Wednesday, April 30, 2008

If I Won P100,000 SM Shopping Money

Got a text the other day, telling me I have some raffle points and the prize is a hundred grand shopping money at SM. That got me thinking—if I won (though my chances are slim, since I didn’t join the raffle), what would I buy? Well, here’s my shopping list:

  1. Bed for Raine. We still co-sleep. Last week, I was sleeping in between The Hubby and Raine, and I had to lie there like a log, with my arms growing numb raised over my head. I haven’t quite figured out how to move Raine into her own bed though, and if it goes into her own room…Forgot where I saw this bed that’s convertible from crib to toddler bed to full bed. It also has built in drawers and desk. Kinda pricey. Estimated cost: P15,000.
  2. Vacuum cleaner. Definitely need one. Looks like Raine has inherited my dust allergies. The wet-dry, heavy duty one looks like the perfect one, so we can clean screens as well. Estimated cost: P9,000.
  3. New mattress for us. Of course I’d love that Tempur-something that costs as much as a house. But I’d settle for a nice Uratex one. Our current mattress has permanent dips; it’s like a hill, with a peak at the middle and down slopes at each side. Would love some new sheets and comforters as well. Estimated cost: P20,000.
  4. Car seat for Raine. She’s rapidly outgrowing her current one. Estimated cost: P15,000.
  5. Mirror for our bathroom. The Hubby comes to the room to shave. Enough said. Estimated cost: P3,000.
  6. Curtains. So we can change this set which is wash-and-rehang-immediately. Estimated cost: P4,000.
  7. Bakeware. I don’t really know how much these things cost, and I have no idea what I really need. But since I’m fantasy shopping anyway, I will set aside a budget and see what I can buy with it. Silicone stuff most likely. Estimated cost: P8,000.
  8. Clothes for me! I haven’t bought anything fashionable in ages. Last article of clothing I bought was a pair of shorts. I need shoes! Dresses! Tops! Pants! Skirts! A new bikini! A bikini coverup! More tops! More shoes! Estimated cost: P10,000.
  9. Clothes for The Hubby. Though I shop for The Hubby’s clothes more than I do for me (me – 0; Hubby – 4), I’d still want to get him some stuff. Estimated cost: P6,000.
  10. Clothes and toys and stuff for Raine. Ehehe. Can’t help it. Love getting her stuff, even if she has tons. Estimated cost: P5,000.
  11. Stuff for the rest of the family. Share the blessings! Estimated cost: whatever’s left. Ehehe. Am I bad?

Goodbye, Beloved

They came to pick up my beloved books today. I decided to donate them to a community reading room in a seamen's village in Cavite. I was saving them for my own reading room project, but since I don't think that's happening any time soon, those books will be better off with other people enjoying them.

More space for new books then. I welcome donations. :D

Hmm. Let's make it a game. Send me a book (or at least suggest a title of a book) you think I should read. :)

Friday, April 25, 2008

More Baby Stuff I Love

In a way, motherhood is easier in my generation, because of all the cool baby gadgets and gizmos we have (but whether it's easier to raise kids now than in our moms' generation is a different story). My favorite things so far (aside from the stuff in my last post):

  1. Angel Toothbrush. This is like a cross between teether and toothbrush. It can, according to the packaging, clean 10 teeth at a time and clean all six surfaces. Since Raine only has three teeth, and I never knew teeth have six surfaces (I can account for only five), I am duly impressed. It's also easy to use, since Raine likes it and I don't have to force her to use it (unlike that finger brush I tried before--had to force my finger into Raine's mouth, which is scary to do now because her teeth are really sharp). I stick it in the freezer to help soothe her gums. She just has to bite it to clean her teeth. Now my main challenge is remembering to make her brush her teeth.

  2. Jar of Hope Gel. 100% organic and created by the mompreneurs of Indigo Baby. My kind of thing! I use Jar of Hope for everything, from diaper rash (well, almost rash--I put this at any sign of reddening) to insect bites. I also put it on bungang araw, scratches, Raine's gums and any bumpy skin. Works pretty well. My only complaint is that it's more watery than gel-like, but they said they're reformulating it to deal with that (they reply immediately!). It's best kept in the ref--feels good when you put it on sunburnt skin.

  3. Shoo Fly Insect Repellant. I love the smell of this. Also from Indigo Baby, this is 100% organic as well. Works well, isn't sticky and makes skin feel smooth after.

  4. Praise Baby Collection VCD. I try not to let Raine watch TV (though we both watch American Idol. Ehehe. Now, when I sing to her, she claps) and I limit her videos. Among her allowed videos, this is her favorite. It has well-loved praise and worship songs, and it shows stuff she loves--babies and kids playing, furry animals, balls and fish. She can pick her video out of a pile. She gives it to me than she starts dancing--her sign that she wants to watch.

  5. Huggies Pull Up Pants. Makes diaper changing so much easier! At night, or for long stretches between diaper changes, I still use Pro-Kids, since Huggies doesn't absorb as much.

  6. J&J Top-to-Toe Wash. I love the smell of the yellow one. And it's so practical for traveling--no need to bring shampoo, and no worries about sticky bars of soap.

  7. Mommy Matters Nursing Tops. I still breastfeed Raine up to now. It's healthier, saves us a bundle, and makes going out and around so much easier, without tons of equipment to haul. Nursing tops make the whole breastfeeding routine more discreet, especially in public. It's hard to look for decent and affordable nursing tops though. So I'm pretty happy with Mommy Matters. Not only do they have stylish tops, they also do home service! For a minimal fee (which is waived if you make a minimum purchase), they deliver a whole collection to your house, where you can fit and choose at your own pace, and they pick up payment and whatever you didn't get after a few days. Talk about service. I wish they had dressier tops though.
  8. Bugaboo Headband. I don't know what this furry, antennaed headband is called, but it sure made Raine get into kikay stuff. From detesting anything on her hair, she now asks to wear the Bugaboo, clips and hats.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Gifts for SAHM

There was a post on one of my mailing lists a few weeks back, asking what would make a good gift for a woman who decided to be a SAHM--otherwise known as a stay-at-home-mom. Having made the transition myself (technically though, I'm a WAHM, a work-at-home-mom, since I still do rackets every now and then), here's my list of things I'd appreciate (and I'm sure other SAHMs would too):

  1. Gift certificate or voucher for a manicure and pedicure. If you can throw in a foot spa, that would simply be divine. Having your toes look pretty and well-tended, even in your pambahay tsinelas can lift your spirits, especially after a trying day. Even better, throw in a couple of babysitting hours while we grateful SAHMs go for the pedicure.
  2. Gift certificate or voucher for a massage. Carrying the baby, doing chores, running after the toddler--all these take toll on your body. A massage will be utterly orgasmic. Really. Again, add a couple of babysitting hours (or arrange for someone to do so) to make it perfect.
  3. Gift certificate or voucher for a foot massage. This is a totally separate item from a body massage. Mommies' feet take a pounding all day. Enough said.
  4. Home cleaning/organizing/decorating service. Especially for SAHMs with no helpers. Or if not a cleaning service, then some home organization or interior decorating service. I am not artistically inclined, so even after two years in this house, it still looks bland. And now that there's a baby to look after, prettifying the house is at the top of my want list but at the bottom of my to-do list. It's easy to look for someone to do the service these days, and people like Marilen Faustino-Montenegro of Color My Space even have an online store.
  5. Ready made meals. Again, for moms with no help, prepared meals are a godsend. Whenever The Hubby brings home take-out, I melt. Even if it's just Chow King. It doesn't have to be fancy, or from a restaurant; even overruns (not week old leftovers though) from your kitchen will be fine. My sister-in-law, for example, sometimes sends over some of whatever she's cooking, and I totally adore her. What can I say, the way to my heart is really through my stomach!
  6. Clothes. Not like SAHMs go anywhere much. But some nice stay-at-home clothes or more fashionable pambahay would be really appreciated. So when the husbands come home, we don't greet them in ratty shorts and t-shirts (the modern equivalent of the daster) covered with drool, spitup and crayon marks. And some going out clothes would be good too, since pre-preggy and and pre-SAHM outfits would probably not quite fit.
  7. A joyride. I really appreciate it when people give me a lift to wherever. I don't drive (something I must remedy) and The Hubby has the car anyway. So if I have to get anywhere, I commute. And I bring the baby. So it's a big deal when I get to hitch a ride with someone. And an even bigger deal when someone offers to take me wherever I need to go.
  8. A day-off. The Hubby lets me take a day-off once a week. We get our trusty old Aling Lourdes to watch Raine, I hitch out with The Hubby, and I wander around the mall to my heart's content. Alone. No baby. Pure bliss. And The Hubby gives me spending money too. In case a day off isn't feasible, then some alone time at home will suffice. Take the kids out for a walk and let the SAHM have extra time under the shower, or time to nap or just stare at the ceiling and contemplate life.
  9. Decent conversation. There are only so many times you can say, "Where's the baby?" and keep sane. And in cases like mine when there's only you and the baby for the entire day, adult conversation is like manna. So drop by your favorite SAHM's house (check for a good time though) and be prepared to listen (even if it's all about the quality and quantity of poop for the day). Adult companionship is highly appreciated. Bring a treat if you like. Oh, it would also be great if you don't expect to be served and waited on like a guest. Roll up your sleeves and help out, even if it's just to pick up toys scattered around, or clear the table of breakfast, or entertain the baby while we wash the dishes.
  10. A little hobby or project to indulge in. Be it a cross stitch sampler, a knitted scarf, a scrapbook or a decadent bobo book--any bit of free time doing something enjoyable and non-SAHM-related is a great break. Sure, it may not got done immediately (maybe when the last child turns 18). But it's nice to know that in case we do get time (and energy), it's there.
  11. Something kikay. A few months after I had Raine, we had some guests over for dinner. One of them, Maricar, brought me a little kit from Ling Cosmetics, with a cleanser, toner, moisturizer and a couple of cleansing masks. "Most people bring something for the baby," she explained, "I thought that you could use something for yourself." I was so touched. Maricar is single with no kids, yet she was one of the very few who understands that yes, you are a mommy, and you adore anything for your baby. But you still want to be babied yourself, but you most likely will not get anything frivolous for yourself because you'd want to spend that money on your baby.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This Morning

It's 4:20AM. I hear giggling. I pry an eye open. Raine's huge, three-tooth grin greets me, and she squeals in delight, as if saying, "Finally! Someone else is awake!"

She's standing beside the bed, her head level with mine. "Babababa," she says as she thrusts a furry, pink sequined-antennaed hairband at me. I sit up groggily. "Oh, you want to wear your bugaboo," I say. She emphatically nods a yes. I put the hairband on her (crookedly, I think) and lay back down. She giggles and babbles some more. Then she sits down and plays with her toys in the half dark. I drift off.

It's 4:43AM. I feel something hard on my hand. My eyes open to Raine's pleading ones. I look down at my hand. She wants me to hold on to her favorite garden-themed picture frame. I oblige. It feels as if I were in a dream, playing Point to the Object. "Where's the ladybug? Where's the butterfly? Where's the flower?" I mumble. I can barely keep my eyes open to check if she does point to the right thing.

4:49AM. I can hear Raine giggling. She's peeking over me, waving at her Daddy, who turns over in his sleep. I'm still holding on to the picture frame. "It's too early to be awake, Rainey," I tell her. She yawns and goes back to playing, her twinkling antennas bouncing on her head.

At 5AM I get up to go to the bathroom. Raine crawls after me a few moments later. She teeters at the border of the bathroom and the hallway, since she's not allowed inside the bathroom. She hands me my cellphone. I thank her. She sits in the hallway, patiently waiting as I finish my business. When I get out, she lifts her arms to be carried. She's taken off her bugaboo. I bring her back to bed and we snuggle down. In a few minutes, we're both asleep.

Friday, April 04, 2008

A Rock and a Hard Place -- More Party Planning Adventures

Growing up, we always celebrated my birthday at home. After school, entire class would fall in line (there were less than 30 of us) and we would walk to my house (I lived like 5 minutes away, and when I was in Kinder, I used to go home every time the teacher told us to go to the bathroom). My mom, aunts and uncle would work for weeks before my party, making invitations, decorations and party favors. I recently chatted with a grade-school classmate, and she said they so looked forward to my parties every year.

My ultimate, all-time, absolutely most favorite party was my seventh. Since I was already a bookworm way back then, my mom decided to have books as a theme. My aunt wrote and illustrated a story that worked in all the party details; then they mimeographed copies (computers and printers and all that weren't used back then); then cut up each page and hand-colored each drawing; my uncle cut up illustration board to make a cover for each book invitation, which my aunt drew on again. Imagine making more than 30 pieces of that! The giveaways were candies and little toys in a 'book' box my mom made from cardboard, with the name of each guest written on the spine. During the party the giveaways were arranged on the shelf, like a library. They cooked all the food (yes, the usual spaghetti and hotdogs and barbecue), organized all the games and did all the hosting. Only when the party was done did the adults come to pick up their kids.

Anyway, that was a rather long intro to this post on planning and executing Raine's first party. I wanted her party to be like mine, and my sisters'. I didn't want store bought stuff, or party professionals. But given that 1) Raine's guest list was huge, since it was her dedication and birthday celebration; 2) our current house wouldn't fit all the guests; and 3) even if it did, I don't think I can cook that large scale. So I settled for having it in Mario's Kitchen in Tiendesitas instead.

Mario's offered to do balloon centerpieces for the tables (for an additional fee, of course) to make it more festive, but I declined. For one thing, what will you do with the balloons after the party? I don't think they're quite environment friendly as well. And also, I am such a cheapskate. I can't imagine spending P1,200 for balloons. So in the tradition of our Baguio parties, I decided to make my own centerpieces.

I liked the idea of some friends of ours, who had their photos at the wedding reception tables. I thought it was a good idea to let people see pictures of Raine as she grew up (and besides, it was good use, other than Multiply, for the thousands of pictures I had of Raine). So I decided to make a rock-and-wire photo holder. Theoretically, it's easy to make. You get a rock, paint it, let it dry, twist wire on and voila! Artsy-craftsy photo holder. Ha! Little did I know.

For one thing, did you know that these days you have to buy rocks? I remember being able to walk around Baguio and rocks were everywhere for the picking (I can imagine myself old and in the rocking chair, saying things like, "Rocks? Rocks? Bah! In my day we didn't need to buy rocks! were talking about socks?")! Unless, of course, I went around the village going through the neighbors' landscaped yards, you apparently can no longer pick up rocks these days. Fortunately, my in laws had a nice collection of river stones that they used in a school project (the in laws run a school in San Pablo), so they hauled the rocks from the bukid over to our house for painting.

Now painting was a different thing entirely. I mean how difficult can it be to paint a rock? In my mind, it was such a duh task. And so I kept putting off painting the rocks. Until the day before the party. My friend Stef (Raine's Tishpy--or godmother) came over to help. I am so glad she did. Because I discovered painting rocks is not that easy, especially if you're as--ahem--artistically uninclined as I apparently am. My first rock looked like a bad case of chicken pox and zits. Taking pity on me (and the rocks), Stef said, "Paint one can go wrong with stripes." And still Stef had to coach me on how to paint stripes! Ayayay. Putting the wire on wasn't easy either; I couldn't figure out how to use the long nose pliers at first, but I eventually got the hang of it. So long story short, I ended up with only 24 out of the originally planned 40 rock photo holders (I couldn't in good conscience hold Stef hostage until she finished all the rocks).
In the end, I think they came out rather nice. Thanks so much, Stef! You are such a blessing! Oh, and Fuji Film in Glorietta had a great printing promo, so I spent half of what I expected for the prints, so that was another blessing. As I mentioned in my previous post, we have experienced such blessings and favor since Raine came into our lives. And we are grateful.