Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Storytelling Story

When Ally's teacher sent a letter asking for parent volunteers at school, I couldn't volunteer fast enough. In my mind, all SAHMs do that and I'd finally feel legit! Then I realized I have no toddler-marketable talent! I can't play an instrument or teach them a song. I can't do a cooking demo. I couldn't check anything in the list included in the letter except for storytelling, which is essentially just reading a book out loud. Goodness me! Some kind of a SAHM I am!

Anyway, I still volunteered. Kapal ba? I just wanted to do something for Ally. I was surprised that Ally's teacher scheduled me for a date in November and even provided the book I'd be reading. Boy was I nervous! Sure I read often to Ally and she enjoys them. I've read to my nephew Pito a couple of times and he seemed to enjoy them too. But a whole class of 3 year olds is a different thing altogether! I mustered all my kakapalan and accepted the challenge.

The days leading up to storytelling day were nerve-wracking. What if the kids booed at me? What if they don't even bother to sit down to listen? What if I am such a lousy storyteller that i'd just embarrass Ally in front of her friends? Gosh, I was so tempted to chicken out!

Then I remembered what my sister told me, that in order to stop my mind from thinking useless thoughts, I need to keep my hands busy. So I googled simple crafts relating to the theme of the story Mouse Mess, the book assigned to me, and I found a relatively simple one even a newbie like me can make.

I originally planned to do the mouse treats when Ally took her afternoon nap on the day before my scheduled gig (I've wanted to say that for so long!) but she was so eager to help, I couldn't say no. It took an hour longer than estimated but it was twice as fun!
My little helper :)
Little mouse treat 
I almost had to cancel on Teacher LA because Jojo had an asthma attack the morning of my gig (seriously love saying that!) and I had to make a run to Mercury Drug. I even sent a text message already. But traffic wasn't too bad and Ally and I were able to make it to school on time. In retrospect, I think Jojo's asthma attack became a sort of blessing (to me at least) because I didn't have time to be nervous.

My gig (this is the last time, I promise) was at 915, and Ally and I were at school by 830. So I just waited in the next room until Teacher Kim came to fetch me. This was it. It's show time!

I entered Ally's room and encountered 9 tiny little faces sitting quietly and just staring at me. Teacher LA made the introductions and them I started reading the book. The first two pages went smoothly enough. The kids listened intently and they seemed very interested. They even answered my questions. And then I guess they felt comfortable with me already because they started telling me all sorts of little tidbits, like "cheese is yummy!" and "I ate cheese yesterday" after I read the word cheese. Cute kids no? After we finished the book, I gave them their mouse treats which they put inside their bags excitedly.
Photo taken from www.nestph.wordpress.com
I felt an odd sense of accomplishment after. I put myself out there and I got over my initial nervousness. And I actually enjoyed myself. I was thinking of all these and then the kids presented me with a giant thank you card they had made for me. Aww. Heart melted at the sweetness of it all!

So, there you have it, my storytelling story. Thank you Teacher LA and Preschool A for the lovely experience. I would definitely volunteer again if given another opportunity.
Photo taken from www.nestph.wordpress.com
Thank you card

Thursday, November 22, 2012

On Weaning and (Extended) Breastfeeding

Do you remember the Time cover on extended breastfeeding where the mom was nursing her 5 year old son? I remember it well because it sort of touched a nerve. You see, I was still breastfeeding Ally at that time, and she was over 3 years old then.

For some reason, our society applauds breastfeeding until a year old only. When Ally was 2 and people found out that I was still breastfeeding her, I got curious stares. When they found out that I was still breastfeeding her at 3 years old, their looks made me feel so uncomfortable, like I was doing something bad. I stopped telling people that we still breastfed, like it was some dirty thing to be ashamed of. Besides, I told myself it was none of their business anyway.

It's not like we didn't try to wean early on. I had wanted her to wean Ally off when she turned 2 but she wasn't ready yet. I even asked my sister's friend Sylvia, who is a breastfeeding counselor, on tips how to wean a toddler. Her first question was if I was ready.

That stopped me. Was I ready? Yes, there were times I wanted to reclaim my time (and my breasts) back. I wanted to wear nice normal bras and not the boring nursing bras. I wanted to wear shift dresses and tank dresses, which were so not breastfeeding-friendly. But when Ally cries out for milk, I still drop everything to rush to her. I just can't bear hearing her cry out for Mommy milk knowing I am still capable of giving it to her. So no, I was not ready.

Ally was obviously not ready either. To her credit, she only breastfeeds to lull her to sleep. It comforts and calms her. So it was easy for us to limit breastfeeding to nap time in the afternoon and sleeping time in the evening (both done in the confines of our bedroom so it was not as scandalous as the Time magazine cover). I tried to go cold turkey on her a couple of times but her cries were so gut-wrenching, I couldn't let her (and myself) go through all that trauma.

It was a challenge to tandem breastfeed the two girls when Sofia came. It physically drained me of so much energy and left me with very little me-time. But I consciously didn't make an effort to wean Ally off. thought it would affect her psychologically if I deprive her of Mommy milk and then she'd see me breastfeed Sofia on demand. No 3 year old would see that and not feel unwanted and insecure.

What I did do was to limit Ally's breastfeeding time. From drink-until-satisfied, I trimmed it down to 5 minutes, then 3 minutes, then 1 minute, until she was down to 3 seconds. I doubt if got to drink much milk, but at least she knew she was not being deprived. I was confident there would be little to no effect to her psyche.

It worked for us, and Ally self-weaned three days ago, at age 3 years and 7 months. I am so proud that she made the decision for herself, that she did not have any trauma whatsoever. I am glad I took the effort to just encourage her to wean and that I did not force it on her. I was rewarded by such a mature act. She just told me that she "won't drink Mommy milk anymore because I am big na." Those were her exact words. I am teary-eyed as I am writing this because I am just overwhelmed with so much pride at her maturity.

It is bittersweet, knowing that my baby girl is all grown up. While I look forward to seeing her blossom even more, I miss just holding her and watching her breastfeed. I think that is why I was able to breastfeed for such a long time. I really enjoyed those bonding moments between us. I know we can bond in other ways, but breastfeeding was our special thing. I miss it already.

My advise to moms out there is to ignore whatever other people are saying. Breastfeeding is between a mom and the child and no one else. Only you can decide when you are ready to wean. Don't let society's idea of normal/appropriate weaning time dictate on you. Breastfeed until you and your baby are comfortable with it, until you and your baby are ready to give it up. A good ending makes the whole experience worthwhile.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

To My Cutie Pie Sofia

I still can't believe that you turn 6 months today. Was it really 6 months ago that I was getting so impatient with you, since you chose to spend all of 40 weeks inside me? Was it really 6 months ago that when you finally decided to make your grand arrival, you came out so fast, our OB-GYN almost missed out? As cliche as it may sound, time does fly when having fun, and we really had an amazing time getting to know each other these past 6 months!

Let's start from the beginning, shall we?

You were a tiny little girl at birth, weighing just below 6lbs, just like your Ate Ally. So it was a surprise to me that you were already in our room when they wheeled me in. Our pedia did not allow Ally to be roomed in with us before, you see. And apparently, St Luke's has now made it mandatory for all babies to be roomed in. So having you in the room was a pleasant surprise that I was totally not prepared for. And because you were so tiny, the nurses recommended that we carry you as much as possible so as to regulate your body temperature. I spent the better part of those two days in the hospital cradling you in my arms because for some reason, you didn't like being carried by Daddy. You were such a cute little bundle that I didn't mind the extra carrying time all that much.

It took me a while to adjust to being a mom of two because you and Ate Ally practically competed for my attention the first couple of weeks. One of you would demand my attention just as I was beginning to entertain the other. It happened so often that I was sure it was not a coincidence. As thrilled as I was that you both want me by your side, I was thankful when your "territorial war" was over, or at least didn't happen as often as before. I love you both and I will do what I can to make you both feel secure in my love for you.

Aside from your "territorial war" with Ate Ally, we also had a few problems come nighttime. You didn't like sleeping inside our room the first month. I guess you found the room too cold. We tried sleeping with just the fan on, but Ate Ally and Daddy couldn't sleep well. So you and I slept in the living room your first month at home. Then as you were gained weight, it was easier for you to stay in a cool room. Now, with all your insulation (aka taba), it is harder for you to sleep in a warm room. Oh, and you started sleeping through the night at 7 weeks. By this I mean you slept for more than 8 hours straight. Well done you! And I thank you so much for this big achievement. No more sleepless nights for Mommy! Yay!

One thing I love most about you is that you always smile when you wake up in the morning. Its the first thing I see each morning and I love, love, love it! Despite this, you do have a more serious disposition compared to your Ate Ally. I think it is because you take after me and that you tend to observe and absorb your surroundings more. But when you smile, it is always a full-on 100% smile. I still believe you are a happy baby, and nothing pleases me more than to see your smile, except your giggle, which always makes me laugh.

There are times though that I call you Deely, which is short for De Leon. Why? Because you, my dear, have inherited most of the infamous De Leon traits - strong-willed, assertive, independent and brave. A true lion! And boy do you roar! You make sure that you get what you want. And during the rare times that you don't, you don't cry. You scream! Your screams get so loud that wherever we are, all (and I do mean all) people within earshot look at you and immediately give me either a pitying look or an is-she-abusing-her-kid worried look. It is hilarious in retrospect but oh so embarrassing at that moment. And as young as you are, you have already mastered the De Leon "death stare", as popularized by your great-grandma Mamang. There are times when I worry that you are already showing too strong of a personality (read as hindi nagpapatalo) but another way of looking at it (and one that I choose to do) is that I know for sure you will not be a pushover when you grow up and that you will not be bullied ever.

Another thing fascinating about you is how you persevere in mastering a skill. Before you learned to roll over, I watched you try and try and try for a couple of days until you finally were able to do it! You didn't give up and you hardly got frustrated. You simply took little breaks in between each try. Well done, little girl! You will achieve so much with this trait of yours!

You fell off the bed the morning after you first learned to roll over. Yikes! Thankfully, we just sleep on a mattress on the floor so the fall wasn't quite scary. But being the amazing girl that you are, you gave Daddy and me a huge smile as soon as you saw us looking all worried and scared. Thank you for that dearest Sofia! To date, you have fallen off the bed a total of 3 times. Sorry! But aside from your love of rolling over and over, you are just too malikot when you sleep! More often than not, you never wake up in the same location you were in when you slept. This has given me quite a number of scares already since you weren't were you were supposed to be when I checked on you in the middle of the night! I sleep in between you and Ate Ally on a queen mattress, and I tell you as early as now, you two are so malikot, I barely have room to move and sleep peacefully! But, just like your Ate Ally, you stop wiggling the moment I hug you, as if you finally found the perfect position. It warms my heart that you regard sleeping in my embrace the perfect sleeping position. So sweet! 

You have already started babbling and talking the past few weeks leading up to your 6-month birthday. Your first word (and I dare anyone to tell me otherwise) was Mommy at 5 months. You are also a very talkative baby and I already enjoy your delightful ramblings. I know the day will soon come when you would talk to me non-stop about your daily adventures. I am sure I will enjoy those just as much.

You don't have teeth yet, but you're in the stage where you put everything in your mouth, from all your fingers to your toes to your toys and Mommy's shirt and necklace (don't worry, I stopped using metal ones and bought a couple of cloth necklaces which you can drool on as much as you can. It can be washed and be ready for more of your seemingly endless drooling). Even the tv remote and our room curtains do not escape your notice and have ended up in your mouth more often than I would have liked. And when I remove these from your mouth, you give me such a naughty little smile, which of course makes me smile too, and then you put them back again. I think you are already trying to ascertain the boundaries to which your cuteness can exempt you from liability. As early as now I already know without a doubt that your cuteness will bring you very, very far! 

Now that you are a bit bigger, you love playing with and alongside Ate Ally, and she absolutely dotes on you! You enjoy each other's company so much that I need to put you in separate rooms just to get either one of you to sleep. I don't mind this slight inconvenience because one of my dreams is for you two to grow up to be the best of friends, and I can already see you forming sisterly bonds. 

In 6 short months you have blossomed from a tiny sleeping/crying baby to a talkative crawling chubby sweet little girl. You grew up so fast, I am now scared to even blink and miss out on so much. I want to be beside you to cheer you on and celebrate your each milestone and each achievement. Mommy loves you so much Sofia, and I am already looking forward to getting to know you more and more!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

National Bookstore Warehouse Sale

I am usually one of those people who buy Christmas gifts throughout the year and just keep them in storage until it's time to wrap them. I get to save a lot of money (last minute desperate shopping is really expensive) and I get to shop for myself during the sales leading up to Christmas (so selfish, I know). Normally I buy gifts when I travel abroad so my gifts still get to be sort of unique. This year however I didn't get to travel at all because of my pregnancy for the first half of the year. Then Sofia arrived and traveling with a toddler and a newborn/infant doesn't sound so much fun. So by the first week of November I was already in panic mode because I haven't bought anything for anyone yet.

Then I read about National Bookstore's warehouse sale in their Quezon Avenue branch. At first I thought that they would just gather all the unsold items in their previous sales, but since I live barely 15 minutes away, I thought it wouldn't hurt to have a look-see. Boy, am I glad I did! The sale was amazing! The discounts were jaw-dropping and the selection was really good. Let's put it this way, the books were even cheaper than Book Sale prices and they were clean and brand new. Some were still even wrapped in plastic cover.

I arrived at the store around 3pm on its first day (Thursday). The check out line was really, really long by then and it was the first thing I saw when the elevator doors opened. A normal person would just have turned around and walked away. But I am not normal. I am a complete sucker for discounts and this was book heaven for me!

It took me less than 30 minutes to get more than 30 books, which I plan to give to about 18 people. That's 18 people checked off my Christmas list, ah-may-zing! So I looked for the end of the check out line and queued up. It took 30 minutes on the line for me to lose my patience. The line barely moved and the books were so heavy my arms were aching by that time. I looked for an alternative (while the nice person behind me saved my spot) and found that the cash lane was much, much shorter. So I looked at my haul, went down to the first floor (the sale was on the 4th floor) to withdraw the amount I needed and moved to the cash lane. There was 15 people before me. I stayed on the cash lane for about 45 minutes and I moved about a foot or so only. By that time I was running very low on patience. I checked to see what the hold up was and saw that the cashier was doing the receipts manually, as in she would copy each item's code on the receipt and add up the total on a desk calculator. Shocking! I realized then that it would take maybe 2-3 hours before my turn. Yikes! I didn't want to wait that long, but I wanted to buy the books so bad! Good thing I overheard a girl talk to a NBS employee about having her books stored and coming back for them on Saturday. So I went about having mine arranged for storage too. It took about 10 minutes to talk to a clerk and have my box of books stored. I told him that I would come back first thing Friday (today) morning.

This was my view of the entire place from the cash check out lane
I went back to NBS as soon as I dropped off Ally at school this morning. There were about 20 or so people already by the entrance by the time I arrived at 845, and based on their conversations (I am so usi, I know), most also came yesterday. The guard finally let us into the building at 915 but told us belatedly that the warehouse sale won't open until 10am.

Are you kidding me?!

All of the people there, me included, were outraged at this inconsiderate display of incompetence. Most of those who arrived first were senior citizens with very short tempers. The guard couldn't give us an explanation and it took forever before the manager faced us. Her explanation was that they closed up pretty late yesterday so they decided to open an hour later than scheduled. I understood that, but it boggled my mind that they didn't even put up any sign to inform anyone of the change. A lot of tempers flared, and I tried my best to keep calm and talk without raising my voice (the Amalayer incident was too fresh on my mind).

They blocked off the escalator going up to the fourth floor using a room divider
When they finally opened the fourth floor, main concern was my box of books which was stored the previous day. Thankfully, the clerk who helped me was on duty and helped me locate my box and bring it to the cashier for payment. I got and paid for my items in under 10 minutes. Yay!

I could have left already, but the neat piles of new books lured me back. I went one last round after I left my paid for items with the cashier, and picked up another 15 books. It was excessive, I know, but the prices were so cheap I felt almost guilty not to buy them. Thankfully, there was still no line at the check out counter and I was able to pay for my new haul stress-free.

With my two trips to the sale, I get to cross out 26 people on my Christmas list at a fraction of the budget. Yeazzzz! I was so happy I was practically skipping to the car!

My loot
The sale runs until Sunday evening. If you love books and have some extra time on your hands, I suggest you drop and check the sale out. It is definitely worth it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


My mom just sent me a message. She was able to buy all my bilins for the girls. Parang ang dami when I say that, but it's only 3 pieces - 2 for Sofia and 1 for Ally. Yay! Thanks for crossing your fingers for us.

Now I just need to buy them regular tees and pants. Off to the mall! :)

Monday, November 12, 2012


I am so psyched! Since my last post, I have booked not one but two vacations for the family! And both will be to cooler climates so we can finally get our jackets and scarves out from the deepest corners of our closets. Yay!

Now, I already have several outfit ideas in mind, and I am so proud to say that I don't need to buy anything for me (as of now but that can change later on). Tipid na, challenging pa because almost all attires will be somewhat of a new style for me. I will take major advantage of this opportunity to try out less boring styles. Excited!

The girls's wardrobe on the other hand are a different matter altogether. Sofia doesn't have any cold weather clothes at all, and Ally has outgrown most of hers. I am itching to go to the mall to shop for them but that will have to wait until later this week. You see, my parents are in the States right now and it just so happened that Old Navy is on sale for outerwear. How lucky right? The sale is only until the 12th so if my mom gets to buy the ones I emailed to her, the girls would be all set. So my fingers are crossed right now and I'd appreciate if you cross yours for us also.

I won't post my choices here but I will put a few of those that are cute but didn't make the cut either because of the price (coz I am a cheapo), color (will not complement the girls's existing clothes) or the fabric (too thick). If luck is on my side, you would see my choices when I post my daughters' outfit shots anyway.

Wool-blend Empire Peacoat
from $34.94 now $30.00

This is so cute and would match Ally's new Zara boots. It is wool blend so it might be a tad too warm and the price is above my budget too!
Ruffle-cuff Wool-blend Coat
from $34.94 now $17.50

Cute for Sofia but also a bit too warm

Bow-tie Hooded Peacoat
from $24.94 to $20.00

I love this coat but it wouldn't complement the girls's current wardrobe
Lightweight Heart Quilted Jacket
from $24.94 to $15.00

I squealed when I saw this because it is so adorably perfect. Ally's size is out of stock already. :(
Bow-tie Cardi
from $19.94 to $9.97

Another squeal-worthy find but it  is also out of stock for Sofia's size. :(

Cord Sherpa-line Jacket
from $29.94 now $25.00
I don't have a baby boy but I want to put this in because it is so cute!

Are these adorable or what?

All images taken from www.oldnavy.gap.com

Friday, November 9, 2012


Lately, friends and family have been receiving good news or are making advances towards their dreams. And while I am happy for them, I have this unshakeable sense of sadness for myself. You see, all my dreams are for my children. I seriously have no major dreams for myself. Try as I might, I do't know what I want to do or what I want to achieve for myself. Depressing!

What are your dreams? Care to share them with me? I need some ideas!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Post Sem Break Plan

Ally has been off school for the past three weeks - assessment week, PTC week and Undas break. So I have been busy trying to entertain her at home. She doesn't like being cooped up for a long stretch (who does?), and it has been a challenge dealing with her boredom. Thankfully, school resumes tomorrow (yay) and I finally get some much needed free time for myself (double yay).

One project I have lined up will be to tackle this mess that is my cabinet. As you can see it is overflowing with clothes, accessories, make-up and other junk. My estimate is that about 25% of these still have tags on or haven't been worn, about half barely fit my post-pregnancy body and I only regularly use roughly 25%. Embarrassing, I know.

I plan to trim this down to things I actually use and sell the ones I don't. I even borrowed my mom's mannequin so I can take better photos of the clothes that I will be selling on eBay. It is going to be a huge task to sort the clothes, take photos of them and list them one by one, but I know it will be worth it. As it is now, I barely have closet space and it takes me ages to find what I am looking for in this mess. What money I make from this, I vow to use to buy only basic/classic wardrobe staples. No more junk, please!

Wish me luck, okay? And remind me to post photo updates!