Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Halloween costumes at Pottery Barn Kids are sooo cute!

My husband is a little kid at heart. He loves it when Halloween rolls around because he now has an excuse to dress up the boys in costume. He is so cute because he loves making our boys even cuter!  

Last year, the boys were superheroes. Vito was Batman, Iñigo was Spider-Man, and Piero was Superman. We haven't decided this year what they'll be (my guess is they'll want to be Avengers) but when I saw these costumes from Pottery Barn, I was just so delighted! Take a look:
What a cute little kitten!
Baa baa baby!
Cutest shark in the world!
Do they have this in my size???
Unicorn darling!
Enchanting witch.
She's either a butterfly or a fairy. Gave me the heebie-jeebies. Heehee, not a fan of butterflies!
This cute vampire's bodice needs improvement—it looks like a napkin!
Reaching for the stars!
This is actually cool... and kinda scary, too.
An engineer and a train all in one!
Wizarding wonder!

I adore the 2015 costume collection of Pottery Barn Kids! And I love how complete they are—yep, all accessories included. I hate incomplete costumes! You can also add felt treat bags and containers if your kids will join a Trick or Treat event.

Fun fun fun! Now if only that ladybug costume came in my size...!

There's Pottery Barn Kids at Central Square in BGC, Taguig, and at Estancia Mall at Capitol Commons, Pasig. Enjoy shopping, mommies!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Pampers has a millionaire!

This post is brought to you by Pampers Baby Dry.

Mommies, I didn't win the one million pesoses. Yes, we have a winner and Pampers just told me about it! I'm both excited and super inggit! 

Congratulations, Mommy Maria!

Here's what happened:

Maria Felicidad Valdoria went to the supermarket to buy essentials for her family of four. She and her husband admit that budget is tight especially since they had their two kids, two-month-old son Palix Diet and one-year-old daughter Bettina Kateri, in such a short span of time. I can imagine. I mean, diapers, vaccinations—these add up!

But Maria says they don't make tipid on the stuff that matters: “I want my younger child to get the same things his sister is getting right now. In the same way na ayaw rin naming tipirin ang budget para sa panganay namin just to ensure the bright future of her younger brother. We want both of them to get the best that our resources can buy,” she said.

That means Maria only buys trusted brands for her family's essentials. “Trusted brands like Pampers are not only products that we use every day. They help in our children’s development, allowing them to achieve their first milestones in life,” she shared.

I totally agree with her. I'm a Pampers mommy and I have not regretted shelling out just a bit more to buy this diaper. My kids don't have diaper rash, they don't get itchy and uncomfortable, they aren't distracted from achieving their milestones and from their much needed sleep by a yucky, malfunctioning diaper. So thanks so much talaga, Pampers, when you started sponsoring our diapers! 

And I am sure Mommy Maria is thanking Pampers for awarding her kids a million pesos!!!

Super swerte grabe. And nakakatuwa kasi I feel that their family really deserved this blessing. Napunta ang isang milyon sa mga taong hindi ito iwawaldas ba. Sabi ni Mommy Maria, "Simple lang ang buhay namin at ang tanging hangad naming mag-asawa para sa mga anak namin ay mabigyan sila ng magandang kinabukasan. Kaya sobrang saya ko nang malaman kong ako ang first winner ng PHP1 million! This will help us fulfil our children’s dreams!” 

Here's what Maria and her husband will do with the prize: “We will invest it in a time deposit first, para po kapag dumating ang tamang panahon ay magagamit na namin siya para sa education ng bunso ko. Gusto po kasi namin masiguradong mapapagtapos namin sila pareho dahil iyon na ang pinakamaganda na naming maipamamana sa kanila.”

Monday, September 21, 2015

Dear mom to a newborn cutie

The last time I wrote for Smart Parenting magazine was for their September 2014 issue. Yes, exactly one year ago! This year, their September 2015 issue is their last as they take the title completely online. 

Well, it's a changing world. Scary how fast things are changing. I like to see it as exciting. We must always be up for the challenge of adapting to our modern times. 

But some things remain the same: like how overwhelming it is to be a new mommy! Here is my essay in last year's Smart Parenting issue. If you're a new mom, this one's for you:

Open photo in new tab to enlarge it.

My oh my. Reading that letter... How things have changed! I sound like I have the whole motherhood thing down pat! Moms, I'm so not in control now. Three kids changed my attitude. I'm less cocky now. I've been humbled. But I'm also overflowing with love and happiness. Three times of every joy little boys can bring! Oh, what a life! Still, I'm having a bit of a difficult time handling my super full life. But I do still fall in love every single day and I really am having the time of my life!

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Old photos of my #SalesVIPs

If you follow me on Instagram (you don't?! Follow me now! @francesasales!!!), my IG is full of the most adorable people on the planet: my sons! Vito, Iñigo and Piero are the stars of my feed and you can follow their adventures via the hashtag #SalesVIP.

People have sent me emails saying they have created #SalesVIP fan clubs (although I must insist that their Papa and I are the original fans!) and this blog post is for them—photos that never made it to Instagram!

Me and my boys!
Vince and his boys!
The happiest boy ever sits on my lap while his older brothers play on their gadgets. 
Two little monkeys jumping on the bed.
In their spaceship!
These boys make us go bananas!

We have thousands more of adorable photos of our messy, chaotic, un-Instagrammable, un-Pinterastable life! It's not pretty, our life, but it sure is profoundly beautiful.

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Saturday, September 12, 2015

We loved Ready Steady Go Kids!

My friends know that my husband and I are not fans of too early schooling. We think babies should remain babies for as long as possible, and school just makes them grow up too fast. We're heavily influenced by how Finland does it—school starts for kids when they are 7 years old. That's kinda really old!

But since everyone we know were enrolling their kids in preschools starting at age 2, we tried a few times to check if our kids were ready for school. We tried Gymboree, Kindermusik, trial classes at the preschool in our building, and finally Ready Steady Go Kids. How do you know when your child is ready for preschool? Check out this list:
  1. Can they sit still for at least 5 minutes?
  2. Do they listen to instructions?
  3. Can they follow instructions?
  4. Can they be by themselves (no parent or guardian beside them)?
  5. Can they do simple tasks on their own?
When we tried the aforementioned pre-K programs, the boys showed they weren't ready yet. They'd rather play on their own or they needed us to be near them. That's why even though Vito and Iñigo are incredibly smart and social and independent, we didn't enrol them in any preschool. So my friends were surprised when in November last year, we suddenly enrolled Vito in school. "What happened?!?"

Ready Steady Go Kids happened. And we had such an amazing time!

These photos are from last year. Yeah, I never got to blog about it because right after RSGK, Vito showed he was ready for school and then everything just happened quickly—we enrolled him in preschool and I just forgot to blog about it! Plus, I had a new baby last year (hehe I'm so pudgy in these photos!) and we all know how babies take up all our time!

Anyway, Vito tried the sports play program in August last year. He had just turned 4 and yet we still hadn't enrolled him in preschool because he just wasn't interested. Then we tried Ready Steady Go Kids (RSGK) and suddenly he was all fired up for school!

(Click the link in the previous paragraph to know what RSGK is all about.)

But first, this is what he looked like before his first ever day in RSGK.

And this is him a few minutes later!

What a change! Vito really enjoyed all of the activities at RSGK. The running, jumping, balancing, singing, skipping, hopping, kicking, chasing, throwing—everything!

And here's what the boys look like after every RSGK session: sweaty and tired but fully alert! I love how excited they are after every class. Sobrang worth it talaga this program!

I highly recommend RSGK as a preparatory program for preschool and a supplementary activity for preschoolers who go to schools that don't prioritize active play. Playing—and we mean lots of movement!—really helps kids develop their minds, not just bodies. It's more than being fit and healthy. An active body has a well developed core and balance, and this helps children pay attention and stay focused on mental tasks. (Read: Why So Many Kids Can't Sit Still in School Today.) If your kids don't get out much, you should check out programs like martial arts, dance classes, and sports clinics. RSGK is a good one! 

Of course, letting your kids go out and play outside your own house, with the neighborhood kids, for hours on end every single day is still the best and most economical way to get your kids moving but many of us live in the city, in cramped villages or condos, and aren't friendly with our neighbors so we hardly let our kids out. 

Thank goodness we have friendly neighbors! Our boys spend afternoons running, jumping, rolling, wrestling, falling over, getting dirty, and fighting with the other kids. They're sweaty and filthy by the time they come home at 6pm, but the outdoor play really has helped them developmentally and also puts them in bed by 8pm. Hooray!  

Ready Steady Go Kids
Unit 202, Three Brixton Building, Brixton St., Kapitolyo, Pasig City
T: (02) 631-1497
Globe: (0917) 863-0094
Smart: (0919) 993-6189
Email: info@readysteadygokids.com.ph, jp@readysteadygokids.com.ph 
Website: http://readysteadygokids.com.ph/

P.S. Iñigo also tried out Ready Steady Go Kids with Vito. He wasn't officially enrolled but the RSGK team were cool with our then-2-year-old toddler to be saling pusa. Well, he wasn't ready at all! Just look at him doing his own thing!

Silly wabbit!

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A primer on Manulife's Education Builder

This post is brought to you by Manulife.

I have three sons so that means three times of everything—fun, food, toys, hugs, kisses, you name it! That also means three times the costs, especially now that my eldest Vito is in school. Well, it's still just him and he's only in Kindergarten, but we're already paying tens of thousands for his tuition. By next year, when he's in big school and our second son Iñigo enters preschool, too, that's even more money to shell out. Then when our youngest Piero goes to school three years from now... Then when all three of them are in school... Then when all three of them are in college... *faints*

Right now, we don't have an education plan for the boys. What we have instead are investment plans for them. We can use those policies for college, or for their graduation gift, or if they want to travel, or if they get married. Quite flexible!

But we feel the need to get more policies since what we've invested, once they mature 20 years from now, well, let's face it—what we have invested will most probably just pay for one year's tuition fee. Or a semester!!! Yikes! So when Manulife told us about their Education Builder, I got interested. Let me tell you about it and then share with me if this is something you'd get for your own kids, okay, mommies?

The Manulife Education Builder is an investment-linked product. The premiums go to professionally-managed funds that we can use for our children's education years into the future. Here's what I learned about the plan:

Monday, September 7, 2015

Help feed Nathan and bring him home!

This little boy is my neighbor!

He's turning 7 months old on Thursday, September 10. He's a happy little boy. Very malikot and makulit. He is the first child of Archie and Judith Riva, and when Vince and I chatted with Archie today after lunch, he whipped out his phone and showed us pictures of his son. He's very proud of Nathan, and not just because Nathan is his son. He's also proud of him because Nathan is alive even after six major surgeries (the most recent one was just this weekend) and four acute sepsis episodes. His son is a fighter and a happy one, too! Just look at that smile!

Darling Nathan. I had no idea. I was nearing the end of my pregnancy with Piero while his mom was just starting her pregnancy with Nathan so we were pregnant together for a time. I remember being in the elevator with them once and we were so excited. I always wondered why I never saw the baby. I thought he must be with the grandparents. To find out today that he's been fighting for his life for the last 7 months is heartbreaking.

Nathan has short bowel syndrome. Nearly all his intestines were surgically removed and now he has just 13 cms left. Our bodies need the intestines to process our food and absorb nutrients. Nathan is doing well for someone who has just 13 cms of intestines (an iPhone 6 is longer!)—he's super cute and if I hadn't seen the tubes and the hospital logo on his bedsheets, I wouldn't have known he was sick. He's such a strong boy! But every day is a new day of good news and bad news because short bowel syndrome is a serious condition and you never know what a day will bring. So let's pray for Nathan to become stronger and for his intestines to adapt to its new length.

We can also help with his medical costs, which are rising astronomically. I truly hope we can help out his parents, Archie and Judith. Nathan is their first baby and they would like nothing more than to bring him home and see him grow big and strong. We all want that for our kids! I want that for Nathan, too. Don't you want that, too? I'm sure you do!

So let's help Nathan!

Please like his Facebook page: Fight With Nathan. Lots of updates there on his growth and development. Cute photos and videos, too!

Please also visit his website: Go Feed Nathan. Information on how to help with the medical costs is there.

Please share his website and Facebook page so that even more people can help. And please pray for him and his parents. They need our prayers to strengthen not just their bodies but to refresh their minds and spirits, too.

Thank you so much, mommies and daddies! God bless you!

*photos from Fight With Nathan and Go Feed Nathan

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Old photos of Iñigo

Continuing my little series of featuring photos we found in our photo library of our kids, we now take a look back at social media darling, Iñigo. Hehe. Yep, of all my sons, it's Iñigo who gets the most likes. That's because of his huge eyes, curls and kenkoy poses. These aren't my reasons but everyone else's!

I find this amusing because people then assume that he's just as wacky when they meet him in real life. The truth is he's quite shy when out in public and will even refuse to smile or talk to people. He's very much like his father. He may look like me but he's his Papa Vince through and through!

So, for all the fans of Iñigo, here's just a few of what Vince found in his archive of thousands upon thousands of photos of Ingo Bear:

Oh my goodness. What a cuteheart! He's definitely Mr. Personality!

Love you, Iñigo! Continue to be a source of joy for everyone!

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