Sunday, September 23, 2012

Birthday Greetings

Let me tell you a secret. I am very easy to please. I am a very appreciative person that’s why I can be happy and thankful at even the littlest of things other people do for me. Yesterday, I was very happy to see that a lot of my friends took the time to post birthday greetings on my Facebook wall.
Simpleng birthday greetings pa lang ‘yun ha. Imagine how I felt when I saw hubby’s birthday message for me:

I was teary-eyed because I was so touched. I felt very loved and appreciated. Thank you, hubby. Sabi ko nga sa reply ko, “I was born for you. I love you, baby. I always will. I look forward to many more birthdays to spend with you and our kids.”

34 on 23

Yes, I turned 34 last Sunday. There are times when I still can’t believe I am on my 30s already. Parang kelan lang, college student lang ako. Parang kelan lang, kapag may mga gatherings, ako lagi ang youngest or isa sa mga bata sa batch. Ngayon, isa na ako sa mga ina-ate. Kaloka!
Anyway, my birthday celebration was very simple but because I spent it with my boys, I was very happy and felt loved. We heard mass at Sto. Domingo Church (11am). I thanked the Lord for all the blessings He has given me, especially for the gift of a happy marriage. I prayed for good health so I can continue to take care of my hubby and our kids. After the mass, we had lunch at Gerry’s Grill. We had sisig, grilled tuna belly, chicken skin, and pork bbq (as requested by the little guy). The kuyas had mais con yielo while I ordered leche flan for dessert. We enjoyed our lunch so much we forgot to take pictures. Simot na simot din ang mga plates. Haha! J
We then went to SM Centris because I wanted to check out the tiangge. As you know by now, hindi ako mahilig bumili ng mamahaling bagay.  Low-maintenance, ‘ika nga.  Masaya na ako sa mga bagay-bagay na nabibili sa tiangge. J  Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything I liked so we transferred to SM North EDSA because the kuyas wanted to buy shirts. Hubby let me buy perfumes because (1) paubos na ang pabango ko, (2) ‘ yun na ang kanyang birthday gift, and (3) sayang ang 35% discount!  I was very happy.  We bought a mango roll from Red Ribbon before going home. We also bought lechon manok from Baliwag. Simpleng buhay pero masaya.
When we got home, it was plantsa time for me. Hubby naman had our car washed. The Kuyas studied and prepared their things for school. Si bunso, happy nang makipaglaro with his cousins.
My birthday dinner at home was spaghetti, the chicken that we bought from Baliwag and the mango roll from Red Ribbon. We gave half of it to my in-laws (katabi lang namin ang bahay).  After dinner, I had some time to check my Facebook account and thank my family and friends who posted birthday greetings on my wall.
I know it was nothing grand. No big party. No expensive gift. But I feel loved and blessed. I am happy and thankful. I have gifts that money can’t buy. I have a wonderful husband. I have beautiful and intelligent kids. I have supportive friend and relatives.
The only thing I pray for every night is to always be blessed with good health. I want to live long because I want to be always there for my husband and our children. Not for myself, oh Lord, but for my family. Always for my family.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How to Find the Right “Gym” for You… The Weight-Loss Challenge after the Babies

When I was younger, weight was never a problem. I never had to go on a diet. I ate anything and everything I liked and never had to worry about gaining weight. I was happy with my size.
Then, motherhood came and suddenly, I am bigger and heavier.
From small/medium to large to extra large!
(Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids. I love being a Mom. The happiness they bring into my life is beyond compare. If I can do it all over again, I will still have all three of them.) I have never imagined myself to gain this much weight! My clothes don’t fit me. My appetite has gone haywire! I look at my old pictures and just sigh. I look at other moms who remained slim despite the pregnancies and sigh some more.
But, but, but! I am also the type who never gives up. So I decided to inject exercise into my life and become more conscious of the things I eat. I have to admit, though, that the diet part is more challenging for me. I have three growing boys, you see. J
Yup, I have been through three pregnancies which means I have been through that post partum stage of deciding what would be the best weight loss plan for me three times. Each time had been different so here I am sharing what I have learned, so far.
After my first pregnancy, I gained 30 whopping pounds! However, I was a stay-at-home-mom-and-wife so I neither had the time nor the money to go to the gym. I knew two things, though. I enjoyed dancing and I had “free time” when my baby was asleep. So I took out the Jane Fonda workout tapes my mom gave me and started doing aerobic exercises daily at the comfort of my room. Every single day, I went to “my gym”… my own room. I couldn’t quite remember if I went on a strict diet during that time. Hubby says I did but I can’t really recall. You see, I love soda and I didn’t give that up even when I was trying to lose weight. Jane Fonda’s workouts were perfect for me because I felt like I was attending dance classes. After three months, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight and size. Victory!
Then my second baby boy came and I was back to stage 1. However, I also had a full-time job so finding time for my workouts became very difficult for me. With a household to manage, an eight-hour job, and my boys to attend to, I was always tired and just wanted to sleep during my free time. Every morning, however, I looked at myself in the mirror and was just so unhappy with my weight. So I had to find a way to be able to squeeze exercise in my daily routine. Again, I could not go to the gym because I wanted to go directly home after work. What worked for me, then, was to eat late afternoon snacks at work (which served as my dinner) and exercise while my boys were having dinner. That way, after dinner, I got to spend quality time with my hubby and our boys. Victory #2!
You know what’s next. Rather, who’s next. Yes, baby #3. After giving birth to our 3rd baby boy, losing weight has become even more challenging. It’s actually a challenge I am still facing up to now. My metabolism has definitely slowed down now that I am older. I developed a thyroid problem and I learned that it affects one’s weight loss/gain. My work has also become more demanding leaving me way too exhausted for workouts in the evening. For a couple of months, I went back to running and joined race events on weekends. I conquered 10-km distance categories. It felt good but eventually I didn’t like the thought of waking up very early in the morning so I put running on hold. I took a closer look at my schedule and realized I have a couple of hours in the morning before work that I can devote for workouts. You see, I am usually in the office as early as 6am because my hubby and I share a car (because this is more practical for the family) and his office hours start at 8am. That gives me almost three hours of free time in the morning. Hence, I enrolled for a gym membership. So that’s my battle plan for now, to go to the gym at least three times a week before I go to work.
In a nutshell,
(1)  Exercise does not really mean going to the gym that we know and lift weights. Our “gym” can be anywhere. We just have to find a physical activity we love and do that more often. Like dancing, or running, or biking.
(2)  Creativity is key. Our schedule can never be too busy. We have to be creative enough to find ways to squeeze in exercise in our routine. We need to. Anything for our health and wellness is always good investment.
(3)  Persevere. I once read that you didn’t gain that weight overnight so don’t expect to lose it overnight as well. One step at a time, baby. You’ll get there. I’ll get there.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

One Step at a Time

Last weekend, son # 3 told me, "Mommy, malapit na ako mag-5."

I could not help but smile. You see, the little guy just turned 4 last September 2. Kaka-4 lang niya, malapit na siya mag-5? Mga bata talaga. Nagmamadaling tumanda. I remember I was like that also. When I was 10, I couldn't wait to become a teenager. When I was 13, I was so excited to turn "sweet sixteen." Then I dreamed about how it'll be when I turn eighteen. Haaay. Now, I keep forgetting my age (maybe my brain refuses to remember na. haha!) that I always have to compute for it when I fill up forms/documents.

I wanted to tell my little guy na 'wag magmadali. Enjoy niya muna ang mga panahong simple lang ang lahat... 'yung lahat ay provided for ni Mommy at Daddy. Pagdating ng panahon, babalik-balikan mo ang kabataan and you'll miss the good ol' days na simple lang ang lahat. Wala masyadong responsibilities. Wala masyadong problema.

There are so many things on my mind and in my heart but I'd rather keep them to myself for now. I lift everything up to the Lord. He knows what's in my heart. He hears my prayers. He know how much I love my family. I know I'll get there. One step at a time. 'Wag magmadali.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mako's Birthday Celebration

When son #3 turned 1, si Enie ang favorite niya. Naturally, we wanted an "Ernie birthday party" kahit sa bahay lang. Pero, pakipot ang Ernie. Hubby and I had a hard time looking for toys, party favors, etc with Ernie on them. Even the cake! Shusme, cake man lang sana di ba. But no, hard-to-find talaga si Ernie. So we settled for a Sesame Street cake from Estrel's.

When he turned 2, Toy Story naman ang favorite niya. Maybe I didn't look hard enough or maybe I wanted his cake pa rin to be from Estrel's that's why we settled for this theme.

When he turned 3, he was a big fan of the Little Einsteins. He wanted his cake to have that theme. E ang siste, we got blank stares everytime we asked if they had a theme na Little Einsteins. Homaygulay. Anak ko lang yata ang may kilala ng Little Einsteins! Even sa mall, we couldn't find a toy, shirt, kahit pencil na Little Einsteins! Pano na?! Mommy's last resort was a DIY theme. Ito ang resulta.

In fairness, he loved the cake. Hanggang ngayon, everytime he watches Disney Jr and sees a plug of Little Einsteins, he would proudly say na ganyan ang cake niya dati. :)

This year, on his 4th birthday, son #3 wanted an Angry Birds cake. Given na nagcancel na kami ng birthday party sa McDo, I didn't want a DIY cake this year. So we looked for a cake shop that carried the theme and had this made. 
Chocolate cake from Goldilocks

The cake has chocolate chips inside plus all the Angry Birds toppers are edible

We couldn't find party favors, loot bags na Angry Birds ang theme so I decided to make DIY party loot bags and banners for our little guy this year. Look!

Ito naman ang mga loot bags niya. I forgot to take pictures of the contents. Haha! Anyway, may participation ang birthday boy dyan because he signed the thank you cards. Cutie! :)

He had fun helping Mommy put the candies and toys inside the loot bags. He also enjoyed signing the thank you cards. #mommy's-little-helper
 His handa was simple lang. We didn't invite naman kasi. Kami-kami lang sa bahay. Look, I only prepared 10 loot bags... for the kids at home lang 'yan. Haha. Hindi talaga namin hilig kasi ni Hubby ang mag-host ng malalaking parties.

But you know what, our little guy was very happy. His birthday celebration was very simple but he celebrated it with the people he loved most. Yung nakakasama niya sa araw-araw. He was very comfortable kasi kami-kami lang. :)

Happy birthday, little guy! Mommy and Daddy love you very much!

The Little Guy Turns 4

September 2 is a big day for me because 2 very special persons are celebrating their birthday on this day - my Mom and son # 3. Unfortunately, my Mom is living in the US so the two couldn't really have a joint birthday celebration.

Anyway, son # 3 turned 4 last Sunday, September 2. Hubby and I originally planned a McDo birthday party for the little guy because we thought ma-a-appreciate na niya ang mga ganitong parties. We asked son # 3 if he wanted a McDo birthday party and he said yes. He also picked the Toy Story theme. As early as March, we already had the date pencil-booked. Come April, we attended a birthday party of his cousin. McDo rin. From the start of the party, I was already having second thoughts about his readiness to have his own party. First of all, he was super shy! He hated being the center of attention. Hindi siya bibo kid. He's my little shy guy. He didn't want to join the games. He cried when we asked him to say hello to the other kids at the party. Finally, when the mascot entered the venue, our little shy guy cried. Yes, as in cried! Takot to the max!

We attended another kiddie party during the summer and everything was a replay for our little guy. Weeks after, he declared, "Mommy, ayaw ko na ng McDo birthday party. Takot naman ako sa mascots e. Doon na lang ako bi-birthday sa bahay ni Mamu (hubby's mom). Basta 'yung cake ko Angry Birds." At first, we thought it was just a spur of the moment thing. Pero nanindigan ang bata! Talagang ganito ang sagot niya everytime we asked him about his birthday party. So, Hubby and I decided to cancel the McDo birthday party we originally planned for the little guy.

Mabuti na lang din because when Habagat struck, we were among those affected by the massive flooding. I will tell you more about our experience on another post. Basta, in short, ang daming gastusin bigla after Habagat that we were thankful na we didn't have to spend na for a McDo birthday party.

Though simple, we made sure our little guy was happy on his birthday. We wanted him to feel very loved and special even without a bonggang birthday party. Here's how our day went.

We heard mass at the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice in UP. We wanted to thank Him for all the blessings He has given our family and for giving us son # 3. Then we had lunch at Shakey's because the boys wanted chicken, pizza and pasta for lunch. We had some pictures taken before the food was served.

The little guy wasn't in the mood for picture-taking.

When he finally was, Hubby naman kept goofing around.

See? Wala talagang matinong pic! :)

Awww... my three little Michaels!

Akala ko, matinong family pic... akala ko!

Haaay, may batang nagduduling-dulingan!
Then we went to TriNoma so he can check out the toys at Toys R Us. Hubby and I wanted to see what toys he liked. When we knew na what he wanted, I bought them secretly and had them wrapped so he can open them as presents later during his birthday dinner.

After TriNoma, we picked na the food that we ordered for son #3's birthday dinner. I will tell you more about his birthday dinner on my next post. :)