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    Greenbelt + Food Trip and Shopping

    Because we have been so busy with work and Daddy A’s move to his new assignment, we decided to bring the kids to Greenbelt for a food trip and an overdue shopping spree. The kids are getting bigger already and they’re popping out of most of their clothes so it was really time for a wardrobe update.

    It was a super boring day so they found a way to entertain themselves. 😀

    We are on a strict budget so our minds were set to just buying a few pieces of affordable clothes. However, since the kids’ Lolo R came with us, we he ended up buying lots of clothes – especially for the Little Man whose clothes are mostly hand-me-downs from his big sister.

    Onesies from Carter’s
    Rompers from Carter’s
    Rompers from Carter’s
    Shirts and Shorts from Carter’s
    Shoes from Osh Kosh B’gosh

    And here’s the little man sporting the new cap we bought for him. Such a cutie! He’s like a mini binata! 😀 He wore his cap the whole time we were out.

    Of course, Lolo R didn’t forget to buy clothes for The Princess. Most of Kelly’s pants are too short so we got her new ones.

    Pants and Shorts, Cotton On Kids

    After shopping, we walked around Greenbelt then had a quick snack at Chili’s. We then moved on to shopping for a school bag for the kids’ Tita P. Come dinner time, we all agreed to try the food at Bubba Gump; after which we had dessert at Bizu. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take photos of all the food we tried because we were too hungry to have a quick shoot! Lol. I’m really not cut out to be a food blogger.

    ANYWAY. If you are planning to update your kids’ wardrobe, I highly recommend Cotton On Kids and Osh Kosh B’gosh (they sell clothes by Carter’s, too)! They have a lot of trendy and unique pieces for little boys and girls. The clothes are a bit pricey, but I have to say that the quality is really good.

    We surrender!

    God is amazing. He finds ways to wake us up; to lead us back to Him when we are getting lost. Sometimes, though, we are too stubborn, too engrossed in the material things, that we fail to listen to His voice. So He gets creative with His message.

    God spoke to me first through a blog. I used to read Raymund’s posts on a daily basis. But, ever since I got really busy thinking about how to make more money, I suddenly lost time for reading blogs that inspire me. Life has become a daily struggle to get more work done so I can move on to other projects.

    Recently, however, I suddenly felt the need to pause from work and decided to read through Raymund’s archives. Why I chose his blog, I don’t know. Someone must have led me there. One by one, from the very first post, I read his articles. What hit me most was his article, Three Things That Make You Unhappy. It made me question the last five months.

    Why are we so busy?
    Why are we so stressed?
    Where did this all start?

    It all came down to money and the need to show everyone how well we are doing.

    If we don’t get our butts to work, then we won’t have the money to afford fancy dinners, shopping sprees and family vacations. What will people think? We have to maintain our image!

    But, what for? Will people really care? No. My advice: If you are working your butt off just to impress other people, stop. You are putting your precious life to waste.

    Through Raymund’s posts, God reminded me that there is so much more to life than money. Why go through so much stress just to acquire more money when you can just live a simple and happy life?

    Of course, it wasn’t an easy decision to let go of our sources of income. So, God sent another message.

    Last Monday, Daddy A received a call from one of his superiors. Apparently, they need an officer to take charge as the Municipal Fire Marshall in a small town in Rizal. We didn’t want to transfer at first because we didn’t want people to think that we’re exchanging his position in Cainta Fire Station, which is the Best Fire Station title holder in Rizal, for the small, quiet, farming town of Pililia. We didn’t want to transfer because we don’t want to look like we are surrendering to those who have interest in his position in Cainta (hello ego!).

    Then, I remembered what Raymund said about focusing on pleasing God instead of pleasing everyone else. We decided to surrender.

    The word “surrender” is often interpreted as giving up, as weakness, as admitting defeat. Although this is one way to use the word, we will use it in a different way. Surrendering means letting go of your resistance to the total openness of who you are. It means giving up the tension of the little vortex you believe yourself to be and realizing the deep power of the ocean you truly are. It means to open with no boundaries, emotional or physical, so you ease wide beyond any limiting sense of self you might have. (David Deida)

    Daddy A and I agreed, together, that we will make the move. Perhaps this is God giving us a chance to take a step back; to live life in simplicity. His new assignment may be far from the last one, but we just thought, “Hey! Let’s make the best out of it!”

    Instead of thinking about what other people will say, we are now just thinking about how relaxed we will be in our new faraway home. Imagine: fields, a vegetable garden in the backyard and home-cooked meals. Ah, that is the life!

    Death Be Not Proud

    Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
    Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
    For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
    Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
    From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
    Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
    And soonest our best men with thee do go,
    Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
    Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
    And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
    And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
    And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
    One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
    And death shall be no more, death, thou shalt die.

    A poem by John Donne.

    If you ask me what scares me most, I’d say death. I think it’s the idea of being separated from someone dear to you that makes me all paranoid about it. It’s not the type of goodbye where you can say, “Until next time!” or “See you later!” because when someone passes, no one really knows when you will see that person again.

    Death wasn’t a big deal before. I used to think that when it’s your time, well, it’s your time. But when I got married and had kids, things changed. My family brings so much joy to my life that just the thought of losing them makes me panic and brings me to tears. Yes, I’m that crazy.

    I get paranoid when Daddy A responds to a fire incident. I have to get at least a text message from him every hour that he is there just so I’d know he’s okay.

    I get paranoid when the kids are sick.

    I get paranoid when we ride boats or planes or even cars!

    I basically get paranoid every time I feel that something may be too dangerous and might result to death.

    And I get a very heavy feeling in my heart every time we go to funerals because funerals remind me that life is unpredictable; life is short.

    About a week ago, we lost our baby bird, Sasha. Her death was just too sudden. We were playing with her the night before, then we noticed the next morning that she wasn’t as active. By lunch time, Daddy A found her dead in her house. As to why that happened, we don’t know.

    Sasha

    So we got another bird, Nadia. She was just three weeks old. Kelly kept calling her Sasha, even though we kept telling her that Sasha flew away to look for her Mommy and Daddy. Then a few days ago, a tragedy happened.

    Nadia

    Nadia was inside her house, but kept calling for our attention. As much as we wanted to play with her, we decided to let her stay inside the house because the kids were both grumpy and throwing tantrums. By the time we got the kids settled, we brought Nadia out of her cage, but noticed something different. She kept bending her head back and couldn’t walk properly. Minutes later, she died in Daddy A’s palm.

    I felt that heavy feeling in my heart that I feel when I go to funerals. Seeing a dead person or animal is one thing, but seeing someone/something close to your heart die in front of you is a whole different thing. We were quiet the whole day. I know, our birds are just animals, but they are family to us. Our kids love them, we love them.

    Kelly kept going to Sasha’s and Nadia’s houses the whole day and asking them to come out. I wanted to cry at the sight of our little girl looking for her friends. Imagine my two-year old extending her arm and saying, “Sasha! Sasha? Sasha, please!” because when Sasha and Nadia (Sasha especially) were alive, they’d immediately go to Kelly’s arm or shoulder every time she called them.

    Although I was totally against it because I was still grieving, Daddy A brought Kelly to a pet shop yesterday and got her a new bird: Tanya.

    white-faced opaline african love bird

    Tanya

    I didn’t want to get too attached to our new family member because I didn’t want to go through the same hurt if Tanya passes too, but the joyful acceptance that Kelly showed made me realize that even if death is just around, those who are left behind must continue living even though things will no longer be the same… because life does not stop at death.

    As John Donne said in his poem, when one dies, just one short sleep passes then he shall wake eternally; and death shall be no more.

    A Birthday, A Baptism and Very Stressed (But Happy) Parents

    Last Sunday, we had a joint celebration of The Princess’ 2nd birthday and The Little Man’s Christening. We had the whole party planned since February: we already chose a theme, we discussed the decorations, we had the invitations designed and printed out, etc.

    By April, I already e-mailed the caterer for their menu and prices. We hired the services of Blossoms Delight Food Services when The Princess was baptized and we were pretty happy with the turn out of the party so we re-hired them. They sent us their birthday packages and photos of their previous events. The set ups they showed looked pretty good to us plus the packages were affordable so we were sold.

    The package we chose includes:

    • Food for the kids: Spaghetti and Chicken Lollipop
    • Two Food Carts: We chose a Candy Cart and an Ice Scramble Cart
    • Meals for the Adults: Roast Beef, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Fish Fillet and Fresh Lumpia
    • Dessert: Mango Tapioca
    • Juice

    It was also written that they will provide:

    • Gift and Cake Table Set up
    • Buffet Set up
    • Individual center piece for guests’ tables
    • Balloon Set up
    • Tables and Chairs
    • Uniformed Waiters

    Two weeks before the party, I met up with Lenny, the owner of Blossoms Delight Food Services, to give her our first payment and to discuss the party with her. I told her that our theme is going to be Rio (the cartoon movie) and that I want a cake that matches the theme. She said I will have to add P800 for the cake and cupcakes, which I agreed to, because that’s pretty cheap for a two-layer fondant cake.

    A week before the party, I gave our second payment. We discussed the plans again to make sure that everything will turn out smoothly. I told her that I want the venue to be set up by 10 since the Christening will start at 11 and guests will be at the lunch venue by 12.

    Then D-day came.

    We were at the Church for The Little Man’s Baptism by 10:30 in the morning. It was around that time that the owner of the catering service we hired called us. She told us that the tables and chairs haven’t been delivered, but the truck is just a few minutes away and that the setup will only take 20 minutes so there’s nothing to worry about.

    The Baptism lasted for about an hour. We then proceeded to the lunch venue after taking a few photos with our godparents at the Church. While on our way, my cousin called and informed me that the tables and chairs are still not there!

    I panicked and called the owner of Blossoms Delight Food Services. My first few calls were ignored up until we reached the venue. We went to the pent house and an embarrassing sight greeted Daddy A and I. Some guests were standing outside, others were seated on chairs provided by the venue. Where are the tables and chairs promised by the caterer? I had no idea.

    I called her again. I was ignored for a few minutes until she answered my call. She told me that the venue’s guard did not allow them to take the tables and chairs up because they had no gate pass. I talked to the building manager, who was our guest, and he told me that there is no such thing as a ‘gate pass’ — especially that he personally knows us.

    I called her again, but she insisted that it’s the venue’s fault.

    Thirty embarrassing minutes passed. Still no chairs and tables. That’s when the building manager called their maintenance team and asked for their office tables and chairs just so our guests can sit and eat. And because the caterer only sent two waiters and one very grumpy food server, our guests had to set up the tables and chairs themselves!!! Thank goodness we have super understanding guests.

    It was already two in the afternoon when the chairs and tables arrived. Thing is, they were no longer needed because we already found a solution to a problem that Blossoms Delight Food Services should have fixed hours ago.

    More than the tables and chairs, we paid P27,500 for 100 adults and 50 kids. We only had 50 adult guests and around 15 kids and yet the food was not enough. And where are the food carts? We only got a table with candies and the supposed ice scramble cart was nowhere to be found. Instead, they served the ice scramble in small plastic cups on trays.

    We also agreed to an additional P800 for a fondant cake for The Princess, but no cake arrived so we settled for a small, square cake from Goldilocks. Many thanks to my kids’ Ninong and Ninang for buying extra decorations for the cake so it wouldn’t look plain.

    We demanded the owner to go to the venue to talk to us personally. She did arrive, but was gone by the time we were ready to talk. We called her — a million times — but did not receive a reply; not even a text message. An hour later, she finally answered our call and told us that she can’t go back because she got stressed and is no longer feeling well. Imagine how angry Daddy A and I were!!! So what if she wasn’t feeling well? What about us? What about our guests?

    After a long argument, she still did not go to the venue. She insisted that she will just meet us the next week… when she’s feeling better. How unprofessional is that, Blossoms Delight Food Services?! One thing is for sure, I will never ever hire your services! And I urge my readers to think twice if you plan to get them for your party.

    On a more positive note, although the caterer was an epic fail, Daddy A and I were very happy to see that our kids enjoyed their joint celebration. The guests were wonderful. I didn’t hear a single rant. The kids didn’t mind the crappy decorations — what mattered was there were balloons… that they popped one by one. 😀 So, thank you all for attending and making my kids’ party fun!

    Update as of May 23, 2013

    Because she said she is not feeling well last May 19, we agreed to meet with her today instead. I sent a text message to both her numbers, but received no reply. So I called her two mobile numbers. Both cannot be reached. I tried their landline. The phone only kept ringing.


    It seems that she is avoiding confrontation. We have a contract with her and yet she is treating us this way. Walang professionalism, walang konsensiya. Beware of Blossoms Delight Food Services! The owner is Elena Cellano Barrera, aka Lennie Bernardo.

    Let’s Play Catch Up

    Hello there, dear readers. I know. I went MIA yet again. If you’re following me on Instagram, you’d know why I’ve been gone: this Momma has been very busy preparing for the kids’ joint celebration.

    For now, though, allow me to dump a bunch of photos and videos on you to let you catch up with what’s been happening in the MOD household in the past weeks. I hope you don’t mind!

    The kids’ invitation: Airline tickets to Brazil for the Carnaval
    Play time & nap time on the same time slot
    Our third baby, Sasha.
    Preparing for Caleb’s Baptism

    Kelly turned two last Sunday. What was supposed to be a three-tier, Rio-themed cake became this: a one layer, animal-themed cake.

    I am honored to be invited to Princess Kelly’s Tea Party
     My morning view

    Now, let’s move on to the videos. Here’s one video of our Little Man laughing. He used to be super quiet. I don’t know what happened, really.

    And here’s one of our Princess showing off the animal sounds I taught her. We recorded this video on the eve of her birthday: