Monday, December 30, 2013

2013: Our Year of Grace

More than once have I said that 2013 has been a difficult year for me and my family. Those closest to us surely have an idea of our drawbacks, but I think it is fair to say that it is only Julz and I who know the depths of it all. It was tough!

Still, as I look back at the year that was, I can't help but be in awe of the truly amazing grace our God has shown us. Our milestones in 2013 were as extraordinary as our wedding (2009), Jaden's birth (2010), career-family balance and breastfeeding success (2011), travels (2012)... except that this year, our miracles came in a quieter, less obvious fashion. 

In 2013, we didn't have the triumphs that the world celebrates. Instead, my family and I won victories that honor our love for each other and God's faithfulness to us.

Here are our Top 5 blessings of 2013:

5. Bible Study with friends. In the latter part of this year, Julz and I, together with our friends began meeting once a week just to talk about the Bible and pray as one group. I can say this has opened our home to a lot more blessings! I feel this made us stronger as a couple and closer to the One who wove our love story :)
Our barkada/Bible study group

4. Provision. We had unusually huge expenses this year, but we always had more than enough. Thank You, Lord!

3. Healing. We battled illnesses this year, from the simple virus to scarier conditions, but God's power of healing always saw us through.

2. Protection. I don't mean this in a general way. There were specific instances this year that my family came a little too close to danger, and I can only offer my profound gratitude to God for keeping us alive and well. Now I know what "thankful for another day" truly means!

1. Sophia's birth. As a mom, I am convinced that nothing can top the blessing of new life :) Her coming couldn't be any more perfect because with her, she brought in wisdom and strength, the very meaning of her two names.

Thank You, Father, for a very meaningful 2013.
HAPPY NEW YEAR from our family to yours!!!

Post-Script:
I was reminded of my 2013 Faith Goal after publishing this post. I'd like to include my insights here, as part of how I reviewed the past year.

I had declared 2013 to be a year to focus on life's essentials. That is, building relationships within my family and taking care of my health and body. It was also a year of putting together our house.

I expected it to be an "easy" year, with no huge goals--just simple essentials.

But God different plans. I was right about the need to focus on essentials, but boy did I underestimate just how important these essentials are! To strengthen them, we had to go through fire.

In the end, I can say that our family achieved our 2013 Faith Goal. I believe we are a stronger couple now, and my sense of family and security has never been this solid. I truly know what matters now.

The house is still a work in progress, but even that was made a teachable moment. I learned that a home is infinitely more important than a house :)

Again, thank You Jesus for a meaningful year!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, Jesus!


and a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone!!!

Much love from the Teapots :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thoughtful

This deserves a post all its own because it is the best thing I heard today :)

This story was told to me by Jaden's nanny.

She said that while Jaden was waiting for our office Christmas dinner (which MisterTeapot and I hosted) to end, he had been playing with his Lego blocks in his room. While building stuff, he kept on asking the yaya, "Are the visitors still there?" He could hardly wait.

Then he proceeded to make big cubes or "houses". (Will post photos tomorrow)

As soon as he finished, Jaden proudly exclaimed, "Ta-da! I will show this to Mommy!"

Aww cute diba!! :) :)

But what really got me was this line:

"Magugustuhan niya to!!!"

How sweet of my boy to think of what Mommy will like :)

Christmas Shopping at Taste Central

Yet again, I started late in my Christmas shopping this year. HOWEVER, unlike all the past seasons where my legs and feet hurt, and I struggled with dozens of boxes and plastic bags, I am so pleased now because I literally broke no sweat at all!

THANK YOU, ONLINE SHOPPING!!!

I especially want to give big, fat hugs to TasteCentral.com because this is where I bought about 80% of my gifts this year. And if you know how well-curated Taste Central is (they really got taste over there!), you'd be excited too ;) (No, this is not a sponsored ad)

Anyway, as I was browsing for gifts for my loved ones, I can't help but come across stuff that I myself swooned over. It took all of my self-control not to click "Add to Cart" and re-focus myself on the task at hand (sabay chant "It is better to give than to receive!" Hehehe).

Some of those things that I mentally added to my wish list was from RMK, a Japanese skin/makeup line that I've heard of since almost 3 years ago from a top makeup artist here in Manila. I was impressed that Taste Central carried several RMK items!
Halos mangiyak-ngiyak ako when I proceeded to checkout without these items! Pero ganon talaga. Woman for others. Naks. Hahahaha. #mapagpanggap

Kidding aside, nasa isip ko pa rin tong mga RMK na 'to hanggang ngayon. I will not buy everything, obviously, but maybe I can save up for one? That is, IF someone can vouch this brand to me. So far, all I've gotten from Google is that it's a top Japanese brand, blah-blah. I'd like to hear from the real girls, y'know.

Maganda kaya talaga? I'll wait and see! :)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Anniv With My Ex-BF

Happy BF-GF Anniversary to my ex-boyfriend, Mister Teapot!!! Alam kong sobrang saya mo na sinagot kita ng matamis kong oo dahil hanggang ngayon, thank you ka pa rin ng thank you sakin!

Kaya naman... you're super welcome, Aims!!! :))
Pre-Mr. & Mrs. in Sydney, Australia (2009)
I just realized that since getting married, Julz and I don't really celebrate our December 17 anniversary anymore. I guess we both felt that marriage being more serious/significant/enduring, we shifted to celebrating only our wedding anniversary. Besides, the two annivs being a mere 2.5 weeks apart, 'di pa kami ganon ka-atat mag-celebrate ulit. Haha.

But now I'm having a change of heart. I want to celebrate our "informal" beginning, too... the commitment we made to each other, sans fanfare, legalities, and what-have-you's. After all, that's where it all started.

So to my dear handsome husband, you know what this means! Date tonight with gift-giving! Hahaha!
Hmm... I should grow my hair long again #SuperOffTopic
I luuuurrrvveeeee you, Boy JackPOT!



PS: To those who aren't familiar with our story, you can read it right here! Feel free to browse through the prequel and sequel too, okay? :)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Weekend Sniffles (and my Christmas wish this year)

Happy Monday, everyone! Did you enjoy your weekend? Or were you stuck in traffic/malls/endless Christmas parties? ;)

I had a loooong weekend. Not the good holiday-kind, mind you. I was quarantined at home because I fell ill! Just when I thought I would go through 2013 without getting sick... this! Wahh! The worst part is, even my little girl Sophia caught the bug as well! :(

Naturally, I was super worried at the onset of her cough. It took me back to her hospitalization just over a month ago. Oh my. I dread the memory of it, and especially the thought of it happening again! 

But I couldn't get stuck in dread, right? So I did what I could. I took her to the doctor the very afternoon her cough began (took no chances!). Sophia was prescribed medicines that would treat the symptoms of the virus. The meds were also meant to prevent asthma and bronchulitis, which were the main culprits of her hospital admission before.
Sophia waiting for her turn at the Doctor's Office. Still happy despite her cough. This is, by the way, her pa-demure smile :))
More importantly, I prayed and prayed and prayed! While I can give my children the best treatment for their ailments, ultimately, it is God's healing power that will make them well.

Thank God, both Sophia and I are better now. We're at the tail-end of the virus and it looks like it'll go away soon. Crossing my fingers our recovery will be swift!

I pray that after this bout of infection that hit everyone in our fam (Julz and Jaden caught it last week), we will all have a respite and just enjoy good health for the (many) months to come. That's my wish for Christmas.

I pray that all of you will be blessed with strong bodies, too!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Brunch at Antonio's

It was a lovely December Sunday when Julz and I, together with our friends The Pats and the Catilos, drove all the way to Tagaytay to have a fancier-than-usual celebration of love and thanksgiving in the famed Antonio's :)

Every time I go here, I convince myself all the more that Antonio's is my favorite restaurant in the whole country! Wonderful place, awesome food, and uber relaxing ambiance. Who wouldn't fall for that?

Check out our group giddiness from the snapshots taken from my trusty point-and-shoot!
It had been a tough year, but having friends like Patty and Pat, and Sheila and Jorem really help make our burdens bearable. For the past few months, we have been praying and studying the Bible as a group. It definitely has made our bonds a lot stronger and our faith a lot more powerful :)

Our little celebration in Antonio's is probably the best icing on the cake for us! Looking forward to a happier, more awesome 2014 :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

10 Reasons for NOT Getting a Dog


  1. A nice dog costs a lot.
  2. A nice dog that costs a lot will need stuff: food, collar, chain (or whatever you call it), shampoo, dog house, and last but not least, space in my garden where we will put its house. As if it can pay me rent!
  3. It poops. Eeew.
  4. Mabaho. Eeeew eeeew eeeew.
  5. It barks = Maingay.
  6. Mabalahibo = Potential threat to asthmatic, allergen-sensitive people like me and my son.
  7. It can bite and destroy my slippers and stuff. Grr.
  8. It can bite me and the kids = Potential threat to life!!!
  9. I will get very, very stressed and sad when it is hurt, or worse, when it dies = Emotional stress!
  10. I AM DEATHLY AFRAID OF DOGS.
Aaaaaaand yeeeeeet...
Sorry, hindi ko siya mapaharap sa camera. Actually, hindi na ako makagalaw sa takot jan. Hahaha.

Everyone, meet our dog, Disney!!! (Can you guess who named her? Haha). I was told she's of the German Shepherd breed and is a real beauty. As of now, I cannot attest to that yet because all dogs look the same to me: SCARY. Mwahaha.

It was our first morning with her yesterday. I made it a point to introduce myself and make my smell familiar to her para NEVER niya ako kagatin!!! Disney, ako ang amo mo!!! Let's be pals.

#stress




Monday, December 09, 2013

Hmph


This is Jaden and his new "pose" when he's upset, complete with the nguso and "Hmph!". 

Apparently, he got it from the cartoons he watches on Disney Junior. Since cartoons sila, they couldn't actually cross their arms, so their illustrators draw it exactly like this--parang nakayakap sa sarili. Hehehe.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Project Mom... of Two!

I dropped by the launch of the newest mommy bible on the block, Project Mom, written by fabulous mothers Amanda Griffin-Jacob and Bianca Araneta-Elizalde. I went with my friends Patty and Sheila :)
My photo with Amanda... fan na fan ang dating ko. Hahaha. The other photo is of me & my mommy BFF Sheila signing autographs. JOKE. We writing our names for the raffle! Hehe.
Patty, Sheila, and I also saw our friend Krissy of Little People Photography :) Photo grabbed from Patty's Instagram page 
Grabe lang ang kagandahan nila Amanda and Bianca! I kept on thinking, how is it possible to still be that gorgeous when you're a mommy to little kids?! I only have 2 and I've got help for both, and yet... Haggardo Versoza pa rin talaga ang peg ko on most days! Ugh. Someone please tell me the secret!!! (Ooohh maybe they wrote it somewhere in the book! hehe.)

I sifted through the book while we were there. I was impressed by the quality both of the content and the aesthetics, including the material used! I honestly believe it's the perfect gift for new moms and moms-to-be.

Actually, it'll be great even for second-time moms like me ;)

You know what (and here's a confession), before I gave birth to my 2nd child, I thought it would be easier since I've been through it just 3 years ago. Boy, was i very WRONG!

Eight months into taking care of 2 kids, I am STILL learning the ropes of it all. And I feel like the most amateur of all amateurs! Seriously. How do the other moms do it?! Nakakabaliw kaya.

For me, bedtime is really the most challenging. How can you put 2 kids to sleep in one room? I truly want to know and learn. Right now, it's just chaos!

You see, Sophia goes to bed so much earlier than Jaden. She's asleep by 8pm, which is good, right? The thing is, as soon as Jaden enters the room, PARTY mode na. Ayun, gising si Sophia.

Even if we tell Jaden it's "Quiet Zone" inside and to be fair, he does try to whisper only, it's inevitable that he will do something to wake his sister. Either matatawa siya ng malakas, or he will go down from the bed with a big thump. It really escapes me how a little person can make so much noise even when trying to be silent! Hehe!

So then I end up carrying Sophia again and nursing/cudding/singing to her until she falls asleep again. This means Jaden is left to wind down on his own (like what happened here) or with his yaya in the other room. Obviously, I don't want that.

Bedtime used to be my special bonding time with my son. That's when we play, sing songs, read books, hug and kiss, pray, watch tv, and fall asleep.

It's so different now, and I terribly miss it :(

"I love you even if you always get Mommy from me." - Sometimes, I think this is how my son feels!
Mommies of 2 (or more)... I need your help here! How can I enjoy bedtime with each of my wonderful kids??

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Gian + Chesa

Last Sunday, my dear friends Chesa and Gian finally tied the knot! I say "finally" because ang tagal kong inantay ang wedding na ito! (Click here to know how excited I was! #atat)

Because I had the great privilege of being their Matron of Honor, I got myself ready early and went to Chesa's hotel suite hours before the actual wedding. There, I saw my cool-as-a-cucumber friend being made up and later photographed. If she was nervous or stressed, it didn't show at all. She was just... chill! Happy lang!
Even sans makeup, Chesa was already glowing that day :)
Speaking of photographs, the famed Catilo Photography covered Gian & Chesa's wedding! I was so happy! Chesa will surely have wonderful photos of her big day... aaaaaaand I got to see my good buddies Sheila and Jorem in action!
O ha! CATILO PHOTOGRAPHY in action! Hehe! Do you see Jorem? :P

Monday, December 02, 2013

Our Secret Garden Anniversary Date

As I have so happily broadcasted in a previous post, Julz and I celebrated our 4th anniversary last Thursday. Incidentally, it was also the day America celebrated Thanksgiving. Serendipitous, huh? After all, despite challenging times this year, my husband and I have much to thank the Lord for... beginning with our marriage and the two wonderful people it produced: Jaden and Sophia.

Anyway, for our anniversary, I thought of giving Julz (and myself) something rare and precious: an unhurried date :)

Isabelo Garden Restaurant was the choice venue. I felt it fit my criteria perfectly: romantic ambiance, good food, and new to both of us. Because I absolutely love the magic of discovering and being in a "secret" place, it was a wonderful bonus that the place is tucked in the heart of Marikina.
The restaurant also serves breakfast/brunch under Rustic Mornings. I can imagine how very pretty this place is in the morning! 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

From Stilettos To Ballet Flats, Version 2.0

It's my fifth post for the week!!! Whooopeeee!!! I hope this means I've gotten my groove back (like the movie, har-har). After that big blogging break (completely unintentional), I've really missed blogging and it feels good and refreshing to be doing it again.

Now, I would like to do something nice for this blog. Originally, I thought of relaunching it with a new name, new design, new stuff.
Reading this now to help me get fresh ideas for a better blog!
But my creative juices failed me. Hehehe. Ang hirap din talaga ng hindi artistic eh!

First, I wanted to come up with a catchier and shorter blog title. From Stilettos To Ballet Flats is kinda long, don't you think? That, and ang hirap daw i-spell ng stilettos! :)) So, I was shooting for something that would more clearly reflect the content of my blog... but that proved futile. I must admit that I'm still in love with my blog title because despite "misguiding" people that it's all about shoes (haha), it still does encapsulate the original idea behind this blog, which is my life as a career woman-turned-mushy mommy!

I also wanted to change my URL. My problem with the current URL is that it's totally unrelated to my title and content! *toink* I've read that ideally, URLs should match the blog title. So again, same problem as above. From Stilettos... is too long for a URL, right? It's not very easy to remember, either.

But let me tell you why I reserved MisisTeapot.com on the web. Simple. It was a combination of my nickname and my husband's. It was the blog name I used when I first ventured into this dynamic and engaging world called blogosphere. And I thought it sounded "domesticated" (really, what can be more domesticated than "Misis"?!). So I carried it until today.

Aaaaand that's how I find myself back to square one.

Help me, dear readers! What would you like to change and improve in this blog? :)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

We're 4 Years Happy!

The happiest day of my life :)
My husband and I are celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary today! Happy happy!

I really hope that by the time this post goes live, I will have that perfect gift to give Julius. He deserves something very nice, especially this year when he's had to put up with a lot of, uhhmm, stuff.

Julz is not a perfect husband. In fact, there are many things about him that annoy me--almost as many as the qualities he finds irritating in me. Hehehe. (For the protection of both of us, I shall not disclose any of these debated issues here. Haha.)

And yet, it is only with Julz that I feel most secure and most loved. I used to think that my husband is a proud and unyielding guy, but all that changes whenever I see him go out of his way to show me he loves me.

I also feel his love pag hindi niya ako pinapatulan sa mga kasungitan ko. Hahaha. (So, Aims, tuloy mo lang yun! Nyahahaha.)
Sana talaga tears of joy yan. Hehehe.
On our wedding, in front of family and friends, I told Julz that I love him "with the truest, purest love that I know."

Nothing has changed, except that in the past 4 years, I have seen how God can mold love into a truer and purer and deeper form each day.

And so the "truest, purest" love that I knew on November 28, 2009 is even truer and purer today.

Happy Anniversary, my bestfriend. I pray that God will continue to bless and strengthen our relationship, that we will be happier each year, and that I will be less and less moody towards you. Hehehe. I love you, Aims!



All photos by the amazing duo behind CATILO PHOTOGRAPHY.
Click here to view more photos of our wedding day.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

OXFAM for the Philippines

A few weeks ago, one of my best friends, Patty, and her husband Pat set off with friends from OXFAM to reach out to families in Daanbantayan, a poor town 4 hours from Cebu, which was severely affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

They came home with this video, shot and edited by the guys of ThirtySix-O Media, which is a glimpse not just of the damage and loss suffered by our countrymen there, but also of their resilience and inspiring faith in God. I humbly ask that you please take time and watch it. (If the video plug-in doesn't work on my blog, just please please click this link!)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Power Run 2013

Caveat: This is a very late post. Nonetheless, I felt compelled to put it up because I worked my butt off for this, and doing it was an achievement  in itself.

I'm talking about my very first 10 Kilometer run! Yes, folks, I DID IT! :)

Though I registered a long time ago for the New Balance Power Run and was well-prepared for it, I initially thought it was another race that I'd have to skip (after the AVON Run. Long story yan, next time na). You see, a few days before that, Sophia was admitted to the hospital. I was supposed to be on my recovery week (something like "rest week"), but my legs took a beating as Sophia insisted to be carried and rocked while standing during the time she was sick. Bawal ako umupo. Waahh.

Fortunately, we were cleared to go home just in time. And when I was reassured that Sophia is recovering remarkably, I decided to go for it. I had trained hard for this and I thought it would be a great way to celebrate our family's good health, particularly Sophia's healing. I ran for her that day.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Happy 8 Months, Sophia!

Yesterday marked my little girl's 8th month-sary! Happiness!
Sophia's garden cake by Swell Sweets
Truth be told, the past month was tough for our sweetheart Sophia. For the first time, she caught a bug that quickly worsened until we brought her to the hospital for admission. It was a heartbreaking time for me and Julz as we watched our daughter suffer so much. But as the Bible says, "Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning." (Psalm 30:5) She is well now and very much in the pink of health! Yay!

Since then, Sophia bounced back as if she herself was excited to get better. Her appetite, eagerness to eat, and curiosity for different kinds of food is just sooo amusing now! She loves papayas, bananas, camote, potatoes with meat, and squash. She is also a big fan of Healthy Times brown rice cereal, which I got from Healthy Options (and which I hope they will have back in stock). In the past few days, I allow her to enjoy tiny portions of the family meal, too--and she is DELIGHTED!!! Nanggigigil sa tuwa! Today, I fed her cooked egg yolk for the first time and she seems to have enjoyed it. So now we can add something to her menu! Wee!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Time to Cry

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Ecclesiastes 3. Allow me to quote it here for easy reference.

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season, 
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Pirate Jaden

Believe it or not, this year is Jaden's first Trick or Treat Costume Party experience! Fun pala! :)

I shied away from these events in the past because honestly, I was a bit iffy about the whole Halloween thing. Actually, I still am, but now I think I am able to draw the line between having good ol' fun and celebrating scary creatures. So, no vampire/ghost/bloodied dead/devil costume for my kids EVER!

Anyway, Jaden came in as a Pirate! I picked up a ready-made outfit at the mall (since I CANNOT be trusted to be creative about these things) and then I spruced it up with some black eye makeup that made my son look like one of Captain Hook's pals! Jaden was grinning ear to ear when he saw himself in the mirror! I told him he looks like one of the kids in "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" (his super favorite). That got him EXTRA EXTRA excited!

Meanwhile, stage mommy me was waaaay excited too!!! My son rewarded my (and his yaya's) over-eagerness by strutting the stage like he owned it, perenially smiling, waving, and making pa-cute to the judges. Marunong! ;)

Congrats, Jaden! You are always a TREAT to be with! Hope you had fun in your first costume party. I love you, anak!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Bahay Kubo by Jaden

Bahay kubo
Kahit muntik
Ang halaman doon
Ay sari-sari

Singkaman at talong
Sigaril-yasang manok
Sitaw, bataw, patanis

Kundol, patowlas
Secret kalabasa
At saka meron pa
Musmus tasa

Sibuyas, kamatis
Dawang at luya
Sa ligid ligid ay puno ng TINGA!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hi everyone!

There are several things that are hogging my time and attention at this moment. In time, I will let in all of you about these.

For now, I hope you can forgive the scarcity of my posts.

And please do check on in once in a while because no matter what, I will launch again :)

Cheers to better days :)

Love,
Stella aka Misis Teapot



Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Scary Me

Me to Jaden: Hey, do you want Mommy to bring you to school tomorrow?
Jaden: YES!!!

(After 1 second)

Jaden: But Mom, my classmates are scared of you!
Me: Huh? Why?!
Jaden: Coz you're a GIANT!!!

Jaden, 3 years & 1 month
10.16.2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Romans 8:39

The verse that greeted me this morning, is the verse that conquered my fears today. Thank You, Lord, for your amazing love that comforts all pain.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Shy Guy

An hour before his class dismissal today, Jaden told his teacher he wanted to go home already. This was rather unusual as my little boy really enjoys school.

As it turns out, he wanted to go home because he needed to do number 2. Hehehe. So, nung hindi na nya mapigilan, inamin na nya that he needed to go. Haha. Kawawa naman anak ko, pupung-pupu na kanina!!

When he was done, his teacher asked if he's ready to be washed. Jaden requested her to call his yaya instead. But because he is being trained not to be over-dependent on his nanny, teacher was gently convincing him if she can do it...

To which jaden said "Me na lang".

Now Im thinking, sa sobrang hiya niya, nagpanggap nalang sya na marunong maghugas ng pwet nya!! Hehehe!

Grabe, marunong na mahiya ang anak ko :))

(09.27.2013; Jaden at 3 yesrs and 1 month old)


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My first loves

My Papa and Mama, with the apple of their eyes, my then 1-year old son Jaden :)


I rarely talk about my parents here in my blog. It's not because I have nothing to say about them. On the contrary, it's because I have SO MUCH to say.

Iniisip ko pa lang sasabihin ko, my throat already tightens and my eyes begin to water.

I love my Papa and Mama so much.

This evening, while working, a friend texted to ask for prayers for her dad who was critically ill. As I typed in my reply, it dawned on me that I am so blessed to have both my parents healthy and alive. That I can witness their joy when they spend time with their apos. That I can feel their overwhelming pride when my sisters and I excel in our endeavors. That I can watch their funny antics and listen to their travel adventures together.

God is good.

Thank You, Lord, for sustaining my Papa and Mama and for vblessing them with beautiful lives! Please continue to look upon them with much favor. Amen.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sophia is 6 Months Old (and my thoughts on mommy guilt)

Our baby love Sophia Gabrielle turns 6 months old today! Hooraaay!

I am overjoyed to see her growing to be a beautiful little girl with a cheery disposition (she has been called a "smiler" by her pedia). I am also extremely grateful that throughout the first half-year of her life, she has been blessed with absolute good health. Thank You, Jesus!
Time and again, I still feel guilty about leaving her home so I could attend to work, the needs of her Kuya, and the needs of the rest of the household (i.e., grocery shopping, paying bills). Not to mention my personal endeavors, too. I would always remember how, with her big brother, I was completely devoted on being a full-time mom to him. It pains me every time I think that I am not able to give the same to my little girl.

But, alas, that's life. Part of being a mom is wanting the best and most ideal for your children... but also acknowledging that you can only do so much. This is why it's important to release them to God. Ultimately, it is only He who can fully and truly raise and transform them.
Photo by Mbrella Multimedia
On my part, I deal with the mommy guilt one day at a time, praying that somehow, I can overcome it and be joyful with the set-up we have. This shouldn't be impossible because Sophia, like I always say, is growing splendidly right before our very eyes. She's always happy to see me, never failing to flash me that heartwarming smile of hers. She squeals in delight whenever I would give her some "baby massage" after bath time. And she sleeps most peacefully after she direct-feeds from me.
Photo by Chris Clemente of Mbrella Multimedia

Oftentimes, as I watch her sleep, I am amazed at how my daughter embraces me, despite my shortcomings as mom. All my guilt, all my disappointment and frustration, they are products of my unrealistic expectations of myself--none actually came from my kids, especially Sophia. I am tempted to say she is so forgiving of me. But then I am convinced, she doesn't even see my shortcomings as "faults". She simply loves me as me.

You are my angel, Sophia. Mommy loves you so much. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bedtime for 2

Spent an hour singing and cuddling Sophia to sleep. Jaden was on the bed, waiting for me to finish so we could do our usual bedtime routine (play, pray, watch tv, cuddle).

After I put the baby down, I noticed that Jaden was already starting to fall asleep. And so I put my arms around him in an embrace.

I was surprised when he opened an eye and sleepily said, "It's my turn na?"

It broke & touched my heart at the same time.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

2013 Faith Goal: The 3rd Quarter Report

I should've done this in June-July, if only because mid-year reports seem more reasonable. But, alas, as I have been saying over and over again, my life is going at lightning speed right now. I almost didn't notice we're at the 3rd quarter of 2013! Ang bilis!!!

Anyhoo. Let's see how I'm faring with my 2013 Faith Goals, shall we? :)

Last January, I declared 2013 to be a more streamlined year, focusing on life's essentials. And I had said that:

By the end of this year, I look forward to sharing with you all a happy settled life in our new fully-furnished house... with the new member of our family, too!
Hmm... Check! Well, almost! (Almost check?!? Hehe)

I give myself a 3rd quarter rating of 3 out of 5 stars on this one, because I am not actually prepared yet to share with you all our "fully furnished house". Hehe. There's still a lot of work to be done to spruce up our home, but I think we're pretty settled already! I hope I'll have time to go back to furniture and home accessory stores soon :) And I should really have our family portraits framed!!!!

Now, for my mini-goals:

2013 was about rediscovering and/or rejuvenating...

1. Family relationships: CHECK! I am happy to report that the entire family, including and especially Jaden, has been adjusting very well to the coming of our dear princess Sophia. In fact, I am so proud of my little boy for stepping up to his role as big brother with such grace and confidence! I wrote about his being Kuya here :)

2. My marriage: Uhmm... I don't know what to say... I am embarrassed to admit that I think I'm a better mom than a wife. I am guilty of putting my kids first because I keep on thinking they're the ones who are dependent on me. Yeah, yeah, I know! This is not supposed to happen! Must make extra effort.

3. My life purpose: Just a very faint check mark here.

4.  My spiritual growth: Half-check! Early this year, I joined a Victory Group. I gained some friends, one of whom became instrumental in interceding in prayer for the birth of Sophia. I am excited to go back and meet with them weekly again! For now, I am relishing this season wherein my baby daughter needs me more than ever :)

Also, my bestest friends and I have become more open about talking about our faith and raising it to the next level. Unlike before when we'd say the standard "I'll pray for you". These days, I can honestly see the growth in our lives by unabashedly talking about God's grace and wisdom and goodness :)
 

5. Strong mind in a strong body: Flying colors 'to! Hehe. I am currently teaching and as you know, I am into running! So check-check-check!

Hmmm... all in all, I'm making good headway, doncha think? I'm pretty amazed. Thank You, God :)


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Dibdiban 2013: My 1st Ever Run!

I did it!!!

Today marks my rookie try in races! This morning, I joined Dibdiban 2013: A Run for Breast Cancer Patients held at the UP Academic Oval. I registered for the 4.4K distance.

It was a fun experience, exhilarating even. I felt excitement up my nerves at the gun start and also at the moment I saw and crossed the finish line. My first ever finish line! Wow!

My only goal for this race was to finish it, and not finish it last! So, it was such a surprise that not only did I meet my goal, but I also set a new Personal Record! I finished 4.45K in 30:01!

I ran with my husband (who registered at the last minute) and my sister-in-law Debbie (a 2-time marathoner). At first, I was so conscious about running alongside them (dahil baka natatawa sila sa form or speed ko haha), but after about 750 meters, I found my rhythm and pace, and just focused on the race as if they weren't there. In other words, I got so self-absorbed. Hehehe.

I knew I was running faster than in any of my workouts. (Thanks to adrenaline and harsher conditions during training.) At the first 2 km, all I kept on thinking was "Conserve energy. Aim for a negative split."

And it worked! I ran the next half still feeling great, then sprinted my way at the last 250 meters to the finish line. Whoopeee!!!

When I checked Runkeeper, I beamed at my time and pace (6:45 per km). I thought, "Not bad for a first timer!"

Friday, September 13, 2013

To Parents of Small Children... (A Repost)

This essay was emailed to me by my husband. On the subject, he wrote "Funny read". By that, I thought it would be one those slapstick comedy stuff or political satires that really tickle his bone (hehe). When I opened to read it, though, I was surprised at the brand of humor of the article.

It was funny because it was so true ;)

Read on.

To parents of small children, 
Let me be the one who says it out loud.
(Steve Wines)

I am in a season of my life right now where I feel bone-tired almost all of the time. Ragged, how-am-I-going-to-make-it-to-the-end-of-the-day, eyes burning exhausted.

I have three boys ages 5 and under. I'm not complaining about that. Well, maybe I am a little bit. But I know that there are people who would give anything for a house full of laughter and chaos. I was that person for years and years; the pain of infertility is stabbing and throbbing and constant. I remember allowing hope to rise and then seeing it crash all around me, month after month, for seven years. I am working on another post about infertility that will come at a later date.

But right now, in my actual life, I have three boys ages 5 and under. There are many moments where they are utterly delightful, like last week, when Isaac told my sister-in-law that, "My daddy has hair all over." Or when Elijah put a green washcloth over his chin and cheeks, and proudly declared, "Daddy! I have a beard just like you!" Or when Ben sneaks downstairs in the morning before the other boys do, smiles at me, and says, "Daddy and Ben time."

But there are also many moments when I have no idea how I'm going to make it until their bedtime. The constant demands, the needs and the fighting are fingernails across the chalkboard every single day.

One of my children is for sure going to be the next Steve Jobs. I now have immense empathy for his parents. He has a precise vision of what he wants -- exactly that way and no other way. Sometimes, it's the way his plate needs to be centered exactly to his chair, or how his socks go on, or exactly how the picture of the pink dolphin needs to look -- with brave eyes, not sad eyes, daddy! He is a laser beam, and he is not satisfied until it's exactly right.

I have to confess that sometimes, the sound of his screaming drives me to hide in the pantry. And I will neither confirm nor deny that while in there, I compulsively eat chips and/or dark chocolate.

There are people who say this to me:

"You should enjoy every moment now! They grow up so fast!"

I usually smile and give some sort of guffaw, but inside, I secretly want to hold them under water. Just for a minute or so. Just until they panic a little.

If you have friends with small children -- especially if your children are now teenagers or if they're grown -- please vow to me right now that you will never say this to them. Not because it's not true, but because it really, really doesn't help.

We know it's true that they grow up too fast. But feeling like I have to enjoy every moment doesn't feel like a gift, it feels like one more thing that is impossible to do, and right now, that list is way too long. Not every moment is enjoyable as a parent; it wasn't for you, and it isn't for me. You just have obviously forgotten. I can forgive you for that. But if you tell me to enjoy every moment one more time, I will need to break up with you.

If you are a parent of small children, you know that there are moments of spectacular delight, and you can't believe you get to be around these little people. But let me be the one who says the following things out loud:

You are not a terrible parent if you can't figure out a way for your children to eat as healthy as your friend's children do. She's obviously using a bizarre and probably illegal form of hypnotism.

You are not a terrible parent if you yell at your kids sometimes. You have little dictators living in your house. If someone else talked to you like that, they'd be put in prison.

You are not a terrible parent if you can't figure out how to calmly give them appropriate consequences in real time for every single act of terrorism that they so creatively devise.

You are not a terrible parent if you'd rather be at work.

You are not a terrible parent if you just can't wait for them to go to bed.

You are not a terrible parent if the sound of their voices sometimes makes you want to drink and never stop.

You're not a terrible parent.

You're an actual parent with limits. You cannot do it all. We all need to admit that one of the casualties specific to our information saturated culture is that we have sky-scraper standards for parenting, where we feel like we're failing horribly if we feed our children chicken nuggets and we let them watch TV in the morning.

One of the reasons we are so exhausted is that we are oversaturated with information about the kind of parents we should be.

So, maybe it's time to stop reading the blogs that tell you how to raise the next president who knows how to read when she's 3 and who cooks, not only eats, her vegetables. Maybe it's time to embrace being the kind of parent who says sorry when you yell. Who models what it's like to take time for yourself. Who asks God to help you to be a better version of the person that you actually are, not for more strength to be an ideal parent.

So, the next time you see your friends with small children with that foggy and desperate look in their eyes, order them a pizza and send it to their house that night. Volunteer to take their kids for a few hours so they can be alone in their own house and have sex when they're not so tired, for heaven's sake. Put your hand on their shoulder, look them in the eyes, and tell them that they're doing a good job. Just don't freak out if they start weeping uncontrollably. Most of the time, we feel like we're botching the whole deal and our kids will turn into horrible criminals who hate us and will never want to be around us when they're older.

You're bone-tired. I'm not sure when it's going to get better. Today might be a good day or it might be the day that you lost it in a way that surprised even yourself.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

You're not alone.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Random Tidbits

Omigosh! I didn't realize a whole stretch of 6 days has passed since I last blogged. I really must combat this blogger slump :( Paano kaya?

I guess it's all the changes that's been happening left and right. I feel like I get caught up in the flurry of things on a daily basis, that I don't have time to sit and write. More often than not, I'd rather rest and sleep or get a massage (good for the body but bad for blogging). Can I be honest? Sometimes, I already annoy myself for not being able to keep up! What ever happened to my adaptability skills?!

Oh well. Let's not be too hard on me. Hehehe.

o0o

One of my sisters, Lauren, is away on a "Semester at Sea" program. This means she gets to be on a cruise ship for a whole semester, studying AND traveling. (My goodness, what a lucky girl!) So far, she has been to London, Russia, Germany, and Belgium... all in 3 weeks! Exag. She's literally going around the world!
What to do in Germany? Drink beer, of course!!!
For this extraordinary adventure of hers, she put up a blog that would chronicle her journey. Lauren is a good, witty writer so I'm sure a lot of people will enjoy reading her travel stories. You can go to Lauren's SEAmester Shenanigans by clicking this link!

o0o

Speaking of lucky, I have picked the lucky winner of the Misis Teapot + The Spa Giveaway! Congratulations to CAMILLE MANALAYSAY AQUINO! She gets an afternoon of luxe pampering at The Spa! I really hope this mommy enjoys her me-time! :)

o0o

Ok. I can't help it. I will talk about running. Hehehe.

I didn't want to say anything about it na, lest this becomes a recurring off-topic in this mommy blog.

Then again, I think I've fallen in love with running too much! I gotta talk about it! ;) (I once joked my husband that I'll rename my blog From Stilettos to Ballet Flats... to Running Shoes. Hahaha. Ops walang gagaya.)

It's been almost 2 months since I picked up the sport. I still remember the first day I ran again (after years of couch potato-ing): July 23, 2013--exactly 4 months after I gave birth to my daughter Sophia.

What motivated me to run?  It was a combination of things, really. Like, I was feeling so sluggish already. I wanted a break from my mommy duties. I wanted to feel fit and healthy. I wanted to have a physical activity that I can "own". Achieve something out of my mold.

But I must say that the tipping point was... *drum roll please* the arrival of my new running shoes. Hahaha. (You've seen it here.) My blue-and-pink Adidas pair was a pasalubong from my in-laws and I thought it was just too pretty not to be worn!

And so after July 23, I would run religiously every other day (with the sole exception of the week the strong rains and floods hit Metro Manila). And now, I am proud to say that I am only 4 workouts away from completing my Couch-to-5Km training plan! That means I have gone from running short intervals to running a full 28 minutes. Woohoo!

On Sunday, I will run my first ever "race" (more like fun run for serious runners who must be scoffing at my "28 minutes" now. haha). I hope I can finish with a decent time! :)

o0o

We had a family photoshoot last Sunday with Julz's side of the family. All I can say is... ang hirap maging model. Hahaha.

The photos are still being processed, but I'll leave you with this preview:

Special thanks to Mbrella Multimedia for our shoot and our sneak peek photo above :)

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Weird

I did 4K on my morning jog today. No aches or pains!

In the afternoon, I wore my favorite high heels for about 4 hours.

I got cramps.

Wahhh!!! What has the world come to?!




Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Julz Juice

In June of this year, my husband and I started the habit of juicing. At first, I did it only for him (thus the name "Julz Juice") because (a) it takes quite a lot of fruits & veggies to make two glasses of juice; and (b) hindi naman kasarapan yung nagagawa ko. Hehehe.

After several days, through trial and effort, and perhaps acquired taste (from trying the juices), I got the hang of it, discovered great combo's, and found myself making my own glass too.

Unlike others who juice to lose weight and "cleanse", I juice for all its other health benefits (and there are many!). As a breastfeeding mom, I have to be conscious and proactive about my food intake. Juicing allows me an easy and fast way to meet my fruit-and-veggie quota in my daily diet.

In the beginning, I was lost about what fruits and veggies I can juice, and what I should put together. So I hovered over to the websites Juju Cleanse and Juice Jab to "educate" myself. Hehe. Even with that, I was stumped about the proportions of my ingredients (ie, how many slices of cucumber? how many apples?). For that, I took to YouTube and watched videos juicing how-to's.

Now that I'm quite familiar with the peculiar tastes of the fruits and veggies that I juice, I am more confident of the combos I make. Honestly, I still do not follow exact recipes. Whatever is in our ref, I just try to make do. However, I do have one favorite: SEVEN UP (because it has 7 fruits & veggies).
Made of celery, cucumbers, ginger, apples, sugar beets, carrots, and pineapple juice
This recipe has had many variations. Sometimes, I put lemon instead of pineapple juice. Or I add lettuce, malunggay, broccolo stems, mandarin oranges, etc. But as long as I stick to the "core ingredients" (apples, carrots, cucumbers), I've always loved the result :)

Try this at home!

Monday, September 02, 2013

Jaden's 3rd Birthday

My little boy Jaden turned 3 last August 23. Because he isn't comfy with big crowds yet, we opted for "small celebrations" for his birthday.

On the day itself, the whole family went out for lunch and "anything that Jaden wants!" To cater to his very Pinoy food preference, we went to a Filipino restaurant and ordered his super favorite sinigang!
At Crisostomo for our gwapo boy's birthday lunch :)
We then proceeded to Timezone to play lots and lots of games. While the celebrant was busy there, I snuck out to buy his gift. You see, Jaden had been pining for a red fire engine that he saw in a toy store a couple of months ago. It was quite pricey, so I told him I cannot get it but will do so on his birthday. It broke my heart to see his face fall with my denial, but I had to be strong about it. Last thing I want was to spoil him.

I went back to Timezone just in time for Jaden's announcement that he wants to go to Gymboree naman. In my mind, "Aba, taking advantage!" Hahaha. But that's okay. I like investing in good times rather than good things :)

He had loads of fun in Gymboree. As usual. That place is heaven for a hyperactive toddler!

In the evening, we had a "small" birthday party at my in-laws' place. (I say "small" because you know, size is relative hehehe). We got to pray for our birthday boy and he got to blow out the candle on his Train Cake! Yay!

Incidentally, our baby princess was also celebrating her 5th month that day. So, of course, she gets a cake too! Both of my kids' cakes were made by Swell Sweets :)
Cakes by Swell Sweets
But wait. There's more. The next day, Saturday, Jaden was in for a big surprise: a birthday party with his kiddie pals in...

GYMBOREE!!!

Pero bibitinin ko kayo jan. Hehehe :) 

Because hitik na hitik yan with stories and photos, I will do a separate post on Jaden's Gymboree party. Ok? Sorry sa mga Low EQ! Hehehe ;)
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