Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Why is opa in the hospital?

Although we have prepared the girls about it, but still, MC wont keep still inn asking on why opa must go to the hospital; especially today where opa's already been admitted. He would be operated on early tomorrow.

We already told them before that opa must go to the hospital because there's something wrong with a part of his body and it would be 'repaired' by the doctor so that everything would be right again.

But you see, they noticed a bit of irregularities; especially today. And I've been peppered with questions until the sandman came.

Why should oma go for a 'vacation' to Tante Ingrid? Why wont oma stay with us then? Why must opa go to the hospital? How long should he stay there? Who would take care of oma? Why is opa crying? Why is oma crying? Why must opa go to the hospital?

Could we call the opa? Why are you calling a different number? Opa is not at home anymore? Why must opa go to the hospital? When could the oma stay with us? Could we visit him there? Why could we not visit him there?

Is he alone? But there are a lot of people in the hospital, right? What would he eat? Why must opa go to the hospital? Could we take care of the oma?

These questions kept on pouring from MC's mouth. Sometimes I could satisfy her with my answers but most of the time, she would simply drag more questions from the depth of her soul. And as I told my husband, MC's greatly affected by all these things.

She's confused by the 'abnormalities' that opa's hospitalization brought into us. We could only try, as a family, to show her that everything is okay; by doing 'normal' everyday things and by keeping to our scheduled 'promises' to them, as much as possible.

It is not easy, but together, we'd be stronger.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Who's Getting Married?

If you are, please, please I am begging you to invite us to your wedding.

We would come as 'observers.'

Nope, we dont have to join the reception; and nope, you dont have to reserve a table for us. We could do the eating later. Unless you would have a wonderful reception that would make both my little girls eyes bulge in wonder and glee -- we could bring our own folding chairs and some popcorn to munch on.

Because you see, my girls are now oh so fascinated with weddings and all the krim krams that comes with it - the beautiful flowing dress, the long veil, the tiara, the fascinating hair styles, the church and restaurant decors, the bouquet and the wedding ceremony plus maybe the cutting of the cake, the doves, the toast, etc.

Of course, they want to oggle finely dressed guests and the colorful clothes of the whole entourage. As they say, 'They look like princes and princesses!.'

And dont worry, I already explained to them about the role of the flower girls; which they have high hopes of being one in the future. And nope, they wont try to fall in line and join the flower girls (I hope) - I told them they should quietly observe first so they would know what to do in the future :D

I promised to watch out for the wedding notices in our church, and I did. But we dont seem to find a wedding that would fit our weekend schedule!

They have been wanting to gate crash whenever they would find churches and restaurants and houses covered with wedding fineries; I could only beg them to have more patience.

The kids have been begging me to find a wedding soon for them to look forward to; yet there's been no success. Thus, the appeal here :) So, anyone?

Friday, July 25, 2008

We're Going Camping

We're going to Campingplatz Dilsberg.
We're going together with another family, for the first time.

We would not just to camp out, but specifically to watch the fireworks display at the Dilsberg Castle. I am sure it would be a wonderful experience, especially for the kids; as they would have a playmate there, too. And for us adults, friends to catch up stories with and simply to hang out with -- really a trip to look forward to.

We've even divided our what to bring food -- we'd bring the salad ( as we have fresh veggies from the backyard garden) and they would bring the marinated steaks and wursts for our barbecue dinner. Yum!

What's in our list to bring?

- the tent, the folding chairs and a folding table
- the gas stove, gas and the box of camping utensils
- the sleeping sacks, the pillows and the air beds and the air pump plus a bedsheet
- towels, kitchen towels, garbage bags, foam and soap
- toiletries, toilet paper
- solar lamp and flashlights, beach umbrella
- salt and pepper
- thermometer, medicine, plaster
- insect spray and aloe first
- video camera and digicam plus extra batteries

Our basket is already stacked with snacks and toys for the kids. The cool bag is already filled with bottles of water and some juice. We simply need to add the eggs, the canned goods, the wursts; as they are still in the ref to cool. And before driving out of our city, we'd pass by a bakery to buy fresh loaves of bread!

Then, we are ready!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

And I still wanted to hold her hands...

This morning, MC and IC opened the door and in a second ran back in the house shouting, 'Mama, why are there a lot of cars in front of the house of our neighbor?'.

I heard my heart missing a beat, for I know, our very sick, friendly neighbor just left us.

First her husband died after a heart attack a few months before December last year; which left her so depressed, her condition worsened that she needed a nurse 24 hours a day.

What did I tell the kids? I told them that our neighbor is now in heaven. That she is now happily reunited with her husband. That she left this morning to be in the arms of her husband. That they are happy together now.

But you see, yesterday afternoon, when our neighbor's being pushed on her wheelchair for a short stroll; she passed by our front yard and we all said hello. I even asked the kids to wave to her. And though I usually come to her to give her a short hug and hold her hands; I didnt do those things this time -- thinking, I'll do it tomorrow. Never thinking what tomorrow would bring. Carpe diem! Seize the day, this is oh so true.

And yes, I still wanted to hold her hands. But how? By sending prayers to her and imagining her holding hands with me. I am sure though, she would rather hold hands with her husband.

Although I explained what happened to the girls, I hurried them up before they could see the body being transferred outside. I dont think they are ready to face that, yet.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Swimming and the Rain

I did promise. On Thursday, we would go swimming.

Nope, I forgot to add 'but NOT when it is raining.'

And then it was Thursday. And we MUST go swimming. Even if it is raining!

First, as arranged, I picked up the girls from kindergarten; and then picked up F, MC's friend, from another kindergarten. It was a bit windy, and it looked like it would rain. But I did promise the kids we would go swimming this day. 'Even if it would rain,' MC stressed.

This time, I'm drove although it was only a couple of minutes drive. The parking area was not really full. There were only three cars, including ours! Should we go home? Of course not, we'd go swimming even if it pours!

Paid the fee. Found a nice spot to spread our blanket, under a big tree with thick branches, of course. And yes, there's enough space to spread our blanket, remember the parking area?
Changed into our bathing suits. Prepared lunch. Then, raindrops! 'Mama, good thing we are still eating,' IC said. Huh, okay.

Then off to the swimming pool. Nope, no swimming in the sea today, it would rain, remember?

IC would only sit and eat sliced apples in the corner, while MC played with her toys on the pool steps. F and I enjoyed the water. And then it rained, and it rained! Whew, I would be wet if am not already in the water.

And my brave girls who wanted to go swimming even it it would rain? IC continued eating though she did used her towel as a cape to ward of not being too wet (which wasnt really successful); and MC wont jump in the water because she said she would freeze so she stubbornly continued with her foot paddles. And F and I? Oh, it is warmer in the pool, but my girls wont believe me. They got wetter and wetter...

Until I told them, enough of this nonsense. Let's go home.

But first, they wanted to eat ice cream. Yes, even if it's raining.

What I would do to make my girls happy! Well, it was fun, really! Next time I wont forget to bring an umbrella, though :)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

We dont want to walk!

One night before bedtime, both kids cornered me with this question:

'Mama, why do we always have to walk everytime we go to kindergarten?'

Well, I wasnt really surprised with the question. They have been bugging me almost every morning with, 'are we using the car or are we walking?' Hoping that they could hop in the car for once though they know there is a slim chance of that.

Then MC said, 'but I see a lot of kids being chauffered by their parents to kindergarten, why not us?' Well, why not them?

So I told them, that aside from the price of the gasoline that powers a car to drive is getting more expensive which doesnt really interest them at all...

I asked them if they think it is fun to sit in the car on the way to kindergarten?

Or it is more fun walking where they'd get to run around, spin around, go with their bikes or go with skates on a good day, play a game on the way, be amazed with what's roaming on the streets, etc?

The verdict? Walking is fun. And yes, even when it is raining.

Just the morning after that talk, both girls got to skip rope on their way to kindergarten.

Walking is more fun. It is healthier and yes, we save in the process :)

PMN: Home and Garden talks about tree planting for kids.

PMN: Travel shares Discovering Nature with Kids.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Pinoy Moms Network is Back!

Just a short but happy announcement, is back on air!

That means all it's sub domains including PMN: Home and Garden and PMN:Travel where I am both editor and enthusiatic contributor are also up.

Give us enough time to update the articles, but of course, you could already visit us.

The other PMN sub-domains are: PMN: Food and Cooking, PMN: Parenting, PMN: TechMomma, PMN: Fashion and Personal Style.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Papa's French Fries

I am a lucky wife. Not only is my husband 90% in charge of cleaning the house and maintaining the garden, he cooks better, too. He is someone who abhors fast food restaurants. He'd rather create a dish from scrap than buy those craps, he always says. For him, time and effort does not matter when he is cooking for his family. Isn't he a doll?

Take for example, french fries. As someone growing up under the influence of American fast food, my thought is -- french fries tastes better in Mcdo or Jollibee. I thought wrong. Nothing can compare to my husband's french fries.

He has already perfected his french fries ritual. He would drove 35 kms away to buy the best potatoes from a big farm. Back home, he would then be washing, cutting, frying, salting and shaking them himself. Oh, the potatoes would all end up in the deep fryer, a special kitchen equipment he bought, just to make sure that the french fries would be cooked right. He is deep into modern kitchen equipments, too, my guy.

Being homemade, the french fries, taste better and most of all, not so oily. My husband uses 'Biskin', a type of vegetable oil that has a neutral taste. It is a little expensive than other brands but according to him, it works best for french fries. I dont know, I still use the other generic brands for baking.

Of course, the kids love papa's french fries. It is always a special meal when papa would declare, 'today is french fries day'! I am not complaining, as long as he's the one doing the cooking. Because for me, I always have the frozen variety in the freezer, ready to be summoned!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sister

She's 38 today.

To you Jo-anne, happy birthday!See how she's kept her shape even though she's got four kids! This photo's taken at the pool area of Eagle's Point in Batangas.

Jo-anne squeezed between her two girls, Tin-tin and Clae.

And look at that beautiful smile! She's a strong and determined woman, my sister and I am proud of her.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


MC loves receiving letters from the post and even those who were simply dropped off and thus, she also loves sending and dropping letters. Sometimes we do send those letters per post but most of the time, she would also drop those letters in the mailboxes of her friends.

She would draw and scribble her name and would ask me to help her write down the name of her friend who would be lucky enough to get her letter. And she would work with much love to create that letter.

One time, she saw in my hands a crumpled letter for her. And she cried, 'mama, that was my letter. Why did you destroy it?'

I was surprised because I didnt know it was a letter for her, I simply apologized which she accepted but then I saw tears in her eyes. That was when she bawled with much disappointed because she said, 'you know, mama, sometimes I also drop my letters to my friends and sometimes they would also throw my letters to them because they said they dont like them. Why should they do that? And you know I always keep their letters for me.'

Aww, I gave her a big hug and pointed to her that she did say 'sometimes'. Sometimes her friends might not be in a good mood that is why they simply throw things away. Sometimes her friends might simply not understand that she is giving it as a special gift that is why they throw her letters away. And I had to explain to her that sometimes, she might give a special value to something and yet someone might not give the same value to that something.

I also pointed out that her friends are different from her. She loves keeping things and her friends might not love keeping things. And I added, she would soon find out more differences for as long as they are growing up together.

I hope I did good with my explanations.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hang in There, My Angel

July 4, 2008 I was in ecstacy because I just confirmed that I'm 5 weeks pregnant

July 4, 2008 (Yes, the same day) I was in agony because I just learned that I lost my baby

How was it that I get to enjoy my baby's presence in my womb for only a few precious hours? And yet it was during those few hours that I bonded with my baby. I started talking to my baby. I tell my baby what I was doing and yes, I already shared some plans for our future together.

It was a bliss caressing my stomach ever so gently, knowing that there is somebody inside.

And then after a few hours of walking in the clouds with my baby, I started bleeding.

Although we reached the hospital, it was already too late. I lost my baby.

I saw my baby when it came out, just a tiny bit of flesh yet already distinguishable. That was when I realized that is the loneliest moment of my life.

How could that be when that day was supposed to be the happiest day of my life, knowing that I am pregnant?

Now I feel so empty. So sad.

I am grieving for my baby.

I wouldnt even know how my baby would look like.

It also hurts that I dont think people really understand what I am going through. Most of them would say that I should move on, that there would be another baby for me. It feels like they dont even want to recognize the baby I lost!

Even though there are people around you, you still feel so alone. That is why it hurts me more than people can understand. My husband and I talks about it and it helps a little. He reminds me that God has plans for us. My mother told me that God knows what I am feeling inside.

The song 'In His Time', I always cry when I sing that song.

Nobody knew my baby the way I did.

Right now all I ask of Him is to hold me in his hands, I see myself offering my little angel in His loving hands. And it makes me cry.

Now I understand the bond that exists between mother and child. I realized that I have this love inside me that I never knew existed. Ibang klaseng love (a different kind of love), yung magpapakamatay ka (you would die) for your child.

That's why I feel so bad coz I feel so helpless. I cant do anything to save my baby.

I dont want to move on yet. I am going to continue giving my baby my love for the rest of my life. That gives me an incentive to be good, that when I pass, I know that would meet my baby someday.

I wish I could hold my baby, I just ache so much for my baby. I had a miscarriage in January but at that time I didnt know I was pregnant. This time it is really painful because I know I have a baby and I enjoyed having a baby yet I had to loose it.

Although I know I would have to deal with this roller coaster of emotions -- sometimes I accept that my baby is gone but sometimes I cannot accept it. Okay, I know I need to pick myself up. No one else will help me if I dont help myself first.

I hope my baby knows Mama loves her so much.

This post is specially dedicated for a dear friend B and her angel. She asked me to dedicate a blog for her baby I took the liberty of writing down some of her thoughts when we chatted a few days after the miscarriage happened. I hope I did justice with her deeper thoughts, all mistakes are mine.

The thing is, we havent chatted for months -- though we did exchanged a few emails. But sometimes, most of the times in our case, friendship works in mysterious ways. I had the urge to go online although it is usually our sleeping time. And a few second after I logged on, B appeared online and told me her story.

And yes, I cried with her. I felt what she's feeling. I understood what she's going through. I am a mom after all; and yes, a friend, too.

Since both of us are living away from our family and close friends; it was a relief for me to know that I was there when she needed a friend. And you know what I did promise her, I am not going to forget her baby.
I just wish I could give her a hug! But for now, I hope words would do. I hope with this post, some of you would also remember her baby, her angel.

Let's send my friend B and her angel wonderful thoughts and prayers.

I've said it already and am repeating it again, I love you, B!

You are a strong woman and with an angel beside you, you would be stronger.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Second Best is Also Good

The European Fussball Cup 2008 ended with Germany 0:1 Spain.

But you know what really makes me proud to be in this country when the fussball season starts, is the great pride of almost the whole country in wearing their team's color; of the quickly multiplying German flags planted in the garden, hanging on the windows and even stuck on their cars! You would see the German color flying all over.

And not only that. Even the kids would appear in kindergarten with face paintings of the German flag. You would hear them cheering for the team, singing together the most popular songs urging the team to win. And you know what, it is really a party everytime there's a game for Germany. Kids would be allowed to stay up late :) People cheers so loud, fireworks explode everytime there's a goal and when Germany wins, the night would be serenaded with car horns! I love it :D Just like I try to cover the stillness of the night when the team looses :(
Oh and when they loose, there's no problem as there would be another game. As one kid told me after the championship game and Germany's team didnt get to score: ' You know what, Germany is the second best, Spain is the first best.'

As for my kids, they didnt get to watch the championship game but before going to bed they cheered for Germany first chanting 'Deustchland soll gewinnen' (Germany must win). And when they woke up the following day, IC immediately said 'Germany won, right?' When I shook my head she simply smiled and said, 'Well, next time they would win!' And she went on cheering again :D

The power of positive thinking. And I think this is the right way to buildin sportsmanship.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


One cool summer day I decided to beat the ordinary day cycle. I packed a picnic basket filled with a cheese sandwich for MC, a butter sandwich for IC and some fresh fruits and a big bottle of water and dragged it to the kindergarten to pick up MC and IC.

When they saw the basket, their eyes bulged with excitement asking in duet 'what is inside the basket, mama!' Well, I simply told them a suprise is waiting for them.

The kids skipped and hopped, they couldnt contain their excitement although they were giving me confused glances as we were going the same way home. And then I stopped in front of a playground and they shrieked in glee!

While I prepared our food, the kids got to play first. And then our lunch. Our picnic.

It wasnt something extraordinary, just a small deviation from an ordinary day but I got a great reward. The kids told me it was a great day and 'could we do it again?'

And some passersby saw us having a picnic and told us 'oh how sweet!'

It was fun and yes, we did it again and would do it again and again :D

Thursday, July 3, 2008

On Motion Sickness

My 5-year old child became susceptible to motion sickness a couple of years back. It came as a surprise to us because we've been bringing her on long distance car trips since she was a baby. The first indication that she's bothered by motion sickness was during our trip to Lake Maggiore in Italy, around 500 kms from us. We were up early, around 4 am -- the kids (MC 3 years old, IC was only a few months old then) were not yet really awake, but we bundled the pajama-clad girls in the car. Then a few minutes after driving off, MC started to complain of a sick stomache. For whatever reason, I brought two towels inside the car, stacked between the kids'. I placed the towel on her lap and told her to open the window a bit; telling her to try to sleep.

It was quiet and I thought she was sleeping; then she burst into tears. She had vomitted and soiled the towel. We stopped at the next rest area. The tears was due to shock, she was upset. This was the first time that it happened to her. Good thing the towel was on her lap. We didnt have to clean up. She drank a bit, stretched her legs, sniffed some fresh air -- and a few minutes after that, we're driving smoothly.

She didnt sleep during that long drive. Not for lack of encouragement, but because she said 'I am afraid to be sick again.' She was also a bit uneasy. And begged us to go back home, despite looking forward to this vacation. But after an hour of trying to distract her -- telling stories, singing together, playing and munching -- she finally accepted that we are already on the road; definitely not going back.

It took us at least 8 hours - two hours longer, than planned. Because we took more stop that what was planned. But that was no bother -- the main thing was, MC enjoyed the ride. After a scary start.

What is motion sickness?Motion sickness is also
called seasickness for those traveling by boat; airsickness when using the plane and carsickness for those using the car or a train. It could swiftly start with a queasy feeling and cold sweats; that could lead to nausea, dizziness and vomiting.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), 'motion sickness occurs when the brain receives conflicting signals from the motion-sensing parts of the body: the inner ears; the eyes; and nerves in the ankles, knees and other joints. Under usual circumstances, all three areas respond to any motion.'

When inconsistent signals are received and sent the contradicting signals processed by the brain arouses a reaction that tends to make you sick. A child who is too small to be able to look outside from her car seat would be easily susceptible; because the child knows that the car is moving through the sound, but her eyes and joints do not.

Apparently where you sit makes a difference. The car's front seat, the leading car of a train, a boat's upper deck on a boat or a plane's wing seat could provide a better ride. Try to focus into the distance; and avoid reading or getting involved with something inside the vehicle.

What are the symptoms of motion sickness? Asking the child wont be easy, they wont be able to describe what they really feel: the quesiness, the cold sweat, tiredness and lack of appetite. MC indicates motion sickness when she starts complaining about a sick stomach. The first few times we kept on asking her if she wanted to use the toilet! Observe your child; if she looks pale, more restless than ever; she starts to yawn and cry; isnt interested to eat even her favorite food -- then be ready, next thing you know, she's ready to vomit.

AAP noted that 'We do not know why this happens more often in some children than others, but it is most likely due to an increased sensitivity to the brain's response to motion. This response can be affected by previous bad car trips but usually improves as a child gets older.' This is true for us. Most of our long distance trips now are marred by this Lago Maggiore trip; but since we've been on the road, MC is slowly realizing that it was really not so bad. Though she's always ready with a towel on her lap; plus I have given her some sick bags which I collected from our plane rides. She's got them within arms reach inside the car. And I always bring a towel, just in case.

It was further revealed by AAP that motion sickness occurs most often on a first boat or plane ride, or when the motion is very intense, such as that caused by rough water or turbulent air. Stress and excitement also can start this problem or make it worse. MC and IC had both been through long flights from Europe to Asia and back -- they never had a problem. Of course, My hand luggage is heavy with pens and papers, books, card games and some of their favorite snacks. Dont rely on the toys on board, sometimes they dont even have any! And I am crossing my fingers that it would remain so.

How should you treat motion sickness? If you see the symptoms arising, stop the activity. Stop at the nearest, safest place possible when you are in the car. Let her get out, walk a bit or run around, if she's not yet so affected. MC always wanted a sip of water. Thus, long car trips would have to be planned with more stops. We have more or less noted via intenet the mostkid-friendly rest stops along the highways of Europe. Remember, too, that being upset and scared are natural reactions. Dont be angry or impatient with your child; she cannot help what is happening. The whole family must be helpful and supportive when this happens; to avoid the same problems arising the next time you took a trip.

How could you prevent motion sickness in cars? Car sickness is the common form of motion sickness in children, thus, many preventive measures have been developed. In addition to the frequent stops, you might try the following useful tips given by the AAP.

  • Place your young child in an approved car seat, facing forward if over 20 pounds and 1 year of age. Do not let her move around in the car. (You should not let her do this for safety reasons, anyway.)

  • If she has not eaten for three hours, give your child a light snack before the trip, which also helps on a boat or plane. This relieves hunger pangs, which seem to add to the symptoms.

  • Try to focus her attention away from the queasy feeling. Listen to the radio, sing or talk.

  • Have her look at things outside the car, not at books or games.
If none of the above works, stop the car and have her lie on her back for a few minutes with her eyes closed. A cool cloth on the forehead also tends to lessen the symptoms.

What are some motion sickness medications? Medications for motion sickness should be givento the child before taking the trip. Although the mediation usually dont need prescriptions, it is better to ask your pediatrician before using them.

Medications can help. Aside from making sure the child is taking the right doses, be aware that they often produce side effects, and AAP noted the following: 'drowsiness (which means that when you get to your destination your child might be too tired to enjoy it), dry mouth, and nose or blurred vision.' Skin rashes, blood pressure changes, nausea and vomiting could also be some problems faced. Drowsiness might not be the effect with some children, as it might drove them to agitation. Please be warned that the skin-patch-type motion-sickness medications should never be used on young children.

MC finally got a homoophathy bottle (Nux vormica D4) a month ago, after a visit to her doctor. We tried it on her once, on a 60 km ride to the countryside. I dont know if it was okay for her; because we also used the most effective anti-motion sickness we know -- playing word games and singing.

When should you call your doctor for motion sicknes? Here an advice wholly from AAP, 'although it does not happen often, dehydration can occur from the vomiting and poor fluid intake that may accompany motion sickness. If you feel that your child is becoming dehydrated, take her to the nearest physician's office or to an emergency room. If your child has symptoms of motion sickness at times when she is not involved with a movement activity, particularly if she also has a headache, difficulty hearing, seeing, walking, or talking, or if she stares off into space, tell your pediatrician about it. These may be symptoms of problems other than motion sickness. '

Some games to play while on the road:

- Touch the color - ask your child to simply touch an item inside the car; that has the color that you mentioned (Touch the color of red, if her t-shirt is red, then she can touch it); have everybody inside the car have their turn
- I see something that you dont see - Simply say the phrase 'I see something that you dont see and that is ( say the color) -- you simply add the color of the object the kids must guess what object you were referring to
- Song Salad- Start singing and ask your child to sing the next verse, and so on.
- Song March - you sing faster if the car stops and sing slower when it is moving or vice versa
- Find it - Just look around and the first one to find a chosen item is the winner. This game can substituted with numbers or letters, when they can already read or differentiate between them.
- Puzzle Game - Describe something and ask the kids to tell you what you just related. Let them have their turns, too.
- Tongue Twisters - Arm yourselves with favorite tongue twisters, my kids love the pinoy versions: kakabakaba ka ba, gaya gaya puto maya; and thinks that penpen de sarapen is also a tongue twister :-)
- 'bato-bato, pick' - involves a childhood hand game (bato is stone)-- these could be played by both kids on the back thought I also get my involved by using the vanity mirror or the side mirror (not when you are the one driving, of course). I am sure most of you knows this game :-)

And a good find; a backseat bag for kids to store some of their fave toys on to play with during the whole trip.

Have a nice trip!

This was first posted at PMN:Travel