Saturday, May 31, 2008

Salcedo Village Playground

Our neighborhood has a very nice playground that we frequent. Today Justin came with us so I had the opportunity to take a few pictures of Addie on the play equipment. I think her favorite thing to do at the playground is watch the other children running and playing. It's almost as if she's making mental notes for when she can run herself.
They'd probably go something like this:
1. bounce on the wooden bridge 2. slide down the fireman's pole 3. find a buddy to play tag with
4. jump off the swings at top speed and 5. play hide and seek.
You can see the desire to play in her eyes. Addie loves the playground.


Addie slept until 8:00 AM yesterday morning. Pure bliss!

walking, playing, and being a big kid

Addie is officially walking now. She takes more steps in a row than we can count now. It's so fun watching her toddle where ever her short attention span takes her. She's definitely tough to keep track of now. She loves walking with her car or other things she can push around the house.
I absolutely adore watching Addie play with her toys, especially when she lies on her tummy and talks to herself with the toys. She's getting to be such a big girl now.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Addie's First Birthday Party

We celebrated Addie's birthday by having cake and ice cream with a few of our new friends. It made me long for our friends and family back home. We miss everyone so much. The birthday girl enjoyed the balloons, cake, presents, and friends. My favorite part of the day was seeing her face light up when she spotted the streamers I had hung during one of her naps. Pure joy swept across her face. It was a wonderful little celebration. Addie was abnormally shy during her "Happy Birthday" serenade but she perked up when the big slice cake was placed in front of her. There was no hesitation, she dove right in. Addie received some very thoughtful gifts. The first gift she opened was a little baby doll from her west coast Grandma and Grandpa. She didn't want to put it down to open the next gift. That doll stuck with her the whole evening, it even went to bed with her last night. Thank you to everyone who sent gifts and cards. Addie loved everything. It was a big day for our little one-year-old.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Adelaide!

This morning I whispered "Happy Birthday" to Addie while she was still snoozing away in the early morning. I hope every May 29th Justin and I get the be the first people to wish our daughter a happy birthday just as we welcomed her into this world last year on this day. It's sad seeing the baby leaving my daughter but exciting to see the toddler and little girl take hold. I have loved this child with my whole heart and soul since she was conceived and it amazes me that I love her more and more with every passing day. She makes me so proud. I couldn't help but stare as Addie sat on the floor with her little bowl of Cheerios and her lovey, watching cartoons this morning. I was thinking, "this beautiful little girl is mine, how did I get so lucky to be the one to raise her and watch her grow." Addie doesn't know it, but every one of her birthdays is her gift to me.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thanks Grandpa

We're preparing for Addie's birthday by decorating with the great Winnie the Pooh's first birthday party supplies Grandpa sent. It's so much fun. Thanks Dad/Grandpa, you're the best! We love you.

Monday, May 26, 2008

time for cooking... and eating

One of the benefits staying at home during the day (besides spending every moment with my precious girl) is that I have time to cook and bake. We were in an ugly dinner rut at home. Since we've moved I've tried a bunch of new recipes. The produce and grocery items are different here all our meals taste slightly different here. It's been nice to try new things and update our old favorites. A new favorite I must pass on is Curried Honey Mustard Chicken. I love curry but had no idea how to use it so I got online and found this super easy recipe. It was delicious. So good that I am making it again this week. I definitely recommend it.
At home we made a lot of strawberry or mixed berry banana smoothies in the blender for snacks or breakfast. Our new favorite is mango banana or mango/watermelon banana. Just blend 4 ice cubes, 2-3 tbsp yogurt any flavor, a banana, half a mango, and a few big hunks of watermelon. Then add non-fat milk to get the consistency you prefer.
Starting June 16th our housekeeper/cook, Aida will be adding her Filipino recipes into the mix as well. That's right, we hired a helper and we are pretty excited to get a little help cleaning, cooking, and running errands. She loved Addie and Lucy and comes highly recommended. She said she'd be sure to get us organized. Perfect! We need an organizer. Plus all we have to do is just give her a recipe and she'll cook it. I'm starting a list for Aida of recipes I never took the time to prepare!
I don't have to give up cooking completely when Aida starts. We're going to share the responsibility. So on my nights to cook I can have the kitchen clear of little wobbly baby girls hanging on my apron. It's going to be great.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

early birthday gift

I got the clever idea to get a kiddie pool and fill it with plastic balls for a gift for Addie's birthday. Miraculously we found all the components while we were out shopping on Saturday. We imagined the pool a bit smaller so now we will have to get more balls to fill it. All in all the toy is a hit. Addie loves climbing in and rolling around with the colorful balls. Right now the pool is taking up a large part of our living room but when Addie's room is done it will go in there. Score 1 for Mom and Dad!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

all things foreign

It's been hard to put into words what living in Manila is actually like. I guess I'm still trying to figure it out myself. It's so different than being in the United States it's mind boggling. The biggest change for me is the inability to jump in your car and get somewhere quickly and efficiently. First of all I don't have a car right now and if I did I wouldn't be driving it. The traffic is a nightmare, there are no driving rules, parking is nonexistent and there is just simply no such thing as efficiency in the Philippines. The word has been eliminated from their Taglish dictionary. I hate that it's a cash society, this debit card addicted girl is barely adjusting to that. The pollution is yucky, so is the trash and dog poop on the sidewalks (even in our very nice Makati City neighborhood). I had a run in with a cockroach the size of a kiwi the other day...not cool. I miss Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and Target...already! Oh and I truly miss ice cream. The ice cream is crap here and expensive. Starbucks sells coffee jelly in Manila. It's coffee flavored jello. The Filipinos love gelatin products. That's just weird!

Jeepneys=very weird!!

On the bright side I love the sense of adventure being in a foreign country has elicited from me. Every time we go somewhere it's exciting and new. We found an amazing Indian restaurant that makes the most delicious garlic naan I've ever had. All the Filipinos are friendly and smile at us where ever we go. The fresh fruit is amazing. I could eat mangos and watermelon every day (actually I am!). I'm interviewing a woman this weekend to be our full-time, live-in housekeeper/cook. That is something that is both strange and cool at the same time. Where else in the world could I stay home full time with my daughter and not have to do laundry while she naps? No where!
Gorgeous flower lined streets= very pretty!

best buddies

I've been racking my brain about what to get Addie for her first birthday. Justin keeps reminding me that Addie's favorite toy is her dog Lucy. It's so true. Addie now holds the ball out for Lucy and giggles as Lucy snatches it out of her hands. We've also noticed that Addie's picked up some interesting habits from her "older sister". Addie thinks her mouth is a third hand and will use her teeth to hold something in her mouth in order to have her hands free. We also catch her picking up a toy with her teeth just like Lucy does. Hopefully it's a mimicking phase that she will grow out of.

Gorgeous girl

Just a week shy of this being a birthday picture in her birthday suit. She gets prettier and prettier every day.

bed head

Addie is so snugly in the morning. Lately she's been waking up way too early. Like 5:30 AM too early. She's not ready to wake up so I bring her in bed with me where she will fall back asleep and proceed to hog the entire bed with her arms out-stretched and legs kicking me in my ribs. I absolutely love that she cuddles up close. While she's falling back asleep she'll open her eyes to look at me and make sure I'm right next to her. When she's ready to wake up she'll sit up and rub her eyes and yawn. Her hair's sticking out all over the place and she grabs her lovey, puts her finger in her mouth and leans back against me to just slowly let the morning soak in. This little girl gets cute bed head.

pool bunny

We have a nice little pool at our apartment. Addie and I go down daily and splash around for about an hour. Sometimes the process to get ready for the pool takes longer than our time in the pool. All the sunscreen, sun hats, pool toys, towels, water bottles, stroller. Phew!

The first time in the pool Addie wasn't quite sure what to do. Now she likes to sit on the edge and play with her beach toys and then take periodic dips in the water with me. I've decided Addie is fearless because on more than one occasion she's stood up and gotten ready to just walk down the stairs into the water. I'm thrilled she's isn't afraid of the water but I have to be right next to her every second.

On the weekends we try to get some family time at the pool. Daddy and Addie play very differently in the pool than Mommy and Addie. See for yourself. (those are happy squealing-with-delight faces on Addie if you can't tell)

Friday, May 16, 2008


Addie took her first steps on May 8th, 2008. She's standing up from a sitting position and last night I counted 6 steps in a row before falling. She likes to hold my finger and walk so she will drag me around the room by my finger so she can balance against me. Experiencing her first steps was such a proud moment. It confirmed my reasoning for wanting to stay at home with her during the day. Totally worth it.

farmer's market

We are in love with the little farmer's market that is down the street from our house every weekend. We've been every Saturday since we've arrived. We try to beat the heat and the crowds by getting there early. It's located in the parking lot next to the park and playground that Addie loves to play at. The park is really beautiful and there is something about the hustle and bustle of people shopping for produce, baked goods, and local cuisine from little vendors. We buy all our veggies organic and locally grown. The asparagus is wonderful. We buy fresh pineapples, ripe mangos, bananas, and Jack fruit (the yellow interesting fruit pictured below). The potted plants are exotic and gorgeous. We took home a purple orchid for Mother's Day last weekend. We always order two Thai Iced Teas from a little Filipino woman, they come cold and full of that sweet cream on top. The grilled kabobs are good and our new favorite is the vegetable lumpia. We get 4 for 80 pesos ($2). Delicious. We haven't experimented with the other cooked cuisine although it all smells delicious and we walk around lamenting about how we wish we could try one of everything. After we are done shopping we walk Addie over to the playground where we swing on the swings and climb the stairs and I know she's is wishing her legs to walk and run so she can play with the other kids. Soon enough.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Favorite things

Addie's taken to her stuffed animals lately. We have them all lined up on a bookcase and every time we go in that room she grabs a few off the shelves. At the end of every day the shelves are empty and we line all the animals back up for the next day. Right now she is especially in love with her first doll and a pink handmade bear that her Great Aunt Mary made for her. Other favorite things worth noting are some new favorites for meals. Addie loves spaghetti, olives, black beans, water melon, cheese, Cheerios's, apples, honey Teddy Grahams, and anything that Justin and I are eating. We call her a moocher now. I'm proud to say that she's eating whatever we eat for dinner. The other night she had broccoli and asparagus. I wouldn't say they are her favorites but she ate them. Interestingly though she is the only kid I know who doesn't like bananas or pancakes.

Another favorite thing that has been a constant is Lucy. Addie adores Lucy and now plays with her by holding out the ball and letting Lucy grab it. It never fails to make her giggle.

Mother's Day in Tagatay City, Cavite

We had our first adventure out of Manila on Mother's Day. A small caravan of friends drove with us south about 100 km to Lake Taal which was formed after a huge volcano eruption between 500,000 and 100,000 years ago. Tagatay is a little city up on the ridge above the lake. In the center of Lake Taal is Volcano Island which is still home to the active Taal Volcano that is responsible for the lake's unfriendly sulphuric content. We got a gorgeous view of Lake Taal and the volcano from the People's Park which is just a short walk to a lookout point. If you look in the lower part of the lake you can see all the tiny boats waiting to take tourists to the Volcano Island.

While in Tagatay we had the most amazing 4 course lunch at Antonio's. This 5 star restaurant is chalet-like and built on a ridge with wonderful views of the hills. It's tucked away down a long side street and you would never know that such a treasure is there. There were tree-top tented vaulted dinning rooms, koi ponds, lush rolling lawns, flowers, huge chandeliers, and antiques. The ambiance was like none I've ever experienced. The food was worth the hour or more drive. Antonio personally came to our table and introduced himself (picture below) and told us the specials of the day. There was salad, and creamed Chorizo soup, the grilled sea bass over truffle mashed potatoes was my favorite. The caramel covered, ice cream filled profiteroles were a perfect way to finish off the meal. It was a long leisurely meal, European style so we sat there for hours. I wished I could have soaked in the ambiance and relaxed on the benches with big pillows and stay all day but a tired and bored 11 month old wasn't having it. All in all Addie did really well at our fancy long lunch. She enjoyed the bread with olive tapenade and the beef tenderloin. She's developing quite a taste for fine dinning. I've already decided that we are going to Tagatay again just to stop in for another amazing meal at Antonio's. Mother's day with Addie and Justin and a beautiful experience outside of Manila was perfection. It wet my appetite for more adventures in the P.I.