Category Archives: Blog

Being Thankful in the midst of trials

Things has not been peachy for me and my family the past few months… In the midst of trials, it is always hard to stay grateful for the good things and to keep the positive in mind. My feelings have ranged from despair, depression, to exhaustion and helplessness – Mostly negative. There are no ‘buts’ here. I am still down there in the dumps. Acceptance still seems hard to attain. For the life of me, I am praying for a miracle that things will get better. But I am not optimistic that they will.

Yesterday, my little Lucas turned a month old. We didn’t blow candles. We had leftover pizza. We didn’t post any ‘happy birthday’ announcements on facebook. And for the first time in a while, I felt really grateful…

My Lucas was born a few weeks early and was in the NICU for the first few days of his life. We were discharged four days later only to be admitted back to the hospital during his 1 week checkup for losing 16 percent of his birth weight, dehydration and jaundice. I was also worried about my dad at the same time who was also admitted to the hospital a few days before I gave birth. I was crying most of the time and I couldnt sleep. Not because I just gave birth, but because I felt that with all the things that are happening, there was nothing I could really do.

Except for hope.

Except for pray.

Except to have faith.

Two weeks ago, it was my mom’s turn to get sick. She suffered a major stroke and could not control her arms and legs. We weren’t there. None of her children could be there. I wanted to get the first flight out, but I could not leave my new born son who was still trying to get strong. I got more depressed. I felt more helpless.

And all I could do again was hope. pray. have faith.

There is no turning point in this post. I am still in the process of trying to figure out what else I could do. And as I do that I am reminded the great things God has done and is doing in my life… and Lucas’ being a month old is one of them.

My mom is now home from the hospital and has regained strength in her arms. Although she is still not strong enough to walk, she can now move her arms. I am grateful that she is slowly recovering. I still cannot go to take care of her. and that still kills me.

i know all things work out for the good. I am thankful that God has a promise like that. It would have been really depressing if there wasnt.

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Navigating our way to being fine…

When people ask me how my dad is doing, I am always overwhelmed on how I should answer. Most of the time I say he is physically well but mentally unwell. I don’t really want to elaborate on how ‘unwell’ he is. I don’t want people to feel sorry for him, to feel sorry for my family… to feel sorry for me… But I don’t want them to think that my dad is doing great so that they will forget him in their prayers. Because he is not okay. And he needs all the prayers he can get.

My father has Alzheimer’s. Some think that Alzheimer’s is a disease with a cure. But it does not have a known cure. And it can only get worse as each day comes. My dad is not even 60. But his mind is quickly degenerating. Every time I go to see him, I fear the day when he will stop remembering me. With my mother’s updates on his well being, I can feel that day is coming really soon…

I miss the times when I knew I could ask him anything and he would have a wise answer- when his advise would weigh so much on my decisions even as an adult. My dad has been a rock to me while I was growing up. Not just to me, but to a lot of people. And it’s difficult to imagine that that rock is slowly being weathered away by factors beyond our control. Factors that we can’t manipulate. Factors that we can only hope to be kind.

These days our conversations are limited to me telling him I love him and asking him how his day was. He would just say fine and bite on his towel. He has developed this uncontrollable knack to bite on a towel my mom gives him. Towel debris would be scattered all over the place where he sits. My mom would need to clean that up. Along with all of the other mess he can’t keep himself from making.

But even if I cannot get a normal conversation with my dad anymore, my kids love him. My kids love their lolo. They think he is funny. And when he shouts, they think its playful banter and they shout back. They would laugh together. They are not afraid. I wanted them to have that kind of relationship with their lolo. Something I missed because I was not close to mine. Something I hope they will remember once the moments and opportunities are gone.

My mother has been a champ through it all. Sometimes she tries too hard to be a champ. We don’t have house help and she takes care of my dad by herself. An alzheimer’s patient being taken care of by an almost 60 year old woman. When she shares her day, whether good or bad, and mostly bad, I am always speechless. I am helpless. How can I give comfort to my mom when my heart is breaking into a million pieces too? How can I tell her its going to be okay when I know it will only get worse? My younger brother has been the most diplomatic among us three siblings. He always has something to say. And God bless his heart that he does not fail to be comforting every time.

I cry during my nightly prayers as I pray for my dad and my mom. For a miracle. For his relief. For my mom’s strength and endurance and protection… And that’s the only time I find comfort. I won’t get it anywhere else. No where else.

“my hope is built on nothing less…

on Christ the Solid rock I stand,

All other ground is sinking sand.

All other ground is sinking sand…”

 

Locked out for a while…

i lost my password to this blog when I got back from vacation last year. its been almost 6 months! I tried starting a new blog at rachelscribbler.wordpress.com but ofcourse, as usual, I did not get to post much. I have ventured into deep motherhood mode with Aria starting nursery and a new bub on the way. My OB Gyne asked me if I was serious that I wanted four kids after watching Aria and Marcus trashing her office. I just laughed it out. But the chubhub gave me the serious talk about this being the last kid.

I don’t know. I still feel incomplete. I want four. But who knows? My heart might change after another year of sleepless nights and losing more of my sanity.

 

Mooving!! Mooving!! Mooving!!

I am actually singing a song about moving while typing this post. Yes, we are moving again! The life of an expat in the Middle East is all about moving. Growing up in the UAE for 25 years, we have moved 8 times. Nothing is permanent. You can own property if you have the money, but people who have money here are only a small percentage. Everyone else is a paycheck to paycheck kind of employee.

Anyway, like I said, we are moving again. I didn’t even get a chance to blog about our current apartment and we are moving again. I hate moving. Packing and sorting and figuring out if you should throw away stuff because your next apartment is smaller.

Apartment choices in Doha is very limited for small time expats like us. With a small paycheck, we always opt to renting just a room, or even just a bedspace. We would rather save a chunk of our salary than spend half of it on rent. With the kind of budget that we have, most of the choices we have are old buildings, old villas or really small space- always ending up in cramped living quarters.

Oh well, we are moving again and I have no choice. Although it does present a whole range of new possibilities, packing and getting things ready with two kids under three is another challenge.

Oh well…

Exploring Qatar: The Rock Formations of Zekreet

I usually avoid the malls during weekends because I hate crowds. But the weekend is the only free time the Chubby hubby has so we make it a point to do something new during these days- whether its trying a new restaurant or hanging out at the park. About a week ago, some friends from church invited us to go visit a site at the outskirts of Doha. Since the weather is slowly transitioning to Summer, it was the perfect time for some off road adventure.

Zekreet is located 45 minutes away from Doha, just off the Dukhan Road (the road going towards Qatar National Convention Center and the humongous Qatar Mall Construction). It is a collection of plateaus in the middle of the desert with a mini Arabic town that was put up for films (hence called Film City) and some archeological sites.

If you want to go and see the rock formations, it is best to bring your own food since there are no places to eat there! The next food stop is more than 30 minutes away from the site.

Family time at the MIA park bazaar, Doha

Ever since I read about the monthly bazaar at the park of the Museum of Islamic Art, I have always planned to go. The first time we made plans to go, we went to City Center first and got too tired to go to the park afterwards. The second time we went at 6:30 pm not knowing that the bazaar ends at 6. Last Saturday we finally made it, with enough energy to go around and a lot of time to spare. I can finally stop obsessing about that bazaar knowing that I have already been there.

It is not as big as the flea market in Safa park in Dubai. Although it did remind me of that time we participated in the very first flea market where lots of stuff was not just ‘ukay ukay’.

Aria at the MIA Park Bazaar
Aria at the MIA Park Bazaar. No smiles.

There were lots of stalls selling interesting things, such as handmade baby clothes, art by locally based artists, jewellery, clothing and FOOOOD! There was one whole lane of food stalls and the chubby hubby and I spent most of our time on that lane. We checked out each and every one and thought carefully which ones we were going to try. I saw a stall selling Thai Iced tea with milk and bought a macha green tea flavored one and the plain ice tea with milk one. Each drink cost 10 QAR. A little pricey for bazaar food but it was worth it. Coz it was good. Atleast in my opinion.

Checking out the food stalls at the MIA Park Bazaar
Checking out the food stalls
My Macha green iced tea at the MIA Park Bazaar
My Macha green iced tea

 

Eating corn dog at the MIA Park Bazaar
Aria Eating corn dog at the Bazaar
Aria and her lollipop at the MIA Park Bazaar
Aria and her lollipop

 

There were also some stalls selling cheap toys and a lot of families were flying kites from those stalls. Told the chubby hubby that he should fly a kite with the kiddos someday. He says that he can make his own kite and that we didn’t have to buy one. I just have to give him some bamboo sticks.

I don’t know if he is challenging me to look for bamboo sticks but when I do, he better be ready to make a kite and spend some quality time with the kiddos.

We didn’t really buy anything at the bazaar, but enjoyed looking around and checking out what can come back for at the next one, the number one item being FOOOOOOOD!

checking out the people flying kites at the MIA park
checking out the people flying kites

 

How not to manage your blog

If there is one thing I have been doing for a long time that I am not doing very well at, it is blogging. Yesterday, I got my 1000th like in this blog. It took 3 years?! to get 1000 likes for me. I swear once I got that notification, I did a little dance.

It doesn’t really bother me though… that I am slow in growing this blog. I have to be honest that there are a couple of times I wished I could be a bigger celebrity blogger. But right now, I have other priorities that are taking up a big chunk of my time. I have done research upon research on how other mommy bloggers are making a name for themselves, with post after post on time management, crafting, pinning, cooking, etc. some of the tips I tried to apply. And they never really worked for me.

I keep finding myself waiting for the kids (2 small and one grown up) to fall asleep and then I spend my me time blogging. It might be at 2 am, or at 5 am. Sometimes, that ‘me time’ never comes.

I am also not a blog whore. I find it so hard to promote myself. I envy those who can. If I could hire someone to promote me, I would. But then, I would need money for that and money I do not have. Maybe after a few more posts, I could start whoring my blog. Maybe… or not. whatever.

I find it so hard to finish posts too. There are times I try to write a post and then the baby starts to cry. I let him cry for a little while and then that cry turns to a wail. And I know I wont be a good mom if I let that wail turn into vomiting. So I stop and lose my momentum. And when I try again, I just can’t seem to find the ending to a post.

 

PS. this is the perfect example of that last paragraph… But I’ll post it anyway.