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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Summer 2014: Gabie’s 1st Swim

Hello Gorgeous Reader!

 

Summer is officially over. Well, we didn’t get the chance to travel anywhere. But that doesn’t mean missing out on the summer dip.

Starting a family has it’s limitations; financial limitations. Not to mention all the hassle of bringing twice the number of bags when you have a baby.

So, we’ve found a hassle-free and affordable summer getaway of our own.

We went to Hotel Seda at Centrio Mall; located right within the city of CDO.

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Compared to the Php 10,000 or more budget for a summer vacation; it only cost us less than Php 1,000. No packing hassle; the only thing we needed to bring were our swimsuits. We didn’t even have to worry that Gabie didn’t have one because we were able to purchase one conveniently from the mall. You can even opt to have an affordable snack there before going to the hotel and taking a dip in the pool. To top it off, out of the Php 350 (per person) pool fee, Php 200 is consumable which solved our dinner!

 

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There we were on our first family summer. ^_^ Oh, it just makes me teary-eyed seeing Gabie enjoy her first pool dip. It was literally months ago when she was just a tiny critter that could barely move her head. Babies really do grow up before your eyes.

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“A Happy Family is but an Earlier Heaven” – George Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mother’s Day 2014

Hello Gorgeous Reader!

One of the staples for the month of May is Mother's Day and I was so excited to be celebrating it for the first time. Although technically I was pregnant last year... so it would be my second time to celebrate it? Hmm? :/

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What makes someone a mother anyway?

I guess I could say I've taken the ultimate route to motherhood. I'm a housewife and I've pretty much spent most of my pregnancy and after, by myself (until my husband comes home from work). I say it's the ultimate route because these days from where I come from, women of my generation would usually have some company like their parents, relatives or hired help to watch over them while they're pregnant and eventually help take care of the baby.

It would seem like a comical scene to see a woman alone at home with newborn baby doing 5 chores all at the same time; but that was my reality. You could only imagine the relief on my face when my husband gets home from work.

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I would say being a mother is an indescribably exhausting and challenging task. There were moments when I'd say to myself "someone just kill me now" LOL :D Some days I would cry along with the baby, wallowing in my clothes drenched with a concoction of sweat, baby burp, pee, probably poo, laundry soap, dishwashing liquid, and a number of other things. On top of that the onset of breastfeeding is torture (literally!). It's like having an open wound pinched over and over again. I wouldn't judge other women who would prefer to bottle feed their babies.

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Come to think of it, I feel like I now have greater respect for all women who take care of children. I could only imagine being a dedicated nanny; going through all the trouble of taking care of a baby that's not even yours and getting scolded when the mom gets home because the baby has a mosquito bite. It would probably be heartbreaking to care for an adopted child or a niece/nephew and be resented only because they didn't "come from you". Even more so with women who are single parents, who, on top of the madness of solely caring for a child, have to deal with the double standard prejudices and discrimination of society.

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But really; what is a mother? She is a woman who bears the sacrifices for the sake of a child. I know this because for me, the most distinct moments of my motherhood are not the fun ones but the challenging ones. I remember the time I had trouble breathing because of my asthma, but I kept on blowing air on my baby's forehead because she felt warm. It was as if giving my last breath for the sake of giving her little bit of comfort. That moment, I thought to myself "wow, I am a mom". It is in fact the hardships that makes motherhood more meaningful to me.

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In exchange of all the sacrifices; the rewards of motherhood can never be measured in monetary or tangible value. That is because a mother's only true and greatest joy is to see her baby happy. Although all moms wouldn’t mind receiving a greeting card, flowers or stuffed toys, a gift certificates to the salon or spa, a food treat or a new gadget perhaps. ;) LOL

As for my Mother's day celebration; it was a simple treat. I woke up late (which is already a luxury). My husband surprised me with a letter and he pretty much did most of chores, including giving Gabrielle's bath. (Yes, I'm one lucky mom! :D ) I planned on baking cupcakes for my mom but the blackout conveniently started while I was prepping :( So I went empty-handed to my parent's house, where I just greeted my mom and grandma. Then we went to the mall where I fulfilled my fantasy of sitting in a café with my husband (Gabie was our unhappy third wheel) eating cake (blueberry cheesecake) and drinking (wait for it...) COFFEE! (after a very long time). My husband also treated me to a massage. I said it wasn't necessary since I have so much chores to do the next day but he insisted. We bought take-out dinner from out favorite fast-food and headed home.

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I did bake my mom a carrot cake but it was about a week late ^_^ I'm glad she liked it. (although it's not that pretty)

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I'd like to thank all the women who made sacrifices for me, especially my mom. I wouldn't be the kind of person and mother that I am today without you. I'd also like to thank all the women who helped raise and hone such a loving husband. And thanks to all other mothers who inspire me to be a better mom.

Happy Mother's Day to us all! May we reign in the kingdom of our homes with more beauty, wisdom and joy!

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

My Speech as a Guest Speaker

Hello Gorgeous Reader!

 

Last March 28, 2014 , I got the rare opportunity to give a speech at the graduation ceremony of my alma mater KM5 now named Fr. William F. Masterson S.J. elementary school.

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So a little back story. I gave a speech on my own graduation way back year 2000 and it was miserable. I was very sick that day, I even passed out at school before the program. I was there because I volunteered to help with the preparation stuff. During the program I was puking, the world was spinning and I felt so cold. They had me seated while I gave my speech and well, I cried. But I knew I had the best of friends then because my classmates cried with me. Red heart

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Although I know that some of my batch-mates are far more successful than I am and thus more credible to give a speech; I didn’t think twice and said ‘yes’ to my former teacher’s invite. After all, not everyone gets a shot at redemption.

(shoutout: *Thank you very much Sir Janeo for the opportunity.*)

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Okay, so here’s the speech that I gave. It’s pretty short and not so detailed because I didn’t want to knock everyone off to sleep.

Good morning graduates, parents, teachers, and guests. I am so privileged to be invited to such a memorable occasion in your lives. One that will garner much likes on Facebook and Instagram (#proudmamaandpapa or #thatsmygraduate). This day is as much an achievement for the parents as it is for the graduating students. So graduates; take a look at your parents and say “congratulations”. I’m pretty sure that parents are thinking “Yes! six or seven years down, eight, ten or more years to go”

To be honest, when I was asked to give a speech, I was nervous; especially when my former teacher urged me to cite my achievements and awards. You see my story is not that of a typical success story. I am a simple housewife. I do earn a living from a home-based online job; but I don’t earn much, just enough. What I do consider as my achievements are the following:

  • · Completing my college degree of AB English within 4 years.
  • · Having a happy married life with my awesome husband.
  • · Being able to raise and take care of my little girl by myself.

I only have two advices for the graduates. First is to follow your heart’s desire; figure out what truly makes you happy. Second is to diligently work towards your goal. You will not be “efficient” unless you find your true happiness, and you faithfully work towards it. Efficient means that all the time, money and effort poured into your education and goal is put to good use.

Indecision and failure to recognize your true passion can result to the waste of time, money and effort. As an example, I’ll tell you a story of two students.

After his graduation one student spends his summer soaking in computer games or social networking sites. Then, he floats through high school not knowing what all the lessons are for. He chooses a college degree based on which is popularly chosen by his friends. He ends up spending extended school years in college shifting from course to course. Eventually he settles for a job that is entirely remote from his college degree. He lives his days complaining about his job and feeling unsatisfied.

Another student knew that owning a small business is what truly makes him happy. After graduation, he spends the summer selling ‘balut’ or ‘pandesal’ on a bike around the neighborhood. He spends his high school days appreciating the lessons he is learning knowing that these lessons will be the cornerstones to his dream. In college, he works part-time for a local food chain where he gains experience and even help pay for his education. He lands and job that he is happy to do, gains more experience and saves up money to start his own business. Eventually he realizes his dream.

See what difference decision and dedication can make? So start now, while you are young and ‘the odds are ever on your favor’. And what are these “odds”? Well, from this day forward…

  • · You are expected to take on more responsibility as a teenager
  • · Peer pressure and social dilemmas will be more perplex
  • · There will be greater academic demands
  • · There will be stiffer competition for career opportunity
  • · And obviously prices of all commodities, especially education, will only grow higher every single year

Now some of you may be thinking “OMG! Life, why are you so harsh? How can I succeed with all of these odds against me?” Well, “keep calm” and remember your graduation’s theme “Hindi Natitinag and Pusong Pilipino”. None can beat the Filipino fighting-spirit. As we say here in CDO “Paningkamot!” or in Korean “Aja!” and in Japanese “Ganbaremasu!”

This theme also celebrates “The ability of the Filipinos to triumph over challenges.” How do we measure triumph or success? In reality, challenges are meant to scare us, bruise us, and even dishearten us at times. However, we can always say “I have gained” something from this challenge when we learn something from it.

After graduating elementary at KM5 fourteen years ago, I’ve faced many challenges that enabled me to acquire important life lessons. Struggling to fit-in during high school taught me to find my own unique personality. The dilemma of choosing a college degree taught me to discover where I can harness my strengths and be truly happy. Financial problems taught me to be an efficient student because every day and every peso counts. Rejection and disappointments taught me to continually work towards my goals. Work related problems taught me that job titles will neither earn you happiness nor respect. It is pride and honesty in service, no matter how big or small they may be, that earns you the respect of others and the true joy of labor. Social relationship issues taught me that people can and will hate on you but at the end of the day you hold the choice of who you let into your life. Health crises taught me that life is too short and that time should be spent on the things that truly matter.

Like I said, my story is not a typical story of success. I did not finish the rest of my education with flying colors or distinctions. I do not hold a fancy job title or earn tons of money. I neither received trophies nor awards. Yet, I still feel that I have triumphed over the challenges I faced, and I am proud to be speaking in front of you; for if I had not experienced hardships, I would have no lessons to impart to you. And what matters more to me is that I spend my days doing what I love to do. I wake up and go to bed feeling happy and inspired. And I know that what I do today is something I will not regret in the future.

So graduates; brace your selves for the many challenges ahead and remember to learn from them. Follow your heart’s desire, diligently work towards your goal and make everyday count. Remember YOLO; you only live once.

Good luck and congratulations!

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Some additional info.

All of my siblings are graduates of KM5; my brother is a teacher, my sister a government employee and our youngest brother is a fireman. I had low self-esteem during high school because I’m short and chubby and a failed hipster kind of weird. LOL~ My parents wanted me to be an accountant and I would have wasted years in college had I not chosen to pursue AB English (which suited me better) and stuck with it. My family experienced grave financial problems during my college days. I even considered quitting school but I knew better and I strived hard to finish school as soon as possible to help my family; because additional school days meant additional expense. I wasn’t always a home-based earner.  I taught English to  Koreans and a Japanese, worked as training associate for a food-chain and even had a short stint at supervising a shop.

I’m not sure if the students got my point but they giggled when I said “computer games and social networking sites”. I hope somehow I’ve given them a spark to start chasing their dreams. As for me, I am exactly where I want to be at this point in my life. But that doesn’t mean I have no other dreams to fulfill. For that day at least I have fulfilled one; and that is to make my parents proud.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Movie Themed Wedding Details: A very ‘cheesy” moment in time.

Hello Gorgeous Reader!

So I’ve already told you about our  Movie Themed Pre-Nuptial Photos. But we also had a few other “movie themed” wedding details that my husband and I DIY-ed for our wedding.

We actually went to watch a movie the first time we met. It was a cheesy romantic-comedy called “The Prince and Me” starring Julia Stiles. We were supposed to watch “The Notebook” but it wasn’t showing yet.

We would have interesting conversations after the movie. We would talk about the plot, movie direction, score, actors, effects, similar movies or life experiences. It began our friendship which, just like a clichĂ© romantic-comedy, lead to “hey, I think I’m falling for my movie-buddy”.

Alright, enough back-story and here are the “movie themed wedding details”.

Wedding Invitations

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We got the idea of having the invitation printed on sticker paper and put on a blank cd. Although we wanted to put some photos or message in the cd itself; we just didn’t have the time. A friend of Mai (my husband’s sister) did the layout. His other sister Marie and her boyfriend printed the stickers. Then my husband and I did the manual labor of sticking the sticker paper on the cd and putting it inside a case. It turned out cute actually. Though some guests responded with “my invitation is broken; it doesn’t play” or “where’s the movie?”  lol

Movie Ticket Giveaways Tag

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Because our giveaways have no relation to movies whatsoever, we had the clever idea of printing out tags that look like movie tickets.

Movie Themed Wedding Posters

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Posters of pre-nup photos are kind of a trend in weddings these days (so that the guests won’t get lost at the reception venue), so we had a few photos of us edited into movie posters. The posters were displayed outside the reception hall like a backdrop for our guests take photos as if they were watching an exclusive screening of a movie.

Popcorn and Custom Popcorn Box

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Instead of serving peanuts or candies for the guests to munch on while waiting, we hired a popcorn stall. (Seriously!) I also made pink popcorn boxes to match.

Movie Trailer

Movie themed wedding: Trailer clip. Nov. 10 2012

To top the fondue of cheesiness we even made our very own movie trailer! Complete with our out-of-pitch voices singing the cheesy theme song! HAHA Open-mouthed smile 

We had it shown right before we entered the reception hall. It was embarrassing but we had fun and that’s what matters.

(Disclaimer: I’m sorry 20th Century Fox for using your intro.)

 

We still love movies and we still have endless conversations. <3