Thursday, October 23, 2014

OCTOBER 23, 2014

October 23 this year turned out to be a big day for us.  Pao calls today D-Day for 2 reasons:

#1 - Laz's Test Results

The test results for 1st Grade came out today!  Online, I might add (parang bar exam lang!).  And Laz passed the grade school entrance exam!!!  We found out around 6:30 am.  To say that we were overjoyed is an understatement.   As they say, Ateneo is more than just a school. Teehee.  It's going to be such a long journey for Laz, and a fantastic one for sure, and we are so happy for him.   

 Laz, at 8 months old, attending the Ateneo Sesquicentennial (150 years!) with my mother, who was VP for Academic Affairs for the college at the time.
That's Sabina holding Laz by the way, his first yaya.

If Laz makes it all the way until the university, he's going to be true blue, just like his lolo, my dad.  (My brother would've been true blue too but we went to Belgium for grade school.  Pao on the other hand, together with his whole barkada whom we all call my kids' godfathers eek, got kicked out of the high school for beating up someone.  Feeling gansta kasi!).

#2 - My Test Results

Last Tuesday I had a bunch of tests done - blood, urinalysis, chest x-rays, thyroid.  The works.  My weight loss has become alarming.  I quit dieting last June but my weight continued to dip.  I was always tired and sleepy.  And I would shake like crazy.  Heat intolerance, palpitations.   I used to attribute the shaking to the weight loss, but we finally got worried.   My father in law this morning checked my test results (Jeff picked them up yesterday).  He's an endocrinologist. 

Turns out I have hyper thyroid.  Basically, according to Dad, it means all your internal systems are in overdrive.  Literally hyper.  Ergo hyper metabolism which explains the crazy weight loss.  I have to take medications, get an ultrasound for my neck to check if there's a tumor or nodule or whatever.  yes, Dad found a bump on my neck.  Pao and I never noticed it before but true enough, there it was.  I have to get it treated of course, because hyper thyroidism (?) can lead to all sorts of complications, apparently.  And once you have it, you have it for life.  Just like psoriasis.  Mannnnn.  

So this day was half and half.  Good and bad news.  Though like Pao points out, thank goodness it's just hyper thyroid, and not anything untreatable or the big c or anything.  So I guess overall we're thankful for this day.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


*Visit Days 1, 3 and 4 of Laz's first trip to Singapore.

Day 2 in Singapore - 26 March 2013
How we started Day 2
Good morning, Singapore!  The main agenda for our 2nd day here is to bring Laz, the dinosaur nut, to Jurassic Park.  Laz watches at least one Jurassic Park movie each day.  He can say all those complicated dinosaur names.  I think all little boys go through a dinosaur phase.  Jurassic Park is definitely the highlight of Laz's trip to SG.  After a buffet breakfast in Holiday Inn, we walked to the Somerset Station again and took the train to Vivo City, then another train to Sentosa.  Same route as yesterday!
Laz really enjoyed riding trains in SG.  Here he insisted on standing by himself
We're here!  Quick family photo.  We are tourists and must act like tourists!
This is New York Avenue in Universal Studios.  Our excitement for Laz kept growing with every step! (You actually pass Hollywood Avenue first, but more on that later)
The other end of New York Avenue (there's my mom behind us!); and the Sesame Street store to the right 
Sights and sounds of Universal Studios in New York Avenue!
We especially liked the fake Oscars for sale, the Sesame Street food booth, and the quartet singing by the diner!
We passed the Transformers 4D theater, saw the roller coasters in Sci-Fi City, and made our way through Ancient Egypt where Revenge of the Mummy is.
I enjoy amusement parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios mainly because of one thing -  all the silly souvenirs and merchandise you can buy in gift stores and food carts. 
This way to The Lost World!
 Our main destination for today.
Look at Laz, with Lola, Lolo and Dada, looking awed.  
He actually spent the first few minutes there quiet and with his mouth gaping open hahaha.
Rapids Adventure ride and the pterodactyl Canopy Flyer inside the Jurassic Park complex
Laz wanted to ride the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure.  Thank goodness the line wasn't crazy long..
With the rain protection gear (i.e. ang plastik!)
All set!
That's what we're riding!
Our turn!  Laz still looking a bit stunned, hehe.  Amanda joined us for this ride. 
Our pod!  (Or whatever they call it).
I don't have any pictures because we weren't allowed to bring our cameras.  
It was a wet and bumpy ride.  We passed huge animatronics dinosaurs left and right.
Plus there was that part where our pod was pushed up, on a sort of lift, and there was a big t-rex right on top of us, then we came crashing down.  That ride was so awesome.
You can't exit the ride without passing by the souvenir store.
I kind of went crazy in the Dino-Store.  I bought Laz a tee, a towel, a dinosaur figure, a dinosaur pen, stickers, a ref magnet!  Ack!  Pao had to pull me away. 
When you step out of the Dino-Store, you'll find these drying pods!
Then it was time for lunch.  We ordered our meals at this small restaurant right by the entrance of Jurassic Park.  Well, it was a counter where you can order food and you eat at these outdoor tables, so calling it a restaurant may be a bit of a stretch!
Um yeah, we paid a little extra for the triceratops tumbler and the Woody Woodpecker lunchbox.  JUST TAKE MY MONEY ALREADY!!!
Laz ordered dinosaur nuggets.  (Hello, Amanda, Tons and Popsy!)
Laz liked his lunch, thank goodness.  (He struggled to find food in SG, my picky eater).
More of the The Lost World complex .
The photo bottom left is inside the Discovery Food Court where you can eat (or cool down.  Thank goodness, the AC was going full blast).
Laz and the dinosaurs.
Inside (and right outside) the Jurassic Park area.
After lunch we wandered around a bit and took photos of inside Jurassic Park.
 That's the "hydroelectric plant" were we "traveled" through for our Rapids Adventure ride.
Notice that clip-on thing hanging from Laz's shorts?  That's our Para'Kito.   I never travel (somewhere hot) without a Para'Kito.
So fun (and wet).
Clearly, this was our favorite area in Universal Studios, and we stayed here longest
Dada engot

Finally we left Jurassic Park and set out to explore the rest of the park.
Somewhere Far Far Away
Shrek's place is pretty awesome
We tried our best to explore everything despite the heat.
(We didn't last long though, that Kingdom was hooooot).
Laz was non-stop with the iced tea (you can refill the tumblers you buy in Universal Studios, for a discounted rate).  I should have stopped him - he gets acidic when he drinks too much iced tea.  Normally we don't allow him to drink iced tea and soda at home.  But more about that in my next SG entry.

This is Shrek's toilet.  (Hello, Amanda!)
Top row: The Far Far Away castle from a distance; we spotted the Madagascar ride!
Bottom row: got out of the sun and rested for a bit in this Madagascar shed; Pao dousing Papa

We had to take a break after Far Far Away.  It was incredibly hot.  Pao bought this little fan:
He was pretty deadly with it.  Kept spraying everybody! Har.
My parents and Amanda took Laz to ride the Madagascar attraction.
See the ship behind those trees?
Pao and I rested in a cafe across and waited for them.

Next up: Transformers 4-D.
We lined up with Papa.  Laz was so looking forward to this.
But unfortunately, while lining up, they announced that the ride had to undergo maintenance.
We passed by this awesome lake area (with more rides) as we walked back from Transformers to New York Avenue.

We spotted the Sesame Street characters doing a song and dance number.  
What luck!  We hung around to watch.

Laz was tired but engrossed!
Since we saw the Sesame Street guys, Pao and Laz decided to buy a drink in the Sesame Street stall.
They didn't like it.

We then tried the Spaghetti Space Chase ride.  It's all Sesame Street.  
You get into this little car and go round Sesame Street and outer space I guess?  It's great for smaller children.

There's Pao and and Laz coming out of the Space Chase ride.
We didn't go inside The Brown Derby, a gift shop, but isn't it cute? 
There's another gift shop right after the Spaghetti Run too.

"Can you tell me how to get, how to get to..."

We met up with my parents again after the Sesame Street ride at another little eating area.  My folks took Laz and pushed Pao and I to try the Steven Spielberg attraction -"Lights Camera Action" - which they just visited in New York Avenue.  So off we went.

I'm glad my parents suggested this.  The Lights Camera Action is all about special effects in movies.
You go inside this huge chamber, with bleachers, and you watch a hurricane, an earthquake, a fire, and everything unfold before (and beneath) you.  So much fun.

On our way out of Universal Studios, we spotted Po in Hollywood Avenue.  I LOVE Po.

Photo grabbed from my sister!
Laz tearing into his Garrett Popcorn.  (And yep, we also got a Po tumbler.  Eek).
Top row:  our view from where we stopped for drinks again; inside the Spaghetti Case Race; Sesame Street gift shop I was talking about
2nd row: candy stores everywhere; break again (init again); Kung Fu Panda merchandise
Bottom row: bag full of goodies, yikes; Lola attending to Laz while we waited for the train out of Sentosa; Laz in the train back to Vivo City 

We left Sentosa in the late afternoon, and had a snack at a Coffee Bean in Vivo City.

I was starving; a long tunnel we passed in one of the train stations.  (Plenty of transfers since we were heading to Marina Bay).
And dahil Pilipino kami, nag picture taking rin kami sa tunnel!

I love that there's this canal running through the (underground) train station.
Here we are in Marina Bay!  The hotel from a distance.  To stay in Marina Bay Sands Hotel is definitely on my bucket list.
The last time we visited Singapore, Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay weren't around.
I have to say, even though I do not have pictures, that this is my favorite part of SG right now, and my favorite bit about our trip.  The Gardens by the Bay is beautiful and there's just so much to do.

The photos below are both from my sister Amanda:
The Flower Dome
The Cloud Forest
Actually, we didn't get to explore the rest of Marina Bay - we stayed in Gardens by the Bay the whole time. We explored the outdoor grounds then we visited the Flower Dome.  It's a huge indoor botanical garden.  The plants and flowers were gorgeous.  My favorite place though is the Cloud Forest.  There's a structure in there winds up, and you can climb (well, there's a lift) all the way to the top.  With these long walkways that seem like they're floating, and you can cross and see the rest of the "forest" below.  It was cold and misty in there too (cloudy).  It was so great, and such a wonderful experience for Laz.  We had dinner at Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant before calling it a day. 

I'm going to grab some of my dad's pictures and write separately about Gardens by the Bay, the Flower Dome, Cloud Forest and dinner.