Category Archives: Family

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.

Baby countdown midnight rambling

I have started my countdown to welcoming baby number 3 a few weeks ago. By counting down, what I really mean is making a mental list, writing down all some of the stuff in my head, forgetting where i placed the said list and getting nothing done. There’s a lot of prepping I know I need to do and I am no where close to being the perfect girl scout.

Baby number 3 is going to be a challenge with two toddlers under the age of 4 and Marcus (my second born) is currently trying to reestablish his position as baby of the family. He wants to sleep with only mommy and wakes up in the middle of the night looking for mommy. I am at that stage in my pregnancy when I cannot sleep when I need to and I seem to pass out when I shouldn’t. I feel sorry for Aria and Marcus. Sometimes I pass out when they really really need me like when somebody needs to get a certain toy which is out of their reach. I would wake up cranky and finally give in turning the TV on so I could get at least 30 minutes of sleep- which I have to be honest sometimes turn into an hour of snoozing.

Aria is now out of school and enjoying her first summer vacation. She doesnt understand the concept of a summer break yet and constantly ask about going to see her teacher. I let her try to find ways to entertain herself and that usually includes making a mess of whatever she could get her hands on. My house has never been clean for more than an hour since time immemorial. And lately i cannot be bothered cleaning up because of this big watermelon attached to my front. I am the size of a truck now. Searching for/Picking up things under the bed or even on the floor has now been assigned to Aria and Marcus. It takes five years to get that done since they have only started understanding the concept of prepositions. I have not given up training them yet and before this baby number 3 comes out, I will make sure that these two will be masters of doing things for me involving fetching things ‘under’ and  ‘out of’ anything.

I guess I am still not prepared to be a mother of 3 kids. I was never prepared even during the first time when Aria was born. But I am getting by and I can only hope I do not ruin my kids with all my failures as a mom. So baby number 3, Bring it On!

sleeping Aria in our first apartment
Aria sleeping when we brought her home for the first time in our first apartment.
Baby Marcus sleeping baby
Sleeping baby boy Marcus
Aria and marcus
More than a year ago, my babies were still babies…
Ate Aria and Kuya Marcus
My babies now… Aria and Marcus are now ate and kuya.

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.

 

Dear Dad, it’s becoming clear to me now…

Been going through a lot in the personal issues department lately so I decided to put off writing about happy stuff for a while, til I found my momentum and until i established what I really want to be writing about.

A few years ago, my dad retired prematurely by his own choice and left Dubai (his home for more than two decades) to live in the Philippines. I was a bit resentful about the move because I was hoping my kids would  grow to an age where they would have memories of their grandparents. I knew though that the distance was not going to make that possible and since we were expats, and expats were (most of the time) paid according to the color of their skin, I was very, very resigned to starting a life away from my parents. We couldn’t afford to be too extravagant with traveling to the Philippines during all the breaks that we have. It would be more practical to send the money that spend it there.

My dad has been diabetic since he turned 40. His health has always been on a very gradual decline because of work related stress, family related stress (induced by 3 stubborn and hard headed kids), and poor eating habits. There are so many unhealthy food within reach in the UAE that it is no wonder that most of the population are overweight and diabetic (including me?!).

Lately, his memory has not been at its peak. He has started forgetting names, and even events in his life. For someone who hasn’t even reached 60, my dad has started being too forgetful.

A few months ago, after his trip to visit us here in Qatar and my older brother’s family in the UAE, his health was in such a state that we couldn’t ignore it anymore. Even he knew he had to get himself checked… When he did, after numerous procedures and tests, they found a completely blocked vein and two partially blocked ones. He was a timebomb waiting to explode.

My dad is still young. I still want him around.

Now I understand why he retired early.

He knew he wasn’t in the best of shape. His memory was failing him constantly. He couldn’t work properly because his mind was always blank or he couldnt remember things he needed to do. He wanted to save face.

I understand now Dad, you went because you had to go.

I hope you take care of yourself Dad. I still want you around. Even if there is the big distance between us, we can still be constantly connected by technology. I still want my kids to have memories with you Dad. The ones where they realize they love you and want you in their life… the way I feel about you.

A day in the life of…

I like food. So when I found out that they had a festival for food in Doha, I knew I had to go and be there.

We decided to visit the second day because we were busy on the first day. The Chubby Hubby planned to meet us there from work and I brought the two kids with me from home. We didn’t expect these festivals to be so popular (Doha newbie here) because when we got there, it took 40 minutes to make the u-turn going to the venue. Chubby Hubby complained that he couldn’t find parking and that the organizers were turning cars away to go park somewhere else. So he tried to find parking outside the Museum of Islamic Art vicinity and found himself in a lot of competition with other QIFF attendees.

Meanwhile, the kids and I after being stuck in the cab for 40 minutes at that U-turn, decided to get down and just cross the street. I forgot that I was going to cross the street with a two year old and a little boy strapped to my body. Not to mention the baby bag and Aria’s backpack (which always ends up on my back). We managed though but the area where the event was being held was quite a walk from the entrance too and it didn’t take long until Aria started insisting I carry her.

At this point, I called the Chubby Hubby and asked where he was, to which he replies in an annoyed tone that he is still looking for parking.

It’s already been an hour and I haven’t sampled any food yet at the festival, which was taking its toll on me. But I was determined not to go home until I had experienced at least something with food. So I told the Chubby Hubby that I will be walking around with the kiddos to check the place out.

So I held Aria’s hand and navigated through the different stalls, looking at all the scrumptious looking food, salivating at every corner. I didn’t have enough cash with me at the time and I was saving up for something I felt I had to have. So I was being a stingy woman while I searched for that one thing I had to have in my mouth.

My daughter was thrilled to be outdoors but got bored and tired with all the walking. She would occasionally ask me to carry her to which I would reply that I can’t because I was already carrying Marcus. My little boy was already fast asleep while strapped to me and was snoring a bit.

We have been wandering for about 40 minutes when i decided to give the Chubby hubby another call to which he gave me the same annoyed answer. I concede and tell him that I’ll go and find him and that we could just go home. I was tired too because I haven’t eaten anything.

So I told my daughter that we are going to find her dad. She follows me for a few steps and then stops and insists that I carry her. I say ‘no’ and tell her why. She starts her tantrums. I walk away. She cries louder. People walking by ask if they can help me by carrying her. I politely decline because I know Aria will throw a fit if a stranger will carry her. She cries. I carry her. With Marcus strapped to me. In other words, I start carrying both my kids at the same time. One 15 Kg kid and another 8 kg kid.

I walk for a few minutes and put Aria down. She wants to be carried. She cries. I walk away. And the cycle repeats.

Marcus, bless his heart, was calm throughout the ordeal.

We finally reach the car about 10 minutes away from the park gates. I had both kids in my arms hoping the Chubby Hubby sees that I too had struggles of my own. But when we got closer, his car was empty. I put a distressed Aria down and checked my phone.

4 missed calls. MAAAAAN!

I immediately called back, and Chubby Hubby answers that he is inside and that he’s been trying to call me. I say, ok, I’ll go to him. Aria insists again to be carried.

SO I carry both kids back to the park.

Well, I had some good and not so great food that night. We stayed to watch the fireworks along the very beautiful Westbay skyline.

When we got home, my baby girl had a slight fever. I gave her some medicine and put her to bed and when I got back I saw her in convulsions. Seeing my daughter like that is the most terrifying thing  in my life. I called the Chubby Hubby. Aria loses consciousness and I was afraid to check so I asked him to bring her to the hospital. Tried to be as calm as I could but kept playing worst case scenarios in my head. I was in my jammies as I left Marcus with a dear friend and rushed after Aria and Chubby Hubby to the closest hospital (which was thankfully just a few doors away from our building). They, however, turned us away and sent us the Hamad Pediatric Emergency Center a few blocks away.

At the Emergency Center, they did tests to rule out as many infections as possible. We stayed till the wee hours of the morning and found out that she only had an ear infection and that her seizure was caused by her high fever. Apparently febrile convulsions are common in children from 6 months to 6 years. They happen without doing any damage to a child’s brain. Even though the doctor kept telling me that it is normal, it is still a scary sight. He gives me tips on how to handle the episodes and some medicine and sends us home. Thank God for health cards in this country! I wonder what it would be like if the same thing happened to us if we were in the Philippines.

She was fine earlier that day. I immediately felt guilty for putting my daughter through that just because I wanted so bad to be a part of the QIFF and had to be there.

We got home around 3 am. I didn’t sleep well and kept checking on Aria. She looked fine. As a matter of fact, she started snoring.

I whispered a prayer of thanks as I held her that early morning.

Endless Photo Opportunities at Madame Tussaud’s, Amsterdam

When I was a freshman in College, Madame Tussaud’s was exhibiting at the Shangrila, Manila. I wanted to go see the exhibit but my allowance was not even enough for the entrance. I knew I had to go see the one in Amsterdam once we had our trip planned just so I can tell myself that I’ve finally seen it. It’s something I can at last cross off my bucket list.

There isn’t much to say about the museum except that it is a great place for lots of photo opportunities. Its awesome that the figures are not hand’s off. As a matter of fact, you can get as close as you can.

Chubby hubby had the best time posing with most of the ‘celebrities’. He didn’t give me much of a chance to get my picture taken. That’s okay though. I am just used to being behind the camera all of the time. But we we both had a blast seeing famous people without feeling starstruck.