Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Vanity is beautiful

A story, a realization and the simplicity of it

A friend of my older daughter Miss V, lets calls her Ms. Inspiring.

The kids were hanging out together, laughing, giggling and just having a great time especially since they met after such a long time. They are now in different schools but hang out when schedules permit. I notice Ms. Inspiring's hair cut... I mean she went from a hip length to a short bob and she totally rocked it. But I asked her, how come?

Ms. Inspiring tells me, ' I donated my hair for kids who need it' and I was astounded. Before I could respond she continued: 'It's hair, they will grow back' and she went off to play with Miss V and the other kids.

And I was standing in the doorway.... astounded and definitely inspired.

That was 1.5 years ago.

I started growing my hair, honestly mainly out of vanity. I haven't had long hair since a very long time (11 years ago I had grown them out to style them well for my wedding!)
So I started growing them and thoroughly enjoyed the buns, the  braids, the wind through them and having the girls style them and play with my hair. I had completely forgotten about that conversation with the 8 year old friend of V.

Recently someone in the extended family was diagnosed with a 'Big C' and that's when it all came crashing in...... the conversation with the 8 year old, the face of my relative and the shallowness of my vanity.

Long story short (no pun intended):

The before and The after


Thank you Miss. Inspiring for making it so simple 'It's hair, they will grow back'

The hair donation went to Wigs for Kids whose motto is 'Helping children look like themselves and live their lives!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Day 3, 4: Resort Stay & Journey to El Nido

Continuing the story of the Phillippines in a week, read here for Day 1 and Day 2

Day 3: Rainy days, but a stay at the plush resort with friends

This day started again with torrential rain fall and was our day with the friends. We had originally planned to take an island hopping tour and explore Mactan/ Lapu Lapu. But rain forced us to improvise and we all headed to the lavish pools of the resort.
So when it rains, we enjoy the pool even more! It's brilliant actually!

A lazy lunch and some more conversations followed. My friend and I decided to get matching tattoos (sticker ones) and this day turned out to be a lovely relaxed and fun filled day. By the evening, they were 'not' ready to return to HK and we packed and 'got ready' to head to Palawan/ El Nido the next morning.


I am so thankful for great friends, who adjust their own schedules to take a combined vacation. Though we met them after 5 years, it felt like we started where we left off and it was just simple and of course with a few more kids in the mix.


Day 4 A morning flight to Palawan and a long 7 hour drive to El Nido

Cebu- Flight to Palwan/ Puerto Princesca- 7 hour drive to El Nido!!!
The TRAVEL TIME is the ONE thing I wish I could change. It was really late that we found out about a a direct flight from Cebu to El Nido, so for anyone who is planning, do that. Cebu- El Nido direct
It saves you a day of travel time and this way you can maximize your time on the beach instead of travelling from one island to the other.

We reached El Nido around 7 pm and met our host of the Bed n Breakfast we had booked for. Tony was the sweetest host and really helped us navigate the local area. His BnB was one street off the beach and really in the middle of the activity hub, all the fun and frolic the city of El Nido has to offer. He made us feel so at home and went above and beyond to help us book our tours for the next two days.

Though we had done research and knew we wanted to do Tour A & C, he connected us to his known tour company Caldao Tours and booked us in for the next morning with a custom Vegetarian Lunch order. We walked around town, grabbed some dinner and then headed back for some rest and more sleep.

More on Tour A & C coming up

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

You thought I forgot???

Nope, I have not forgotten about the whole business of buddying up, logging food and being a little more active than I was before. The long, painful but satisfying journey for 'Getting Fit' 

So I am still 'at it' albeit slower with hiccups and not 'glamorous results' but hey the slow and steady wins the race.
And the winner gets a pat on the back :-)

Working Out
Last few weeks, with a travelling spouse, the 'workout' took a back seat. Yes, I could have done the exercises at home, but I decided sleeping in will be better (It was!!!)
But now that life is back to normal with equal number of adults to kids, I am back at the gym. The first day back in the class after 3.5 weeks was crazy bad and though I was not really sore, I definitely was 'tired' sooner. But the rhythm is settling back in which is a good thing. However, my old old knee injury is acting up and until the doctor gives me a clean bill of health, I plan to just enjoy the "Ride" class, which is 45 minutes of riding a bike mixed in with limited strength and cardio. Love it!


My Fitness Pal
Yippie, 50 days streak aka logging in almost every morsel of food in the app to see how much I am eating. I have been logging but have been over the calorie intake almost every single day. I have been unbalanced, ideally it should be in the ratio of 50:30:20 for Carb: Protein: Fat. I have been 'Way Off' and I blame all the delicious goodness of Indian sweets and snacks around the house.

BUT I am logging religiously, sometimes at a high level sometimes faking the data based on memory for the day.  I know I know, hopefully will get back in the groove soon enough.


Buddying up
With summer setting in and our eagerness to be out and about, my buddies and I are 'at it'. Even a simple message of 'Good Job' or 'Let’s go to the gym tomorrow' or 'Why haven’t you logged in' are good encouragements.
Of course, my new buddy aka my husband is waking up at the ungodly hour of 5:30 and coming with me to the gym. And having this new buddy is all the more 'fun'



So there you have it, the details...

Summary: 
There has been no weight loss, but NO GAIN as well. There have been NO clothes being suddenly too big for me (I wish!), but the best result for me: I am able to sustain extended soccer games with my kids in the park and really make a run after the Frisbee in the evenings, so I am truly loving that!

For me getting fit is less about 'the vanity' of it but more about the 'energy levels' of it. And though the compliments help, the true fun is listening to my daughters chat in the morning: 'Mummy just came back from her yoga and she is stinking eeeew'
I chase them every now and then to slather them with a 'sweaty hug'.


Perfect way to start the morning.

Friday, June 2, 2017

When you least expect it...

When you least expect it...

There was a time when I was IN the 'blogging circuit', meeting fellow bloggers, attending various events, reviewing theater etc.
And now as time has gone by, I have become less and less involved in these.. I do still enjoy blogging and writing and having an outlet. I still follow my favorite readers and enjoy the conversations, i am what you call a blogger with no readers ;-)

And then yesterday I get an email from 'Indian Top Blogs' that I am listed in the directory and have earned a spot on the the 'Top Blogs'
Well... what do you know!


Don't believe me, I know you don't... check out their link..

So when you least expect it, you may get surprised and its definitely a good feeling!

I guess a speech is needed, I mean all 'Oscar winners' give it... So here it goes
'Thank you my faithful reader(s) [I wonder if anyone more, the stats on the blog show a few daily, so thank you for being patient with me]
Thank you my kids, my husband, well you are the topics in most posts and it is indeed fun to capture your antiquities [Though not fun to live them.. I mean she did what]
And then of course thank you food... you add the 'spice' to my posts, no pun intended'


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A newly created Milestone

I have older kids, well 4 and 9, and I since I am off the diaper duty, I call them 'older' kids... but they are teeny tiny in my mind.
But as they are getting 'older and wiser' there are lesser and lesser milestones that I track or remember to track. No more first steps, first words, first solids, first steps...

There are no key milestones with these kids, just good and onward and upward development.
I know that's how it should be and it is, but it makes me a little sad every now and then. They are still my babies.

So today, I 'create' a new milestone for 'Tween' (my 9 year wise girl) and my 'Pre-schooler' (The 4 year old Chatterbox)

Tween, Miss V: First sleep away trip from school!
Pre-schooler, Miss S: First night not sleeping in the same room with her older sister!

The morning of the trip.....  
Miss V, was up and packed 3 days prior to the trip, she wakes up at 5 am, makes her own milk and is ready at 5:45 to leave. We don't have to be in school before 8 am, that's how excited she was!

Miss S, the little sister shadows the older one, gives her extra hugs, steals older sister's bear for the night (since no one to fight with) and is just holding her older sister's hand throughout the early morning!

The morning of the trip.... me an my thoughts! 

I know the trip is only 3 days, 2 nights long. But its freaking long in my mind. She is off to a camp which is open pre-season for just their school. She is with her wonderful friends and her super involved and caring teachers. It's super safe and even more protected than I can imagine. 
Her school has gone above and beyond to ensure kids are looked after and parents are comforted. But still, this is a big milestone! 

It's a school trip which encourages her to be more independent, explore the nature, hike the wilderness, mount and do the horse riding, play unlimited soccer, Grill smore's by the camp fires!

But here I am on the other side of the white bus waving good bye with a brave grin showing her how trully Happy I am for her!
And then I sit in the car and breathe, That's my baby hitting another milestone...


She is ready, I am not!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Day 2: Philippines: Oslob & Kawasan Falls

Before we had booked Philippines, one thing that was a MUST DO for me was the swimming with the whale sharks in Oslob.

WHAT AN EXPERIENCE.

Yes, the day was super long, we started at 5 am and ended at 9 pm, but booking a private tour, having a 10 seater van after a jet lagged flight was totally worth it, since when not doing the activity, we pretty much slept in the big van.

Note: Booking tours in Philippines is a big plus, they have really good cars, all in one package including pick up, stopping for food, activity, suggestions for local stuff and then they drop you back. It's quiet brainless during the day for you then and you are never worried about safety if you have pre-booked using a good company. I used Cebu tours for Oslob-Tumalog-Kawasan falls and they were really nice.

Now, we were driven to Oslob and the day started out with torrential rainfall. i was definitely nervous, but the tour guide/ driver mentioned to us, we will be fine So kids packed up and we headed out!
The drive was gorgeous, but taking the 18 hour flight the day before, we were all knocked out and slept until we stopped a a cute cafe outside Oslob.... we could see 15-20 boats in the water and lots of tourists.

But we started at the cafe with a local's breakfast of sticky rice and mango. yes, Mango, you can imagine our utter happiness. After breakfast and changing into our swim gear we headed to the Whale Watching tour area. Now, reminder: No sun-block allowed since the chemicals harm the whale.

Here booking with a tour company really helped since they had secured our permits and after our orientation of the 'what to do with the whale shark' tour we were loaded on the boats for a 30 minute 'swimming with the whale shark'

WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!!!

The whale Shark are peaceful and so massive. My older daughter V jumped in the water with us, but was nervous and stayed closer to the boat. The little one S stayed in the boat and awed the Whale Shark. I was half prepared for a 'crying session' with the little one, but she was super strong and stayed on the boat being our whale shark spotter.


Sumit and I swam or rather 'shivered' with these gorgeous creatures. We really tried to toughen up and get a picture with the whale shark, but were partially successful. This is definitely a recommended trip.

After the Whale Shark and the oohing and aahing,we headed to Tumalog falls, where more than the falls, i had fun on the bike ride to the falls and then the 'natural fish spa' eeeew, we all sat in the water, the fishes come to feed on the dead skin and eeeew, I could not do it for a long time, of course the older monster loved the 'spa' and Sumit was pretending to love it to.

These Tumalog falls are nothing to write home about, but just since the water was so shallow and th mist was worth it with the kids. We returned back to our cafe and Miss Ruth, the tour guide to enjoy a Vegetarian Lunch. These were by the far the best noodles I have had. So simple and so earthy and so delicious, These lemons, were tiny, juicy and tangy!!

A little more relaxation and then we bid farewell to Ms. Ruth and headed to Kawasan falls. Again the drive though gorgeous, our jet lagged bodies forced us to deep slumber. By the time we reached Kawasan falls, it was pouring down really hard.

But we braved it out and hiked a mile to reach the Kawasan Falls. Complete disclosure, I added this to  our custom tour, one can do Oslob and return back, but I really wanted to explore these much spoken about falls.
The highlight here (minus the rain) was the clear water and the raft ride which takes you below the falls. After much waiting and getting wetter in the rains, the three of us went on the massive raft and were 'water massaged' on it. The little one decided to stay on shore and watch us. Good call. The pressure of the water is crazy hard and though it was amazing fun, it would not have been worth it.

We hiked back and enjoyed some coconut water. And then drive back to Cebu was loong. I think about 6 hours. We were all knocked out solid. By the time we reached the hotel, we were exhausted and tired and happy to see our friends.

We freshened up and met our friends for dinner and some more cake and conversations which are never ending.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The drive back home

As parents, our weekday life is pretty routine to be honest, morning routine, dropping the kids to school, work, picking the kids, shuttling them to classes, park/ summer fun, dinner, bedtime. Simple and routine and I like the predictably, I like the simplicity of it.

But in all this routine, the kids are super busy and honestly as a parent, I am generally pre-occupied, be it for work or whats for dinner or even my phone.

The one time, that I am focused and ensuring I hear the kids is when it's just the kids and me is the drives and of course dinner time. The radio/ music is generally on low volume in the car ride and we chat, they talk and I listen. 

In the mornings, its generally a readiness for the day and hugs and kisses, but the evening is when the girls are chatty, they talk about their day at school, what they ate, whom they played with, what they didn't like and what was so awesome about their day.

And that's my best uninterrupted listening ears to them. I try to listen on all these conversations since without the girls knowing, they shed a light into their minds.

Its about them and what bothered them when someone didn't play with them. Or how they felt when a friend stumbled in the park. This is that one conversation which makes me realize every single day that these girls are being their own person. They are not just telling me how their day was, but telling me what moves them, what bothers them what excites them.

And as much as I think I know my kids, this one conversation is an eye opener every single day and i learn something new about them.


What's your best 'uninterrupted listening ears' time with your kids?