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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