Tuesday, July 23, 2013

June-July 2013

So here's a quick overview of what we have been up to for the past two months:

Ally started going to her big school, which was my alma mater,
so it was (and still is, actually) all very emotional for me
We commemorated Fathers' Day by giving Jojo
a couple of pairs of John Lloyd Cruz-inspired pants - stylish, no?
My two little girls partied like adults when we attended our neighbor's 
birthday bash at The Gallery at Richmonde Eastwood. 

I can now fit into my pre-Ally jeans,
which were even kinda loose! Really major milestone!
I had lunch with Mamang and my parents at SM Fairview
to celebrate Mamang's 86th birthday

We had dinner out at Panciteria Lido
for our July celebrants, Mamang and Benj
The Paras clan had dinner at Cafe Via Mare
to conclude Mamang's birthday weekend
We had a nice weekend at Anvaya
to celebrate my godson Pepito's birthda
It was rather an eventful two months, don't you think so? And to think, I don't look as harassed as I ought to given my current domestic situation. All in all, not bad! I'm patting myself on the back now!

Now if only I can get more free time to blog more.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Artistic Ally

I just love the very creative and artsy-fartsy way Ally wrote her name!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

One Month

It has been a month since we have had househelps here at home. And we have survived. Yes, I am so tired, my hands are not as smooth as they once were, and my patience has been getting shorter and shorter, but we are surviving. Dare I say, we are kinda getting the hang of it actually. We have had to make adjustments, both big and small, and it certainly wasn't easy the first week. We still have a lot of adjusting to do and it still isn't easy, but we are getting things done a bit more efficiently now. Yay, us!

So how does a mom of a Manila househelp-less household with a toddler and a pre-schooler go about a normal week?

Basically, my schedule revolves around Ally's school schedule, which is right smack in the middle of the day, because I drive her to and from school. This means I have to do the house chores early in the morning, before everyone wakes up, and after Ally's school, when hopefully the kids are having their afternoon nap. Plus, I have to squeeze in all outside errands while Ally is in school. Seems typical enough for a SAHM mom, right?

I usually wake up at 8am, except on laundry days when I have to be up by 630. First task is to get Ally's school gear (ID, uniform, socks, undies, bag, assignments) ready. Then I prepare her baon for recess as well as her breakfast, while I eat my own breakfast. Then I take a bath and dress up before I wake Ally up. It takes about an hour to get Ally to eat her breakfast, shower and dressed for school. This is the most stressful hour of my day as it takes a lot of cajoling, bribing, threatening and a whole lot of patience to get Ally moving along. That little girl moves so slow and comes up with all sorts of excuses and reasons, it is so exasperating! Jojo has called my attention one too many times because I nag and easily lose my temper in the morning, but if I didn't, I doubt if Ally would ever get to school on time.

I use the drive to Ally's school to recenter myself for the day. Usually the two girls in the backseat are either quiet or I hear them giggling and amusing themselves. Sometimes I review Ally on her lessons, and sometimes Sofia and I just listen to Ally and her made up songs.

After Sofia and I drop Ally off at school, we basically have three hours to kill before we'd need to be back to fetch her. Oftentimes we'd go to my parents' place, which is closer to the school than our house. But there are also days when we'd need to do outside errands, like go to the bank or to the grocery, or my parents are out for the day. And it is on these days that my energy supply gets critically low. It is exhausting to have to do errands with a squiggly and hyperactive toddler in tow, I tell you. We tried once to just chill and wait at a nearby Starbucks. Major fail! Sofia kept going to the other customers and tried so many times to get their drinks. I think I apologized more than 10 times in under an hour. So embarrassing! We didn't last an hour there.

On the days that we kill time at my parents' place, my mom usually accompanies us to fetch Ally. Then we'd spend another hour at her house before we'd go back home. The drive back to our house is the most peaceful part of my day because more often than not, the two girls are asleep. I barely even mind if there is traffic! Sometimes the girls are so tired that when we get home they don't stir when Jojo and I move them from the car to the bed. I then use the 1-2 hours of quiet to finish house chores, usually folding the laundry or washing the dishes.

We usually go out to eat dinner so there is no cleaning up after, but there are also times that we have food delivered or we buy food from nearby restaurants and eat in. I'm in charge of the post-meal clean up while Jojo minds the girls. Bedtime for the girls starts around 10, but with all their excuses and delaying tactics and what-nots, it is usually midnight when I get both to sleep. I stay up another hour or so before I finally sleep.

Weekends are spent tidying up the house and spending time at the mall, both absolutely necessary for health and sanity.

Although having a routine helps a lot, I still get overwhelmed and have defeated moments, like when I scraped my knuckles cleaning the bathroom or when it rained just as I finished hanging freshly-laundered clothes to dry or when I had to run to the next street at 630am to give the garbage to the collectors. Yes, I still cry to let out my frustrations and tiredness, but I rally to put myself back together and face all problems head on. It helps to have Titanium (not the David Guetta version but the more dramatic Madilyn Bailey cover) playing on loop in my mind, because I'm ma-drama like that. And it also helps to accept that I am not nor I doubt if I'll ever be a domestic goddess.

I've matured a bit since last month and I am not as scared as I once was. Don't get me wrong, I'd jump at the chance of having househelps again, but I am happy that I know I can do without, that I am not as dependent on them as I thought. Growth, wow.

Oh, and all the chores, dealing with the kids hands-on, the very little time to just sit down and rest, and lack of sleep, it might have wrecked havoc on my hands, but it did wonders for the rest of my body. A lot of people have commented that I am noticeably slimmer! Now that's the best silver lining one can hope for!

Happy one month of househelpless-ness to the Battung household! Good job!

PS I apologize if this post seemed all over the place, I wrote it in bits and pieces over the span of a week. You obviously know why.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Staycation: Diamond Hotel

We weren't able to go out of town for a proper summer vacation this year. So sad! Between dealing with our help-less situation, Jojo's hectic work schedule and planning and preparing Sofia's party, there was just no time and energy left. Bummer of a summer, right?

Luckily, one of Sofia's birthday gifts was a voucher for an overnight stay and buffet breakfast at Diamond Hotel. We were so deprived and desperate for a vacation, we booked our stay the weekend after Sofia's party. Excited much, no?

Now, the last (and only) time I've been to Diamond was way back in 1996. My Barkadoodle Ethel had her bonggang debut there. She filled the ballroom with balloons, had so many guests (including all the Barkadoodle parentals) and we partied and danced the night away. Needless to say, I have very good memories associated with the place.

Of course the decor and ambiance has changed since my last visit. The lobby and the restaurants have a more modern and airy feel to it now. But the layout and architecture was what I remembered it to be. And I had to pause for a bit outside the doors of the ballroom. I could picture my barkada and the rest of Ethel's cotillion people dancing to C'mon it's a Choo-choo Train (at least I think that was the title). Major nostalgic moment for me!

Anyway, parking was not a problem as the basement parking was quite huge. Check in was a breeze as well. So we were inside our room within minutes of our arrival at the hotel, which was a huge plus pogi points for the hotel.

Our room was a deluxe suite and we liked it a lot! The entry hallway was wider than most hotels I've been to. I could stretch my arms out on either side of me, and I still won't be able to touch its walls. I guess it was because the hotel structure was old and the cuts of the rooms were bigger than what is norm now. I have to say though, the interior felt new, as if it was refurbished and redone in the last couple of years lang. Another plus for me! It had a king-sized bed, which we had requested, a bathroom with an average-sized bathtub, huge closets with a safe, a well-stocked mini bar, a sofa as well as a coffee table, a television set and good views of Manila Bay.

But, as much as the room was so nice and comfy, we only rested for a while before we got into our swimsuits and headed for the pool. It was an overcast afternoon and we rushed ourselves to get as much swimming done as we can before the rain started. Amazingly, the water was warm, which surprised me because I didn't see any mentions if the pool was heated or not. Anyhoo, we swam until it started drizzling and we were forced to go back to our room.

I perused the room service menu when we got back to the room, and I saw that their rates were slightly more reasonable than the other hotels we had staycations already (Edsa Shang and New World Hotel). But, Jojo suggested that we drive around Ermita/Malate area instead since we rarely venture into these Manila areas. So off we went. It was a rainy Sunday afternoon so the area was quiet and traffic-free. Very nice! We chose to eat dinner at a Korean resto, Korean Palace, which was just okay taste-wise. We went back to the hotel after a quick snack stop at one of the many, many 7-11s around the hotel. We spent the rest of the evening pigging out on our snacks and amusing ourselves with the TV (me and Jojo), coloring books (Ally) and the hallway mirror (Sofia).

Simot in under 15 minutes!
After a good night's rest and yummy breakfast (here), we went back and spent the rest of the morning at the pool. Odd though that the water was significantly colder despite the sunny weather. Oh well. I wasn't curious or bothered enough to try to figure it out. Another weird thing about Diamond Hotel pool was that the closest bathroom to the pool area was a floor down. You would have to go down a flight of stairs if you want to change out of your swimsuits or if you would need to relieve yourself. I found it weird because when you are dripping wet, going down the stairs is not exactly the safest thing to do, right?

We checked out of the hotel shortly after lunch and was back to our normal routine by mid-afternoon. But the short staycation was a very nice and pleasant change of pace. So, thanks Tito Junie for the gift. We had a fab time!