Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Blog-a-Blogs for Blog Day!

What better way to celebrate the 6th International Blog Day than to let you have a peep into the real me!

Hmm... not interested, huh?

Oooohkaay.  What better way than to let you have a peep into the real me by sharing with you my own favorite blogs!


Good!  Here goes.  

Earth Mama Doula
One of my faves is a blog by a wonderful mother who is an exact opposite of wonderful me.  I gave birth to both boys, CS.  I never went into labor.  I never pushed.  I was never able to give them breastmilk.  Then along comes this blog that talks about everything natural --from childbirth to weaning to parenting.  A magnificent read that tells me that no matter how good a life I give my boys, there will always be something I missed.

Kitchen Kitchie Koo
I love to cook but it's always a hit or miss with me.  I'm confident that I can never put up a food blog with confidence.  And that's why I love this blog.  It inspires me.  And no doubt, it hungers me.  Maybe someday, I will have the strength to put up a food blog myself.  Maaay-be.

Green Tea Design
If the day wore me out and I want to see something beautiful for a change, this is the blog I turn to.  It's cyber retail therapy.  Or, for the lack of funds, blissful eye candy.  I learn about lovely trinkets, unique home decor, fantabulous furniture I never even knew existed.  It designs the rest of my day beautifully.  See how the word 'shop' is eternally highlighted there?

Let's Cosplay!
Surprise, surprise!  I'm a geek mom!  But really, if you've been reading my blog, you'd know that I'm addicted to DIY.  Whether it be for my children's Halloween costumes, or our dog's.  This blog is the perfect tutorial for me.  It lays out costume-making, step by step.  It may not be the exact same costumes I make and it's not even that close to our homemade family projects.  But the blog does show me that with the right amount of talent, resources, and crazy hands... anything is possible.

The Superficial
Oh, who doesn't love hearing dirt about those uber perfect Hollywood stars, eh?  I do!  Again, it's therapy.  The mean kind.  But it does make me smile.  This blog is written in such a way that I can laugh at supposedly super awesome people and feel good about myself.  It's sad, I know.  But still, it's fun.  Oh, click the link --you'll know what I mean!

I speak sarcasm very fluently in a variety of accents.  But in a parenting blog, you can't rant and rave and dish it out that freely.  Specially it it's about work that has very little to do with being a mom.  This is why this blog speaks to me.  Or should I say, speaks for me.  It talks about the ups and downs and the survival of a freelance writer.  In colorful sketches, in a colorful language.

So that's who this mother blogger is.  Oops!  I mean, so that's what this mother blogger reads.
Check them out and maybe you'll also find that other side of you that's bolder, funnier, naughtier, zanier.  You are what you read.  And this blogger reads... and IS... a delicious buffet.

Happy 6th International Blog Day, everyone!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bring-Your-Kids-To-Work Day

You should really have one of those!
Bringing your kids to your place of work lets them know how interesting (or how boring) your job is.  It helps them see what keeps you away for hours.  It makes them understand a little about adulthood.  It lets them appreciate the concept of 'work' and 'responsibility'.  And --it allows them to bond with you like never before.

Sounds cool?  Before you jump on the next bus toting your laptop and your child, you have to plan the experience first.  Choose a day when you don't have a lot to do at the office.  That once-in-a-blue-moon stress-free day should be perfect.

When you find that, show them what you do.

And then let them try it out for themselves.

It will be pointless to take them there and then tell them, 'Don't touch anything.', 'Be quiet.', 'Stop running around.', 'Just sit in a corner.'  You do have to watch them closely, but take it easy and let them explore your world for once.

Make sure your work mates are absolutely ok with your kids asking questions and 'pushing buttons', too.  They'll be curious as hell and you (and your friendlier colleagues) should be open to help them learn.

Reality check, Bring-Your-Kids-To-Work Day should be a little straining.  You may have to chase your kids around a bit.  Your patience may even dwindle for a second or two or more.
But at the end of the day, when your children tell you that all they want when they grow up is to be like YOU ... it'll be far more rewarding than any other day at the office.  I can tell you that.

Go ahead, the rain's fine!

I have 5 words for this post:  Thank. God. For. Happy. Husbands.

If you will compare my husband's childhood to mine, mine would be a complete blah.  Sure, I was happy.  I had awesome toys.  But I never learned to ride a bike, I never learned how to swim, and I never played in the rain.   My formative years were so sheltered.  Primarily,  because I was a sickly kid and my grandmother (Wonderful woman.  Bless her soul.) believed that the best place to raise me was in a comfortable, gilded bubble.   I don't blame her.  I do blame myself for acquiring her overprotective streak though.

But thanks to a husband whose childhood was all about fun, friendship, and freedom, my children do have the luxury of living happier-ly.  Er... you know what I mean.

It's the rainy season and they all played in the rain.  I didn't, simply because I was the one taking pictures.  But I was sooo envious of them.
At first, I had to be a killjoy.  But my husband assured me that the rain is just water, that it's clean, that it's not cold and windy, that he'll be with them to make sure they don't slip on puddles or fall into unseen street cracks, that they will run back in as soon as thunder and lightning get in the picture, and that they will shower immediately after.
What's the point of getting wet after getting wet?  Your body temperature drops when you play in the rain.  Bathing in a bathroom regulates it.  And so you don't get sick.  A little bit of trivia there.  Something I also learned from my husband.

And so all went well and our boys had the best time of their rainy season life.  They can't wait to do it again.  Who knows --I might just dive in with them the next time around.  I'm sure grandma won't mind. :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Picture Perfect Pet and Kid

I'm a true blue stage mom (and I say that with ridiculous aplomb).  That's how I got Kenji and Alpha this neat photoshoot gig.  It was a great experience with some very important lessons learned.  Lessons that I would like to impart with you if you're hoping to catch pseudo-professionally awesome shots of your kid and his or her pet.

Scenario:  If you think shooting kids is hard, and if you think shooting dogs is hard, try shooting a kid and his dog TOGETHER.  No, make that a hyperactive, highly-opinionated 7-year old kid AND a mini pinscher --one of the perkiest dog breeds on the planet!  Do you feel the pressure?

First off, plan your location.  If you're going out, make sure you keep to a small space so you won't need to chase the dog for miles.  Stick to one location.  If you move around too much, you're opening up a can of distractions right there.  If you're doing it in a room set-up, keep it interesting for your models with props and activities.

Have fun!  You can't command a single pose and stick to it all throughout.  You can't bring that kind of stress in this kind of situation.  Just have an objective in mind and keep your mind open on how to achieve it.  If you're going for an emotional connection between the boy and the dog, then make sure they're the only ones in the area.  Let go, let them do their thing, and have fun watching them.

Be PATIENT, be ready.  Just let your models loose to interact with one another and you'll catch wonderful nuggets --as long as you're willing to wait and as long as you're quick on the draw.  Major pet and kid photography rule:  Natural is always better than staged.  Kids and dogs should be kept motivated, not dictated.  Simply keep your finger on the cam trigger for these beautiful stolen moments.  Your patience will be rewarded, I guarantee you.

Manage the time.  When you've been shooting for 3 hours, it's only normal for your young models to get tired and cranky.  Think.  One of them is a child who wants to have fun, and the other is a dog who doesn't care about your little project.  For your sanity, make it short and sweet.

Follow these and you might even end up being a better photographer than the pros.  I mean, you're the only photographer who'll have milk, cookies, a movie, and a bedtime story later for your models, right?  Definitely a plus! :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Taboo Toons?

TV being a media monster isn't new news.  Even as your child is growing up, you get the warning signs from other mom friends and even teachers about how certain TV shows can quickly shape your child into a bad seed.  Or worse, a future serial killer.  Dun-dun-duuunnnn...!

I find all this to be over-the-top reactions to the power that is media.  Sure, there's no questioning its influence, and there is reason to be concerned if you allow your toddlers to watch Family Guy and such.  But really, some notions on even the most harmless toons are just laughable!

Let me share a few classics from experience.

Thou shall not let your child watch Mr. Bean or he shall have speech problems. 
Seriously!  Let us blame the whole foundation of speech on a TV show!  Granted that Mr. Bean does have a weird way of talking and that kids love to mimic him, I don't see this as a huge setback to a child's development.  Lighten up!  The man is funny!  And newsflash... Mr. Bean isn't your child's speech coach.  You are.

Thou shall not let your child watch Tom and Jerry or he shall suffer ADHD.
And I suppose The Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote's antics are a huge source of behavioral problems, too.  A lot of cartoons use 'violence' for kicks.  Kids love this formula for the outlandish action that always ends with hilarious results.  Of course, your child has to know that these are antics he can't do at home or elsewhere.  That's where you come in, Mrs. Parent.

Thou shall not let your child watch Powerpuff Girls or he shall be gay.
This is the one that sincerely burns my beans.  Do we really want to go there?  Gender preference do not spring from cartoons.  And do you really want to expose your child to your gender biases so early in life?  It's ok for boys to watch Powerpuffs because, honestly, it's far more action-packed than any 'boy shows' on the tube.  But I guess the pastel-colored dresses are really throwing you off, huh?

There's more!  So much more that your child will have to be left with Barney and Blue's Clues for the rest of his young life.

Personally,  I don't take other people's warning signals against these so-called taboo toons to heart.  Why?  Because I don't stick my kid in front of the TV without my complete guidance.  That, plus the fact that cartoons don't threaten me.  Cartoons are there purely for my child's entertainment.  For his education, good upbringing, balanced development ... that's MY area.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I always thought the pesky questions stage would stop after preschool.  But... it gets worse when your kid hits primary borderline middle school.  All the questions you dread come in by the overwhelming bushelfuls!

Last month, my son asked if every family has to go through divorce at one point.
Last week, he asked if watching Powerpuff Girls would really make a boy gay.
The other day, he asked how a child can turn into a drug addict.
Last night, it was why it was ok to hug a girl when he was a little boy and disallowed now that he's 10 years old.

These are things he's picked up in school and my job is to get him to see different sides of the issue.  Not to ram some kind of imposed conclusion in his head.  I raise my kids to be open and opinionated.  I want them to be able to ask me questions without shame and discuss their personal take on a delicate or controversial concern without fear of being judged.
I'll also need to help him sift through the factual and the fictional --without making him panic himself into adulthood.  Talks in the school cafeteria and playground tend to blow up in proportion.  No, you don't get cooties when you accidentally brush against a girl in homeroom class.  But yes, you cannot go about hugging her like you used to because personal space is important to some people as they grow older.  It takes a good balancing act.  I have to be truthful but age-appropriate at the same time.

I'll also need a good supply of Valium.

If I ever thought changing diapers while preparing formula was the toughest part of parenting, I was most absolutely wrong!
I'm suddenly missing the "Why is the sky blue?" and the "Why do elephants have big ears?" questions.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I like things complicated.
In food, particularly.
In ice cream, I'd easily ignore the usual vanilla for a Cheesy Choco Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Gelato.  Same goes with burgers.  It can't just be a boring mash of beef patty, pickles, cheese and lettuce in there.  There has to be mushrooms, bacon, chili pepper, potato chips, garlicky curry mayo --aka, the I-Will-Hate-Myself-For-This-Later works.

My heart flutters wildly for hybrid concoctions, too.  And the latest on my plate --SISIG PANCIT!
Sounds weird, tastes great!  It brings together 2 of my favorite comfort foods in a delectably joyous stone grill dish and wooden slab.  The sisig is spicy and rich.  There's an amazing crunchiness to the noodles.  The egg, garlic and herb toppings complete the big bang flavor that creates mad fireworks in your mouth.

Where did I find this complex meal, you ask?  Ooooh-ho, won't you be surprised...

Cowboy Grill Express!  Uh-huh, Cowboy Grill.  Remember that barbecue place you used to hang out in after school or when you're cutting classes and all you wanna do is drink beer and watch a band play '80s hits?  That's the one!  The one I went to is the restaurant's express dining hole at Fort Bonifacio.  Nice place with friendly people and awesome food --minus the band.  Which I guess is a good thing in my age now.  Lol!

Sisig Pancit --which I promptly had 3 plates of!-- is just the beginning.  I learned their menu is slowly being beefed up with new, innovative recipes that should excite the adventurous eater in you.  Now, THAT'S something to look forward to.

If you've ever had unforgettable moments at Cowboy Grill in your wild and wanton youth, I think it's high time for a rekindling.
Oh, going back to an old flame is easy!  Contrary to what people say, it's not that complicated.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Geek Mom on Mario Music

If there was a party game where moms would be asked to name the video game and game level of Super Mario tunes played under time limit ... I would sincerely slay.  Sincerely.

My boys are so into soundtracks now.  Topping their taste are Super Mario video game music themes which they download to iTunes and/or upload to my phone's ringer list.  They were always rabid about it and I didn't quite get what the big deal was.  Until I heard that one track from Super Mario Galaxy.  It was a sweeping orchestral ditty that I immediately associated with warriors fiercely battling it out with fire-breathing dragons.  Or, running wild horses across a field of flames.  It was just too beautiful, too audally spectacular, too visually stimulating.

There must be a beefy market for that kind of musical gaming fascination since an actual Super Mario Galaxy audio CD is out on the market.  Each level theme piece just as majestic as the first.

Interest piqued, my sons then exposed me to the colorful soundtrack of Super Smash Brothers Brawl --another Super Mario game with another musical hit line-up.  Only this time, it had more variety.  The tracks went from rich orchestra to house to hip hop to honky tonk.  Reason being, each character (and God, there were a lot!) has their own distinct theme music.  The hodge podge gave the characters more personality and depth.  It was done splendidly.

Of course, cheapskate will always dominate my good taste so instead of buying the CDs for my boys, we hunt and download.  Surfing for these illusive downloadables is half the thrill anyway.
Our favorite Super Mario treasure trove sites:   beemp3, mp3skull, and naturally, mariomayhem.

Musically, Super Mario has indeed gone a long way.  But hey, who doesn't still hum the original, classic Super Mario theme in their heads once in a while, eh?  Admit it, admit it!

Do-doot-doot-do-doot-doot... doot...

Ah, geek mom signing off.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

And now, Quackology...

We've had love birds, hamsters, goldfish, and every kind of cute living thing you can stick in an enclosure hoping that one of them would be Miro's beloved first pet.  No such luck.  Miro's a tech kid.  He'd much rather commune with an SD card than a live animal.

But just as the wand chooses the wizard in Harry Potter... so did the duck choose Miro.

My husband brought home this little waddler one fiesta, and it immediately enslaved Miro's heart.  Dropping his Wiimote and Mac keyboard, he started caring for the duck (which he named Duckie.  You didn't see that coming, huh?).  Feeding it.  Bathing it.  His responsibility quotient skyrocketed as he made it an every-minute habit to pick up duck poop from the floor.  

Duckie, in turn, helps him with his homework.  Miro reads and discusses math problems with Duckie.  It may sound strange but a pet can actually boost a child's academic confidence.  Pets love to listen.  And they don't talk back nor judge.

Our neighbors find it weird that a duck is allowed to walk freely in our house.  I expect them to shriek if they found out that he's even allowed on the bed.  But this duck is what made my then technology-attached boy into the more compassionate and dependable young man he is now.  So, the duck stays.

If you have a kid who may just be constantly glued to the TV, the computer, or the game console --get him a pet.  You'll be amazed how something so cute can topple down decades of technological advancement in one soft bark, purr, or quack.