Travel Log: Our Philippine Homecoming…(Almost) One Year Later, Starting with FOOD!

I miss traveling.

It has been almost one year since Terrence and I, along with Miguel, went home to the Philippines. We were there from November 27, 2010 to February 12, 2011–a full two-and-a-half months! I knew once that trip was over it would be a while before the three of us can travel that way again. I promised I would blog about our escapades while we were there, and here I am–many months after coming home–with only a few posts about our trip instead of the detailed renderings that I wanted to write about.

I guess you can say that, with so many things we did while we were away, I just didn’t know where to start.

I browse iPhoto for the hundreds of pictures that we took, and I decide to break my blog recollections down into these categories: Food, Fun, Family, and Friends.

And so I start with FOOD.

The food trips that came with our Philippine travel can be summed up into a couple of thoughts: a revisiting of familiar tastes we missed for the past 15+ years, as well as an introduction to the many new eateries, carinderias, restaurants, fast-food joints and cafes that opened up while we were gone.

It was fun having Miguel along with us on this journey. Someday I hope he’ll remember this trip (if only through this blog!) and recall how much he just LOVES sipping fresh mango shake, having his first taste of sorbetes (a.k.a. “dirty” ice cream), and eating Vivian’s tapsilog at the crack of dawn in Lola’s bedroom.

Below is a food & drink slideshow, not to be watched on an empty stomach…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Be on the lookout for related Philippine Travel Log posts on Fun, Family and Friends!

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Holy Moly Triplets!

I just found out that one of my old friends from high school–David Asis–just celebrated the birth of his three beautiful baby girls to add to their family of three (Daddy, Mommy and big brother Michael, who is 20 months old). I just LOVE the names he and his wife chose for their daughters…

Gabriella Lynn. “Gabriella” means “God is my strength” and is also one of the Archangels. “Lynn” is after their mom, Marilyn.

Kayla Raphaella. “Kayla” means “Pure” and “Who is like God.” “Raphaella” means “God Has Healed” and is also one of the Archangels.

Abigail Ariel. “Abigail” means “My Father’s Joy.” “Ariel” means “Lioness of God” and is also one of the Archangels.

I love that the names of all their children, including big brother Michael, are all derived from Archangels’ names, and all have beautiful meanings as well.

The family shares this blog to chronicle the pregnancy and birth of their triplets…http://asistriplets.blogspot.com/

Equally amazing and inspiring that NewMamma Marilyn finds the time to blog! I sooo salute her!

Must-have Elements in a Toddler Room

Now that I’m officially DONE with Miguel’s room (it is finished, fun, AND functional!) I want to share the things I considered “must haves” when I was setting up his room:

A theme. A theme gives a room its overall vibe. It can stem from anything…from your child’s favorite characters to his favorite things. It can even come from something he or she had in his room while he was still a baby.

The safari theme in Miguel’s room was inspired by these gentle giraffes on his diaper stacker.

As you can see in one of the photos in this previous blog post, the mommy and baby giraffes were also decals on “Miguel’s wall” in our old apartment in Jersey. We took the decals off the wall and gave them a new home on the doors of what used to be our bedroom TV stand. The TV stand now serves a second purpose providing ample storage for Miguel’s toys.

Additional safari elements can be seen in his pillowcase prints, the safari jeep plush toy atop his bed, and a couple of lion rugs (which incidentally ties in well with Miguel’s Leo zodiac sign).

A color scheme. A color scheme anchors a room and gives it unity. You can have different functional and decorative things in various areas in the room and have them all tie in together with the colors you select. The color scheme in Miguel’s room was also inspired by the giraffe decals. You’ll see pops of orange, lime green, sky blue and brown throughout this room.

A sitting area. We didn’t use to have a sitting area in this room. Where this lounge couch used to be was Miguel’s mini-crib. I am glad to have taken it out. By doing so we’ve gotten rid of a nonfunctional item and instead provided a place for reading, snuggling, watching TV, and relaxing. I love sitting in this chair and read magazines/study while Miguel plays with his toys. His Dad loves it too for when he’s taking a break from Daddy duties immersed in the PlayStation.

Storage. There needs to be a place for everything, and for every thing a place (otherwise you’ll just have chaos). These shelves and storage bins and basket from Ikea do the trick!

Floor space. By far the most important area in a toddler’s room. A toddler needs space to lay out blocks and bricks, race toy cars, assemble train tracks, etc. In a girl’s room I can see floor space being taken up by a low-lying table and some chairs for tea parties and such.

Wall art. These can be decals, peel-and-stick or actual painted-on borders, paintings, etc. It’s easy to get carried away with the walls. So as not to be too theme-y, I decided on this wall art from Pottery Barn Kids, which pictures one of our favorite activities: camping.

There is also this painting I got from my favorite store in St. Armand’s. Miguel loves Rockets, and I love its message…

A place to call his own. It’s nice when, even as a toddler, a child can call a space just his own. It doesn’t have to be a designer room, just one where he (or she) can have endless amounts of play, explore his imagination and practice his new-found skills in a place where the amount of fun is boundless and limitless.

Have fun creating your toddler’s room!

The Play Room that is Now (Finally) a Sleep-and-Play Room

Miguel’s room has been set up for almost a year now. It’s been decorated since we moved–one of my favorite projects shortly after taking on mommy-hood full-time.

Up until recently, the room has been JUST a play room–despite the presence of both crib and bed. Last month I finally took it upon myself to buy a toddler bed rail so we can train him to sleep on his own bed instead of in our cozy and comfy, but fit-for-only-two-people bed.

Also because his crib is cute but useless.

And because his bed is THREE twin mattress tiers tall.

All I can say is…what wonder has that bed rail done!

It might have saved our marriage actually.

I have a lot of respect–and give a lot of props–to parents who co-sleep with their kids. That thing is just not for me, at least not for the long haul. I’ve succumbed to co-sleeping for close to two years, because, as a former co-worker put it, it was the path to least resistance…the easiest way to make a baby–OUR baby–fall into sweet slumber in his pre-one-year-old days. From 0-6 months it was in his bassinet. After that, it was on our bed. Have I mentioned his crib was useless??

You can see my joy then, when–once I’ve set up the toddler bed rail–Miguel just fell asleep, and STAYED asleep, in his bed. HIS bed!

I never thought I’d see the day.

So now his play room is finally a sleep-and-play room.

And that’s exactly just the way I want it.

________________________

Here are some photos of his room…

A shot of his bedside area.

View of the top of his bed.

See how tall his bed is!

The bed rail installed.

This bed rail was not my first choice (due to the stark white color…too reminiscent of a hospital bed), but I picked it because it has a “hideaway” feature, it was reasonably priced ($27 on Amazon.com), and it came as a pair, which means BOTH sides of the bed can be safe if we choose to move it away from the wall. I was able to install it myself, and it’s pretty sturdy.

I will post more pictures of Miguel’s room in a separate blog entry entitled “Must-have Elements in a Toddler Room.”

Stay tuned!

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