Tuesday, November 3, 2015

MOMENTS: A LATE PUBLISH

Note: This has been sitting in my Draft Folder for some time now. I wrote this in November 2015, and only now (March 2016) did I realize that I have yet to publish this. If there are any grammatical errors or slips, my apologies. I didn't proofread or make further edits other than this addendum note.

In a short span of time, motherhood has taught me a lot of things already. I learned that I didn't just become a parent but I've also gained my youngest best friend - my son. I realized that there is no such thing as little moments with him. The shortest hug, the slightest touch, the quickest kiss -- they're all too big and overwhelming. If only I could freeze a moment in time...


So here's one reason why I blog my MOMents. I could never tell time to hold still even for just a moment but I could at least document moments here in my blog. When my son is grown and I'm all wrinkly and old, and when the time comes that my mind fails, I hope to still vividly recall and feel in my heart those moments through the records in this blog.

Mr. Kulit Paulit Ulit

I didn't get enough sleep the other night. In fact, I went to bed at around 8:00 in the morning. I pulled an all-nighter working on our church's financial records. It wasn't like I had a humongous pile of work to do. It's just that I waited and procrastinated, and so I got behind and did some catching up on it. I knew that was going to happen and when I don't get enough sleep, the tiniest annoyance could set me off. Who doesn't, right? So I kept reminding myself not to blow my fuse up at the pettiest of things. It's my fault that I was sleep deprived. My son doesn't have anything to do with it, so he doesn't need snarling and gnarling from me especially when he's just being his usual naughty self.

Around 9:30 in the morning, my boy woke up. He was pleasant. He was playing with his toy in his bed, so I asked him to lie down beside me. He is already used to me not being a morning person, so he obliges whenever I tell him that I still want to lie on the bed and catch some zzzzs. After a short while, he asked for milk, and so I got up and got him milk. We both laid on the bed while he drank his milk. He then grabbed books and asked to be read. I obliged. He was already up and about playing at that time when I was reading to him. Soon after, he said he needs to use the potty, so I took him to the bathroom and helped him. In his active energetic mode already, he accidentally hit me, so I frowned. I didn't say a word but he saw me frowned.

We then went back to his room and I once again laid down in bed. A few minutes after that, I decided to finally get up. There's no way I could catch winks anyway with a toddler in active play in the same room with me, so might as well get on my feet and get going. The moment I stood up, my son definitively said, "Mommy is awake. Mommy is awake. Mommy is awake..." He said it repetitively though. That's just how he is. He will keep on saying something until he gets reassurance and confirmation from either his Mom or Dad, which we do almost every time. This time, I purposely ignored him though. He persisted and kept on saying, "Mommy is awake..." He has already gotten used to receiving constant affirmation from us even when he's already stating an obvious fact. I want him to learn and know that it's okay -- we don't have to repeat or say everything back to him to assure him. I want him to develop self-confidence.

"Mommy is awake. Mommy is awake. Mommy is awake...," he went on. I was waiting for him to stop, so I remained quiet and went about fixing the bed. When it dawned on him that he wasn't going to get the reassurance from me, he changed his tone -- sweet, slow and calm -- and said, "Good morning. Good morning, Mommy."

That broke my heart. I melted. I thought I was teaching him to be confident and independent, but when I thought about it, he is just a 2.5-year-old boy. He understandably still needs reassurance from his parents. In due time, he will be all on his own, and I will be phased out of his life, but until then, I ought to give him all the reassurance a sweet, innocent child needs, kahit pa Mr. Kulit Paulit Ulit na :)

Mr. Kulit Paulit Ulit wearing a Dreadlocks Rasta Hat
~ October 23, 2015 ~

OH, THE PLACES I'VE BEEN!

This is just to keep tabs of the places I've been and the miles I've racked in hopes that in the future I'll be able to document here in my blog and share a memory or two from each of my travels near and far. Having said that, this entry will be updated every now and then.

PHILIPPINES

My hometown.

I grew up in an era when tourism wasn't as affordable and accessible as it is now, and for that I wasn't able to travel as much as I should've. Being raised in a city at the South, our family took pleasure on summer outings to the hot springs and resorts in Laguna.

Tagaytay was the next option especially when the weather got scorching hot, and I remember having been there a few times with my family, one time with high school batchmates on a retreat, and another time with my college friends.

My paternal grandmother was Ilocana and if my memory serves me right, I think I've been to Ilocos Sur twice or thrice. I have memories of going to Vigan very quickly on our first trip to Ilocos when I was about 6.

My paternal grandfather hailed from Southern Leyte, so my my family embarked on a road trip one time to go there. This trip is one for the books. It was my first time to go on a looooong drive as such. Of note, this happened in 1993, back when ferry transportation was not easily available. The travel took longer than the actual vacation itself. We drove all the way from Muntinlupa to Liloan, Leyte and back jampacked on a not-so-comfy jeep. I celebrated my 13th birthday partly stranded on the Matnog port waiting for a ferry that would take us across the island. One of the highlights of this trip was seeing Mayon volcano on its active state. It was nighttime when we passed by Bicol, and so the fiery lavas dripping down the volcano's perfect slope was a sight to behold. It looked like a lighted cigarette in the dark. The volcano continuously spat red, oozing lavas out of its mouth, and I can still vividly picture it in my mind. It was just amazing to watch especially for a young urban girl like me. It looked dangerous and scary but so beautiful.

My mother is from Pampanga, and for a couple of years we lived there. I went to school in Bulacan while we were there. I got to go to fiestas on several occasions, and witnessed Mahal na Araw traditional parades and ceremonies.

I visited Baguio twice.

In 2010, when I went back home for the first time after being away for 5 years, Vince and I took my family to Boracay. Another first time for me. We also visited his family in Caramoan Sur. We went island hopping and saw Gota Beach from afar. We also stayed overnight in Naga and visited the Cam Sur Watersports Complex.

Other than the regular pasyal around Manila and nearby urban cities, trips to StarCity, Enchanted Kingdom, and the likes, and mall trips, unfortunately for me, I haven't really explored much of the touristy side of the Philippines.


CANADA

My home away from home.

I moved to Toronto 10 years ago. I pretty much stayed within Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Ontario. You know, Vaughan, Mississauga, Scarborough, MarkhamNorth York, Barrie, Brampton, Niagara, etc. I occasionally went on camping and fishing trips as well as fruit picking with my church family. I used to play volleyball (beach and court) with my BFF and later on with Vince too. One time I went with few friends to Montreal, Quebec, and spent a day *speaking* or at least pretending to speak French. Hehe! Oh, and one time, when Vince was looking for a job, we were interviewed in Kinmount, Ontario.

I had a lot of fun in Toronto, AND a lot of heartaches, disappointments, and frustrations as well. It was a coming-of-an-age experience for me, and that is why, Toronto will always be in my heart.


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

My current home.

The first time I stepped on Uncle Sam's soil was in 2009. It was because of Vince that I hurriedly applied for a tourist visa, so I could come and see him when he moved here. I wasn't a Canadian citizen then and I procrastinated on obtaining my citizenship but when Vince left, I sensed the urgency. Talking about what love can do to someone. LOL.

Anyway, I'll jog my memory the best I can to list the places I've been to around the US. I'd rather not stress myself so much though in making this list extensive, so for states or cities that I've been to several times already, I'd just list the state name and not go into elaborate details anymore.

  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania - I lived here for a couple of years.
  • Maryland
  • Washington DC
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • South Carolina - Anderson and Hilton Head Island
  • Missouri - St. Louis and Kansas City
  • Hawaii - Oahu. Babymoon. I hiked, ziplined, jet skiied, parasailed, snorkeled, ocean kayaked, stand-up paddled, and a lot more fun things I did while there. I was able to cross off a lot of bucket list items in this trip including Pearl Harbor. I was 6 weeks pregnant and it was a rollercoaster vacation for me. My pregnancy hormones weren't very cooperative. I was nauseated and sick for the most part but I was undeterred. Girl power! 
  • Illinois - Rushville and Chicago
  • California - San Diego, San Francisco and Bay Area (San Pablo, Daly City, Concord, etc.), Monterey
  • Nevada - Las Vegas
  • Arizona - Grand Canyon West/Skywalk and Hoover Dam
CARIBBEAN


You can take me out of the island but you can't take the island out of me. We are water babies!

  • Jamaica - Late honeymoon in April 2010. Came back in May 2015 for my birthday and Mother's Day with our first born. Yeah mon!
  • Bahamas - May 2014
  • Mexico - Cancun and Chichen Itza in October 2015. Chichen Itza is a bucket list item crossed off ;)
  • Dominican Republic - Punta Cana in October 2015 and March 2017
  • Puerto Rico - Carolina and Old San Juan in March 2015

~~~~~~~o~~~~~~~

As you can tell from my post above, I have yet to explore a lot of places - Europe, South America, Asia, Australia, and even Africa. The world is sooo vast and big but in due time and if God allows, I'm making it my oyster ;) So, in that regard, I'm making a separate post for my bucket list. Stay tuned, and recommendations are very much welcome ;) Let's do this!

You can read more of my travel stories and see pictures here: GLOBETROTTING

Sunday, November 1, 2015

THE SUNDAY CURRENTLY #2

We just got back from our weekend getaway in Florida. I mentioned in my previous post that my son suggested going to the beach but because we still have unused Aquatica (Seaworld) tickets, we decided to go there instead. My little boy didn't get his beach fix but the good lot of sand in Aquatica, the rapids, and the wave pool made up for it. 



So now that I have access to a laptop, here's my entry for The Sunday Currently:


CURRENTLY

Reading

I'm still reading The Book Thief and the Bible. I thought I'd be done with the book of Job this week but I was unable to finish it. I still have about three chapters left, so I'm making it my goal to finish it within this week and start Exodus.

Writing

this blog entry.

Listening

to my father, mother, husband, and son all talking at the same time. LOL. We're Skyping and trying to iron out the details of my parents' flight this weekend. Yehey! We're excited for their arrival here. Super excited!

Thinking

of the tasks I have at hand. I need to stop procrastinating. Ayayay!

Smelling

what little Arroz Caldo left in my son's bowl. 

Wishing

for a smooth and safe travel for my parents. With all the "laglag bala" incidents at NAIA, we can't help but feel anxious and worried for them. Pray, pray and pray. That's what I need to do.

Hoping

to finish my Christmas projects on time. I'm currently hand sewing throw pillow covers. I finished two already and I still have to make 8 pillow covers and 1 bench cushion cover. I'm also going to make an advent calendar for Christmas countdown. Honestly, with zero to little artistic juice flowing in my blood, I'm going to need lots of Pinterest ideas and DIY tutorials for these projects to materialize. 

Wearing

my regular house clothes.

Loving

my very loving and supportive husband more and more each day. We had just celebrated our 5th anniversary, hence, the weekend getaway. We would've gone somewhere romantic with only the two of us, but you know, with a toddler in tow all the time, that's never going to happen. LOL. That's also one of the reasons why we're so excited that my parents are finally coming! Hehe. Date nights and couple getaways already brewing and in the works. Ahihihi!

Wanting

to lose weight and a couple of inches particularly in my midsection. This tummy bulge has got to go away ASAP. We're thinking about baby #2 next year, and I want to lose about 5 pounds more before we start the baby making project. Haha!

another haircut. I'm thinking of chopping off a good chunk of my hair. I just had a haircut recently, and as expected, my hair had a growth spurt since then.

Needing

to book a hotel for the weekend. We're always traveling, going somewhere, even for just a couple of days or so, and I'm not complaining. #thankful

to do our church's financial records. I really need to work on this. I'm two months behind now. Uh oh!

Feeling

stinky. I haven't taken a shower yet. Hehe!

Clicking

the keyboard. Dvorak typist here.

Feel free to join the meme and link up at The Sunday Currently by siddathornton

Sunday, October 25, 2015

THE SUNDAY CURRENTLY #1

My desire to update this blog and the free time I have in hand are inversely proportional to each other. On some occasions when I actually did have extra time to spare for blogging, I'd find myself ironically hexed with writer's block. Aaaarrggghhh!

Thank goodness for memes like this for they help dwindling blogs (and minds) like mine to stay afloat.

So here goes nothing:

CURRENTLY

Reading

Currently - like, as in at this very moment - I'm reading Maine Mendoza's blog, The Pessimistic Optimistic Bella. AlDub has taken over my Facebook news feed since day 1, and honestly, I find this tandem adorable. My sister is a big fan and she has been bugging me to watch all the episodes which I would love to do if only I had the time (yeah, please see introductory paragraph above). Curious as to what all this hype about, I brought my iPad with me at the gym one time and watched a few episodes while doing my run on the treadmill. I must say that it was pretty entertaining and I had a good laugh watching the kalyeserye. I love the randomness of their skits. So adlib! I saw a 15-minute clip from the most recent Tamang Panahon concert, and it gave me all kinds of good feels ;) I hope the best for these two young artists career and relationship wise. On a side note, reading Maine's blog is how I stumbled upon The Sunday Currently meme.

For my current reading list, I have started reading four different books:

1. The Maze Runner - read a few chapters and this is at the bottom of my list.
2. A Game of Thrones - read several chapters already and will definitely get back to this.
3. The Book Thief - just started but really easy read, so it looks like I'll finish this soon IF I find time.
4. Bible - I already finished reading Genesis, and currently about midway through the book of Job.

Let's see how I do with this list.

Writing

this blog entry.

Listening

to the dullness this late Sunday afternoon brings that is only minimally disturbed by the sound of my keyboard and mouse clicks... and by a napping toddler's sudden cry! Jeez, I gotta hurry and finish this now before my boss wakes up.

Thinking

of exciting days ahead. My parents will finally be able to visit us here for the first time. Vacation plans have been made already for Thanksgiving - Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Vegas baby! - and I'm looking forward mostly to finally some date nights (and even third honeymoon maybe #Europe #Caribbean #cruise #wherever #webadlyneedagetaway) with my husband.

Smelling

my hands. Bath and Body Works hand soaps (and scented candles) are my favorites. I should remember to buy some more next time we go outlet shopping.

Wishing

my son would sleep better at night. My gosh! This has been a longstanding challenge for us already. He's nearly 3 years old now and yet we're as much sleep deprived as parents of a newborn. There are days when I still feel like a zombie, and I can imagine my husband probably feels worse than I do as he has to wake up sooooo early in the morning to go to work. Poor daddy!

Hoping

for more blessed days ahead.

Wearing

The "A Day for Divas" T-shirt and white shorts. In lieu of Breast Cancer Awareness month, the hospital where my husband works at sponsors annual "A Day for Divas" event. For the first time yesterday, my son and I were able to attend the said event.

Loving

the Georgia weather. We're still peaking in the 80's while our friends up north are bundling up in the low 40's or so.

Wanting

a new laptop... wait, this isn't a want but rather a NEED. All our laptops at home keep on crashing and we mostly rely on our tablets and my husband's work laptop which I'm currently using now. I need a new laptop especially I work on excel stuff for our church.

a DSLR camera - now that's definitely a WANT. Something I can put on my Christmas wishlist BUT considering how much my loving husband spends on me and our family, I can hold off on this. For now, I'm going to have to suffice myself with our point-and-shoot camera, our waterproof one, and the high-zoom I've had for a while. #BeContent

a new designer purse - again, another WANT but I resolve not to put it on my Christmas wishlist or any wishlist for that matter. I don't need another purse. I don't need another purse. I don't need another purse. I don't need another purse. Sorry, I just have to say that a few times to remind myself that I.DON'T.NEED.ANOTHER.PURSE. #selfcontrol

Needing

a new laptop - see above.

to book my parents' flights plus the whole fambam's Thanksgiving trip to Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and Las Vegas, but first, I need to book our getaway this weekend. It's my husband and mine's 5th wedding anniversary on the 30th and my son said yesterday, "We can go to the beach." There you go. #WeLoveToTravel

Feeling

Happy for this new entry in my blog. Yay! Can't wait to finish this up and publish it ;) 

Clicking

the publish button in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...!

Feel free to join the meme and link up at The Sunday Currently by siddathornton

Thursday, September 3, 2015

BYE BYE, DIAPERS!

Three weeks ago, my toddler all of a sudden decided he wanted to sit on the potty and use it. Just like that. Out of the blue. I didn't see that coming. I wasn't ready for it but it was apparent that my son was.

The first time we tried him on the potty just to introduce it and let him have a feel of using it was when he was around a year-and-a-half old. He went a couple of times but after that he didn't want to anymore. The idea of not going in his diaper repulsed him so that at one point he wouldn't even pee while bathing because he wasn't wearing diapers. We didn't push it any further that time since we thought it was pretty early to potty train him anyway. So we hid the small potty away for a time and it sat somewhere in the bathroom collecting dust.

Second attempt was when he was about 2. A friend gave me children books about potty training and that kinda got him interested. He would sit and sit and sit and sit and sit while Mommy would read and read and read and read, but that was just pretty much about it. No going in the potty. He was getting to be really good with words by that time and so the songs his potty sings stuck on him that he could actually sing them. Our favorite potty song was the one by Little Baby Bum:

"I like to sit down on the potty. It's so much fun! 
Sometimes I have an accident but that's okay 'cause
Every day I try again
I pee/poo in the potty and wash my hands
I'm growing up and getting tall
I don't need my diapers anymore."

Despite him knowing those potty songs by heart and me having read to him potty books countless times already, he despised going in his potty. He would sit on it every now and then, just to sit, but when it was really time for him to use it, he would throw a fit whenever I offered it. He knew when he's going but he hated sitting on the potty to do his business. One time I thought he was actually doing well because he peed into it a few times with only a couple of accidents but then the following day, he again rejected the potty. It was putting stress on both of us, so I gave the potty a rest, and let it collect more dust.

Then, three weeks ago happened. No fuss. No resistance. Little to no accident at all during awake. I was impressed. I was floored. I was taken by surprise. Third day into it, he was fully potty trained during daytime. Sometime around the first week, he woke up around 3:00 in the morning to go potty. I couldn't believe it. Second week into it, he was fully potty trained, day and night. A couple of times he woke up in the morning with "wet" pull-ups but it was because he had drank a cup of milk or so right before he went to bed.

I didn't expect he'd be potty trained so fast. Even when in the tub bathing or swimming in the pool, he tells us when he needs to pee. We went on a trip last week and we were driving on the interstate when 2.5 miles away the next exit, he felt the urge. We told him to hold it until we could exit. He grunted, "going, going" several times, and twitched positions, shifted and stretched his legs with toes pointing forward, while we scurried to exit. I could tell he really was trying his best to hold it and on the verge of it, but he still was ABLE to hold it! We exited, found a gas station, pulled his pants down, and as soon as we sat him down the potty, he relieved himself. He is really very good in holding his pee/poo that he always makes it to the potty with no leaks whatsoever. Totally impressive!

I am so proud of my son for having achieved this milestone. I was talking to my sister about this and she congratulated me pointing that potty training is one of the big challenges for parents. I think readiness is really the key and commitment on the caregiver's part. It helped that I was constantly reminding my son about the need to say bye to his diapers and learning to use the potty as he is not a baby anymore, but it was my son's readiness that made potty training a breeze for us. I give my son all the credits for a very successful potting training. Kudos, my big boy! ;)

Geez. My son is two-and-a-half. He is potty trained. He is weaned off his binky. He feeds himself. He can flush the toilet by himself. He can wash his hands by himself. In fact, he even says, "Do it yourself (myself)." This is happening too fast. Too overwhelming for me. It's a sinking feeling. I can't seem to wrap my head around it. In a click, my son was suddenly ready, and I wasn't. I'm still not. I don't think I will ever be ready.

Comfy in his big boy boxer briefs.
Phone in hand. Chilling on the big bed. Tank tops. Boxer briefs.
Makes me feel I already have a teenager.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

BYE BYE, BINKY!

The first time I tried to wean my 2.5-year-old son off his binkies was I think when he was around 20 months or so. His binkies brought him certain calm that even us, his parents, apparently could not provide. When I tried to keep him from having his binkies, he obviously got so stressed out, that he literally cried for an hour. It happened twice, and I saw how miserable he really was without his binkies. I felt guilty for subjecting him to such torture. He just wasn't ready yet, and I felt so bad for not being sensitive enough towards my son. After all, it was me who knows him best, and yet I gave in to what others dictated. My heart broke for him, and so after two failed attempts, I let him have his binkies again.

Last night, he misplaced his favorite binky just before going to bed. All lights out and a little over past 12 midnight, we tried to look for it but we couldn't find it. When I didn't bother looking harder for the missing binky or handing him his extra binkies, I thought I would just test the waters. I told him that it was probably time for him to say goodbye to his binky. He didn't object when I said that, mostly because he was still so hyped up, blabbering incessantly, singing and talking in whispers to himself, playing with a toy train in one hand. He was still playing on his bed when I dozed off and I didn't really notice what time he went to sleep.

At around 3:00 a.m., I woke up to my son's small sobs. He was looking for a binky. I ignored him at first and waited. When his sobs started getting louder, I comforted him with an "It's okay," and I maintained that we still couldn't find his binky. He continued to cry. He then told me he needs to use the potty, so I took him to the bathroom and helped him. When we got back to his room, I laid him down beside me on our bed, and I told him that he's a big boy now and he should do his best to try to sleep without his binky. I gave him the reassurance that he can do it, but I was ready to give him a binky should I see him stressing over it just as before. I didn't want him to go sleepless over it.  My son, however, slept through the night. He woke up quite earlier than his usual though, but I made sure to hide away all his binkies before he woke up.

At the library this morning, when he was getting anxious during story time, he kept on searching for his binkies in his baby bag, but he didn't throw a fit when he didn't find one. When we had our afternoon nap, he fell asleep on his bed with, again, a toy train, albeit a different one, in his hand. No binky in sight, and he napped perfectly fine without it. My husband could not believe when I told him that my son has weaned off from his binkies. The final test was bedtime this evening. Not a tiny craving for binky, and he fell asleep peacefully without one, and holding a wooden helicopter toy in his hand.

I know my son was very much attached to his binkies, and it makes me feel so proud that he finally has let go of them. As his mother, I am sure it took him courage and bravery to overcome his anxiety without a binky. I'm so happy that my son is learning, and growing, and achieving milestones like this, but at the same time, it makes me realize that my son is indeed GROWING, and there's no stopping him from it. Every milestone he meets means a step closer to independence and a step farther away from me. Moments like this remind me that I could only hold my son so much for a time. Moments like this tell me that I'm going to muster all the courage and bravery I could gather to overcome the anxiety that one day I will see my son independent in all ways, and I become obsolete just like his binkies.

Taken on Aug 28, 2015 in Club Med Sandpiper Bay, FL
Four days ago, my son was still inseparable from his binkies. He at least needed two - one to put in his mouth and the other to press/rub/brush on his eyelids, nose, cheeks and all over his face. We called the one he put in his mouth as "chup chup" and the other one "duk duk". When I would ask him to surrender his binkies to me when he didn't need them, he would bargain with me and plea, "[I] can have one. Just one." Now I only have pictures to look back when my son still had his binkies :')

Monday, August 17, 2015

THIS MADE MY DAY ♥

Let's keep the happiness theme going, so for my blog post today, THIS:

I texted my husband this morning of my barbecue cravings and his reply blew my heart away 

One of Vince's best traits is his sincerity, so when he says sweet things to me like this, I feel that they aren't empty words but that he truly means them. I was touched and speechless for a moment there when I read his text but what I really wanted him to know was that he has already given me the world the day he married me.

Now what do they say again? "Happy wife, happy life." :-)

I'm one blissful, blessed girl indeed.

xOxO

Sunday, August 16, 2015

SHE BANGS, SHE BANGS!

There was a time when I was so active blogging that I created a separate blog, Extra Room for Happiness, for a meme called Happiness Is. I received an email from apparently an interested buyer of that blog, although I doubt the authenticity of it. Anyway, that sort of triggered me to revive the "happiness theme" in my regular blogging. I initially thought of posting this entry on that other blog but since I currently don't have the luxury of time to manage a blog, let alone two blogs, I thought I'd keep posting everything here for now. After all, More Than Sexy is my original blog, and it has kind of grown into me already, and if I were to keep just one blog, no question it would be this.

So, going back to Happiness Is, here's my happy moment for today:

"When was the last time you did something for the first time?"
Happiness is... getting a haircut!

Yes, I'm that shallow. LOL. Well, it has been a while since I had a decent haircut. Back in Toronto, there's this Korean salon I went to regularly for hair treatment and haircuts at least once a year. Ever since I moved here in the US, I haven't really found a salon that I was willing to entrust my long locks with until today!



Living in the countryside, it's not like I have a lot of salon choices either. I always had to go to the nearby city to get my hair done, and my previous experiences were mediocre. I searched online for other salons and found one that had very good reviews, so I thought I'd give it a try.

The verdict?

I'm happy to say that I was very much pleased of their service. The stylist who did my hair was so friendly and interactive. I loved that she engaged me as to how she was going to style and cut my hair. She seemed very knowledgeable of her craft. Honestly, a lot of times I could be clueless and I won't even know what I really want, like for example, BANGS or NO BANGS. It had been ages for all I know since I wore bangs, so I really wasn't sure if it was something I'd like to do again. My stylist helped me sort of arrive to my decision, and when she thought that I was having hesitations, she went easy with her shears cropping those bangs.

Yeah, I'm digging my bangs, and I'll own it. LOL. I was really happy with my haircut, so was my stylist. She also thought that the bangs suit me, and she even egged me on going shorter maybe next time once I get the hang of wearing it, something I definitely would consider in the future ;)

So how much did I have to shed for this girly girl happiness?

$30. Shampoo, haircut, and style (straight or curl) included. It was $30 well spent, and for the service I received, I thought I would have to pay more. Customer satisfaction? Priceless!

Funny though that the first thing my stylist said when she sat me on the chair was, "You have a big hair!" Yes, Ma'am, I do. Haha! She couldn't get over the fact how long my hair was, how she had to kneel on the floor to trim the edges, and how even after she chopped a chunk off that I still have a lot of hair left. Another thing she couldn't get over with was how young I look for my age. I told her she wasn't the first one to say that, and that it's because I have discovered the fountain of youth. LOL!

Okay, that's about it. I should give my bangs some rest now, literally and figuratively. Ciao!



Friday, August 14, 2015

NAUTICAL THEMED TODDLER ROOM

After giving our dirty, soot-stained, red brick fireplace the makeover it badly needed late last year, I moved on to my next home improvement DIY project. It was after I helped repaint our church's nursery room that I got the inspiration to revamp my son's room at our home. He has had a pirate ship for a toddler's bed, so I thought what better theme to match it than nautical, right?

So early March when I started on this project. I didn't get to finish it though until May. It wasn't a big project at all but with a very active toddler around me all day, I hardly could get any painting done during the day. Plus, there were travels and other commitments and glitches in between, so it had to take the backseat for a time. I was happy and relieved when I finally completed it.

Now, here's a little tour of my son's nautical themed room:

BEHIND THE SCENES:

Yours truly in action. It's amazing what a can of paint could do to a room.
It transformed the mood from neutral to fun. I love the ocean-y vibe this shade
of blue elicits and it set the stage for the theme at hand.
BEHIND THE SCENES:

With the help of my ScanNCut, I was able to create a couple of wall arts.
Credits also go to hundreds and hundreds of ideas available thru the Internet.
This was my first attempt to DIY a wall art and I personally believe I nailed this one!
:)
Reading nook for my boy's first library. He has a growing collection
of books that as of now, this shelf is no longer enough to hold all of his books.
Also, this photo was taken in May, and since, we have brought in a couple of friends
(Grover and Donald Duck) for that lonesome brown bear.

With my little boy who constantly inspires me to do things I have never done before.

"I'll love you forever, I'll love you for always,
As long as I'm living,
My baby you'll be." - Robert Munsch

The second of two DIY wall arts I made. The three wall decors surrounding the frame I made
was part of the nautical bedding set I bought online from Amazon.

The letters spelling out my son's name were originally painted white.
I repainted them with dark blue paint which provided a good contrast against the light blue background. I didn't want to ruin the newly painted wall by driving nails into it, so we used putty tack to hang those letters. Surprisingly, they are holding very well!
Also, since this picture was taken, I have added a valance to that small window similar to the one hanging on the bigger window. 
To get the nautical theme going, I bought a new set of bedding which included 2 pcs of valance,
three wall decors, toy hamper, diaper stacker, pillows, quilt and fitted sheet.
Recently, we added a big wall clock and a nautical themed photo frame.
We featured pictures from each of our Caribbean vacations over the past two years, namely
Bahamas, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Jamaica :)

Overall, I am well pleased with how this project turned out. Of course, my toddler's room is not always this immaculate. In fact, I think the only time it was this organized was when I took these pictures. LOL! Bottom line, I love how Vince and I were able to tie everything up together to create this cute and cozy nautical themed room for Vonn Kaleb 


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

MY NEW BEST FRIEND FOREVER

Photo taken in May 2015
I had just given my two-and-a-half-year old a quick wash in the tub, changed his diaper, and was putting clothes on him. I was kneeling down, fixing him up, when he wrapped his arms around my neck. While hugging me, he spontaneously said, "You're my best friend, Mommy." He kissed me on the lips afterwards. In his cute toddler talk, he managed to express that "Vonn Kaleb and Mommy are best friends." That was one of the sweetest things that has ever happened to me in my entire life.

I'm not a perfect mom. I second guess my parenting skills every now and then. Although my husband always tells me that I'm the best mom our child could ever have, a lot of times, I feel inadequate and overbearing. Having heard my toddler say that I'm his best friend somehow validated my efforts. It makes me think that somehow I must have done something right.

The boy who stole my  ♥ 
My son, I will always be your best friend no matter what. I love you more than it's possible.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

MORE MILESTONES MET

Can someone please tell me where time went? Vonn Kaleb is a few weeks shy of being 2, and this momma here is having mixed emotions over the fact that my once cute, pea-sized, fussy wussy, scratchy infant has now grown. At 2, I'm already feeling this, so can you just imagine how much more would it be for me when my son marries and leaves home?! I can't! I can't! LOL.

Okay, let me put aside those mommy hormones for now, as I wanted to blog about my son's development over the past weeks. If you read my post back in December 2014 wherein I talked about developmental milestones, you'd remember that Vonn Kaleb met most of them, although there were a few in which he wasn't quite there yet, specifically in his language and social skills. He was 22 months then when I wrote that, so I thought I'd do a follow-up on it now that he's almost 2. Jeez, almost 2 - now, I'm getting emotional again. Hehe!

Anyway, here are the most pertinent points in my checklist from December:

Plays mainly beside other children, but is beginning to include other children, such as in chase games


Back in December, I mentioned that his social skills improved considerably ever since we came back from our vacation in October. He was still very clingy to Vince and me but he had become more friendly and would say "hi" and "bye" to people and even would give hugs and kisses to those he was very familiar and comfortable with. Vonn Kaleb then would play alongside other kids but I had yet to see him play chase games.

Well, yesterday, Vonn Kaleb played with his three "girl friends" (two older and one younger than him) while we're at church. At first, he didn't want to play away from my arm's reach, but with my permission, I let one of the older girls, "Aubwee (Aubrey)" watch him. Aubrey used some goldfish crackers to bait Vonn Kaleb into following her to the nursery, and next thing I knew, he was running back and forth and all around playing with the girls. Not only was he doing that but he was also saying, "Chay! Chay! (Chase! Chase!)" while running with the girls. So you see, the fact that he was saying "chase" indicates that he was aware that they were playing chase, and that he wasn't just parallel playing. I think my heart melted that time :') The older girls took turns chasing him which he obviously enjoyed. Considering how aloof Vonn Kaleb used to be, this is really a major milestone for us. 

Says sentences with 2 to 4 words 

✔ Back in December, I noted that Vonn Kaleb's speech was a little behind. He started talking at 21 months, but since then, his language and speech has developed a lot. He is definitely speaking clearer now, and he is learning new words every day. His growing vocabulary includes words such as "caboose," "train cars," "huge truck," "school bus," "sunlight," "bridge," "drama," "green car," "purple ball," "fries," "dryer," "ice cream," "cookie," "seagull," "offering," "goldfish," and so much more! He is not speaking 4-word sentences yet, but he does speak 2-word sentences such as "read please," "open please," "out please," "sit down," "fall down," "get you," "try again," "behind you," "hop in," "jump pool (jump into the pool)." He knows his ABCs, numbers (recognizes 1 to 10, and counts from 1 to 20), basic shapes, and most recently, basic colors. He calls familiar people by names e.g., Tacey, Elkin, Aubrey, Isla. He now knows to use interjections such as "Oooppsiee!" (and sometimes he would copy us saying, "Oooppsiee Daisy!") and "Hoy!," and he loves imitating us say, "Grabe!" The first Tagalog word he learned to say (and he knows what it means) is "paypay" (fan).

In conclusion, I'm very much happy and proud to say that my son's speech and vocabulary has caught up now and he has in fact met the normal developmental milestone for speech.

Like any other parent, I'm very proud of my child. As early as he is in his formative years, I could objectively tell that God has blessed us with a very smart and charming boy. It is now up to us, his parents, to take advantage of his early development stage, nurture him, and help him reach his full potential. Such a daunting and overwhelming task when I think about it, but with God's grace, I know we can do it ☻ 

EDITS: As of publishing, Vonn Kaleb spoke his first ever three-word sentence, "More bubbles please!" ☺ What can I say? My boy loves bubbles ♥

Friday, January 23, 2015

CHRISTMAS 2014

Our family had a couple of firsts this past Christmas:

We had our first Christmas tree... and what made our first tree special was that it was a real tree! It took us until the week of Christmas to finally get one and I'm so happy we did. It smelled so good and fresh especially right after it was cut, and when we set it up at home, it looked sooooo pretty even before we decorated it. I did get scratches all over my hands and arms from putting lights around it and I had this silly thought that a squirrel might poke from somewhere in the tree while I was doing it which made the experience quite memorable for me. Hehe! Anyway, after we're done dressing it up, and the gifts went under it, I felt inspired. It looked a lot like Christmas in the Valencia household then ;)


We celebrated our first Noche Buena as a family at our first home. Since it was just the three of us, we only prepared a simple dinner of baked macaroni with meat sauce and mornay sauce, maja blanca, roasted pork butt, green salad and fruits. We finished dinner right around midnight and then proceeded to open presents.

So what did we get for Christmas? ;)

Vonn Kaleb got books - lots of it - and flash cards, some jammies, toys, Amazon gift card, and a blanky. I'm so happy when I saw his new loot of books! The little one has been learning a lot from the books we read him every night at bedtime. He loves being read to, and at times, he'd grab books and flip pages himself as if he can actually read. The flash cards we previously gave him also helped him learn the alphabet, and so for Christmas, we gave him a couple new sets of flash cards. It was apparent though that his favorite of all his Christmas presents was the toy CAT truck/back hoe that our friend from church gave him. That was the first gift we opened and he didn't care so much for the other presents after that. Hehe! Vince and I got gift cards from his clinic staff and baking/cooking gadgets from friends. We did get a few more presents from friends which unfortunately I couldn't remember what now #seniormoment. Vince did get a dress shirt and tie, a Levi's button down shirt, a Levi's sweatshirt, and boxers from Vonn Kaleb and me. I'm excited to see him wearing those, particularly the boxers... ooppps! #R18 #maturereadersrequired Hehe!

Me? I only wanted a DIY fireplace makeover for Christmas, which I got ;) Okay, I'm not gonna lie... maybe in the deepest recesses of my heart, I wanted to get another Louis Vuitton purse or a Burberry, Chanel or Prada... just maybe. LOL! Or maybe that's in my birthday wishlist for next year along with another trip somewhere in the Caribbean again. Hehe! So anyway, my dear husband spoilt me with an iPad Air 2 and a Versace perfume for Christmas. I wasn't expecting he'd get me a tablet as I'm very much content with our old iPad 3, but yeah, now I have a new toy, and I'm loving it... but not as much as the one who gave it to me ;) Thanks again, love!

We finished opening the presents around 2am and went to bed soon after that. We slept in on Christmas day and pretty much vegetated except of course for Vonn Kaleb who kept himself busy playing with his new toy truck. Hehe! Vince didn't have to work on Christmas day and spending the whole day as a complete family, for me, was the perfect way to celebrate the holiday.

And that, my friends, was how the Valencias spent their Christmas. I know this post is a little too late but I hope you had a wonderful Christmas yourselves☻

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

FIREPLACE MAKEOVER

One thing I never really liked in our home was our wood burning brick fireplace. It was hate at first sight. If I had a choice, I would have preferred a modern (or ultra modern better yet!) electric fireplace with a neat looking mantle and hearth, probably something white and bright, which of course is the total opposite of the one we have. Our house was built in the '90s, so among other things that are dated and needs updating is the fireplace. Adding insult to injury was the previous owner of the house who wasn't too keen in home upkeeping. When we moved in the house, the fireplace still had ashes, burnt firewoods, soot, creosote and stain, and had a shabby fireplace screen. Altogether, it was an eyesore sticking out like a sore thumb in the big living room. Ugh! We thought of having it professionally revamped or even re-did but it would cost us thousands of dollars to get it done. With all the other more important fixes our home needs, needless to say the fireplace renovation got pushed down the bottom of the list. Sigh!  

One fine dandy day, out of the blue, I just decided to do the makeover myself. Yeah, right! The not-so-crafty me who had not done a single home DIY project. I couldn't watercolor paint let alone brick paint, what was I thinking!? It started with me searching the Internet for fireplace screens, which then led me to fireplace doors, followed by electric logs, and next thing I knew, I was googling for ways to clean and paint brick. Wow! I sure did have a lot of time in my hands that day. Hehe!

Anyway, I found Brick Anew paints online. The testimonials and reviews from their customers including the before and after pictures posted in their website gave me some hope in prettifying my fireplace without having to shed a good chunk of $$$$! What really got me into trying the product though was reviews that say how easy it is to use the products even for first time DIYers like me. "Cool!," I thought.

Well, before I could even get to the painting stuff, I needed to clean the fireplace first. To me, this was the hardest part in the makeover. As I said above, the fireplace was a mess when we moved in the house, and since I hated it, I pretty much left it as is and didn't touch it until I was ready to give it the makeover. I had to get rid of the burnt woods, grate, and the shabby screen. I swept and vacuumed the ashes inside the firebox. I was on my knees and eventually on all fours scrubbing and steel brushing soot and creosote build up in the firebox. I used up bottles and bottles of different brick cleansers. Anyway, after days and days of scrubbing and brushing, I gave up.  Soot had already stained the bricks, and though I didn't get to where I wanted in terms of removing as much stain, the fireplace was clean enough to be painted on. Some battles I just couldn't win but life has to go on, so onto the next step: Paint!

First, I watched the instructional DVD included in the Brick Anew paint kit I bought. I also read the written instructions and tips it came with. Then, I gathered all the self-confidence I could muster, breathed, and told myself, "I can do this!" :D Next, I put painter's tape on the surroundings and prepped the area once more. Then, I picked up the paint brush and went into the zone.

The finished product? I guess I would just share pictures of my fireplace (before and after makeover) and leave it up to you to decide if I have achieved something ;)


I hated how our old fireplace looked like. So much so that I didn't bother taking a picture of it before the actual makeover. So, here I'm sharing an old picture that was taken last year during Vonn Kaleb's first birthday. Behind me, you can catch a glimpse of what the fireplace looked like when we first moved in. The ugly fireplace screen, black soot in the firebox, ashes, burnt wood and grate. That's what I was talking about!

From drab...

...to fab!

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