Saturday, July 26, 2008

Another Crayola Day

Today, we decided to stay home. I was able to spend time with Reese in exploring her Crayola.

Thanks to pangga for saving this moment. :-)

Now that Reese turned 1...

I was supposed to go out with office friends last Friday on a dinner treat but decided not to go ‘coz of headache and body pain. The day before when I brought Reese in the office, I was carrying her almost the whole afternoon. It’s quite obvious that I cannot bear her weight too long. She just turned 1 this month and already weighs 11.1 kilos and is 81 cms long!

While on my way home, I thought of Reese and the things that she is fond of doing. And to keep this memory, I am listing some of them here:

· A day will not be complete without Reese “clapping” her hands. There were even times that when she woke up in the morning, she suddenly claps like thanking God for a brand new day. She also claps whenever she hears audience does it on TV.
· She knows “hands appear” but refuses to do the align trick. (still clueless why)
· She can say “daddy” very well when someone lead her to call her dad. There were also times that she mentions it just out of the blue. (daddy's girl)
· She calls me “mammammm….” when she’s frustrated on something to get my attention to help her out. ;-)
· Another thing she does to get attention is “coughing” even though she’s only pretending! (artista)
· She’s a TV addict like her dad and I am hoping I can still change that even by half. (sigh)
· She can get out of a blanket being thrown at her and gives a “big smile” like feeling accomplished.
· She calls Tita with the last syllable “tah” particularly when she hears her mobile phone ringing and Tita couldn’t answer it immediately.
· Hums and dances to any sound she likes. Bounces whenever she sees the “Meaty Ginisang Gulay” commercial for kids.
· Fond of “tags” made of paper or cloth, those that are found on bibs & toys. She likes them better than the toy! :-p
· Carries her bib most of the time. It’s like her hanky that’s why we always tease her, “Ate V”.
· Fond of anything that has words or letter on it. I hope that’s an indication she’s interested in reading.
· Lastly, when in the mood, she follows my request when I say, “Reese, kiss mommy”. She slowly goes towards me and gives me a soft “no sound” kiss on my cheek. For me, that is the sweetest thing! :-)

When you grow up Reese, please find time to read this. I’m sure you’ll enjoy as much as I did!

My Special Day

I don’t usually plan or celebrate my birthday. Typically, I just have dinner with my family. But just the day before, I caught myself thinking how I want it to take place. Maybe, I also feel like celebrating my first year of being a “mom”. So here are the happenings last July 24:

1. I took a surprise vacation leave by turning on my “Out of Office” in the Outlook mail just the day before. Sorry Frankie, late filing! ;-)

2. By 2 pm, I brought Reese to our office for the first time to be my special guest to the simple “merienda” treat for my office friends. Everyone was surprised when they heard her voice echoing in the entire floor. I was so glad for doing that! :-)

Reese with my office friends

3. Good thing Gani was able to file half day leave despite of my short notice. We went to Kidz Republic in Megamall and played for half an hour with Reese. We thought it was short, but we’re already grasping for breath and we’re quite tired from playing. Reese can never have enough of it, especially seeing other kids playing around.

Reese, busy with her colorful surroundings

4. We had dinner at our favorite Filipino restaurant, “Mannang” and ordered their delicious and mouth-watering “kare-kare” (beef stew in peanut sauce) and crispy spicy squid. It was so filling that I couldn’t ask for dessert anymore.

Our family in Mannang, Reese busy with the menu

Reese trying to find something she likes ;-)

Then, we all went home. With only 2 blocks away from our place, the rain poured hard. For me, it was a sign of God’s blessings. Thank You po for everything. I feel so blessed! :-)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Birthdate

Your Birthdate: July 24

You understand people well and are a natural born therapist.

A peacemaker, people always seem to get along when you are around.

You tend to be a father or mother figure to friends, even to those older than you.

You enjoy your role, and you find that you are close to many people.

Your strength: Your devotion
Your weakness: Reliance on others for happiness
Your power color: Lilac
Your power symbol: Heart
Your power month: June

To my surprise, most of these are true... Coincidence? Maybe.
What Does Your Birth Date Mean?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Twofold Event

Last Saturday, we went home to Bulacan for the advance celebration of my birthday. We had lunch with my mom, sister, lola, tito & tita at LeeFoo restaurant in Tabang (near LTO). The food choices were simple and more of a “lutong bahay”. I did like the chicken asparagus soup I ordered for Reese. I was happy to have this get together lunch with my family once in a while because I don’t always get the chance to visit them.

Another purpose of our visit was to meet the immediate family of my sister’s fiancĂ© for their “pamanhikan” (pre-wedding tradition) in the afternoon of that same day. Unlike the traditional “pamanhikan”, it was an informal meet-up and my mom didn't require any dowry. :-) Congratulations & best wishes to my Ate and Tope!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Reese's First Crayon Activity

As soon as I got home last Friday, around 7pm, I immediately dressed up and spent time with Reese before having dinner.

Here is Reese experimenting with the crayons I brought for her. She was actually pointing the crayon here and there, not really scribbling yet.

At one point she tried putting the crayon into her mouth and I immediately told her not to do so. She was really caught in the act!

I let her play for about 30 minutes, and I knew she enjoyed it because she was so unwilling to give back the crayons afterwards. It was really good to play and introduce new things with her. But I have to be careful not to make her eat that kind of stuff. Still on the go and search for activities for my little one!

Friday, July 18, 2008

First Crayon for Little Hands

I had lunch with my office friends today in Yellow Cab at SM Megamall. Right after, I went to NBS to buy crayons for Reese. I’ve noticed that whenever I got home, Reese was always glued at watching TV. It was like you cannot disturb her unless you turned it off. So I thought of getting some crayons and manila paper for her to try and see if she’ll be fond of scribbling. I was thrilled to see those crayons for little hands from Crayola with label “my first”. It has a good grip and with nice different colors for set of 12. I can’t wait to go home and give it a try myself (oops, by Reese)! I'm excited to go back to my crayola days once again. :-)

Visit Crayola to find creative activities and ideas for your child.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Reese's 1st Birthday Party

Reese’s birthday was exactly July 5, and happily 2008 being a leap year made it fall on a weekend. The party was set at 10 am that day and our immediate families, close relatives, friends, and Reese’s godparents celebrated with us. Most of the guests arrived before 11 am so we had the kids head off instantly to the play area while waiting for the rest.

The fun was started by Marvin, the in-house magician/host of Kidz Republic. He led the guests in greeting my daughter with a lively “Happy Birthday Reese!”, and then followed by kiddie games:

  • 1st game: “find her name everywhere”, they pasted small paper all over the place, and kids need to find one with Reese’s name on it to get their reward.

  • 2nd game: “spelling bee”, 2 teams composed of 2 adults and 4 kids, magician asks simple question then the 1st adult gives the letters of the answer to the kid and the kid will pass it along to the other team members, the 2nd adult will help them arrange the spelling correctly. They must finish first to be the winner of the game.
  • And 3rd game: “collect all the coins you can”, girls vs. boys, although the boys were outnumbered, they were able to collect more coins than the girls! Everything they collected was combined and the magician labeled some of it as “special coin”, threw everything in the air and kids who got special coins got the rewards. Of course, the rest of the coins became the consolation prize. Although there were few kids at the party, but I am pretty sure that they enjoyed, especially the coin game.

Meal time came and it went smoothly. The take out order from Kenny Rogers were delivered ahead of time and the kid’s meal were served promptly by the staff. Food was adequate and delicious; I even liked the kiddie meal better.

It was the first time I got impressed with kiddie magic show! The magician was wearing very colorful clown outfit (w/out make-up as preferred). He was a jolly host and a fluent speaker. Kids and kids at heart were amazed by the magic and enjoyed the entire show very much. I myself couldn't figure out how the illusion works and how those hands could keep all those things! It will be hard to explain this in details, but just take a peek at the pictures to get a better idea.

Kids sang the “Birthday Song” while Gani & I helped Reese blow her candle. We took pictures of family and guests, distributed the Kidz Republic & Dora loot bags, offered take out cakes and excess food for relatives and some friends, then, the party ended.

Right after the party, kids proceeded to the huge play area to take advantage of 2 hours playing time for free! Reese, Gani & I also went there to experience and enjoy the place.

All the preparations we did turned out to be good and fall even beyond our expectations. Although Reese at her age might not be much aware of everything that happened, but I believe she’ll be more than thankful when she got older and realized how her birthday was celebrated. Reese, your mom and dad loves you so much and we hope and pray for your good health and that you may grow as a good and God-fearing person…

More pictures here

Now, it’s time to rate the suppliers, with 10 being the highest. Most of them are far better than expected, except for 1. Feel free to read on below to find out.

VENUE: Kidz Republic, SM Mall of Asia – 8

Pros: The venue is bright, colorful and has a very good party ambiance. It doesn’t require any fancy decoration at all that makes me save some for other party needs. It has a nice kitchen, with hot and cold water accessible to guests. Also the restroom is fresh and clean and makes it easier for guests to use whenever needed. Their package is just fine, fair for the price; we prefer that aside from the very nice party venue, it includes 2 hours play time in the huge play area. I also noticed that they are not so strict with time, so it might not hurt to get some extension. :-)

Having the party at the morning was a breeze. It was an advantage that the 2 pm slot was stolen quickly as we’ve noticed that the play area gets crowded by that time.

Cons: Not so flexible during negotiation, especially on food corkage. So you have to be very particular and take note of what has been agreed on because some things could change during contract signing. But I have to give them credit for charging corkage only for 2 items on the day of the party itself instead of 5 items. Lastly, the balloons included in the package were not good, plain and simple, prints were even blurred.

FOOD: Kenny Rogers – 8

Pros: Roasted chicken is big and chunky; muffin can be changed from regular corn flavor to cookies and cream muffin which is so delicious; and apart from it, drinks is free!

Cons: I hope they have given us the chicken leg & rib part since they are much tastier than breast & wings combination. Although the chicken was not bad, but I still like the old flavor they had.

CAKE: Goldilocks' character cake – 10

We ordered very rocky road flavor and it tastes good. For me, the cake size, decoration and flavor are reasonable for its price. I even like the cake toppers Dora with Boots and Sniper all together. So if you don’t mind having a single layer cake for a 1st birthday, this one is a good choice. :-)

SOUVENIR: Made For U, SM Megamall – 4

The lead time for ref magnets was 1 week, and I ordered 11 days before the party. They required me to submit my own design to be printed on the magnet which was just okay. However, they were not flexible in editing the image size and making enhancements in case it wouldn’t come out nicely with the finished product. Considering that the image I gave was of good quality, I almost made a refund because the samples displayed in their store were far better than what I got! That was 3 days before the party which was not enough time to re-order somewhere else. They tried making adjustments, and I have to go back again and pick up the product just 1 day before the party, it was almost 5pm then. The finished product was a little bit better than the previous, however, only 40% is acceptable, and 60% for me is reject! The color even changed tremendously, making the purple background turned royal blue and as if my daughter's face highlighted by flashlight beam! The answer I got from them was that “Maybe you were not oriented, we really cannot do everything perfect for the magnets.” What an explanation?! Having no choice, I decided not to make big fuss over it. The souvenir was well received by our guests. But I promised to myself not to avail their services anymore. To Made For U management, the item may not be expensive, but you must be able to commit on the quality. You should live up with the expectation particularly with what you show on display. Here's the proof for you to spot the difference:

The 2 magnets at the bottom were the finished products and this shows how inconsistent they can be with their magnets.

PARTY MAGICIAN/HOST: Marvin of PJ's Party World – 10

Everything good! This magician is bubbly, full of fun, encouraging, colorful, speaks fluently and gives a different zest of what magician/hosts should be. He also did balloon twisting for the kids and they look cute! Here is their contact information: Marvin/Jacque (02) 455-8091 / 09714508802 / 09177540943. For more information on their services, you can visit their website here.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Gani & Mike – 10

My husband and Mike (his friend) brought their DSLR cameras. The pictures they took are very good and fit for the kiddie party. Thank you so much to both for saving the moment into the photos they have taken! Those memories will surely last. And best of all it’s free!

That ends my long post. Thanks for reading. Till the next memorable event of our lives! :-)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Reese's 1st Birthday Pictures

Just to share photos of my daughter's 1st birthday party. Watch out for more details. :-)

Click to play Gillian Reese 1st Bday!
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Party Souvenir

It was only 2 weeks left before Reese’s 1st birthday party when I almost made up my mind of not getting a souvenir for adult guests. As far as I know, that can be optional for kiddie parties. Or maybe that was a normal excuse since I cannot think of any that can be useful and could serve as a remembrance as well. But unexpectedly, on my way to the photo lab, I came across a store that specializes on personalized stuff in Megamall and found a nice and affordable personalized ref magnet. You just have to provide them your design and they will print it on the magnet. Using Smilebox, I created 3 designs and ended up with this one.

Good thing I saw this item early coz the lead time is 1 week. Now I accomplished one more objective. Thank God for answered prayers…

Photo Invite

It was a challenge finding Dora images that I could use for creating Reese’s 1st birthday photo invitation. I am not even good at using Adobe Photoshop yet, so I ended up creating the invitation using plain MS PowerPoint.

I searched for Dora images on the web and found a few images that I could use. I saved the images as TIFF coz I’ve learned from Photography 101 that it has better quality than JPEG. Then, I layout the text using Dora inspired colors, added my daughter’s picture and included borders to make it look “a little bit” like a pro. The first 2 different designs I created didn’t come out nicely on actual prints. Then I thought of searching for 800 x 600 (fit for 4R) images of Dora and found a nice desktop background image with Dora and Boots on it. This one I really like coz it made my life easy without having to deal with image cropping. After few printing tryouts with different photo labs and color modification, at last I made it.

Personalized photo invitation usually costs 35php with minimum of 20 pcs. With this one, I only spent 7php per piece. My efforts paid off! Cheers to everyone who keeps on trying!