Friday, February 5, 2016

Raising a Lefty

I find it so cool that I am raising a lefty. Early on, we noticed his left hand always reached for everything. It evolved to his ability to hold, throw, and eat exclusively with his left hand. I didn't know how to deal when I first learned it, that I tried to train him to use his right hand instead. I stopped the moment I saw his left hand twitch when I held his arm so he would use the other one to reach for his toy. I asked myself the reason for my need to make him a right-handed human and I was stumped. I had no answer other than "because I am". The moment I uttered it aloud, I let go of his left arm and let him go crazy with it. I looked at my 4-month old baby and just got really excited that I was raising this individual with an evident uniqueness about him.

The only thing I knew about left-handed folks was that they were generally creative individuals. Every single lefty I know are creative. That's about 3 out of hundreds. That is where I got my statistic. Yes, it is a little bias. I have many years to explore this unknown territory and I can't wait to share it with all of you.

I did find an online store that cater exclusively to these special individuals. I guess his gifts when he becomes school age will be gadgets that will make his life easier.

Also, if you ever find yourself in Seaport Village in San Diego, California, there is a neat little place called the Left Hand Store tucked away in there.

Are there any leftie mom bloggers out there that can share tips and give advice raising this boy?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Her Dollhouse

I've searched high and low for ideas for an affordable dollhouse for my daughter. I kept convincing myself that building one did not look hard. After all, it is my lifelong dream to be an Architect. I also had someone willing to let me use his workshop, as long as I brought him a 6-pack. I sat in the playroom drafting plans when I realized that the Ikea Besta TV Stand my friend gave me years ago can fit an 18" doll. I did a quick search on Craigslist if someone was selling another one. With a sprinkle of glitter and wave of a magic wand, someone was selling the same exact version! The European version with some odd shape shelving in the middle, to be exact. I stacked them both together and took the shelves off and boom, a two-story dollhouse for her 18" dolls. Soon, we will put wallpaper, faux tiles, and other fancy things. For now, I present to you my daughter's little corner.

This is how I originally designed one of the 2nd floor cubes. It's the "Our Generation: It Seams Perfect" play set. It is so darn cute. I was at Target days after Christmas and saw this in the go-back cart they had in the midst of holiday clearance madness. It looks like Amazon has it for sale since it looks like Target no longer carries it. The shelving is actually the packaging from the Our Generation Kitchen play set. They fit most Shopkins perfectly.

Our Generation: It Seams Perfect from Target
This is the 1st floor cubes. The kitchen is a hit with my son who loves to eat.
Our Generation Scooter and Kitchen play set.
Hello Kitty Jewelry Box and random ornaments
from Walmart as a chandelier and cupcake.
The hot cocoa is actually made out of Q-tips by my daughter. She makes me so proud with her creativity. She colored the top light brown and the stick red for straw. Clock is from the Hello Kitty Bed play set.
AG dog Sugar. Found him at TJ Maxx.

We haven't bought them any beds yet, so they're lying on makeshift platform beds.

Ikea here in the US also sells Besta. I originally wanted it to be vertical instead of horizontal, but my mover - aka husband-who-has-muscles refused to do it that way. Flipping the Besta on its side has a longer height, making room for lights you can stick on. It gets very dark in these cubes. She uses a desk lamp that she shines on the house when she is playing.

It's pretty fun to watch her decorate this and have fun with it. I never thought I would be a doll-mom. The AG dolls are just so adorable. Sometimes I even volunteer to brush their hair and I sit there like a crazy lady humming while I do it. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Fist Bump. Balalalala.

We are big fans of Disney animation in this house. I don't cry often, but when I do, it's normally because I am watching a made believe character who just experienced a tragic event and overcame it. Even with reruns, I become this big old mess. I am worst with Toy Story 3.

Every year, after my kids' combined party, I make a note and say I will never have a house party again. The prep, mess, and chaos are not even the reasons. My AC unit always breaks down the day of the party. Imagine 60+ people to include both kids and adults. All cooped up in my living room in the 90-degree Georgia humid summer weather. Every year since we've gotten this house, it's been the same story. Then, I get in this mode of choosing a character that Party City doesn't carry decor for weeks prior, and I run with it. I come up with unique designs and games. I become committed and I never look back. Same story every time. Darn AC unit fails every time.

The outcome is a bit of magic. Everything falls into place and my kids have a blast. The guests' bellies fill up and the kids go home with sugar rush.

Food: We served buffet style of pizza, hotdogs, and Filipino cuisine. 
Games: Pin Baymax's eyes, Pingpong with Baymax's eyes Spoon Race, Build your own Baymax using marshmallows and toothpicks.


Next year, I might do Finding Nemo theme since my favorite movie's sequel is finally coming out! I am more than excited. I have waited more than a decade for it.


Warning: This post has a lot of quotation marks.

I try very hard to not let my husband know I have somewhere to go until I am on my way out the door. If he knows in advance, he always asks one of the kids to go with me. I put off running errands until the weekend to be efficient. It takes four times as long if I have one of them with me. Okay, fine, I admit it. It's really because I like listening to West Coast rap in high volume on my way to anywhere.

Last weekend was expected. I accidentally asked him if he could check if we had onions for me as I was getting ready. "We only have one left. Are you going to the store to get some?" He knew! Of course he offered one of the kids to tag along and be my "helper". I chose the one that's potty trained. As we were walking out, he jokingly asked why I was dolled and dressed up. I answered sarcastically, "Well you know, I have to impress people I might meet while I look helpless reaching for peanut butter." He laughed.

Seriously though, I dress up so I am not mistaken for the babysitter. It sounds shallow at a glance until  you are actually in my size 5 shoes. I am always mistaken for the babysitter. When I go by myself, I don't mind when they think I am just this 15 year old that can drive, and really needed pasture-raised eggs. With my kid attached to my hip, though, I just make it a point to always look like I am the parent. It makes me feel better about myself.

Plus, it's different with women. I had a friend who used to borrow my kid to walk around the stores with him. Females would approach him and admire my baby. I am sure the same goes for my husband. It's different for us women. It's definitely opposite for me. I have not had a man or woman approach me and admire my children. Unless they're beautiful grandparents. My kids' and their souls always connect. There really just isn't any  "are you a single parent in need of someone to help you, I'll be that person for you" look that goes my way. Ever. I just get the "you are a great babysitter" look. So yes, I do dress up more when one of my babies have to tag along. I'll just leave my husband thinking it's for some other reason. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Kids and Sand

Why do kids love playing with sand so much? Could it be the feeling of lush between their fingers? Or the ideas they play in their head of the things they will build? I love sand as much as these kids, but today was a mobile type of activity kind of day. I was picturing running around and going down the slide with them. It's sunny, but cold... and my youngest is once again having tummy issues. Of course, he isn't running around. He is playing with his cars on the sand, totally being immobile. I guess at least he's happy.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Cooking as a Petite Mom

I have a confession to make. I didn't know how to cook until I had my second child. I've never attempted as a single woman. I tried, but horribly failed as a mom of one. I never really cared for it until I started eating cleaner (organic, non-processed, home cooked). After I erased fast food restaurants out of my diet, with the exception of Chikfila, I was at a lost as to what I would actually eat. So, I started cooking. The downside? My prep takes twice as long as everyone else and leave the kitchen a mess. So total cooking time is double what the recipe calls for. I also can not see what I am cooking when I am using a Stock Pot. And, I am so close to the frying pan because my arm can reach so far, that the oil pops all over my face! But the rewards? I hope it's long healthy life for me and mines. Although, my grandpa drank soda everyday and lived to 94... But one must try to eat clean, right?

So what recipe books do I actually use? I only use two actual books and two online sites.

The Philippine Cookbook by Reynaldo Alejando started me off with the basic things I would actually eat. I grew up eating everything in this book and it would be terrible to not be able to introduce them to my own children.  My favorite recipe here is the Maruya, which is a banana fritter.

Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld is awesome. I hated vegetables and picked around my food a lot growing up. I bought this to trick myself into eating more vegetables way before my first child came along. Funny, right? My favorite recipes here are the beef stew, meatballs, and Banana bread. They are so delicious.


I love the Panlasang Pinoy blog. I've started using his blog when my first one was a baby; just random Filipino dishes I wanted to learn to cook. Then a friend showed me that he also had vlogs on YouTube and my cooking game reached a higher level. His recipes are on point and the dishes taste authentic once you are done. I absolutely love his Siopao recipe (steamed bun).

And lastly, I love the comment section on all the recipes on this site because many people comment on how they made it better, etc. At first it was kind of hard for someone like me who needs the recipe to be to the tee, but it helped me learn how to improvise. Initial dishes were not very good, I won't lie. Eventually, I got my groove in the kitchen that I finally want to taste them before I serve them. Was I really the only one that never taste the food while cooking? Anyways, they also have an app. I go by stars for their recipes. I find myself recooking their homemade Alfredo sauce and their Crockpot dishes.

By no means am I Chef quality in the kitchen. I can read and follow instructions well, though. I just wished my counter was at a level where I can actually see what I am cooking.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Public Restroom Woes

Let me start off by saying, I am very particular when I use a public restroom. I dread every visit to one. I always try to help my children in them. My eldest is almost as tall as me and I still insist she lets me take her. There are times she will see another child in there and tell me she is a big girl and can do it on her own. I say, okay, let me at least make sure it's clean for you. 80% of the time, the seat is wet/dirty or the person prior did not flush it. I overlap the cover so her skin never touches the seat. When she allows me, I do try to carry her up to the seat or at least hold her skirt up, so it isn't lying on the ground. When she wants to be independent, I back off, but remind her what she needs to do: don't swing your legs, don't let you skirt drop, and put your hand on your lap. Many people have commented to me that I am hindering her somehow because in school she would have to do it on her own without toilet seat covers (mostly). To that, I say, thank you for your opinion then I go about and help my child, anyways.

When I absolutely can't avoid it, these are the things I do:

1. In long travels or overseas flights, I would buy toilet seat covers in advance for my kids (specifically, the ones below). They fold flat and small. They cover the entire seat and then some. So when they swing their legs, their thighs won't touch the seat at all. I just fold it up and throw it in the trash.  

2. I have an antibacterial spray for our hands in case the restroom is out of soap. 

3.  If we were on our own and I need to use the restroom, I tell my kids to stick a foot under the doorway so I can see them at all times. My daughter tends to sing. She said, so I know it is her foot and that she is still there.

4. With infants: I always buy a stroller that folds completely flat so I can just change him on there. If I need to use the changing table, I bring the Goodnights pad (for the bed). It completely covers the table. 

Yesterday, my daughter and I were alone in the bathroom. She insisted on doing it all by herself. I checked. She did her thing. As we were washing our hands, I told her, "That's pretty cool you can do all this by yourself now. I know mom always wants to help, but it's my nature. I will always try to help you as many times as I can while I am here with everything you do, not just in restrooms." She somehow understood that it wasn't because I thought she was a baby. She replied, "I know mom" and gave me a hug.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Friendly Encounters

When I was pregnant with my first child, I read an article that outlined the different types of friends a mom should have. It listed building relationships with a variety of friends that range from being single or married, to young, same age, and older. I remember reading it and thought, easy enough. I need a single friend for when I want to party downtown. I need a stay-at-home mom for when my kids get sick, she'll be my backup babysitter. I need a working mom for aspiration or someone to relate to if I am working. I need a younger person to teach me of the new gadgets. I need an older person to teach me about life. Then, I had children. I thought, boy, was the article out of contact with reality or what? Or maybe, it was describing the ideal life of a mom. Either way, mines is an odd mixture of crazy people, but exactly what I need for this moment in my life.

For me and mine, I am content with the amount of social relationships I do have. I rarely go out with friends nor do I spend hours on end talking to or about them. I rarely talk about my friends, actually. Except for now, because I feel like I owe an ode to those who I can call or text late at night about random things that eventually end up being free counseling sessions for hours. I feel lucky to have people I can truly call my soul-humans.

Looking back, I have always kept my circle tight. I think there's a special type of people to not just get or accept me, but truly love me. As I got older, I realized that friendship does not take work at all. I noticed that relationships that I had to put a lot of effort on, were not the relationships I ended up keeping for long term.To me, relationships are like mirrors. I say friendship is effortless because when I bend over backwards for a friend, it's not forced nor rehearsed. It's an automatic reaction. When I sense a resentment or jealousy coming from the person I am genuinely happy for, I can feel it throughout my 4'11" body and I go on defense mode. I let the relationship go and I move forward. I don't believe in dragging relationships along for the ride if they don't want to be there.

I realized that some people come into your life only for a moment to slap you silly and show you different paths that are ahead. I've had the best and worst people come in and out of my life so quick, I feel like a revolving door. Some, I was excited to never see again, some, I shed tears for. I've had people who loosely used the word "friend", but talked behind my back for fun or pity. I have friends who will be frank with me out of love and not turn to the next person and replay the event. I've had people who stole my ideas and used it to compete with me unknowingly. I don't use the word "frienemy" because if you are in my life, it is either you are a friend or you are an acquaintance. I don't keep my enemies on my soul-train. So it's either you support me from the sideline as an acquaintance or you are on this crazy ride with me holding the barf bag. 

To say friends are not important is a lie. Friends are important. Whether or not they are young, old, single, or with children, my soul-humans are important to me. They come as innocent as the uninvited person to your party or as awkward as meeting them at a playgroup you didn't really want to take your child to. Some of the best humans I know actually came to my life this way. Many years ago, an older lady approached me while I was changing in the locker room after swimming with my family. She wanted to introduce me to her daughter. This daughter of hers remains as one of the best humans I have in my life now. So these friendly encounters should not be strictly followed according to quotas: oh I already have enough married friends or I need a stay-at-home friend who can babysit. Your soul will connect and attach itself to those who are meant to stay for the long haul, past the babysitting stage. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Pock It Stroller

The new Pockit Stroller from GB Child USA. The smallest stroller fold in the world. #abckids15
Posted by TheBabyGuyNYC on Sunday, October 18, 2015

I know I am supposed to just strictly be researching for a Child Carrier at the moment, but look what Jamie Grayson aka TheBabyGuyNYC posted fresh off ABC Kids 15 expo. I am almost at the end of the stroller phase, but this is super exciting to me. I won't be salty and ask where it's been the past 8 years, but I will celebrate all of you who would be able to have this for their lil' ones. Cheers to their R&D. I wonder if the seat reclines all the way down. If you don't follow Jamie and Angry Baby in social media, I suggest you do. He is a hoot and is a baby gear guru.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

These Days Exist

I know how you feel. I have had days when the 3rd cup of coffee was not enough. I've had those moments where I would put my earphones on when my kids would argue about toys. So, when this day happened, I was in shock of how I didn't even yell at him.

My eldest came to me speechless. She took me by the hand and told me she couldn't find the words to explain it, but I had to come quick. I took one glance at him, let go of her, and walked the other way. I sat where I was sitting just seconds prior and just stared at the wall. I wasn't frustrated, or maybe I was too frustrated that it numbed itself out. Whatever it was, I was emotionless about it. She followed me back and asked if I was angry and all I could mutter back was that I quit. She looked at me so confused and asked, quit what? Again, I muttered in a monotone voice, I quit and reached out to hug her. Then we just started laughing like two crazy souls who understood each other. My son came running with a handful of Styrofoam pieces and asked what was funny? I took the pieces and pretended it was cold and the snow fight begun. We threw them up in the air and lay down and made Styrofoam angels. And once it was over, I looked at him and said, it was time to clean up. All, but four was left and he pretended they were a family of snow. He even put them to nap.

So, yes these days exist. Most days, I let my tired self get the best of me. But some days, we play snow in the field of Styrofoam singing Frozen songs.

Disclaimer: Do not use your Dyson to clean up these bad boys. Use a wet vac. Hide all the Styrofoam away from your mischievous children.