Tuesday, August 30, 2011

ProMama has a special event for expecting mamas

Where were these events when I was pregnant?! You mommies-to-be are so lucky!

Now remember: It's this Saturday at the Glorietta Activity Center and it's open to all parents-to-be so bring your baby daddies! Enjoy the pregnancy!

UPDATE: Here's more info from the press kit:

The Proudly Promama Fair is an all-day event celebrating mothers-to-be with free pampering services, consultations with nutritionists and a fun program in the afternoon at the Glorietta Activity Center, Sept. 3, 2011.  

Discover how ProMama, Wyeth's newest product, and its partners help celebrate mothers-to-be at this unique event. A fun-filled and informative program gives pregnant women all the tips they need to look and feel their best. Along with surprise celebrity guests, pregnant women can find out how ProMama helps them meet their increased nutritional needs.  They'll also get tips from nutritionists as well as beauty advice from the experts. Finally, participating fashion brands will showcase how pregnant women can strut their stuff in their stylish ensembles at the Proudly ProMama Fashion Show.

Registration and Snacks will be served at 2pm at the California Pizza Kitchen, Program starts promptly at 3pm at the Glorietta Activity Center.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Vito loves these lullabies from YouTube's Super Simple Songs

One evening just recently, I was having a hard time getting my son to sleep. I tried tickling him to exhaustion. I tried rocking him in my arms. I tried total silence in total darkness so he can get bored. I tried his usual night-night songs. And still he was climbing down my arms, climbing down the bed and running around (yes, even in the dark!).

Finally, I said, "Vito, since you simply refuse to sleep, let's work on your alphabet. Let's look for a phonics video on YouTube." After being displeased with some phonics vids, I found Super Simple Songs. And, miracle of miracles, these songs sent Vito off to dreamland!

Row, Row, Row Your Boat
I love how dreamy this song is. I love the soft voices. I love the art. And the constant repetition lulls Vito to drowsiness.

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
I think this is so adorable. Vito absolutely loves this video best. And when Mr. Owl says good-bye to Mr. Star, Vito and I get to practice our bye-bye wave and then I whisper, "Good night, Mr. Star. Good night, Mr. Owl. Good night, Vito." My little star falls asleep soon after!

There are more lovely songs and charming videos on Super Simple Songs. That YouTube channel is my favorite find this month and I hope it becomes yours, too!

Commercial muna

Halloo mommies! How's your loooong weekend?

Sorry been away for a while. Pretty hectic sked lately although I was able to update my personal blog. Check out our Bali trip there (Part 1 and Part 2). Vito is SO CUTE there!

Was supposed to double post here, too, but I figured some of you moms might like to check out Topaz Horizon--it's just as nice as this! Enjoy tomorrow--it's the last day of the rainy holiday. Sigh!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Topaz Mommy needs to get fit

This post is brought to you by Adidas.

Looking at my recent photos makes me cringe. I have never been so wide before! My waist has disappeared, my arms have thickened and my breastfeeding breasts make me look fat. Well, since Vito's already one year old, it's time to start looking like a hot momma and burn the fat away!

The fastest and easiest way to do this is to run. I already have adidas shoes but they're for cross-training. Basically, for the treadmill. I started on the treadmill last week. Vince and I feel so good! We'll try the gym for a few weeks and then, when we're good and ready, time to take the running outdoors! And these are the outfits that I'm looking at:

Black for a slimming effect!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

This blog just got a new domain

Been meaning to buy the domain of Topaz Mommy for the longest time. So over the weekend, I finally did. Except that someone already owned www.topazmommy.com, which really annoyed the hell out of me since there's nothing there, no content, just a dud site.

Just as I was about to contact the owner and offer to buy the domain, I remembered that everyone calls me "Mommy Topaz" or Mommy Frances. The domain mommyfrances.com was actually also free but I bought www.mommytopaz.com instead so that I wouldn't have to change my blog header.

So there! Mommy Topaz/Topaz Mommy is up! Kindly update your links, although even if you don't, Google will automatically direct your old link (topazmommy.blogspot.com) to this place. But just in case it doesn't, please do update your links!

Speaking of updating links, the only problem I have is all the links on my blog roll disappeared. I had so many  fabulous mommy blogs on that blog roll! Now I'll have to remember all of them. What hard work this will be. If you were on my blog roll, kindly leave your URL on the comments below. Thanks!

Monday, August 22, 2011

SM Kids is on a MEGA SALE!

SM's got lots of stuff in store for us mommies this weekend! Like this super exciting huge warehouse sale in the kiddie department:

That's a big big discount on brands like Gingersnaps, Elle, Disney, Barbie, Sesame Street, Looney Tunes, Hot Wheels and a whole lotta more! Remember: Sale starts on Friday and lasts till Monday. Bring your credit cards so you can get 3 months installment at no interest. Have fun shopping!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Vito's first birthday party madness! Part 3: The funnest day

So Vito's party was a big hit! No stress at all since there was no program, no games, no clowns and no decorations. It helped that all the guests were just toddlers. There was no need to entertain them since they could entertain themselves.

But all birthday parties have to have one tradition: the blowing out of the birthday candle! Vito was having such a good time on the couch with his friends, Alfonso and Sofia, that he didn't want to blow any candles!
I am digging Alfonso's cool shirt! Also liking Sofia's sunshine-y dress. Now if only Vito wore his complete Totoro costume. He looked really weird without the head and paws!

There's the head and paws! Alfonso, being older, got off the couch easily enough, ready for some birthday candle action. These two had to be physically removed from the couch!

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you...

Happy birthday, dear Vito...

Happy birthday to you!

We practiced for days before the big event on how to blow out the candle. The best Vito can do was "hah, hah, hah!" instead of "hoo! hoo!" He did try.

So Papa Vince said, "Blow out the candle, Mama," and so Mama made a wish (long, happy, healthy life for Vito) and blew that magic candle out.

Whew! So after all the cake, cookies, lasagna and chicken, after all the running around and screaming and banging on the furniture, after all the songs and Totoro movie that played throughout the party, the little kiddies collapsed on the couch, the rug and in their mommies' arms and slept.

What a lovely day. Happy birthday, darling Vito! We wish you many more happy birthdays, many happy meals with friends and family, many songs and laughter, and lots of warm hugs and loving kisses from the world.

Papa and Mama and all the wonderful people who love you so

Vito's first birthday party madness! Part 2: The uber cute guests

Vito's first birthday party just had a short guest list. And the guests were also short! Look how utterly adorable our party people are!
That's Keddie, Enzo, Vito and Audrey. Vito, by the way, refused to wear the head and feet of his Totoro costume.

Everyone kicks off their shoes--that's the sign of a great party! This is Enzo. You've met him before (click here!). He's the cute kid who hugs and kisses everyone on the playground. You can't escape him. If he wants to kiss you, he pulls you in and he's a hefty guy so he's pretty strong.

Audrey is shy. She just celebrated her second birthday but she's really tall, she looks like a preschooler. She's the earliest to arrive at the playground and she's always hiding behind her yaya. Pretty girl!

Here's another pretty little person! That's Sjofn (Syo-feen), daughter of Paola of Mommy Treats. You've met Paola before, too (click here!). Our kids were born two weeks apart. They've met before, at the Swatch Zebra Day, which I forgot to blog about. Vito liked Sjofn but she didn't like him back. Haha, Vito, that's life for you!

Neighborhood cutie is Sophia. She's just three weeks older than Vito and incredibly talkative. Like, she can talk. I was shocked! Earl, her mommy, is a broadcast journalist. She says that her daughter's talkiness is inherited from her, naturally. Well, Sophia's dad, Judah, is a TV and event host. He likes to talk a lot, too. Very verbal family!

There's Enzo, owning the couch. We covered it in a sheet to protect it, since we have kids running around. But amazingly, our house--accused to be not kid-friendly because of the white upholstery, glass tables and vases--was unharmed. Not a kid was harmed, too! This affirms our philosophy that we families don't have to live in plastic houses with plastic furniture, devoid of beauty and charm. Kids know how to appreciate beauty and will learn to respect it. (Of course it helps that we adults are very vigilant!)

This is Alfonso, Vito's very first friend! They met when Vito was just 5 days old and Alfonso was 9 months old. Vito idolizes Alfonso. Totally looks up to him. Everything Alfonso does, Vito will imitate. Vito also tries very hard to please Alfonso. It's like he's Vito's big brother.

Vito, Sophia and Sjofn like Alfonso's gift very much. There was a tug-of-war, with Alfonso watching almost with approval!

Sofia won that round. Oh, there's Totoro's head and paws beside her!

So Sjofn just went after the hopping mechanical rabbit.

Except that little Totoro was faster. Parenting note: Must teach the boy some gentlemanly manners! Anyway, there were two more guests, Justin and Keira. Sounds so Hollywood! But we somehow weren't able to take their photos.

Now that you've met the cast of zany characters, more party pictures in the next (and last party) post!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Vito's first birthday party madness! Part 1: Before the madness

My darling Vito turned a year old exactly one week ago, August 13, but we had a mini-party for him on Monday, the 15th. It was just a tiny party for his playground friends. Vito gets scared of lots of big people fawning over him so we spared him the traditional big bash, which would only upset him. It worked out great! Vito was beyond thrilled to see all his little friends in his house! And it was just crazy! All these tiny creatures running around our apartment! We enjoyed it immensely. My kiddie party was a success!

But before the madness, here are the details of our simple birthday party for Vito:
Topaz Mommy and the birthday boy, who wasn't in a good mood. His nap time is from 1-3 PM (his party was at 3) so we had to wake him up at around 2:30 to get him ready. He didn't like being woken up!

So Vince had My Neighbor Totoro on TV. Totoro was our party theme. The Studio Ghibli-produced anime is about two young sisters who, together with their father, move to a rural village, near the hospital where their mother is receiving treatment for a long-term illness. They meet the spirits of the wood, and Totoro is one of them. It's a lovely movie about family, sisterhood, faith and hope. I highly recommend it!

As you can see, Vito was transfixed. And this allowed us to put him in his Totoro costume!
We had Vito's costume made by Bumblebee & Company. Got a great deal through Cash Cash Pinoy a few months back. We loved meeting the costume designer, Maita. She's a very gentle soul, knows how to relate with kids. Vito took to her quite fast. He was very happy and comfy in the shop--every time we went there. Great people to work with!

Our cake was made by Gel Colet of Swell Sweets. Gel is Vince's college buddy. In 2007, she had just left TV production and we heard she can bake. So we got her to do our wedding cake. It was such a huge hit (we served the cake as second dessert) that two years after our wedding, people were still talking about it! Naturally, we got her to do our son's cake.

Here's a close-up of the cake. Isn't it adorable? It's not to-scale, though--Totoro's much, much bigger than those other two spirits! But it doesn't matter. We love our cake! As with our wedding, the cake stole the show. Not only was it lovely to look at, it tasted amazing, too! By the time the party ended, there was just crumbs left. I feel bad that I only had a tiny slice!

Beyond the cake is what we served--lasagna and chicken lollipops from Almost Gourmet. A few days before the party, I still didn't know what to serve the guests. I Tweeted for help (follow me!) and Almost Gourmet was recommended by a lot of people. So I called Joyce up and she sounded wonderful. She gave me tips on how and what to feed my party guests. The cost was reasonable, too, even cheap! Then on the day of the party, the food arrived still hot. It's like it was cooked next door! The best part is the food tasted really great!

For our giveaways, we ordered cookies with a simple Totoro design, again from Swell Sweets. I forgot to ask Gel to put Vito's name on the cookies! The cookies were yummy, like the cake. But I liked the cake better (I'm a cake person). The custom-made cake and cookies weren't cheap but just look at how gorgeous they were! Definitely was the centerpiece of the party so totally worth it.

Pretty simple, right? We're simple folk, but with very good taste! So I made sure to get really good suppliers for the party. We'll meet the super cute guests next!

Mommies-to-be, please breastfeed your baby (even if it's "hard"!)

I had a lovely lunch last week where the fabulous and gorgeous beauty editors of Mega and Metro said they breastfed their children. I was so happy and encouraged! One of the ladies at our table was horrified, however. I am not exaggerating--her face registered disgust when she found out that Kim, Charmagne and I are breastfeeders. She said that she didn't breastfeed her kids because she was traumatized when she saw the saggy boobs of her grandmother.
My Facebook profile pic!

Mommies, we all have our reasons to not breastfeed. I go through those reasons every day! Here are some of them:

1. "It hurts!"
When the milk first comes in and for a few weeks afterwards, the sensation of your breasts filling up will hurt. When your boobs become engorged, they will hurt. When the baby suckles, it will hurt. When the baby starts teething and will try to soothe his gums by biting down on your nipple, it will hurt. But the pain does go away--your nipples will toughen up! As for the biting baby, you can train him not to bite. Yes, even infants can be trained!

2. "I don't have milk."
You do. You just don't see it. We don't have the satisfaction that transparent bottles and nipples may give us so we worry worry worry that our kids aren't getting milk. Trust your bodies--you have milk!

In the beginning, you might think no milk is coming out. Don't worry. Your newborn's tummy is the size of a small strawberry. He only needs a few tiny swallows at a feeding. And it's colostrum that comes out and coats your newborn's stomach lining. Once your baby's tummy is protected by colostrum, then your body starts producing milk. This can be on the fourth or fifth day!
Try lactation cookies! Mommy Treats really helped with my
milk production. Click here to buy yummy cookies!

3. "The baby won't latch."
As with all things, practice makes perfect. Don't get frustrated (I did!). And when other women tell you that a bottle and nipple will be easier, well, try your breast anyway! I was fortunate to have my sister-in-law Lizelle coach me when I was pregnant. Then when I gave birth, the nurses at St. Luke's Global showed me how to breastfeed, too. Not once did they suggest infant formula for Vito, despite my tears and fears that he was going hungry. And true enough, on Vito's third day of existence, he latched correctly!

4. "I feel so exposed."
I never had a problem with this until recently. Why only now? Vito's so active and curious now. He won't breastfeed under a cover. He has to watch the world go by while suckling. And if something grabs his attention, he'll sit up suddenly, leaving me exposed.

Just so you know, I don't have a problem with nudity. It's malice that makes nudity a problem. That's why when I'm breastfeeding Vito, and people around me start getting uncomfortable, I get appalled that they are thinking of me and my child in an ugly way.
This beautiful photo of model Miranda Kerr
angered a lot of women. They said she
"sexualized" breastfeeding. Really! 
Dirty minds don't belong to the menfolk, though. In my experience, it's the women who get their panties in a bunch. Puh-leeze. You're showing off your boobs, too, and the only good reason to expose that much boob is when you're breastfeeding.

5. "It's so inconvenient."
This is not really true. Breastfeeding is so easy! No need for bottles, milk, water and big bag! I only think of this reason when I'm in a place with lots of judgmental people. Breastfeeding in a place with squirming, horrified, shocked and disgusted people does get to me. It really bothers me. I just keep thinking, "My child is more important!" So, moms, please breastfeed whenever, wherever. We have to make breastfeeding normal!

6. "I wasn't breastfed and I turned out okay!"
That was my line for years actually. My mother took medication to dry up her milk as soon as she gave birth to me because she had to go back to work. I was a terribly sickly child but other than that, I turned out great. Still, after reading all the benefits of breastfeeding, I sometimes wonder if I could've turned out better! That's why I'm breastfeeding Vito now because I want him to have the best possible start in life.

Vito's big head! Can't use a breastfeeding
cover now--he won't let me!
7. "My baby's already big. It doesn't look right anymore."
Tell me about it. At one year old, Vito's taller, stronger and faster than many kids his age (it's the breast milk!). He's walking and blabbering. He's a big boy now. But I still wrestle my big baby to my breast. It's harder now but it's still worth it.

Another version of this reason that I hear from other people is: "Breast milk loses nutritional value when the child starts eating solids so stop breastfeeding!" Studies have shown that breast milk after the first year changes in composition, yes, but the changes are more fat and more protein and more antibacterial properties! Your body is aware that your baby is a fast-moving, fast-growing machine now so it makes milk that will give him more energy and muscle. Your body is also aware that your child is eating solids and picking up everything and putting it in his mouth, so it now makes milk that protects your child from allergies and tummy infections. Is our body great or what?! So amazing!

8. "My boobs will sag."
And so we go back to that woman who refused to breastfeed on the basis of vanity alone. You know, I'm aware that a lot of women can't breastfeed for medical and physical reasons. They're sick, their nipples are inverted, the baby has a cleft palate, etc. When that happens, of course, infant formula (or even better, breast milk from other moms!) to the rescue! I will never ever say that formula is evil. But please, if you can, try breastfeeding first! And please, don't let your reason be as shallow as saggy boobs!

Can't actually breastfeed your baby? Your expressed milk
is perfect! And your hubby will enjoy feeding baby, too!

My friend's friend (who I detest for many reasons) told me, "You know what your boobs will look like after you breastfeed? Like empty socks hanging on the clothesline." I'm so glad then that my husband is a butt-and-leg man and that I got a great perky butt and fab legs!

Well, I have no idea how my breasts will fare after all the beating they're taking from my greedy child. I want to think they'll be fine but if not, well, I was a size AA before I got pregnant. Flat as a board. If I go back to flat, so be it. If I end up with empty socks, I'll go call Dr. Belo.

August is Breastfeeding Month but I hope every month is a chance for all mommies to try breastfeeding. It's got its kinks but the benefits far outweigh the little annoying parts. By a lot! So please breastfeed!

* * * * * * *
For more info on the benefits of breastfeeding beyond 12 months, read these:
Kellymom - "Immune factors in breast milk increase in concentration during the second year."
Your Family Doctor - "The official policy of the American Academy of Pediatrics is not to put any limit on the duration of lactation."

Friday, August 12, 2011

See you next week!

My dearest readers, I'm taking a break because it's my darling boy's first birthday weekend celebration. We have costumes and cakes and cookies to pick up, a kiddie fashion boutique event to attend, families to see, then the birthday bash to throw. It's so busy busy busy and we're so happy happy happy!

Yes, it's been a year! Thank you all for loving me, my son and even my husband. Your warm wishes, your gentle advice, the lovely presents and your friendship have made this incredible year even more fantastic. God bless you and have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Will this pair of red shoes go with Vito's green outfit?

This post is brought to you by Adidas.

Vito, tired from his morning walk.
Me, groggy with sleep!
Good morning, lovely mommies! Let me share with you our morning ritual:

  1. Vito wakes up at 4:30 or 5am. He wakes me and Vince up. I breastfeed him then we play for maybe an hour. Longer if I'm not too sleepy. He also usually poops at this time so we wash up and sing and tickle.
  2. Then we go out of our room at 6:30 or 7 so he can eat his breakfast. I hand him over to the yaya and I go back to bed and sleep.
  3. While Vince and I sleep, Vito finishes breakfast, takes a bath, puts on his shoes, then goes off to the playground to get some sun and see his fellow toddlers.
  4. He comes back at around 9am, demanding loudly, "Mama! Papa!" Lately, however, Vito just walks into our bedroom and demands his hugs and kisses.
  5. Vince and I have breakfast. Then Vito takes his nap as soon as Vince leaves for work.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mommies-to-be, pencil in these two dates on your August calendar!

This Saturday, August 13:

If you go to Smart Parenting's Baby Shower, you get to find out how to keep fit while pregnant. This is really important--my yaya forced me to walk and walk and walk when I was pregnant. When I gave birth, I had such an easy time pushing Vito out (just five mega pushes!) that the nurses were begging me to hold Vito in because the OB was still stuck in traffic. I could've given birth sooner but no, I waited for Dr. Becky patiently. So attend this event so you can prepare for the birth!

Next Saturday, August 20:

If you attend Mothercare's Baby & Me event, you get to learn about proper nutrition and dental care while pregnant. This is very important--not only for your developing baby but also for your own health and looks. Plus, you might win a Phil & Ted's double stroller!

So the Baby Shower is to prepare you for the big D-Day while the Baby & Me is so you look and feel good as you get bigger and bigger with baby! Attend both! You get lotsa freebies, too. Sounds like a great way to spend the weekend!

How to sign up:
Smart Parenting's Baby Shower
Email these details to spbabyshower2011@gmail.com with "SP Baby Shower" on the subject:
(1) Name
(2) Age
(3) Home address
(4) Contact number
(5) How many months preggy are you?
Or you can just bring the August issue of Smart Parenting to the event!

Mothercare's Baby & Me
Registration is FREE! Just visit Mothercare's Facebook page and post the following on their wall: 
(1) Full name 
(2) Contact number 
(3) How far along are you in your pregnancy / How old is your child. 
Successful registrants will receive a confirmation text from Mothercare.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Making Vito's Totoro party invitations

Given my already insane schedule as OK! magazine editor, satchel seller, blogger, wife and mommy, I really shouldn't have decided that I wanted a homemade party--from invitations to balloons to food. All I left to the pros was the cake, but since Gel Colet of Swell Sweets is Vince's college buddy, the cake will still feel like it's homemade.

But I wanted a children's party to look like a children's party. I want my baby boy's party to look messy and fun and wild and, well, kiddie! So our party invitations must look like an arts and crafts project!

How to make kiddie party invitations (with a fun Totoro theme!):
First, buy gray felt paper and white cartolina. Draw your Totoro main pattern--ours was done by Jen Inumerable, Smart Parenting's art director and one of Vito's fans! I tried drawing it but couldn't get Totoro's symmetrical roundness. So, folks, it's okay to get professional help here and there!

Trace the pattern on the back side of the felt paper with marker. As you can see, the felt paper's thin enough for a guide to come through the gray side. Cut away!

Totoro inspects the progress. He looks happy at his likeness!

Using your pattern, just trace several more Totoros onto the back of the felt paper.

Cut, cut, cut away! It helps to listen to music or have a silly movie or show playing on TV. Don't watch anything that will need your eyes (haha!) like action movies or a tennis match.

Add the background of your invitation before pasting Totoro. Since Totoro is a monster that can make things magically grow, I had a grass theme. I used three shades of green here for dimension.

Paste Totoro from the bottom up, smoothing out air bubbles as you move along.

Draw in his eyes. I actually wanted to use black beads for his eyes because Totoro has beady eyes but I was worried the beads might fall off or be bitten off. Remember, the guests are one year old!

Draw his nose and whiskers. I also wanted to use black yarn for Totoro's whiskers since I wanted Vito's guests to feel their invitations. Toddlers are very tactile! But I couldn't find any black yarn so I just drew them.

Paste his distinctive tummy patterns using scrap felt paper. This was actually the most tiresome to do because cutting and pasting those tiny things is hard!

Et voila! Really crappy but super cute and cool kiddie party invitations!

I had so much fun making these. I know that with our busy schedules, it's easier for us mommies to just pick up ready-made invites or have them printed out. I totally agree, especially if you have a guest list of 50-500! But since my Vito's party is very small--both in party size and size of guests--a very personalized invitation like this is adorable. Try it!