New, Exciting and Unfortunate Things

I’m trying to remember what kept me from even saying “Hi!” here on my blabbering world for quite a while and I realized it’s because a lot has happened to me, to the kids and around me that I could no longer catch up.

So while I was “away” trying to figure out what’s going on, this happened.

No, that's not a seahorse! That's my hair! :)

No, that’s not a seahorse! That was my hair! 🙂

And the owner of that unruly wavy hair had the guts to take a selfie to show her new look! 😀

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Guess how many shots I took to make a successful selfie attempt? I’m always a newbie! 😀

Apart from my new short hair, I’m also braces-free now! Yipee! 🙂 I’m on retainers stage for I don’t know how long.

Okay, enough of vanity. 😀

All the playfulness aside, I personally went through some, let’s say, introspection and reflection I wish I could find the words to put together to tell about. I’ll try to find the words when I find the time. Haha! But for now, I decided to announce my come-back from “unintentional” blogging hiatus with some updates about my adorable sweeties. 🙂 It wouldn’t be about me, fortunately. 😀

If you have, by any chance, visited this blog in the past and out of boredom or curiosity tried to take peek into it again, you may have noticed that I blurred the photos of my kids. I went through the tedious process of checking all my posts one by one and replacing all of my children’s photos with Gausian-blurred ones. Why?

For security reasons. One of the keyword searches that drove traffic to this blog for a couple of days even weeks is mommy8. It was a puzzle in my head:  why would a file name of a photo that I included in one of my posts appear in my keyword search? So out of curiosity, I googled it and got shocked and annoyed at the same time when I found out that it has something to do with XXX! My goodness!

You know, I’m trying to maintain a wholesome blog here and all of a sudden I would get visits from people who have carnal intentions. Scary. My thought wandered. Then I panicked! My kids! They’d get to see my kids! What if they do something sick with my kids’ photos?!  Then some more paranoiac thoughts followed. What if they stalk my kids and kidnap them?!  God forbid please.

So I spent night after night editing photos of my 2 innocent yet spirited children that I have already posted to save them from potential harm from the internet. I know I should’ve done that before. I should’ve trusted my guts to not post any picture of them but I was thinking then, “no one gets to read this blog anyway.” What was in my mind, huh? It’s the world wide web for Pete’s sake and I didn’t even set my blog into private so somewhere, somehow, someone would stumble upon this online dumpsite of my thoughts and experiences. Pffft. Anyhow, at least I’ve done some preventive action. 😀

Moving on to happy thoughts now. 🙂

The Big Boy has been back to school as a Kindergartener for more than 3 weeks now and so far he’s doing good. He has adjusted to going to school and seeing new teachers and classmates except…waking up early in the morning. 😀

He mutters in droopy eyes that refuse to open, “Antok ako”  (or if he’s in English mode, “I’m sleepy”) and covers his face with a pillow. He’s like this 50% of the time so he comes to school late most of the time.

Other than his tantrums obviously due to his interrupted sleep, he’s excited to go to school.  And what makes him excited?  He gets to drag his Lighting McQueen “suitcase bag” (trolley bag) with his matching McQueen lunchbox inside. 😀

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He really likes pulling his “suitcase bag” 😀

And he gets home enthusiastic with what they did in school.

ME: What did you do in school?

BIG BOY: I ate my snacks!

I knew it! That’s his favorite part of schooling! Hahaha! Who doesn’t like snacktime? 😀 At least he eats the baon I prepare. Hehe! Don’t worry, there’s normally a follow-up answer.

BIG BOY:  Then I color[ed] the butterfly and paste[d] it on the board. 

Or whatever activity they did for the day. 🙂 But snacktime is usually the highlight. 😀

Of course, days before his back-to-school, I spent a few late nights labeling and covering his school supplies, notebooks and books. The duties of a mom with a school kid, and this will double once the Little Princess has become a school kid, too. 😀  Anyhow, my life was made easier by the Time Saver plastic cover cut into book size that I discovered in National Bookstore and by recycling the Big Boy’s school labels last year which I designed myself and printed on sticker paper.

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But before his school started, we brought the Big Boy to our dentist  Doc M to get dental fillings for his molars. His molars have already developed cavities and whenever he sees his tooth decays in the mirror, the Big Boy always tells me to visit Doc M and have his teeth fixed. “Mommy, sira na teeth ko. Let’s go to the dentist.”

According to Doc M, molar teeth regenerate at age 13 or 14 so it would be better to have his 4 molar teeth filled to avoid toothaches. So we decided to proceed with the procedure.

The Big Boy readily sat on the dental chair and followed Doc M’s instructions. The drilling began and our pretty dentist was amazed at how behaved the Big Boy was. She mentioned she normally does not drill young children’s teeth because kids tend to move a lot or get impatient but the Big Boy did it! 🙂 Right after his procedure, the Big Boy ran to the dentist’s box of toy treats for her kid patients and got an airplane toy. He already knows the drill! 😀

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I’m happy that the Big Boy gets to appreciate the importance of dental visits at a young age and he gets comfortable going to the dentist. Because we still need to go back for the other 2 molars! 😀

Now, while exciting things take place for the Big Boy, our Little Princess went through some ordeal!

One fine Friday afternoon about two weeks ago, the Little Princess was playing at the playground with her Daddy (who was on leave from work) and Kuya. She was climbing the stairs to the slide when she slipped and her nose bridge hit the edge of the wood! My poor Little Princess! 😦 I was at the office when I received a call from hubby telling me, in a broken voice, what happened and that he was going to bring her cutie lady to the hospital to be checked because her nose bridge swelled up. He assured that the Little Princess was no longer crying but he wanted to have her checked by the doctor to be sure because it was a delicate part of her body that was hit.

I left work and followed them quickly to the hospital. Thankfully, the Little Princess was her usual lively self when I saw them at the ER. And barefoot. 😀 People at home probably forgot to pick up her shoes out of panic.

The Little Princess was examined by the pediatrician, her wound cleaned and iced (slightly because she didn’t like being pressed with an icepack on her face) then she cried and an x-ray test was performed on her facial area (where she cried again) to ensure she had no fracture as the pedia confirmed that the nasal area is a very sensitive part of our body. An EENT doctor assessed her (where she again cried) after the x-ray results were out and thank God, no fracture was seen. We were just given some instructions and medications for the Little Princess and after like forever, we were discharged. And the crying stopped except when we she didn’t get what she wanted like playing with the hospital stuff.

She was happy when the doctor announced she had no fracture. :D

She was happy when the doctor announced she had no fracture! 😀 (Apparently, the bruise on her nose also got blurred 😀 )

Just a side story: while we were waiting in the ER, the Little Princess of course became hungry and had to nurse from me. I realized it was already dinner time so she latched and latched and latched. Another pediatrician noticed her breastfeeding while we were waiting for them to discharge us and gave this encouraging remark, “Very good, Mommy. Keep it up”. It made me smile giddily. 😀 Because for the first time in 2 years  that we have been breastfeeding, I received a positive feedback about our breastfeeding from a stranger. I normally get a quiet gaze, sometimes with laughter, whenever we breastfeed in public.

Another untoward though funny incident happened on Father’s Day. We went out and brought the kids to a play place at the mall then had a Japanese dinner after. Come dessert time, I ordered a green tea ice cream which the Little Princess liked a lot. She noshed on a spoonful of ice cream then some more, one after another. After getting satisfaction from the green tea ice cream, she walked back and forth the aisle until I noticed a brown thingy on her legs and socks. The green tea turned brown and leaked from her cloth diaper, some even spilled on the floor! Sorry, TMI. Haha! 😀

So I rushed the Little Princess to the washroom and cleaned her up. Thanks to the restaurant crew who was kind enough to offer me lots of bathroom tissue. And for wetbags too, where all her stained cloth diaper, skirt and socks went sealed.

I bet you prefer to see this rather than a photo of what happened on Father's Day. :D This figurine was our gift for Daddy J together with some other stuff :)

I bet you would rather see this than what happened to the Little Princess on Father’s Day. 😀 Btw, this figurine was our gift for Daddy J together with some other stuff 🙂

That’s not the end of it all. Five days after, the Little Princess caught fever which prompted me, as usual, to take that day off from work to monitor her for weakness, loss of appetite, rashes, etc. I don’t want to rely on the yaya when any of my kids is sick. The Little Princess’ fever went to us high as 39 degrees Celsius and lasted only for one day.

The following day though, rashes sprouted at the Little Princess’ arms, hands, legs and feet. I dismissed that it’s Roseola because she has already acquired it in the past so off we went to her pediatrician for check up. The diagnosis — Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD). It’s a viral infection common among young children that produces sores in the mouth and rashes in the skin specifically the hands and the feet. It made more sense to me why the Little Princess breastfed almost all day while she was sick.

The onset of rashes on the Little Princess' arms. It spread to her body, back, thighs and even her nape. Poor little girl! :(

The onset of rashes on the Little Princess’ arms. It spread to her body, back, thighs and even her nape. Poor little girl! 😦

I’m familiar with HMFD (not because I’ve read about it online 😀 ) because the Big Boy caught this virus on his 1st birthday party and I also acquired it after sharing a frozen yogurt with him. Though I’m obviously no longer a child, the doctor explained that I probably didn’t get the virus when I was younger that’s why it was transmitted to me now that I’m an adult. I’m telling you, it was terrible to get an HMFD because of the sores and rashes which makes it difficult to eat and walk.

So where did the Little Princess get the virus? We’re quite sure it was at the play place we visited on Father’s Day because the place was full of potential carriers aka kids. Well, that’s part of being a kid. 😉 They have to go out and get exposed to their surroundings (and viruses as well 😀 ) every once in a while. We cannot just leave them trapped at home like Rapunzel. Thank God, at least her fever wasn’t dengue. 🙂

Thankfully, the Little Princess is doing well now — no more rashes and back to her energetic state (though it seemed that her sickness didn’t even affect her energy level 😀 ). But we’re not bringing her out yet because she might transmit the virus to other people or get a new virus this time. It’s already sickness season.

There. I guess this pretty sums up what “has been” recently or at least the past three weeks. Another three weeks for my next post? Nope. It’s hard to catch up! Haha! 🙂

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My Super Mom

Her super powers started at a young age of 22. She was working as a public high school English teacher in our hometown when she met and married my dad. Almost a year after tying the knot, they had their first child and her wonderful, amazing, drama-filled adventures as a mom began and became even more exciting with 3 more children. 🙂

Meet my Super Mom. 🙂

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A Hard Working Working Mom

My mom is a natural go-getter. She finished her studies with honors at 19 and started practicing her profession right after passing the board exams. Maybe because their family was not well-off and as the eldest among the 6 children, she knew she had to graduate soon to help my grandparents with their finances. Why she got married young is another story. 😀

This achiever attitude coupled with her passion for teaching motivated my mother to continue working despite having kids. I believe this led to her being the breadwinner of our family and my dad as the house husband. 🙂 I found this set up in our home somewhat weird and deviant as a kid — a dad cooking our meals, washing the dishes, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, attending PTA meetings at school instead of a mom which was the common case among my classmates — but I had gotten used to it eventually. 😉

Anyhow, back to my mom. To further her career, she also took up and finished a master’s degree at a college in our province while being a high school teacher. Though if I remember it correctly, there was a time that she had to take a long leave from work to finish her studies. And at some point in her grad school, she also accepted a teaching stint among college students every Saturdays at the school where she studied her masters. I honestly don’t know how she did all of those things while being a hands on mom! Maybe Super Moms really do exist? 😀

Apart from being a very hard working teacher, my mom was an equally hard working mother to us four of her kids. She made sure she attended to all our needs despite her full schedule. Since we didn’t have a helper or yaya (oh, my dad was! Hehe!) because we were not rich to begin with, my mother was the one who gave us a bath when we were much younger, prepared our baon when we were in preschool, covered our books and notebooks for school, reviewed us our lessons, helped with our school projects. And the list goes on. There may be school activities that she missed but when she was at home, she made us her priority.

I also remember a story that she recounted showing her Super Mom powers in action, literally. I was I think more than a year old and there was no one to look after me at home because my dad had to run important errands so my mom brought me to school with her. I fell asleep in her arms so she taught in front of her class in heels cradling the sleeping toddler me. My heart melted after hearing that story. Tissue please. 😀

My mother’s hard work paid off when she got promoted until she became an Education Supervisor leaving the confines of a classroom onto a bigger role with wider scope and responsibilities. The career woman in her further pursued PhD and was granted a scholarship at DLSU which meant having to travel 3 hours to Manila every week to attend her classes. That was how determined and hard working she was. She was on her final requirement, a dissertation, when she had to discontinue her studies because of her tight schedule and financial concerns so she was not able to finish her PhP until her retirement last year.

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My Super Mom received her Outstanding EPS Award on March 2014. So proud of her! 🙂

She continued working and building her career but she never neglected us even until we have become older.  When we were in college studying here in Manila, my mom and dad would always visit us every week if they could or at least once a month to check on us, bring some food, cook meals for us, do the laundry for us (especially my dad. hehe!) and just spend some time with us their children. Even when we all have started working, they would still pay us a visit once in a while like they did when we were in college.

My mom did not only work hard in establishing her career. More importantly, she worked hard to shape responsible and independent children in us.  Since we didn’t have any househelp, our parents especially my mom taught us how to do household chores — washing the dishes, doing the laundry, pressing our clothes, cleaning the house.  My dad took charge of the kitchen because he likes cooking so I didn’t get to learn much about that. 😀 This equipped us to become independent growing up. I’m personally thankful that my mother taught me all these which I now apply in my married life. I always tell my husband that I’m not at the mercy of our helpers in case they decide to leave because I can take care of our home (except that I would need to quit work 😀 ).

While she and my dad always visited us during our college years, she made sure we know how to handle ourselves given that we were miles away from them. My brothers and I learned how to survive college until we started working, all by ourselves.  Though I lived in the same apartment with my brothers during my college and working days, there was a point when I had to be by myself because of certain career decisions that my brothers had to make. During this time, I wasn’t scared to live far away from my parents and siblings because of the foundation of independence that my mom instilled in me.

A Respectful and Submissive Wife

She had a good career and was the breadwinner of our family. But my mother never forgot her role as a wife. If there is something that I admire the most about my mom, it’s how she treats my dad — full of respect and with submission.

Despite my parents’ switched roles, my mother never made my dad feel he was incapable. She never bossed my father around even if she very well knew she was the one earning for the family.  She never shouted and degraded him nor spoke ill of him in front of other people. Instead, she appreciated all my dad’s efforts to take care of our home and look after us while she was working and gave him the respect that he deserved. She was gentle and kind-hearted towards my dad.  A wife respectful of her husband. That’s the kind of wife she was and is until now.

With my mother’s respect to my dad also comes her submission to him. When I was single, I couldn’t understand why my mom wouldn’t make a decision without the knowledge of my dad when she was the one who provided for the family anyway. In my mind, “She has the right to because she works hard.” But this made sense to me when I became a wife myself and learned about God’s command for wives to submit to their husbands.

Photo by Gerard Aquino

Photo by Gerard Aquino

As a submissive wife, my mom would always seek the opinion and/or approval of my dad in every decision she makes especially if it concerns our family — from the renovation of our home, purchase of an appliance or furniture to giving us permission to go out with friends. During my teen years, whenever I would ask my mom if we can go out with my friends or go somewhere, she would always tell me, “Ask your Daddy.” I knew my chance of being allowed to leave gets slim because my dad was strict. 😀 But the point is, she acknowledges the role of my dad as the head of the family even if she was the one working.

A WOMAN OF PERSEVERANCE

Growing up, I’ve seen how my mother strove hard to provide for our family and at the same time, fulfill her wife and mommy duties. As a mom, I could imagine how difficult it is for her spending more days at work than with her children but she endured being away from us instead of personally taking care of us to be able to provide for our family’s needs. And to take on the role as the provider that is normally fulfilled by the father is no joke. It’s like carrying the whole world on your shoulder because of the bigness and gravity of the responsibility. But my mom persevered to raise our family of six.

My mom’s perseverance is also evident in her marriage. We all know how it takes a lot of hard work to make marriage last because of the individual differences in attitude, values, beliefs and outlook that a couple needs to deal with. My mom and dad’s marriage was no exception. I’ve witnessed them disagree and fight even on petty things, usually stemming from my mom’s  love for shopping/window shopping and my dad’s abomination for it, and many other instances. Their reversed role as home maker and provider also became a source of their dispute at times. But despite all the challenges that they faced, my mom stood by my dad’s side and never gave up even if there were times when one who’s full of pride would think that the only option left is to pack up and leave. Thank God for His grace because my parents have been married for 44 years now.

A Loving Lola

As a teacher, my mom was known for being strict. But this mellows down when it comes to her apos except when they become difficult to handle especially the first 2 who stayed with my parents for a couple of years when their dad left abroad to work. 🙂 Ms. Minchin in Sarah the Little Princess comes out! Haha! She’s old already so her patience has become shorter. 😀

Kidding aside, my mother loves spending time with her grandchildren. Even if she got “stressed” in taking care of my nephews from my eldest brother because she was practically raising kids again, she enjoyed being with them. She helped them with their homework, reviewed them on their exams and attended to their needs even if she was already tired from work. I guess their mere presence gave her joy probably because all of her kids are already old. Plus they had errand runners whom they asked to run to the nearby sari-sari store to buy quick household needs. Hehe! 😀

When a new baby apo, the Big Boy, came after I think 10 years, my mom got delighted and excited once again. Who doesn’t like babies especially if they are your own blood? 🙂 They give a fresh look in life I believe. So whenever my parents are in Manila, my mom would always pester my dad to drive to our place to see the Big Boy and now, the Little Princess as well, even for just a short period of time. It’s the kids who they visit now, not me anymore. Huhu! :p

At the Big Boy's 1st Birthday Party. :)

At the Big Boy’s 1st Birthday Party. 🙂

My mom also has her own way of “spoiling” her apos. She doesn’t give in to what they want but she always buys them clothes and shoes. My mom likes shopping, remember? 😀 And being her only granddaughter (just like how I am her only daughter), the Little Princess served as her Barbie doll buying her clothes and footwear she would find cute or pretty. 😀  So the Little Princess modeled all her outfit from her Lola everyday. Ha! 😀

At the Little Princess' 1st Birthday Party. :)

At the Little Princess’ 1st Birthday Party. 🙂

A fan-girl

Miss Minchin, I mean, my mom, as a strict teacher, is always thought to be serious. Partly true when at work but when she has gone beyond the walls of her class/office room, her amusing side comes out! She likes celebrities and is a solid Vilmanian! 🙂

At home during weekends, you would always see her watching showbiz talkshows catching the latest chismis about celebrities. 😀 In fact, she and my dad fight over basketball and talkshows on television until now. Haha!

If you happen to be a visitor in our home and became interested to browse our photos, you would find an album of her pictures with celebrities she encountered at an event, a seminar, at the airport, anywhere! 😀 Of course she has photos with her favorite Vilma Santos! 😀 And she’s not ashamed to approach a celebrity to say “Hi!” and make a small talk when we are out much to our embarassment. Hahaha! We always tease her that she’d make a good talent manager. LOL! 😀

(Sorry I don’t have any copy of her pictures with celebrities with me now that I can share. :D)

MY PRAYER FOR MY SUPER MOM

After working all her life, my mom has finally decided to retire with the encouragement from my dad primarily because of her health. She has diabetes and hypertension and has suffered from mild stroke twice. Finally, she would be able to enjoy the fruits of all her labor without worrying about us and live life stress and worry-free. She had been working since she was 19!

However last year, a few months after her retirement, the unexpected happened. She had another stroke attack while at the mall with my dad and my brother, much worse than the first two that it paralyzed the left part of her body. This was one of the most difficult times of our family, seeing our very own Super Mom who was very independent and always full of energy, suffer, crippled in bed and incapable of doing things by herself. It was most difficult for her, physically more so, emotionally.

My prayer for my Super Mom is for her to be continuously fueled by the Lord with physical strength and good health given her condition. But more than her physical needs, I pray that she will be filled spiritually — that she may get to know Jesus on a personal level and have a relationship with Him. That she may discover and experience the overflowing joy of being one with Jesus, that even her physical limitations won’t matter anymore. That she will always see God’s beauty and goodness amid her situation. That she will be blessed and be a blessing to others. That she learns, and lives by, that being a Super Mom is not because of our human capacity but because of the strength coming from Jesus.

P.S. This blog post is supposed to be a Mother’s Day entry in honor of my mother but even though it’s more than a week late, I’d like to continue honoring my very own Super Mom on this blog. 🙂

Mommy Mundo MomSchool Series 1.0

Googling about schools for the kids especially when they enter Grade 1, I landed on Teacher Tina’s blog, What is a Progressive School?, which I have already visited before when I was researching about progressive pre-schools for the Big Boy. I fortunately spotted her recent post about Mommy Mundo’s event, Mom School Series where topics on School Matters and Raising Bilingual Children would be discussed. Perfect! So I immediately checked my calendar on my Mommy Mundo Mom  planner and March 21 was free so I registered for the event via SMS. It was free anyway! 🙂

I also asked my husband to come with me but because he’s not a morning person fueled by his overtime work the previous day, he politely declined. Unless it’s an FC Barcelona game, he probably wouldn’t mind waking up early. 😀 So still feeling a little sleepy (and almost lazy because I was sleepy and the event was for free. haha! 😀 ), I drove my way to Fully Booked BHS at 9am, registered and filled out a form at the booth and found myself seating in a room full of people no one I know. I’m independent like that that I wouldn’t mind being alone in a place full of strangers. 😀

After a few waiting minutes, the program started with Janice Villanueva, founder of Mommy Mundo, welcoming the participants and giving a little bit of an introduction about Mommy Mundo and the Mom School Series. The Mom School Series is one of the events organized by the group to provide information needs to moms when it comes to their children’s education.

But before the talk began, the Asian Academy of Television Arts, an organization that offers training courses and workshops for careers in the TV industry, introduced their product called the Mind Sync Project. It’s an extensive 2-day workshop with activities and learning techniques that allow full utilization of the human’s brain capacity especially for kids aged 6-16.

To convince the audience about the power of this program, a 6-year-old girl demonstrated how her brain was “activated” to it’s optimum level by “reading” colors and numbers while blindfolded. Yes, blindfolded and she couldn’t see what she was going to “read” so it’s not really called reading but…what? Anyhow, the little girl smelled and flicked the cards of colors and numbers (so that’s how she “read” it!) and accurately identified the color and the corresponding number in each card! Amazing! 🙂 But wait, there’s more! 😀 She was able to arrange the cards in ascending order! While blindfolded! Without seeing the cards! 😀 Bravo! 🙂 I’m intrigued at how this program works but it’s not a priority for my kids.

After the magic, I mean demo, the first speaker, Teacher Ryce Calunsag of The Learning Library which offers programs that promote reading as well as the use of the Filipino language among kids, was introduced to talk about Raising Bilingual Children. I share her observation that a lot of Filipino kids nowadays are taught to speak the English language very fluently as their “Mother tongue” but our own language, Filipino, is considered merely as a school subject. Worse, it is most often flunked. Filipino is also thought to be the language of the lower class. Sad reality.

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Teacher Ryce explaining how we can start teaching our kids their 2nd language

Teacher Ryce encouraged the parents to instill the Filipino language to their kids when she discussed the benefits of bilingualism, how language is acquired by young children, myths about raising a bilingual child and how we can start our kids to speak not only the English language but also our own native language. I particularly like what she said: “Filipino is not only a subject. It is our language.” Very true. This will be our language philosphy at home. 😉

Teacher Ryce’s talk segued to interactive ways to teach the Filipino language to the kids, one of which is through educational digital contents. JoomaJam is one locally produced pre-school learning tool that was created by rockstar, Vin Dancel of Peryodiko! 😀 Yes, he is the brother of Ebe Dancel of Sugarfree and I just learned about it during the event when I heard his last name! They look so much alike you can’t deny they are siblings! 😀

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Ebe, I mean, Vin giving an introduction about JoomaJam 😀

Anyhow, enough of the rockstar chika. 😀  The JoomaJam music was produced in collaboration with local OPM artists like Gary Valenciano, Jolina Magdangal and Barbie Almalbis-Honasan. What can you say? Star-studded, di ba! 😉 Vin showed a sample JoomaJam video in English and Filipino translations and it was fun to watch — visually creative and the music was catchy. I’m curious to see the rest of the videos and learning activities in the app! 🙂

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Can you see Gary V., Jolina and Barbie? 😀 I think the other one is Jugs of Itchyworms. 😉

After JoomaJam-ing (hehe!), Teacher Tina Zamora, an education advocate and founder of Nest School, took over the floor to discuss School Matters.  She explained the factors to be considered in choosing a school for your child (location, budget and schedule) and the importance of school philosophy and how it should be aligned with the parents own values and philosphy.  She echoed my thoughts about pre-schooling — that children are designed to PLAY and they should be having fun in school instead of getting swamped with homework and exams. She also emphasized that parents shouldn’t spend too much on pre-school and it is not a required level in the K-12 program.

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Teacher Tina addressing some questions about Traditional and Progressive schools.

The comparison of Traditional and Progressive schools in terms of class size, routines/subjects, child evaluation, teachers, school environment and activities was also discussed by Teacher Tina stressing the importance of knowing your child’s developmental milestones in determining what approach to schooling to take.

Lastly, she tackled ways on how we can engage and become a partner to our children’s teachers to monitor their development. She ended the talk with some parent-school issues encountered and how these can be addressed.

I’m thankful laziness did not strike me that early morning of Saturday because of all the learning I got that would help me and my husband in our parenting journey.  Apart from that, I also got to see a rockstar (haha!) and won this bottle in the raffle! Haha! 🙂

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It was a worthwhile weekend morning and I hope Daddy J would be able to join me in events like this next time. 🙂

First School Year is Over!

“Bye school! Hello summer vacation!”

I can imagine the Big Boy shouting this, if he were a little bigger, after 10 months of daily 2-hour schooling. 🙂 Their schooldays officially ended last Friday as the Nursery class celebrated their Recognition Day. So bye shuttle and classmates and teachers for now. 😀

Yay, we're done with Nursery! :)

Yay, we’re done with Nursery! 🙂

I remember when we enrolled the Big Boy in this small progressive-traditional school near our place 10 months ago, our goal was for him to of course, learn and at the same time enjoy being in school and with his classmates without any “academic” pressure. Hello, he was just 3 years old then. That’s why I appreciated that the school didn’t give too much homework to the pupils because I think that would be a lot for their young minds to take. The exams, I find the frequency too often at twice every quarter so I think we were reviewing for exams every 2 or 3 weeks. I would always mutter whenever I see the exam schedule in my Big Boy’s diary, “Exam period again? But they just had their exams 2 weeks ago?” Haha! Whiner mommy. 😀 Let me justify in behalf of the school that frequent exams were needed to refresh them of their lessons. 😀

So, whenever the Big Boy had an assignment or an exam, we would sit down together and study but once he has already expressed disinterest (cue: “I’m done!” while putting down his jumbo pencil and getting ready to stand up from his sitting position on his study chair), we would close his book and I’d just let him go back to playing. No fuss for both of us. 🙂 I would just informally ask him questions while playing or incorporate the lesson in his play to encourage learning. For example, while playing with blocks, I’d ask about patterns by letting him arrange the block pieces into a certain order. Things like that.

As his first school year ended, I can say that the Big Boy indeed both learned and enjoyed school. Academically, he has already learned the phonics, a little bit of reading 3-letter words, writing his name and numbers 1-20, counting, memorizing poems and songs, among others. His social skills was also developed because before he went to school, he was the epitome of makahiya. 😀 He would cling to me whenever we were around people or even kids his age. But now, though he is still shy, he already interacts and plays with other kids. Well, not all kids. He’s choosy. Hehe! And I never heard him say he didn’t want to go to school (except for those still-sleepy mornings he had to eat breakfast and take a bath :D). In fact, he would sometimes say “Mommy, I want to go to school tomorrow”, on a Friday. 🙂 So generally, goals achieved! 🙂

On their Recognition Day, all the Nursery pupils got an award — 3 honors and 2 with distinction and special recognition for the multiple intelligence each pupil possesses. Among the 8 multiple intelligencesLinguistic Intelligence (“Word Smart”), Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (“Number/Reasoning Smart”), Spatial Intelligence (“Picture Smart”), Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (“Body Smart”), Musical Intelligence (“Music Smart”), Interpersonal Intelligence (“People Smart”), Intrapersonal Intelligence (“Self Smart”) and Naturalist Intelligence (“Nature Smart”) —  the Big Boy received the Logical-Mathematical Intelligence. 🙂 “He got it from me,” the Daddy claimed. Okay, fine, he’s the Statistician. 😀

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He stood up on his seat to proudly show his medal to his Daddy 😀

My shy Big Boy on stage :D

My shy Big Boy on stage 😀

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My attempt to show “proof” of his achievement: cropping a photo 😀

We’re still going to find out next week from his teacher how this intelligence manifested in the Big Boy’s performance in school apart from his written Math exams where he got perfect scores or 1-2 mistakes. But at home, I notice how focused he is at playing and trying to figure out his toy. One time, he was playing with a cheap binocular toy and he broke it down. I was surprised to see after a while that he was able to fix the disassembled lens by himself. And when he was a toddler at around 18 months, he already started to complete letter, number, shape and fruit puzzles. So we are pretty convinced he is number smart and are definite that he is low at Interpersonal and Linguistic Intelligences. 😀

Exhibit A and B of his low interpersonal intelligence right during their Recognition Day. They performed a number for Doxology at the start of the program and a dance presentation as closing where in both exhibits he just stood up in front just like during their oral interpretation contest weeks ago. 😀 He had a more truthful alibi this time: “I’m shy”. Hope he overcomes this when he grows up. 😀

Exhibit A: Doxology Presentation. All (or most) of his classmates are doing the actions while he is doing nothing but pouting his lips. :D

Exhibit A: Doxology Presentation. All (or most) of his classmates are doing the actions while he is doing nothing but pouting his lips. 😀

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Exhibit B: Dance Presentation. His classmates are happily dancing the steps while he is just standing still. 😀

Just some words for my Big Boy:  Congratulations for finishing Nursery, Sweetie Pie! Mommy and Daddy are so happy and proud of you! 🙂

And so, now that school’s over, the Big Boy has got a whole lot of time to play. 😀  We’re still thinking what activities to get him busy with this summer. Maybe we’ll make him join a football camp again or try swimming this time.  Anything that would keep him pre-occupied as he got used to going to school everyday. I’ll just also give him some exercises to work on this summer for him not to forget what he learned from school. Hubby and I have agreed we won’t be enrolling him in summer school class so that he would get to enjoy his vacation by doing other stuff.

And oh, the Big Boy said he wants to go to the beach this summer!  We’ll set one for him and the Little Princess. 🙂

My Reading List

I’m not a bookworm but I enjoy reading. A few novels to awaken and excite my imagination but mostly informative or inspirational books. Reading does take time so I prefer to spend my time, especially now that I’m a mother, to read books that will essentially feed my mind and soul with learning. So my book storage is filled with titles from Christian authors with themes ranging from  spiritual life, relationships, work, parenting and the likes.

But I have this lousy habit of buying books and not reading them. I have a tendency whenever I visit a Christian bookstore to browse through the shelves and get my self a book or 2, which will end up collecting dust in our house, untouched. In fact, a  few months ago, I went book shopping at the CCF Bookstore and brought home with me about 5 books. Apparently, I’ve only read one which until now, is still unfinished. 😀 And a few years back, I also got myself some books which remain, well, sitting lonely in my book storage, all patiently waiting for their owner to grab them and read. I’m such a perfect book collector!

Despite my fascination with “collecting” books, I want to have even more (see, I’m seriously taking my title as a book collector! 😀 ) and hopefully more time to read them all as well.  I just haven’t gotten the time to go to a bookstore with the purpose of buying books and not craft stuff, but I wish to have the following titles which I heard about when hubby and I attended the CCF Counterflow Conference last year:

1. Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

Paul Tan-Chi, one of the workshop speakers at the Counterflow Conference mentioned about this book on how to discipline our children from a biblical perspective. I’m personally still struggling on disciplining my 2 kids and I hope this book could help me shed light on it.

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Via Christianbook.com

2. Raising a Modern-Day Joseph by Larry Fowler

The author of this book himself, Larry Fowler, also spoke at the conference and discussed the main point of the book:  how parents can raise their children like Joseph that even though he was far away from his family without spiritual support, he remained obedient and faithful to the Lord.  Though he enumerated some points during his talk, I’d like to get into more detail on the strategies for raising a modern-day Joseph.

Via Parable.com

3. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

I’ve heard about this book a long time ago from someone I can’t remember who and also saw it from a celebrity Christian mom, Cheska Kramer’s Instagram post. And during the conference, one of the speakers, Francis Kong used these love languages as reference when he talked about reaching out and bridging the generation gap with our kids today. The love languages actually apply to every relationship and I think it’s important to understand another person’s love language in order for us to know how we ought to respond and these expressions of love.

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Via Refreshedbiz.com

Hope to get hold of (and read!) all these books in the next couple of weeks months. 🙂