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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Christmas List

This year's Christmas List was fairly easy to shop for. I was proud of myself for actually finishing my shopping early (and for getting all my gifts, wrapped, tagged and delivered on time. For all this, I would like to personally thank the World Wide Web!!! The Internet has made shopping, shipping and sharing presents hassle-free, convenient and actually efficient!

This year I had several categories for gifts:

First, was for my baby girl: Jamie got a V-Tech Toy/Walker from mom and dad. And books and clothes from Santa.

Second, was for my hubby: Jojo got Nike Shocks shoes from me.

Third, was for my sisters and brothers-in-law: gifts that I personally thought of knowing what they needed or would enjoy. Gift cards for Joy and Marc to their favorite stores and an indoor grill and a set of towels for Atsi and Mark.

Fourth, was for my in-laws: this year I made kits for each couple. I wrapped up a Pasta Boat (the instant pasta cooker which allows you to make perfect al dente pasta right from your microwave!), a box of whole wheat penne pasta, and a jar of organic pasta sauce. Viola ... a ready-to-use pasta kit!

Fifth, for my nieces and nephews: I got them all matching track / jogging suits.

Sixth, for our neighbors, doctors, family friends, dentists, etc: I made cookie baskets (wrapped up a variety of cookies in different containers, clustered them in baskets and wrapped them in cellophane and ribbons).

Seventh, for far-away friends and family: we sent edible fruit arrangements.

And of course, we sent lots of Xmas cards and online greetings.

Next year, we'll have to start shopping for our family and friends in Manila cause we're hoping to celebrate the holidays back home =) Now that might be a challenge!

Xmas 2011

This year our Christmas celebration can only be described as subdued. We had grand plans ... after all, it was Jamie's first every Yuletide holiday. But grand plans always have a way of changing ... sometimes when you least expect it. This year was the perfect example. We intended to celebrate Xmas eve with Jojo's family. It would be the traditional Ordinario gathering, where everyone congregates for a night of games, presents and eating. This year we were celebrating at my brother-in-law, Jay's new place.

The next day (Xmas day), would be a celebration with my side of the family (or at least with my two sisters and their husbands). This time it would be at our place and we were all looking forward to a home-cooked potluck that would make my mom truly proud. We also planned cozying up in the living room, watching Xmas movies and sipping warm cocoa while Jamie opened up her Xmas presents. All in all, Xmas weekend was looking good!

Instead, on Saturday (the 24th), my sister, Jenny, and I chatted via sorenson and she tells me her husband, Mark, is down with a horrible case of the flu. It was so bad that they had to rush to the emergency room at 5:00 AM that morning because his sinuses were so clogged. He was slightly better but still had a bad cold. They would have to cancel their dinner with friends on Xmas eve and could not make it to our place on Xmas day.

After that, Jojo received a text from his sisters (Tracy and Marik) were down with the flu as well. Turns out, Jojo's brother-in-law, Jesse, also had the sniffles. We had to bail out of going to Xmas dinner because we could not risk Jamie getting sick. She was due for her 2nd round of flu vaccinations on Wed (the 28th). She needed to get her shot on the 28th since we had already postponed twice (due to her getting sick as well).

There goes our Xmas plans. I was horribly disappointed. It was the 24th already and we had nothing planned for that evening or for the next day. I actually started feeling depressed thinking that my daughter's first Xmas was ruined! Luckily my sister, Joy and her hubby, Marc were with us. They got me psyched again when they said we could have a mini-celebration together. It would be fun they convinced me. So I pulled myself together and we made last minute plans.

Here is what we did for our last-minute, impromptu Xmas weekend.

On the 24th, we bundled Jamie up and walked around our neighborhood to give Xmas presents to our neighbors. It was really nice catching up with them and coming into their homes for a quick chat. Of course, it was super thoughtful how they all had a little something for our little girl. Then we dressed up and had dinner out. Not a lot of places were open on Xmas eve - and we ended up in Black Angus (surprisingly their rib-eye dinners were really good!). Then we headed home and just watched movies till midnight.

On the 25th, we woke up early and had a yummy sausage and waffle breakfast. Then clad in our robes and pajamas, we opened our Xmas presents. It was heaven for Jamie who had a mountain of presents just for her. Not surprisingly she enjoyed the gift wrappers and boxes more than the actual presents. It was priceless seeing her face as we did the oohing and aahing for her. We then went to Xmas mass and had a super yummy lunch at our new favorite place (The Boiling Point). Then we went home and just chilled - watched movies, played games and called friends and family. Soon we started cooking Xmas day dinner. It was a feast (once again) - garlic rice, salpicao, garlic shrimps, asparagus, grilled chicken pasta, and a fresh veggie and drip tray.

All in all, it wasn't quite the Xmas I had imagined. But in the end, it turned out to be pretty special after all.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Q&A

One of the bloggers I follow posted this on her blog ... it's a random list of questions she answered ... and I thought it would be fun to do so too.

1. What do you order at Starbucks?
I hardly ever go to Starbucks but if I do I order basic iced or hot coffee (depending on the weather!). I never ever order any frou-frou drink that costs more than it should and adds more calories than it should!

2. What's one thing in your closet that you cannot live without?
It's hard to pick just one. I love my classics ... my South Sea pearl studs and strands, my red wool coat, my dressy black slacks, and shift dresses that I can wear anywhere. Oh and my almost-grungy but super-comfy pajamas (that my mom has been begging me to throw out).

3. What's one thing that most people probably wouldn't know about you?
I honestly can't think of anything .... it's either that I am horribly transparent and obvious or that I can't think of anything worth mentioning.

4. Name one thing that you want to do before you die.
Travel to Europe with Jojo.

5. What's one food that you cannot live without?
Rice - I could eat it breakfast, lunch and dinner (what can I say, I'm an Asian at heart!?).

6. What quote/phrase do you live your life by?
Laughter is the best medicine.

7. What do you like and dislike about yourself?
Like: I'm pretty low maintenance, it doesn't take much to make me happy. I am secure in myself and am comfortable in my own skin. I am basically a good person and live by what my parents taught me.
Dislike: I wish I were more organized and had more of a system. I wish I were more patient. And I should also probably work on becoming healthier (now that I am getting older).

8. Who is the literary/movie character you are most like?
Probably Lizzie Bennet - cause I was the most "different" of my mom's daughters and didn't really conform, the way I was suppose to conform. And also I was opinionated and independent. I also think I'm a bit like Josephine March - a bit "rough around the edges" and by no means a girlie-girl, a writer, a dreamer and someone who wants to do something good with her life.

9. What kind of style would you define yourself as having?
I'd like to say "classic" but often times I go more for comfort and practicality. Like I said, I'm not much of a girlie-girl! =)

10. Favorite number.
Eight

11. Favorite scent.
Perfume: Elizabeth Arden's Green Tea
Everything else: I love the smell of books/paper, freshly sharpened pencils, the earth right after it rains, and newly roasted coffee.

12: Two pet peeves:
Filipinos who live abroad and "forget" to speak Tagalog (even though their accents and wrong grammar say otherwise!).
People who talk on their cellphones when they aren't supposed to.

13: Guilty pleasures:
Eating junkfood, watching Lifetime channel movies and reading in bed ... when I should probably be doing housework!

14. If I won a million dollars in the lottery, I would:
Pay off our mortgage, treat my entire family to a month-long vacation, start a college fund for my daughter, maximize our retirement fund, and give the rest to charity.

15. Wish I could ...
Go back home to Manila for the holidays.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Eight is Great!

Dear Jamie,

It's 12 days since your 8th month birthday. I hope you don't take it against your well-meaning mother that these posts are coming in later and later every month. The days just seem to get shorter and in direct proportion my to-do list just keeps getting longer. But, trust me when I say, my time with you is never ever compromised. I still make it a point (no matter how hectic or stressful the day is) to find time to be with you. Of course, it goes without saying that I feed you, change you, dress you, pick you up when you are fussy and soothe you when you cry. But I also find time to play with you, read to you, laugh with you, and have quiet times when I rock you to sleep or hold you in my arms before you drift off to lala land.

You have grown so tremendously over the last few weeks / months. When your daddy and I compare your newborn pictures to how you look today, we marvel at the miracle of your development. What a beautiful experience it is for us to watch you grow. In the last month, you have not only learned to stand on your own, you have started becoming much more mobile. You can crawl really fast but more than that, you can inch your way around your crib (while standing and holding on to the rails). It's pretty funny (and scary) how you can pull yourself up from a sitting position to a standing position - but then you look down and get this confused glint in your eyes. It's as if you are wondering "Well, now that I'm up, how do I get back down again?". And then without warning you just let go of the rails and plop back down. Most times you fall unscathed but there are times when you fall on the railing or hit the corner of the crib. My heart literally stops and I rush off to catch you (if I can ) or soothe you (if I get there too late).

What a fearless little girl you are! I hope you never lose that sense of wonder wherein you curiously explore the world and jump in to try new experiences. I only pray that you do so with your eyes open (Look before you leap!) and considering the consequences. I will always do my best to be there to catch you when you fall - but there will be times when I won't be there. As your mom, I want to teach you that after every fall, you can get up, brush yourself off, and keep going!

During your 8th month, you started eating your pureed foods. I was worried for a while because you seemed to dislike solids and just wanted to drink milk all the time. I tried making homemade food but it turns out you like the store-bought variety better. I've been buying you Earth's Best organic foods and you love it! Your favorites this month include: carrots, winter squash, sweet potato, peas, apples, bananas and pears. You have turned into quite the eater (which makes me glad and confirms you are truly my child - not that there was every any doubt!).

The latter part of your 8th month, mommy had the flu, which was caught by daddy, and then finally, you. It makes me sad to see you sick (with your nose all congested). But I am glad that through it all you are very good natured, don't lose your appetite, and still sleep through the night.

Jamie, my beautiful and happy baby, happy 8th month birthday. I am so blessed to be your mom and I cherish every moment we share together.

Love,
mommy