Save for that one time we took J to her first
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Save for that one time we took J to her first
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
She is gentle and non-confrontational, so the aggressiveness needed by the sport was something she just could not turn on when she is on the field. I remember watching her during her first few sessions, she would run after the ball but would hesitate to get it from an opponent. I had to explain to her that in this sport, getting the ball from the opponent is not "grabbing", it is simply how the game is played. But being who she is, she is not one to charge at the ball, dribble it from across the field to score a goal. It's not in her character to be the hard-hitting striker. She has found a position she is good at, where her heart is comfortable playing. She is a solid and reliable defender. Strikers from opposing teams have a difficult time getting the ball past her and her team's goalie has found fewer balls to watch over.
In a recent mixed group tournament, she found herself in a group of ten kids from ages six to eight, of which, three of them are girls. She was the only girl in her group to play in all five qualifying games. She has surely come a long way from where she started in the sport.
Their team went on to win 2nd runner-up in their age category. She went home at the end of the day exhausted from playing (she slept the whole ride home), her skin a shade darker (even with re-applying sunblock every 2 hours), but with pride in herself and exhilaration in her heart.
Lately however, I have been feeling daring and experimental. I feel like it’s time I expanded my dessert repertoire. So with the numerous pot-luck dinner parties all lined up this holiday season, I unreservedly offered to bring not just one, but two desserts to the dinner buffet table.
In my first try, the strawberries sank in the whipped cream frosting. I must have been taking my sweet time to decorate that the cream warmed up to room temperature. Still, I managed to impress our friends, I got compliments from the wives of C's Tuesday group.
The second time I made it, it was for my co-parents in J's class. I was going to make it for ladies who really know their way around the kitchen, so the was a little pressure there. This time around, I made sure to put the cake back in the refrigerator after putting the swirls to make the cream firm up. After a few minutes, I took the cake out again and added the luscious berries. Here is what it looked like:
The tiramisu was relatively easy to make as I have been making this for years, but I used to make this trifle-style, in a glass baking dish. So the challenge now was to make the cake as divine looking as it was delectable. As predicted, it was complicated to pretty up the sides of the cake, so I decided to cover up my lack of talent and improvised by putting ladyfingers around the sides and tying it up with a festive colored ribbon.Friends who can't wait to slice and enjoy the cake...
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I remember my first desk at the young age of 5 or 6. It was a desk with a hutch, with wide open shelves. I remember it to be so big that if I wanted to, I could slip in easily in the desk drawer. My Dad is very particular with having almost all our home furniture made with Narra. Understandably, Narra is the premier local wood of choice for high quality furniture. Not only is its durability time-tested, it is also known for its very beautiful grain and beautiful finish. My old desk has served its purpose well. It taught me how to be organized with my things at a young age. Albeit, it could very well be the root of my pack rat mind-set.
When we moved to
When I got married and moved to a new house with C, I left the old one behind. Imprudently thinking that with 4 rooms and a lot of space to fill up, I wouldn’t be needing it anymore. The empty house quickly filled up with the rapid addition of young ones . With it, drawers, cabinets, shelves and other places of storage instantly became filled up with things, not all of them necessarily needed. Things soon got lost in the clutter that accumulated daily.
And so I now come full circle, back where I came from. Wanting something that’s exclusively mine among the collective possessions at home. And so I began dreaming of having a desk just like the one I had.
I am beside myself with excitement. My new desk has just been delivered, and there’s something about the smell of it that gives me a buzz. I just realized that Narra wood gives off an odor similar to camphor oil. And so for the moment I am in heaven on earth.
A few months ago, however, I received a call from a friend requesting me to ask C if she could borrow a certain book. Unfortunately for her, C was away on business that time. She mentioned that she was just done reading Twilight, (the first book) and urgently had to read the sequel right away. She told me C mentioned that he bought the book, but I told her I was positive that I did not see him reading it around the house. But just the same I told her I will ask him once he gets back.
But this friend surprised me by traveling all the way to Serendra that night to go to Fully Booked and purchased all 3 remaining books to complete her Twilight collection. And this is already after searching for it at almost all of the bookstores with no luck. I was so intrigued by this book because of the reaction that it got from my usually level headed friend that I had to send an SMS and ask C about it. She was right. C had indeed ordered it from Amazon, intending it to be a gift for J. My sis-in-law, borrowed it right away, as soon as it was delivered.
It is absolutely out of character for me to be interested in the horror-fantasy literary genre. I was not lured by Anne Rice with her aristocratic vampire, Lestat. Regardless that it was made into a movie with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, and much later into a Broadway musical. Neither did Harry Potter elicit any interest from me, even when it was raking in millions of dollars in book sales and movie tickets.
However when I found out that the Twilight series fall into dark romance, that is where my attraction with the saga started. As soon as I began reading the first book, I found myself a willing captive to the book’s thin plot and shallow characters. I read it without dissecting the way the book was written. It is essentially a love story; and what girl, regardless of age, can resist a good and simple love story?
It’s not the greatest book in the world, but I generously own up to the fact that I read it in a day’s time. I simply could not put it down. It was pure enjoyment, let me tell you. I have read all four books in one week. And I am now back to reading the first book, all the better to refresh my memory for when the movie comes out this weekend.
Before this Twilight saga piqued my interest, my bedside companions were Epicenter: Why the Current Rumblings in the Middle East Will Change Your Future by Joel Rosenberg and The Shack by William Young. Both are heavy reads, and so I take a break from one and read the other. Don’t ask me how I do it, that’s just how I plan to go on till I actually finish it. But being rudely interrupted by Twilight, I might take some time to go back.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I caught him an eager and willing participant, as can be seen by his wide smile, reaching his ears.
I click and click away. Tho novelty of sitting for the camera has started to wear thin on him, and his interest has shifted back to the Ritz crackers he was busy munching on before I interrupted him for this shoot.
Unmindful of his disinterest with me and the camera, I continue to take photo after photo. Continuously asking him to shift his attention from the bag of crackers he was hard at work eating to "smile" at me. Hence, this photo...
Not willing to give up that easily, I went on with my task. And R, not wanting to give up without a fight, gave me this "masterpiece." Maybe, celebrities tired of running away from paparazzis could learn a thing or two...
I guess that was my cue to finally put down the camera and give him a hug for being mischievously adorable . tee-hee-hee!
Monday, September 22, 2008
Here we are, taking a break after frosting all the cupcakes. R loves to help whenever I am in the kitchen. He was tasked to put the sprinkles on all those cupcakes.
This is taken at his school party, where all his classmates went crazy over the cupcake train. I got great compliments from the parents, too.
Here is a closer view of the cupcake train.
And here is the birthday boy, loving those cupcakes!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
J celebrated her 8th birthday (sooo) many Fridays ago. I started a draft on this post a few months back, but I never go to finish. My main job (being a SAHM) has kept me busy that the blog posts have been very few and far between. So here's one more try at it....
She just wanted a simple celebration with her good friends. And so on that day, twelve girls took over our house with their shrieks, laughter and girly interests. The late afternoon celebration quickly extended into late evening. J was still in her personal cloud nine long after the last guest went home. While I was exhausted from baking and frosting all those cupcakes. She wanted some Pokemon cupcakes, and so I bravely told her she'll have it - not knowing how hard it was. After several tries and not going anywhere with the cupcakes, I finally succumbed to time pressure and took the easy way out. I put on swirls and threw in some sprinkles... voila!
J is slowly growing up to be her own person. She is naturally kind, oftentimes funny, most of the time forgetful. She is curious about everything around her. She loves reading Junie B. Jones, Archie, and looks forward to the delivery of my InStyle monthly subscription. Loves walking around in my stilletos, platforms and wedges; getting a kick that we have the same shoe size already.
Sometimes when I look at her I am amazed at how fast she is growing up. And it makes me question myself. Am I patient enough? Kind enough? Loving enough? Understanding enough? Am I the best mom that I can be? Can she see God's goodness in me?
In a recent Guidance class activity, she proudly came home announcing that she got the most number of friendship bracelets. All the girls were given a friendship bracelet and they were supposed to give it to a "good friend". It made me so proud to see her in such high spirits, delighted in the fact that almost half of the class favored her to be their "friend". But she quickly mentioned that she is not part of the "club girls" which she went on to describe as being "chitter-chatter girls", which I assume would be their equivalent of the bully kids. One of the girls who gave her a bracelet, a notorious girl, who has a long standing history of being the class bully, wrote down, "thank you for always being nice and kind to me." Awww!
It seems to me that most of the girls chose her not because she is fun to be with (even if she is), but more so because of her genuine kindness towards other people. Seems to me like I am not doing so bad in this thing called motherhood after all. :)
Thursday, July 17, 2008
By 6 am, the assembly area was crammed-full with people waiting for the race to start. Everybody was heady with excitement. The long queue outside the tent for last minute registration showed no sign of receding, more people were lining up to join.
It began to rain a few minutes before the race started, and almost everybody ran to the tents for cover, including J and me. But then again, why bother, right? We were all going to get wet anyway during the race. C bravely held his ground and allowed himself to get drenched by the rain. Just the day before, J got soaked in the rain during her soccer practice, and at the back of my neurotic-mommy mind I was a little worried that she might catch something if she gets soaked 2 days in a row. It was the start of her exam week, it would be dreadful to have her get sick. I brushed that anxious thought quickly away, while hurriedly trying to attract positive thoughts by bringing to mind that she had a perfect class attendance in her previous grade level as a testament to her good physical shape. (She didn't get sick, just in case you're wondering)
The 16k professional runners went ahead, followed by the 5k serious runners. We, the 3k fun run group, left the starting line last.
I heard a lot of grumbling afterwards that the race could've been more organized, a lot of 5k runners got lost and unknowingly mixed in with the 3k runners due to lack of race markers. J, for one, went on about the lootbag. If you can, go back to the last kiddie party you attended and then fast forward to the end of the party during loot bag distribution. Chaotic and frenzied, right? Think of the frenetic and uncontrolled mess we found ourselves in as we lined up for this dang thing - with over 5,000 people queueing with us. The wait was almost as long as it took us to run, and the big letdown was finding out on the way home, as we were perusing it inside the car, that all it contained was old issue magazines, think 2007 old. Be that as it may, there were a lot of other freebies waiting for those who are patient enough to endure the looong wait. Krispy Kreme, Gatorade, Milo, Tropical Hut, etc. Freebies, of any kind, are a big come-on for me. I am a sucker for it - solid! Only, there was no way I could get C to wait in line for that, so straight home we go.
It was a day to remember. This is our 2nd race as a family, and our second run in the rain, as well. Our Nike Bowermans are giving a shout-out for a good scrubbing. :)
Monday, June 23, 2008
When I started training, my goal was to have the endurance to finish the race, even if it means walking all the way to it. My online running mentor said, this could be done by starting slow and pacing myself, picking up speed only towards the end of the race. It said that I shouldn't feel pressured to have the other runners pass me by. No problem in that area.
On The Day, call time was at 5:15 am at Manila Polo to give time for a walk through and some race guidelines. Pag-asa predicted a typhoon coming, but you can never be sure with these guys. We brushed the typhoon signal aside for more important matters on hand, the race and the subsequent celebratory breakfast and awarding at Pancake House along McKinley Hill.
I was in the middle of my 2nd lap when it started to drizzle. And then the drizzle quickly turned into a downpour. I didn't want to quit the race. I trained for it and I wanted to finish it. Add to the fact that J was running with us, it would be the perfect chance to show her that if we commit to something, we follow through upto the very end. So run in the rain, we did! Soaked to the bone, I remember fretting about my new shoes getting drenched and muddy. tee-hee-hee! :)
I ran the race at my own pace, and what do you know? I placed second in the 3k category, and won for us 2 tickets to the Powerplant Cinema. J also got a prize for finishing the race. We headed to PowerPlant for our movie date, with a movie of J's choice, KungFu Panda.
I am sure she will treasure the memories of running her very first race, and running the second half of it (gleefully) in the rain. Hopefully, I was able to first-handedly expose her to the values of determination and commitment . That if we set our mind to doing something, setbacks will only slow us down but won't stop us from reaching our goals.
Friday, June 20, 2008
She went on to tell me that one girl, looked at her partner from top to bottom, and then proceeds to say what she has observed, "she has dark skin..." eliciting a prompt rebuttal from the girl concerned, "I am not dark!" With hands on the waist and a stomp of her feet to further emphasize her absolute disapproval of that opinion, as if it were the worst thing in the world. J said the whole class erupted in laughter at this candid exchange.
Another one described her partner as chubby. Nothing wrong with that, except that I know this girl, and she is anything but chubby. She is nowhere near chubby, she is what we might call a happy medium.
From the kids' point of view, the above mentioned exchanges offers a comic relief from an otherwise boring class. But as a parent, the tongue in cheek narrative is a reflection of how appearances, and not characteristics, make a central case on how we view others and ourselves. Point is, these kids have become unknowingly influenced by our society's biased concept of beauty being synonymous with fair skin and being skinny.
Even with my own kids, it is so hard to instill in them that self worth is not based on one's looks. My 2 girls always makes a fuss when it comes to what to wear every Sunday. Always asking my approval, "Mom, do I look pretty?" And I always answer in the positive, but with a follow up, "but God looks at our hearts."
While it is important to take care of our appearance and make an effort to look good, it must be be complementary to a heart that's always centered on God.
I take pleasure that my schedule falls into a routine, makes me appreciate my place in this world... as a wife and a mom. I find comfort that the day's activities unfold predictably, everyday the same as weeks that has passed, only made much sweeter than the last because of the presence and laughter of loved ones.
B started big school and is adjusting quite well, I suppose. Parents were welcome to stay during the first day of class, and so I took advantage of that opportunity. Teacher called each of the kids by their full name, upon which each one is expected to stand up and wave hello to everybody in the room and say out loud the name that they preferred to be called. When it was B's turn, I almost had to catch my jaw from falling off as I heard her say, "Therese". What? Since when?
Although it is indeed one of the attachments to her kilometric name, we have never used it, save for her certificate of birth. When I was finally able to bring her aside, all she could say was, "what? She asked me what I want to be called. I want to be called Therese from now on, I think it is a nice name." I gently explained to her that she is not used to answering to that name, that she might not realize that her teacher is calling her.
Whew! What a B-moment that was indeed!
Friday, June 13, 2008
As I obviously do not want to make a complete fool of myself, I started training this week. Granted that I will be running a 3K race only, and most probably will be running with all the kids. Hahaha! So yesterday, I brought the girls to school and proceeded to train for around 30-45 minutes. I started going around the block, walking for the first round, and then walking and jogging alternately, picking up speed slowly. And if you know me, then you know that I do give a new dimension to the word S-L-O-W. :) C has convinced me to bring a waistbag for my ipod, mobile and a self defense spray. It would be ideal to have a running mate with the same abilities to make my run more enjoyable and a whole lot safer, but since I don't have that luxury, I simply rely on God to watch over me - and a mini-can of Mace on my right hand.
A day later, I have aching shins. A short and snappy visit to the web and I discovered that running on concrete gives runners shinsplints. So I made a mental note to self to only run on asphalt. I have a lot more miles to log in, but this is certainly the start of a great adventure.
I have a training plan and a running schedule to stick to, to make sure that I progress at a steady pace, free from injuries, and to maintain my level of interest in my new "sport". And to further cement myself to the activity, I went ahead and splurged on my running gear. I figured that if I can't make it to the finish line first, I might as well finish it "fashionably" last. I bought myself some dry-fit running shirts from Nike and Puma, a pair of Nike trainer pants, and New Balance running shoes worthy to be worn by the professional runner.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
A usual weekday bedtime routine for my family would have C reading the NightLight Devotional Book with the kids, followed by our night prayer, and then hugs and kisses for each other. We try to take turns to be prayer leaders, to encourage the kids to be an active participant in the process. But after reading this post, I am sure you will agree that prayer time would look a lot less like squabbling and more like praying if C just leads.
Our prayer session tonight went something like this:
B: Family, are you ready to pray? (And she waits for all of us to answer, "Yes, we are"). Everybody put your hands together... I said please put your hands together.... that includes you, mom. Dear God, we thank you for our wonderful parents. We thank you for our food, our wonderful house, for achi and syoti, for ah-ma, for angkong, for uncle tony, akoh sherry, baby sasha, for cathy, henny, sage, maya, clauie, wowo, wowa, charmaine, uncle jay, for uncle tony (again!). We also thank you for our study table, our toys, our bed, our aircon ( she looks around the room, like taking an inventory of everything, and give thanks - for practically everything.)
By this time, R starts to get antsy or bored and opts to start his own prayer. And C is the third voice that joins in asking for an atmosphere of reverence. So at this point in our prayer time, it is like listening to a radio that's on the wrong frequency. You hear different voices making everything incomprehensible, not unlike the annoying radio static.
Undeterred, B continues her non stop talking, oops, praying, till R realizes that it's no point competing with someone who is the resident chatter queen, and finally gives up).
B: We pray that you help us to be kind, wonderful (apparently, wonderful is her favorite adjective for the moment), and let us have good manners. For syoti, we pray that he stops being makulit, and please don't let him be funny, and teach him to have good manners, (and again, for emphasis, just in case God didn't hear her the first time) please don't let him be funny and stop him from being makulit. For achi, we pray that her feet stops growing too fast. (Ok, now we really know that this is a major concern). Please help me to be wonderful. Please protect our family from bad persons, bad classmates, bad teachers. Protect us from fire, earthquake, and accidents..... (Long pause as she thinks of more things to pray for.)
J: B, say Amen. If you can't think of anything else to say, please end your prayer and say Amen! Stop pausing already! You're taking too long!!!
B: I'm not yet done. I'm just resting. Can you please wait?
This is where we step in to tell J to give B time to finish her prayer.
B: Lord please give us good dreams and to wake up tomorrow feeling refreshed. We ask you to please heal wowo Mon in Singapore; please heal ah-ma's ears, please take away the ouchie in her ears; please help mommy's throat to get better because if she has sore throat she is cranky to everybody. Long pause again... till finally she decides to conclude her prayer and proceeds to say amen - to everyone's relief!
As soon as she says Amen, J start her lecture once again, "Next time if you don't know what to say, you can just end it and say, Amen. That's what I do when I don't know what to say next."
B, still adamant, "but I am not done yet, I was just resting."
J ends the conversation by rolling her eyes, "Hainaku! I am going to go crazy!"
And if it is J's turn to be in charge, like it was yesterday, the opposite of the above discussion happens:
J: Dear God, we thank you for daddy, mommy, B and R. We thank you for giving us our family. We pray that you always keep us safe from harm, accidents, and bad people. In Jesus name we pray, amen.
B: Why is it so short? You forgot to thank God about.......
But we should really just let C do it most of the time, and just take their prayer requests. Because, really, sometimes B makes night-time prayer seem like an hour long service. :)
Saturday, May 17, 2008
R and I recently attended the 4th birthday party of his classmate and so-called girlfriend, Kyleen. I know it's crazy for me to be tolerating this, but he honestly likes this li'l girl. I can't blame him; really, she is such a cutie and so nice, too.
The mom texted me a save-the-date message a few days before the party, which really would have sufficed. Still, the invite was courteously delivered to our house. The thoughtful gesture is highly appreciated and truly speaks a lot about her. R was giddy with excitement when we got the invite and that was the highlight of his day - getting a card from Kyleen.
Of course, when we found out that it was going to be at the Ark Avilon, R's joy could not be contained. It's the zoo, after all!
The celebrant's mom carefully planned everything to make sure the kids were engrossed with age-appropriate and creative pre-party activities. The kids were provided with medium sized pebbles, paint brush and acrylic paints to make to creative paper weights with the child's choice of animal painted on the stones. Or if the kids were not of the creative kind, they could go bird watching as there were lots of exotic fowls freely roaming around.
A guided tour of the zoo was also exclusively arranged for our group, with the tour ending in the petting area where all the kids hurriedly and crazily rushed to feed the rabbits, hamsters, et al with all the leafy greens their tiny hands could grab. No animal was spared, as even the most satiated one who instinctively turned his head away from the source of food was unfortunately met by another chubby hand willing to find a mouth to feed. All that's left for the poor rodents to do were to wish that they were meat eaters instead. Kidding!
Thanks for the wonderful party, Helen!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Click here to view her first Vogue appearance, for her second Vogue feature here. And click here to view her tv interview.
I seriously love her work and would love to own at least one of her creations - if only I can afford it. :) Uppermost left pic shows the Ophelia necklace, a variation of the Ophelie necklace shown in the InStyle spread, just in case you want to understand why it costs US$2,150.00, or simply to scrutinize the consummate artisanship of her pieces.
Pic 2 shows Tina's Pacquiao clutch named after modern day hero and boxing champ, Manny Pacquiao. Pic 3 shows the Mother of Pearl clutch made famous by Drew Barrymore at the 2007 Golden Globes.
However, after I got married and when the kids came one after the other, I somehow got sidetracked into other things that were more domesticated, hence the interest in cookbooks, attachment parenting, arts and crafts, and with all things Nigella and Martha. :)
Two years ago, C surprised me by renewing my subscription to InStyle. It was a blissful yet heartrending moment for me; overjoyed that even after 12 years of being together (with a combined total of 6 years of pre-menstrual syndrome, pregnancy sensitivity, post-natal depression, and all the other attitude-changing effects of my female hormones), C still hasn't changed his loving thoughtfulness towards me. He is still as funny, romantic and generous as the day I first met him, but that is another story that deserves an entire post. Going back to where we are, the grounding reality that I am now a parent to 3 kids is undeniably a stark contrast to those days where I could max out my credit card and leave a zero balance in my payroll account just to buy the latest fashion It-anything (another one of my guilty pleasures).
Looking through the glossy pages, at the present, is like a practice in restrained indulgence for me. I know I can dip my hand in the fashion cookie jar, nonetheless, I only get to take out one small cookie at a time. As opposed to being the spendthrift fashion cookie monster and cleaning out the entire jar in one swipe.
Here are some hand candies from Pinoys who make us all proud by landing in this month's issue. They all got featured together in one spread on page 255. All right!
Abalone Minaudieres by Celestina Maynila New York of Tina Maristela Ocampo
Ophelie Necklace by Bea Valdes
Rattan Bag by Rafe New York of Rafe Totengco
Monday, May 5, 2008
With this project behind us now, I am secured of a sizeable stash of gift tags to last me a year. :)
So that day, my dining table was reincarnated as an indoor sand table. I poured the different colored sands into different containers and placed a plastic spoon in each to prevent the colors from mixing. I had them make two activities with it, sand painting and sand art bottles. I gave them each a small clear glass bottle with a natural cork cover for the sand art bottle. For the sand painting, I just chose an image from the net (of their choice, of course) and printed it our on board paper.
This activity was one of the easiest to do, almost no supervision needed.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I was having a Nigella Lawson moment again, and baked corn muffins early in the morning to bring to the park for our lunch picnic. That was going to be our food contribution. My sisters took it upon themselves to bring BBQ and pancit palabok made by my mom's cook, of course. Come lunch time, the kids wouldn't touch my muffins finding them too "grainy". A quick aside about the corn muffins: I made them with organic medium ground cornmeal and organic ground flaxseed, bought from Healthy Options. So there was a price premium to that, which I thought shouldn't matter because it was healthier. I personally liked the nuttiness that it brought to the muffins. I guess it's just me. My own kids wouldn't touch them, and preferred to use them as fish food instead. Those traitors! :)
It is really simple and the materials needed can easily be found at any grocery or department store: bowls, rubber bands, marbles, fabric dyes, hot water, clothespins, and of course the garments to be dyed.. Since I only had one size of marbles lying around the house, and I wanted a variety in our spherical patterns, I made do and used salad macaroni instead.
It was a make-your-own fashion adventure for the kids, as I made them choose what pattern and color they wanted for their shirts. J chose to have a blue striped shirt, with some green in the middle to break the monotony. B, my li'l fashionista was adamant and wanted a "golden yellow" (her exact words) shirt with spherical patterns. R decided on a blue ombre.
The whole morning was spent soaking up the garments in the dye. Since the dye is permanent, I had the kids don C's tatty shirts. The over-sized tees, which I pinned with clothespins at the sleeves gathering towards the neckline, made them look like ancient Romans and they had a kick out of it.
The expressive patterns that resulted when we took off the rubber bands thrilled the kids. I am sure this is one activity that won't be forgotten.