you are probably numbered. Soon, we would be running after you. And Mommy has to make herself fitter than she is now.

Mommy couldn’t get enough hugs and kisses from you both!

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Sabao

We tried this restaurant in Valero St. in Makati one afternoon. Sabao is fairly, having been opened not more than six months earlier. As the name implies, most of its offerings are soup-based dishes or “sabaw” literally in Filipino. All are based on popular Filipino dishes, too. There were several of us then and we ordered several so I got to take photos but was not able to taste.

I contemplated between a batchoy and a bulalo, and the former won.

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It was good, not over the top great, but wonderful enough. I liked that it has a huge strip of liempo and soft boiled eggs over the noodles. Most of all, it did not have the usual innards that a batchoy normally has, which is a total plus for me. It was also kind of heavy, and was not bitin so it made a full meal for me.

My office mates, on the other hand, had to have rice with theirs.

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And the bulalo, which also looked really good. It had roasted beef bone marrow on top, which could have you hypertension right on the spot. It was a crime to even look at it. But it was soooo good because I tasted half of one.
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Sabao also offers tinola, binakol and molo. They also serve rice toppings, such as mechado, binagoongan sa gata, humba and Bicol express.

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On their tables is an assortment of dippings for when you want to enhance the flavors of your food. I couldn’t resist the patis of course.

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For drinks, I had lemongrass iced tea, and for dessert, their version of leche flan. Both didn’t do anything for me.

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I probably would not go back. Food was generally okay but a little expensive for that quality (Php300-350 a bowl). And their aircons keep on dripping on the table! I got a splash-full of drain water, which may or may not be clean (the former probably). The staff were apologetic enough but blamed it fully on the building administration (they were renting space). Still, they should do something about it. We had to change tables and I had to change seats. Twice. Still, I got wet from it.

My second family

This is the family that took me in for a lifetime. We don’t spend as much time with them as with my own since we all live in various parts of the Philippines and even abroad. My parents-in-law are both in Cagayan, as well as two brothers-in-law and their families. The eldest of course is in the United Kingdom, and their coming home was the reason for our big reunion recently. The other brother lives in Caloocan City. Meanwhile, the younger sister, Ate Vivien lives in Fairview, in a subdivision right across Mico’s, so it’s them we see a lot. I would say that our nieces there are the closest cousins Mischa has.

All in all, hubby has two sisters and three brothers. He’s the youngest. Among them, there are 14 grandchildren, and even 1 great-granddaughter now. At the time we took these pictures, the youngest grandchild hasn’t been born yet. There are four grandsons to carry on the Apattad name so there’s little chance we’ll be extinct soon. lol.

I’m not really used to belonging in a family this big, but I love it. Makes me feel secure that Mischa and Maxine has other family they can go to in case we won’t be here. I hope they all grow up close. But I know that we adults have to lay the foundation for them.

So here we are, from eldest to youngest.

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Thanksgiving in Callao

Picking up from my last post, I blogged about our recent trip to the husband’s hometown up north to have our first reunion with his family. Since his sister and her family were over here, the family decided to hold a gathering that includes the extended families and other loved ones to give thanks to the Lord for bringing us all together. There was a fiesta-like atmosphere at my in-laws’ house from dusk until the wee hours of the morning the following day. Everybody was happy to see each other. For me and our two daughters, we were introduced and re-introduced to the rest of the family, although frankly, I could not keep up with all the names and how we are related to one another. But this didn’t matter anyhow.

We started with a simple Methodist service in the family home.

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Then it was all eating and talking and catching up with friends and relatives!

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The star of the feast (poor cow!):

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Mischa definitely had such a good time with all her cousins.

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There was dancing at night. Music boomed, and all swayed and grooved to the beat!

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We were indeed very blessed for the opportunity to belong to this wonderful community. And we were lucky this time that we got to have this first ever complete family picture!

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Surviving traveling with kids

Yes we did! And I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t so hard after all. When we heard the news of the hubby’s sister and her family’s arrival from London, we thought of going home to their province up north in Cagayan. But we just finalized our travel plans a fortnight prior to the thanksgiving party at their parents’ house in Penablanca.

And so we bundled up the kids, packed several bags, bought our tickets, and off we went!

We tried to packed as lightly as possible, bringing only the essentials with us. We knew that one of us would always be carrying the baby so we really can’t afford to have too many pieces of luggage and bags. We ended up with one trolley bag, two back packs, the kids’ travel bag with a few bottles of water and milk and some change of clothes, and my own purse. Except for the baby, we also took some tablets to combat possible nausea.

I was adamant in not letting Mischa miss any day in school so we had to wait for her to finish her last class on Friday. With this, we couldn’t catch the flights from Manila to Tuguegarao City, the gateway to the hometown. So we just hurdled the ten-hour bus ride, which left the terminal in Manila at 9:30 in the evening. We chose the first class bus and the seats were really comfortable, kinda like La-Z-boy chairs. Once reclined, and with your legs up, one can almost catch a good night’s sleep. And there are now charger outlets in between the seats, yey! The bus also had a toilet, which I didn’t get to use anyhow, but the husband said was hard to use. We took turns holding Maxine, and we got a good wink throughout the ride. Thank God both kids didn’t make any fuss at all. Made sure they were both dressed warmly since long-haul buses are known to be really cold.

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There was some traffic along the roads and we eventually reached Tuguegarao around 8:00 a.m. the following day. We were picked up by my another brother in law, and we traveled another 30 minutes from the city to the barrio.

The princesses come home!
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It was easier on the way back. This time, we booked plane tickets on Sunday after the family gathering where Mischa in particular had lots of fun with her cousins. (The family reunion deserves its own post after this.) And I thank the heavens that on the day we went home, the flight was on time. Both kids were happy again, hence, Mommy was happy, too! Maxine probably won’t remember any of this but hopefully she’ll get to enjoy my posts when she grows older, just like Ate Mischa.

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