Sunday, April 28, 2013

OOTD April 27

It's a blurry photo, sorry! Still posting it though because I love how this attire made me feel so young. Teehee! Even if Jojo said I was so 90's, I wasn't too bothered. I wore this to an afternoon at the mall. Cute, no?

Hope you are all having a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Being a SAHM

I am a SAHM, have been for four years now. The hours are terrible and there is no overtime pay. There are no benefits like healthcare. There are no vacation leaves, no sick leaves, no day offs. You don't get to wear nice office clothes; actually, you'd be lucky to get through the day without any clothes mishaps. You don't get to dine out on paydays. There is no office Christmas party to look forward to. There is no yearly summer outing. Nothing.

What you do have are kisses and hugs galore, priceless moments when a child achieves or does something for the first time and sees that you were able to witness it, the satisfaction of knowing what your children are up to, are interested in, and how their day went. You have firsthand knowledge of what goes on in their lives, what their interests are, how they would react to certain situations. The phrase "you are there for them" takes a whole new meaning as you are on hand to witness their activities, mediate in their squabbles, console them when hurt, and cheer them up when sad. It is exhausting work, but the rewards are beyond measure.

I have to admit that I was a sheltered SAHM because I used to have a yaya who helped me out. She was not a full-time yaya since I was still at home taking care of my children, but having her gave me opportunities to take small me-time breaks during the day. Whether it was for bathroom needs or to eat merienda or to watch a show on tv or to take my time doing my errands outside the house, those breaks kept me sane!

The yaya left us more than a week ago, 14 days to be exact, and it has totally changed what being a SAHM is for me. My patience is very thin now and my hold on my sanity is slipping. I am almost always in a foul mood and the slightest things irritate and annoy me lately. The almost unbearable Manila heat isn't helping either. I am tired, sweaty and sticky practically the whole day. I am seriously headed to a burn out. Yikes!

This whole being yaya-less made me realize that being a SAHM mom to an infant and a toddler is very, very hard. I am at wits end and my children make me want to tear my hair off. Thankfully, my kids are cute and they know how and when to make lambing. It is hard to stay irritated when Ally says "I'm sorry Mommy" in the sweetest way with matching big hug and kiss, or when Sofia leans her head on my arm in our love-love way, or when the two of them envelope me in a big girl hug. It is at moments like these when I know it is all worth it.

So yes, I am tired and eager to have a replacement yaya, but you know what? The past two weeks made me bond more with my kids. I know their quirks more now than when we had a yaya, and we are starting to find our daily routine rhythm. It is definitely not easy but I feel so much more satisfied and loved and needed at the end of the day. So much so that I am expecting to receive a really good gift come Mother's Day. Paging Jojo! Teehee!

Monday, April 22, 2013


I haven't been posting much recently. I'm sorry! It's just that it has been over a week (10 days to be exact) since our yaya left, and we still don't have a replacement yet. So it has been only me (with the occasional help from my husband) dealing with the whims and needs of a hyperactive infant and an unusually KSP and attention-seeking toddler.

So please bear with me a bit longer. I hope to be back to regular programming soon.

Weekend Snippets

Here's what we did this weekend....

Tried the Belgian Waffles kiosk at SM Marikina
Cheap and yummy snack!
Had isaw at Mang Larry's in UP
Long queue as usual, but worth the wait
Sunday family pasyal at Trinoma...
... where Sofia started walking on her own at National Book Store.... we went and bought her sturdier shoes at Stride Rite.
We ended the weekend with ice cream for the kids
I really love weekend family fun!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Instagram, Envy and Dim sum

I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram. It brings out all my insecurities and feeds my jealous nature. Seriously, of the seven deadly sins, envy is the hardest to overcome for me. Not that I become so envious to the point of being mean and doing what I can to bring the other down (and consequently put myself up). No. I am more of the I-am-so-jealous-that-I-stop-myself-from-being-content-and-happy type. In the end, I am the one who suffers. Argh.

Despite knowing how Instagram causes me to sin and brings me to misery, I can't bring myself to delete my account and/or stop viewing others'.

Yeah, I must be somewhat of a masochist.

But all envy aside, I love Instagram because it introduces and brings the world to me. I get to see mouthwatering dishes I am interested to try and vacation-worthy places. Yes, there are a lot (and I mean a whole lot) of I-wish-I-had-money-to-buy-that moments, but I try to scroll through them as fast as I can when I know the green-eyed monster is particularly ravenous.

A couple of days ago, several of the mommy bloggers I follow were posting photos of their lunch at Jasmine restaurant in New World Hotel in Makati. They raved about the all-you-can-eat dim sum promo, which at Php600 (+ service charge) was a pretty good deal. The photos they posted looked really yummy to me, and I am no Chinese cuisine fan. My husband on the other hand, can live on Chinese food every day, so I called and booked us for Sunday lunch for our wedding anniversary celebration.

See? I am a total sucker for Instagram (and all forms of social media) marketing. I don't know if I should be happy or sad about it.

Anyway, the dim sum lunch was sulit. The taste, the restaurant ambiance, the service, and the sheer amount of food we ate were all so sulit for the price. Was it the best dim sum I've had? Honestly, no (which reminds me that I haven't written about the Michelin starred restaurant in Hong Kong where we had really good dim sum), but it was definitely better than most of the restaurants we frequent here in Metro Manila. 

Fancy fairy dress for the fancy restaurant

Retail prices of what you can order for the eat-all-you-can
See, sulit diba?
Thanks to social media, taking photos of the food is now the first thing you do once your order is delivered to you
the busog Battung family

Monday, April 15, 2013

Ally's Birthday Weekend

Because one day is just not enough to celebrate a special little girl's birthday, we used up the whole weekend for merriment and fun.

The fun began with shopping for her gift on the eve of her birthday. We let her have her pick of toys, books, clothes or shoes. She chose a Minnie Mouse doll. So girly! I added a tulle dress and a floral rashguard, both so cute and practical. She loved them all.
Matchy-matchy shirts 
Then a swimming party over at my parents' place. It was small and intimate, with just our immediate family. We brought grilled chicken, miki-bihon, cheese sticks, hotdogs, chips with mango salsa, Mickey Mouse donuts and cake.

And lastly, swimming at the waterpark at Clark Fontana. Benj joined us as well as Jojo's friends and their families.

It was a lovely (and very tiring) weekend, and more importantly, Ally had fun with family and friends. A happy birthday indeed!

Sunday, April 14, 2013


On this day six years ago...

I wore the prettiest and most expensive piece of clothing I have ever owned...
(I am a proud Veluz bride)
... and I married my love and best friend.
The future has never looked brighter!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

New World Easter

Since my day's birthday this year fell on Black Saturday, my parents decided to celebrate it instead by having family lunch on Easter Sunday. So we all donned our Sunday's best and trooped to New World hotel.

The buffet spread was good! Walang diet, diet levels! So many choices, including oysters, lobsters, prawns, lamb, roast beef, lechon, and so much more! For my appetizer, I had the mozzarella and sun dried tomatoes salad, which was really yum, and my own concoction of walnuts, almonds, cranberries and dried apricots with feta cheese and balsamic vinagerette, which was amazingly delish. Then I had my fill of healthy Omega-3s in salmon sashimi (my ultimate fave), smoked salmon, baked salmon and salmon and asparagus quiche. I ate them like a glutton but I didn't feel the guilt because of all the health benefits. For my main course I had grilled lamb chops and portobello mushrooms. Then it was off to the dessert selection I go where I was oblivious to the warning screams of my hips. I had a variety of truffled chocolates, strawberry cheesecake, chocolate bread pudding, mango panna cotta and tiramisu.

One complaint - their high chairs did not have seatbelts!
Jojo fashioned a seatbelt for Sofia using his own belt
I could (and would) have eaten more had I not been shuffling back and forth from the restaurant to the ballroom, where the Easter activities were being held. Jojo brought Ally and Sofia there while I ate, but I kept going back to them because it was such a fun environment. I loved seeing my kids bask in all the merriment. My cousin Chini, who works at New World hotel, was helping out with the activities there so we were kinda given extra freebies. (it's who you know, you know?). Ally even won runner up at best costume (even though she wasn't wearing one)! Bummer lang because the winner won an overnight stay at the hotel and, as runner up, we won a plushie rabbit doll. Such a huge difference! Sayang!
Hands-on dads with the kids
Ally getting her prize for second-best costume
Anyway, Ally had a great time! She had her nails done (I allowed her just this once) and her hair styled at the kiddie parlor station. And she got a Princess magazine, Dora and Barbie dry erase boards, a pink pail and a jump rope. from the games booths. Pretty good haul actually. She was thrilled to show them all off to Grandma and Grandpa.
Ally's kakikayan
Ally and Pito also joined in the egg hunt. The 3-6 year olds were placed in a room full of balloons and were given a minute to look for as many eggs as they can find. Here was where Mommy (and Daddy) pressure was amplified. The parents were shouting encouragements and directions to the kids, pressuring them to look for more eggs. I admit, I was one of them. And why not? We were informed that some of the eggs had prizes like an overnight stay and buffet vouchers. But I was stressed more because Ally was so demure and shy. And I think she only got the eggs whose colors she liked; her pail only had pink and light blue eggs.

Oh, and I have to mention that there was a kid there who stole eggs from the other children's pail. Goodness! These were just 3-6 year olds! How can a child so young be so devious already? Buti na lang the little boy did not steal from Ally, baka patulan ko pa siya. I just wonder what kind of manners that little boy is being taught. And it opened my eyes to the reality that bullying can occur even at Ally's age. Yikes! Must be more vigilant to protect Ally and Sofia!
Egg hunting for the 3-6 year olds
We didn't win any significant prize, but we had a lot of fun and we were all stuffed from the yummy buffet lunch we had. We might just make a tradition out of this.

Thank you Grandpa for the Easter treat!

Family photo

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Little Princess

Dearest Ally,

You turn four years old today.


And I'm crying just reflecting on the past four years and how you've turned my life turned upside down in the best possible way.

I look at you now and random memories flash through my mind. I remember the instance when you first smiled and when you said your first word. I remember the sheer panic and helplessness I felt when you vomited all over me after a feeding because I forgot to burp you. I remember laughing out loud when you were barely a year old and already singing the chorus of Justin Beiber's song Baby. I remember your squeals of delight when you first rode a bike, when we brought you to Disneyland and you saw Mickey Mouse for the first time, when you played at the water fountains in Singapore Zoo. I remember the apprehension I felt when you first attended school, how proud I was when you didn't cry like the other kids, how sad/happy I was when you entered the classroom without glancing back at me. I remember how I smiled when you talked so fondly of your classmates and what you did at school that day. I remember how I fought back tears when I watched you sing and dance onstage at your school program and when you went upstage to receive your award on moving up day.

All these memories still are crystal clear to me, as if it only happened yesterday.

How did time fly by so quickly?

You are my baby, but you now talk (non-stop) about nail polish and up shoes (what you call high heeled shoes). You know make up terms like eyeliner, lip liner, lipstick and eye shadow. You don't want to have your hair cut short and refuse to have bangs ala-Dora, which used to thrill you when you were younger. You are very opinionated on the clothes and shoes you want to wear. You get very picky about the colors and style of the clothes I buy for you. You love Disney princesses and the colors pink and purple. You love wearing dresses and you hold one side up like a princess when you go down the stairs. You are now, in all essence, a little lady, a very prim and very girly little lady.

I feel my heart breaking a bit, saddened at my baby growing up so fast. Come June you will already be studying at a big school and will definitely be moving on from your life that used to revolve around me almost exclusively. Before I know it, you'll be refusing to be seen with me in public and I wouldn't know what goes on in your life anymore. My heart is aching with the mere thought of it.

So my dearest Ally, bear with Mommy a bit when I hug you extra long and extra tight. Bear with me when I always want to hold your hand even if we are just seated inside the car or lazying on the bed. Bear with me when I shower you with incessant kisses throughout the day. Bear with me as I try to get you interested again in kiddie stuff like Dora and Pocoyo. Bear with me when I refuse to buy you up shoes and when I forbid you to put nail polish or make up on. You are growing too fast for me, and my heart and mind can't seem to keep up with you.

Ally, you have and will always be a delight to me, my number one source of pride and joy. You have so many, many wonderful sides to your personality, it is hard to detail each and every one of them. All bias aside, you are an amazing little girl.

You amaze me everyday with your wit. Oh how you make me laugh so hard with your quips and one-liners! You think fast and you have excellent comedic timing. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that you come up with them all on your own. Grandma wants me to compile them all and have it published. You are that good.

You amaze me with your intelligence, how quickly you learn and how much you desire to learn more. You love doing homework and worksheets at home and you always beg for more. You listen attentively when I teach you something. And you absorb everything, including song lyrics, like a sponge! Seriously, you hear a song a few times on the radio or on TV and and the next thing I know, you are already singing it on your own. You know more song lyrics than Daddy does, and I am not even exaggerating.

You amaze me with your sense of responsibility. You are a mini-mommy to Sofia and to Daddy, always looking after them, making sure they are okay and that they are obeying Mommy's rules. I love it when you say things like "Daddy, don't do that again" or "Daddy, be careful next time" or "Sofia, that is not good" or "Sofia, Mommy said no". Daddy sometimes complains that you are a killjoy like me. That's okay baby. It only shows that you are disciplined and you already know at such an early age what is proper and not proper behavior. It is an amazing trait, and one that we are very proud of, despite Daddy's grumbling.

You adjusted very, very well to being an ate to Sofia. There were a few moments here and there where you seemed to compete our attention by being KSP and OA, but you never took it out on Sofia. I always see you hugging her and kissing her and seeing to her needs. You share your toys with her and tell her stories. You teach her all the songs you learn from school and you also demonstrate your latest and craziest dance moves. You are such a sweet and loving ate. Sofia is so lucky to have you.

You amaze me with your creativity and artistic talent. Your drawing and coloring skills are really very good, and you love to create and decorate any artsy project. Teacher LA said that she and the other preschool teachers always get you to color or to decorate whenever they have a card or a poster to give out. And you loved doing what they asked of you. That is why they awarded you with the Creative Cat award at your Moving Up day. Well done! One slight problem though. You have so many beautiful artwork, it is so hard to choose which ones to keep!

Further to your creativity, you also amaze me with your imagination. It is an absolute delight to watch you play by yourself. You entertain yourself with stories and dialogues that actually make sense. Sometimes you put on a cooking show and sometimes you have a mini school with all your Barbies lined up. Sometimes you pretend to have a make up demo, and sometimes you are a little mommy disciplining your babies. You tend to stop and get conscious when you catch someone watching you, so I have to be sneaky just to be able to see you let your imagination let go.

You amaze me with your independence. You love doing things "on myself" and more often than not, we let you. You are a self-reliant little girl, and I am so proud of you for that.

And most of all, I am amazed at how kind and compassionate your nature is. You are innately good and how you care and take care of other people is way beyond your years. Auntie Clemen often says that you are "parang matanda" because it is so true. You think and act way beyond what is expected of a normal 3-going-on-4 year old. So I tend to treat you like a grown up and expect much from you. Daddy had to remind me on several occasions na bata ka pa because I do tend to forget that sometimes when I get angry or frustrated at you. But Ally, know that you are living up to and have constantly surpassed all my expectations of you. It is actually a wonder that my heart hasn't bursted yet from all the pride I have for you.

Yes, there were times (okay, maybe one too many it would seem) that I was too strict or too hard on you, pressuring you to do something or be someone you are not comfortable with. I am sorry baby. I can't promise I won't go all Tiger Mommy at you, but I will try to allow you to be your own person, to set your own pace and pave your own path. Note the operative word, okay? I will try. And if it would seem that I am losing that battle, please know that I am like that because I care and love you too much. I want you to be the best version of yourself, and I will nudge (and push) you to what I perceive to be the right direction. At some point in the future, I know we will butt heads about this, but I am sure this is part of a mom's job description. Sorry.

Thing is, you are very shy and cautious. You tend to absorb your surroundings and observe the people around you before you are comfortable enough to let loose and be yourself. But you still always hold some part of yourself back. Very few people have seen how vivacious and funny you can be, how you talk non-stop, how amazing your dancing and singing abilities are, how you enjoy entertaining us with your model poses and antics, how so kulit you can be. If I have one wish, it is for others to see and know the Ally that you show your Daddy and me. Then they will understand (if they haven't yet) how utterly unbelievable and amazing you are.

Other than these, I have very little complaints about you. The times I got mad at you, usually mainit lang talaga ulo ko and I got annoyed by your kakulitan, which on any other day would have entertained me. Sorry for my impatience and short temper.

Happiest of birthdays to you, my little princess. May all your wishes and dreams come true. And may love and happiness always be abundant in your life. You deserve nothing less and nothing but the best.

Mommy loves you very, very much!

PS. Been having problems uploading photos so I will just post the text now and add the photos when I can

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April Blues

It is just the second day of April, and so far the month hasn't been all that good to me yet.

Yesterday, all I did was pay bill after bill after bill. Ugh. It was such a depressing adult chore. I tried to look at the silver lining - that I have enough money to pay all of them - but it didn't cheer me up all that much. Sigh.

And then I barely slept last night. It was a really dumb move to drink coffee at 6pm after surviving the whole Lenten season without it. I guess my body wasn't used to the caffeine anymore so I stayed up the whole night regretting my decision. I finally fell asleep at 630am, but was woken up by my two adorable little girls at a little past 8am. 

And then just now our sort-of-new (she started just last January) househelp told me that she would be leaving us by the end of the month. Yikes. This means change again, and I really have problems dealing with change. I am already dreading how lost and unbalanced we would feel until we find a replacement and how we would need to adjust our routines and ourselves to a new person in the house. Oh, and Ate Gina (the help who is leaving) makes super yummy pork sinigang, which is my favorite viand. I will surely miss that when she leaves.

And to think April is one of my favorite months. We have several special days in April - Ally's birthday on the 5th, Jojo and my wedding anniversary on the 14th, my sister's wedding anniversary on the 20th and my parents'wedding anniverary on the 22nd. 

So please, April, be a lot nicer to me in the days to come. Please!