Friday, February 27, 2015

A letter to all moms on behalf of all kids (Very Important!!!)

This is so awesome and soooo funny and made me cry a bit, too. Watch it watch it watch it!



Mommies, so now we know the 10 Things All Moms Need to Know.

Where'd they find this kid?!

Happy Friday! ENJOY THE WEEKEND! Let's all hug our awesome kids and appreciate our awesome life!

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Join Brain Gain to learn how to raise smarter, more resilient kids

My friends RJ Ledesma and Anton Diaz (of Our Awesome Planet) have a new baby project: Our Awesome Kids. This Saturday, the kid-friendly company is holding an educational forum called BRAIN GAIN: How Parents Can Help Raise Smarter and Emotionally Strong Kids! Techniques to Boost Intelligence and Productivity in School and in Life


They are inviting parents, teachers and educators to attend. Here are the resource speakers:

Mary Joy Abaquin
  • Founder of the Multiple Intelligence International School (MIIS) in Quezon City.  
  • She holds a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education from Boston University (Summa cum laude) and a Certificate in Professional Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education Program. 
  • She will speak on the topic,  ‘Increasing Productivity with Better Understanding of Multiple Intelligences.’ 

Cherry Pua-Africa
  • Founder of The World Stage Superstar program, a successful student franchise that started in Singapore. They have trained close to 10,000 students, parents & educators in the top local and international schools across the ASEAN region. 
  • Cherry has a Masters in Education and is a certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) trainer from the American Board of NLP. 
  • She will speak on the topic ‘Motivations and How To Ignite the Fire In Your Child’.

Ms Goh Choon Kim
  • Ms Goh holds a post-graduate degree in Education from the National Institute of Education, Singapore. 
  • She has been actively involved in Singapore Education as a Lecturer and Consultant, working with schools and parents in the areas of cognitive and socio-emotional development.  
  • Ms Goh’s key interest is in neuroplasticity and the impact it can have on schoolchildren and the way they learn.  
  • She will speak on the topic ‘Fundamentals to Brain Fitness and Its Impact on Intelligence.’

Roberta Quiambao
  • of AHEAD Learning Systems, the country’s biggest tutorial service and review center. AHEAD has been recognized as the “Most Outstanding Tutorial and Review Center” and “Most Outstanding Learning Center” by three national consumer groups. 
  • She will speak on the topic  ‘Increasing Productivity with New Study Techniques.’

Jeanette Yu-Co
  • President of BrainFit Studio Philippines, Inc, the leading provider of the most up-to-date and neuroscience-based brain fitness training programs in the country that improve both general intelligence (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ). 
  • She will speak on the topic ‘The Foundations of Success: Fit Brain + Right Techniques and Approach For Learning = Happy Learner”.   

Brain Gain will be on on February 28 (that's this Saturday na!) from 1pm-5pm, at the Asian Institute of Management, Makati. Call now to reserve a slot! It's only P500! All those experts for only P500! Definitely a worthwhile way to spend your Saturday afternoon!

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Friday, February 20, 2015

The 4th Trimester and a baby named Patricia

Helping out a reader (hi Peachy!) who wants you all to join this seminar on coping with the first few months after giving birth.

Yes, coping is the right word. Many of us think that a new baby is just complete joy (okay, it is hehe), but no one talks about the baby blues, the strange body you now have, the incontinence, the constipation, the sleepless nights, the helplessness and isolation, the exhaustion, the fears, the now sexless marriage... It's not all happy-happy-joy-joy in new momma land!

So prepare yourself with this seminar!

More than preparing yourself for a life with a baby, your participation will also help another baby. Patricia Parcia is a perfect baby girl. She just happens to have Severe Larygomalacia (collapsed larynx) and Subglottic Stenosis (narrowing of the throat). What this means is Patricia can't breathe or eat without medical intervention.

There is a GoFundMe page set up by Patricia's daddy, Patrick. He is asking for our help to raise $18,000 or about P800,000. It's a small amount really compared to a baby girl's life, so I am sure we can rally together and donate to Baby Patricia's medical needs.

Click here to go to Patricia's GoFundMe page and learn more about her.

She is frankly so adorable! She reminds me of my Iñigo, with her big eyes and shock of black hair. After last week's health scare when my three baby boys were sick with a cold and cough and I was faint with fear, I can't imagine having to confront what Patricia's parents face every day.

Bless you, Patricia's parents! I don't know you but I am a mother, too, and my heart breaks for you and your baby girl! I am praying for heaven's gates to open for you and pour financial blessings and love and comfort and strength to you and your Patricia. I pray for complete healing for her in Jesus's name and by whose stripes we are healed. Amen!

Please donate to Patricia! Or just attend the 4th Trimester seminar since all proceeds will go to Patricia. God bless us all!

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My village

This is my village.









I began motherhood not knowing what to do, not knowing if I'm capable of the job. I didn't have a mother anymore (but even if I did, Mama never liked kids so...) and all my friends weren't mothers yet. Entering motherhood with just books to guide me was small comfort. Thank goodness for my neighbors!

We were pregnant together, gave birth within months of each other, attended each other's baptisms and dedication ceremonies, watched over our kids at the playground and at home, supported each other when our marriages were rocky, prayed for each other when we were failing at parenting, celebrated when we were succeeding in our careers, our marriages and our mothering. We were there for each other! When that old saying, "It takes a village to raise a child," I think of my neighbors, my Praying Wives ladies, my friends.

Our paths are now taking us to different places. Our schedules are never in sync. The last time we were all together was first week of January, a belated holiday party and despedida because one of us moved away. We are always promising we'll see each other, but we don't.

Our season may be over. The village is breaking up. When we talked about this late one night over at Facebook, we were crying. Did God plan us to be together because we were all new moms struggling to make marriage and career work while being devoted to demanding little creatures? We certainly understood each other and were there to support, encourage, hug, pray, cook, feed each other. I guess, now that we're stronger and better and more sure of ourselves, God intends us to be of help to someone else.

I still don't want the village to break up. These are the women who held me together when I was breaking apart! I can't imagine life without them. But life is moving us away and apart so I want to honor them all. Earl, Claire, Dada, Cathee, Maan, Tricia, thank you for being mommies to my kiddies and a friend to me. I honor you and bless you. May all women have the village we have.


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Sunday, February 15, 2015

What true love means

This weekend is all about love. Valentine's Day yesterday, my husband's birthday today. Love, love, love! I'm happily in love. I think everyone knows that since I like to declare it to anyone and everyone who cares to listen. I'm one of those people who goes PDA online and in real life. It's gross really haha. But I won't change how I share my love-filled life. I'm so proud of it!

I read somewhere that people who are very proud of their relationship status are really unhappy with their relationship status. That's kinda super weird, right? I mean, one can fool himself into thinking he's happy but the other person in the relationship can see through the farce. Like, if I go, "I'm so happily married!!!" on Facebook and Vince knows we had an explosive fight the night before, well, he'd know I was lying. So... that's weird.


You know what's weird, too? I know I say I'm proud of my marriage but I also want to say that nothing has humbled me the way my marriage and our kids have. It's easy to say that my marriage is a success and that I'm a great mom because, well, just look at my life—it's fantastic! But to be very honest, it's only fantastic because a lot of humbling moments come my way every day.

My fantastic life starts every single day with poop. I'm crouched over three little butts, getting poop on my fingers, wiping, washing.

My days aren't full of glamour now. Instead, I'm covered in spit-up, boogers, snot and whatever food the kids wiped on my dress.

When my husband and I fight, no matter whose fault it is, I say sorry.

When I say a bad word or I yelled at my kids, I say sorry.

And this last week, when my husband and kids were very sick, I was hunched over them, wiping snot, massaging backs, giving medicine, hugging and kissing. Then when they have all finally gone into troubled sleep, I was on my knees, crying and begging God to heal Vince, Vito, Iñigo and Piero. 


The Bible says love isn't proud. I used to think that meant you have to be the first to say sorry. Now I understand that love is about service. And you can't serve people without humility. 

Some days, I'm not so humble. I get annoyed that I have to face a diaper full of poop yet again. I get exasperated that my husband wants me to eat breakfast with him when I'm already working. I resent that I'm unwashed, unglamorous and barefoot. I refuse to apologize because I'm right or I'm trying to teach the kids a lesson. When I'm being proud and full of myself, my relationships fail. And I've always believed that no matter how successful you are, if your relationships are a failure, then you've failed in life big time.

So to truly love is to serve, to give up myself and my needs, to swallow my pride, to give and give and give. There's nothing lofty about sacrifice and service, but this I know: When the man I've loved for 16 years tells our kids, "When you grow up, marry someone like your Mama," and when our kids are tumbling all over the house in joy, I know I loved them right. I don't get it right all the time, but as long as I remember to be humble, then everything will be alright.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Why I'm still a working mama

What a lovely January it's been! Well, my entire family's been sick on and off since the holidays (I'm actually still sick as I type this), so that's not the nice part, but barring that, what a lovely January it's been! I met with friends and I had dates with my husband. When I'm home, I'm having fun feeding solids to my youngest boy (he turned 6 months old last month!), organizing my mess, playing with my kids, and letting my husband entertain me with funny stories.

But all good things must come to an end. This February will be CRAZY busy with work work work. I have editorial meetings, photo shoots and deadlines for Baby Magazine, and events and meetings for the blogs. Although I like to whine about how busy I am, I'm not complaining. I enjoy having a career and being with my kids. I am so lucky to have this life!
At a Team Kramer photo shoot. How lucky am I that I can go to work in pambahay and still meet stars? 
At a fashion shoot. How lucky am I that I can bring my kids to work and breastfeed my baby, too?
Paid to shop! How lucky am I that I shop with and for my kids for work???
At a shoot in my sons' new room. How lucky am I that I get to work from home?

Some disagree, however. A few months ago, a reader sent me a letter telling me how she was so disappointed in me. She said, "You became a true inspiration when you quit your job to be a full-time mom. Real mothers stay home with their children!" But then I became market editor of Baby Magazine weeks after Piero was born, and she said, "You are a huge disappointment."

I replied, "Two things: First, I never quit being a writer and editor, and second, what you think of me and how I live my life doesn't matter to me or to anyone."

Suffice it to say that I lost a reader there.

When I left the magazine industry, I didn't stop working. Let me just correct that perception since everyone seems to think I gave up everything for my kids. Like, I made a huge sacrifice. I did no such thing. In fact, I became busier when I quit corporate! I wrote for websites and magazines. I edited a book. Mostly, I became busy with my blogs because they took off like crazy. Then I slowed down (almost to a halt) when I was pregnant with Piero because it was a miserable pregnancy. I missed writing. I think not working made me even more miserable. So as soon as Piero was born, I accepted the position at Baby Magazine and BDJBox.com, and I worked on the blogs.

I don't want to be part of the debate of what kind of mother is the better mother. The working mother or the stay-at-home mom (or the combination of both, the WAHM, which is what I am now). The mother who uses a stroller or the mother who uses a sling. The mother who homeschools or the mother who sends her kids to the best schools they can afford. The mother who cooks or the mother who orders food. The mother who doesn't believe in yayas or the mother who knows she needs all the help she can get.

Of course I have opinions, too, on certain parenting methods. I'm not judgment-free. In the end, though, I've always believed that joyful and secure children have the best mothers. Whatever works for your family (as long as it doesn't harm other families!) is the best kind of parenting. So if what works is for mommy to have a job, then so be it. For many lucky mothers, their job is a source of fulfilment. Full stop. But for most moms these days, a job is necessary. For me, it's both. My writing makes me happy. My writing feeds my family and there is nothing disappointing about a woman who feeds her family.

But I don't just work so I can be happy or because we need the money; I work because that's me. Writing is who I am. If I'm not writing, I'm not me. When I'm not me, I'm lost. When I'm lost, I feel empty. When I'm empty, then how can I give anything to my family?

Three jobs, three kids, no yaya! I'm exhausted and busier than ever. But I'm happy. Thanks always to my husband, Vince, for agreeing to be part of this crazy life!

I like my choices. They all stem from knowing who I really am and being true to who I am. I don't live life pretending I'm happy, or hoping to be an inspiration, or fearing I'm disappointing other people, or trying to meet expectations. I'm free from all that. It's a shit-free life. The only kind worth living!


*first photo by Stanley Ong Photography. It's a test shot. Stan was testing the lights while Cheska was getting her makeup done and the kids were getting dressed.


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Sunday, February 1, 2015

How my life is possible

This post is brought to you by SMART Communications.

"I don't know how you do it."

I get this all the time. All. The. Time.


Whenever people find out I have three little boys and no yaya, they look at me like I have three heads. The answer is simple: I am mostly at home, I have a husband who also works from home, and we have a maid who does the cooking and cleaning. That means there's three of us taking care of three kids. If we really need to leave the kids because we both have errands or work, we leave them with my mother-in-law or I ask my sister to come over and babysit. There's really nothing so incredible about how we do things!


I don't know why people wonder about this since I think we all make our own unique situations work. For example, people think we're against yayas. Oh no, we love yayas! It's just that we don't need yayas now. If my husband and I had to work 8-5 jobs, then we'd hire yayas.

All moms do the same thing! I'm not so special. We all do what we need to do to make life move forward. Some of us moms can take care of many kids single-handedly. Some of us moms need more help, and I will never look down on moms who have a yaya for each kid. We do what we have to do to stay sane! Some of us need family members every day to help out, and then there's some of us who like to do things on our own. Most of us have yayas, drivers, maids. Many of us rely on family. Some of us depend on technology.