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Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Domestication of Mrs. TSA

My Good Housekeeping mags, now missing all the recipe sections

One of the stuff that I swore I'd never do: Cut up recipes and make scrapbooks. 

This is me, eating my words. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Deliriously Happy With An Amazing Discount!

I am a fan of sturdy stylish shoes for kids. But I know that quality also spells expense. I live on a budget and I can't just go out and buy stuff without checking what's left on the allocated funds for the family needs. This means that I have to wait for the perfect time when I have the money to spend for things that I really love (especially for Zeff). Delayed gratification, that is something I am quite good at.

Never mind that my own pair of shoes needs a replacement so badly but when it comes to my adorable baby boy, I splurge big time. 

I am as much a Mothercare mom as I am a Chicco mother. Yes, I am a self-proclaimed Chicco/Mothercare endorser. Haha Most of Zeff's clothing are from Mothercare and his "baby things" (e.g. feeding bottles, toothbrush, toys) are from Chicco. He started walking and strutting with his Chicco shoes. I know he loves them because he never complained about them and I can see from the way he walks that they're really comfortable.

These are the brands that I completely trust. In terms of quality and durability, you can never go wrong with them. There's also this other shoe brand that I really love: Stride Rite. Before becoming a Mom, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between one kiddie shoe and another. (Add the fact that I am not a fan of shoes. I'm more of a 'bag lady' than a 'shoe lady'
). But my adorable baby Zeff happened. :)

I first learned about Stride Rite in a magazine (can't remember if it was Good Housekeeping or Smart Parenting). They also have a store in Megamall which I checked out the moment I learned I was preggers. All I could do then was stare at the wonders of those cute little boy shoes. I spend a good 10 minutes every time I visit but I also walk out of the store empty-handed, every time. I do the same thing in a Florsheim store. Haha

Spending on a shoe (that my baby will probably outgrow faster than he could say 'Mommy') for Php 2,000 just isn't my cup of tea. And so I fantasize about them. These Stride Rite shoes (along with Florsheim) just stay on my non-priority "to-buy list" and will probably stay there until my son's a little older.

But God really answers our desires in the most unexpected way. My colleague and I decided to go to Eastwood Mall after lunch last Thursday afternoon. I told her I wanted to check out the Kate Spade bag I have been eyeing. From Php20,000, it is now down to Php15,000. I thought to myself, "Okay, I will have to keep returning until it becomes Php2,000. Hahaha Until then, I'll have to be happy with my ever reliable CMG bag. But that's another story.

On the other side of 158 Designers' Blvd shop, though, I saw in one of the shelves that one thing I wanted for my baby. Stride Rite shoes for my little boy! Size 8 1/2, originally for Php 1,950. Now for only Php682.50! Now this made Zeff's Chicco shoes look 'pricier' (err, more pricey?). 

A whopping 65% discount! I thought I just died and went to kiddie shoe heaven. Hahaha

Okay, and the takeaway from a Thursday afternoon visit to the mall? A very nice pair of kiddie shoes for a very good price and the renewed conviction that it really pays to wait. Waiting patiently may be difficult. But if one waits, better things happen. ;) Methinks delayed gratification just got cooler!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

On Running and Living Longer (and Fuller)

I want my 27-year old body back! Hahaha Okay, I am not talking about that younger version of myself with a decent waist and thinner arms. I am talking about the energy I had (when I was in my 20s), with which I could do all sorts of physical activities.

Sure, there's still this part of me that longs for that flatter tummy but what I am actually and sincerely concerned about is the fact that I get tired very easily these days. I run out of breath when walking up the stairs to our apartment and I give up pretty easily when running after my 14-month old baby.  That's why I want my younger body back. I want to catch up with my son. I want to be able to do anything! (Akala mo pushing 50 na kung magsalita. Haha) I just want to be physically active and to feel more alive!

There are hundreds of things I want to do. I want to be more present (read: more involved/active) in our online business. I want to be able to write and be creative. I want to finish my M.A. I want to be able to play with my baby for as long as he wants. I want to be able to clean the house myself. (The nanny doesn't do a very good job with "deep cleaning" so I want to do the cleaning myself on weekends. That is if I still have energy left!)

But of all these physical activities, I want to be able to run more often ( to run weekly, if my schedule permits). It's nice to know my baby is growing more active each day. It makes me happy because I can now take him running on weekends. Zeff needs his sunshine and Mommy needs the exercise. ;)

This is me in 2010.
I lived near UP Diliman all of my college years and most of my adult (working) years, which allowed me to run anytime. The Acad Oval is the perfect place not just for running but for those moments when I badly needed some form of catharsis. Running makes me feel good. It's one of the simple but amazing things I have discovered in my quest for a work-life balance.

Running doesn't disappoint. Whether it's a single-round jog around the Acad Oval or a 10K marathon, running always leaves me feeling lighter, healthier and happier. If I'm too swamped and too tired from work, there's nothing that a good run can't cure. Running also brings friends closer together and it surely helps in making new ones. 

And lucky for me, running brought me closer to this one person who makes me feel young. :)

Globe Run for Home 2010/2011

Monday, June 24, 2013

Writing about Writing

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According to my good friend, Neil Gaiman, (chos!), "the most important thing to do to become a (good) writer is to just write, as much as possible". That inspired me to write this post even if I am tempted to just go blog hopping, read Books24x7's new collection and just go on a pinning spree. Neil's words were powerful enough to get me to write another post. 

I wouldn't really call myself a writer. Everything I have written here has been a result of this deep need to document my child's development and milestones and also to write a little bit about my interests and my own take on life's latest trends and transitions. ;)

It is also a means to improve on writing. Graduate school can be very tough and teachers are often ruthless in giving their feedback. It is no joke. I have classmates who are taking their PhDs and sometimes I even find myself in the same class as my professor (who is taking some additional subjects for her PhD). It could be very daunting. One moment I am listening to her lecture and the next, I am sitting right next to her in another class. If I am called or if I participate in class discussions, I feel like an idiot. My self-esteem just hit rock bottom whenever I'm in the company of "real, licensed teachers". I feel like my ideas aren't good enough. But this didn't stop me from raising my hand. I still think I have something to bring to the table. And s
o I work harder and make up for it on writing assignments, projects and papers. That's one of the reasons I blog.  

Blogging is an exercise in flexing my writing muscles. I don't feel confident at all about my writing, no siree. I know I am very much limited. And even with that knowledge, I still don't edit myself when I post here. Everything that has been written in this blog has been posted without much thought. Sometimes the editing comes at a much later time, after I have gone back to what I have posted. I frequently find flaws in my writing and in my logic and how I put ideas together. More often than not, I don't have time to edit myself so I just leave it alone. 

It is true, the only way to improve is to keep on writing. I'm going to take Neil's word as my new mantra. It doesn't matter if I make mistakes, I do achieve more clarity whenever I have had practice. And by practice, I mean, I have written a considerably long blog post (both published and unpublished) with as few errors as possible. I think I've said enough. LOL. Here's to more meaningful writing! :) 

Good night!
Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Kal-el, Kitakits! *Wink Wink*

GIF Source

That's what my husband tells me whenever I swoon at the sight of Edward Norton.

Hahaha I laugh every time. I don't care. I thought he'd be supportive since I share his admiration for beautiful women like Angelina Jolie, Anne Curtis and Bianca King. Especially Bianca King. I call him malandi just to make it even. LOL

If he knew I'm pining over this guy? Well, I'm sure I'll get the same reaction. Call me whatever you want, Baba. As soon as the lines at the cinemas die down, I'm going to see Henry in his cape. Yes, Henry, you, adorable you. ;)

*Please know that we make fun of each other and the use of that word was done in the spirit of pure fun and teasing between happily mental couples. Why am I explaining? Because we do not have that word in our dialect. The meaning may be misconstrued.  

Home Alone (The Mommy Version)

This photo is kind of symbolic for me and tugged at my heart because he seemed to be walking away from me. It truly is the beginning of his 'independence'.

My baby isn't with me right now. He's with my family at my hometown and I miss him so much! 

I browsed through all his pictures last night and I didn't stop until I fell asleep. Tonight, I will be doing the same thing until I doze off again. I call my son every day or my sister calls me. I still read to him over hte phone but it's not the same. It felt like a huge part of me is missing. And we've only been apart for three days! I know. I'm THE drama queen mother. Haha Now that's separation anxiety kicking in...

In times like this, I rejoice in the fact that my baby still needs me. I cherish his love for me. I feel the greatest joy when he leans on me, kisses me on the cheeks, embraces me and seeks my chest especially when it's time to sleep. I am also deliriously happy whenever I come home and I see his smiling face. I know he eagerly waits for his Mommy to come home. That baby really has so much love in his heart and so much happiness, it's contagious! He's very easy to love.

He throws tantrums, yes, especially when he's curious about something and I take things away from him or I keep him away from unsafe environments (one example would be the electrical wires and outlets). He would insist on what he wants and will cry just to get it. He's one stubborn bundle of joy. But he is also the sweetest. He can hug you tight and pat your back (yes, he does that) as if to say 'Mom, everything will be alright. Just give me what I want'. haha Just thinking about him brings tears to my eyes. I love being his Mommy. It's the best feeling in the world!

I observe my baby closely because I didn't want to miss anything. After work, it doesn't matter if I haven't changed into comfortable clothes and I am still holding my bag, I scoop him in my arms right away. Eight to nine hours of being away from him is 'torture' already. I always want to make up for the hours I am not by his side.

In return, he constantly follows me wherever I go. Fair trade, if you ask me. It doesn't matter if I am going to the bathroom, or if I'm washing the dishes. He would follow me around. Nakaka-amaze lang na there's this one person who means the world to me and I probably mean the world to him. No, not probably. I know I AM the world to him. My sweet baby makes me feel that way, even without words, even if it's all just mere incomprehensible babbling, [at least for now].

He would run to me when he feels uncomfortable or he wants something so badly and his yaya keeps him away from it. I could go on and on and on about how much of a blessing my baby is to me. I guess all moms are like that. They can talk about their babies to anyone who would care to listen, and still not run out of wonderful things to say. 

I am thankful for days like this when he's away from me. Not because I get a little rest and I can catch up on my reading. But because I get to appreciate him more. Time spent away from also made me realize not to take the little things for granted and to cherish every moment with him. Babies grow so quickly and I want to be able to say that even if he's all grown up, I was able to hug him enough and kiss him often

Monday, June 17, 2013

Daddy's Day

To my best friend and the father of my son, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY! 

Zeff and I love you soooo much, Baba!

Thank you for being a good provider, a good and kind-hearted husband, and most especially, a great father to our baby Zeff. You may not always be around but I know Zeff is very lucky to have you as his father. Thank you for the love and laughter. :)

We love you, Dad! Hugs and kisses coming your way... Mwaaaaaaaaaahugsssssssss! :D

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Senti Sunday

If there's Throwback Thursday and there's Throwback Thursday on a Wednesday, there should also be Senti Sunday...

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Quotable Quote

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No one has ever explained or defined financial freedom to me better than the Ready to be Rich guy himself, Fitz Villafuerte.

"Financial freedom means living a few years of your life like most people won’t; so you can live the rest of your life like most people can’t." 

After getting our ROI, I now find myself quoting fellow Filipino businessmen. Haha No harm in dreaming. :)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Babylove, Instagrammed! :)

While getting something for Baby Solenn

Look! It's me! :)

Pang-passport pic. Hehe

Friday, June 7, 2013

Feet Up Friday: Zeff's Weekend Affairs

How can we not love Friday? There are hundreds of reasons to exclaim "Thank God It's Friday!" One of those BIG reasons is that we could spend quality time with our loved ones after a taxing work week. We all know Filipino families are big on spending Saturday/Sunday with elaborate plans and exotic/fun-filled getaways. Mine is not an exception. My little family, that is. That would be me, the baby and the yaya (for the time-being at least, while ze husband is away). 

Photo Source
Call me mushy mom but I always look forward to more time spent with my baby. It's the greatest feeling in the world whenever I see him after work and his face lights up and he gives me the sweetest smile. It's like he's been waiting for me to come home! Just talking and reading to him relieves me of unnecessary stress. He also brings out my creative side (if ever  I have one), he forces me to recall those Montessori concepts taught in my M.A. class and makes me a little more patient with cooking and storytelling and he just cracks me up with the smallest and silliest tricks. In short, he keeps Mommy sane and insane at the same time! He's my all-in-one package of fun, laughter and love; my walking entertainment showcase. Giving him my full attention on weekends makes me happy and I know it makes him happier.

So, what to do and where to go this weekend? We don't go to places outside Metro Manila on weekends because I'm still wary about bringing him to unfamiliar places without my husband. And also because his pedia has managed to scare me with all the possible threats on his young body if I expose him too much to the outside world. I still have this praning feeling even after he's turned one and even after he's finished most of his basic vaccines. So, the mommy in me has to think of ways to spend the weekends with as much fun and variety and also with as little expense as possible.

I have to be creative and find ways to make these two days memorable and fun-filled not only so I can catch up with my baby and build fun memories with him but also to help him stimulate his brain, widen his horizon and keep him interested in other things besides his toys and his books, the cables and the electrical wires at home, the electric fan's blades, Jim Jam and Disney Channel, no less.

Backtrack to when I was single, I used to just 'play weekends' by ear. I used to rely on my good friends and roommates to plan the weekends and I just go along with them, seldom planning things but we always end up having so much fun. There's nothing wrong in not planning your weekend, after all.

But with a toddler, yes, a toddler. [I've read somewhere that a baby who starts walking can now be called a toddler.] Yay! I have a toddler. :)

I digress, yet again. 

Let me continue. With a toddler, I don't think it's  a good idea to not plan what you're going to do or where you're going. He's all by himself and his yaya five days a week. Being in the same place all the time and doing the same thing on weekends, too just won't cut it.

The mall, for example, is perfect for shopping and buying groceries but there's only so much we can do there. Zeff, for one, spent weekends exploring the mall aisles for hours on end while Mommy goes shopping or window shopping. We also frequented arcades (e.g. Time Zone) for some "small ball games" that are available for toddlers his age. We've spent countless hours in bookstores that allowed private reading and friendly bookstores that let babies browse through the baby books. The 'play centers' inside the malls are way too expensive for my taste so that's out of the question. I'd rather keep the money and put it in Zeff's Junior Savings.

While I dwell on these topics and concerns, there is actually a magazine out there that helps mommies and families spend weekends in a more productive, more meaningful way. I check their site out every Friday afternoon for some ideas. Here's what they have in mind for possible activities to do from June 7-9: Smart Parenting's Family Weekender Guide

I am thinking of taking him to Museo Pambata but he's probably too young to be admitted inside so I guess I'll just sit this one out? I'll think of something tomorrow. I have to.

(Note: Most of the activities featured in Smart Parenting require that you shell out money (e.g. sale on every baby store, sale of every imaginable baby products/services for Mommies, exhibits, marathons) but there are also instances where they feature helpful stuff that are free and pocket-friendly. :) Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Lookup Shots and Throwback Thursday on a Wednesday

Even before lookup became a hit in social networking, we have actually done a few shots back in 2008. Hahaha

Boracay '08

With college friends/business partners :)

And for #throwbackthursday on a Wednesday...

UPTown Girls

Subic '04

Monday, June 3, 2013

Spotted: Little Boy at the Mall

I just had to break my Facebook Fast and send this over to Baba's FB page. It is soooo adorable. My baby boy's cruisin' the mall! And he doesn't want his hand held. :)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Tintin 2.0 | New Thing #3: Go on a Facebook Fast

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They say that it takes 21 days to form or break a habit. Why 21 and not 22? Or 30 perhaps? The number 21 came from clinical observations mentioned in a classic self-help book called Psycho Cybernetics. It is said that 21 is the average number of days people recover from surgeries and it also takes approximately 21 days for most people to acclimate in new surroundings. Well, I haven't read the book but I got a chance to put this theory to test.

I thought of breaking one habit. This habit is something that usually eats up my time or sometimes takes me away from more meaningful tasks. As I have often complained, I need more time in my life because these days I find that 24 hours isn't enough to do all the things I needed to do. And then I thought of Facebook. Aha! I have got to stop using Facebook. I just found a way to channel my inner hermitic personality! Haha 

I didn't think three weeks was enough. Instead, I allowed myself 30 days to stop logging on to Facebook and stop browsing mindlessly and to just quit posting status updates cold turkey.

The rules are as follows: (1) Do not log in on Facebook for 30 days. (2) Do not be tempted to browse for news feeds whenever Facebook notifications are sent through email. 

Two very simple rules. If I can conquer the first one then #2 shouldn't be a problem.

The truth is, I could have just cancelled my account altogether, it would have been easy. But there were thousands of pictures (especially my baby's) uploaded in my account that I just couldn't let go. And so the habit-breaking journey began. 

(Non-Facebook) STATUS UPDATE

It's been three weeks since I last updated my Facebook status. I was tempted once to log in to reply to a message left by a good friend. Yes, I broke my own rule. My Twitter, Foursquare, Pinterest and Goodreads account were all linked to my Facebook account so any update made on these sites will automatically show on my Facebook. But that wasn't counted. The challenge was to keep myself from sharing and over-sharing on Facebook and I am still on the right track. I would have called this attempt a failure but one mistake didn't stop me from continuing with this challenge. I told myself I could still do this. I had a few more days left. One mistake isn't that bad. The realization that I have better use of my time whenever I am not on Facebook was just too strong to ignore.

The amount of time that I was able to 'save' and spent on more meaningful tasks made me feel better. I found time to read academic books and catch up on SPED reading materials. I was also able to spend more time with my son. I am more present in the kitchen, giving directions to my baby's yaya on what meals to prepare. I also had more time to pay attention to what's happening in my life offline.  

I didn't feel left out. The 30-day Facebook Fast started first week of May which means I wasn't able to post my musings on my 30th birthday. My birthday greetings/messages were left unanswered/'un-commented' and unacknowledged. Talk about poor Facebook etiquette. Of course, in the world of social networking, this was rude and downright ungrateful but I had to stick to my decision. I had to stop myself from typing the Facebook URL on my browser. The email notifications flooded my Gmail inbox, too. I ignored them. I felt that I wasn't missing out on anything anyway. 

Sure, Facebook keeps me connected to other people, to my elementary and high school friends, to relatives, and college friends that I seldom see. And especially to my family who wants to be updated with my son's latest 'achievements' and milestones. I also get to show off my son's tricks and document his milestones. But the benefits of staying out of Facebook far outweigh the good things that come from being connected to some online friends, most of whom I haven't seen in years.

Even as a child, I wasn't much of a social person. I am used to doing things on my own. All throughout my teenage years up to college and working years, my relationships have followed a certain pattern. I keep a very small circle of friends. The numbers do not exceed five or six. Any more than that and I start looking for other sets of friends or I keep to myself. So, Facebook isn't really my thing in the first place. It's the novelty that attracted me when I first signed up for the service.    

My 30-day Facebook fast ends in two weeks. I can't say I am looking forward to going back to the same old habit. I am enjoying this life I have offline too much to think about returning. Who knows, if I keep this up, I might even drop Facebook for good. :)