All about our Princess

Chasing Doctors

December 29, 2012

It's the cold and COLDS season here in the sand pit, and for the first time, Little Princess got coughs as she turned eight months. Her bowels timing and frequency also changed slightly, and I was wondering if it is related to her teething. Her fifth pearly is breaking her gums currently. Except for the occasional coughing and mucus, there's nothing alarming so far. She is not extra cranky and she sleeps well through the night. And to prevent any chance for fever and diarrhea to set in, I rang the clinic yesterday for appointment today.

Customer Service: Any preferred doctor for Little Princess?
Me: Dr J.A. please.
Customer Service: Sorry but he's fully booked and you would be 16th on the waiting list. How about the other doctor? He's available from 10 am then 4-6pm
Me: Thank you but we'll just try our luck tomorrow with Dr. JA.

We were at the clinic 9am today but left and did not push our chance with Dr JA. We remembered to see Kalel's doctor six years ago in his new clinic and was lucky to see him, and here he is with our Princess.

Little Princess and Iranian doctor, Dr. Mohammadi.
The Pediatrician who has loads of Kit Kats in his fridge for his little patients.

How many kids more on your board Doctor?
Lots still, I know.
What's with pediatricians anyway?

Probably, there were around six doctors that Kalel had visited over the past six years here in Dubai, four of them because the two Favourite Doctors were not around. To say, we had no choice.

Little Princess meantime had three pediatricians on her first days, another two during her vaccinations.

I guess we had enough experiences with pediatricians to say that indeed, we learned to play preferences.

You see, our two favourite pediatricians stand out because:

- they are cheerful and socially child friendly, our kids get to smile back
- they treat kids personally, knowing the kids by name
- they cheer the kids by singing or mumbling 'I love you'-s
- they explain why the medications are as such
- they minimise prescribing antibiotics, until necessary
- they go beyond asking how the kids had been and what are other concerns apart from what we came for.
- they chat with Kalel, not rushing their time even with a waiting list of patients

I would like to put my feet on the shoes of our Favourite Pediatricians and know how it is to feel fulfilled in their profession. Would it be so great when your service is sought after and preferred by many?

All about our Princess

Our Princess, Her Milk and Her Spoon

December 23, 2012

It's Christ birthday tomorrow, and as my family's celebrating it, I took two days work leave. Gifts are wrapped and one more to grab and wrap today. What's special this Christmas for the family is having our Little Princess with us for her first time to greet Jesus a happy birthday. 

I have not blogged for quite sometime but I am sneaking this in. Yesterday, after 17 months of missing it ( 9 months pregnancy and 8 months post natal), my monthly girly visitor showed up. It's 4 days short before Little Princess turns 8 months. Is there a deal about this? For me, at least. You see, other moms get back their menses pretty soon, but I got mine late. I largely attribute it to my breastfeeding. I got back at work by Little Princess's 3 months, and until she was six months, she EXCLUSIVELY nursed on my milk. I continued expressing at work, and lately when I was having issues on my ability to sustain my schedule of hiding and filling those two milk bottles, I planned on slowing down my 'production' which I seem to achieve. Then, boom! my menses came, and it hit me -- it came back because I am trying to give less of my milk to my baby. And I am not happy :-( . Honestly.

Little Princess is a picky eater, and is a daily struggle to give her her formula milk and Cerelac. I once pureed a carrot, and she vomited it out. I probably get another lecture from Little Princess's doctor if he'll know I haven't been feeding her fruit and vegetable purees because I think she's not ready and she declines any of these. Another guilt in me.

But she loves nibbling on rusks, probably because of her itchy gums. She has four teeth now and more are ready to break out.

Meantime, here's Little Princess in Christmas colors greeting you a Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Kids celebrate the UAE National Day 2012

December 08, 2012

If there's a celebration for patriotism that I look forward to, that would be the UAE's National Day happening every 2nd of December. And if all flags hoisted during the event are to cover an area (as a % of total geographic size), UAE is sure to grab another Guinness for that. Expats and locals alike wave flags while establishments are like in a race to roll out the longest and widest flag. Towers flash a common hue for the day - that of green, white, black and red.

Homes, especially of locals proudly raise flags while lots of cars are painted in flag colors too. And wherever one is, he will not miss a celebration. Every street is in festivity.

This year, the Filipino community has been invited to join the parade at Downtown Dubai. In show of gratefulness to the host country, the community through various organizations came in throngs. Cordillerans UAE also brought its banner, and Kuya and the Little Princess gamely marched the streets, with a photo featured at Timeout Dubai.

The Kids' Dad has to catch up with them and took photos of the parade as well. For those who missed the parade, we uploaded some photos of the event HERE.

UAE - Dubai

Atlantis - Treasure Hunt Competition

November 09, 2012

Summers in the UAE usually means discounted rates on hotels including prime properties as the Atlantis Hotel at The Palm. We were there last year and we loved it having made the most of what we paid for :-) from the number of activities we indulged ourselves in. Talk about value for money!

I've ran some blog posts on it on the following links:

In my Lens - At Atlantis The Palm
Lost Chambers

And had posted some pictures on the Gremliness facebook page:

Atlantis The Palm on Gremliness

And this year, I am crossing my fingers to bring my family there, this time with Little Riane, and this time -- for free! (That's if I get a chance on the competition prizes (^_^) Please Atlantis??? ).

You might want a chance too! Here's the link:

Atlantis - Treasure Hunt Competition

Thinking Out Loud

Obtaining a visit visa for my sister-in-law

October 31, 2012

One thing that I so love about Dubai is the efficiency of processes in transacting with government services, that of course is in comparison with my experiences back home. In 30 minutes, I had received my sister-in-law's long term visit visa.

I left work on time today and reached the DNRD at Jafliya exactly 6pm. With documents inside the envelope, I headed at the typing center left of the DNRD building's main entrance. To the cashier I asked if I am eligible to sponsor my sister-in-law. She asked back my profession, and in confirmation, she assigned me to one of the typists. The typist asked for SIL's passport copy and my passport copy, and asked me to pay AED 1270. 

Mr. Typist asked for SIL's photo (I brought none, so he scanned photo from the passport copy, it wasn't an issue), my salary certificate, and Husband's passport copy and Marriage contract (last two requirements to support the in-law relationship, otherwise if parents or siblings, not required). So yet, tenancy contract and DEWA bill are not needed but I brought them still. 

I next headed to the ladies lounge. That's if from the main entrance, take right to the end then left and straight to the Ladies Council door. My documents were quickly checked and was asked to pay the AED 2000 guarantee deposit. Went out again and midway to the same hallway I passed is the Commercial Bank of Dubai counter. I paid AED 20 for service charges.

Lastly, I brought my receipt to the Ladies lounge and in two minutes, received SIL's long term visit visa.

Now, SIL's Brother needs to go to the Philippine Consulate to request authentication of an Affidavit of Support. If getting a visa is 30 minutes short, a visit to the Consulate spells long cues, and a waiting time of two to three weeks for the document to come through! (Now you understand how I love the streamlined processes of Dubai government!)

Oh I forgot, part of the AED 1270 I paid is a travel insurance.

Road Trips

Directions to Hatta

October 22, 2012

With the Eid holidays coming this weekend, I have received emails asking on directions of how to reach Hatta.

The easiest way I can give you is via map links on Google Maps. My driver-Husband pinned the directions if you are coming from Dubai. With the advent of smart phones which can save google maps offline, these are great tools to guide us and keep track of where we are and where we're heading.

So here's the directions, click on the link next to it:

From Hatta roundabout to Hatta Pools
For a more challenging offroad drive to Ash Shuwayha

The direction for Hatta Pools stopped  at the fork where you need to go down left to park at the falaj, then walk yourself now to the pools. Others move a little further from this fork to the other side of the pools but we haven't tried this route, so cant advise. Either way, you are now in the area.

For our routes we've taken, you might want checking some of my blog posts below:

If you get to read the blog posts above, there's not much mention about Hatta's main community, but you may consider stopping by the Hatta heritage park, if it is open when you're there. Happy tripping!

From my family, here's greeting everyone Eid Mubarak!

All about our Princess

Mommyhood: Priceless!

September 30, 2012

How many these days serve cake on their baby's monthsary?
For some, it's finding a reason to indulge on those spongy chocolatey cakes :)
Thank you Riane (< "_" >)
How loud would you laugh in joy if your daughter at five months and three days, stretch wide her arms pointing  to you, and cry as if pleading to be carried, and only stops when you take her in your arms?

Our Little Princess communicates her needs since birth, but this time, she does it with both her hands and arms.

The Little Princess was seated in her jumperoo when I came home tonight from work. On seeing me, she extended her arms and started to cry. I noticed this milestone over the weekend, so I didn't get too excited , until after dinner today because she showed preference for me! To confirm her message, we did a handing over test. She was bubbly as I carried her so I handed her over to her Dad. She immediately shrilled and continued to cry, stretching her arms to me. I received and carried her again, and she stopped crying. We repeated the exercise, and extends her arms to me every time and immediately stops crying as I receive her.

Oh well, the price of being a mom :) 

Of course, her Dad is on the day shift of lovingly baby sitting her, but there's that place in a baby's heart especially for Mommy. Me the Mommy would not trade that for anything.
The Little Princess @ 4 months @ Mirdif City Center


Our Little Princess turned five months three days back, and here's some of our notes to date:
-- She is still exclusively breastfeeding. Yes, we've crossed the two months line of me expressing milk at work.
-- At 4 months, she easily turns from her back to her tummy, and she loves doing just that.
-- At 4 months, she started lifting her buttocks, at 5 months, she lifts her buttocks partially and started pushing her feet as if to crawl. With pushing her feet, she turns 360 degrees clockwise while on her tummy.
-- At 4 months, she babbles long 'aaaaaaaa', and at 5 months, her babbling turned to long 'ba-ba-ba-ba-ba' and sometimes 'ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma'.
-- At 4 months, her drooling heightened and can wet a great deal of her clothes, at 5 months drooling have lessened a bit.
-- She thumb sucks still to soothe herself and we highly support her! She still needs to be taught to use a pacifier (it's easier to break later than thumbsucking). For us, this is a great help during long road trips.
-- She promoted herself to some degree of bossy-ness in her cry. That instance when you say, she knows what she wants and demands for it. Give in to her and that loud cry suddenly halts.

'I just cant wait to stand on my own, so prepare to run after me'
'Why do you keep taking my pictures Mama, you distract my babbling!'
This baby keeps still awhile at the sight of my phone.
Camera flashes are avoided for her eyes' sake.

UAE - Dubai

Outside Dubai Mall at Night

September 18, 2012

If there is a challenging camera subject that I remain to fancy on, it would be the Dubai Fountain performances at night (outside Dubai Mall and by the foot of Burj Khalifa). You know that goal of achieving the perfect lighting to show the elegance around the lake plus capturing water jets in fine lines especially when the water jets curve or spiral out in a dancing stance? Oh well, if I remain to just point and shoot, the only way for me to produce a good photo is to bet on chance :)

Dubai Fountain show at the 30-acre Burj Khalifa Lake

Dubai Fountain show at the 30-acre Burj Khalifa Lake
The world's tallest building to date : Burj Khalifa

Thinking Out Loud

I am highly sensitive

September 15, 2012

Having a baby from pregnancy to her first months, indeed slowed us down --  e.g. long drives are put off the shelf for a while, and career moves were moderated. But while diaper-changing and baby feeding can be kind of restricting, it freed me the time to do what I missed to do for a long while in my usually busy schedule– to reflect and assess myself and see what I had been missing to do.

I returned back to work at Riane’s third month. And that’s after a year since I popped the news I was pregnant; and that’s one whole year that our family had to slow down.

Coming out from my maternity schedule, I was eager to get back to my pre-pregnancy energetic self. But lo! I got myself wrong and realized I was not ready still. Firstly, I am having episodes of forgetting words and takes a while to remember things. Oh yes, it’s not a myth that pregnancy causes temporary memory loss. FYI – I had a normal delivery, I felt all the pain, was never put to sleep, and except for the delivery inducing drugs that went my veins an hour before Riane popped out, I don’t know any drugs that could have affected my brains! I got back to sitting with different people and if it’s a group, I would end up a listener since I had a hard time participating. When they talk of movies, I hardly recall the titles and casts. And I cant even remember that we watched Brave just two weeks back.

This frustrated me much, that I started looking at how I can get back on track. One quest led to another. I researched about gaining back my memory, but I realized that even if I have it back, I still struggle to chat with people who don’t speak my tongue. I struggle because for one, I had been avoiding to learn their tongue (language, culture and interests) due to fear of failing to blend in. And then I realized there’s a bigger underlying reason why I am this person–because I am probably an HSP, or a highly sensitive person. The write up I read about being HSP flatly listed most of my traits and confirmed the feedbacks on me. I worry at upsetting people, I easily feel hurt, I prefer quiet smaller groups, I am shy, I work in great detail, I am passionate, and after all these the article says “this means they are sometimes overlooked for promotions at work”.

I am not getting any younger, and I need to live out the unwanted effects of being an HSP. Moving on, I wanted to keep the advantages of being sensitive, and  outgrow its disadvantages starting with the following acts:

1)     More to physical social meetups - not just Facebook minutes
2)     Get out often with inspiring people who talks of travels, career achievements, excellent child rearing, investments
3)     Setup the family’s vision wall and get reminded how being sensitive could help or hinder our thoughts
4)     Work on a sense of feeling beautiful – i.e. learn and buy makeups and accessories (I look so boring, you know)
5)     Lessen saying “please”. I say it unnecessarily a lot, decreasing my confidence
6)     Set out to the outskirts more often, drive again and mark off some in our to-go list
7)     Leave gossip-mongers alone, theirs is not a positive sense of belonging-ness
8)     Watch more movies with Riane, Kalel and their Dad (Riane’s 2nd moviehouse trip: Bourne Legacy)
9)     Be more positively expressive, and tell people they are lovely when they take an extra step to be one

... and there's more to the list I could add as I focus getting forward.
Enhancing my confidence and the feeling the sense of beauty : my first ever  purchase of eye shadow and  foundation. 

All about our Princess

Hatta Pools August 2012 - Riane's First Offroad Drive

August 22, 2012

Over the Eid holiday, we took the road to Hatta Pools via the mountainous Munay path from Sharjah-Kalba/ Maleha Road. It was a sweltering summer and because we have a three month old in tow (yes, we brought Riane along at 44 deg celsius! And it's her first long drive with offroading), stepping out of the car was minimized, and we did the route between 11:30am to 9pm, including lunch and dinner breaks:
Dubai - Maleha Road - Hatta Pools - Maleha Road - Kalba - Fujairah City Center- New Fujairah Road - Maleha Road - Dubai
This Little Princess is on a heat endurance training at 3.5 months old.
It's her first trip to Oman's mountains at 44 deg Celsius. 
If I recall it well, this is our 4th time untrodding Hatta Pools, but this time, we had friends in a separate car along. The family is now not as excited it seems, that by the time we led the way to Dubai's Hatta Dam, all four of us just stayed in the car waiting while our friends take photos outside.
At Hatta Dam. My brother behind the camera and our friends in front.
The offroad part after the UAE - Oman border towards the pools is now undergoing widening and improvement. My driver-Husband though is not happy of the development, hoping that the little roughness of the drive be left as it is as this keeps more of the excitement. There were also two really tall and huge water tanks on the other side of the water gorges, and it's quite a distracting backdrop for the scenic nature view.

I used to believe that the mountains are 'cooler' than the plains, hence I agreed on a drive to Hatta considering that we have a Little Princess along. But I have to let go of that impression now because back in Hatta Pools, it was burning hot. We felt guilty of bringing our Riane along but we were thankful she coped, so maybe she deserves the title Little Miss Adventurous Riane instead, starting her early training of braving the sandpit heat :)

Here was our mini road trip itinerary:
1) Left Deira (Dubai) heading to Emirates Road by 11:30am.
2) Took right to Maleha Road before the National Paints flyover/ roundabout.
3) Drove straight along Maleha Road (also Sharjah/ Kalba Road) until we reached the road signposted to Munay.
4) Drove right to Munay road, driving up along mountain sides until the Hatta - Oman Road. 
5) At the exit to Hatta - Oman Road, we took a quick right until we reached the Hatta Fort roundabout (to the right is Hatta Fort Hotel and towards the left is Emirates Cooperative.
6) It's about past 2 pm by now, and we parked outside the Emirates Cooperative building and had a late lunch of chicken at Popeye's.
7) We drove towards Hatta Pools passing by Oman - UAE border.
8) From Hatta Pools, we dropped by Hatta Dam. We forego of passing by the heritage village and of going to Hatta Fort Hotel as day visitor because of time constraint. One of our mates did not bring his passport along (just his National ID used at the Hatta Pools border) in case we needed to drive past Hatta - Oman Road border so we wanted to leave before dusk through Munay where there are no lamp posts ( we were too used to the UAE lights lined roads :-) ) .
9) We exited Munay Road to Sharjah-Kalba Road towards Kalba
10) Drove towards Fujairah, and dropped by Fujairah City Center for a quick dinner.
11) Headed back to Dubai via the new Fujairah - Maleha road.
Hatta Pools August 2012

Hatta Pools August 2012

All about our Princess

Little Princess @ Two Months

August 20, 2012

While we are obligated to feed and care for our babies which could be tiring at times, the happiness (I know it's a cliche but it's not understood until felt) that comes along their every smile, cry and coos makes up for it a thousandfold. 

Here's the Little Princess at month 2, some of the photos I cant get enough of scrolling in my phone if I'm away from home:

A two months, here are princess-y some notes from my diary:

- After month 1 (2012.05.29), I love how Riane coos and blurt out syllables like an adult to clear her throat when she can not continue to cough out.
- She regurgitates her milk when her tummy gets pressed.
- Rashes showed on her face, seemingly from her tears 

- (2012.06.26) So nice and heartwarming cooing with Riane, responding with smiles and coos. Turns her body 90 degrees since early June.. Have long sleep days followed by long play days.
- (2012.07.04) Riane lifted her head and shoulders on her palms when placed on her tummy.

- (2012.07.06) Riane at two months and two weeks uttered "mmmma-ma!" protestingly as I cleaned her nose. It was rather a reflex, but I am happy still.
- (2012.07.15) Two weeks before turning three months, Riane blurted "mmma mmma mmma!" when her cries were ignored for some few minutes.  
- (2012.07.17) This week Riane turned her head on the opposite side when left to play on his play gym on her back.

All about our Superman

The Special Child

August 19, 2012

The newspaper reported a few weeks back of a Dubai school that had to expel a four-year-old pupil after two days in class apparently because he was hyperactive. (Article here)

I feel bad for the kid and his parents, but I still take the side of the school if only to save the other 20 more or less other kids. You see, my son had a “special child” for a classmate for two years who would physically hurt him, tear his books, throw his notebooks, cut his pencils, then laughs while my son cries. Special Classmate takes gladness at my son's cries. I’d say it’s not bullying because Special Classmate doesn’t seem to understand his acts. Apart from my son, he does the same to the other kids. At a point when of the disgruntled kids slammed his head to the wall. On the second year, the impact was taking a toll on our son. In response to bullying, he started changing from a rather sweet, quiet child in school to a noisy and defensive one. He shouts back at bullies with “I’ll Manny Pacquaio you!”.

We complained to the teacher but only to be told that it’s not within her control to deny the dear special classmate. That the child’s mother pleaded with tears to the school’s administrators to accept their son as the other mainstream schools already declined him. Out of compassion he was accepted.

Let’s just look at it this way: children has the right to education and we parents have the responsibility to make sure our kids can jibe socially. We don’t want our kids to put other kids at risk or be disadvantaged much as we pull our kids away from misbehaving kids. But for the really special children, I just wish more affordable facilities become available for them.

All about our Princess

Little Princess' First Moviehouse Trip: Brave

August 17, 2012

I was wrong when I thought it would take me awhile to again step in the movie house until our Little Princess at least grows bigger. Today, while we needed to wait four hours for our car's tinting, we trooped Mirdiff City Center's Vox Cinema to use time, after all it's not sale season and there's my I-do-not-care-when-shops-are-at-full-prices attitude.

Batman's The Dark Knight Rises is currently showing but Kuya Superman opted for Brave. It is the story of Princess Merida, who was determined to make her own path in life and defies a custom that brought chaos to her kingdom. She was granted a wish which turned out to be a curse. She used her bravery to undo this beastly curse. I found cute listening at the Scottish accents of the characters. Having Scots for colleagues made me so accustomed to their speech, and if there's a European accent I could readily identify is it's theirs.

Princess Merida and her triplet brothers

Our Little Princess at two weeks before turning four months old, behaved well and watched along with us, cooing once in  a while. She started getting cranky (just wiggly) towards the end of the movie, so their Dad ascended with her upstairs near the exit to put her to sleep.
Little Princess already sleeping as we left the cinema, oh well, it's 10:30pm by now.

Selling Used Cars in Dubai

August 11, 2012

Our first car - Forky the Fortuner will be five years old in a few days, but we sold her last month (2012.07.25) to Basheer who was so eager to have her.

Selling a car in the Dubai could be easy. One got to be sure of the intention before he can regret on  letting go of the dear steering wheel so quickly. Here's how we went about:

First, we estimated a fair value for our car, a price we'd not go lower to. For a car bought five years ago at AED 84k, clocked 103k kms, Toyota maintained with service contract until 125k kms, and tires changed at 75k kms, we thought selling it for AED 40k is fair. Then, we posted an ad on Dubizzle, tagged a price of AED 57k. The high price was based on prices of similar specs sold online, and to give a haggling space, that feeling when buyers would be happy if they get a good cut.

For a more technical pricing, we visited Al Futtaim Auto Mall. Selling it back to them is effort efficient in terms of ownership transfers but they quote the lowest value you could have for your car. They checked the car, including paints and brakes, and reviewed the service center history. Forky was offered an initial rate of AED 42k. We told them we had an interested buyer for AED 48k, so the staff said they could arrange a higher price if we are decided on selling it to them. The next day, they phoned and requested us to bring the car to the showroom but by then, we had another willing buyer through our Dubizzle ad for AED 50k.

Dubizzle is so effective, we had to remove our advertisement as calls kept coming in. Basheer was the highest price willing buyer, and the deal was sealed on the parking lot. On his side, he requested a car pass certificate (that RTA check as a requirement for registration) which we obliged. Basheer as the buyer next secured a car insurance, already in his name. Ownership transfer now ready, Basheer paid in cash, then both buyer and seller went to RTA at Jaffliya Emarat Petrol Station to register the car in Basheer's name. My husband, the seller, removed the Salik tag from the car, and Basheer puts a new one on. Salik tags are on personal accounts, hence the need for the buyer to get a new one. The period for the annual car insurance we paid had not yet lapsed, allowing us a refund on the un-used portion after we provided the insurance company of the new registration for the car.

Selling your car in Dubai, in our opinion is something of being an honest seller and finding a trusted buyer. Otherwise, it's just like selling cupcakes.

All about our Superman

Kalel at Five Years Old

July 11, 2012

There's this reference to kids  as "Terrible 2" when they reach their second year. But for us it's not the case it seems. Can I say it's "Terrible 5" for the Gremlin? Nope, he's not that bad, it was just how we all confronted his social exposure.

Kalel at five years old is primarily being in Grade 1, with his Mom expecting a baby and his Dad working away from home. At this time, school does not have a nanny, and each one is to forced to outgrow the "baby" tag that may have been left of  from Kindergarten 2. And he is forced to cope with a demanding school curriculum (marathon lessons including Math with multiplication, division, fractions, areas). And his pregnant Mom is quite mean, hot tempered and impatient sending him to school and assisting in his school work at those five months his dad is working away from home.

And then he has to deal with school bullies. And he started to socialize, chat and play with classmates at times adopting nasty attitudes he has to be corrected and reprimanded for.

Then came the unimpressive school performance. He took school lightly but school requires him to know reading and cope up with an advanced curriculum. It has been stressful hearing feed-backs from his teacher; I wrote notes and notes to her asking her attention to the Gremlin. The Gremlin then was made to sit in front of the teacher (but near to a special classmate who would make him cry). Then we resorted to a tutor who amazingly triggered the Gremlin to blurt out and read by himself. Another issue with him was his focus. Everything just seem to be play. To get him to focus meant stressful daily


All about our Princess

Here comes our Little Princess

July 11, 2012

Hello there, please meet another bundle of joy in our family, our Little Princess born on 27th April 2012. 

Finally after nine months and after a two-hour intensely painful induced labour with my Husband at my side, our little princess is out at last, and it was so magnificent  hear her cry immediately soon as she emerged out of my womb and before she was placed on my belly. Her first cry brought cheers to everyone in the delivery room, especially to me, saying we both made it well. The sound of her cry was just amazing, so innocently demanding for comfort and warmth, I felt our connection instantly that first second.

We named her from an Irish word that means 'a great queen', and a second name that is in honour to her Igorot maternal great grandmother's  righteousness. 

Our Little Princess said hello by normal delivery after two hours of intense induced labour at The City Hospital Dubai. She was born at 9pm, but her dad insists it's 8:57pm when his phone rang at the same time. Little Princess measured 4.015 kgs and 55 cms. Big indeed, but because Mom had normal glucose test results, (oh, that fasting and those four needle pricks!) she was spared the blood works for being a big baby. As the Pediatrician checked her, her Dad was in awe at how she gripped and clinged on the doctor's fingers.  She had an apgar score of 9/ 10. 

She was then handed to me and she breastfed. Lo! She latched quickly and sucked as if it was not her first time. The greatness of creation indeed. 

Pear-shaped head until Week 1.
And see the eyes, made chinky  by her chubby cheeks.

A smile at home on Week 2.
Her smile reflexes already showed up as early as Day 2,
but her actual smiles reacting to coos and playtime is by  Week 3.
First coos were at Week 2, from "hhhhhh" to "haaaaa".
She coos first if she wanted something and then cries if not immediately addressed.

Visited Kuya Kalel's favorite doctor  for a jaundice check at Dubai Mall Medical Center - Doctor Ayman Jabbar. 
We defied going back to the hospital on Day 3 for another blood check on her biliburin level, 
not another needle work for the little princess. 

The big tiny foot.
In a kangaroo sling, typically called 'uban' in Ilocano/ Igorot,  as early as Day 5

Here's her photo at Month 1.
Supporting her head by her own, a feat she started showing on Day 1/ Day 2.
Other milestones and notes up to Month 1 are:
Visited the malls at Days 3/4/5 until Mom kept receiving the "newborns should stay home" comments ;
Day 4 was the first little smile caught but her picture showed she actually smiled on Day 2;
She spent Week 1 sleeping most of the day;
Week 1 was a feeding challenge with Mom's engorged cracked breasts, she only fed 5 minutes at a time.
Umbilical cord fell off Day 5;
Day 5/ 6 when her stools started turning green, meconium sort of cleared a little extended days;
Day 14 when we cleared her nostrils of green boogers;
She loves bath time, facing down, my arms supporting her tummy and neck while Dad holds the shower;
Feeding interval is 2.5 to 3.5 hours, a breast at a time;
Day 18 was for starting to regurgitate milk, once or twice a day
Day 19 saw belly button clear and healed;
Month 1 has around twice a night feeding and awake for around an hour;
Coos a lot, the best part of what she does;
Day 18 was the first caught "haaaa" coo from "hhhh"
Day 23 was for baby talking, responding to my "haaaa"s and partial smiles getting longer while communicating;
Day 25 for the first significant quantity of fresh milk regurgitated;
Day 24 was when green boogers as big as her nostrils formed, but no mucus and cough;
At Month 1, she attended her first mass at Saint Mary's Dubai; then a lunch at Hardrock DFC and a dinner at home.
At Month 1, she moved her head out her pillow;
On her tummy, she lifted and moved her head from right to left.

Yet unknown to her, and like with the coming of her brother to us six years ago, Riane has started redefining our family life the moment we've known she's coming. Yes, here is our boss # 2, and we give thanksgiving as she is adding more blessings to our Home.

UAE - Al Ain

Green Mubazzarah Park in Al Ain

July 10, 2012

A drive to Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain won't be complete without stopping by Green Mubazzarah Park by the mountain's foot. When coming from a long drive like Dubai, Green Mubazzarah could serve as a 're-energizing' station before or after ascending Jebel Hafeet or a walk around the zoo. This is where we usually eat our packed lunches because going back to the Town Center where the food chains are may take considerable time.

For some, the park's main attraction is its naturally heated spring water where visitors dip their feet. The transformation of the once rocky place into a greenery with visitor facilities is quite admirable.

UAE - Ajman

Ajman Traffic Fines and Car Impounding

July 10, 2012

Shameful it may be but I'll share it anyway for those who might search it and see it helpful.

In one of my posts I mentioned about our traffic violation of jumping on red light along the Emirate of Ajman. Jumping on red light is included in the red list and as such, it carries AED 800 fine, 8 blackpoints and two weeks of car impounding. And because of the impounding clause, violators are not allowed to pay online. So  being based in Dubai, we need to drive to Ajman to settle.  

But do you know that impounding penalty can be paid at AED 100 a day? (This is as of today though, please still check for any change in rules)

Had we known this earlier, we could have paid the fine in February when Ajman Police provided discount on traffic fines, at a time we thought we needed the car more and scheduled the impounding for later.  So today, Husband paid AED 800 plus AED 1400. 

Next time we pass through Ajman from Um Al Quwain/ Ras Al Khaimah through E11, we know to be more conscious of the following:
(1) We are not too familiar with the road, hence on calculated speed
(2) While a major highway, and a clear straight road coming from Um Al Quwain with a tempting speed limit of 120kph at some point, slow down as soon as Ajman is reached as traffic lights line the road.
(3) When used to Dubai's traffic lights of dual slow-down warning (blinking green lights then yellow), the counterpart to Ajman's traffic lights is at green lights at around number 10 counting down. Remember, after 1 is total stop, no additional warning time.

Husband grinned and declined Ajman's Mr. Police's remark of "Please come again", so we might as well stand for it :-)

Sandstorm in Dubai

July 09, 2012

No, it's not dawn or sunset here, it's midday, but the sandstorm had covered the sun. I am not too sure but since I started in Dubai, I was made to believe and continues to believe that sandstorms mark a change in weather, so either way would bring a frown or a smile. 

Below photos were taken in February this year that made me sigh, marking the start of summer. It's uncomfortably hot now outdoors, and I look forward to the next sandstorm that will sign in winter.

Sandstorm on Al Ittihad Road heading to Sharjah

Filipinos in Dubai

Friday Brunch @ Asiana Hotel's Lamesa Restaurant

July 06, 2012

Being the under AED 100/ person buffet patrons, we found Filipino fare alternative for our Sumo Sushi Friday buffets -- at Lamesa restaurant at Asiana Hotel along Siddique Road in Deira. (Speaking of buffets, Thai Chi at Wafi is on AED 120 for two adults but on weekday lunches only. Kalel was free of charge. Please phone them to confirm if promotion is still valid.)

Friends frequent Lamesa for Karaoke nights and comedy shows, but I guess my family would settle for their brunches for the time being.

     --  Friday and Saturday Filipino brunches costs AED 69 an adult and AED 34 a child
     --  Above brunch includes unlimited water, iced tea and coffee and tea
     --  Buffet table includes a few sushi and a few Korean dishes
     --  Prior reservation is highly advised. Call +971 4 238 7777
     --  Venue carries a no-slippers policy
     --  Weekend buffets start at 11 a.m.
     --  Asiana Hotel is located between Reef Mall and Muraggabat Police Station
     --  Check other details from the website here

Many Kabayans hold their weekend celebrations here filling the venue so the need for reservations. Today alone there were four big groups almost occupying all of the restaurant. Someone hosting a baby shower even had a small round table in front with their tokens and cake on it.

I'd stay away from commenting individually on the food except that I'd say (1) diners have more than enough for their value of money; (2) I wish there was Kilawen prepared a'la Barrio Fiesta style; (3) I thought that Dinuguan and other exotic dishes could've added variety in place of  the three Korean dishes, (4) there's a few sushi but no sashimi.

Today's buffet line started with pork sinigang soup and appetizers including cold cuts and steamed veggies.  Then below are some takes on the other offerings:

Spot all you can eat on my plate below: Crispy Pata, Pork Sisig, Chicken Sisig, Beef Tapa, Korean Noodles, Sesame Chicken, Pork Tocino, Kare Kare, Chopsuey, Embotido, Daing na Bangus, Korean beef dish, Chicken Dumplings, Korean Kimchi (I suppose):

A little of every dish on offer for the Friday Buffet
Sushi all you can on three limited types without sashimi on the appetizers area:

Not as 'appetizingly' prepared, but better than nothing

Who said a sleeping Girl in a carrier can stop me from fixing my waffles?

Waffles fresh from the griddle, warm, buttered and sweetened -- hearty indeed :

Pulutan galore -- pork and chicken sisig:

Crispy pata all you want:

Make your own halo-halo:

Completing the dessert offerings:

And from the appetizers where my first plate started:

And the bill:

Yes indeed, more than a Kuya, Kalel is now a paying customer, our wallets would miss those complimentary meals. *Sigh with a smile*

All about our Superman

Our Little Superman Turns Six Years Old

June 19, 2012

June 19, 2012

I posted this on Facebook today:

Kalel turns six today and definitely no longer the big baby. From a shy bullied school boy, to a chatty bully’s friend with a starting bullying attitude -- may he not become the bully as he starts Grade 2… He’s passionate of airplanes, youtube, google maps and said he can play by himself -- may he learn team play... He approaches kids in the malls, chatting and asking for their contact numbers – may he be charmingly friendly rather than irritating... That’s a hope list for him, but I guess he’d say “I hope mama and papa have lots of patience and wisdom in dealing with me”. 

Happy birthday Kalel (with hugs & kiss)! 

And here's a recap of how we celebrated your birthday:

On birthdays you attended, you had been inviting everyone to come on your birthday (without agreeing with us yet), so when we started planning your celebration, we had to discuss with your our budget. You were given a choice: first choice --  we invite your classmates, some friends and most uncles and aunties (and there's plenty of them) and you will not have a gift of your liking from us; or second choice -- we invite some aunties and uncles for dinner and buy you few gifts you want. You chose the second, you even said you're sure as you can celebrate by yourself (not that we wanted you to celebrate less, son :) ). So here it was:
2012.June.17 was a UAE holiday, we had your pre-birthday dinner at DFC's Hardrock Cafe. Juryn  joined you blow your birthday candles.
Do you remember doing this, your usual approach-someone-a-stranger-and-ask-their-number thing? Miss Nice Lady  entertained your question as you wrote her answers.

You went to Kidzania for a good four hours, became a pilot, an aircraft engineer, doctor, dentist, made your own coke and milk pack, delivered newspapers, among others.

You came home for late lunch with your third birthday cake. Your first two cakes were at Hardrock CAfe.

And we had another family picture. On your sixth birthday, our dear Baby Riane completes us.

 Then you went on to open your gifts. There is one of your requests -- an Emirates Airbus A380-800 model. Were you too happy to have one of the new passenger aircraft model on your radar.

Another happy face with one of your favorite and skilled-at games - Angry Birds.

Happy birthday dear Gremlin,  may you continue to grow in wisdom and goodness. We love you!

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