Saturday, June 30, 2007

Getting Spoiled

MC wont go to bed without being massaged with the massage ball. She simply refused to.

And I am wondering what I did wrong? I know, of course. We have been using the massage ball for three consecutive nights -- taking turn in giving us both massages. I introduced it to her because I wanted to relieve a muscle cramp, specifically on my nape. Since she was the first person I saw, I showed her how to do it, -- rolling the ball gently but with a little pressure around the body, from shoulders to palms and nape to soles -- and she had a good time. But she had a better time when I did the ball massage to her.

I admit, this is a great nighttime ritual, but not every night. Especially since we just finished a long playful 10 minutes run. I am simply too tired. I wanted to just close my eyes and sleep. And her comes MC saying, 'Mama, we need to do the massage, or else sleeping wont be so relaxing.' Oh yeah :-)

Angel Meditation

Here is an Angel Meditation shared by Audrey.

You may ask someone to read for you while you do the meditations or record your own voice. Use this meditation to refresh your mind and body. Have fun!

1. Start by taking a deep breath.
2. In your mind's eye, visualize that angels have placed a large basket in front of you. The angels stand beside the basket, and they ask you to put anything that is bothering you inside of it.
3. See and feel yourself placing all worries you may have about money, career, home or possessions into the basket.
4. Next put any concerns you have about your body and health.
5. Then, place any conflict you've had with anyone into it. Follow this with any feelings of hurt you have had in any relationship.
6. Put any guilt. Put everything in.
7. Then place any fears that you may have about your future.
8. Take any hurt feelings, anger or resistance that you may have.
9. If there's anything else bothering you, please place them into the basket now. Hold nothing back. Put everything in.
10. Notice how light your soul and body feel now.
11. Watch as the angels smile at you as they fly-away carrying the basket. They take all your worries and your fears and bring them back to the Heaven. Here, all of your challenges are worked out perfectly by God, Jesus Christ and the angels.
12. Give thanks to God, Jesus Christ and the angels for this help. From now on, accept their help knowing that you deserve it.
13. Give yourself a big smile and know that you are being loved and protected by the holy angels.

Check out her fascinating site at www.audrey-anata.com

Sweet and Funny

This has been tickling my husband's funny bones ever since. He urged me actually to share this. So here is a story that is both sweet and funny :-)

Our opa, afraid that both kids would get hungry during our long flight to Manila last year, decided to take matters in his hands. He woke up real early to buy something for the kids and drove straight to us, presenting his gift proudly.

We were still busily stacking our large luggages into the car's compartment when he arrived. He came and went, just enough time to leave his package. We took turns hugging him goodbye and thanking him. Never knowing what was in the package.

When we were on our way to the airport, my husband suddenly remembered the package. It was when he noticed how it felt so soft in his hands that he peeked inside. And then he laughed, shaking his head with wonder.

The kids started yelling, 'what, what, papa.' I also had to ask him to take a deep breath and share. Still ticklish with laughter he said, 'opa had given us a bunch of fresh German wursts to bring in the airplane.' That got me into laughter, even my bro in law who's driving us to the airport.

The kids simply wanted to have their wursts and bite on them. It's a nice, sweet thought -- only, it is verboten to bring fresh meat inside the plane. My bro in law had to bring home the package. We didnt tell the opa, of course. (Unless, if he would be reading this blog, oops)

First Letters


MC can now write her name, all alone -- without looking into her alphabets or without asking. She's learned how to write our telephone numbers and to dial it, too -- all alone. We are proud parents, ehem!

Actually, she can already write her name since last year, but with help. Now, she's so happy to learn writing her name alone, that it is her 'homework' to learn to write the names of all her playmates without anybody's assistance. And she's doing a good job about it.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Where is the cheese?

We were invited to my in laws for lunch today. I picked up the kids earlier than usual from kindergarten as my in laws would want to be sitting on the table when the clock strikes twelve noon. We were trudging up the road to my in laws when we saw the opa already waiting for us in front of the gate. (You guess right, it was already 12:15)

Oma is once again serving her favorite recipe: noodle with tomato sauce (spaghetti actually). This is a top hit not only with the kids, but for the whole family, yes, including me. Everything was ready - the table was set, the sauce is cooked, the noodles' al dente -- but, where is the cheese? Opa searched and searched, opening cupboards, cabinets, the freezer, the ref, etc. He even looked in the garbage bins, nothing. I helped by going around the house and trying to follow oma's footsteps, even in the bathroom and the toilet. Nothing.

Where is the cheese? I surmised, the oma may have eaten it or have already mixed it within the sauce. But we cannot even find the plastic wrapper. Anyway, we ate and got off the table, still wondering where the cheese is. Opa took another turn in finding the cheese, but with no success.

Time to wash the dishes. Opa and the kids were playing outside. The plates were piled the used pots and pans gathered. Then oma took off one of the pan's lid, and lo and behold -- the cheese was lying in there. Oh, we both had a good laugh. Oma laughingly leaned on the window and told the opa her discovery.

He laughed louder when he heard that the cheese is back. I dont know, how did we miss it? Imagine, we looked for almost 30 minutes for that pack of cheese. Only to find it a few minutes after finishing our lunch. Lesson learned: Spaghetti is also good without cheese :-)

Just Wondering...

You Are 33% Vain

Okay, so you're slightly vain from time to time, but you're not superficial at all.
You are realistic. You know that looks matter. You just try to make them matter less.
How Vain Are You?

So I got my answer, no more wondering. Fact is:

1. I only use a mirror longer than 5 minutes if I need to put on my contact lenses.
2. A few seconds glance on a mirror would be enough to apply a lip balm.
3. I only have a glitter blush and a lipstick as beauty accessories.
4. I started using night and day cream only a few years ago - when I discovered how harsh the European climate is to Asian skin!
5. I have a dozen nice clothes and I love shoes, especially boots.
6. I only got my bag addiction in control a few years back :-)

Oh well, am I woman and I enjoy being a woman. So, let's go shop!

Yesterday's Long Day



Photos: 1- the bank's kids' corner 2- Papa's office 3- getting busy 4- at the cafe 5- in front of the dry fountain


Since the kindergarten was still closed yesterday, I had to bring the kids with me to Darmstadt where I am scheduled to get vaccinated. Thus, instead of an urgent doctor's visit, it became another fiesta on the road.

I was rushing the kids so we can be on the 10.49 am train, I really thought we could make it, not without solving a big problem first -- MC cannot find the right jeans to wear! She had to try on at least five pair of jeans, before finally ending up with the first pair of jeans she had tried on. Oh well!

Managing to clamber up the 11:53 am train, both girls proceeded to raid my bag to search for snacks. My mama bag didnt disappoint. I had brought with me some cereal balls and a bottle of lime water. They munched freely until our stop, around 35 minutes later, at the Hauptbahnhof (main station).

As soon as they saw the bakeries, they lined up for a pretzel each. I had a laugenstange (pretzel stick). The pretzel they divided into two - one shared between the two of them and the other one for the doves. We then rode the bus going to the city.

And what greeted us as soon as we climbed out the bus? A big carousel, more kiddie rides, candy stalls, souvenir shops, clowns, music -- opps, my husband didnt tell me that there would be a big fiesta in the city today. The kids', of course, lapped up the party atmosphere, while my shopping list became longer! Because city fest means the stores are all offering bargains, too. Yum!

For a change, the kids agreed to visit their papa in the bank first. We reached the bank and the kids shot off, when I got to them, they already discovered the kid's corner. When papa came, we then gamely went up to his office floor. (Time to show off the family, huh)

The kids started asking for papers and pens. I got to finally sit down and relax. But not for long, as I promised McDonalds for lunch today. Papa joined us in the arcade, but only to pay for our lunch. He jokingly asked me if he should cancel my cards before I started my buying spree again, haha! I told him no need for I'd shop faster than he can say 'cancel.' He knows me well, mein schatz.

Therefore, to try if the cards were not cancelled -- I bugged the kids to let me shop a bit. We went to Orsay, I wanted to check if I can use the 5 euro gift certificate I got as a birthday gift. On bargain items, no way. On buying 'not' sale articles? Big no way for me. Off to Esprit (while the kids are agreeable). Clogs are on sale, more than half the original price. But no more on my size, sigh! And I saw a red raincoat (another bargain item), but the only size left is not mine. Another sigh!

Decided to drag the kids next door to Zara; here I found bargain shopping paradise. I started digging and searching like crazy, and the kids started playing tags like crazy, too. I cant have it all :-) Before the kids get hurt, as they are almost taking over the place, I took three items and gave them my card. Card is ok!

Then went to the Thalia bookstore, where the kids got to play hide and seek on the kid's corner. I played with my Palm to kill time. Then a little before 3 pm, we had to meet the papa again. It is time for my shot. We walked to the meeting place, where a large carousel stands. Had to let the kids ride, of course. They wanted to catch the strolling clowns, too, but it rained. Good thing we are still within the carousel ground.

When papa came, it was not raining anymore. We walked to the doctor's clinic, got my shot and the papa left us again with a bit of cash in front of a cafe (oh I have money, but when he is generous, why not?). IC got ice cream, MC a cheese cake and I got a joghurt cake - and we shared a bottle of coke.

After the snack break, we went back to the shopping area. The kids had to buy hair bands and they got DVDs each (on sale for 1.99 euro). Then we scoured the toy area before a toilet break. And I discovered with glee, that the kids's corner in the department store where we are is right in front of a hair salon. Yipee!

I got the kids busy with pens and papers (they are also sitting in front of a tv) and went inside the salon. It is really my day, because I dont have to wait to be serviced. I told the kids where I would be sitting, just in case. (I am actually sitting facing them.) The frisuer looked, touched and examined my hair. Would I want it so short, would I need the basic wash and cut, etc. I told her that I leave it to her better judgement as long as it would be 'wash and wear.'

Wash, shampoo, wash, massage - then cut. Wow, it looks better. Another question, do I want to blow dry my hair alone or should she do it? I told her, to do it and to show me how to style it. That I chose not do blow dry my hair costed me 8 euro more, oh so it is here in Deutschland.

She gave me a tip: a hair gel serves only to dry our hair, so she used a styling cream. Aha, I didnt know that. I paid, but opps, one more question -- do I want to buy the styling cream that she used on my hair? Hmm, okay, I agreed. I dont know why I said that, when my first reaction was 'what for?' I calculated the styling cream would cost me only around 5-6 euro more (it was 9.30 euro). I got my cash out and handed out 40 euro with tip. And here, I was planning on spending only at least 20 euro for a hair cut!

Anyway, the kids approved. We left the department store as the kids wanted to play with the doves outside. Instead, they chose to play in front of a dry fountain while waiting for the Thai restaurant to open. Yes, it is already dinner time.

We met papa in the Thai restaurant, had a great dinner and walked to retrieve our car and drove home. Really, yesterday's a long day. Kakapagod, hay!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

MC's Growing Up

Photo: MC's bed.

Oh my, my little five year old's growing up.

Here are MC's blaring signs of growing up:

1. During her gymnastics class this week, she told me that I can leave her alone. I dont have to wait nor do I need to come and pick her up. She would walk home together with another classmate from gymnastics. As the gym is only two blocks away from our house, I dont find it a problem.

(Am amazed about her decision, of course, but I let her. But not after talking to the other girl, who's already in second grade, I cant help but instill to the older girl that she must take care of MC because then she would be the oldest (protective mom!). I also informed her gym teachers about it. And I waited outside, straining my neck, of a glimpse of the two girls walking home.)

2. Whenever we are driving home, she would ask to be be dropped off from the corner of our street as she would want to walk home alone. This she's been doing since two months ago.

3. If we are out on a stroll, she would prefer to walk alone on the other direction, meeting us in front of the house, as we proceed on her unchosen path. She's been at it since early this year.

4. This I noticed lately; every morning, she's been folding and hanging her pajamas alone before changing into street clothes every morning.

5. This morning, she woke me up and cheerfully informed me: 'Mama, I woke up at 8 pm (she counted the grandfather clock's gong sounds), made up my bed, went to the toilet, opened the blinds and made some artworks for one hour -- all alone. Mama, it is now 9 am.' Oh, that woke me up real fast! And I rewarded her with a big hug and told her to stand straight so I can see how big she really is now -- she grinned and said 'almost reaching the roof'. This is true, but because we were in the attic that time :-)

My little girl's growing up.

Let's see. Because when we were outside, walking to the train station this morning, we saw a couple of teen-agers cuddling. I noticed that she smiled and averted her gaze. Then I teased her by asking 'do you think you would be cuddling with someone, too?' She didnt answer for a long time and in a very small voice said, 'no.'

I told her I was only teasing her. We started to laugh and cuddled a bit.

A Letter of Love and Encouragement

I wrote this letter to two good friends after hearing that they are in the midst of a dire situation - the husband was almost on his death bed and I know that the wife would be needing someone to talk to and both would need more love for them to keep on holding on.

During that time, I felt for them -- because I asked myself, what if I am on their shoes? Thus, emerged this letter. I wanted to know that we are there for them, despite the fact that we cannot be there to hold their hands or to offer a shoulder to cry on. (I did manage to call them a few times.) I hope they wont mind that I am now publishing this letter, because maybe someone, somewhere, could be in need of the same words and thoughts right now. I removed their names to protect their privacy.

January 2007
Dear ___ and ___,
Happy New Year – This must be said despite all the challenges that both of you are facing, because in the end, am sure, it would only get better.

THE HUSBAND:
We are sorry to hear about your condition, but we are also appeased by the fact that you are taken cared of, not only medically but also because THE WIFE is by your side. I guess having THE WIFE is enough to heal you, right? Hey, you are a strong man, a man who enjoys life, dear THE HUSBAND, so I am sure you would also be moving around, soon! I can’t wait to hear that you are better. Laugh your way out of the hospital, dear THE HUSBAND. For a man who loves life, and who loves to laugh like you, this would be an easy feat. Especially as you have a woman who loves you so much.
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THE WIFE:
You are doing well despite this challenge. I am sure that your strenght comes from the fact that you know how THE HUSBAND loves life, and how he loves you so much. These times would just cement your love for each other. And please know that a lot of friends are here for both of you. Despite the distance, please let us know what we can do for you. For now, we are offering prayers and words that we hope could build hope and a better look in the future. More love, more joy, more peace, better health for both of you.
Take care!
With much love and prayers,
P.S. Let us know when you are ready to party. Maybe we can visit you or you can come and visit us.

What Were You Thinking

Mitchteryosa tagged me and I am playing...

What Were You Thinking when you first met your current main squeeze? (husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, significant other, sex partner, WHATEVER!)
We met in December 2000 within the crowded and busy Don Muang International Airport in Bangkok. My first reaction was 'oh no, I am right, he's not the man.' Curious reaction right? That's because our love affair started because of a mistaken identity. I mistook him for someone else. That's a story for another blog :-)

He was expecting me (the right one) at the airport though. He's sweet (not just because of the dozens of chocolates her presented to me) but because I warmed to him as fast. He's got no pretentions, he gave me a hug, as if we know each other for a long time (discounting the fact that we have only met). Then easily made me feel welcome by asking first about me -- if I am tired or do I need a drink or do I want to eat something -- when it was him who was sitting for 14 hours in very narrow plane seat.

That first meeting took us to a short trip to the airport coffee shop, where we chatted a bit. Then he brought me home before he continued on his four-hour journey to the resort where I work. What was I thinking? That he's a nice man, so I let myself go for a ride on a 'let's and wait and see' mode. Wrong man but right decision. We've been happily married since 2001 - after a whirlwird romance.

Now I am curious about the stories of Sleepless in Stockholm, Liza's Eyeview, Schroochchronicles and Thoughts on Transitions -- please share them!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My Sexy Mom Points

Here's for all the sexy moms... (in support of the original sexy mom who's blogging at The D Spot)

I believe that being a sexy mom not only focuses on one's physical attributes, but it is just another modern mom's sweet disposition. Thus, I feel sexier when:

1. The kids admire my clothes.
2. My oldest daughter protested about my decision to sell a pair of boots to ebay because as she said, 'she would like to wear them when she's bigger.'
3. My husband smiles at me across a crowded room.
4. The kids run into my arms when I pick them up in kindergarten.
5. My husband gives me 'hello' and 'goodbye' kisses.
6. The kids give me a big hug and a peck on the cheek, unexpectedly.
7. I get a call or an SMS or an email from my husband.
8. The kids hold my hands. My husband hold my hands.
9. My husband calls me 'Mein Schatz'.
10. The kids call me 'mamawah'
11. My husband calls me 'mamawah'
12. The kids eyes search for me when they are busy playing.
13. My husband cooks and cleans for me.
14. The kids tidy up their room without being urged.
15. I get flowers for special occasions.
16. I receive flowers for no special reasons at all.
17. The kids need the 'tabo' mama to wash.
18. I hear 'I love you's being thrown to me.
19. My husband buys me clothes too sexy for me :-)
20. My husband says I dont need to smear anything on my face coz I am already pretty (ehem)
21. And especially when the kids think that I can always cure their hurts!

At marami pang iba. What would be your sexy mom points? Come on, let the people know what it takes to be a sexy mom.


Hurtful Words

Kindergarten is closed for two days, starting today. Thus, I've asked a friend to bring her daughter to play with the girls.

This morning, expecting to stay longer in bed, we cuddled and played and giggled together -- warm in our pajamas. Then the phone rings, MC's playmate from kindergarten called, asking if they can play together. Giving the phone to MC to decide, I reminded her that another friend is also coming later this afternoon. Of course she excitedly said yes, nodding that she would be back by noontime.

After a hurried cereals with milk and joghurt for breakfast -- MC's playmate rang the doorbell. And off they go. Fast forward --- at noontime. With her sister, we walked to MC's playmate's house to pick her up. But as soon as she saw us, her smile grew into a frown and she yelled, 'I dont want to play with ____ (the name of the other girl). I have already played a lot and I am already tired,' she continued.

I told her that what's she's saying is not good. After telling her to calm down, I asked her to pack her things and that we'll talk at home. All along, she kept on repeating that she dont want to play anymore.

Arriving home, I then told her that she was saying hurtful words. And asked, 'Would you also want to hear that your friends dont want to play with you anymore?' She shook her head and said no.

'Then you should also not say those words,' I stressed. She looked at me and nodded, with her big eyes.

As I am writing this, they are happily running around in the garden.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Mini Ballet Recital

The kids' ballet classes presented a mini ballet recital today. IC, at first so excited, didnt join in. She wont even change into her ballet dress. Basta ayaw nya lang. Oh well, forcing her would not do anything and tantrums are verboten --so we let her be. IC participated as an audience. Here are the first group of 3-5 years old, showing off playtime ballet. Oh boy, they had a fun time. Despite being distracted by having people around, they danced with enthusiasm though sometimes showing off ended into shrieks of pain and protests, as limbs collided. That simply added cuteness flavor to their recital, though.

And the next group of 5-7 years old, trying very hard to keep in rhytmn and in formation and to keep up with what's left and what's right; the hand, the feet, the toes and the fingers and oh, heads up, shoulders straight, etc. Well, they are doing good - getting better! Learning a bit of French, too. The ballet dancers of the future, hehe!



My Secret

I laughed aloud when I heard my father-in-law saying to me one morning, 'Dont talk to that woman,' referring to one of the grandmas' in front of the kindergarten. He admonished me further, 'she's antisocial.'

He dropped us off in kindergarten. Of course, I said good morning to the 'anti-social.' My laughter is because, I have a secret.

That particular grandma was labeled anti-social because she never really smile nor look one in the eye, nor try to say a simple good morning or a hello, nor make a small grunting noise of acknowledgement, not even a blink of an eye. She comes in the kindergarten, picks up her grandchild and then go. Never mingling. I noticed that, though that didnt stop me from sending her smiles and greetings every time I see her.

But I never really thought that she's been known in the small community as anti-social, until my father in law pointed it out to me. I think that the people simply didnt give her a chance. She is anti-social, thus, she remains as such to most people's eyes. She's ignored and people doesnt even acknowledge her presence in most gatherings.

Her frowns and silence didnt deter me though - I already promised myself that everyone would get a smile and greetings from me. I accept, it is disappointing not to get a smile in return. But hey, there's another smile coming my way, I am sure of that.

And my secret? That grandma thawed. We never really talked, but now she's throwing me smiles. Secret smiles. I dont really know when she decided that I do deserve a smile, all I know is that, she's smiling in return. And I think I also saw her wave her hand when I saw her driving away a week ago.

Oh, thawing time took more than a year, but hey, it's worth it.

After all, must I also be labeled anti-social during my early years in Deutschland, never knowing a word of Deutsch and thus, left in silence whenever the crowd overwhelmed me with their strange dribble of words?

Am I anti-social because I was too shy to open my mouth for fear of saying the wrong words? Am I anti-social because I wanted to enjoy my thoughts instead of mingling with the party animals? Am I anti-social because I prefer to read my book while waiting for my kids to finish their after school activities instead of storytelling with the other moms?

There are indeed a lot of reasons why people are labeled anti-social. But the fact is, they are all in our heads, all imagined. Let's kick the word anti-social out of the dictionary by greeting everyone with a smile :-)

My Bike

(My almost unbiked bike is standing next to the small training bike)

I have a bike
My bike is black

It was a gift
for my 36th

Biking I have missed for 20 years
The thought nearly brought me in tears

The fear is there
But I must conquer

Because the kids
On their bikes await

Should I stay
Or should I sway

Sway I did
Fear I had

Swaying, swaying
Finally stopping

I used the break
But I had my trek

Right in front of me
I found the trees

Awah, ouch
Ouch, awah
(Aray ko po)

I looked around
Nobody behind

Luck or
Fluke?

Dont wanna ride
who want's my bike?

P.S. My hubby's still pushing me to go biking, but he seems not to understand that I'd rather walk! Hmmp.

Vicks Vapor Rub Against Cough

Here's for M.

As kids, the most common cold and cough homemade mom remedy was and still is -- rubbing Vicks Vapor-rub at the back and chest. At home, that's always been the first thing done before even thinking of going to the doctor. I got this interesting forwarded message and I wanted to share it now.

The Canada Research Council discovered that to stop nighttime coughing in a child (or adult as some found out personally), simply put Vicks Vaporub generously on the bottom of the feet at bedtime then cover with socks.

Even persistent, heavy, deep coughing will stop in about 5 minutes and stay stopped for many, many hours of relief.

Works 100% of the time and is more effective in children than even very is extremely soothing and comforting and they will sleep soundly. The research council is not even sure why.

The report was heard over the radio, when the head of the Canada Research Council describe these findings on behalf of their scientists when they were investigating the effectiveness and usage of prescription cough medicines in children as compared to alternative therapies like accupressure. This guy talked about why cough medicines in kids often do more harm than good due to the chemical makeup of these strong drugs.

It was a surprising finding and found to be more effective than prescribed medicines for children at bedtime, and in addition, it has a soothing and calming effect on sick children who then went on to sleep soundly .

Someone tried it on herself when she had a very deep constant and persistent cough and reported that it worked 100%! She said that it felt like a warm blanket had enveloped her. Her coughing stopped in a few minutes and believe me, this was a deep, ( incredibly annoying!) every few seconds uncontrollable cough, and she slept cough free for hours every night that she used it.

So, if you have children, pass it on, if you end up sick, try it yourself and you will be absolutely amazed by the effect.

P.S. I havent tried this myself, I need to find a vicks vapor-rub first. Though having vicks rubbed on the chest and the back were always an effective cough reliever for me.

Enjoying the Rain


The start of the summer season, but what's greeting us almost everyday here? Rain! Wet, wet wet!

It is taking longer to wake up, the kids wanted to stay warmly cuddled in bed. And they are becoming too lazy to move, the kids wanted to be driven to and from kindergarten -- even asked for longer tv hours and computer hours! I cant blame them, it is really damping a good mood.

But hey, I used to love the rain (remember, no umbrellas?). But home was then in warm Asia. And I did promise the kids that they would have the chance to play in the rain. Think, think, think.

This morning, I definitely told them, we are going to walk. Despite the rain, yeah. They got their rubber boots and put on their rain coats and went out with umbrellas in the hand. (I've decided to carry their backpacks). MC asked me, 'mama, when we go home from kindergarten, can we step on the puddles?' A positive answer was greeted with cheers.

Then IC started singing and we joined her, waving our umbrellas around. That echoed the mood for the long walk to kindergarten. Even the strong wind that caused our umbrellas to almost fly out of our hands, didnt deter our fun. It only tickled the kids to shrieks of laughter. They didnt even mind being wet (they used to hate walking around wet, or else they would demand for a new set of clothing right there and then)

See, the rain need not always dampen our moods, it also refreshes.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Walking Yes, Hiking? Hmmm...

This is always a bone of contention between me and my husband -- that I do love to walk, instead of driving; and yet with hiking, I always find excuses.

Looking into it, I am really not so sure why.

I can shop and carry a ton of grocery home, no problem. But hiking up and down hills or mountains, with both hands swinging free -- doesnt feel the same.

I bring the kids to kindergarten, we walk. We visit oma and opa which would involve going up a steep hill, we still walk. But hiking to opa's veggie and fruit garden on the mountain, I detest, despite using the same path, although longer.

Maybe because my idyll hiking is finding a rest stop in the middle of nowhere - a restaurant - to drink, to eat or even just an ice cream stall. Ala-Pinas baga. Because after that rough exercise, I'd expect that. A restaurant we cannot find here in the woods - you'll find a huge hut with a picnic area, or a playground, even benches on surprisingly, seemingly unwalked paths. But no restos!

Isnt it obvious now why I favor walking? Because I can steer my feet anywhere -- either to window shop or have my bags filled with surprises or simply to munch along the way.

Resisting Umbrellas

Walking the kids to kindergarten this morning almost turned into a screaming fit again for MC. It was raining, and we would be walking, therefore - we would need our umbrellas. Simple, right?.

IC had her backpack and her umbrella, all set to go. I have my umbrella and am also set to go. MC wont accept her backpack (She said I must carry it for her) because she must hold her umbrella. Of course that wont go, IC's got both with her and she's younger than her.

We compromised -- she's got her backpack and she'd be walking with me, sharing my umbrella. Problem solved.

The thing is, I used to be someone who always resisted bringing umbrellas anywhere. I hate bringing umbrellas, period! Come rain or storm or hails -- never will, I told myself. I would rather brave the rain or cuddle up with a jacket or stay still under strange havens -- than bring an umbrella. I find umbrellas uncool, bulky, a hindrance and they just get always left behind.

My mom should see me now. I am sure she would be happy to know -- when it rains, an umbrella is my best friend. Now, who is this little someone beside me resisting umbrellas? She reminds me of someone.

Home Alone


Photo: 1- my cool reward 2- finished chore

A Sunday, and I am home alone.

I kissed my husband and kids before they went hiking, waving enthusiastically and wishing them a great time. Hay, finally, alone! What to do? Relax with a book, watch tv, take a nap or take a long luxurious bath? Hmm...

But first I need to clear up the breakfast table. I rinsed the plates and utensils and put them into the dishwasher, which I had to turn on as it's already full.

Then I had to tidy up in my kids' room, as they got interrupted from sorting their toys. No more sortings, actually.

Then I picked up the laundry basket (also full) to bring down to the laundry room. Nope, I resisted the call of the washing machine!

I turned on the cassette tape and Side A's Joey filled the air with 'Foolish Heart' (complete with crowd hysteria (Side A Live - The Anniversary Concert). Singing along heartily, I declared, time to groove.

Alright! Then I grabbed the iron board, the iron and the items to be pressed - party time! I let Side A dictate my moves, and loved the cheers of the crowd, -- press, spray, press, spray - hang the clothes, (while singing along) and the rhytmn continues -- feeling ko ang galing ko mag plantsa ba!

After more than an hour, I'm finished with ironing. And I had to interrupt Side A from crooning 'Forever More' - no more for me. (Because of an ironing overdose, even managed to blog about it, huh!) Then a small break, that was the blogging period.

Time to put away the ironed items - which brought me into the kitchen, the dishwasher's finish. Had to clear it up, opening and closing cupboards -- putting the plates and utensils into order. Huh, another break, I think.

Chose the ref this time - a cool break, with ice sticks! Sat myself in the terrace while devouring it in a few seconds. Now what, still silence.

Finally, got to put my feet up and read a book.

(Kids and husband came a few minutes after though!)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Toys R Us



Yeah, right - toys r us, indeed!

MC suddenly decided, that with cries and screams, she would have the rest of her Barbies back. How she remembers one or two Barbies from at least a dozen of Barbies, fails me. Basta! She pointed to one of the boxes on top of her cabinets, and said, 'you placed them there!' That stumped me really, I dont remember putting the Barbies in that particular box.

Then came the compromise - I told her to sort out their toys first, choose what's to remain and what to toss out; then I would either donate them, sell them in ebay or throw them away. Or else, the Barbies would stay in the box.

She opted to sort their toys, under the eyes of her little sister, IC. I gave them a laundry basket to put in the 'dont need' things. They started out with enthusiasm, tossing away most of the things that they saw in the first drawer. Even those that I think, they would actually hang on to.
But gradually, they refused to let the rest go. Maybe they got tired, it is after all, a big job. But then, they scrambled to rescue some things in the laundry basket, too.

'What's happening,' I asked them! 'Nothing', they said, it's just that they decided they wanted to keep everything after all.

The Harvest



Our backyard veggie garden is starting to bear some harvests. Cocktail tomatoes and garlic are slowly sprouting. While in our small green house, the tomatoes are almost ripe and the chives are still coming. There are two small melons hanging; but the cucumber are being eaten by the snails and the parsley's suddenly dying. We dont really know why!

And in our opa's veggie and fruit garden on the mountains, my husband and kids took a hike in that direction today, and found zucchinis and tomatoes were ready to be plucked. They took them home. Thus, our dinner tonight consisted of; barbecued spareribs with grilled zucchinis spiced with powdered chilli and tomato salad (with chopped onions, salat and olive oil to taste).

But the cherry and the peaches, although still hanging on the trees, were already damaged by the continuous rain. I guess, we cannot expect anymore cherries or peaches on the table. A pity!

Ironing Made Easy

I would always remember when my nanay was here for a visit and my husband went out of the house with a creased short pants and she admonished: 'Hey, I am sure the iron would be running after you.' Oh, that made me and my husband laugh; but that made me think, too. 'Am I remiss in doing my wifey duties?' Ouch. That started my love-hate relationship with my iron and ironing board.

I learned something and I want to share them. I am not dishing out an expert guide here. With the principle of using the good and ignoring the bad - here goes:

1. Try to follow a regular laundry schedule, thus, follows, a regular schedule in ironing, too. I do my laundry at least 2-3 times a week. And the ironing, once every fortnight. ( I dont follow the common principle of doing the laundry and then ironing right after, sorry!)

2. If possible, use an ironing board pad that is silicone coated, it makes clothes easier to iron. I have an easy glider that really fits my ironing board.

3. Although I have a steam iron, I havent learned how to use it right. I still use the reliable spray bottle instead. So, good for you if you have mastered the steam iron :-)

4. Before starting, make sure everything that you need are within your reach: the items to be pressed, the iron, ironing board (already adjusted according to your specification), a press cloth to use for lacework or to protect sensitive fabrics, the spray bottle and enough water (or distilled water) on the side.

5. Sort the items to be ironed according to their required temperature. This would depend on the fabric of the article you are ironing. Most of the irons come with the instructions printed on the temperature switch. Otherwise, you may need to acquaint yourself with the 'how to' pamphlet of your iron.

5. Check if the iron soleplate is clean. And make sure that all the clothes to be pressed are free of dirt and are not soiled or else you would be left with a permanent stain. And never touch the iron's plate to check if it is hot, try to press the iron on the ironing board instead, then you would know.

6. I iron shirts from the collar area, into the cuffs and sleeves, the button hole area and then pressing the rest. With pants, I go from the waistband down, then placing them lenghtwise in the ironing board, smoothing both legs together and ironing them by lifting one leg to reach the crotch. Turn on the other side of the leg, and do the same thing.

7. Carefully fold or place the ironed clothes in hangers to avoid creases.

8. Avoid doing your ironing when the kids are running around, too dangerous.

9. Never leave your iron plugged or hot and unattended.

But do you know what I consider to be the real 'ironing made easy' thing is'? By buying wrinkle free clothes. You might need to shake them into shape right after being laundered and have them in hangers, but hey, that keeps me free from the iron board. The wrinkled fabric is good, too -- just dont forget to bunch them up after washing to keep them wrinkled.

Happy ironing - if I am allowed to say that :-)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

An Angel Prayer

A high school batchmate shared this Angel prayer which I am now sharing to you...

Hi... I just want to share this prayer to improve your luck and to bring good fortune in your life...

Archangel Raphael, send me the Winds of Change, and hear my plea,
Blow misfortune far from me.
Archangel Michael, send me the Fires of Sun and golden flash,
Burn my misfortune now to ash.
Archangel Gabriel, send me the Cleansing Waters, to flow this day,
And wash my misfortune clean away.
Archangel Uriel, send me a Solid Earth, on you, I call,
To bar my misfortune with your wall,
So that it cannot crawl or creep
Or reach me while I am asleep.
From misfortune, set me free
As I will and so it be!

Check out her fascinating site at www.audrey-anata.com

Household Help Hosting

Do we really need a cleaning woman? I am asking this question now, after having at least three different house helps in five years.

My husband used to volunteer to clean the house, but having MC changed that. My husband would rather spend quality time with her, but who would mind the doubling chaos at home? We thought that having a cleaning woman would be our answer.

The first one was a married woman from Turkey. She is still the cleaning woman for my sister in law. She lives near our house, which was a real good point. She works hard, too. Only, she woudnt touch the bathroom and the toilets. My husband would then be spending at least two hours once a week to make the uncleaned parts of the house sparkle.

Then came IC. He absolutely wanted someone who would be taking care of the whole house this time plus, the ironing. We cancelled the service of the first one, but not after making sure that a replacement would be coming in.

This one was recommended by a friend. A married woman from Poland. She's better, as she goes through the whole house systematically. We are satisfied with her ironing, and even spends time to baby sit the kids. They even called her Tita. I dont want to let her go, but health problems made her quit. Or maybe because she's recently acquired a Mercedes Benz? I dont really know, but her driving a luxurious car made me always smile. Imagine, a cleaning woman driving a chedeng? Only in Deutschland.

Before she left, she introduced a married woman from Yugoslavia. Ok, I am desperately in need of a help. The woman is only 18 years old and was in her first quarter of pregnancy. Oh no, I didnt know that when I agreed to meet with her. But since she pleaded on me to help her (her hubby have no regular job and she's got a two year old kid plus another one on the way) -- I accepted her, despite her having no previous experience as a cleaning woman. The main reason I accepted her: I wanted to help her.

Wrong decision. I had to show her all the ropes, again and again. I had to remind her what to do, again and again. I had to clean after her. I had to tidy up after her. Oh, she does a good job babysiting the kids. But I do need a cleaning woman after all. After deliberating for a long time and arguing with my husband (he kept saying I am a softie, which I am, hay!) to give her a chance -- I had to say goodbye to her. I had to agree because my husband presented a strong case against having a cleaning woman who is pregnant. After all, she's dealing with strong cleaning chemicals and she would be running up and down the stairs. Too risky.

But I did give her toys and baby clothes and bottles and whatever they would be needing for a start up baby kit. Plus, in our storeroom, awaiting their next visit -- are more clothes and toys.

For now, awaiting the next household help candidate, my husband and I are trying to fix things up between ourselves. And I notice, cleaning together as a family is more fun. Is this just the novelty of it or what?

On Supermarkets




Not our usual day for doing the grocery, the late Saturday afternoon, but we must go. We skipped Friday because we had a full day. And we took off a bit later today because the house must be cleaned and it was raining cats and dogs.

Not surprisingly, the veggies and fruits were not so fresh anymore, and the stocks left something to be desired. Some shelves were already empty, too. But, the long lines were there --in both supermarkets where we usually buy our basic needs.

Let me tell you something, in Deutschland, the stores are open from Monday to Saturday usually from 8 to 8 pm. And now, some enterprising companies are extending the opening hours until 10 pm (see photo). I am waiting for them to open 24 hours, would it happen? I dont really know.

When I arrived here in 2001, the stores were open only until 6 pm on weekdays and until 2 pm on Saturdays. I usually get panicky-- especially for someone like me who's used to stores being open anytime of the day! I dont think in terms of closing times, but on impulse and needs. Culture shock talaga.

It gradually changed in the last 4-5 years. A welcome change. The closing time were extended. And in some special days, Sundays or Holidays meant, business as usual, too. Oh, throngs gathered whenever a special Sunday is announced -- a carnival atmosphere -- actually, a real carnival. The streets would be colorfully decorated, kiddie rides would appear in every corner, exotic stalls would emerge and the sound of music, the smell of food and clinks of drinks would cover the air. I love these special days, too, for it means, extended hours would be extended further.

In some areas, they are not so strict with the closing time anymore. But the rest of the country would have yet to follow.

Sigh, I still await the day of a 24 hour shopping. Not online, mind you.

French Fries


French fries tastes better in Mcdo, or not? Not with my husband, at least. He would rather buy the potatoes, do the ritual of washing, cutting, frying and salting them himself.

He would never be a fastfood guy, my man. Oh, I admit, it tastes better, not so fatty. As long as he's the one doing it, I am giving him the thumbs up. As for me, I have the frozen thing in the freezer. Just in case.

Apropos -- the opa once chidded me on letting the kids enjoy what he calls one of the 'American silliness'. He's insisting eating fast food means feeding the body with killer fats -- 'these are not good for the kids'.

In which I jokingly said,'hmm, maybe, but look at me. Am I fat?' That made him stop.

Confirmed is: I've been stuffing myself with fast food since as long I can remember.

Confirmed is: I would be stuffing myself further, but in moderation this time.

I know it is fattening, but enjoying it as a treat once in a while, is good, too. I think.

IC's Art Work


Water color, 'The Meadow' painted by IC in kindergarten, 22 June 2007.

Piñata



My kids were invited to a birthday party yesterday. And you know what, it is their first time to see and join in a piñata game. Oh, piñata is not well known here in Deutschland -- as it is in the US or in the Philippines (our version would be the 'pabitin' or the ceramic pot). The family of the birthday girl who are Austrians, used to live in the US, thus, thus, they are well versed in this tradition.

Wikipedia states that pinata is a brightly-colored paper container generally suspended on a rope from a tree branch or ceiling that is filled with candy and toys and is used during celebrations. A succession of blindfolded, stick-wielding children try to break the piñata in order to collect the candy and/or toys inside of it. It has been used for hundreds of years to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas.

This time, since the girls are still too small (the birthday girl just turned 4) and there were only five participants, they agreed not to use a blindfold. The Deutsch workers in the compound (repairs were being done) were amazed and took time off to watch the game. The funny thing is, the family made the piñata so sturdy that the girls cannot even create a nick. The workers were already asking if it takes at least two days in America to finish the game!! Ha-ha! Thus, the birthday girl's papa to the rescue -- he had to give it at least 10 solid hits to disturb the packaging. And then the girls took turns and whoah -- the surprises rained on them.

That was the highlight of the party: Because the rest of the party games that were prepared, the little guests were not so excited to participate - either there would be cries of protests or sulking in one corner. Party food were cakes and two big Italian party pizza - salami and four cheese. The moms and dads got to enjoy dinner and some lively chat as the kids finally decided to play harmoniously together.

Anyway, it is also a rare kiddie party because the parents were allowed to stay -- with three families invited (one family didnt made it) -- not too crowded, then it's okay. In most of the children's party that my kids have attended, I usually just bring the kids to the door, chat a bit and confirm pick up time and then goodbye.

Oh well, it is not the Philippines after all. But sometimes, you just miss the crowd, huh.


A Tale of Thanks

I would like to thank Mitchteryosa of When Silence Speaks for putting Home Worked on her list of Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs of 2007.

I was surprised to say the least, so here's 'thank you very much' to say the most :-) Being on the list gave me a feeling of accomplishment, that someone, somewhere, is actually reading my blogs. I never really thought about that, neophyte me. It is a confident booster, too, for someone like me who was so unsure if I am using the right words to express my thoughts (Learning German means loosing a bit of my English, too).

It is also an exciting challenge to come up with more relevant blogs and to be more aware of my words. Also, it is an inspiration to learn more from others, too. I am just starting to learn, thus, been getting addicted to, blog hopping :-)

The root of activating my blog was of course, Pinoy Moms Network. I read an item about it in the inq7.net this May and got hooked.

I wanted to be a member and to actively participate at PMN, thus, emerged, Home Worked. I started really blogging as if I am conversing with someone, this May. I guess I have been away from the company of pinoy moms for so long. I mean, these moms are thinking like me and experiencing things like me. Whew, what a relief! I suddenly began to miss things that I have never even thought I would be missing. Such as, discussions on raising the kids, common homemaking problems, and even sharing personal experiences, the always welcome kind words and of course, the once in a while, confirmation that, indeed, (especially as an expat mama), I am not alone.

My thanks to PMN, too.

Mitchteryosa Asks Raqgold

And it goes:

1. What do you like about Indian food?

I like the smell and the taste of Indian food esp the tandoori chicken masala, the butter chicken, the samosa, the different fillings of roti bread, and the egg vindalo. Oh, I can list more but what remains are the taste and not the names. An Indian restaurant menu would help a lot.

2. Did you ever imagine yourself marrying a non-Filipino husband when you were younger?

I never imagined it, but at the back of my mind is a thought that I maybe, I am not destined to marry a pinoy. Call it intuition or maybe that was just my first life experience speaking :-)

3. If you were a song, what would it be and why?

Rain, rain, go away,
Come again another day
Little children want to play!

A kid's song is simple, easy, rhythmic, optimistic, direct yet dreamy, and playful - not to mention - petite, like me :-)

4. Let's say, you were settled/stable outside the Philippines with all the luxuries people are dreamin' of, what would be the top reason to make you stay back home for good?

That's our dream, to settle in the Philippines, after all, home is where the heart is. Of course, aside from being near my immediate family, the sun, sea and sand are luring us back, too.

5. How do you see yourself in the next 10 years?

I see myself raising teen age kids, trying to be the coolest mom if not in the whole world then in Europe :-) Cooking exotic dishes for my husband, realizing my dream of publishing my book (or books), and still doing my volunteer work teaching pre schoolers beginners English. Oh, and maintaining a fit and healthy mind and body, of course.

Want to be interviewed? Here's the drill:

1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your journal with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Friday, June 22, 2007

How Much of the Philippines Have You Visited?


My Lakbayan grade is C+!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out atLakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar.

I am proud of my Lakbayan grade and I am hoping to improve it in the next years to come. As kids, we've been to Iloilo back and forth since it is my nanay's hometown, mainly during weddings. Pangasinan is my tatay's birthplace, we mostly go there every harvest season - rice and mangoes to bring back home to Manila.

As a young family, we would always go out on Sundays for outings, sometimes, including the extended family -- either with a small bus bursting to the rafters or a rented jeep. We would go swimming in Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, Pampanga, Bulacan, Tarlac, or Zambales. Once, we even took the train going to Bicol - of course, we didnt miss Mayon Volcano.

We would visit the Grottos in Bulacan, Pangasinan, Batangas, and Baguio. Visiting relatives in Nueva Ecija, Quezon, Tagaytay and Rizal.

Then enjoying my youth, went with barkadas to overnight fiesta celebrations in Bataan, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, Batangas, Benguet, Baguio, Ilocos Norte, La Union, and Quezon. Then to Super Ferry (or just ferry) vacations in Cebu (escaping even an outbreak of chicken pox in the cabin!), in Boracay, Romblon, Mindoro, Zamboanga, and in Cagayan. When in Cagayan, we took a jeepney ride passing through Misamis and yonder - I really cant remember anymore. All I know is that, I can only see water all over.

I spent some business trips flying to Davao City, South Cotabato, Sarangani, and General Santos. In fact, my first plane ride was the trip going to Davao City.

I am proud of the Philippines. And I would be prouder if I can say that - I earned an A -- here in Lakbayan!




Cheerleaders



My cheerleaders in action.

Picnic






The 'sternen gruppe' (stars group) in kindergarten, in which IC is a member, planned a get together picnic in one of the sprawling playgrounds near our place for this week. Simply to enjoy nature and have a little musical program. I had to give up my favorite transportation - my feet - as I deem it too far away, my husband had to drive us to the said playground a day before, to show me the way. I've never been there, and I wanted to scan the parking area. (Parking is always a problem.)

The day came. The forecast: a bit rain at noon. We left an hour earlier. I wanted a nice parking space wherein I can really maneauver our car. (These narrows streets). The sun stayed, though. We spread our picnic blankets. We wanted to avoided stains by skipping the wild berry trees -- but we ended up under the yellow plum tree, which once in a while kicks out it's small bombs on our heads! Oh well, at least the kids got busy collecting them, either by munching on them or by filling up containers with them.

Our tummies were also happy. We pooled together the snacks - mostly homemade muffins, biscuits, breads, sticks of carrots and cucumber, and a surprise - ice sticks. Our contribution were mini doughnuts and rice waffles. And the kindergarten teachers brought a case of mineral water with them. We chatted and mingled and binged. The kids stuffed themselves full, but with all the running around, it's no problem.

And then the musical, about a family of beetles. At first, IC wont join. She actually didnt join the practice. But since her sister, MC wanted to join, her interest was tickled. The moms and the teachers got to sing, the kids got to dance. It was fun and so cute.

Oh, moms got to dance, too. By singing the butterfly song - which involves a lot of dancing and twirling, weeee!

We had to go a bit earlier, as eating too much, IC decided she must go to the toilet! She slept on our way home, though. Arriving home, I left her in the car where she woke up around 30 mins later, dancing the popular steps of people who needs to go and fast. Oh, she made it to the toilet in time. Buti naman :-)

The Wings

Photo: MC's new ballet outfit

'Why does MC have wings?' Asked her ballet-mates.

'Why not?' I told them. 'Isn't it pretty?'

They all nodded in agreement.

Ballet is after all, like flying, too!

(I also love her curls, huh!)

My Temper 2

My kids' version, as told to my husband.

As we didnt get to talk before he left for a meeting last night, I waited up for him. When he saw me still up, he had all smiles. And then he burst out laughing. Then I remembered, he was with the kids for a few minutes later today. I guess, he already know what happened!

MC announced that she pinched IC and that IC pinched her back. And that I banged the catsup on the table, and it spattered into the ceiling. Then I got angry.

IC then insisted that papa should clean up the mess. MC shushed her up and emphasized, 'mama already wiped it off.'

That was all. The kids' version. It lacks chronology, but that's their story. And then I mentioned to him that the kids wanted a new mama. Oh, that made my husband's day. He was really chuckling so loud, like I gave him the joke of the day!

Oh, I had a good laugh too. After all, without any prodding on their part, the kids gave me sweet words -- 'I love you very much' when I brought them in bed. I guess, Mama is forgiven.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

My Temper

Photo: catsup stains on the ceiling -- the glaring evidence

Our kitchen ceiling has catsup stains. And I am guilty. Because I lost my temper and banged the nearest thing that I can grasp to vent my frustration (that was the catsup bottle). Then I left the kids in the kitchen while I tried to calm myself.

I know, it is too much. I am wrong. But sometimes, too much is already too much! I heard the kids conversing in the kitchen. MC trying to help her sister, IC, to clean up. I dont really know what disaster I left. I simply wanted to remove myself for fear of more flares. Then I heard this:

IC: Yeah, ate, we want a new mama? Okay? A very new mama. (Whimpering a bit)
MC: It's ok. It's ok.

They were shocked, I guess, but not as shocked as I was. Oh well, I dragged my feet back into the kitchen and apologized to the kids. I told them I was sorry and that I love them. But, they must also understand the cause of my temper, too. No need to say anything, they just came and cuddled up.

Then I asked them if they really wanted a new mama. Their eyes cannot meet mine. And I teasingly asked if I can also have new kids, too. They protested, as expected. I tried to make up to my loosing my temper by playing with them the whole afternoon.

The thing is, I cannot make it up to me. I am still a bit guilty, a few hours after washing off the stains on the ceiling. Am I a bad mama? I need to check if am growing a wart on my nose.

Meauw

I was watching the noon time news and was fascinated by this:

A woman veterinarian who specializes on treating dogs and cats have a last name that really fits her profession, she is called Miss Meauw.

Funny but true.

The Wart


Reading Snow White for my little girl last night, and as usual, fascinated yet a bit afraid of the wicked stepmother, she blurted out this question:

MC: How come the witch have an ugly wart on her nose?

What should I say? I was already in the bordeline of dreams. But I struggled to dig into my brain mass and got this answer: 'Oh, the ugly wart is only used to emphasize the difference between good and bad. A witch is almost always associated with someone bad, the wart increases the ugliness. Thus, when kids like you read the book, you would immediately know who the bad ones are, by their appearances.'

When I reviewed my answer upon waking up this morning, I had to kick myself. For it would complicate the issue when she begin reading 'The Beauty and the Beast.' Oh well...

Late Nights, A Question

Our tenants celebrated a birthday last night. I am talking about young people here. Thus, the party went on until the wee hours of the morning. It seemed to bother MC. I guess she heard the ruckus outside, as her room is facing our garden, where the tenants and their guests have stationed themselves.

MC: Mama, why is it that they partied so long - from evening until morning?
Mama: They are young people, mein Schatz (my darling). They wanted to enjoy the time spend with their family and friends.
MC: But, dont they need to sleep?
Mama: Oh yes, they do. But they'll do that after all the guests said their goodbyes.
MC: Then it would be morning already.
Mama: You are right. They would sleep during the day because they are tired, too.
MC: Why dont their guests sleep with them?
Mama: Maybe, some of the guests would sleep in but since the house is not so big, most guests would have to go home.

Then I told her that mama and papa used to spend long hours to celebrate, too. But that was when we were younger and we still dont have kids.

Into which she answered:

MC: Oh, then when we are bigger, we can also party all night.
Mama: Yes. Why not?
MC: But then we have to wait until IC is bigger or else she cannot join us.

Her thoughtfulness earned her a big sweet hug from her little sister, who was listening the whole time.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Escaping the Sandman

Who said we are sleepy, we are not! This is the tough stance of my kids during sleeping time.

MC would begin to move faster, like a tornado, and would create chaos and dramatics so that she wont fall asleep. Like dancing or running here and there or playing rough or being simply makulit. A sudden burst of adrenaline to escape dreamland. Enough to sustain her for another hour or so.

IC takes it on a different sense, through her sense of taste. When she's all but ready to tumble into the hands of the sand man, she would begin asking for a little something to eat. A bonbon. And then it would grow into fruits. And then she would say she's so very, very hungry -- she would sit in the kitchen waiting to be served something big. When this is not so effective, she would complain of a stomachache. In which I always reply, 'then go to the toilet.' These words she would ignore, of course. When she would finally acknowledge that all is nought, a drink of either water or her favorite lemon water would suffice. This technique earns here another 30 mins waking time.

Meanwhile, my husband and I are catching each other's eyes and trying to hide our grins. Because we know, we are again going through the long process of catching sleep.

Mama, Watch Out!

Summer time. The kids decided that it is time to start bug watching. And be more hands on -- to expand their bug collections .

Although I am not an enthusiastic bug watcher, I am letting the kids have their fun. I even bought them each, two magnifying glasses with built in containers. The rule are: catch them, observe them and then let them go after a time.

I picked them up from kindergarten with the new containers in my hand. Of course, they dont want it empty, they wanted something in it. The first 'victim', a fire colored beetle (red and black). It escaped their hands and crawled into the streets, so they let it go.

And then I saw two fire colored beetled and pointed it out to them.

MC: Mama, you are not supposed to catch them.
Mama: Why not?
MC: Because they are making a baby.
Mama: (I dont know if I blushed) Hmmm, (pa cool effect daw)
MC: You have to be very careful and observe them, especially when there are two of them together. That means, they are making a baby!
Mama: Okay (what else can I say?)

Where the heck do they get this conclusion?

No More Batibot?

I didnt know that Batibot, as in Kuya Bodjie and Ate Sienna and Pong Pagong, are not in pinoy tv's anymore. Hmm, maybe I've heard about some rumors about Batibot closing shop, but I also heard there are some protests about that. I had hoped and banged that Batibot would continue to air. But stumbling on a story today at the inq7.net, confirmed that Batibot is indeed off the air since 2000.

I didnt know that. After 18 years of providing educational program to the kids? A real pity.

One of the ninangs of IC even sent us materials about Batibot, a package of cassette tapes wherein the characters like Kuya Bodjie are caught forever telling stories and even a box of sing along tapes. That was because I requested for such things. I wanted a DVD but she said that they are not available. I wanted Batibot things because I would like the kids to learn not only the tagalog language, but also, the real pinoy ways.

Now the inq7.net report is saying that from a high of 70 percent local children's shows in tv, it is now down to an alarming 10 percent. What is happening?

What is more alarming is -- if there's a truth about the pinoy kids missing their sense of being a Filipino just because there is only a dire 10 percent of real local produced kiddie programs. I am hoping that making the kids realize being a real pinoy would not only come out because of watching the television.

I am sure there are other ways to let the kids know about what being pinoy is all about. I am sure it would be delivered by proud pinoy parents to their pinoy kids. Whatever which way, I believe we would know how to be a pinoy -- simply by examining ourselves!

Quirks

Admittedly, kids are growing up so fast, sometimes you cant really keep up. But what is really amazing is that their quirks are not ony changing but diversifying and you are kept lagging behind.

Check out my five year old MC's quirk tokens:

1. Late last year, she simply started avoiding visits to her playmates' house. She wont stay unless I stayed. Or else, screaming fits. In the end, her playmates would come to us.

2. Parallel to that, birthday celebrations; events so always looked forward to, became events to dread. As in, days before the event, she would loose sleep and would kept on asking, 'mama, I dont want to go.' To which I always reply, 'let's wait and see.' But really, she would go and would cling to me. An attempt to go home alone, without her, would mean a tantrum. Thus, it would only be the gift that would stay.

The first two's been solved since April this year. Just so. No explanations. But we are glad.

3. Then came elevators. She's been going in and out of elevators since she was a small kid. Then a few months ago, on our visit to their pedia, she wont go in the elevator. We were shocked, to say the least. She protested and wont go in. When she started to whimper, we decided to take the stairs. When we asked her why, she wont say anything. I thought it is only a phase, but nope, no more elevators since then. To the point that, she advices me not to use the elevator even if I am alone! (Binubuno pa naman ito until now)

4. She still insists on having her hair done before putting on her shirts, even if it means redoing the hair style because it gets tangled while putting on her shirts.

5. No food on her plate should be touching.

6. She insists on eating only the 'soft' french fries; she finds those soft ones by randomly pinching the fries on her plate and on the service plate. Then either she gives the hard ones to her sister or to mama and papa.

7. She always needs a new fork or a new spoon to eat different dishes.

8. She is crazy about Sportacus. She loves dancing and singing with them.

9. She used to pull her dried up lips until it bleeds. Good thing she stopped! Giving her her own lip balsam helped.

10. Her favorite word this time is 'never'. Like 'I will never play with her again, or I will never eat that again.' Which I always respond with, 'you better think about what you say, never is a long long time.'

11. Words that I told her I dont want to hear anymore: 'You are not my friend anymore.' I explained to her that this is good to say to her playmates, it hurts the feelings; plus she would not want to hear them, too.

12. Tabo is her number one po cleanser.

Three year old IC's curious list:

1. She insists on separate plates for every condiments. One for fries, another for ketchup, another one for rice, etc. When she dont get a clean one, she would proceed in wiping her plate with her table napkin. Until all the crumbs and the rest of the food are all over the table, under the table, on her chair, hanging on her clothes, smearing her face and hands, etc -- she doesnt care, as long as her plate is clean for the next dish.

2. When she is not in the mood, you could get her to be in her best behavior by dangling food. Like 'hold the hand of your partner, then you'll get gummi bears afterwards.' Or 'let your sister play with your barbies, you'll be getting a surprise snack later.' I know, not so good, but this is only an extreme measure.

3. She is so crazy about Pippi Longstockings. Her whole world revolves around Pippi -- she wont miss a day without asking about Pippi. There would even be days wherein she would slip into her Pippi costume, complete with make up. Pippi eventually became another fantasy friend. And is still an active playmate to date.

4. She just gave up her 'alat', her pet name for her pacifier, early this year. Oh, she needed the 'alat' only while sleeping, but it is really a riot act when she cant find it before going to bed.

5. She loves baby dolls and cant get enough of them. When she goes inside toy stores, her eyes lit up when she see baby dolls. Despite the fact that she's got more than two dozens of them in different sizes, colors and appearances -- she wants more.

6. She's got foot fetish. She cant take it when her feet are dirty. She would stop whatever it is she's doing; wherever she is at that time -- then she'll take off her shoes and tinker, until she's satisfied that they are clean. Even while eating!

7. While eating, she would always try to clean up the crumbs on her place by pushing them under the table.

8. While taking a shower, she needs a face towel to cover her eyes.

9. Thus, she hates showers and prefers bathing.

10. Brushing the teeth is always a big circus, everytime, everyday. Walang palya.

11. She cant take a running nose. She would always insist on having her nose wiped clean. Even if it means skipping out of her ballet class to find me, her official nose wiper.

12. Tabo is her number one po cleanser.

Are quirks inherited? If so, I needed to apologize to my nanay and tatay :-)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Nice Thoughts

I strongly believe that there should always be balance between bad and good things. I wrote about my frustrations and now I am ticking on the nice things.

1. I got an extra day off from car pooling! Three days in a week are always filled with the kids' extra curricular activities. But I managed to trim it down to two! Mondays are gymnastics and Tuesdays are ballet for both. It used to be that Wednesday's are gymnastics training for my three year old. We went together for a try out in another level yesterday and she's accepted. Although I have a feeling I would be joining the class for at least another three sessions before she's be comfortable enough to be left alone. Exercises for me, too. Yipee!

2. My husband asked me 'why is it that you did not take a photo of me doing garden work? I want to be blogged, too.' Wow, I didnt realize I have a fan at home. Gardening is a hobby for him and it's his pride and joy when everything is trimmed and cut to perfection. Anyway, does his statement means I wont hear complaints about hogging the computer? Gee!

3. Getting to know other Pinoy mom bloggers. It is good to know that I am not alone in my thoughts about motherhood, raising kids, homemaking, blogging, etc. It is also nice to be discussing contrasting ideas. After all, we are all different strokes for different folks, right? Right!

4. I am happy to remain a stay at home mom. A former colleague in the hotel industry traced my cell number and we got to chat. She's working with a high end resort developer and she mentioned that she might fly to Europe soon to find some agents. I thought, should I give it a go? I am pleasantly surprised with the excitement I felt, I had to laugh. But for six years, I just focused on motherhood. The challenge is good but staying with my growing up kids are better. Next!

5. I have my guitar lessons to look forward to. I wanted to learn how to play the guitar for so long now, but havent had the time, the money, the resources - I dont even have a guitar! I bought one two years ago but I have not found a guitar teacher who speaks and understands enough English for us to really learn to play together. Sheesh!

6. I volunteered to teach beginner's English course to pre-schoolers in my kids' kindergarten. The lesson is once every week, for 45 mins each. I have two groups of 8 kids. I am enjoying it. But most of all, the kids are enjoying the lessons. Everytime they see me, they always greet me in English. Nice.

Just so you know that I am now wallowing in my streak of frustration because I have a rainbow of nice thoughts, too.

My Grocery List


I must go the grocery store. I needed to fill our dwindling supplies.

Should I use the car or walk? The sunshine gave me the answer - a walk. I am not really fond of driving! But walking, exercise is always good.

My initial list goes like this:

Liquid bath soap for my husband
Bubble bath soap for my husband
Liquid bath soap for the kids
Olive oil
Eggs
Toast
Gouda Cheese
Joghurt for the kids
Salami
Maultaschen - a German version of ravioli

I dont want to buy so much as I would be walking, and that would mean a 10 min walk, plus I am taking note of the heavy package back. I dont want to be dragging myself home or killing my back.

Anyway, I shopped, I paid, I walked home.

In the end, here's what's in my shopping bag:

Liquid bath soap for my husband
Liquid bath soap for the kids
Olive oil
Gouda Cheese
Joghurt for the kids
Salami
Camembert Cheese
Bio Biscuit
Pringles
Cucumber
Bacon
Nectarine

Let's see. I crossed out eggs, maultaschen and toast because I recall seeing them in our basement ref; I kicked the bubble bath out because they only have it in a big container (heavy!).

I got the bio biscuit because the kids love it. The Pringles because I love it. I've added Bacon and Nectarine because we all love them.

Here's something curious though -- for my husband's liquid soap, I chose something that has joghurt mixed with berries. Remember, this is a bath soap, huh! I hope the bees wont hunt him down :-) As for the kids, I got them a bath soap that reeks with almond oil, aloe vera and 1/3 lotion.

Oh, I could have bought more. Who could resist the Italian biscuits on a discount? Or the new fruit joghurts. And a nice pair of slippers or the lingeries on sale? I had to, my bag is full and my shoulder is aching.