Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Happy Tuesday!


Vito was 5 weeks 4 days. Iñigo was 7 weeks 3 days. Piero was 6 weeks 5 days.

Vito is now 4 years old, Iñigo is 2 years and 3 months and Piero is 7 weeks and 5 days. Time flies! So I'm beyond thankful I have these photos to capture these fleeting moments. What happy Tuesdays (and Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays!) I have!

Enjoy your today, too!

* * * * * * *
P.S.
Subscribe to my newsletter
Like me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Instagram
Love me on Bloglovin'

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Why I allow my kids to play with mobile devices

This post is brought to you by SMART Communications.

Some time ago, an article with the too-long title "10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12" went viral. As a rebuttal, a team of professors from esteemed universities and education groups wrote an article with also a long title called "10 Reasons Why We Need Research Literacy, Not Scare Columns."

I love this long-titled list the best: "10 Reasons Why I Will Continue to Give My Kids Handheld Devices." Please click on the article because it's told from a teacher-mom's point of view!

My husband and I allow our kids to play with computers and handheld devices. Because we're writers and we work from home, we have a lot of gadgets. My iPhone and iPad Mini were given by Smart Communications (thanks, Smart!) because, like me, Smart believes modern families need gadgets in this fast-paced world.

Vito loves playing video games.
Iñigo is sometimes allowed to use my laptop.

Anyway, though we have several gadgets at home, we've never really had a problem with the kids. Sure, sometimes they zone out but they snap out of it when we impose our ownership of the gadgets. Yes, Mama and Papa own all the gadgets so when we want them back, our kids give them up. I think that's important. Don't buy gadgets for your kids. That way, they won't claim their right to play with it. If they know it's yours, then they will borrow it, respect the fact that they have limited use, and return it when the owners (the parents) want it back. That's how it is in our house anyway, and it really works!

I just can't ban technology because my kids learn so much from educational apps. Vito has a big vocabulary because of the fun videos he watches. Both boys love Play-Doh tutorials and they get inspired when they play with their Play-Doh afterwards. I must confess it's the iPad that taught Vito the alphabet. Well, we taught him his letters and numbers but the iPad apps sure helped! We homeschool the kids and play-learn with arts and crafts, but the iPad has been an invaluable tool to us parent-teachers, too!

As work-at-home parents and because we've been without household help for months on end, the gadgets sometimes rescue us when we need to meet a deadline or I need to prepare dinner. I mean, do I insist on playing with them myself and letting everyone go hungry or do I let them have a little fun on tablets while I cook?

Monday, August 18, 2014

For moms who need refreshments, here's a yummy healthy cocktail!

With absolutely no alcohol!

Fly Ace, distributor of such healthy juices from Happy Day, Welch's, Mott's and Old Orchard, sent me a few recipes. We tried this lovely cosmopolitan one hot day.


Here's all you need for two glasses:
Ice in a cocktail mixer.

Six parts Old Orchard Cranberry Juice (I used Apple Cranberry).

One part Happy Days Orange Juice.

One part calamansi juice.

Shake shake shake then pour it out!

Nice! Looks pro, right?

The glass is rimmed in sugar so that's the only sinful part of this cosmo!


Enjoy, mommies!

For more recipes, go to the website of Fly Ace. You can also check out the online homes of Rauch Happy Day, Welch's, Mott's and Old Orchard.

* * * * * * *
P.S.
Like me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Instagram
Love me on Bloglovin'


Friday, August 15, 2014

Parenting can be depressing

If there's any good to come out of the sad death of Robin Williams, it's that people are now talking about depression. My husband and I did. I asked him if he was okay. After all, we just had our third child, the hospital bill went surprisingly over budget, he's facing new chapters in his career, I'm also about to sign contracts for new work but we still don't have a yaya so we're up to our eyeballs taking care of our kids and unable to take care of our work (ergo, how can we make money if we're too busy taking care of our kids?). These can be quite overwhelming. In fact, we are overwhelmed! People tell us all the time how amazing we are to have careers, manage our household and raise our kids all by ourselves. Thanks, everyone, but we are not having an easy time at this at all. Some days can get really... sad.

So I had to ask Vince if he was okay, and ask it like I really mean it, you know? He said he was fine, thank goodness. But I think we should look after each other, and do so more closely. It's easy to get caught up in the urgency of kids' needs that we forget to look after our own. Then we are spent, giving and giving from a place that is drained and devoid of nurturing.

I honestly think Vince and I are there—with three kids, suddenly we can't breathe. We can hardly find the time to eat, sleep, shower. We can't even find time to talk to each other. We're always running around the house, running after kids, preventing accidents, washing dishes and clothes and butts, giving baths, making milk, settling fights, soothing cries. If we do find a little window of time, we cram in work (so please forgive me if I only do sponsored posts on both blogs since this non-sponsored post is rare).

Parenting is an incredibly isolating and exhausting job. And you can never ever quit it or even take a vacation from it or even blink dammit! The one time you blink, look away, step out of the room, that's when the kids get into an accident. Guaranteed. It's insane how we parents need to be on all the time. Even when we're asleep, we're never really off. One small cough from our kids and we are roused from our own slumber.

Oh, but don't worry about us! We're not unhappy. Tired, yes, but we're happy. We still have the ability to see how blessed we are to have three beautiful, healthy, smart and wonderful boys. We have each other and we're doing this parenting thing together. We have a lovely (now suddenly cramped!) home. And we also both know that this stage goes by so quickly. In a few months, a few years, we'll be able to breathe again. So there's something to look forward to!

But many parents are often sinking into despair. Many stay-at-home moms feel lonely, missing adult interaction. Many working moms feel guilt. Many fathers fear failure and buckle under the pressure to provide. If you are feeling depressed, make sure to talk about it with your spouse, your family, your friends. Don't be ashamed to admit how you feel. Some people will tell you that "we all go through shit" and "you better get on with the program." No sympathy there. But some people will empathize and help and listen and give a hug. Sometimes all we really need is a hug.

Here's more about depression:


Remember to ask about each other, moms and dads! And listen, really listen. Parenting is the most awesome job in the world but we all face overwhelming aspects of it, so let's be kind to ourselves and take care of each other. Hugs!


Strength from God's Word: "When I am overwhelmed, You alone know the way I should turn." Psalm 142:3 (NLT)

* * * * * * *
P.S.
Like me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Instagram
Love me on Bloglovin'

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Vito is 4

My birthday boy turned 4 yesterday. There was a small cake and new toys and little loud friends over. He had so much fun, he wants to be 5 years old ASAP (as in now!) so he can have cake and toys and friends over again. Oh dear, my Vito sure is in a hurry to grow up!


This photo, taken when Vito just turned 1, feels like it was just yesterday. I wish time didn't pass so swiftly! How wonderful to be given so much—my boys make me feel like I won the lottery of life thrice!–and how melancholic to know these gifts won't be mine forever. But I am grateful, beyond grateful, for the time given to us, no matter how frighteningly fast it flies by. The past four years with Vito (and his younger just-as-loved brothers) have been the most amazing years of our lives. Every single day added to our joy is a true gift!

Happy birthday, darling Vito! Please take it sloooooow!

* * * * * * *
P.S.
Like me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Instagram
Love me on Bloglovin'

Thursday, August 7, 2014

I'm now so sexy! (Wink! Wink!)

I gave birth exactly 5 weeks ago and my tummy is all but gone. Well, there's still a little bulge but compared to my two previous pregnancies where I continued to look about five months pregnant a year after giving birth, this rapid shrinking is amazing!!!

I owe this miracle to Wink Ultimate Post Partum Ultra Bikini!
This is a model, not me!

I've been the happy owner of the Wink Ultimate Bikini for more than a year now, but I got it months after Iñigo was born, so I had already slimmed down by then. I used it as a shapewear garment under body-skimming dresses to smooth away my hip fat and tummy rolls. But I didn't really know if it lived up to its promise of rapidly shrinking postpartum bellies.

I never used a binder with my first two postpartum bellies. Well, I did use Belly Bandit in the first two weeks after giving birth to Iñigo. While I love Belly Bandit, it bulks up at the Velcro area so it's visible under clothes. So when I go out, I can't use it lest I look like I have some growth protruding from my back.

For my third pregnancy, I packed both Belly Bandit and Wink into my hospital bag, but my tummy was still too big so I had to Velcro the BB around my belly first. I did this for the first two weeks and then I tried out the Wink Bikini on my still-big belly. After just two weeks' use, my belly is all but gone!!!

What I love about Wink: 

It's super tight but super comfy, too. I didn't wear binders and girdles before because they were hot, itchy, rolled down the curve of my tummy, the metal rods poked, I couldn't breathe, they were near impossible to put on, and when I needed to pee, I couldn't get them off! 

Wink is seamless—no painful rods! So while it is powerful enough to compress my midsection, it also has a bit of give (unlike rods) so I don't feel like I'm going to die. The material is silky and soft so it's very comfy and cool and lets my skin breathe. And it actually looks sexy (see the pics of model above) so I don't have to hide when my husband's around because I look naked (not girdled up!) when I'm in my Wink Bikini.

I love that the thick band at the top is stretchy enough so that it doesn't mark my skin and yet it grips my torso tightly enough so that it doesn't roll down my tummy! 

I also love it that I can attach the Wink Bikini at the side. The hook-and-eye closures run all the way up the side so I don't need to struggle to drag it up my thighs and over my hips and try to squeeze my butt and tummy in, like with regular shapewear. I just wrap it around myself like a bath towel, snap shut, and I'm done! Plus, there are three layers of hook-and-eyes so that I can check my progress (haha) and I can also keep using it the slimmer I get.

Last of all, I love that the crotch can be undone with a few snaps, too. I remember wearing a girdle at my wedding and because I was so busy entertaining my guests, I couldn't go to the loo. When I finally did because my bladder was about to burst, I found to my growing horror that I couldn't take off my girdle! It took some superhuman effort to hold the pee in while I desperately peeled off that girdle. Thank goodness I didn't ruin my wedding gown! 

Is there a con in all the pros? Well, yes. Wink is expensive (it's P4,140 a piece). I actually own just one Bikini so thank goodness it dries quickly when I launder it! But quality comes at a price, ladies. I got comfort, style, and a post-preggy belly that is shrinking so rapidly, people are shocked (I'm shocked, too). People are literally touching my tummy and waist and butt because they couldn't believe I gave birth last month! So buy a Wink garment now, mommies!!!

Wink is distributed by Urban Essentials (like their Facebook page!). You can shop for their undergarments at their website, at Nurture Nook and Medela House here in Manila, and at Modern Mama Baby Shop in Cebu.

* * * * * * *
P.S.
Like me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Instagram
Love me on Bloglovin'

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My tips for traveling with toddlers

I shared them over at this month's issue of Smile magazine.
Click here to read an online copy

Thanks for the assignment, Smile! I loved writing for you!

Smile is the inflight magazine of Cebu Pacific, so if you're flying CebuPac this month, grab a copy! I sure want one!

* * * * * * *
P.S.
Like me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Instagram
Love me on Bloglovin'



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Beauty breastfeeding

Olivia Wilde is on the cover of the September issue of Glamour looking incredible (as always) in plunging peach perfection...

But it's her celebration of breastfeeding that captures the hearts and attention of fans (and more) everywhere:

She tells Glamour:

"It felt like we were capturing that multifaceted woman we’ve been discussing—that we know we can be. You can be someone who is at once maternal and professional and sexy and self-possessed. [But] I mean, I certainly don’t really look like that when I’m [typically] breastfeeding. And there’s usually a diaper involved.”

So so beautiful! And so so true! I love it when celebrities post photos of themselves breastfeeding their children, or, in some cases like with Salma Hayek, she even nursed a hungry child who isn't hers. I know they get flak for that, that motherhood isn't that glamorous. But I really think motherhood is just one aspect of womanhood. We can be "maternal and professional and sexy and self-possessed." We can be anything we want, look fantastic (perhaps not at the magazine-photo level!), and still be great moms!

Glamour is available at newsstands, bookstores and magazine shops. Get a copy now! I sure want one!

* * * * * * *
P.S.
Like me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Instagram
Love me on Bloglovin'

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Dita Von Teese designs lingerie for breastfeeding mommies!

It's Breastfeeding Awareness Week. I've been a breastfeeding mommy since 2010 and I've been hyper aware of all the benefits of breastfeeding to me and my kids. I've also been unhappily aware of the fact that here I finally have these amazing breasts, so full and lush, and I have to put them in ugly maternity bras. The irony! My boobs are finally sexy but they're encased in unsexy things!

So imagine my delight when I saw the Von Follies line, Dita Von Teese's new lingerie collection for Destination Maternity.

The burlesque star told Boston.com, "I believe that lingerie can and should be glamorous and functional. Elegant underpinnings are a simple way to create everyday moments of luxury and beauty, and why wouldn't a new mother enjoy beautiful lingerie, too?"

Yes, why are we depriving mommies, especially breastfeeding mommies, the experience of enjoying her new full breasts when we can all look this amazing?


The best part? She also designed sexy girdles so you can have sexy boobs and a sexy tummy, too! But I'm not so hung up about the tummy shaping bit because I have Wink Post-Partum undies. More about Wink (thankfully, it's locally available!) this week. As for Dita's delightful designs, well, we'll have to buy online and have them shipped here. If I'm going to look as yummy as that, I wouldn't mind the shipping cost at all! Shop here!

*photos from Boston.com and Destination Maternity

* * * * * * *
P.S.
Like me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Instagram
Love me on Bloglovin'