Thursday, January 30, 2014

Another conversation with Vito

On the last week of December, I was desperately looking for a gown for my friend's wedding. Being pregnant, I was quickly filling out and nothing in my closet fit anymore. So off we went to SM Department Store. It really was wedding season since the dressing rooms were packed with women trying on gowns, too.

Vito came along to the fitting cubicle and when he saw me zip up the gold gown I picked out, he gasped in appreciation. "Wow, Mama! Perfect fit!"

I was so happy! "Aww! Really? It doesn't make me look fat?"

"Oh," he shrugged. "You look fat. See your tummy? Very big!"

The whole dressing room erupted in laughter. Kainis! I laughed, too, actually, and retorted, "That's because Mama is pregnant!" Haha, defensive. I said that loudly so that every single woman in that dressing room will hear but that just made everybody laugh more haha

When I told Vince what happened, he laughed and said, "Never ever ask a guy if you're fat!"

Well, I think I looked just fine teehee.

I'll be blogging about this beautiful wedding (probably the most love-filled and stylish wedding I've ever been to!) on Topaz Horizon this weekend!

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

The 5 reasons why I'm a Pampers Mommy

I'm in the midst of this never-ending task of organizing the files on my computer and I saw these old photos of the kids. These were taken in June last year—Iñigo had just turned 1 and Vito was about to turn 3. So this was about two months before I became a Pampers Mommy digital ambassador.

We're buying junk food diapers here and Vito fell asleep in the cart. Typical toddler, he used to fall asleep just about anywhere, which we thought was so hilarious. We have other photos of toddler Vito dropping off (on top of the table, under the love seat, etc) but for this post, let's just do these two photos because this post is all about why I'm a Pampers Mommy.

For my babies bums, it just has to be the best disposable diaper because we're talking about their most sensitive areas. With Vito, I searched hard and long for a diaper that he was hiyang to because he suffered mild diaper rash now and then throughout his first year. I tried the cheap ones but we ended up with Pampers because of these reasons:

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tormented by coughs and colds

This post is brought to you by Vicks Vaporub.

We've finally recovered from coughs and colds. The torment started just before New Year's Eve. Vito and Iñigo even suffered fevers. At my friend's wedding in Cebu a few days later, we might've looked all glamorous in this photo but we were feeling under the weather.

In fact, the camera caught Vito caught coughing here. Vince had just changed our boy's nice wedding clothes because Vito was coughing so hard, he vomited all over his shirt, pants and shoes. Meanwhile, I had finally pulled my styled hair into a no-nonsense bun because Iñigo kept using my hair to wipe his dripping nose. I also asked the makeup artist not to cake on the makeup since I keep blowing my nose and I'd look really weird if my face looks flawless but my nose was rubbed red. Sigh. The stories pictures can't really tell!

It's been three weeks. The coughing finally stopped. The noses finally stopped dripping. But still, that's three weeks of my sons unable to sleep well at night, with labored breathing, coughing so hard sometimes that they wake up and then vomit all over the bed. It's been awful.

Now I'm scared to leave the house. Not only is there a measles outbreak (my boys have only been vaccinated once so they might still get it), but I hear and read about viral infections and bad respiratory conditions of practically everyone I know (thanks, Facebook, for updating me!).

We Filipinos usually blame the cold weather for coughs and colds. Nalamigan, nahamog, naginawan. The fact is the cold weather doesn't cause respiratory diseases. So why the rise of respiratory diseases during the cold and rainy seasons?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Health priority of the year: dental wellness

This post is brought to you by Lotte Xylitol.

After all the candies and chocolates and desserts and ice cream and general carbo-and-sugar loading that happened in the last month, I'm feeling really gross!

So our first health checkup of the year is with the dentist. We're trying out MetroDental this year since the dentist we like—this guy with the lightest hands in the world—moved his clinic to we don't know where. Anyway, I had my teeth checked and my X-rays done before I got pregnant and, while my teeth are nice and strong and clean, I was told I needed to have a wisdom tooth removed (uh oh) and braces put in because my teeth have all moved. I actually didn't need a dental expert to tell me that. I know my teeth have moved. I see gaps between my teeth and they are widening. But since I'm pregnant, I'll have to have all these procedures done later this year. Sigh!

Vince is going tomorrow and then we'll bring the kiddies a bit later. According to Dr. Fina Lopez, the dentist who spoke at the last Xylitol event I attended as a brand ambassador, we parents should bring our kids to the dentist when there are no problems yet. That way, our kids will see the dentist as a friend. Usually, parents go when their kids' teeth are teeming with cavities and so of course the dentist goes in there and drills holes and slaps cement on and basically gives our kids nightmares. That is not a good way for the dentist-patient relationship to start!

When did you bring your kids to the dentist? I haven't brought mine although teeth experts say to bring them as soon as the first few teeth erupt.

My boys, three-year-old Vito and 20-month-old Iñigo, have nice teeth. They absolutely love brushing their teeth so we have no problems with tooth decay... so far. That's why I was delaying a visit to the dentist but this is the year we go because my boys like sweets a wee bit too much! Wish us luck!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My mommy resolution for 2014

This post is brought to you by Green Cross Insect Repellent Lotion.

I wasn't going to talk about my resolutions as a mother because resolutions tend to reveal one's weaknesses. As a mother, I do have tons of things to improve—most are kinda silly, like, I hope to be a hot momma by Christmas next year haha—but listing them down makes me sad and guilty. But my blog sponsor Green Cross asked me to talk about what I need to change this year and so I sat down and really thought about it. After a few seconds (and mostly because Vince just got mad at me for this), I instantly knew what needed to change. Here it is:

Vito's really into saying "I love you" these days. He'd suddenly hug Vince or me and say, "I love you, Mama," or "I love you, Papa." And when we tell him we love him, he'd quickly reply, "I love you, too!"

Vince told him one day, "I'm going to keep telling you I love you, Vito. If there's one thing I learned from your Mama, it's to always tell the person you love that you love them."

Between the two of us, Vince is the one who's reserved with verbalizing his affections. Meanwhile, I say how I feel all the time. "You look great," "You're so hot," "I miss you," "I want a hug," "Let's kiss," "I love you," are words that pour out of my mouth daily.

Vince is better at showing his love. He makes sure life is easy for me, he takes care of me, he takes care of the kids when I'm too tired, he takes care of our house when there's a leak, a frame that needs to be put up, a loose tile, a spot on the couch. He supports my every good decision and steers me into the right ones when I'm being stupid. He is constant in showing his love; I'm not so consistent with the showy part of loving as a wife and as a mother. While some people find it difficult to confess their feelings, I find it easy. It's the proving by deed that I find hard.

That's why I hope to be a better servant this year because true love demands service, and serving others is not really my specialty. Okay, it's not as bad as it sounds. Like, I don't make my kids do the chores while I sit and watch TV, or I don't let Vince do everything. I enjoy being a mother and a wife and it's a joy for me to make my family happy, but there are also lots of times I'm just too tired and I get short with them or yell at the kids or ignore my husband or feel sorry for myself when I've only had 4 hours of sleep. Those times, I really don't feel very loving.

They are the ones I love most in the world so I should serve them!

Monday, January 6, 2014

The scene in How I Met Your Mother that made me cry

Lily: Sometimes I wish I wasn't a mom. Sometimes I want to pack my bags and leave in the middle of the night and never come back.

Ted: Are you serious?

Lily: I don't know. I mean, I love being a mom. I love Marvin so much. But you remember when I wanted to be an artist? Art was my whole life and now it's been months since I've picked up a brush. I spend the whole day taking care of kids at my job and when I come home, it's more of the same. It never lets up. It's just really, really hard.

Wow, that honesty just blew me away because I don't think mothers (or fathers, for that matter) are allowed to be honest with how they truly feel about being a parent. Even I get scared sometimes to talk about how I feel about motherhood, especially with the advent of all these mommy blogs professing how perfect their mommy lives are. Seriously, sometimes I read all these blogs and all I can sense is a defensiveness: "Yes, my life revolves around my children and I love it!!! There's no other life like this! Mothers are the best human beings! I make the perfect soufflé and have little decor vignettes scattered around my tastefully decorated home and I throw fabulous tea parties with matching monogrammed napkins!!! And what's your life like? Oh. You have a career. No kids? How interesting."

Then here I am, also a happy mother but just also an extremely overwhelmed one. I feel this huge pressure to be perfect, too, to whip up that soufflé and decorate my home and have monogrammed napkins and do all of that in high heels with a child balanced on my hip, and sometimes I succeed (mostly at the balancing the kid on my hip with heels on because I really find cooking and decorating boring) but mostly I'm just busy watching my kids and making sure they're fed and safe and alive to even care about my house. I mean, really, at the end of the day, isn't it enough my kids are fed and happy and tucked in bed??? Do I have to make sure they're fed with organic food that I cooked myself and that they have to be tucked into beds with crisp sheets with a thousand thread count?

But I'm scared to talk about it because all I'm supposed to feel is blessed and grateful. And I am blessed and I am grateful but I also am human, and birthing a child didn't magically make me a superhuman. I'm still woefully weak. I get tired, I get cranky, I get sad, I get mad, I get selfish, I get lazy.

It never lets up. It really never does. Sigh.

I always get asked what is it about motherhood that I find difficult and I always say, "The constant vigilance." You really can't rest because it's always that one time you looked away, that one time you were stressed out, that one time you got distracted, that's the one time your child gets into an accident. Constant vigilance!

And then I also get asked what surprised me the most about motherhood. I always say, "The love. I never thought I'd be capable of so much love." And that, my friends, is what makes the constant vigilance bearable, even okay. After all, what could be so bad about watching your kid? Love makes it a privilege.

I'm blessed and I'm grateful. How can I be otherwise?
Unlike Lily, I never wish I wasn't a mom. I guess I wished it out of me for 33 years! I also never wish to leave my kids. I can't even leave them for more than two hours! I just wish I had more time to sleep. I wish I didn't have to breastfeed because I really don't like it. I wish my kids can just eat junk food all day every day and be healthy because I don't enjoy cooking. But I don't sleep, I still nurse Iñigo, and I still cook anyway.

That's love for you. Love really truly does make everything okay.

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Chinese calendar says my third baby will be a...


I was just about to celebrate my 37th birthday on November when I found out I was pregnant so that makes the month of conception October. According to the Chinese calendar, that means I'm having a boy again.

I don't really believe these things but it's been correct so far. Plus, my OBG took one look at my face, noted all the pimples sprouting and said, "Looks like a boy again. Your pimples say there's lots of testosterone in your system."

If Baby Chicken is another boy, wow oh wow, I got my wish! But I know Vince wants a girl this time (although he'd totally love another son, too!) so I'd be happy with a girl. Although I seriously wouldn't know what to do with a daughter. I never got along well with girls till I hit my 30s really. I once told Vince, "I'm so glad I'm a girl. Imagine if I were a boy and had to marry a girl. Why would anyone want to do that?!"

Well, if I have a girl then, it's great I had her in my late 30s because we'd have a better chance at this girly relationship thing. Still, since she's my child, I'd love her as fiercely as I do her brothers. Plus, I'll raise her no different from how I raise my sons. I hope she grows up to be just like me—no nonsense, no drama, no frivolity, no arte, no crazy shopping. But if she does turn out to be dainty or feminine or inane or a damsel in distress or boy-crazy, I'd love her anyway!

Still, I'm hoping for a boy. Let's see if the Chinese calandar is still accurate with this prediction!

UPDATE: As a reader pointed out, I made a mistake. I was 36 when I conceived, which means I was supposed to have a girl according to the Chinese calendar. But I'm having a boy! So this Chinese calendar system is not accurate. But then we always knew that, right? =)

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A fond farewell

The babies are asleep. I've put polish on my nails (OPI Glitzerland on my fingers, Dazzle Dry Evening Song on my toesies) and now I'm rushing this post because in an hour the fireworks will begin in earnest and the kids will wake up.

I'm happy. I want the kids to wake up because though they tire me out all day, I miss them when they're asleep. That's why I can't find the time to blog anymore. Blogging requires sitting down. I don't sit down. I lie down hehe. It's the pregnancy. I've been rendered useless. I'm so grateful that Vince is really doing everything (thanks, babe!). I know he has other more important things to do than cleaning the house—that's why we desperately need a kasambahay—but as of now, he's the main man of the house, doing absolutely everything except cook. I enter my second trimester this week so I am hoping I'd feel better. I'm oh so ready for 2014!

So the year in review:
1. We got to travel a lot! We went to Tagaytay often. We went to Batangas. We went to Hong Kong, and we're flying to Cebu this week. When I was working, I was so busy, I never went anywhere!

2. We lost our household help but this has resulted to so many wonders. I knew my husband has always been in love with his kids, but when the maids left, he's sooo good with kids pala! He's an expert diaper changer, babysitter, teacher, playmate.

Many moms tell me their husbands are useless when it comes to childcare. Well, let your husbands be fathers, too! Let them wipe the poop, mop up the pee, feed the kids, read to the kids, discipline the kids as well as play with them. Let your husband spend more than a few minutes with his kids! Don't allow him to give you the baby once the baby poops or cries. Most of us wives don't let our husbands get involved because we think our hubbies are already tired from work and should be spared from the less fun aspects of fatherhood. I say you're cheating them out of fatherhood when you do that!

3. We made our second investment. Financially, we're really okay, which strikes people as so strange since technically, both Vince and I are unemployed. Sound money decisions in the past years have led to our early retirement. Now, we're not rich at all. In fact, I know our families are worried for us (hehe) but we're working very hard on writing projects, which help with the daily expenses. Then we'll (maybe) look for jobs when the kids go to school because education can be expensive. But, for now, we're happy with what we have.

4. Because of the yaya/maid-less situation, I've had to put work in the back burner. I really thought I'd only rest for six months then look for work again by June. I've had many amazing job offers, too. But the lack of domestic help made a new career impossible.

Well, not really. My mommy blogging career took off. I was asked to be digital brand ambassador for Sangobion, Lotte Xylitol, Vicks, Pampers and Smart. I never thought that would happen, seriously. I'm, like, old and flabby. And I'm not a celebrity! So I'm grateful that I was asked to be a brand ambassador because I'm a mom that people trust, not because I'm gorgeous or hot or famous. I'm just me!

5. Our family is getting bigger! I got pregnant again! We're so thrilled really. I want four kids but Vince said three is good. He's hoping for a girl, I'm hoping for another boy, but we're both praying for a healthy kid who's as cute and as smart and as affectionate as Vito and Iñigo.

Our sons are really our source of joy, Vince and I. Our marriage has been immensely blessed by our two boys. Their wonder at life, the way they laugh and play, their funniness and playfulness, even drama sometimes, make every single day a joy to live. Today, the boys kept running to our arms to kiss and huggle. They loved it. We loved it. Vince said, "When my life flashes before my eyes, I want this to be one of the memories."

I'm so blessed. Some people say I shouldn't say I'm so blessed. In fact, on my birthday a few weeks ago, someone actually said he wished me less happiness because too much happiness makes people forget the important things in life. I was really upset with that "wish." I'm happy because my life is focused on what truly matters: my husband, my children, my relationships. My career isn't even important anymore, neither is my looks (I'm fat now!!!) nor my material possessions. I'm just happy to spend the days with my boys. Why would anyone wish me less of my boys? I immediately prayed that God will block the curse this person placed on me!

If there's anything this year has taught me, it's that letting go of many urgent things allows more of the important things to come in. In many ways, my life was emptied out this year, but my life has never been so full! My word for 2013 was "simplify" and when I simplified my life, it became more great. How amazing is that!

My God, I am in awe of Your goodness and grace! I deserve none of this goodness because I've been so evil for so long, and yet, because I asked You to be in my life, You have truly fulfilled Your promise to give me life and for me to live life abundantly!

"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." 
- Jesus Christ (John 10:10)

This 2014, I resolved to let God use my writing to bless my readers with His Word as I have been blessed. Don't worry! My blogs will still be super fun. But I realize that I've been keeping my source of joy, comfort and strength from you all by not talking to you about my God. So all you see is the product (the happiness) but you don't see the fountain and the foundation (my Lord and Savior).

For 2014, my word will be "family." This year showed me that I am still so far away from being the wife and mother God wants me to be. I mean, I'm okay. I think I'm doing a good job. In fact, I've always thought I've been doing a good job, until I started studying "Power of a Praying Wife" and "Power of a Praying Parent," then my eyes were opened to all that I still need to do and be so that I can be a true servant to my family. So this 2014, I want to be a better wife and a better mother, a woman who is happy to be of service, to give all the love I could give every day of my life for as long as I live. And it starts today, January 1, 2014.

Happy New Year! God bless you all with abundance in love, friendship, laughter, good health and wealth!

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