Friday, August 31, 2007

I Just Talk to People

Another forwarded email worth sharing:

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

Marta was a hard-working single mother. When her minister sermonized about "living a life that matters," she worried that working to raise her kids and going to church wasn't enough. So on the bus to work she made a list of other jobs she could do and volunteer work she could try.

Sylvia, an elderly woman, saw the worry on Marta's face and asked what was wrong. Marta explained her problem. Sylvia said, "Oh my, did your minister say you weren't doing enough?"

"No," Marta said. "But I don't know how to live 'a life that matters'."

"You don't have to change jobs or do more volunteer work," Sylvia consoled her. "It's enough that you're a good mother. But if you want to do more, think about what you can do while doing what you already do. It's not about what you do, but how you do it."

"You don't understand," Marta said. "I sell hamburgers. How do I make that significant?"

"How many people do you deal with every day?" Sylvia asked.

"Two to three hundred."

"Well, what if you set out to cheer, encourage, teach, or inspire as many of those people as you could? A compliment, a bit of advice, a cheerful hello, or a warm smile can start a chain reaction that lights up lives like an endless string of Christmas bulbs."

"But that's just being nice," Marta protested.

"Right," said Sylvia. "Niceness can change lives."

Marta looked at the old woman. "What do you do?"

"I was a housekeeper until I retired," Sylvia said. "Now I just ride the bus talking to people."

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I am a Proud Filipina Mom

This is not to brag but to confirm that being a mom gave me more confidence to be true to myself. And being true to myself, I discovered, felt sexier. It also allowed me to live a more comfortable life. No more hang-ups; no more questions on my incapacities. Because I know what I am and I love what I am.

But reaching this conclusion was not an easy task. Being a Filipina mom in Germany was not something I dreamed of. My dream was this: a family in Manila, a fulfilling career, sorrounded by my family and friends. But sometimes, impossible dreams do come through. And here I am.

A stranger in a strange land with an even stranger language. I had to cope up with a weird climate, different culture and what's that in my plate?? Then, while learning the language and getting to know the immediate family and immensing myself in the culture, I got pregnant. Everything stopped.

I concentrated on my body and my womb. I almost stopped learning the language. I let myself just float through the culture and I didnt care about the climate. When the baby came, I focused on being a mom and wife. It is like I am building my own island. I have my husband, my child, the immediate family, and that was that. Then came the second child. And I became more immensed in what was going on inside our household, than familiarizing myself with where I am.

Of course, the time came that I realized, there's another world. I know about it, but I refused to accept the need to go out and embrace my new life. I was too happy being a mom and wife! Then the kids left for kindergarten. My island is empty. I began to look for something to cling to. I became restless. I felt a bit insecure. I lost confident in my new language. And, should I work?

My husband was my hero in this matter. He told me, 'you dont need to work, but if you want to work, I am behind you.' Though he emphasized that he would rather that I stay at home at be with the kids; as the kids still needed me. I tried to look for some diversion, when what I really wanted to go back home and cuddle up with the familiar things of home. But the real turning point was that I discovered the Pinoy Moms Network. Reading through the site is like reading through my life. I can relate to almost everything! And just reading through the exchanges, I slipped from from being an iggitated mom, into a proud Filipina mom. I decided to be a mom living and loving her life.

I volunteered to teach playtime English in kindergarten. The response was great, from the kids to the parents and teachers. After a session, the kids were calling 'good mornings and goodbyes' already. Then I got a training grant from the local gymnastics club, to take over the gymnastics class for beginners; the directress just love it that I am always present with the kids; and always ready to lend a hand, when needed. I mean, how can I be so insecure about my mastery of the German language when all I really needed is to enjoy and everything would flow smoothly; even my Deutsch? I simply had to accept who I am.

And here comes my husband saying; 'you are the most beautiful mom because you are enjoying yourself as a mom, as a wife and as a woman now.' Indeed, I am a proud Filipina mom. I accept that!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Chasing Hot Air Balloons







Driving home last weekend, the papa pointed up to the kids, 'look, a hot air balloon.' IC, who's been so crazy about riding on a hot air balloon because of it's association with her beloved hero, Pippi, began to sizzle like a steak on her sit.

IC cant stop moving, craning her neck left and right; she even tried to roll down the car window with her feet!!! And finally she said: 'Papa, let's try to catch the hot air balloon!'

My husband didnt say anthing, but since he's the one driving, it didnt surprise me that we took off on a whim -- we speed off to catch the hot air balloon! Yes, we did. The kids were cheering so loudly I cant help but laugh.

We drove into the meadows, though wide fields and through the rough patches of farm lands. The kids navigated their papa with glee. When we all saw the hot air balloon going down; we stopped in a clearing to observe the direction. But we had to run into the car hoping to catch it before it disappeared from our view. Although my husband is familiar with the terrains, we lost the hot air balloon. The kids were not disappointed though, the chase was exciting enough. Plus, we saw stalls of cows and horses, plus a storck nest with two storks on it! A quick visit in the countryside.

Anyway, the chase was not finished. When we turned around, another hot air balloon greeted us from the horizon.

Giggling, the kids hopped hurriedly into the car, knowing we would be doing another round of 'chase the hot air balloon'. We drove through meadows and bridges; we even parked right under this second one, but we didnt catch them. The kids had fun calling out though; yelling hello's and waving wildly. And driving home, they cant catch their breath re-telling the story in between their giggles.

It is this kind of adventure that builds memories. As MC said: 'Thank you for a very nice day.'

Witnessing an Accident

Photo: The kids with their uncle.

The kids witnessed an accident. We were in the garden having a barbecue party at my parent in law's house when their uncle bumped his head hard into a bird's house.

At first it seemed nothing, but after a few seconds, blood flowed. He was rushed into the kitchen by his daughter and wife. Leaving the kids outside, I told the kids to stay put for I wanted to know if they would need help. But I saw IC sneaking a peek so I decided to stay outside. I urged them to continue eating. Although IC ate half of her wurst, MC just dont want anything to do with food.

Then taking my hand, she pointed out to me the drops of blood that went from the garden into the kitchen. That's when I realized how it looks to the kids. That made me realize that this is really a big deal, witnessing an accident. Their uncle had to be brought to the hospital for treatment, but he was back after an hour.

Now, my kids always look forward to playing with their uncle. They simply cant get enough of him. But after the accident, they were a bit hesitant around him. So careful around him that they almost dont want to touch him. Noticing this, I explained to them that he is now feeling better. That there wont be any blood more flowing. That playing with him wont hurt him; although they should be a little careful with regards to his wound.

It was only then that they slowly 'thawed' and began circling him like bees again. But that was not the end of that. After the party, driving home, MC asked again what happened to her uncle. I simply told her that since her uncle is too tall and the bird's house placed so low -- the crash happened. I explained to her that it can also happen to them when playing under the table and chairs; or when running around a blind corner. The only solution is to slow down, to be aware of their sorroundings, and to be very careful.

I thought that would be the end of that? Nope. It was the topic for bedtime and they asked again and again, for two straight days. I simply repeated what I already told them. And repeated the warnings: to slow down, to be aware of their sorroundings, to be extra careful. Plus, we called their uncle to ask about his health -- am happy to report that he's feeling better now.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday Madness: Weather


1. Where you live, what kind of weather (or weather-related tragedy) do you fear the most?
Flooding! We are renting out our basement rooms plus, down there is where we have our furnace cum and storage area. We must always make sure that the valve is turned off when it is raining hard or else, our basement would be floating!

2. What kind of weather do you MOST enjoy?
I love the sunshine because you can wear what you want and the kids can play in the garden; I love the snow because I love making snow angels. I love the rain but only when I am cozily dry. 'Used to love running around in the rain but not in Europe :-)

3. What kind of weather do you LEAST like to drive in?
I dont enjoy driving at all :-), but when I must drive, I'd rather have a dry street.

4. What is the scariest weather-related experience you've had in your lifetime?
I was not really scared but alarmed. The earthquake that shook Manila during the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. I was alone in the house with small kids when we felt the house shaking horizontally and then vertically.

5. Share a "weather picture" with us!
See photo taken last weekend.

Visit Monday Madness.

Kids Know Better

The fact is, our kids really know better.

------
MC: Mama, do you know that Anna borrowed our net and she didnt bring it back? That's not good. Because when you borrowed something, then you must bring it back.

------
On a train ride, I kept on asking her to show me where the alleged witch house is:
MC: Mama, you must wait. You kept on telling us to learn to be patient. Then you must learn how be patient, too.

------
Seeing IC dragging all the toys from one room to another, opening drawers and pulling toy chests everywhere:
MC: IC, you know, there is no most space here. You should know that when you want to have a space when playing, you must only select a few things first. Do not bring all the toys all at once.

------
Seeing her playmate holding a glass of water and seemingy headed into her room:
IC: Hey Francesca, please dont bring that glass of water in my room. I dont want my room wet.

------
Seeing MC jumping wildly on her bed:
IC: Please go down. I dont want my bed to be broken. Mama and papa said they wont buy me a new one.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Is Tinky Winky Gay?

Photo from BBC.

A month ago, my husband seriously asked me: 'Dont you know that tinky winky, of Teletubbies, is gay?' He, who introduced the kids to Teletubbies, was shaking his head with bewilderment.

Whoaah? That surprised me. Then it confused me. Before it tickled me. I googled the story and found out that some conservative Polnish officials wanted to investigate the allegations that Tinky Winky and other Teletubbies are actually gays. They wanted the Teletubbies pulled out of the television, out of the toy shelves, out of Polnish lives. Why, you ask?

Because of Tinky Winky's red magic handbag. Here's the news stories:

Poland Targets Gay Teletubbies

Teletubbies Gay Probe

It could stem from the US story back in 1999 which states:
The Reverend Jerry Falwell, a former spokesman for America's Moral Majority, has denounced the BBC TV children's show. He says it does not provide a good role model for children because Tinky Winky is gay.

Cheerful Tinky Winky, the purple character with the triangular aerial on his head, carries a handbag - but apart from that seems much the same as his friends Laa-Laa, Dipsy and Po.

Read more Gay Tinky Winky Bad for Children.

Which actually started because of this writer's story: I'm Sorry Tinky Winky.

What's my take on this matter? Stop the silly gender sorting.

Sort out the toy makers. I am now reading labels on toys, being extra particular where they are manufactured, smelling them for stinky lead paints, and shaking them crazily to check for small loose objects. I need to see and to smell what I am giving to my kids. I might even stop buying online because of this.

Friday, August 24, 2007

What to do with recalled toys?

Although we were not victims of the toy recalls from Mattel, we never stopped digging deep in the kids' toy chests; and we discovered loads of toys that really stinks with paint and very small toys that were already loose or have fallen out. We gathered those toys in plastic bags and my husband proceeded to mash them into pieces, using his fists, his feet and the hammer when necessary. The kids didnt protest, we've already explained to them the danger of those toys. They even cheered the papa during the 'destruction period.'

I also googled about toy recalls and I found the babycenter.com's Toy Recalls: 7 things you can do to keep your child safe.

To summarize:
1. Check the product number.
2. Take away recalled toys immediately.
3. Throw out any broken or worn-out magnetic toys.
4. Buy toys that are locally made.
5. Look around for other lead hazards.
6. Get your child tested for lead exposure.
7. Keep abreast of future recalls.

A note on no. 4, since babycenter.com is US-based, you would have to use your discretion on what products to buy.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

For Pre-schoolers

Photo: This is the standard behavioral pattern when facing the road traffic for the Walking Bus. The red dots are the volunteers, and the yellow dots represents the children. The image is from the Paderborn Cityportal.

My husband, as the president of the parent's council in kindergarten, met with the other kindergarten parent council officers a few months back. This was the first time that the whole kindergarten parents' council have held a meeting like this. Most were represented, only one kindergaten commuity missed the meeting. She said she got the invitation late and cant find a babysitter for that day anymore. At least, she called to inform my husband. The interest is there, right?

There are five kindergarten in our city with a population of more than 12,000. More than 10 participants talked about the programs in the different kindergartens, compared experiences, listed program successes and failures, dabbled on suggestions and future projects, and focused on the pre-schoolers.

The program for pre-schoolers. This is one point of urgency because most of these 5-7 year olds would be starting the school year walking alone -- going to school and back home. The lucky ones would have someone to walk with -- one who lives along the same street or within the area -- some would even be driven to school. But what about the rest of the pre-schoolers?

Statistics showed that a lot of accidents happen during the first few days of school. And this is the precise reason why the group of kindergarten parent's council wanted do something to prevent this.

The fact is, most of the parents 'push' their kids to practice walking alone to and from kindergarten, before their year as a pre-schooler ended. I have no argument with that. That is, if they live not far away from kindergarten; if they wont be crossing a major busy intersection; if they are walking with in groups; if they are not my child. I would rather be safe than sorry. I think that at a young age of 6-7 years old, the kids would still be needing our guidance; esp in crossing the street and in bringing them safely to school.

I have observed those pre-schoolers walking alone. They are still so playful. They could easily be distracted by a piece of something on the street. They would wave and talk to someone on the other side of the street, oblivious of the passing traffic. They would even run, following their leader - without carefully looking before crossing the street. Uh-oh, nope. It is too risky. They still lack the concentration needed to be left alone. Their decision-making ability with regards to the passing traffic is not yet there. Here is what they know: when they see a car coming their way, they automatically think that the driver of that car can also see them. But we as adults know that that is not always the case.

Now the parent's council group is closely looking for a school traffic guide. But there was a better suggestion, the Walking Bus. The Walking Bus is a safe way to take children to and from school. Parents act as 'drivers' and 'conductors' as the kids walk in crocodile fashion. Good for the children, their health and the environment. This was first introduced in London and is now being successfully introduced in Germany.

Here is what they say: 'Concerned at the growing ranks of obese children, a sports professor has come up with an unusual solution to prevent tubbiness. In the German town of Paderborn, primary school kids take the "Walking Bus" to class.' Read more here.

MC would be a pre-schooler this coming school year. She would be one of those who would be walking to school. She'll be walking with me, of course. But I would be glad to volunteer for this Walking Bus; for both health and safety reasons. I hope this would be realized.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Shhhh...

Photo: IC playing 'card' games with papa in the resto.

Sitting in a restaurant, IC and MC got busy with the colored pens and drawing boards given to them by the kind waiter.

Then the cap from one of the pens rolled down and IC was appointed to search for it under the table and chairs. She crawled down and shouted 'mama, there's a dark and dusty jungle down here.'

Shocked, my husband and I can only say 'sssshhhhh.'

When she's back on her seat we whispered to her that nobody's got any business down there. That it is dirty because it is the place where dogs of the restaurant guests sleeps while waiting. And that we should not talk so loud in a restaurant as other people dont want to be disturbed.

Then came the soup. It is a clear soup with some tiny meatballs and parsley and basil leaves floating in the surface. MC gulped her portion up in no time. But IC, who seems to be ready to just attack the restaurant today, said, 'Ewww, mama, I dont want to eat the grass in the soup,' pointing to the parsley and basil leaves. In which we reacted with another, 'shhhh.'

Unperturbed she continued confused, 'Why are you doing that again? I did not go down to the dark and dusty jungle anymore? Now please give me a tissue so I can spit the grass out.' Aargh, we just wanted to go home!

Actually, it appeared as though nobody heard her. The girls got free ice cream for dessert pa e :-)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Monday Madness: About computers

Here's my take:

1. How many desktop computers in your home?
One working, one in the storeroom for future use of my 5 year old daughter. I hope it would still function next year :-)

2. How many laptops?
I am hogging computer use, my husband is now looking for a laptop. And he'll get the computer when the laptop's here. That's my plan, he doesnt know it yet!

3. What kind of internet service do you have? (i.e. phone modem, dsl, etc.)
We are using DSL, though I dont really know what that means. As long as my computer and the internet's ok, I have no complaint!

4. Do you tend to use more than one email account regularly?
I use two email accounts regularly, as in everday, and had to check three more email accounts regularly. Those under the names of my husband and my two little girls.

5. Do you use email as a main source for communicating to your family and friends?
Oh yes! I am simply too far away from them.

6. What kind of computer monitor do you own (flatscreen, or other)?
Flatscreen.

Interested? Then visit Monday Madness.

Tagged Again!

Thanks for tagging me, momoftwo!

INSTRUCTIONS: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so:

1. Daddy Forever
2. Sparky’s Scratches
3. kawaii futatsu nookasan

4. Mother Of Two Munchkins

5. HomeWorked


Next select five people to tag:

This is fun, so I am tagging those who wants to have fun with me.

What were you doing 10 years ago?
I was working for a tourism magazine based in Bangkok; but my focus is the Pattaya Beach, so I was living in the crazy Pattaya town, around 2 hours away from Bangkok.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
Do I need to check my diary :-) Well I just did. I am answering this tag August 20; at exactly one year before, we have my parents-in-law for dinner. The whole day was busy just preparing for that special dinner while keeping the kids busy in the garden.

Five snacks you enjoy:
1. Corn Muffin
2. Joghurt with cereals
3. Empanada/Jamaican Patties
4. Pretzel with butter
5. Chips with cheese dip

Five songs that you know all the lyrics to:
I know more than five, but dont ask me about the new songs. I love karaoke singing :-)

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1. Create my own house of charity focused on children and their needs...
2. ...travel around the world...
3. ...meet with people of money and influence for my charity.
4. Start writing a novel or a children's book.
5. Try to keep the same standard of living.

Five bad habits:
1. eBay
2. Snacking almost the whole day
3. Not working with a budget
4. Blogging
5. Bargain Hunting

Five things you like doing:
1. eBay
2. Snacking almost the whole day
3. Not working with a budget
4. Blogging
5. Bargain Hunting
(yes, you're reading it right -- these are my bad habits, too)

Five things you would never wear again:
1. Maternity dress
2. Stilettos
3. Espadrilles
4. My newly bought clogs from Sweden :-( too big for me!
5. My one size bigger jackets which I used when I was pregnant

Five favorite toys:
1. Computer
2. MC
3. IC
4. Hubby
5. Canon DigiCam

Sunday, August 19, 2007

IC Loves Winnie D Pooh


Look at the picture. Do you think IC would still have enough space in her bed to sleep?

She loves Winnie d Pooh. Right, second only to Pippi. Since Pippi stuffs are limited, then she gets to indulge with Pooh stuffs. And how!

These are just the Pooh things on her bed. Dig into her toy chests you'll find stamps, card games, musical Poohs, more stuffed Poohs, plus the whole assortment of Pooh friends -- Piglet, Rabbit, Eeyore, Tiger... It goes on and on and on.

MC gave up on Pooh things last year, that's why IC's Pooh collection doubled. And papa adores Pooh and his friends. He finds them so cute, he cant resist bringing them home as pasalubong for IC. And mama just had had enough of such things, I am planning to sell them one by one in eBay or donate them. I have to talk to IC about it. My first reason on asking her why she must say goodbye to some of her Pooh toys would be: it would be an exciting surprise to find a bed under those Pooh stuffs.

But we are keeping the books and the DVDs. The advantage of Pooh to the kids is that -- they dont care if they read/watch them in English or in Deutsch. I got English books and English DVDs for them. Thus, their knowledge of the English language is also being honed.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Mattel Products Recalled

I was sitting with my kids in front of the television at noon when this news appeared in front of us:

Fischer-Price Toys, Pixar Cars Sarge with Lead Paint Hazard Recalled; Other Mattel Products with Magnet Hazard Products Recalled.

The kids, for a change, were quiet. Maybe because they saw toys in front of them. But those are toys that should not be played with, according to the news. These are toys with lead paint hazard and with very small magnets that can be swallowed by children. These are toys that did not pass the quality inspection. I had to explain to the kids what the show was about -- that they are warning the people that those toys are not suitable for kids. That they are dangerous because of the strong paint smell and the small pieces that could be swallowed or inhaled.

MC immediately corrected me,' mama, we dont have small pieces from our Barbies. Remember, you always taken them away? You only give us the Barbies. '

Oh, yeah. Smart girl, I usually do that. I make sure that I separate the small stuffs first, before giving the toys to the kids. Explaining to them that these things are too small, and could be misplaced or lost easily. MC is aware of this, too. Although I sometimes I allow her to play with the small things, she gives them back to me afterwards. She doesnt want IC to play with them, knowing that her little sister is still too small for those things.

Plus, we have Polly Pocket toys (those given as gifts) that are still in their original packages. I always think they are too small for their small hands. I guess, my decision was right.

After watching the show, I marched the kids to their play corners. I gave them a big basket to throw in toys that have too strong paint smell; while I surfed the internet for the whole list of the recalled products and here are they:

Products with magnet products recalled includes:
And here is what Mattel is saying: because your children are our children, too.

You might want to check out this, too -- Mattel Consumer Relations.

It is good to be aware.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Blast from the Past

Rach of Heart of Rachel tagged me for this decision-filled Blast from the Past. It was fun to read through my older blogs. I hope you enjoy reading through my choices, too.

1. Seeing Myself (Sept 18, 2006) Nudged by a friend, I started blogging via Friendster in September 2006. The few words I published looked good to me. And it felt good, too. Then the next day, I ended with this blog. Blogging became an outlet, a theraphy.

Here was the blog: Seeing Myself

I saw myself last night and I didn't like it at all. It started innocently. While bathing my daughter MC, she asked me not to rub off the glitters on her cheeks. I said yes. But as she was washing her hair with much enthusiasm, she rubbed away all the glitters herself. The end was not good. Because when she looked in the mirror and saw her face without glitters, she flipped out! An explosion of words. Blaming me. She was really angry. And too tired to control her emotions. And me? I was surprisingly calm, despite being tired. But this time, am not using exhaustion as an excuse to scream back, to lay down rules, to threaten. I just simply said sorry. And that I love her. Why? Because I saw myself in her.

2. The Birds and the Bees (Dec 20, 2006) Then my two girls started asking loaded questions. I wanted to keep the words. It would be fun to look back. Thus, I blogged about them.

3. Hand, Mama (May, 26, 2007) To my delight, I discovered Pinoy Moms Network and this blog was the first one I posted.

4. On Breastfeeding (May 31, 2007) I wrote this because I strongly believe in breastfeeding.

5. For Preggies and Breastfeeding Moms (June 1, 2007) And because I believe, I furiously created another round of post about it.

6. Oma and Opa (May 31, 2007) I realized we can immortalize our loved ones by blogging about them.

7. Our Koi Pond: Safety First (July 11, 2007) PMN introduced it's new concept and this is my first published article under the Home and Garden section, edited by Noemi.

8. Two Love Stories (June 17, 2007) I can fall in love over and over again with these two love stories.

Blast From the Past Rules


Please try to limit your list to 10 posts or less. Take your time. Do some digging in your archives to find the perfect ones - it’s to your advantage more than anything else. Please link to where this meme first started. Also link to this post - at the blog where you were tagged. Tag 5 folks. Let them know by email, contact form or some other efficient method.

I am tagging Sinead of Diary of an Irish Woman; Rowena of My Sweet Life; and Auee of Kwentong Walang Kwenta.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

PMN Corner: Check your medicine cabinet

Learn more about your medicine cabinet in my latest PMN article.

And check out Chesca's article if you want to feel safer with kids around the water.

Crying Over a Movie

I discovered MC crying over a movie yesterday.

Before that, I was sitting with her, asking her to tell me what the story's about and she said: 'Pippi would be leaving Villa Kunterbunt for good. She would be joining her father on a worldwide adventure at sea. Annika and Thomas are sad because Pippi is leaving.'

Then I had to leave her to attend to something. When I came back a few minutes after, I saw tears glistening on her eyes. When I asked her what's wrong, she suddenly burst to tears; complete with hiccups and heaving shoulders. I opened my arms and she wrapped her arms tightly around my waist. Moaning, 'mama, mama.' She was almost inconsolable with sadness and is also a bit embarrassed.

Then I tried to calm her by exploring the story, 'oh, you are crying because Pippi would be leaving Annika and Thomas?' She nodded. I told her that it is okay to cry when you are sad. I know Annika and Thomas are also sad that's why they cried when Pippi left them. Because they would miss her. Pippi is a good friend to both of them. But I am sure, everything would turn out okay.

I mentioned to her that I also cry when I am sad. That I also cry when I say goodbye, especially during visits to the Philippines. That I cant help but feel a little lonely when our visit is ending, and we must fly back to Germany. But after crying, I also feel better. Because I know, we would see them again.

Because in every goodbye, there is a hello! Like we say goodbye to our family in the Philippines, and then we say hello to our family in Germany.

It's a good thing that the film ended happily, too. After saying goodbye, Pippi changed her mind. She came back and said hello to the gleefully surprised Thomas and Annika.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Rated PG



This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

sexy 4X

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Monday, August 13, 2007

A Topless Filipina in Europe




Photo in Cannes, France.

Yes, you read it right. I went topless in the beaches of Europe. The first time was during our two week vacation in Cannes, France. The second one was during our three week holiday in Calpe, Spain. And why not? We Filipinas have nothing to be ashamed of, we are sexy, too!

Of course, I was not ashamed. Why should I be ashamed? I am not ashamed to show off my body. I am not ashamed that I was the only topless Filipina in those long stretch of beaches. I am not ashamed at all. Who said going topless is only for Europeans? One Filipina mom was giving them competition, and that's me. I heard at that time that going topless in Europe was 'in'. Wow, I feel wonderfully sexy being 'in'.

I have bikinis because I love my sexy Filipina mom body. I wore bikinis because I am proud to to show my body's trophies such as scars and love handles from both pregnancies. And most important, I brought along my bikinis because it would be more comfortable to breastfeed my babies.

Thus, going topless was an easy decision for me. I was in full breastfeeding mode during both of those holidays. You know what, I feel wonderfully sexy while I was topless and nursing my baby; because I am displaying my body, not to compete with the girls but because my girls needed me!

I would say I was the real winner if those two holidays were topless competitions. I got loads of smiles of encouragement and nods of agreement when people see that with the topless Filipina me, an old tradition's being followed -- breastfeeding!

I've entered this post for the Filipina Writing Project.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Comedy Acts at Home

Welcome to our home-made entertainment network, presenting:

In the kitchen with IC and MC:

IC: Mama, there's a fly.
MC: Go and get the fly swatter!
MC: Awaaaaaaah!
IC got the fly swatter and whacked with great fury, the fly was waiting for her right on her sister's nose!

IC: Awaaah. Mama, ate pinched me.
MC: No. No. Mama, that's not right. I didnt pinch her. I hit her.

At the breakfast table. IC enthusiastically ripped open the vitamin pack of her papa, and capsules and tablets scattered all over the floor. MC tried to help but the tablets and capsules just kept on slipping through her small hands, onto to the floor. Papa to the rescue. He successfully caught the tablets and capsules but they missed his mouth when he was getting ready to take them. Vitamins back to the floor. Like daughters, like papa!

Papa was watching Pippi Longstockings' DVD with the kids. Then came Pippi swinging while hanging on the living room lamp. Seeing this, he asked.
Papa: Is this the reason why you broke our living room lamp the last time? You saw this on DVD and tried it on our lamp, right?
MC: No, that is not true!
IC: Of course Papa, this is not true. We cannot ride on the lamp because we broke it already when we pulled it.
Oooops! hehe!

What's amazing is, all of these things happened in a day!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Our 6th Wedding Anniversary
















It was our 6th wedding anniversary last August 10. As been the tradition, we make a reservation at the Watzenhof. This is the hotel-restaurant where we celebrated our wedding.

The kids were already so excited when I told them that we would be celebrating our wedding anniversary together. Yes, together. The kids joined us. We wanted them with us. After all, we are celebrating US!

Then came the papa with a bunch of long stemmed red roses in the hand. He gave both kids a rose each, and he presented the bunch to me with flourish. His other gift, the Pandora charm, is already attached in my Pandora bracelet. I gave him a bottle of his favorite tequila gold.
The kids presented us and each other, with their artworks. They chose their clothes for dinner, something special, they said.

Dinner was great. We are already regular guests in this restaurant. The manager and most of his people know us. The kids are familiar faces in the kitchen. In fact, upon arrival, they were asked if they wanted to have ice cream from the kitchen. This is becoming a ritual. Would it be such in another six years?

I know this for sure. Being a Filipina mom in Germany is not easy -- a strange land, a strange culture, a strange language. But my husband's thoughtfullness made all the strangeness a wonderful experience. And the family I adopted here made the strangeness something special. And having the kids made the strangeness an adventure.

When we were ready to go, my husband told me, 'next year or when the kids can already eat them; we can tell the restaurant to cook for us from the menu that we had during our wedding.' Oh, isnt he just amazing?

Dangers on Carousel Rides


I can still hear the ominous 'thud' as the little boy sitting on a horse beside IC on the carousel ride fell. It happened just this afternooon.

He fell right in front of me and my husband, but it was another mom who got to him first. It was the shock, plus the authoritative tone of my husband that stopped me in track. But the other mom had the boy on her arms and I was craddling his hand when my hubby told me why he wanted us not to pick him up -- it seemed that the little boy fainted for a few seconds. If the fall was bad, it would have been better to let him lie down until we would know for sure. The lady who had the boy gave him hurriedly to my husband after hearing his observation.

I saw bruises on his forehead and then finally heard him cry. Boy, am I glad to hear him cry.

Despite the crowd around the carousel, only a few people witnessed the accident. The carousel continued to go around, at least twice -- even the family of the little boy didnt notice that he was not sitting on the horse anymore.

I told my husband to go to the mom of the little boy and tell her that the boy was unconscious for a time. Then she hurried off, I guess to the closest Red Cross van within the carnival area. The papa had to stay with the other siblings within the carnival area. I dont know. Maybe they dont want to disappoint the other kids for the fun carnival; or maybe they dont know how hurt the boy was, never seeing how bad he fell; but if it were us -- we would have all gone straight to the hospital. We could explain to the other kids what happened -- your little brother hurt himself on the carousel ride and we must know what happened to know first. When he is okay, tgen we can go back to the carnival or if the brother is badly hurt, then they maybe must stay home and go another time. I mean, kids would understand these things more than we know. First things, first!

My husband was telling me that it appeared that the mama and the boy were alone; simply because the mama was carrying the boy away alone. Whatever is the truth, I am just being opinionated because this is traumatic for me as a parent, too. That boy was thrown out of the supposed to be safe carousel ride!

We were ready to go home that time. The last carousel chip used. I was running behind the mom of the little boy, hoping to catch the Red Cross station which was supposed to be always nearby. I pray that the little boy is okay.

Then we stopped at the ice cream parlor with the kids. But I cannot enjoy my ice cream because I kept hearing the 'thud', seeing the little boy falling, seeing him laying helpless on the ground -- and the carousel going around and around. And knowing that he was sitting beside IC. What if he was mine?

I am afraid and a bit shaken. Seeing how casual the family of the little boy reacted, how the operator of the carousel unknowing, continued to lead the carousel to dance; and how he and his assistant never even bothered to talk to the injured party! I mean, how callous can you get? With the carousel, children is his business, his livelihood -- would he take time to stop the carousel and check what happened? No. If he was thinking of the profit of missing one round of carousel, shame on him. If he didnt see what happened, that's no excuse. His assistant could have told him, he was on his toes, curious about the gasps on the other side of the carousel. He could have told his boss! But no. No reaction from him, too.

Let me see. If the excuse would be they both didnt see what happened, then they should learn from this experience. Since there are only two people manning the carousel ride for children -- they should be aware that accidents can happen. Then one can stay on the booth selling the tickets, and the other one can stay on the other side of the booth to watch the kids on the carousel. A little vigilance. Cant they not do that?

Arrgh -- I am panicking because I also saw IC experimenting while on carousel rides. She would refuse to hold on, she would even hold out her hands and pretent like she's flying, and then a few minutes before that 'fatal' ride -- she was twisting and turning on her sit, without holding on.

It seemed the kids missed what happened. I am glad they did not saw it. But we explained to them what happened, and what we expect from them on their next carousel rides. It was bad enough to continue hearing that 'thud'; I wanted to purge that out by blogging about it and offering some tips.

Now let me share to you some precautionary measures while on a carousel ride:

First and foremost, when the carousel is something new to us, we let the kids observe with us the motion of the ride. We wanted them to see and to know what would happen. We dont want to be left with unused chips or tickets when it turned out to be a wild ride for the kids.

Go for the carousel rides that have the whole carriage moving on a platform. We have always been cautious about this particular carousel where the disaster occurred. All the seats on this one are hanging; and not on a firm platform. What if a kid suddenly refused to sit still? That kid would find no foothold, fall down or worse, dragged by the next seats -- I dont want to imagine the chaos! At least with the other type, with all rides on a platform, the kid could still be asked to wait until someone could jump into the platform to calm the boy/girl down.

Dont leave them alone on a carousel ride until they reach an appropriate age. Although the kids were already enthusiastic carousel riders as babies (they were on one at 6 months old), on those earlier rides, my husband or the opa is always with them. I cannot take these merry go rounds anymore, thought I used to enjoy them as a kid; one ride and I'm kaputt!

The kids were at least 3 years old when we allowed them to ride alone. That was because they only ride the same three or four carousel types over and over again. They are familiar already with the seats and the motion of the said carousel rides. I dont know if I am right, but I am guessing that the kid who had the accident was only a little more than 2 years old. He was too small and can only babble in short baby talks when I heard him. (I really hope he's ok!)

And almost always, we persuade the kids to choose the rides within the inner carriage. Or preferably on those seats where they could comfortably hold on, sit right and have a firm foothold.

We assist them before and after the ride. We always tell them to stay seated until the carousel is on a full stop. That they should ignore those kids that are already standing up around them, while the carousel is still moving.

They must always firmly hold on. On the belts, on the rods, on the grips -- they should make sure that they are holdin on to something before and after the ride. Therefore, they must give up whatever they are have on their hands -- balloons, candies, bags, etc. They would be needing both hands for the ride.

This is important: never tickle, give 'give me fives', or do something that would distract them from their carousel rides. I used to do those things, but then I noticed they would get so excited and would tend to anticipate my moves. Thus, instead of concentrating on holding on, they would be moving irregularly, sometimes sliding away from their seat. A recipe for disaster.

You might have to sacrifice something for this advice because this could be the most important one. Ask them to refrain from waving. Yes, no more waving. I know, that's the most normal thing to do while watching the kids on a ride, right? But how can they hold on with both hands when they are waving? A smile is automatic while we waive. Then just smile and nod your head, try to stop your hands from waving. And ask your kids to do the same because it is for their safety after all.

There was a newspaper article a few years ago. A little girl fell from a carousel ride and died, the trauma on her head was too much. What happened? That little girl, apparently, went too wild while waving to her parents while on the carousel. She lost her hold on the seat and that's that. A freak accident but it happened!

Let's enjoy the carousel rides but please take precautionary measures to avoid a disaster. We wanted to have fun after all!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Here Comes Pippi




July 22, 2007 was the day that IC met Pippi Langstrumpf (Longstockings). A day that my little IC wont forget for a long, long time. (That is until she find another character to idolize, maybe.)

It was the day we watched Pippi in Taka-Tuka Land (Pippi in the Seven Seas) in Weinheim. The show was held on the park's pond to re-create Pippi's adventures in the sea.

On our way to the park, the kids's excitement bubbled up when they saw the Kleine Onkel (Little Man), Pippi's horse. It looks like Pippi's horse, which made me more excited for them.

Surveying the area for a better view of the show, we opted to use our picnic blanket, as did other families. In a few minutes the ground was covered with colorful blankets and jackets and kids and moms and dads. The kids got an unexpected glimpse of Pippi before the show. She was asked to check the sounds thus she had to go out into the open.

The crowd became one as they all chanted Pippi, Pippi, Pippi -- my little girl had to concentrate though. You wont hear anything from her. Watching her closely, one would think she found heaven right there and then. She just followed Pippi all over -- with her eyes. Like a dog to it's master, sans lolling tongue!

Pippi waved to the crowd and disappeared after a few minutes. Then the kids got restless, until they saw Pippi riding on her horse. Then it was only silence. There were snickers and laughters and shouts during the whole show; the kids are all having fun. They were all fascinated by the whole program. This is also my first time to watch a show in which they used the whole of the water area. They paddled with boats, jumped in the water, used the bridge to hide themselves, etc. I mean, I am sure the water is cold. Added to that is that that day was windy, too. Brrrr. But they are all professionals and they were great! They captured the imagination of the kids and the adults, too.

Plus, the show didnt take long; just long enough so it's worth our money and yet short enough so that the kids wont get bored. I am pretty sure the producers and writers of the show are moms, hehe!

The highlight of the show is the end, at least for my IC. Seeing Pippi walking alone after the show, the kids dragged the papa. They skipped the cordoned off part of the stage to meet with Pippi. I was left alone with the camera outside because the security tried to stop me. But I escaped by jumping over the fence ala super mom. Nobody can stop me: I need to take those photos!!

I'm just in time to click for posterity. My little IC, usually so shy to shake hands even with close friends, shook Pippi's hand while looking at her dreamily. And then before we lost our kids with the deluge of other small fans' -- we took off.

Papa later told IC, 'it's okay if you dont want to wash your hands for a few days.' Haha!

P.S. IC's godmother is now in Finland and they plan to drive to Sweden and visit Pippi's house in Vimmerby. We asked her to bring something from Pippi's house. I cant wait to see IC's face when the gift comes with Jaja. We are also thinking about going to Sweden just because of Vimmerby!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

An (Extra) Ordinary Bedtime Story

The kids are now sleeping like angels. As if nothing extra ordinary happened an hour ago.

This was our bedtime story an hour ago.

After taking a shower:

IC: I dont want to sleep. I want to watch the tv.
Mama: Ok, then I'll go up and work some more.
IC: (Suddenly appearing beside me) I want to print Spartacus.
Mama: You can print one page, but then you have to go to bed.
IC: No, I want to go and stay in the living room. I dont want to sleep.
Mama: I will only print Spartacus if you'll sleep afterwards.
IC: Okay, but I wont close my eyes.
Mama: (After printing Spartacus) Now go to bed.
IC: No, I want to go down and watch tv.
Mama: I am giving you two minutes and I'm going down to fetch you.

After a few minutes:

IC: Mama, I dont want to sleep with you. I will sleep with Papa downstairs.
Mama: Nope, you'll stay with me in your room.
IC: (Running to papa) Papa, I dont want to sleep in my room.
Papa: Ate is already sleeping in her room. Mama will join the ate downstairs and papa will stay with you upstairs, ok?
IC: No, I want to sleep with Mama downstairs.
Mama: No more arguments. You'll stay here in your room and sleep with mama. Papa can go down to ate.
IC: (Screaming and kicking) No, no, no! I want to sleep with papa downstairs.
Mama: You can go down with papa, but I dont want to hear anything anymore, ok?
IC: Yes.
Papa: Okay, let's go down.
Mama: Ask the ate to come up, I'll sleep with her.

Ate came up. We said our evening prayers. But how can we sleep when we could hear IC screaming and crying downstairs. Ate cannot take it when IC is uncontrollable like this, knowing the consequence, so she begged me if she could bring IC up, too. I nodded my consent. After a few seconds, ate came hurrying up in tears because she discovered that papa left IC alone in her room. And IC is crying, begging to be 'freed'.

MC: Papa, please let IC go out. I wanted to bring her upstairs. We can sleep together. Please, please. I am afraid.
Papa: No, let her stay inside the room alone.
MC: (To me) Mama, Papa left IC alone inside my room and she is crying. Papa dont want to open the door. Please.
Mama: Tell the papa to please let IC go out. That she can join you in sleeping upstairs.
MC: (Trembling) Okay, mama, I will tell the papa.
MC: (Downstairs) Papa, mama told me it is okay to bring IC up.
Papa: Nope, she told me she wanted to sleep downstairs, then we will sleep downstairs.
(He then opened the room's door to confront IC who's now stubbornly clinging to her decision to go up and stay with me.)
MC: (To me) Mama, please ask the papa to bring IC here.

After having a loud discussion with papa, we heard IC coming up. Not crying, but with a determined look. MC is now satisfied to see her, she kept her silence and waited. Then I heard Papa threatened to cancel the ticket to a show that we wanted to see with the kids because of what happened tonight.

IC: (Shouting to papa) I dont care. Mama, I am here.
Mama: So, you want to sleep here?
IC: Yes.
Mama: Okay, then lay down. Close your eyes. Close your mouth. Close your ears.
IC: I will not close my eyes, I already told you.
Mama: When you dont sleep in two minutes, I am out of here, too.

Silence.

MC: Mama, I dont want to use the pillow.
Mama: IC, can you exchange places with Ate?
IC: (She who normally seeks a pillow while sleeping) I dont want to have this pillow.
Mama: Do you want me to go and leave both of you now?
MC: Okay mama, I will sleep with the pillow.
IC: Okay, I'll sleep now.

After a few seconds of silence,

MC: I dont have enough blanket.
IC: Me, too.
Mama: I can leave you now so both of you will have enough blanket to share.

Silence.

MC: zzzzzzz
IC: zzzzzzzz

Finally, winning the battle of the zzzzzzz's!

The Plastic Bag


My husband got the shock of his life.

While buying jogging pants for the kids a few weeks ago, we went to a discount store near us. We found out what we're looking for in a few minutes.

My husband took charge of paying. I was standing beside him when the cashier asked him if he wanted a plastic bag for his purchases and he said 'yes.'

Oh, I was amused and tried to hide a smile. We didnt buy a lot, we could easily carry the things between us. But I let him do his thing.

As his usual practice, with the receipt in the hands, he checked that the cashier got the prices right, while walking to the car. And then he stopped in the middle of his stride and exploded, 'what! I had to pay for the plastic bag?'

Aha, that was why he nodded when the cashier asked him if he wanted a plastic bag. He wasnt aware that he must pay for it. And here I was thinking he is suddenly soo generous! Of course, he accosted me about it. Hey, it is not my fault! I told him I thought he knew that he must pay for the bag. And to leave me alone in my laughter, hehe! I had to tease him, too, my shame-faced and already pikon love!

He actually thought about returning the bag to the store, really! I told him he can do it but I wont go back with him inside. He let it go after thinking about it for a full minute! Back home, he told me to keep the bag in a safe place. Never to throw it away. He said he may want to see it sometimes to remind him how stupid he was!

P.S. We usually bring our own washable bags and baskets whenever we do our grocery shopping here in environment friendly-Germany and in most of Europe; we need to pay extra for the plastic bags. The big department stores provide the shopping bags free, but with the discount shops, you need to pay extra.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Kid's Day at the Town Fiesta


Photo: MC and IC showing off their sweet loots; getting their balloons.

Sunday, August 5, is our 8th celebration of kid's day. There was nothing planned for today. We simply assumed that with the yearly tradition of visiting the kerwe or the town fiesta's amusement park for all of its four-day run, we would also be ending up doing our kid's day fun in the area. That we did. As a Filipina, fiestas' are always a big part of the family tradition and it is true also here in Germany.

The program for this day started off with a parade of 29 floats. The assembly point is in the school located one street away from our house. Thus, we arrived early enough to go around the waiting floats and bands and gawk a little. The kids, armed with their small bags for the much awaited shower of sweets during the parade, got an early start when a woman from one of the floats called to them to come nearer. She then proceeded to pack the kids' bags with a handful of sweets!

The girls who, left the house without much enthusiasm, had a calorie kick on seeing and smelling the sweets inside their bags. With twinkling eyes and eager feet, they skipped ahead to find the best place to catch and gather the promised sweets. When the band's music pierced the air and the parade marched on; they were already halfway into the street! We had to control their excitement but it was just too much -- too much goodies, too loud music, too much to see. In the middle of it were adults like me and my husband, also gleefully savoring the bursts of color and sound and the loaded generous hands.

Goodies for both adults and kids overflowed during the parade. There were small glasses filled with beer, wine, and some finger foods shared carefully to the gawkers and revellers. Sweets, balloons, card games, etc where handed out to the kids in full showers. I even got some shampoo, conditioner and lip gloss samples from the friseur's float! When the last float passed us, our hands and bags were so full, we had to go back home to unload them.

You would think the kids had enough. Nope. We met the parade on the way to the carnival area and we had to stop and do the same thing all over again. My husband was saying he is already half drunk from the mixture of all the free beer and wine! Well, he could always refuse, right? Like the papa who cant seem to get enough, the kids had their bags full again. Oh well, it's kid's day after all.

The kids enjoyed their carousel rides, their kiddie car rides, their bump car rides and they got to buy their choices of pretending-to-be-expensive-yet-really-cheap one-minute trinkets (I call them 'one-minute' because they would definitely be broken after a few minutes!). We let them splurge but with limit, they both got fiesta allowances from their uncle and aunt plus those from oma and opa. They know how much they got and they worked around on their specified amounts, too. It is a good introduction about how money works for both girls.

Then before five pm, we headed home. MC had a date with her godmother at 5 pm for another spin around the fiesta mile. She was already excitedly awaiting Nana's arrival. IC had to stay home as her godmother is on vacation in Finland, though she her fiesta allowance bulged for that. I love it when their godmother took time to be with them alone. Their time together is a real bonding time with the girls and their godmothers. My girls miss their bigger cousins cum godmothers more than I thought possible, since both of them left home to live a life away from home.

Left at home, IC took a tv watching break. My husband and I got to sip a few drinks and enjoyed a relaxing break; after I took care of the collected sweets by making them disappear from view and storing them up high out of their reach!

When MC come back, we walked to the Greek restaurant located in our street corner for dinner. It is after all the kids' favorite restaurant -- because of the play area with slides, seesaws, and sandbox; and the free ice cream they always get for dessert. A perfect ending for another perfect kid's day.

More images of the kids in action here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Bump Car Crazy


I have always pushed my husband to let the kids enjoy the bump cars everytime we visit amusement parks. He would always refuse saying the kids were still too small to enjoy such wild rides. That it is still too dangerous for them. With those arguments, I didnt say anything. But I hoped that soon, he would give in.

Then early this year, he consented. At first I thought he would only allow MC to join him; IC was already in tears, screaming for a ride. She only calmed down when Papa showed her that he actually bought 4 chips; two rides for each kids. Then I saw how IC got almost swallowed by the bump car seat, I almost changed my mind. I wanted to keep her off the driving platform, away from those bump cars. MC surprisingly enjoyed the ride, though she normally cowers from such wild plays. But with IC, I was having second thoughts. I watched and cheered as papa tried to evade the wild boys on the ramp; papa had IC tightly with his free arm. But I heaved a loud sigh of relief when it was over.

After that, everybody's happy. The kids cant contain their excitement over their rides. But me? What about me? It was while cheering and applauding my husband's maneuvers that I realized, I wanted to ride the bump car. I wanted to drive, too. Did I really think that pushing my husband to enjoy the rides with the kids would also satisfy my childhood craziness over bump cars? Yes, I confess. I used to be a bump car addict. I mean, I am still a bump car addict.

After denying myself of the enjoyment of bump car rides, I finally got to ride one yesterday. Nope, I didnt let on to my husband about my addiction. It was because MC didnt want to use her chip; she observed on the sideline how IC's smiling face suddenly turned pale when the wild boys rammed straight into their car. No more bump rides for her. As for IC, she revealed to me that she got frightened, but she wont admit that to her papa.

Papa then gave the chip to me. I can ride. I am so excited, I almost danced with joy. I got a car despite MC protesting screams -- she's also afraid for me. My husband wanted to stop me, but I deliberately stepped on the pedal. No one can stop me now. I am now one of the wild boys, vroom! I wanted to shout -- watch out for this Filipina on a bump car :-)

Whew, that was exhilarating! I wanted to beg for another chip, but the kids were taking me away from the bump car's area. Dragging me, actually. I let myself be dragged. It's ok, the next town's celebrating their city fair next weekend. And I am pretty sure, the bump cars would be there. I'll make sure that I would have my own chips on that day, too!

Oh childhood, my childhood!

I'm not a Drama Queen

You Are As Cool As They Come

Rational and relaxed, no one could accuse you of being dramatic.
You roll with the punches, and nothing ever gets you too worked up.
You are able to maintain perspective and see the big picture.

And even if you're emotional inside, you don't let it show.
You're great at keeping it together, and you're rewarded for that.
People see you as an ideal friend, employee, and partner.


When the kids are having tantrums, when all patience's been exercised, when papa's neck is already red and bulging with temper, mama always stands out with her small smile surveying the scene with irritating calmness. My husband kept on saying, 'if I could only have your calmness, then I would be satisfied with my life.' I dont have to go ballistic to let people know what I want, what I am and what I want to be. Cool bleiben, stay cool - I love that phrase!

Unchained thus Unsafe?

We were robbed! The chain that we used to cordon off the pathway going down into the garden is nowhere to be found.

My husband and I heard the culprits on the wee hours of the morning, Sunday at around 1 am. You see, our city is celebrating its 4-day city fair or kerwe from 3-6 August. Thus, we get loads of people who came over to celebrate. That means, the city's parking area, even those within the residential zones, were full. Our street, a stone's throw away from the party mile, was clogged too.

Because we left our bedroom windows open, we both stirred and tried to catch each other's eyes in the dark when we heard the group of youngsters coming home from the kerwe. Fun time over, but still heady with excitement, the teeners decided to party a little in our street. They were loud and already sounding drunk. I heard the chains rattling and then a car door opening and closing; and then silence. My husband and I went back to sleep.

Around 3 am, it was our tenants' turn to be heard. We heard them talking by the driveway. Too sleepy to check, I simply turned off the sound.

When I woke up around 9 am, I felt a kick in the gut and a warning signal which I associated with what I heard early thar morning. Still wearing my pajamas, I went outside and looked -- the chain is gone. A very much delayed reaction.

I hurried inside and told my husband. He was bamboozled! (Dont you love this word, bamboozled, bamboozled, bamboozled!) Living in the neighborhood for more than 20 years, something like that never happened to him before. The kids were enthralled to hear the story. Becoming a victim of robbers, whoah -- cool! For them, it is like relieving the stories from books and tv. And they got more excitable when they learned of their assignment for that day; to look around the garden and bushes in the neighborhood for our chain. Papa wont give up the hope that the teeners just took it on a dare, had their fun, and threw it someplace.

No such luck. Both kids went around the block and talked to some neighbors. They saw or heard nothing. I asked our next door neighbor, they heard nothing. But I refuse to agree to my husband's comment that 'nobody around us hears anything; they would prefer to ignore things.' I argued with him about that. I refuse to believe that our neighborhood is composed of heartless people. I am holding on to my belief that we take care of each other.

I think he resented what happened. He was kicking himself because usually, he gets up and look outside when he hears something in the middle of the night! Telling him that it's not his fault would only make him guiltier, so I simply told him to forget about it.

Later that day, my husband talked to the tenants and asked them about the chain. They said that the chain were not there anymore when they arrived around 3 am. And told him the reason why they stayed out longer -- they observed how three men came out of our sickly elderly neighbors house, hauling 3 suitcases into a small truck and drove on. They managed to take note of the plate numbers of the truck. Hearing this struck two different cords in me. I am glad to know that we do take care of each other; but worried about these consecutive events.

There were no damage in our property, so the chain's as as good as forgotten. But I urged my husband to ask about the two old people. And hope that that event in that ungodly hour is nothing to worry about. After all, we should take care of each other.

P.S. The loss of the chain made me recall that Saturday's discussion between my husband and his father. My husband was laughing about the opa's collection of keys (at least 9 in all) for his vegetable garden in the mountain. He was saying that those keys would not prevent the people from getting in and stealing something. Well, he said it -- those teeners wanted the chain, they got away with it. Though my version goes like this: Opa asked the kids to take the chain because he wanted to prove something to his son, hehe! Now, the joke's on my husband, who decided to laugh about it, too.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Monday Madness: Getting Organized

It's Monday Madness again!
1. What ONE thing would you like to accomplish before the end of the day?
I want to make sure that my diary entry is done.

2. What one goal would you like to attain before the end of the month?
To re- start the regular exercise rhythm that I was strictly following during winter; which I was too lazy to continue doing this summer.

3. Are you a "to-do list" writer? If so, do you stick to your list and cross things off as you complete them?
Sometimes I have a 'to-do list'; sometimes I dont. When I do have them, that would mean I am already drowning with my chores. Ticking them off one by one, as I work on them, would be a reward each.

4. In general, how organized do you feel you are?
I feel that I am better organized now, than before. I am gauging it on the scale of the paperworks on my desk. My inbox is amazingly almost empty, yipeee! Okay, dont ask me what's in my shelves and drawers :-)

5. How many piles of papers/junk mail/etc. do you have laying around your house?
I have them in the folders in our file cabinets, in the sideboard drawers, in the old baggages and bags, in the hundred of boxes inside the storeroom, in between my 'to read magazines and books,' laying around in the bathroom, pretending to be reading materials in the newspaper holder, etc. But the new ones, like those from the last two years, I have already purged. Now, how do you purge the last 15 years of your life, huh?

6. Which ONE surface in your home do you have trouble keeping clean?
The terrace door especially during summer time; well, the kids use the terrace area to paint -- and then they use their hands to push/pull the door open and close, need I say more?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Gloriously Glossy


Here's my entry to the PMN's Fam Pics: MC showing off her newly acquired pink hair pins and her gloriously glossy bunched hair. The pins didnt get a chance, they slipped after a few minutes; irritating my little daughter to tears.

Check out the other glossies:

  1. Glossy Writing Table by Noemi
  2. Glossy Appeal by Rachel
  3. Attack II by Leah
  4. PMN Fam Pics Series 1 : GLOSSY by Cookie de Guzman-Lugue (Kongkong622)
  5. GlossyMonday--My World Turning Upside Down by Sexy Mom
  6. Glossy by Mitch
  7. Glossy by Chats (iMom)
  8. Glossy Apple Cheeks by Analyse
  9. The Mane Event by Lynn
  10. PMN Fam Pics, 1st edition: A very glossy story by Connie
  11. Mommy's girl by Lady Cess
  12. GLOSSY Topped Cupcakes by Dexie the FeistyMomma
  13. Glossy from the garden by KK
  14. Glossy Plastic Covers by Feng

Saturday, August 4, 2007

PMN Corner: Taking Care of Orchids

A Filipina's thoughts about orchids at Pinoy Moms Network. If you love orchids and want to know more about how to properly take care of them, check it out.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Just Tell the Truth

We were really amazed one afternoon when both kids stayed the whole time in their room, playing. They didnt even bug me to turn on the tv which they normally do especially when I am preparing dinner. Since I got busy in the kitchen, I heard only their laughters and whispers. Seeing and hearing nothing wrong; I didnt take much notice, thinking it is just one of those days. And then came the papa.

He entered the living room and in a second, called for the girls. Something in his voice made me hurry to his side. I saw that something was really wrong -- our hanging lamp is hanging no more. The iron spring holding it was pulled and stretched until it touched the floor! It goes to say that the lamp would not be giving light in the living room from that moment on.

And the culprits? They refused to come and face the music. Nope. They continues playing as if they heard nothing. Pretending there was nothing wrong at all. If they wont come to us, we went to them.

We asked, 'what happened to the lamp in the living room?' No sound. We repeated, 'who did it?'. No answer. With four big eyes soulfully and guiltily trying to avoid meeting our eyes, we decided to talk seriously to them.

Here's what we told them:

We wanted to know what happened not because we were angry but because we wanted to clear things up. We stressed that we would be glad to know who did it because we wanted the truth. We expressed our sadness and disappointment for lying is not good and we dont want to be left ignorant of what was happening in the house, especially if it would involve repairs or keeping the house safe. We emphasized that telling the truth is very important; that telling the truth is healthy because you wont have to nervously wait for the verdict until you are discovered.

My eldest daughter was already nodding with understanding at this time; while the little one wanted to confess already. But before asking them to talk, we asked them to come to us and give us big hugs.

And then the confession: It was MC who pulled, encouraged and cheered on by IC. Thus, both guilty. After that little talk, we asked them how they feel. The answer was more eloquent than words: they jumped into our arms and gave us kisses and hugs. And with huge charming smiles, they said 'we will tell the truth, promise.'

Let's hope they've learned their lessons.

P.S. The lamp is working again, thanks to my husband's basic skills. It took him the whole evening though.

PMN Corner: Most Loved Pinoy Desserts

On Pinoy Moms Network, you can read a Filipina mom's piece about the Most Loved Pinoy Desserts. It was while I was craving for the real taste of the Filipino food that made me create this article. Why it focused on the sweets I will tell you: It is not easy to re-create the Pinoy desserts especially if you dont have the right ingredients. Come drool with me :-)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Expectations


I try not to have expectations from my kids, I've learned my lessons early enough. My husband has expectations from them, he reacts from these expectations, although that doesnt mean he loves them less; he's got expectations, that's.

MC was supposed to start her swimming lesson this week; it would be a two week course. MC knows about this activity, in fact, she's looking forward to it, or are we wrong? She loves the water; and we are avid pool visitors, choosing neither summer or winter. She even swims with her papa in the deep end, with her water wings, unafraid. A few days before the course, we were in the pool and she was even playing in the wading pool without her wings, the first time that she's confident enough to do so. Thinking she's eager to learn, we never gave any thought about it. After all, it would also be for safety reasons as most of our holidays were spent around water -- beach or pool.

That particular Monday didnt start good: it was windy and was only around 19 degrees. But when the sun shines, it was warm. When we arrived at the pool area, there were already 8 kids. The instructor introduced himself and asked the kids to join him on the public shower, the first basic lesson to warm up. MC wont move, I had to walk with her to the group. Then she refused to get wet and started crying. My husband took over, the deal was papa can join her in the pool when she wanted. What happened was, she didnt leave papa's arms the whole time. She wont join, period. Even during an exercise break, it was really cold their lips were blue -- she sat with them but papa had to stay real close. Then back again in the water, she begged the papa to carry her. Uh-oh, this is a very different scenario from what we were expecting.

The funny thing is that, another little boy was also making a full drama on the side. He also wont join the group; just kept on wailing and flailing. The mama of the little boy was a bit frazzled; she turned to all of us and said wryly, ' that little boy is the swimming instructor's son.' Boy, am I glad we are not the only one :-) I mean, that one is even the instructor's son! The little boy had to leave in tears with his mom as the whole group's being distracted. As for MC, she stayed calmly in papa's arms.

But after 15 mins, Papa was already getting irritated. He gestured that he wanted to go home. I came to him and reminded him that our kids almost always needed time to get used to something. They are just like that.

I understand him. I really thought MC would join without a fuss this time. Oh well, do I need to remind him about the judo class? We had to attend at least 5 consecutive sessions -- before we gave up. Although MC said she wanted to join, she didnt get on the floor. Uh, only once, but she came running back to me in tears after a few minutes; for reasons that only she can understand. She stated she wanted to watch first. Ok, we watched. But after 4 session of watching, MC simply wont join in. I joined her on the floor, cajoled, promised rewards, threatened, pushed -- nothing worked. In the end, I had to give in, it is not for her.

Then the gymnastics; since we started with mother and child gymnastics, joining was not a problem. But it took time before she voluntarily gave her hands during the greetings, she refused to sing and dance at first; and would do the exercises without letting go of my hands. It was an exercise in patience, those first few meetings. And every time we had to move her to another level, I must always be in the middle of the group joining most of the exercises. It would take at least 3-4 sessions before she would finally be comfortable enough to let me sit on the bench while she does her thing.

Then again in ballet, how many times did I force my already unresponsive limbs to gracefully float when she was starting the lessons. It took at least 3 session before I can finally escape and be allowed to stay outside the curtain!

How do we expect her to react to a swimming lesson? The instructor said he would inform us after three sessions if our child can stay or leave the group. I told my husband we can give MC another two days, but he was adamant that it would be too late, for then the other members would be way ahead of her. He is right, as they would be doing different exercises everyday.

I asked MC if she really wanted to join, she didnt say anything and just ignored me. Ok, not the time to talk to her about it. I wanted to give her time, hoping tomorrow would be better. I didnt sleep good that night because of this nagging thought.

The next day, I talked to MC again hours before the lesson. She finally told me she dont want to join because she's afraid. What can a mom do? She is not yet ready and that is that. I told my husband we might have to forget about the lesson. I expected he would be disappointed, he was more than that. He was really upset and ranted on 'when she's like that, what would happen to her as a pre schooler this year? She needs to be independent. Her behavior is not normal, it is worrying me, etc, etc!' Uh-oh, I didnt realize that papa's expectation was higher this time.

I had to tell him to stop and to calm down. After all, it is not our decision. We cannot force something to our kids. The kids would know when they are ready. We just have to wait. Be patient. Be there to support their decisions. Love them no matter what. Expectations be damned.

And the good father that he is, he cleared his mind from these unnecessary worries in a second and drove to the pool to declare that: MC is not yet ready, not at this time.

P.S. We spent the whole day in a water park today. MC was showing us the things that she learned from the first swimming lesson; even though she was supposed to be too upset to take notice! She was in the water without her swim wings, confident enough to dog paddle alone. Kids would decide for themselves, indeed!