Saturday, July 31, 2010

R&R shopping

The past six weeks in the United States for R&R has been wonderful. We've seen family and friends, enjoyed the Pacific Northwest summer, played at the Oregon coast, and had endless amounts of fun just being at my parent's home doing the things little kids should be doing in July in the United States of America. It's been awesome. I've loved every moment of it.

I've also loved all the American retail that I have been able to partake in during this trip! I'm definitely making up for the trip to the States last year where I was either pregnant or postpartum the entire 3 months and not in any condition to shop. We save a ton of money when I am pregnant and have a newborn because I have no desire to spend money; especially not on my big tired self.

This R&R has been full of lots of fun shopping adventures and I've devoured every opportunity to get some really fun stuff for, well, mostly myself. There have been a few things for my husband and children and the household but, for the most part I've made some selfish purchases over the last 6 weeks. Consider it my "push present" for Arabella (since I got purple amethyst when I gave birth to Adelaide).

Here's some of my finds:

I picked up this soap dish at the local Salvation Army half price sale. I think I paid a dollar for this adorable little thing and it makes me love it even more. I have a thing for soap dishes and I accidentally left one on the side of the bathtub back in Manila one day and Bella went directly for it before I could catch her and it fell and cracked. Boo for my old leaf soap dish. Yay for my new perfect blue hued one.

A big thank you to my girlfriend Allison who tipped me off on the new Target Up & Up brand diapers. They are less than half the cost of Pampers. I gave them a try and they have definitely held up similarly to Huggies. I generally prefer Pampers over Huggies but paying $14.99 for 86 diapers has helped me change my mind. I bought a ton of Up & Up size 4 diapers to bring back to Manila with us. Plus the polka dots are so adorable.

I nabbed these hot black suede sandal/bootie wedges by Mia (I love Mia shoes) at Nordstrom Rack in downtown Portland on the second weekend I was here. The Nordies shoe guy even buffed the suede for me before I tried them on. I got a little weak in the knees when I saw these on. I love these shoes so much and have not had an opportunity to wear them here in the States. They will be making their debut the first date night I have with my hubby upon our return to Manila.

My Mom and I hit a great estate sale this week that had over 1,000 pieces of costume jewelry. I picked up a few interesting pieces costing me a total of $7.50. I love a good bargain and it was great to see my bargain hunting Mom in her element. Plus you gotta start the kids young at garage/estate sale shopping. So after all that hunting through cases and cases of jewelry that day my Mom pulls out her little clip-on earring drawer from her personal jewelry stash at home and lets me pick out a pair to take home with me. These little rhinestone numbers I chose are by far my favorite new ball gown accessory.

Another cool Salvation Army find was this ugly owl for 50 cents. I knew when I saw him that he was just enough hip, just enough vintage, and just enough ugly for me to take him back to Manila to perch on my bookcase. 50 cents...done and done. He only stands about 6 inches tall, so not to worry sweet husband of mine.

While hurridly browsing Whole Food's selection of natural sunscreens and bug sprays for the girls I came across this great product on accident. It's Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel toner and I'm completely in love. It makes my skin feel great and it works well for that mid-day wipe down to refresh my skin and remove any dirt or oil that's built up. There is no alcohol in the product so it's non-drying. It actually makes my skin feel moisturized. I was really happy to see this product available more places than just Whole Foods. (side note: while at Whole Foods I had one of their little sushi lunch trays that completely took me back to my days working for Booz Allen in D.C. when I'd walk to Whole Foods for lunch with co-workers-the luxury of time I had then is almost unfathomable to me now.)

The greatest vintage piece I picked up was also at the Salvation Army half price sale. This rabbit fur coat with "dramatic" shoulders was mine for $22.50 and needs absolutely no altering whatsoever. I put it on and immediately started fantasizing about the things I could wear this with. My yellow satin gown came to mind as well as a printed casual sundress and even skinny jeans with heels. It's an original Wilson's Leather coat and I have no idea how old it is. I'm guessing late 70's maybe. Then to top it off, I opened the latest issue of Elle magazine (American magazines have been on my shopping list since being home too-it's so great to stand in the check out line and read an US Weekly while waiting. So great!) and was floored to see that fur is in for the Fall 2010 collections and they are pairing it with absolutely everything. Who knew? The only difference is that faux fur is on the runways! Mine isn't exactly PETA friendly but I figure recycling an item is better than buying it new or letting that poor rabbit fur go to waste. It's too great a coat to not be worn and my gratitude to the original chic owner who kept it in such great condition all these years. (side note: those gold chains are all second hand too. I got one at the estate sale and Mom picked up the other one for me. Most versatile accessory I own.)
Ok, enough of me trying to pretend I can blog about clothing. It was all about happy shopping for me!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Voodoo Doughnut

My dad and I ventured to Voodoo Doughnut in Portland tonight to try, for our very first time, the doughnuts that have become legend in this city. They were pretty amazing and the combinations were really interesting. I love that they sprinkle flavored drink powders on the frosting. Genius! Dad with his maple bacon bar that was nothing less than perfection. We ended up in line to buy a second one to bring home to Mom.They displayed the doughnuts they had available in the spinning display case.Pictured here is the voodoo doll doughnut complete with pretzel stake in the heart, maple bacon bar, lemon chiffon cruller, tangfastic (Tang drink powder dusted on top), and old dirty bastard (chocolate peanut butter with Oreo on top-very, very dirty).The magic truly is in the hole!
The list of doughnuts and prices. A bit pricey for some of them but they are huge doughnuts! Definitely worth the stop if you are in Portland! Open 24 hours!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

all it took was 15 months

I had no idea when I gave birth to Arabella that it would be 15 months later that I'd get my first full night's rest (that's even debatable since Adelaide still wakes me up). It's a pretty monumental accomplishment that Bella slept through the night last night. Since being in the States I've gotten her off the bottle which has led to longer nights sleep for my girl. When she wakes up now it's because she can't find her binky. I usually have to retrieve her pacifiers that have fallen out of her crib and bounced all over the floor. Last night she went to sleep at 7PM and didn't wake until 6AM. I changed her diaper put her back down and she slept until almost 9AM. I had to go in and check on her at 11:30PM just to make sure she was ok. That's the sort of thing you do when your child has been waking up multiple times at night for the past 15 months.

Arabella has grown so much in the past 5 weeks in Washington. All the new experiences have led to lots of new milestones and more talking too. She says "Mama" all day now. I love seeing both my girls grow like little seedlings when they are in the States.

This picture of Arabella was taken in the hospital on day 2 of her life.

Monday, July 26, 2010

enjoying a meal (and a day)

It doesn't get much better than loading up a dinner plate and walking outside to the shaded outdoor furniture to eat a home cooked meal in the breezy summer evening. These are my favorite moments with my family. What family doesn't revolve around food? The girls chowed Grammy's spaghetti tonight after a busy day playing outside in the sunshine. I'm purposefully keeping my girls busy so they eat well and crash hard at night. Truly, that's what summer is all about as a kid. We walked the Salmon Creek trail this morning. Addie road her tricycle until she had a meltdown. Bella road in the wagon until it was her meltdown turn-then she road in the backpack. We kissed Aunt Emily goodbye tonight after dinner. We had a lovely visit with her this weekend and will miss her dearly. No, my 15 month old didn't feed herself her ice cream with a spoon but according to this picture she sure knows how to. Clever girl.Chocolate sauce trip for sure!I love this shot even with Addie's eyes closed. Bella looks to her sister for everything. She copies everything her big sister does. Bella things Addie is pretty awesome. Walking the Salmon Creek trail I used to run as a teenager. It was hot and tougher with a monkey on my back. Arabella and Grandpa after they both had a three hour nap today. Sporting the same bed-head. We love you Em! Thanks for being such a wonderful and willing Auntie this weekend. The girls love playing with you. All you need to remember is how on Friday night Addie wouldn't calm down to go to sleep until I told her that you were going to be at Grammy and Grandpa's house all weekend and that she could play with you the entire time. "She's not going back to her house?" she asked half a sleep in her bed. "No sugar, she's staying with us." The look of relief on her face was noticeable.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

fancy fun family play date

I'm sure Adelaide thought it was Fancy Nancy come to life when her cousin Emme's Mama brought out a beautiful platter of pastries from La Petite Provence for their snack today! Emme, Addie, Bella, and Evan all enjoyed the delicious yummies. Moms, Dad, and Grandpa snuck a few tastes during our play date too. I love hanging out with my cousins Jeff and Katie. They are infinitely cool people (the proof is in the French pastries) and have a really nice relaxed parenting style that makes play dates with the little ones so easy and fun! Laid-back Mums and Pops unite!! The playhouse was a hit outside in the backyard as was the pool and play food. The sunshine combined with their wonderful tree shaded yard was perfect for swinging in the hammock and teaching Emme "On top of Spaghetti". She requested it three times in a row (who wouldn't?). These little cousins are so cute together. At the end of the morning they were walking hand in hand. Addie said "let's do it together because we are friends." Play date mission accomplished!

Ester Short Park

We were up and out of the house extra early on Saturday to spend the cool early morning hours at Ester Short Park in Vancouver. They have a nice farmer's market, playground, and water fountain to play in. This is our second trip to the park since being on r&R. Aunt Emily is in town for the weekend so we got to bring her to play! I revisited Fudge Fix that my lovely Mother-in-law treated me to last time we were at the market. 5 bars for $15 baby! You better believe I got the 5. You must try this fudge if you are in Vancouver. It's amazing. My favorites are their Snickers fudge, the milk chocolate caramellow, and the chocolate mint. Seriously good fudge. Anyhow, we ate, played and got wet! Always a good combination for lots of fun.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

summer day

I shouldn't be surprised that it's not sunny and hot every day in Washington in July. Lately it's been cool in the mornings and then sunny in the afternoons. Today was sunny from the time we woke up until the sun set (it's 9:15 PM and the sun is just going down). The girls and I padded around outside this afternoon. Extremely happy not to be sitting in traffic! I put a few inches of water in the kiddie pool and voila...summer fun.

Children's museum

Mom and I did it again. We knowingly drove the girls to Portland after Bella's nap for a fun activity with full knowledge that by the time we had to drive back to Vancouver traffic would be terrible and we'd have two very sad little girls in the hot car. But how can you pass up and afternoon at the coolest children's museum ever? The girls loved it even if we had to feed them an entire sleeve of Ritz crackers on the way home so they'd refrain from completely loosing it. You can imagine how much dinner got eaten that night.

Back to the fun part, the museum was the best. Addie loved completely different parts of it this year compared to last. This year she loved story time at the tree house and Arabella was the one tugging on my arm to run on to the next exciting and loud thing. See for yourself...
In the toddler area that Addie wanted nothing to do with last year. We spent a ton of time this year because both girls loved it. Bella as usual was a dare devil and did all sorts of experiments on how she could scare her mother and grandmother as she went down this slide. Fish tanks, always a crowd pleaser. We are missing our tropical tank back in Manila. I hope Yaya and Dad are keeping those fish clean.In the play grocery and deli area where kids can shop for play food, scan their own groceries at the check-out stand and fix meals for one another. Arabella was in heaven here. She held that fake pear the entire time she played here. As you know she's a produce lover anyway. How much do you want to bet that she's going to have a summer job at a roadside farm selling peaches somewhere in middle America? The best part of this area for me was watching Bella watch the other kids . She was obsessed. Just taking it all in. This cute little boy was being very imaginative and pretending to talk on the pay phone about what meal a friend of his wanted on the daily special list (on the black board). Bella was enthralled. She kept on staring at the phone long after the boy left. I want watermelon or my pear? Definitely the pear.There is my new pal again, scanning his groceries. How does he make that thing beep every time an item passes the scanner? Amazing. I hope I can get back to this place when I'm taller!Serious clay making. A little clay tasting for Bella. I'm just a few inches too short still! She loved every bit of this museum. I could see the wheels turning in her little head.Tube crawling awesomeness. She's so tall already!!