Friday, August 29, 2008

At a Loss...

Have you ever played that game where you run around to avoid getting hit by paint? Well, can you imagine running around, trying to find a place to sit for a while and relax without getting tagged, and then suddenly you find yourself cornered. You are standing on wet earth with a cliff ahead and only one way out of this predicament (which you've already passed and don't want to pass again). And then you get hit, out of the blue, not really knowing where most of the hits came from, surprised at the quickness of it all and how the contact actually hurt, and you are drenched in paint. And you are dirty, shocked, out of sorts, and very disappointed. Disappointed that you didn't prepare better when you already had an idea about what was coming. Disappointed that some hits came from nowhere, from seemingly unimportant players, but were just as devastating. And disappointed that, after all that, you don't know what to do with your dirty, shocked, disconcerted self.

Have you ever played that game?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Turn

4 Simple rules:

1. Copy
2. Paste
3. Enter your answers
4. Tag 4 people

* Four places I go to, over and over: (notice how these places are mostly about buying food. I guess this is really a form of relaxation for me.)

1. SM (Any SM) - This is the BEST shopping mall ever. If I were a beauty queen myself with some kind of following, I would advertise it alongside Charlene Gonzales. I do most of my grocery shopping and every-other-thing shopping there.
2. Market!Market!- I love this mall because it is so close to my house, the parking is still easy, my son loves this day care style establishment there, and right across is Serendra and High Street, where a lot of pretty (albeit expensive) other establishments are. Plus, the spaces are pretty open which is great for my kids.
3. Eastwood- because I work there.
4. Pioneer Supermarket- for cheap, not crowded, easy parking grocery shopping. I like this place because the warehouse style supermarket is well-organized and spacious- again great for my active son and my daughter's stroller.

* Four people who email me regularly: (these aren't really people)

1. Newlyweds Yahoo Group- great bunch of people, interesting topics, information, and suggestions.
2. Jobstreet- this is automatically generated.
3. Baby Center- a fantatic site with FAQ's, tips, facts about baby and child care.
4. Friendster, Mutiply, Facebook- for updates.

* Four of my favorite places to eat at:

1. The Savoy Grill Room, London- the best dorry ever. Their game dishes are very good as well.
2. Rules, London- they serve the best venison EVER!
3. Seven Corners, Crowne Plaza- I've only eaten there once but I've been to quite a lot of restos and this is my favorite hotel resto of the moment.
4. Starbucks and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf- ok, a tie here. The food isn't the real focus here but I love coffee and tea just as much so it has to count for something.

* Four places I’d rather be:

1. Anywhere my kids and hubby are.
2. London, UK- I really consider this country my 2nd home
3. New Zealand or Australia- I would love to test the waters
4. Everywhere else in Europe- be still my travel feet..

* Four TV shows I could watch over and over:

1. Felicity- this reminds me of college days.
2. Law and Order- because I am a bore, they say.
3. Wonder Years- for sentimental reason
4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and X-Files- hey, I'm a fan.

* Four people I am tagging:

1. Livi
2. Noemi
3. Affie
4. Ree

"Be Yourself"

I try to hold on to the belief that people can change. I think it would be so unnatural to think that any one person is doomed (if this is the appropriate adjective to use) to be just one way all his/her life. Besides, isn't there that saying "the only thing that is constant is change." I also believe that it can be good to reassess and to change those things about yourself that aren't good or constructive. This is really hard to do though. There is that other saying 'be yourself', and sometimes I feel like the effort to change those things about yourself you don't like is going against being oneself.
For example, I have always been a transparent person. Ask anyone who knows me well. They can tell you that I can't lie to save my life, neither can I keep my emotions or thoughts hidden for very long. My face is like a polygraph machine. One wrong twitch and you can tell a falsehood from fact. This has been a blessing and a curse. A blessing because my friends know that I always tell them the truth, I call it as I see it, and what they see is what they get- literally. It's been a curse in that I can never seem to mask what I am thinking or feeling when I need to be poker-faced. It's a good thing I can't stand gambling because I would be flat out broke ten times over by now.
Lately though I have found that this transparency has just been the source of arguments. See, I am not an extrovert by any means. Often times I am not comfortable with people I don't know. I do like going out and socializing but sometimes I can't find the energy needed to get to know strangers better or to be excessively spunky when out. I like being calm and listening to people tell their stories, if these people are people I see at parties and events but not necessarily people I choose to spend my weekends with. I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing since, if I am with close friends, I am usually more than happy to gab away as well. I suppose I should be more sociable but, again, I am the first to admit that my people skills are not that great. This becomes even worse when I am irritated or pissed off or angry about something. When I am pissed or angry this emotion tends to overwhelm everything else. My husband knows that the worst way to surprise me with a gift is to make me angry that he forgot the event first. This is the way I am. Plus, this anger often needs to be expressed and recognized for it to die. And the sooner, the better, because festering anger is just plain ugly.
So, imagine me pissed off about something, not being able to say anything about it, and then headed off to socialize with people who are friends but not my close, close friends. A disaster waiting to happen right? Well, I've been told that I have to change this aspect of myself-letting my emotions (namely anger and/or irritation) show when out with people. It gives the wrong impression and just makes me unpleasant to be around. I know this. And believe me I have tried to change it. This is what I do now: I picture things I like, I think of topics I can discuss with the people there- topics I know something about and are totally unrelated to the reason for my irritation, and then I get some kind of dish or drink that I can munch on in between conversations. Sounds like a plan? I thought so until I tested it last night.
My hubby and I were supposed to meet some people for dinner and a free gift certificate after work. On the way to the meeting place, my hubby says "let's reschedule because Peter has been texting to meet up and is getting upset that I can't join again. I've canceled other times." Dilemma: do I insist on going and look like the bad guy again (introverted as I am) or do I just go along with it? So I say ok. Already I feel the irritation creeping up the back of my neck. Oh, I forgot to mention that we were having a pretty deep discussion about the household help just minutes before the topic change. I think to myself 'maybe I should just go home' but then I don't want to be labeled anti-social either. I am also after all trying to make an effort to be sociable. I know, I say to myself, I will try out the plan to divert my irritation. It should be ok. We go and meet up with his friends. The whole time I am thinking, ok, it's working. I can successfully keep my irritation at bay. I can socialize without it showing on my face. And then we go home. I am exhausted from the effort only to argue with my husband after about how I looked grouchy the whole night, and how his friends noticed and asked if I was angry, and how I just don't make an effort to change this. Naturally, this angers me. How can it be said that I am not making an effort when it took (for me) a lot of energy to think happy thoughts and to not let the irritation take over. And to have it categorically stated that there was not even one iota of change or effort was hurtful and insulting to me.
So I was left thinking, how much of oneself can we really change? It should be possible to change those things you recognize as needing improvement right? So why isn't it working for me when I am willing and trying to make it so?

What LOVE Song Am I?

Your Love Song Is

You and Me by Lifehouse

"Cause it's you and me and all of the people with nothing to do

Nothing to prove

And it's you and me and all of the people

And I don't know why, I can't keep my eyes off of you"

For you, love is very intense and a little difficult to express.

Does it go with my previous post result? I think these quizzes are making me look very intense indeed!

What Song Am I?

Your Theme Song is Back in Black by AC/DC

"Back in black, I hit the sack,

I've been too long, I'm glad to be back"

Things tend to get really crazy for you, and sometimes you have to get away from all the chaos.

But each time you stage your comeback, it's even better than the last!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I am NOT the Energizer Bunny

I spent the long weekend basically on the go, from cooking to cleaning to the kids to socializing. I know this doesn't sound out of the ordinary but, for me, it was a lot of work. I got around 4 hours of sleep for both nights. Thanks goodness last night was a longer rest period. For a better understanding of my relief over this, let me say I need at least 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep or else I get a migraine for the whole day. I really cannot do everything I want to do. I would have said "do it all" but for a lot of women, what I just mentioned is their everyday life. So, "everything I want to do" is more descriptive and specific.
Sadly, I had to postpone 2 projects: baby food trials and ironing out gym details. Again thank goodness my stock of Gerber is still pretty substantial. I was able to get some cute ice trays and ingredients though, so that's something. To add to the many things I am juggling, I am currently searching for a replacement yaya. For all the moms out there who appreciate the importance of a good yaya, this is a HUGE project. STRESS!!
Hopefully I can get some kind of organized schedule going starting tomorrow.

Friday, August 22, 2008

VICKI - who would have thought?

Vixen Imparting Carnal Kisses and Indulgence

Get Your Sexy Name

I really don't think this fits me. And, looking at it now just makes me think even more that Numi and Livi are right. I am a prude!

Happy and Sad Tag

I got this from Livi.

This looks like fun but I think I'm going to need my coffee so I can really think straight while writing.

Here are the Rules:

1. List the things that make you Happy and those that make you Sad.

2. Add your Blog to the list. Feel free to add all your other Blogs.

3. Tag other online friends you know.Toni’s Attachments, Cecile2’s-Small and Simple Things, Lara’s Pinay dot US, Lara’s My Blog Entry, Lara’s Byaheng Pinay, Living A’ La Mode, Bits and Pieces, My Life in this Wonderful World, My Online World, Ozzy’s Mom, Me,Myself+2, Kidd Designs, Fun|Fierce|Fabulous, Eds Mommy Life, Just Me.. Eds, My Precious Niche, I Am Mommy, All About The Memories, Enchanted Play, Just My Scrap, My life is Peachy , Celebrating life , belly, baby and beyond, All Things Me, Feels Like Home, A Day of Play, Because Life is Fun, Tints of My Heart, My BIG Picture, Tailgater Network, Merger Guru, Beauty and Madness Wordpress, Beauty and Madness, Feeding my Baby, A Taste of Married Life, Random Rants of a Starter Mom, YOU

What Makes Me Happy?

~My big, smart boy and my beautiful, smart princess- everything to do with them, even the not so amusing things.

~ Money! (I agree)

~ Stability -mental and emotional (no, I am not manic or schizo. At least, not as far as I know.)

~ Security- both in this increasingly dangerous world and within myself.

~my close, close friends- they are gold!

~my family

~"me" time- salon, derma, spa, shopping (this is nearly nonexistent now though)

~ Good friends at work.

~ My boss (yup, this would be Livi)

~ When I can stay at home for 4 days in a row and have work for the remaining 3 days only.

~ When I can clean the house, cook the meals, play with the kids, and go out all in one day.

~ Good movies with buttery popcorn.

~ Bands, Music, and more music.

~ Going to the gym.

~ Steak with Bearnaise Sauce and Baked Potato with Bacon bits, chives, and sour cream.

~ Meat Fondue with Wild Rice.

~ Caviar and Smoked Salmon with dill sauce.

~ Roast Lamb, Venison, Partridge.

~ John Dorry with Saffron Sauce and Risotto from the Savoy Grill Room.

~ Travel.

~ London, and Europe in General.

~ Long Road trips.

~ Cold Climate Countries, winter clothes, warm cashmere cardys and boots.

~Fantasy books with convoluted plots.

~Thought provoking books but not those that are overly profound such that you don't get it anymore.

~Updated colorful cellular phones, internet connection, and a laptop.

~and despite what I just said, also a pretty, detailed organizer coupled with a pen with really dark, good ink.

What Makes Me Sad?

~when I can't spend enough time with my kids.

~when I miss their milestones because I have to work.

~when I have to scold them and they run to their yaya.

~when my hubby and I fight.

~when I feel like I'm not appreciated or understood.

~when I am unsure.

~ Disloyalty, lying, betrayal.

~ When bad things happen to good people (I agree)

~ Lack of control ( I agree as well)

~ Lack of money

~ lack of mobility

~ lack of opportunity.

~ a very hot day in the city

~ commuting

~ Stupidity and incompetence. (I agree)

I tag: Ree, Meg, Yanka

Desperately Seeking Britney Spears

Last night, I sat with my mouth wide open as I saw The Daily Ten flash a picture of the new and improved Britney Spears. She is now S-L-I-M!! Take a look at Ms. Spears at press time. Apparently, she's been on a high protein, low carb, 1200 calories a day diet, combined with 5 days of cardio and weight training. Now who wouldn't lose weight with all that? Plus, she's got all the support in the world, all the time in the universe, and a still-sizable bank account to draw from. I think that if she still didn't look this good after all that, she would have had to look into more drastic measures.
To be honest though, Britney didn't look that bad pre-svelte hot mama that she is now. Ok, she didn't have the same hit-me-baby-one-more-time body but, hey, she had 2 kids in a row! She was entitled to some baby weight. Her downward spiral into a whole lot of issues and a galactic sized black hole probably didn't leave much room for a diet and exercise plan either.

So, seeing her now brings out 2 reactions from me:

1. Pure and utter irritation and frustration at how she can spend time and money to go back to looking good while mere mortals, like myself, kinda have to slave away at it for the number of months it took her to lose weight multiplied by 10 (at least). This sounds very selfish and whiny, I know.
2. Some hope as well. If Britney Spears and all her drama and problems can focus and do it, then dang it, so can I!!!! (Ok, I am having a really, really hard time believing this as I am writing it, so, support people!)

I must chant to myself: I must diet, exercise, count calories, and lose weight!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Baby Food Resolution

I did my grocery shopping yesterday and was again struck by the lack of variety and high cost of baby food. This pushed me even more to begin my homemade baby food. I've listed what I need and these are:

1. blender
2. ice trays
3. fruit
4. meat
5. steamer
6. time

I have everything ready at home except the last number. Good thing I have a long weekend coming up. This will give me enough time to concentrate. I am confident that, once I get the hang of it, I won't need so much prep time.

Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Alcohol and Rock Stars

I was watching this E! Special called 'Rock Star Wives' over the weekend and it struck me how differently people deal with each other when they are inebriated. Some people get emotional, some violent, others just pass out and don't remember a thing. It led me to thinking about the effects of alcohol and just how much one should take to stay sane. When people are drunk, is it excusable to be mean, rude, or violent?

I searched the Net and this is what I found:

"A standard drink contains about 10 grams of pure alcohol. Hotels and restaurants usually serve alcohol in standard drink size glasses. Wine, however, is normally sold in 140 mL or 200 mL glasses. One 200 mL glass of wine contains approximately two standard drinks. Glasses used at home are unlikely to be standard drink size. The labels on alcoholic drink bottles and cans show the number of standard drinks they contain."
Here's a table for the standard drink size:

And the clincher. The effects of overindulgence.

It's a good thing my craving for some drinks doesn't go beyond the 1-2x per week cocktail or three. I think that is acceptable. And I suppose, for others, it is a matter of how to control intake and, if this isn't happening, realizing this lack of control and getting help. That's what a lot of the musicians on the E! Special ended up doing actually. They drank and indulged in other substances and overdoing this led to a lot of unhappiness in their lives. The one thing I was thinking about though is that in their cases, the vice is very obvious. There is that saying for Rock Stars, "live hard, die young". So while yes, they are more exposed to a lot of bad things, they also have a lot of resources to tap into should they need it. How does the average person deal with this? How does one identify lack of control in an ordinary life? And, if that is present, how does one go about facing it?

This show just had all these questions popping up. Any ideas people?

(view the full article here.)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Long Weekend Coming

It's been a good past 2 days. Yesterday we celebrated my son's 3rd birthday. Imagine that. 3 already. How fast time flies! After much thought, we decided to keep the celebration simple. My husband and I brought him to the zoo for a birthday tour. Loving all things that are new and have to do with going out, my son had a lot of fun. We didn't bring our daughter as I was afraid she would catch something (being less than a year old).
Here's a photo of us feeding the rabbits. It's amazing how such a simple activity could bring so much enjoyment. It kind of makes you want to be a kid again. Ok, sometimes.

Today we threw him a small party at his school with all his classmates. He attends Toddler's class still so there weren't a lot of students in the class. He didn't notice this, of course. He had his classmates, presents, music, food, his sister, mommy and daddy. He was super active and having so much fun again. It kind of turned out to be a double celebration, when you think about it. Since the number was small and the kids were young, I served homemade spaghetti and chicken lollipop. For his cake, I baked chocolate cupcakes with sugar icing and candy sprinkles. I arranged 18 pieces in a round serving dish and placed 3 candles in the middle, one candle per center cupcake. It was quite successful! It looked like a Cupcake Cake. And of course, he loved it. Plus, this was much less expensive compared to even the ordinary but good cakes around. I wanted to place an actual picture here but I could not figure out how to zoom in on the cake and keep just the dish in the picture.

Instead, here are 2 pictures of cupcakes serving as birthday cakes:

These are pretty similar to what I did actually. Just imagine a much prettier, blue and white, round dish and the chocolate, candy sprinkled cupcakes arranged as they are on the picture to the right. Then I had just 3 candles for 3 cupcakes in the middle. Fantastic huh?

Well, the long weekend is coming up and I can't think of a better way to welcome it than with warm memories of my son's 3rd birthday. Now time to plan my daughter's 1st birthday coming in a few months. Waaaaaaah!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Before Twilight...

Twilight Quiz
Twilight Quiz by fun quizzes!
Fun Quizzes | Quizes for MySpace » MySpace Quizzes

I saw this quiz on Affie's blog. I'm thinking there must be a reason she, and Livi, and Joyce, and Tarie, and countless others are so obsessed with this series. So I decided to take the quiz as a "pre-Twilight, just out of curiosity" thing, since I really do intend to read it after I finish all the books I currently have on queue. I'll probably do this again after I read the books. I wonder if the result will be different.

Too Early to Think but not to Think Weight Loss

It's 6:40 am and I am at the office, getting ready to go to a Job Fair my office joined. I am really sleepy. Anyone who knows me knows that this is much too early for me. I have always been, and I suspect always will be, a night person. I had to drag myself out of bed, switch to CNN (yes, I find news entertaining, so call me a bore already), and dream of the end of the day, just to be able to get dressed and going.

Anyway, now that I am here I am spending some waiting minutes looking through interesting sites. One on Calorie Restriction Affie suggested I look at is particularly interesting. I used the Calorie Calculator and got a rough estimate of how many calories I need to ingest to maintain my current weight. I have to say I wasn't surprised. I was pleased to see though that the calorie count I assigned myself to lose weight was just about on target. I couldn't understand everything written in the links I clicked (hey, there's only so much my brain will process even if it is about weight loss) but I think what I understood was good enough.

All in all, not a bad way to start a very early, long day.

Monday, August 11, 2008

It was a Good Week...

It's Monday again and reading Livi's post about how she loves Mondays made me think of how much I do not. Sigh. This is my usual feeling but it was even more emphasized this week because last week was a good week. Why?

1. I was able to start cutting down on my food intake. Plus, the hubby bought brown rice, which is much healthier and so much more filling! I can definitely eat smaller portions and not feel hungry for a while.

2. I was able to discuss real gym possibilities and am now just waiting for this darn fractured foot to be totally healed.

3. I was able to go out and socialize 3 out of 7 nights, without sacrificing quality time with my kids (although this meant significantly less shut eye for me).

4. I was finally able to get a drink. This almost makes me sound alcoholic but, considering that I've been dying for one for ages, I can't help but sigh over the fact that I finally got it, times 7. It wasn't a Mojito but it was good nevertheless. It was actually a concoction I came up with on the spot actually because the bar we went to only had 1 cocktail which I didn't like. It was a mix of Dalandan Juice and Malibu White Rum. Sooooo good. Sweet and citrusy at the same time. This kind of ate into my calorie count but I thought, hey, gotta live a little woman.

Considering all of the above, it should be easy to see why I so dislike this Monday. Sigh again.

More Weight Loss Tips

Ok, I've been trying to cut down on my calories, improve my social life, be more active, work, be a good mom, wife, and friend all at the same time and I can say only 1 thing right now: I am hungry!

In the spirit of continuously looking for ways to change my eating lifestyle, I went on the Net and found some helpful tips. When I say helpful, these are real things or activities that apply to me and my life and therefore I can change or control.

For exercising:

There are lots of ways to increase the amount of activity you do. Team sports, racket sports, aerobics classes, running, walking, swimming and cycling will all improve your fitness levels.

Find something you enjoy that's easy for you to do in terms of location and cost. You are then more likely to build it into your routine and continue to exercise, despite inevitably missing the odd session through holidays, family commitments, etc.

  • Get out and about at the weekend. Leave your car on the drive and walk to the shops. Try to incorporate longer walks into outings to the park, coast or countryside and take a picnic so you are in control of what you are going to eat that day. (The picnic part is hard but the longer walks can be done especially in the mall!)

  • Every extra step you take helps. Always use the stairs instead of the lift, or get off the bus a stop before the usual one and walk the rest of the way. (My house is FULL of stairs. This can work. Plus, the commute to work can be extra exercise.)

  • Use commercial breaks between TV-programmes to stand up and do exercise, or consider using an exercise bicycle in the living room while watching your favourite programme. (This is the hardest for me. Often, I just want to sit and watch.)
For Diet:

In terms of weight-loss, you can get your body to use up existing stores of fat by eating less and making healthier choices.

This doesn't mean crash diet (anything less than 1500 calories), which usually ends up with you either getting weaker or giving up in desperation. Quick-fix diets can lead to a yo-yoing effect of drastic weight loss followed by weight gain, resulting in a vicious cycle.

There are no shortcuts to losing weight in a healthy and reasonable way.

Eating 300 to 500 calories less per day should lead to a loss of between one and two pounds per week. This is a realistic target. It may seem slow, but would add up to a weight loss of more than three stone in a year.

Below are ways to reduce calorie intake without having to alter your diet significantly.

  • Replace fizzy drinks and fruit cordials with water. (Not a problem..)

  • Swap whole milk for semi-skimmed, or semi-skimmed for skimmed. (Still easy)

  • Eat less lunch than usual. For example, make your own sandwich and limit the use of margarine/butter and full-fat mayonnaise (store-bought sandwiches often contain both). (Still on track but self-control is needed here.)

  • Stop taking sugar in tea and coffee. (not do-able. C'mon, gimme some things!)

  • Have smaller portions of the food you enjoy. (OK.)

  • Avoid having a second helping at dinner. (Sniff, sniff. OK.)

  • Cut out unhealthy treats such as confectionary, sugary biscuits and crisps between meals. (This is easy. I am not a sweets fan even if I bake.)

  • Cut down on beer and alcohol. (uhhhhhh.......occasional is cutting down, right?)

All these things will influence your health in a positive way.

Finally, don't be tempted to skip breakfast – or any meal to lose weight. While skipping a meal will reduce your calorie intake for that hour, it will leave you much hungrier later on.

Only 2 more weeks before I can start attending gym classes. I am excited!

(you can find the article here.)

"Wish You Were Here"

This is one of my all time favorite songs. I love Pink Floyd and this song just sang to me the first time I heard it. It continues to have the same effect today, more than 10 years down the road. The wail of the guitar, the sad and wistful voice, and the haunting lyrics. Exquisitely painful and yet real.

So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell,
blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?
How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have you found? The same old fears.
Wish you were here.

I always connect lyrics to something in my life. I am sure I am not unique in this. This is not for or about anybody in my life though. Every time I hear it, I think In some lines, sometimes all depending on the phase of my life, I see the angles and nuances of myself. Do you see the twins in the lyrics?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Losing Weight

One of the things I told myself I would start doing again is exercising. Since my fall, it's been tough to do just that. I am almost well though so I am excited about starting my diet and exercise plan. I've already lined up gym possibilities and am going to check out their viability later today. So that's done. Now, I've never lost weight on diet alone and, from past experience, only 3 kinds of diet have ever worked for me: something low in carbs or counting calories or a combination of both. The last time I counted calories was way back in college so suffice it to say I do not remember the calorie count list. Because of this I went online to look for a chart that I could use as a point of reference and this is what I found.

chart 1
I love meat so this chart was (understandably?) depressing. I can't even begin to imagine how difficult it's going to be to cut down on portions AND cut down on carbs at the same time. I think I'm going to be hungry a lot. I thought I would look for the chart with low calorie food to help me substitute without blowing my regular calorie intake count and this is what I found.

chart 2
Even more depressing huh? I seriously do not like a lot of the items on this table. Seriously.

But I am determined to lose weight. I think I've used the "I've just had 2 babies" line far too much already. Besides, there are too many cute (and cheaper) clothes out there for slimmer women that I want to wear. And, let's not forget, my vanity and memories of my slimmer days are torturing me. I miss the days when I was thinner because, in my opinion anyway, I looked better and I definitely felt better.

So wish me luck on this new project. So many ongoing projects, the Gemini in me is in heaven and hell at the same time.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Recipe for Motherhood

I found this picture in an interesting site for Baby Food and I thought it was cute.

I'm feeling quite sentimental about motherhood today.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Baby Milk

My daughter is turning 9 months next week, just as my son turns 3. Wow! How fast time flies. I much prefer the after 6 month time for babies though because I've always been afraid of very fragile babies (even my own!). I've been having so much fun with her now, as she progresses from crawling to standing and as she learns new, unintelligible syllables everyday. On the nutrition side, I've always been worried. I worry that I am giving my baby too much of one thing and not enough of another. With my son, I tried to stay within the milk portions for his age and size and then to go all-natural soon after I received the go ahead signal to give solids. With my daughter, it is rediscovering all these facts again. I thought I would remember seeing as their ages aren't too far apart but, perhaps due to the CS or my natural lack of ability to retain details, I don't.
So I was pleased to find this simple milk chart online.

Since she gets 4 7 oz. bottles a day she's still within the acceptable range. I was thinking about giving her 3-4 8 oz bottles after she turns 9 months and I am happy that that too still is within the acceptable range. Yippee!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tips for Sanity

I am sure every parent has experienced the complete and utter frustration brought about by a misbehaving child. I know I have. Just this morning in fact. And it really does not help keep my mommy guilt at bay. So I decided to look online for reasons and tips for misbehaving kids. Naturally, the reasons were nothing new to me: insecurity, lack of attention, perhaps frustration at not being able to properly articulate a want, being too young to consistently follow rules, etc. I've heard and read it all before. So, to keep myself from going out-of-my-mind insane, I focused on tips for dealing with misbehaving kids and I found 4 tips from an article by Dr. Ayesha Amir.

Here are her tips below:

Time Out
When It Works:
Few of the authors are big fans of time out, but recommend that you use it sparingly, for “whatever you consider to be the most serious discipline situations with your child.” Time out works well when children are hitting, damaging possessions, or engaging in unacceptable acts of aggression. The “timing” of time out is critical: Adhere to the “minute per age” rule (a five-year-old gets a five-minute time out). You can also choose to give toys a time out, if a child is throwing them, or give a child’s mouth a time out if he or she is swearing or saying something hurtful.

Why It Works:
When you remove children from a situation involving others, you deprive them of attention and a chance to be where the action is.

When It Does not Work:
When it is overused. Many parents use time out as a cure for all ills, only to discover its effectiveness erodes as it becomes the automatic response to every minor infraction. Time out does not work for problems like whining or “forgetting” to pick up your toys because cause and effect are not so clear (“You are in time out because you whined” does not ring true the way “You are in time out because you hit your sister” does).
Caution: Do not use a child’s bedroom as a time out zone, assuming there are books or toys or other amusements to keep him or her happy. Choose a toy-free location that’s away from other people, but still close enough so the child “can hear what everybody’s doing but not be able to be part of it.”
Good for Ages: 3-9.

I've tried this and it is hard!! First you have to pick a spot that will be the 'time out spot' so, suffice it to say, it won't have pleasant memories attached. And then to actually pick up your wailing child and endure the screams and the tears.....slow torture. But the few times I've used it resulted in a more subdued child after picking up and one who recognized the wrong that was done, at least for a while.

When It Works:
Keeping a chart, with stickers or stars to mark behavioural improvements, works well with chronic problems like whining or messy rooms, the types of things that drive parents crazy. Among other things, charting teaches delayed gratification, “that you do not automatically get things because you are cute, but because you earned it and waited for it.” In terms of effectiveness, charts and time-outs are polar opposites: Time out does not work when you use it all the time, while charts never work unless you do!

Why It Works:
A chart is a “visual cue” for kids; they do not just hear complaints or praise, they can actually see change. It is a way to get them involved in the discipline strategy; they can help make the chart or perhaps choose a reward.

When It Does not Work:
Keeping a chart can be a difficult task for kids with attention difficulties; lots of parental involvement is needed. Parents also need to assess their own schedules; if you start a chart and do not have time to keep it up, it undercuts the message that behavioural change is important. Finally, do not start 17 charts. Your child may whine, leave dirty socks lying around, and forget to do his homework, but focus on just one behaviour problem at a time.

Do not promise a trip out of station in return for a semester’s worth of completed homework assignments. Even cards or candy bars are the wrong incentives. The authors urge parents to use “gifts of time” to reward kids for good behaviour. A family Monopoly tournament or a prized half-hour extension on bedtime send kids the message, “When you behave nicely, I want to be with you.” If there are no behavioural improvements within a week, the chart is probably not having its intended effect.
Good for Ages: 4-12.

I haven't tried this. My kids are not withing the age group anyway. And it looks like it would be difficult to maintain if you are a working mom. Has anyone tried this? Feedback?

Logical Consequences
When It Works:
Try this when a child does not do his homework, “forgets” to clean the litter box, or refuses to eat breakfast. In a nutshell, a logical consequence is the process of discovering that if you do not eat, you will become hungry. Grades will fall if homework is not completed; the house will smell if the litter box is not changed.

Why It Works:
It allows children to learn first-hand what will (or will not) happen as a result of their actions (or inactions.) Too often parents try to protect children from the consequences of what they do, depriving them of the chance to learn important life lessons. Using a logical consequences approach to discipline eliminates power struggles between parents and kids by keeping the focus on the child’s behaviour (“I see you forgot to clean the litter box again, Saira. Gee, maybe tomorrow we will relocate it to your room since the smell apparently does not bother you.”)

When it doesn’t work:
In dangerous situations. A child caught playing with matches should not be encouraged to experience the logical consequence of getting burned.
Good for Ages: 6 and up

My kids aren't of this age group either but I've tried it a few times and it seems to work but you have to keep at it before you see the effect. The child will usually show the logical process after some repetition. Only tough part is differentiating what is understandable at younger ages.

House rules
When it works:
House rules are an effective, pro-active strategy when children know what the rules are, and what will happen if they are broken. Example: It is a house rule that homework has to be done before the TV goes on. If the homework’s not done, you lose TV privileges for a set amount of time.

Why it works:
It eliminates the need for parents to think on their feet, by making expectations within the household very clear and consistent. It also gives kids a chance to voice their opinions about what the rules should be and how they should be applied. Many families post house rules in a prominent place in the household.

When it doesn’t work:
House rules fail to improve behavior when adults make them up arbitrarily, with little or no input from children, or when they fail to follow through. If parents ignore a broken curfew, for instance, house rules will cease to have any meaning and kids will ignore them.
Good for Ages: 4 and up.

I use this a lot, and for the most part, it works. But consistency really is key and this is hard to monitor if you are out of the house and your kids are with their yaya's. I try to keep everything written down, simple, in Filipino, and easily accessible (like on the fridge) for easy reference. I also try not to expect the yaya's to remember too much. Simple rules like eating schedules, play time, tv time, and reading time are usually easy to leave to someone else to follow.

I know there are probably volumes worth of other advice and tips out there. These are welcome. I am always open to new, possibly easier, and possibly more effective tips for dealing with misbehaving kids.

Monday, August 4, 2008

You Are What You Write

Affie and Livi both did this. They got a visual representation of their blogs from I thought it was an interesting thing to do is what is in my head, er, blog.

Interesting huh?

(forgive the picture job. I can't figure out how to cut the while space.)


I was staring out the window of my taxi cab earlier today when 'Landslide' started playing on my mp3 player. This is one of my all-time favorite songs and every time I hear it different images come to mind. This time it reminded me of my parents. It's interesting to notice how different one sees his/her parents after becoming a parent themselves. I always think "where did that decision come from?" and " what was the thought process there?" Sometimes I ask myself "would I have done that, acted that way, said that?" and "what would I have done differently?" And then of course the inevitable line of thinking- "will my children see this way?" and "what will our relationship be like?" and "will I be able to let them go when the time comes and will I know when that time will be?"
I think I should stop listening to my mp3 player for a while. Too many associated thoughts running at warp speed at the same time in my head shouldn't be too healthy.

Here are the lyrics:

by Fleetwood Mac

I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
till the landslide brought me down

Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love
Can the child within my heart rise above
Can I sail thru the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life

Well, Ive been afraid of changing
cause Ive built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
Im getting older too

Oh, take my love, take it down
Climb a mountain and turn around
If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide will bring it down

If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well maybe the landslide will bring it down

Isn't it a beautiful song? Ah, the exquisite pain of it all.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Unusual Cravings

It's the end of the week and I am tired- as usual. But funnily enough, what is mostly occupying my mind is the urge to read. Read, and read, and read. When I was single I used to read at least a book a day. And this was despite my hectic, alcohol-laden, sleep-deprived, nicotine- saturated life. I haven't been able to read more than 5 books a year since I got married and had kids. I'm sure a lot of moms could relate. Livi made it a resolution to read 10 books this year and I was thinking of doing the same for next year. But, seeing as it is only August, I figured I would give myself a short list of books to read before the end of the year. Here are some choices:

The complete set of "Conversations with God" by Neale Donald Walsch. I've always been ambivalent about religion and faith and this book set came highly recommended by a friend. I've already started on book 1 and so far it is quite interesting.

"Ella Enchanted". Another thing my QA friends would snort themselves to death over is the fact that I love children's books. I love how the simple language can create complex worlds filled with lessons. I love how everything is so bright, well-described, easy to understand and profound all at the same time. I skimmed through this book for a class in college and I've always meant to re-read it at a leisurely pace.

And to escape reality all together, I would need my dose of fantasy. Becuase Robert Jordan (or whoever is finishing his masterpiece series) hasn't come out with the rumored last book of "The Wheel of Time" series, I am currently reading George R.R. Martin's series " A Song of Ice and Fire". It's a terribly convoluted series with politics, death, dragons, and magic. I love it.

Wish me luck folks! And any suggestions for new books are welcome!

Trekkie but not a Techie?

As I've repeatedly mentioned in previous posts, I am not a techie at all. I have to constantly ask my friends how to do relatively simple, Internet-based tasks. This blog is actually part of my effort to become more up-to-date and modern. We don't want to get left behind now, do we? So I joined Technorati earlier and this is the link to my profile. There isn't much there yet but I am sure I will figure out how to work it and make it better. Patience people.

here's the link Technorati Profile


I was able to bring my son to school for the first time in about three weeks today. I really missed doing this. I don't really have a lot of hours with both my kids during the weekdays so I try to make trips like this part of our quality time together. Plus, I've really always wanted to bring my kids to school. I was pleasantly surprised by a couple of changes in my son during the ride to his school. Let me enumerate:

1. When the tricycle arrived, he promptly hopped in and took his seat. He used to be quite tentative.

2. As the tricycle started to move I turned to him and told him "Let mommy hold the p20. You might drop it." He turned to me and said with conviction "No mommy. I'll hold it." Proceeding then to clutch the p20 bill tightly in his little fist. I used to hold the fare.

3. When we arrived at his school, he turned to the driver and confidently gave the money. After the driver handed me the change, my son looked at the driver, flashed a big grin and chirped "Thank you man!"

I was amazed by the changes in him in the few weeks I couldn't bring him to school. I've always valued independence. So much so that it is one of the top 2 things I would kill myself trying to teach my kids. I was really proud of him, but also a little sad. My baby boy is growing up. When did this happen and how could it happen so fast. Bittersweet indeed. I can just cry now.