Halloween Pinoy Style


I just got the 2010 Halloween catalog from Toy Kingdom.  My kids and I pored over every page excited to find the perfect, not too expensive costume.  The other pages are a bit too scary and gory I had to staple them so the kids won't get nightmares.

I thought of re-posting this blog I did last year.

Trick or treat! So American! But the Philippines has caught on to the trick or treat bug much to the delight of kids and parents as well. Another day to be whimsical and fun.

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Unscheduled Play Dates

My son begged me to play ball with him.   At my current java-the-hut frame that is unlikely to happen. And I begin to miss the days when we lived in a townhouse when the playmate is just   a shout away. Now that we live in a village, most play dates are scheduled first with the parents.

I remember when I was a child, my brothers and I are out in the village from morning till dusk.   Stopping only from play for food and drinks. We would play patintero, agawan base, tex, taguan, tumbang preso, piko, jackstone, chinese garter, name it we played it. It was pure joy and unbridled play.

Wanting the same for my kids, I teach them the games from days gone by. And they love it.  But as for now (remember java the hut), I just unashamedly rang the doorbell of the neighbor and begged his son to play with mine – no appointments made.

My Foiled 3-in-1

the promise of tummy tuck (picture from plasticsurgery.com)

My plan for a 3 in 1 operation when I give birth is foiled. Even before I conceived the 3.5 month old baby in my tummy I knew I would have a caesarian, should have a ligation and desperately wanted a tummy tuck. The husbandry even chided me that I was even more excited with the tummy tuck than the baby.

Ok here is the lo down of what I learned.


Tummy tuck can help fix CS scar, fix up stretch marks, remove the excess fat deposits and tighten up the damaged abdominal muscles. Ergo, tummy beautiful, uh, one day after giving birth! Magic!!!

I have a good friend, not a friend of a friend of a friend, who underwent a 3 in 1 five years ago at the Makati Med. She is quite happy with the results and told me the ligation hurt more than the tummy tuck. Her OB and not a plastic surgeon did it. One time operation.

One time recovery. Lesser cost – cost only for extended operating room, anesthesia etc. And I can’t imagine going back to the operating room again after 6 months for a tummy tuck.

And now for the cons:

• The blood loss. (from my OB)

CS is already bloody and you add tummy tuck to it. You can actually reserve blood for transfusion if necessary, but the body stress is just too much. And for me to take that pre-caution sounds a tad too dangerous.

• Studies show that the complications from surgery increase when combining these two procedures. And usually anesthesiologists don’t want you under anesthesia for longer than would be necessary. A tummy tuck alone takes 2-5 hours depending on procedure (mini or full).

• High risk of infection. (from docshop.com)

“The fact is that there's a lot of contamination at the same time as the C-section with the different fluids and different cavities exposed." Dr. Miller warns. "That would really increase the potential for risks combined with that little tummy tuck.”

• Optimal Results of tummy tuck can’t be obtained with CS.

The tissues around the tummy haven’t shrunk yet. It’s best to to wait until the body has “stabilized.” (from Center for Cosmetic Surgery.com)

• Consider recovery from tummy tuck. (from tuckthattummy.com)

Due to high risk of infection, strong anti-biotic are given along with the pain meds. Breastfeeding might be hampered with all the meds. Plus, all the meds would cause one to be groggy and out of commission for 2 weeks. Nyikes, who would take care of the baby?

And lastly, you would have to drain the surgical drains inserted in your abdomen a few times a day. In between carrying and feeding my baby, I’m not sure if I can squeeze this in.

And so that is the long and short of my foiled 3 in 1. Maybe after a few years I’ll be brave enough to have this procedure done on its own. As for now, the best way, according to the net, not me, is to control weight gain (3.5 months and I gained 13 pounds uh, oh), do mild exercises (from my room to the dining table is my exercise) and get back in shape after the pregnancy. So long tummy beautiful and its you and me again against the world flab.

Getting Comfortable with 8

My son brought home his quiz results quite satisfied with an 8/10.  I try to be happy about it but I’m not.  He sadly asked what’s wrong and I once again explained to a 9 year old the mechanics  to get an honor.

See, to get an honor your quarterly grade per subject should be  93 that means,  getting an 8/10 will give you only 80.  While consistently getting a 9/10 with not much 10/10 in  between will give you a 90 and not a 93.   The system requires the highest standard of excellence and diligence from its student.

At technically 3 years of tutoring my kids,  I still am sometimes caught in the confusion of “should I push some more,  or am I pushing too much?” [Read more...]

Coping with Pregnancy Blues: Hope in the Finite

I am 2.5 months pregnant at the tender young age of – I dare not reveal. Let’s just say not 40 but definitely over 30. And whew I’m having quite a difficult one. The gas, nauseas, vomiting and lethargy lasts through out the day. My back and butt are aching. And I don’t even sleep like a log at night. [Read more...]

Plastic Cover Grades at National Bookstore

Did you know that the plastic cover rolled up in National Bookstore comes in different grades? I didn't know that until 2 months after school opened and I have to change the plastic cover of my daughter's notebook (she is the perfect quality test for any school supply). Apparently, you can request for a thicker grade which are sold by meters in National. The grades range from 3 to 8. The lower the grade the cheaper and thinner the plastic. Like a #3 costs P19/meter, #5 P31.75/meter and #8 is P 50.75. I wanted #8 but went for #5 and got a nice thick plastic cover which should last the whole school year. The #8, I was told, is used by jeepney drivers already to cover the jeepney seats:)

Getting the Most of the PTC

Since I have made a career out of motherhood, PTC is one thing I have never missed (well, once). On my first few PTC's I barely knew what to say - the objective was to let the teacher know that I'm the mother of my boy/girl and that I care. I think the teachers make a mental note of who cares to come and would now take a second look at my child next time for participation;)

But as the years passed, I have learned that I should prepare myself for the PTC. Taking note of the lessons that the kids are currently doing and which area we could improve on. For example, in Filipino, I discovered that I don't have to make new words other than the ones in the book and words that are commonly used. My kids are challenged in their Filipino so that was quite a relief to know.

My daughter who is in grade 1 is not yet trained in copying her assignments completely and the teacher suggested a buddy mom to check assignments from time to time.

In Chinese, I found out what I like. The kids are not only expected to memorize word per word. They should understand the sentence and the teacher will ask them about the sentence in several ways to check if sentence was understood.

PTC also gives me a chance to commend teachers who keep the kids looking forward to school and give feedback to those who don't, subtly of course:)

In the end, it is an important and useful tool to make life easier for everyone - the teacher, my kids and myself.

Pag-asa Weather

"Sabi ng Pag-asa walang pasok kasi maaraw na eh." That was the running joke when I was still in grade school and sad to say that is still the joke now that I have kids in grade school.

Yesterday's typhoon "Basyang" came in close to midnight of July 13 and only passed Metro Manila for maybe 6hours. But to the happiness, glee, exuberance (their joy cannot be put into words everytime no school is declared) of the kids, the sunny day of July 14 was declared as signal number 2, hence no classes.

It's sad though that after 20 years nothing much has changed in forecasting our weather conditions. Pag-asa says its because of the equipment and brain drain - with experienced forecasters leaving for greener pastures. True and sad.

I hope when my grandkids come it will be a better story, after all, it's not called Pag-asa for nothing.

Digi Pic Overload

Men oh men! I have accumulated thousands and thousands of pictures and for the past days I have been going through the task of sorting them out. And my, it is a full time job! I sort them according to occasion, child, child with dad, child with mom, child with family, family, in Manila trips, out of Manila trips, Out of the country trips and so on and so forth. I didn’t know that such a happy, happy task can be so tedious.

In total I have made 21 categories and around 50 sub-categories. Whew! Now I need a masseuse!

Mother and Son Day!

Mother and Son Day!

My boy and I spent a whole Saturday morning in different sports activities organized by the school. I'm amazed how he has grown to be an assertive, confident boy. He has taken the lead in most of the activities and is not disappointed when he has to repeat a task. And it's good to hear him say, "Good job mom." or "We did well."

What I love about the activity is that most are just really between mother and son. Like say the outdoor obstacle course has to be done while holding hands with your son - teamwork. Next year, it's going to be a Father and Son day. But better. It's overnight and out of town. Major bonding.

Iron Kid

Today was a short but exhilerating run for my boy.  He ran a 1 km sprint in the Alaska Iron Kid race.  He did his personal best, PR in running lingo,  and I'm one proud mama:)

all she needs is love

My daughter has been very difficult lately. And difficult is an understatement. She whines excessively and will not take no for an answer. Her wails can reach the depths of the earth and my patience. And she even blurted out the dreaded word -- I hate you mommy!

Now that's it! I won't take that kind of disrespect in my home. So I dragged her out of the gate and left her outside for a few minutes and she screamed even louder. She was out of control and I was out of control and it was a total mess.

This situation dragged on deeper and deeper for maybe 3 weeks with lots of hurtful words coming out from my mouth and hers. It was a stressful time for both of us. She resents me and I am beginning to become distant. I was even beginning to play favorites. And so I pulled out my magic diary and poured out all my thoughts and there lies a tiny ray of light.

It's back to school from a Christmas break and she is adjusting, I didn't consider that. I have been expecting her to act like her 8 year old brother but they are 2 1/2 years apart and their personalities are light years away. I realized I didn't give her enough attention, and she was getting it now, only negatively. I made a mistake and I need to pay her back, big time. It will take time. She is a very smart girl and she remembers and occasionally reminds me of the hurtful words I have said in the past. In my painful thought process I listed down who my daughter is. What she likes and dislikes - though I know most of it already - writing it down made me realize I'm not showing her the love and respect she needs. Imagine failing in something as basic as giving her my full attention when she speaks to me. She doesn't like a nod, "uh-huh" or "yeah" she wants to hear what I think - full phrases and sentences. Now that I come to think of it, all that she wants from me are the basics - attention, respect and lots of L-O-V-E!

Appreciating Singapore Math

Singapore Math.  To add 15 plus 8, first dissect 15 into 10 and 5 and then add the 8 to 5 and add the 10 back.  To multiply 5x8, first multiply 5 to 10 then minus 2 5's. Complicated?   Not really. 

It took awhile for me to appreciate Singapore math.  Simple addition and subtraction are formed into bonds and to solve word problems you would have to draw models.  But now that my son is two years into it, I realize it's brilliance.

Children are taught the how's of math instead of memorizing tables and formulas.  Kids are deeply involved in lots of word problems which require deep analysis.  It is a bit harder than traditional but the science and thinking behind solving solutions will surely make one come out smarter.  Plus since it is dealing with day to day word problems,  kids appreciate it better.  I myself, a self confessed "duh math?" girl,  is begginning to like math.

Xavier hosted one Singapore math proponent and whiz Dr. Yeap Ban Har.  He was a very engaging speaker, not a dull math prof.  Essentially, he rallied the parents to support Singapore math because of the statistic data of the rise of intellect of Singapore math instructed students vs the traditional one.  It made average students become above average. 

He said that multiplying 485 x 87 can easily be done by a $1 calculator.  What figure to input and what operation to use is what matters.

Aside from making me close to rallying "I love Singapore Math!" I realized that I should go with the flow of the book and not try to inject my old method of answering the problems.  Visual instruction (ex. models, blocks)  is better grasped by kids.  

And it further emphasized what my son and I have already been doing which is practice makes perfect.   I provide my son with different problems and different scenarios according to his level.

Third is that you don't have to be a good soccer player in order to be a good soccer coach.  Ergo, you don't have to be a math whiz to teach your kids math.     Sometimes,  when my son doesn't get the word problem I am tempted to ask him questions that are short of giving away the answer.  You just have to ask the right questions.  Probe.  Write down given and label.  And give kids time.    It takes time so I allocate a lot of time maybe 5-20 minutes per problem.  Given enough time, using models, understanding the word problems my son will soon find his Aha moment.  It takes time but it's definitely worth it.

For more of Dr. Ban Har please visit his website:

www.askyeapbanhar.blogspot.com - question and answer blog

www.mathz4kidz.com - lectures given by Dr. Ban Har

Hit the Sack by 10

Image fr sleepworks.com

What is it with schedules that it is so very hard to keep them? Everyday I vow that I will sleep at 10pm so that I can wake up at 6am and so go to the gym early and can go about with the rest of the day. But no, no.

After putting my boy to sleep at 9pm, I have to turn to my girl and read her 3-5 bed time stories before lights out. And then another 10-15 mins of storytelling, this time her turn. She falls asleep, I fall asleep a bit, but I still have to transfer to the master's bedroom.

Now it's my husband's turn for talk time, luckily I don't have to read him bed time stories and before you know it Voila! it's already 12midnight!

Good thing I have gotten over the new years resolution bug. Before, New Year is big for me because it is the day I shed old nasty habits for friendlier ones. But uggh 365 is long man. So when I turned a year older I shortened it to a new month, then a new week now I'm down to a new day. And a new day always promises to be a good day to start anew. Hello to the day I sleep at 10pm!:)