Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fancy girls

Daddy brought back a copy of Fancy Nancy by Jane Oconnor for Adelaide. We read it for the first time a few weeks back at the book store. I fell in love with the story! I knew of Fancy Nancy the brand without ever having read the book. The story is so sweet. I love that Nancy is just a regular girl who loves to fancy up her outfits and bedroom with baubles, sequins, boas, hats, feathers, and scarves. She's distraught that her boring family is plain so she gives them a little seminar on how to be fancy. Her family and her get all fancied up and go to the local pizza parlor for dinner and order parfaits (fancy word for ice cream sundaes). I love Nancy's obsession with using French words in place of boring English words. Anyhow, Addie and I read it again the other day during some quiet time (no more naps for this girl). Right away Addie wanted to get fancied up. Bella and I followed suit. Here we are, all fancied up. Addie was a bit moody for the photo. The other adorable story that we have been reading at bedtime is Eloise by Kay Thompson. Another adorable book that I'd never read. I'm excited that Addie's old enough now to read some of these fun books for little girls. She gets a little upset when Eloise's baby doll Sabine has to go to the hospital but laughs at the parts with Weenie the dog. Oh my Lord, this book is fun fun fun.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Stinkerbell

Nicknames evolve with my children. Arabella is our jelly bean, our Bella bean, and just plain bean. I call her Stinkerbell sometimes. Cause, well, the name fits. She can be a total stinker sometimes. One of our favorite games to play ( I can't believe I don't have photos of it already) is jumping on the sofa cushions. The cushions are on the floor more than they are on the sofa these days. Just another plus to having embassy issued furniture, I'm not so worried about playing with sofas that ultimately aren't mine. Bella absolutely adores climbing and bouncing on the cushions. Getting to the back of the empty sofa is her mountain to climb. She goes up and down over and over and even stands at the edges of the cushions and flops herself down face first into the soft pillows. This is usually our evening activity before bath time but Bella likes it so much we've been doing it in the morning before her first nap.

He's back!

Justin arrived home late last night and one of the first things he did was give sleeping Addie a kiss and tell her "Daddy loves you". He said she grinned in her sleep. If only we could all be two and half and blissfully in love with our Dads for just one more moment. Justin's got a good gig! Bella had a big snuggle for her Daddy this morning too when he got her out of bed. She kicks her legs and wraps her arms around your neck. It's a good way to start the day. Justin brought goodies from the States for all of us. Some gifts from Kiki and Po as well as Auntie Brienne! Everything was beyond well received. Dad brought Bella little snack puffs she nibbled away on all morning and Addie got Tinkerbell panties! I sent Justin home with a list for Target and he came back with everything AND a packet of double A batteries (which was not on the list but we needed. I love it when my man improvises with the list). Right away Addie rattled off the things she couldn't wait to put the batteries in. Her camera and the car where top on the list. She flitted around taking pictures of us all before she was off to school. I'm embarrassed to admit that I am most excited about the two packs of Goodie brand classic hair barrettes (called clippies in our house). These clips are the best around. I love the old school simplicity and the cute shapes; butterflies, cats playing the cello, ducks, dragonflies, daisies. They are the same shapes as when I was little and that's probably why I love them so much. I have vivid memories of clipping them in my Cabbage Patch doll's yarn hair.

Wow, I'm a total lame Mom now. On a nice, I-know-my-husband-loves-me note, Justin brought me home two doughnuts from Donut Shack! They were two days old and a bit worse for the wear from his cross-the-world-flights but they were damn good with a cup of coffee this morning! It was a perfect late Valentines gift, along with Chelsea Handler's book Are you there Vodka, it's me Chelsea? I've been wanting to read this because, yes, I am a Chelsea Handler fan. How can I not be when she's given me terms like "shadoobie". And quotes like this: "There are two kinds of people I don't trust: people who don't drink and people who collect stickers."I was sad when they did away with the Chelsea Handler show. The clips of her interviewing the elderly people were so funny and cute.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

only while Dad's away

I kept it together for the most part over the weekend while Justin was away. For some reason the weekends are worse because I know on any other weekend we'd be together as a family. When Monday and Saturday feel the same to me I'm not a happy camper. We had a few interesting moments which my husband (and you!) get to experience second hand.

While I was putting Bella down for a nap yesterday I caught Addie filling her dress shoes with water from the bidet and pouring it all over the floor. She explained to me that she had pooped in her little potty and flushed it down my big potty all by herself and now was washing up. I cringed from the thought of all that going on without my help. She was rather proud.

At the pool, a little bug landed on Addie's lip, stung her and then went in her mouth. She kept saying it was spicy as her little lip swelled up. I gave her some antihistamine which she let run down her lips and chin cause it didn't taste right to her. Sigh...

In a desperate need to get out of the house, we went to dinner last night just us girls (all dressed up in dresses and hair clips). While I was holding Bella, trying to eat my meal, and feeding Addie a man came over from the table of Filipinos who thought we were their own personal circus entertainment. He told me his niece was a big fan of my baby and was wondering if she could "cuddle her while I ate my dinner?" What?! Seriously, this country is full of nutsos sometimes. At least he wasn't telling me his long drawn out Visa story and asking if I could help. Besides being a blond novelty show for all the other patrons, the dinner went well and no one had a meltdown.

Addie is not the best listener of all time (shocking, I know for a two and a half year old), I lost my patience on Saturday with her at lunch time and yelled. She got really sad and said "Mom, we're friends. I don't want you to scream at me" to which I completely melted and made a mental note from then on to make and extra effort to keep my cool, vowing to never make her feel that way again. She's too smart though. She tried the weepy line on me again as I was reprimanding her for something legitimate and there was no yelling involved this time. She was just trying to make me feel bad.

We snacked on some peanut M&Ms on the way home from school today. When I told her she couldn't have anymore she got a pouty face and said "but I'm sad because my Daddy's not here, I need some candy". HA! Addie is learning very fast. I didn't fall for it.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

one for Dad

Bella is growing so fast. She's not waiting on anyone.
video

mystery solved

I was getting truly frustrated with Bella at mealtime. She's been refusing to eat her food. I've been mashing all sorts of yummy things for her to eat but I'm just getting her stubborn clamped down jaw even when I know she's hungry. I have been trying to force a few bites in her mouth when she opens up for a drink of water. She hasn't been too happy with me about it. This morning I didn't want to battle with her so I just sliced up bananas and mangos and put them on her tray. She's a happy camper scooping them up and popping them in her mouth. I guess she just doesn't like to be fed the mushy stuff. This kid has a mind of her own. She must want to practice with those new teeth she has.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

more of The Face

I think she wanted more yogurt bar.

sharing

Adelaide earned a yogurt bar for dessert tonight and shared with her little sister willingly. It was the sweetest thing to see. I was impressed that Addie won't let Bella touch her wheely bug but she gladly gave her big bites of her dessert. These girls warm my heart beyond anything words can really express. These girls are for Daddy while he's away. We miss you!

three little angels

In November I was put in contact with a sweet couple who recently gave birth to premature triplets staying at Makati Medical until they were large enough to go home. The mother was on medication that didn't allow her to nurse her new babies (two girls and a boy). Luckily I had the solution to their problem in my freezer. I've been pumping full time for the past 9 months now and whatever Bella doesn't eat during the day gets put away for later. The triplets received some of my frozen supply and I couldn't have felt better about donating it. They were born 1.3 kilos each and needed to be fed by Dixie cup! Luckily they had no other medical issues besides their low birth weight. I gave their father a huge box of frozen milk the first time he came to receive a donation and then dropped off milk at the neonatal care unit at the hospital periodically over the next few months. The baby's doctor shook my hand and were so thankful for the milk. It warmed my heart to know how appreciative the parents were. One visit to the hospital I was invited to meet the babies and all I could do was cry for those tiny little beans. I couldn't stop thanking God for my big healthy girls at home. I am so glad that I could assist with these little babies earliest days. I'm proud to say they grew steadily on my milk and two out of the three were released home before Christmas. The last baby was release after the New Year. I gave my last donation to the family a few weeks back and learned that they would be moving to Japan where the father is from. I wish them all the best and pray the little ones keep growing big and strong.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

morning person

I am not a morning person but I have to fake it now that I'm a Mom. My God the mornings are early with little kids. My super star husband may not take middle of the night feedings but he does let me sleep-in an additional hour EVERY MORNING! Without that hour from 6-7AM I think I'd have gone crazy months ago. Anyhow, he's enjoying the frigid temperatures of Virginia this week and we miss him terribly. It's all me with the girls all night, all day, and early mornings. It used to be really rough when Bella was still waking up multiple times a night and then I'd have to get up with Addie before 6AM while Justin was out of town. Now it's not as bad and I'm proud to say that I actually get by pretty well at that time of the morning. This might have a little to do with the cup of coffee in the morning I'm allowing myself. Oh, it's so good and just enough jolt to get me going. It's amazing to me how kids start their days rolling the moment the decide to wake up. Addie usually starts off her morning snuggling back in bed with me until 6AM. 5:40 is just too damn early. If the sun doesn't rise, neither do I. She's off to the races at 6 though. It's Cheerios and milk and books and let's watch a show. Bella too of course! This morning she happened to sleep-in until 7:40 AM! Totally awesome for her. This was our living room before 8AM. Both girls had eaten their breakfast, Addie had peed, Bella had loaded her diaper at least once, the Cuisinart grind and brew had rocketed into outer space (and made me coffee in the process), and the animals were having a parade. Thinking back to my office days I'd still be half asleep on the Metro on my way to work. My mind was blank until 9AM. Now I'm playing make-believe with Little People and defrosting homemade baby food with a smile on my face. Who knew I had it in me?

the face

Arabella is not all sugar, she's made of some serious spice (phew, lots of spice). At 9 months she communicates to us as if she were the same age as her sister. It's amazing to watch and listen to. She's so expressive and so darn stubborn. When she's happy and joyful she's like a little ball of squishy sweetness you just want to eat up. When she's cranky she's trouble with a capital T! She has this face that she gives me when someone else is holding her and she sees me. She uses this face show her dislike for something. Mostly if you say "no" about something, take a toy away, don't give her another bite of cracker, leave her quickly on the floor by herself. She hates being left to play even for a second alone if she's in a cranky mood. When she's happy she will play on the floor with her sister completely fine. Bella does this face more and more now to communicate her opinion about something. It's the funniest thing. I get this face when she's happy too, but when she's unhappy, watch out! I know when she's awoken from her nap too soon I'm going to see this face for the rest of the day.

Here she's giving this face after a terribly short morning nap. She's complaining because Justin was swinging her and he stopped to swing Addie. She didn't like that so much. He got The Face!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Philippine Star Ball

Last week Justin called me from work asking me if I'd be interested in going to a ball on Saturday night. Sure thing, I responded mentally checking that I'd have something to wear. Yaya agreed to come babysit that night allowing Justin and I to enjoy an impromptu date night. What a date night it was. The Philippine Star Ball is the third annual open international ballroom dance championship in Manila. It was held at the Makati Shangri-la hotel and chaired by Michaela "Pinky" Puno (wife of Dept of Interior Sec Ronald Puno). The championships spanned the entire day while the televised gala events included both professional and amateur Latin and Standard ballroom dancing. We were lucky enough to score tickets through Justin's office to attend the gala events. This included a wonderful four course meal. The televised portion of the events included the parade of nations, a show dance from Pinky Puno herself (awesome at 60 years old), and introductions from host and judges for the competition. There were at least 50 professional ballroom dance couples. At least that number for the amateur dance (which looked pretty darn professional). They started with the professional Latin dance quarter final recalls and my head almost couldn't process what was occurring on the dance floor. The couples were a blur of beautiful motion. Ballroom dance has made it's way into most American living rooms thanks to shows like "Dancing with the Stars". Seeing it on TV is nothing like experiencing it in person. In person the dancers make it look effortless and beautiful but it's also painfully obvious just how difficult this kind of dance is. My God it's hard work and these people are amazing at it. Our favorite dances were the Latin Rumba and Jive as well as the Standard Viennese Waltz. All the gowns were amazing. The Latin dancers sexy and sultry while the Standard ballroom dancers were graceful and gorgeous. It was such a fun experience to see this kind of dance in person. The entire night (HA! we left at 10:30 utterly exhausted-the after party where you can meet the dancers and dance yourselves didn't start until midnight) Justin and I kept thinking about how much Adelaide would have loved to see the dancing and the dresses. It was like a real like princess ball!

Here we are as a family of four you might recall this moment in 2008. No paparazzi, just my personal cameraJustin and I with Pinky Puno. Her dress was just as gorgeous as she is. I can't believe she's 60.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Interview with Adelaide Rose (2 3/4 years)

(My comments in parentheses)
What is your favorite food? eggs, broccoli(!), fries, rice, potatoes
What is your favorite color? purple
What is your favorite day of the week? Monday(didn't get this from me) and Tuesday
What is your favorite toy? Cinderella and baby doll
What is your favorite song? Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (she proceeded to sing it for me)
What is your favorite movie? The Princess and the Frog
What is your favorite candy? hearts and stars (?)
What is your favorite drink? milk (so true, she wants cold milk after playing hard at the park)
What is your favorite game? Cinderella cards
What is your favorite book? Walter the Farting Dog, Princess Jasmine, Belle, and Cinderella
What is your favorite thing to do? get a cupcake and play over at the park
What makes you happy? heart cookies and popcorn (is she hungry or what?)
What makes you happy that is not edible? Rose Princess dress
What would you do to make the world a better place? Sammy, Stella, and Emma (friends? OK, cool)
What do you like, Hugs or Kisses better? Both hugs and kisses
What is your favorite place to drive in the car? Wind in my hair...(we drove with the windows down last weekend in the evening-first time she's experienced that, wild but true. The air here is not too clean and there are beggars that accost you at every intersection. It's not safe here to drive with your windows down.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lucky

I can't believe how unbelievably lucky I am to have two beautiful daughters. On top of that I have a wonderful husband who is my very best friend and favorite person in the entire world. The other night Justin came home, changed into shorts and a t-shirt, and immediately came into Addie's room to play with his girls. They fought over who would get a turn at flying in the air or wrestling with their Dad first. I just sat back and watched, overwhelmed with how wonderful the scene in front of me was.

Valentine cookies

Valentines Day is one of those holidays that is hard to explain to my daughter. You tell the people you love how much you care, give cards, flowers, candy, blah, blah, blah. I'm not sure she gets the purpose of the day but was all for making and decorating sugar cookies yesterday. She loaded them up with sprinkles and ate her fair share of frosting in the process. Bella fine tuned her pincher grasp with the white nonpareils rolling on the table.

shoe shopping

I'm already imagining back-to-school shopping with my two girls when they are 12 and 14. It will be pure heaven for me. I loved school shopping with my Mom as a kid; picking out new outfits, getting new shoes, maybe even a new school bag (purple Esprit tote for 4th grade, forest green JanSport for the 7th grade, L.L. Bean messenger bag for freshman year of college-my life could be described by what bag I had when-I love it!). I have a feeling my girls will be just as much shoppers as their Mommy. Addie already loves clothes and bags, and shoes. She loves "shopping" in my closet for the highest pumps to clomp around the house in (Hell, I'm not wearing them much). Yesterday, on Addie's day off from school, she and I had a little date while Bella took her morning nap. We met some friends at Market Market for some fancy shoe shopping and then hit the playground. Little girl shoes in the Philippines can be pretty trashy. We see lots of little girls in heels, espadrilles, open toed clear plastic heel numbers. It's quite alarming if these are the shoes you are letting your little girl got to school in or walk around the park in. Now if the intent is for dress-up fun: I say bring on the flashy sparkle and glitz! There are gobs and gobs of these cheap ($4) shoes from China so I let Addie have her pick. She roamed around picking up the displays and putting them on her feet. The sales girls got a kick out of watching her. She finally narrowed her search on a few pairs, all with heels of course. Would I expect any less of my little fashionista. She decided on the pair in the pictures. The girl helping us try on shoes was flabbergasted that I was going to buy them way too big for her. The idea that these shoes were for play just didn't register for her. Addie, as you can see, was in love with them. She's definitely my daughter.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

My name is Bella

Daddy calls me Bean...sometimes my favorite person in the whole world, Addie, calls me Bean too. I love my sister with all my heart. She is so cool, I love her fancy clothes and tiny toys. I am getting so big. Mommy says I'm growing like a bean. She complains that I don't eat my real food in the morning but just want my milk. It's so yummy, it's sweeter than mango. Sometimes Mommy huffs and puffs in the middle of the night when I wake up crying for a bottle, then she starts sniffing my hair and humming while she holds me. That's when I'm happy again. I know my Mommy loves me. My whole world is fun. I love getting big. My sister reaches out and holds my hand when we are both in our car seats. When I get bigger I want to hold her hand always. She's so cool.

No Groundhog needed in Manila

Keeping up with Groundhog Day predictions in the States means that little famous Phil, who saw his shadow on Feb 2 indicating 6 more weeks of winter, has accurately predicted the weather for most of the Eastern corridor. Most of Phil's groundhog counterparts did not see their shadows. Way to go Phil. The 3 feet of snow in the Washington DC area backs little Phil's predictions. Thank you to all our friends and family who have sent us numerous photos of the insane snow storm! We hope our little humble abode in Arlington is weathering the snow well (thank God the installation of the new heat pump was completed just before the storm hit to keep our tenant warm).We wouldn't know much in the way of winter over here in Manila! Winter has come and gone and the summer months are on their way. The few short weeks in between winter and summer are glorious. The wind blows keeping the smog from the city and the sun starts shinning heating up the swimming pools. It's pleasant and wonderful. While our family and friends spent the weekend hunkered down in their homes blasting their pellet stoves and dreading the deep snow shoveling needed to escape their homes, we on the other hand took a dip in the pool, played at the park, and ate dinner outside at one of our favorite restaurants. We are trying to soak up the beautiful weather before it gets sweltering again. We say winter? What winter?

The Princess and the Frog

Justin and I took Addie to her very first movie in the theater on Friday night. Justin took off work early, we left Arabella with Yaya for the evening and the three of us had a nice little date. All morning Addie couldn't stop jabbering away to her friends and teachers about the upcoming movie experience she was going to have. She was so excited. I tried to prep her about the theater so she wouldn't be scared by how big and dark it was. We got to the mall super early to grab dinner. Two great things about movies in the Philippines are the cheap tickets ($4 a ticket) and you can bring any food you want in the theater. Addie had her first McDonald's cheese burger and fries (and loved it) while Justin and I got Tauqia Maria burritos. The movie was a hit. The animation was phenomenal and the story was sweet. Adelaide loved it, she asked plenty of questions (mostly why?) but the scary parts didn't seem to bother her. We loved watching her get into the story and laugh at parts she thought were funny. The music was wonderful too. Disney should make more animated films. They are such a nice change to all the computer animation these days. Addie's favorite character was Tiana and Justin and I liked the firefly Ray! At the beginning of the show we saw a preview for Toy Story 3, Addie is already planning our next movie date to see Buzz and Woodie in the theater.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

splashing

Arabella discovered that splashing the bath water is tremendous fun the other night. She smacked the water with her hand and then laughed as the water sprayed her face. I encouraged her by making silly noises as after the splashes. She laughed so hard she tooted in the water then bent forward and pooped in the water. I grabbed her as I saw the bubbles coming so luckily she stayed clean. She's quickly gone from baby to Miss Independent. She wants to jump and run and play just like her big sister. She's now going to sleep at 6:30 PM with her sister so they get play with Dad after dinner and bathe together. Justin swings Bella around like he does Addie and Bella just comes back for more. The Daddy/Bella bonding is in effect. She jumps out of her skin with excitement when Dad comes home, just like Addie. Adelaide isn't completely thrilled with sharing her Dad with her little sister. I think she preferred it when Bella was in bed when Dad came home! Now Justin has two little girls to come home to. He's totally thrilled. Last night as I was getting into bed Justin commented "I can't believe we have two beautiful little girls. I love it". Most every night we rush and race around to get the girls in bed and then breath a sigh of relief that we get an hour or two together alone. Then as we are going to sleep we already miss the hub and bub of the kids. After peaking in on the sleeping angels it's hard not to be thankful for how much we have been blessed with our daughters. I usually turn off the light and Bella is up for a feeding within 10 minutes as if she knows I want to rest. Then I'm off to the races again.

funny stuff

Kids are so funny. They are so innocent and literal and say the funniest things. Addie tends to ask us why we are laughing because most of the time she says everything in complete seriousness. She has no clue that Justin and I consider most of what she says to be hilarious. The other day she asked for some help taking the clothes off her Cinderella dolls because they wanted to dance naked. All but for their high heels. I told her that made perfect sense, between my chuckles. Then they can move a round easier, right?. All the dancing Barbies got me thinking and we started our Ballerina theater project. Addie wasn't privy to my vision so she just went with the flow and lets me know when she's tired of working on it. I think we are done for now. My favorite part of the theater is the removable back-drop so we can change scenes. It is a really fun project. I have all sorts of fun ideas for it.