Friday, March 22, 2013

{Packing Ahead: A new reinforced habit}

One of the things I try to avoid as a mom is cramming. I know it may sound a little school-y but there are moments too that I cram especially when it comes to packing Inno’s stuff. All the times that I’ve been unprepared for a short day trip or a long vacation, I always missed bringing an essential thing or two. So I promised myself to change that bad habit by always packing ahead whether it’s just a trip to the church or mall, or a two-day out-of-town trip.

I am given the opportunity to practice or rather, reinforce this new habit. We will be spending the weekend out-of-town; a trip to Manaoag to have the new family car blessed then we’ll be heading to Baguio for an overnight stay in Camp John Hay Forest Lounge. It’s just Thursday yesterday but I already packed Inno’s stuff just to make sure I won’t forget anything. Here’s how I did it:

1. A mental list of all the essentials. I know writing down a list would work more but I saved that for the stuff that I can’t still pack ahead (i.e. snacks, diaper rash cream, water jug and the like). Usually, these things include clothes and diapers. For the clothes, the mommy standard travel rule applies. I packed two of each type. For example, for an overnight, I stuffed two sets of jammies in the bag just in case he decides to mess up before hitting the sack and would require a change. For the diapers, I just counted how many times he changes in a day and bring an extra for special cases.        

Even if the trip is just short, I make sure to always bring a first aid kit. Better be  prepared for unfortunate cases (if God permits) than to rush on pharmacies or convenience stores in the wee hours.

Of course, another thing I shall never forget to bring are his travel toys. Since it’ll be a 3-4 hour-long trip going to our first destination, we’ll need something to entertain him and will stop him from wanting to go out of the car. I only packed small toys and some books and placed them in a drawstring pouch so it won’t be scattered in his bag.

2. A pouch for each kind. Perhaps, this is the part where I always fail: organizing the bag. No matter how I try and leave the house with an organized closed bag, it ends up like a pile of sorts at the end of the day. However, part of the reinforcement I wish to practice and will practice is to keep a tidy bag.  How will I manage that? I got a pouch for each kind. I don’t care if they don’t match at all. For the clothes, I used a zipped travel bag organizer that was gifted to me by a dear friend. It comes in three varying sizes and used the medium one to place all of Inno’s change of clothes. There was also this small Kindermusik pouch from Teacher Suzette where I placed his first aid needs. As for the toys, I repurposed a wetbag from one of his dappy bags. For his snacks, I finally decided to buy him his own lunch box just so his food won’t get mixed up with all his other things. I got him a Skip Hop Doggie Lunch box at Mothercare.

3. The Stickie Rule. I still have a few things yet to stuff in the bag and I could only prepare them the night or even an hour before leaving for the trip. Being the forgetful person that I am, I want to make sure that I won’t miss bringing a single important thing, so I wrote down in a stickie all these little stuff and post it beside the door just above the light switch so I could see it before stepping out of the room. I’ve already tried this the night before Inno’s party and it was effective for me. I crossed out all the things listed as I put them in the bag. Surely, I never forgot a thing!

It’s a good thing to be prepared ahead. I am able to save myself from the hassle of pulling and stuffing things an our or so before the trip which I've always done for our past travels. I don’t have to worry so much about forgetting things and I still have extra time preparing my own bag. I’ve learned so much from past traveling experiences and I don’t think I’ll ever want to go through all those bad stuff again. Besides, it feels good to be all geared up!

How about you? What’s your secret to effective packing for your little one?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Inno turns 1: A Superhero Party

Inno's birthday party is finally over. Kali and I are super grateful to all the people who came and celebrated with us. I'm truly touched with the effort my side of the family showed after coming all the way from Laguna. They even rented two vans just so a lot of them could come amidst the distance and the weather. Of course, I would also like to commend Kali's side since most of them were present for the event. 

Our Saturday started, especially mine, early. Although I slept late the Friday night to finish the lootbags and to clean up, I still woke up early next morning to prepare for Inno's Kindermusik graduation. It was their last day for the semester and just like in big school, they'll be getting diplomas too. My father-in-law joined us to witness the certificate-giving. 

After Kindermusik, we decided to kill some time first at our UP Bliss Unit before heading to the venue since it's still to early to go to Shakey's. While waiting, Kali and I decided to have our hair done. We left Inno with Tita Carol and Mika while we go downstairs. When we got to the nearby salon, the parlorista said that their blow-dryer broke down, the reason why they can't accommodate shampoo + blow-dry + haircut services for women. I had to walk to another salon just to get my hair washed and blown dry. Good thing though because I saw my FIL there getting his haircut and nails done and decided to treat me instead. Yihee!

Noon was approaching when I got back to UP Bliss. Kali decided to leave for the venue already. On our way, Cats of Tazzy Cakes called and said they're around the area already. I was super excited to see the cake she designed for Inno. When we arrived at Shakey's Tomas Morato though, Inno fell asleep in the car and so Kali had to go down by himself to ask the manager if we could setup already. Cats was super sweet to approach me in the car just to show me a picture of the cake. Aside from the cake, I ordered two dozens of chocolate cupcakes with the baby Justice League designs. I wasn't able to take a bite of the cuppies but guests who were lucky enough to snag one were all commending how moist and delicious it was! 

Here's a collage of photos of the cake taken by our good friends :)
During my previous post, I uploaded a photo of the set-up I want for the cake and I achieved it somehow. I reused old wine, milk, appliance boxes and covered it with Japanese paper. In order to have an organized look, I decided to stick with the three primary colors. For the windows, I cut black and yellow art papers and with the use of the very handy double-sided tape, stuck them to the boxes.

Photo courtesy of Ninong Voltaire
For the lootbags, I ordered cute and super chic cupcake cups and baker's twine from Paper Chic Studio and stuffed our sweet treats there. I had the tag designed and made by my youngest sister Angel. She also printed the straw flags and the photobooth props I made. I bought the clear pouch at Chocolate Lover Inc., Main Branch. Imagine, I only went there just to get these good quality plastic bags which can be used for stuffing bread, goodies etc,.

The Kids! :)
Random Pictures from the party :)
Some kids came in their favorite superhero costumes and we appreciate that so much. Those who didn't came with theirs were free to wear the masks I made. They were supposedly for the adults but the kids loved it so I didn't bother.

The big kids had their share of F-U-N too!
Other than the kids, the kids-at-heart had their fair share of fun and games too. Everybody was in full competition mode. Unfortunately for the girls, after losing two rounds, they were asked to spell INNO using their butts while the boys get to watch in delight. Haha.

Julian's turn for the longest 'Happy Birthday, Inno!'
For the hosts, we hired from Leny's Party Needs and General Merchandise. They're tied up with Shakey's and they are also their accredited balloon supplier. Since we don't want the hassle and expense of finding a good party host, I just checked out reviews from fellow moms and found out that these two were great ones. They're clowns actually but since I am scared of clowns and not all kids enjoy seeing clowns as well, we requested that they wear tuxedos instead. I would definitely recommend these two since they brought a lot of laughter, fun and magic for both our young and adult guests.

My side of the family :)

Kali's side :)

With the Lolos and Lolas :)

Our sincerest gratitude from the bottom of our hearts :)

We will surely never forget this very special day. :) 

Until Inno's next party! :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

{First Birthday Preps}

I believe that firsts are always special.

And with Inno's first birthday just around the corner, I kinda turned that into a mantra. I want his very first birthday to be extra special with a lot of personal touches done by yours truly. 

Our first plan was to have it in our village clubhouse, just have the food catered, hire a party host and rent some kiddie booths. However, we find it too costly and won't fit in the budget and so we opted for Option B which is to have it in a fastfood restaurant. At first, I was very much opposed at the thought but after some ocular visits, inquiries and research, I could say that somehow the choice was right. One, it fits the budget; two, I don't have to worry about the party host and games; three, I can still shower some fairy DIY dust.
For the venue, we decided to have it at Shakey's Tomas Morato. Our first option was the Quezon Avenue branch because it can hold a good number of guests but when we checked it, our preferred dates were already booked. We were the least priority so we decided to check other branches. 

Since the TM branch only offers two themes, we chose the Justice League over Barney for Inno. So it'll be a Super Hero Party. I've checked some photos via Pinterest and got some ideas there. Here are some:

This Photo isn't mine. I want to achieve this setup :)

We paid and extra amount for amenities such as loot bags, invitations etc., For the food, it will be served in a buffet style. The cake and cupcakes will be done by Tazzy Cakes and shouldered by my parents as their birthday gift for Inno. 
I made this web invite via
I also edited this one :)

I'll share more details on my next post. :) Meanwhile, I'll be collating materials to be used for my DIYs. I love DIYs and I can't wait to get my hands dirty. 

{Kindermusik: Our First Learning Haven}

Way before Inno was born, I always thought of ways to help him become a bright kid. I think every parents' dream is to have an intelligent kid who is sociable and independent. When we were still kids, the only learning support we have before entering nursery is our parents. Well, at least in my case. We first learn how to babble, recognize sounds, make signs or walk with the help of our ever-loving parents. 

However, at this time and age of advanced learning, there are a number of institutions where we can send our children even before they reach their first year of life. I have to be honest, I never really thought of those schools back then. Not that I don't want to send Inno to any of them, in fact, I inquired to some and made research through their websites and testimonials of parents. It's just that, as a young mom who's just introduced to the role, I'm not yet as aware as now how those would benefit my kiddo. 

I first learned about Kindermusik through Kali's nephew Julian who started attending a class at the age of two months. The venue of the class is very accessible to them and his Tita Tin was one of the instructors there. Kindermusik helped Julian advanced in his speech. Before even reaching the age of one, he could already say simple everyday words audibly. By his first year, he could already pick up melody and rhythm of songs and could sing/babble along. He loves music and memorize by heart a lot of nursery songs. Up until now at the age of three, he still takes Kindermusik class under Teacher Suzette. In fact, his baby brother Javier attends his own class too.

I wanted Inno to learn and love music. As someone who never knew how to play any instrument and just practice her vocals with the help of a videoke machine, I want my kid to be fully-interested and capable of making music. Moreover, other than honing that love for rhythm and songs, I want him to learn more things through socializing with other kids. And we made the right choice because Kindermusik actually do just that and more. 

Although for some reasons, Kali was hesitant to send Inno to one before. First, because there's no accessible KM school in our area. We live in a far-off village inside a village with hassle means of going out without a car. He thought it might just stress Inno if we make him ride a public transport. (Btw, we do actually have a car at home but he's scared to drive and won't let me take driving lessons. Boo, I know.) During Inno's 4th month, we were offered to take trial classes at Gingerbread School just outside Congressional Village. We attended one and since the place is too far from home and the curriculum was a mix of infants and toddlers, we declined. Another reason was that the husband thinks Inno was too young for the program eventhough it seemed like he enjoyed the trial class. 

So when Inno reached his eight month, I knew within me that there's no more reason not to send Inno to a Saturday class. First, he's eight months already. Other parents enroll their kids as young as a month old and I felt like he's missing so much already. Second, I found a KM Facility close to home and third, I am just determined to send him to a class.  And so I texted KM Capitol Hills if they're accepting trial classes, which they really do. I also made my research beforehand, so I know during the time I inquired that a new class schedule is accepting applicants.

It was late November last year when Inno started school and the first class was just awesome although we came in a little late. Hehe. During the first day, mommies get to introduce themselves and their kids and I wasn't able to do that because I'm looking for my socks. However, the little boy was eager to make a mark. He was humming and babbling every time Teacher Suzette talks and sings. He was also participative with exercises and plays and love getting along with other kids. 

With Inno's age, he is currently under the The Village class. Babies zero until 18 months can enroll under this program. It is a 45-minute class with lessons that include routine or repetition which enables the child to remember certain exercises. There  are reading, listening and playing activities as well. Every week, Teacher Suzette injects more and more music, activity and fun as the program progresses. Other than that, KM learning doesn't have to stop in the classroom because kids get to take home materials which they can listen to, play and read at home. What I love about Kindermusik is we get to see families each week and sing with them while our kids learn. Moreover, it has become something we always look forward to on weekends.

Right now, we are on our final leg of the program. We are actually considering enrolling Inno to one of their summer classes for all the weekends of April. When it comes to Inno's holistic development, I don't think we will ever stop investing and looking for good 'schools' that will help him become the best that he can be.  

Want to know more about Kindermusik and what program suits your child? Click here.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

{Current Favorite} Christina Perri's Distance

I always say that it's not actually easy being a full-time mom. Others think I have all my time in my hands and I sometimes believe that too but it's half true. With an active little boy who's learning to explore his surroundings and slowly practicing to walk when he's awake, I definitely have no time to do other things apart from looking after him. I only get to do my stuff when he's taking a nap or watching Baby Signing Time. [Yes, those three videos definitely never fails to catch his attention every time.] 

On a daily basis, my only constant companion besides Ate Jem and of course the little boss, is the internet. I get to know the latest scoops and stay in touch with my family and friends through the internet. On those lucky days Kali doesn't need to bring Macario to the office, I'm lucky to get to download music and videos, browse the net, edit and blog via Macbook. However, during PBA days, I have to extend some patience using our tablet since it's browser crashes most of the time. Boo me, I know. Now I actually can't wait to have my own money and gift myself the mini version. 

Anyway, earlier this week, I was able to spend sometime browsing videos on Youtube. I bumped into Christina Perri's videos and man, I instantly crushed over her. I love her song 'A Thousand Years' not solely because I love the Twilight Series (I miss Edward!) but also because one of my dear friend's sister chose it for their first couple dance during their wedding. I hid my tears of course. I'm a sucker-for-weddings type, yeah. 

After watching the MV of 'A Thousand Years', I wasn't able to stop myself from checking out her other videos as well and got fond of this song of hers with Mr. A-Z. 

Enjoy, right? :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

{Fulfilling a NY Resolution} Balik-Alindog Project

Part of my 2013 NY's resolution is to go back to being fit. Not that I was really fit and fab pre-pregnancy but I feel like I need to get back to that old skinny-no-bulging-tummy body. I never really had a tummy problem back then. It was flat the way I liked it even if I eat gazillion cups of rice. Oh yes, carbo-loading is my hobby. I used to fool myself that it's magic how my tummy never really get's big no matter how big my appetite is. But of course, not until motherhood struck me, I bid farewell to that awesomeness nine months after.

By the start of the year, I've been imagining myself exercising. Crunches. Dumbbells. Sweating. Jogging around the village. Things like that. Problem is: it remained an illusion. Not even close to reality. It seemed like my brain was the only one doing the exercising. I know I need to find a motivation to work this out. I do actually want to start my own physical routine but it has been almost two years since I last worked out in a gym and I've totally forgotten the routine my trainer taught me. So the first question I asked myself is: Where do I begin?

For a kickoff, I searched for effective workout videos on Youtube. Since I'm restarting, I looked for an easy set of exercises that would aim on the parts that I want to tone. I saved the links in my desktop so I could just copy + paste it on the address bar on my workout day. The husband's set of dumbbells and exercise ball were a good help too. I don't really have to hit the gym to start being fit.

Would you believe that even a mom like me had conflict with my schedule? I know you think that I have all the time in my hands since I'm just a SAHM but apparently, I don't. A lot of people look at SAHMs that way. But when you're a SAHM, it's as good as getting employed too. You get your hands full too, only that: you don't get financially compensated. Since I have a growing baby boy who loves to explore around the house and likes getting his hands on just about anything he sees, I don't get to do things in my own time. I have to get him to sleep to be able to grab some time for myself. So to be able to push into my schedule some workout time, I send him to a morning after-bath nap first before getting in my trainers. If he frets, I move my workout time in the afternoon during his nap. 

And yes, even if I only workout in the house, particularly in our bedroom while the boss is snoring, I still sport a gym getup. It adds a dose of seriousness and motivation while I'm at it. I don't think I'll ever get myself doing crunches in my pajamas and bedroom slippers. Since I associate exercising with my trainer kicks, sock-less or not, I wear my rubber shoes to get the feel of it and it psyches me.

Discipline is really the key. Seeing the bed while working out is tempting and whenever I feel like lying down after one set, I turn my back from it. And since I have a very limited time, I make most out of it. Also, part of my mindset is that I won't get to open the laptop or watch TV unless I'm done working out. Self-punishment/Reward system also helps. For example, there's a new episode already of the series that I'm watching. I told myself that I would only get to see it if after I workout. That's enough to keep me moving. Hello? We're talking Damon Salvatore here!

At the end of each workout, I'm totally happy realizing that I did something for myself even if I'm just at home. It kinda gives a boost in my self-esteem  department. I feel more inspired to do my usual stuff for the rest of the day. Truly, I could say that working out offers a punch of happy hormones and I don't think I'll ever stop giving myself a kick of those in the near future.

Monday, February 18, 2013

{Today's Reflection} Do it for Yourself

Oftentimes, I would always find myself mindful of what other people might think. Sometimes, I find it good but most of the time, not. It has torn me between doing and not doing something that I want and which most of the time, I would rather NOT do something just because I think that other people won't approve of it. And the end result: I feel regretful, unfulfilled and unhappy.

I came across the The Happiness Project book by Gretchen Rubin. For a year, she wrote theories, did research, tested those and see if there's a change in her state of happiness. At the start of the book,  she reiterated 12 commandments for herself that she would basically follow to obtain her goal which is as simple: to be happy. Her first commandment above anything else is: Be Gretchen. Yup, that's her first and priority rule, to be herself at all times.

I want to take, remind and live out that rule myself. Be Me. I think no other person could best live out that rule but ME. It sounds way too easy but actually practicing it by a person like me who's very much conscious to what other people say is quite hard. One instance I feel really conscious about is most of the time about my career which is actually not applicable to me at the moment simply because I'm not employed, just a stay-at-home mom. I know for a fact within me that I'm still not yet ready to work or go back and try to work in a company again. And I also know that I actually don't imagine myself working again for some employer. But what am I doing? I'm currently scouting job openings that best suit me or I think I will be good at even though my heart is telling me that I'm not yet ready to take a dive on the working pool again. And why am I doing it? Because I know my husband will like it. Because I want to show my in-laws that I'm getting back on my feet again. But at the end of the day, I could hear myself telling me, "Who are you actually kidding?"

See? I always try to please the people around me that I end up feeling miserable within. Today, I realized that it's time to put a stop to this kind of attitude. It's time to be true, to tap the inner me, to get back at the things that spoke well of me, to do things that won't compromise who I am and my happiness. I feel like it's a long way to go but nonetheless, I want to be happy and at home with myself so I am pushing this. It's time to do things for myself, not for other people.

Be Me.
Be Arianne.