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Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Lesson from A 'Running' Pro

Dearest Maia,

Today I disappointed myself and that didn't feel good at all. 

You witnessed me and daddy train for months for the race that we participated in today but the training that I did fell short of the requirement. In my heart, I knew I didn't give that training my all. I had been looking forward to this race for years and yet I allowed a lot of things to throw me off-course.

On our way home today, we were privileged to ride with a guy who finished the marathon at 3 hours 50 mins. My jaw dropped hearing that. I immediately praised that guy. A 4 hour finish for a marathon is amazing, what more a sub-4? And he finished a 10k for 38 minutes. Just 38 minutes! My easy 5k's are timed at 38 minutes. But he could cover twice the distance. Amazing! I didn't waste time interviewing that guy. Where does he train? How often? What fuels him? I had to know. I was hoping that partly he would tell me he was just born a runner.

But that was not the case, baby. After our long talk, he just proved to me even more that there are no shortcuts to success. It was first and foremost pure HARDWORK that lead him to attain his goal. He wakes up early to train. And he doesn't stop until he has covered the time that he has set himself to train for a particular day. He runs for 3 hours minimum every other day. But on alternate days, he bikes. Some days he gets extremely busy but he doesn't let that mess up his training plan. He doesn't make up excuses. He is THAT diligent and disciplined.

When you ask most accomplished athletes, they would probably give you the same answer. Well, not only athletes are equipped with that same attitude even the most career accomplished individuals are probably  driven by this. It's one of the major lessons in life, I would say. In fact, this lesson has been sitting at the back of my mind. I just didn't push it enough to make it to front to always drive me to put it to practice. So I'm putting this in writing today. To serve as a reminder not only to you but TO ME most especially. 

By the way, Daddy brought this medal home for you today. As usual, you were ecstatic. You wore it like you own it. I was too tired to take a snap of you wearing it but know how proud I am of daddy for getting this for you. He didn't train as frequent as me and yet, today turned out to be such a breeze for him. I wouldn't charge this to luck too. Looking back, I'd say daddy put more heart and discipline into his training than me. So really, hardwork is key. 

I hope one day, this could serve as a guide for you. Or something of that sort.

Always remember too...that we are always just right here to support you. In success and even more in failure. One of these days, I'll try to gather my thoughts too and share a little something about the lessons that you can learn from failure. For now, just know too that we love you. Always.

we love you to infinity and beyond,
Mommy (and Daddy too)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Working Mom Musings (Out Loud)

After almost 4 years of being a working mom you'd think I finally got the hang of it. Well, for awhile I thought I did too. Having a kid who happily sends me off when I kiss her good-bye when I leave for work in the mornings and rarely asks me to stay home instead of going to the office definitely eases things out for me. I've seriously toyed with the idea of giving up my job and becoming a full time mom years back but having weighed the options available for us I've finally accepted that it is not the best option available for us for now and probably not in next couple of years more. 

So SAHM-hood is not the way to go for me. But today was just one of those days that make me wish I had flexible working hours so I could spend the entire day with this adorable girl. To cushion the sudden surge of sadness and somehow fight the urge to call in sick, I just snapped a photo to bring with me to work. If I could stare at it all day, I would. But of course, I couldn't. So I'll just 'preserve' that in here for now.

Thank you for letting Mommy take your photo today Maia. Even if you don't feel like posing for more photos already. I love you. I can't wait to get home already!

fake smile for mommy. hehe. pagod na daw kasi.
smelly and sweaty from the strenuous dance workout with playmate Isabel this morning
sayang putol ang I Love You sign. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Maia's Study Corner

After 100 years, Tibs was finally able to start our Maia's Study Corner Project. Maia and I had to find some place to crash in (thanks Net!) temporarily last weekend just so he can start on it already but at least we're happy with how it has progressed so far. 

Maia has been spending more time on her corner now and lesser time on the floor. That is already an achievement to a certain extent because one of our main reasons for dedicating a corner for her was so she could have a place where she can do her drawings and writing exercises without disruption. So despite the demotivating lack of space in our spatially-challenged home (redundant eh, pinilit pa rin), I didn't lose heart in pushing Tibs to do it. To create space, we decided to purge our own stuff and give way for hers. So off went the piles of cds, speakers, books and my own personal kalat. Then after spending 2 days and a night away, we came home to this:

tight little corner but she loves it nevertheless
Closer look at her shelves:

I have since stopped supplying her with scratch papers because we're having a hard time getting her permission to throw away the used ones (she's so attached to most of her sketches and drawings) we usually end up with so much paper (the yaya's bedroom/bodega is still filled with it). So our solution was to buy notebooks (more expensive option compared to the scratch papers but definitely cheaper than drawing/sketch pads. working on a compromise here). She used to fill one notebook in less than a week but she has mellowed down since and is now down to 2 notebooks a month. For now, this works for us since we can store the notebooks neatly and find them easily when she starts looking for old ones (yes she does look for them and she is specific about each of them).

These paintings and scribbles used to adorn our living room wall. After Tibs fixed this corner, Ate Inday asked the little miss if she can transfer the pseudo-wallpapers unto her study corner and she gave it a go. These definitely made the area more colorful and gave it some sense of personality (wehe, obviously the kid is really into painting and scribbling right now).

Lastly, we're trying to teach her to always keep her school stuff in place. Like her bag for example, she parks them in this specific corner when she arrives from school. She usually does her homework after waking up from her afternoon nap so when the bag is there, it's easier for her to pull out her books and return them after. We've been partly successful. Although admittedly, the house has been almost freed of clutter the moment she started school last June. These days, she rarely takes her toys out all at the same time and would prefer to focus on playing with one type of toy at a time (makes clean up time so much easier). The weekends are a different story of course but having kids over and making a mess while doing arts and crafts with them is pure fun for me so I don't really mind. 

Of course if we had the luxury of space (and overflowing budget), I would probably have opted to do something like this:

OR this:

Well maybe someday we can finally have that space (and budget) to make way for dream projects like this. But for now, we're happy and content with how this turned out to be. I still want to prettify it but I still have no idea how. Nevertheless, we're very thankful we have a handy daddy on hand to always fix things for us :)

Our little miss student so busy in her corner.

Monday, July 23, 2012

"Rain Makes Me Sad"

She's indeed my daughter. She's always filled with raw emotions which she never hesitates to express.

While browsing through racks of books at Booksale yesterday, I asked Maia if she loves rainy days. The reply was a firm NO. Why? She told me: "It makes me sad, Mommy". Why? "Because I miss my friends".

Awwwww. Poor little thing. She's been trapped in the house for almost a week due to the heavy rains and she ends up with an overly dampened spirit. I still wish she'd change her mind about the rain when she's older. But with her saying that brought me some sense of relief since my itchy feet sort of gave her the chance to be out despite the very gloomy weather. In pambahay clothes, we braved the rain and headed to the nearest mall where a Booksale branch is located to look for more Eric Carle books (we're looking for Papa, Please Get the Moon For Me and Brown bear, Brown bear particularly). We didn't end up finding the books that we wanted but we still went home with a whole lotta books. Tibs and I went crazy over these Beatrix Potter (mini-books) series which were selling for P25-P50 (just one book sold for P50 actually the rest we got for 25/35 pesos). Honestly, we were only familiar with one Potter book (The Tale of Peter Rabbit) but they were just too cute for us to pass on plus we know they won't take up a lot of space so we went ahead and got 6 from the series. Then I got a crafts book on Toys and Games which was quite expensive for my budget but I went and got anyway because all of the projects there were doable for me and interesting enough for Maia. We'll start our projects next weekend as the little miss had her weekends locked on those already (she actually wanted us to start last night - "because it's only night of the weekend, mommy!").

Total cash burned for 10 books was less than P600 (sorry can't remember exactly how much)
After spending almost 3 hours at Booksale, we finally headed for the cashier to pay for our loot. She went through racks and racks of books with me. Making her own pile and grabbing and handing over some books to me (I want this. NO I don't want this were the phrases of the day yesterday). She was a little drawn to some Disney books (2 of which were on princesses which I'm really not very fond of) as well but in the end gave in when we told her she can only pick one. We didn't want to ruin the mood so we thought it won't really hurt to give her a little treat. She took home this bi-lingual book version of the little mermaid (LA SIRENITA it said) book for P35. We were partly hoping she'd learn a little Spanish from there as well (suntok sa buwan pero malay mo naman).

After Booksale, we dropped by National Bookstore to get her new notebooks to scribble on and new coloring pens (her pens ran out of ink almost every month. magastos din!) and as early as now, I can tell I now have a bookstore buddy. I see myself in here. Ogling shelves and shelves of school supplies and art materials with a whole wide grin on her face (with ohhhs and ahhhhs to boot). I had to bribe her with tubs of Play Doh just so she'd leave the store with us. If the option for us to go ahead, leave her and just come back to pick her up at a later time was ever made available, she would probably have grabbed it. She probably knew that THIS was her Sunday because she also managed to convince me to buy her cotton candy (to which I don't usually yield to). I didn't feel bad yielding to this particular whim because the look on her while biting into that cloudy, fluffy sweet thing was just priceless. I just had to snap a photo. 

After finishing her cotton candy, she happily trotted home holding her brown bag of goodies and when she woke up from her nap, guess what she did - inventoried her purchases, grabbed her pens and scribbled and scribbled some more on her new notebook. Later that day, she went to throw a party for her 'kids' and fed them with Play-Doh food. When she was packing away her stuff, she found this square cardboard. She later handed it to me with some scribbles on both sides saying - Mommy, eto thank you ko sa inyo ni Daddy kasi pumunta tayo sa bookstore eh! Tapos bumili pa tayo ng Play-doh at pens. At may bago akong notebook no? (And this morning, she mentioned that to me again. Sobrang saya lang yata nya talaga).

ate inday says it's really a card and it has I love you in it. (see that ILY on the 3rd row from the top? haha)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Of Dreams and Ambitions

As a little girl, I was a big dreamer. I dreamed to change the world. I had a firm belief then that I had an important purpose to this world.

But sadly, I grew up. And some dreams just remain as that. Dreams. Although admittedly that dream to change the world, I partially did hold unto. I held unto it probably to somehow inspire me to always demand more from myself. And to remind me to never do anything to harm the world that I once dreamed to change FOR THE BETTER.

Part of me still hopes to live that dream through Maia. What parent doesn't anyway. But of course, I know where my boundaries lie. And I'd rather see my daughter follow her heart's desire than see her live my dream and be unhappy.

So if she does decide to pursue her dream to be a musician and create beautiful music by playing with sounds, I will gladly support.

Or if she would later on take more to heart her love for dancing and be a ballerina princess that some days she think she really is, that I'd happily support too all the way.

Or if one day she'd reckon her gift was to be an artist and play with colors for people's eyes to feast on, I'd stand by and cheer her on as well.

Today, she decided she wanted to be a nurse. Her grandfather insists she's born to be a doctor. But I know, none of us can really tell her what she should become one day. So we'll just stay here and help her through her day to day life and probably arm her with a lot of confidence so that one day, she WILL find in her heart and mind what she really wants to become.

***forgive this somehow pointless blabber. it's this weather. it's just so conducive for sleeping and that's just exactly what my brain did since early this morning. lolz***

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Perks Of Having A Daughter

This weekend was another milestone for both Maia and me. For the first time, we left the daddy home to spend an entire weekend by our coosome twosome. It was not really a trip far from home but what made this weekend special for me was because I had been looking forward to this day since I became a mother to a daughter. I'm sure there will be more and more days and weekends like this coming our way and I am making a list now of things we can do together outside of the house. My heart is making cartwheels just by the thought of it. Yay. Yay. Yay!

The thought of somebody always being there, ready to be dragged away from the house on a whim makes me giddy. Salon trips. Window shopping. A dash to the grocery store (dash could also mean an entire afternoon wasted but grocery store trips always make me high so no waste there really), a lazy day spent at a bookstore, crafts day. Oh I could go on and on...the possibilities and bonding opportunities just seem endless (wehe).

Just a few more years and I'll have company to play dress up at clothes shops. Aging momma and a teenager out to annoy sales girls (wehe. just kidding. we'll be nice customers. i swear)

It's a long list I have right now. But last weekend we just started with this. Did she have a blast? Definitely did! And would you believe we burned more than an hour there and she didn't make a scene (well apart from tripping from the tangled wires, not her fault really). She was so behaved and waited for her turn like every nice little lady would. 

too engrossed to even care
pink nails and play doh bracelets

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Productive Weekend - Some Gardening and Arts-N-Crafts Time

It has been a very, very productive weekend for our little miss. I don't know if it's the days she missed in school that has gotten her extraordinarily energetic and receptive of every activity that I suggested for her to do this entire weekend but what I know for sure is that she enjoyed every bit of those activities.

Saturday, a village playmate dropped by early for a playdate session. The little miss was actually insisting to watch TV (because it's a weekend mommy) but since I'm still not fond of TV time I wanted to veer her attention away from it fast. And what immediately came to mind was this recent project that a fellow n@w Mec did with her boys. So I got some scrap manila paper, a used cardboard box and old magazines. With Ate Inday's help we cut out some leaves from the magazine paper and traced the two girls arms on the cardboard to resemble tree trunks and cut that as well.

Here's some photos I took to document the activity:

Then today, Sunday, Ate Inday got her involved in planting some of the vegetable seeds that Lola brought home last night from a trade fair at the World Trade Center in Pasay. I just proved that TV never stands a chance against any outdoor activity at any given day for this little nature-loving girl. Despite being a little neat-freak, she doesn't mind getting her hands dirty as long as it involves some planting/gardening.

I had been keeping these eggshells for future mosaic projects but they're starting to irritate Tibs already (having been sitting on our backyard for long and some of them turning moldy already) so Ate Inday thought might as well make use of them. Our plan is when the seedlings start to sprout, we will just break the eggs to transplant them directly unto the soil.
seeds galore!
making good use of our eggshells
our little patch of garden heaven. hoping to turn this into a patch of various vegetables soon!
(waiting for pechay and tomatoes to sprout from these eggshells soon)

Where's Your Happy Place?

For Maia, it's just two places.

This is where she gets her chicken fix (I know fast food but...when she's happy, were happy hehe)
time stops when she's here. and she already recognizes the logo so there's no way we'd ever skip this place when we're in a mall. she'd rather waste time here than in a toy store (on most days i say).

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Enthusiastic Preschooler

Dearest Maia,

Your dad took 2 days off from work last week. You requested that he be there at the gates when you classes are done for the day but you also insisted that I go there so the three of us can come home together. But I can't do that for now. Daddy and I promised you we will do it one day. And hopefully soon!

Daddy was so happy to see how enthusiastic you were to go to school. We were initially envisioning a lot of struggles between you and Ate Inday when you prepare for school in the mornings. But one month past, that has never been the case. 

Ate Inday has been telling us that 15 minutes before your scheduled school service pick up time, you are usually already seated in front of our house umbrella in hand and happily awaiting the school service's arrival. We can only imagine how that looked like since we're usually gone by the time you get ready. But today, Daddy being on another 3-day (insert Mommy's inggit look) vacation leave personally witnessed how easy it was to prepare you for school. 

Last Tuesday, your school had to suspend classes because of the heavy rains and some flooding on other parts of the Metro. When daddy broke the news to you, you wailed. You insisted that he takes you instead. Because you don't want to miss school. And your friends. And your teachers. Daddy had to call me at work while trying so hard to stifle his laughter. You are too funny little girl. But the sight of you daddy says is also some kind of heartwarming. You make it all so worth our efforts and hard work.

Just keep the enthusiasm going little girl. Because I'm sure there will come a day you'll grow tired. But with enough enthusiasm to fuel you, I believe you will never stay tired for long!

Love always,
Mommy (and Daddy too!)
review weekend
made lines for her to trace but she made a puzzle out of it instead

Monday, July 2, 2012

Arts-N-Crafts: Learning To Write Numbers Reviewer

One of the first struggles we faced on our first month in preschool is writing numbers. Well, writing is a struggle in itself but it is in the numerals that we struggle with the most.

I couldn't remember when I first learned to write. But what I can clearly remember though was the first time I wrote my full name. I wrote every single letter of my full name backwards. Just like how the image of something written right would look like when placed in front of a mirror. I wished I kept that tiny piece of paper to show to Maia now. (On second thought) Well I probably did being the pack rat that I am but again also being the greatest sucker at keeping things organized I most probably lost it in the flurry of moving to our new place in my teenage years.

So anyways, (where was I again?) -- WRITING. Yes, we are still struggling with that till now. Zero is done perfectly already. But we're having trouble with the number 1. Just because she really prefers to write it with that tail instead of just the straight line. And because of that, I can only imagine how difficult writing the number 2 would be with its curves and all. What the daddy does when they review is make dots for the little girl to trace. And she's good at doing that. But of course she will still have to eventually learn how to do it without those dots to guide her. That we know (and has been a nagging concern too) very well. 

I researched on how we can help improve her writing but my list of things to buy to make all those tricks happen just keeps growing and growing and yet I never find the time to actually buy them so I can make them. So last weekend, when an unforeseen circumstance kept us home, an expense-free idea popped in mind. I remember seeing my homeschooling friend Mae made these sandpaper cut-out letters for her daughter to trace her fingers on and I thought I can probably make Maia similar numeric cut outs too. I rummaged through my art supplies stash and found these things:

- used placemat
- corrugated cardboard sheets

Maia is currently learning to write 0, 1 and 2. So I cut out these numbers out of these 2 materials. Next, I got some used pancake mix box from my 'trash' box. I cut the small box into 4 equal flashcard sized pieces and then glued the numeric cut outs unto them. After a few minutes ...tadahhhhh, these are what I came up with. (Can you all say - A for the Effort Mommy! Wehe. Nahirapan ako sa number 2 promise! Kelangan mag take 2)
I just hope by constantly feeling the textures on these homemade flashcards that Maia will eventually be able to imagine (even with her eyes closed) how these numbers look like. And just to be clear about it, I'm not doing this to ensure that my kid gets a perfect score on her quizzes all the time. I just wanted to equip her with the right concepts without actually forcing her to write them through paper and pen. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Maia's Favorite: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

I like to read. As a kid, I learned to love reading because my parents surrounded us with books (albeit, historical books mostly)So I wanted to impart that to my little girl and I wanted to start by doing just what my parents did on us. Sadly, I would later realize I know nothing about kiddie books (i love To Kill A Mockingbird and thought it could be Maia's first real book but then again...maybe later when she actually learns to read). So one day, I went to a local bookstore to do my research. I skipped those that were on popular cartoon characters. I wanted the kid to love reading not because it was about a popular character. I wanted her to be attracted to reading because it was fun and interesting (and maybe because she's also learning but I wouldn't want to force that on her yet). 

As I entered the children's section, this entire row of interestingly illustrated books caught my fancy. They were Eric Carle books. I randomly picked a book to browse. Apart from liking how simple but appealing the stories were, I was really drawn to the illustrations. I then vowed to start hunting for his books on every Book Sale store that I'd visit since I don't think my wallet will every have the heart to spare for first hand books (unless they  go on uber-bagsak presyo prices). However, the opportunity to visit a Book Sale branch became a rare treat for me. One time while going through the Book Depository site, I chanced upon a small (tiny is probably a better fit) hardbound The Very Hungry Caterpillar that fit my budget (read: close to Booksale price). I immediately placed an order (hooray for free shipping) and eagerly anticipated it's arrival. The book took a long time to get to us (again, hooray for free shipping) but when it arrived I just knew (from the look on her face), it was love at first sight for our little miss reader.

Maia's precious The Very Hungry Caterpillar book(let)
So after the Puppy Dog, this particular book became a bedtime reading staple for us. Staple in the sense that just like the Puppy Dog book, I already memorized it page by page and could tell it even with my eyes closed. But of course, every story time I will still need to pretend like I was reading. I didn't realize that Maia also memorized it already. Story time have since become a rare bonding activity for us since I would usually come home to a sleeping little girl (explains why most of my stories are during mornings). So imagine my delight when I heard her telling this story to a caterpillar that we saw in our Calamansi tree this afternoon. 

Dearest Maia,
When you're older, I hope you enjoy viewing this video. Daddy and I were filled with pride while listening to you while you 'read' your favorite book today. Keep telling stories. Even if only a few are willing to listen. 

(posted this on facebook with this caption: We found a caterpillar and an empty cocoon while checking on the plants in the garden this morning. She rushed in to get her favorite Eric Carle book and went back outside. A few mins after, Tibs and I can hear her converse audibly in english only to realize she was actually reciting(describing) the book page per page from memory. I hurriedly went outside to capture her on video. she didn't seem to mind. she was too engrossed to even stop me from taking her video (she becomes extremely shy when we attempt to take videos of her in intimate moments like this)
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