Oct 30, 2009

Scholastic Book Sale

Yes, reading helps. And we promised we'd announce Scholastic's next warehouse sale...

Click on the picture if your eyes need help. This sale even benefits typhoon affected schools. More reason to shop shop shop.

Oct 29, 2009

Pink October

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I wasn't going to let this month go by without saying a word. Or two. Not with one being diagnosed every three minutes. Or one in every seven being diagnosed in a lifetime.

Not out to alarm. Just a friendly reminder to set that alarm. Once a month to conduct a breast self-exam AND once a year for a mammogram if you happen to be over 40.

Now repeat after me... Early detection saves lives.

Oct 27, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Monsters can be our friends, just like these cardboard creatures Bear and Chicha love. Thank you Wooster Collective for celebrating street art.

Because we like our halloween happy, not scary. Press play!

Hope you meet some groovy monsters yourself this trick or treat season!

Oct 25, 2009

Quiz Bee

I still have dreams that I didn't finish a unit in college or pass a test in high school. Then I wake up. My diplomas are safely tucked somewhere in MammaMia's drawers, I think. Or I have them somewhere. The units are complete. Thank God. I can sleep easy.

I have vivid memories of surprise tests. Why oh why did the teachers get such satisfaction out of those? Just when I thought my fears remain nightmares and spot quizzes are things of the past, I can't believe my luck. I gave birth to Alex Trebek. And our home is the set of Jeopardy. Trivial Pursuit. Or the Spelling Bee Nationals. Tato is the self-proclaimed host. And we are all forced to be contestants.

One morning Tato left this quiz for the MacYaya

This is MacYaya with no other choice but to answer

Oh cool.. Tato is giving her a big fat check for going well over and beyond her call of duty...

Oh.. not really. Apparently, its all just perfect ad placement for him

He handles his own advertising too, I guess. The little man means business.
EDITED TO ADD: I just realized why MacYaya didn't deserve a check. Umm.. Number 12 perhaps?

Oct 24, 2009

Boom Boom Pow!

After School hip-hoppers at Keys Grade School gave us a good show to end the semester. They started with Michael Jackson's Bad, another rap song whose name escapes me, then ended with something from the Black Eyed Peas. Just thought of sharing some fun, so here are Bear and the rest of the Keys hip hop crew with their finale.... It doesn't have the best audio, but I just had to post.

Behind the scenes... Bear with pretty pretty Arianna.

Bear's friend Marco does a mean robot!

Even the audience was cool... hey Isabella! Peace!

Thank you Graphic Arts After-Schoolers and Teacher Jamie for designing our shirts. Graphic Artists rock! The hip-hoppers got to dance, the artists got to exhibit.

Last but not the least, super duper thanks to Teacher Jamie and Teacher Reagan for some great after-school fun and learning. Please watch this clip from last year's World Hip Hop Championships and see the solid performance from Teacher Reagan and the rest of THE Philippine All-Stars.

They won this by the way, as in World Champion! Can't wait until the hip hop kids reunite again next sem....

Oct 22, 2009

For Baby Bear

Warning, this is going to be a mush fest.

This morning I got a text from a mom of Bear's classmate. It started with, "V--- is the sweetest... " Apparently, he has been her son's staunch defender in school - about something I will not elaborate on. Let's just say it was relevant enough that a teacher brought it to her attention. The story got me a bit teary and a lot proud. It was another moment that made me think... I gave birth to a 30-year-old man. From the things he says and does, to his uncanny way of reading people, even his taste in music....

Dude, what is up with you? Why are you too cool for words?

Our little cool dude loves this song by Skint and Demoralised. It's a sweet Brit-pop tune that even Chicha likes and it's on heavy rotation on the way to school these past weeks. I think this would currently be No. 1 on DJ Baby Bear's Carpool Top 40. This one's for you Baby B... with all my LOVE, LOVE and LOVE.... your Mama forever and ever, amen.

P.S. The name of the song is Red Lipstick, Loose Women is the BBC talk show in which it was performed. Nothing R-rated on this clip or the lyrics, don't worry....

Oct 20, 2009

Bears, Baguio and Bouncing Back

While I'm a fan of all things minimalist, I wasn't always like that. I remember going berserk completely insane a little overboard with stuffed toys and dolls way back when. My pink, frilly bedroom was proof enough. An odd choice? Maybe. A rare one? Hardly. How else can you explain the billions of stuffed toys sold in stores all over the world year after year. Could never really put my finger on why I loved them so much. Why many children do. I only knew they made me happy. And when I took them along, they reminded me of a warm, safe place.

Cathy Guballa, friend, writer and blogger , grief counsellor and driving force behind Migi's Corner knows just the thing to help alleviate the emotional pain our children are suffering after two successive typhoons that have crippled the country. This is a repost of her column from the Sunday paper.

The children in many of Baguio's evacuation centers have been severely traumatized by the typhoon. Reports say that many of them stare blankly at walls and have no appetite. A stuffed toy is a small thing, but for a child who has been through a nightmare such as the recent floods and typhoon, it can mean everything and help him or her break out of that shell. Together with Pine, A Baguio NGO, a group of friends and I are trying to raise at least 500 bears or stuffed toys to send to Baguio's children. If you would like to donate your old teddy bears or stuffed toys, please email 10000bears@gmail.com or send a text message to 0917-529-1964 so we can advise you on the drop off point. Thank you very much.

So grab those toys and send them her way. While you're at it, give your own little ones a tight hug today. All children deserve warm, safe places.

Oct 18, 2009

We've Come a Long Way, Baby!

Just posted something about the science of kids and this age of enlightened parenting. Now let's look back to how far we've come courtesy of Life Magazine's archives.

It's bad enough people cage dogs... but this?

Baby Cage, 1937
A nanny supervising a baby suspended in a wire cage attached to the outside of a high tenement block window. The cages were distributed to members of the Chelsea Baby Club in London who have no gardens or qualms about putting a child on a box dangling over a busy street.

Safety first!

Baby Holder, 1937
Jack Milford, player with the Wembley Monarchs ice hockey team, has invented a carrying device so that his baby can join his wife and himself on the ice. Because who wouldn't want to take something as fragile as a baby onto a rock hard surface with very little friction.

Forget affection and skin-to-skin contact, we've got machines for that.

Beating Breasts, 1963
A pair of artificial breasts with built-in heartbeat, an invention from - where else? - Japan intended as a sleeping aid for very young children.

Because ONE cigarette isn't bad enough....

And the title of the photo series these images came from? Surprise, sursprise... 30 Dumb Inventions. Just showed you 4, there are 26 more at Life Magazine online.

Oct 16, 2009

The Science of Kids

I was in for a few enlightening shockers, thanks to this book.

The central premise of this book is that many of modern society's strategies for nurturing children are in fact backfiring - because key twists in the science have been overlooked.

NurtureShock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman deftly tackles key issues facing all parents. Some issues you probably thought were non-issues, but are actually worth pondering. Like how praise can harm your child. How old-school methods of instilling honesty can backfire and encourage lying. How an additional hour of sleep at night could spell the difference between a sullen, angry, ADHD-diagnosed teen and one that's happy and doing well in school. A chapter called The Science of Teen Rebellion explains why arguing can actually be a sign of respect and a healthy parent-child relationship. You'll see what researchers discovered about Filipino teens and why they tend to have better relationships with their folks as opposed to the American teens observed in the same study. Read about Tools of the Mind - a preschool program that was developed to hone preschoolers executive function. Yes, it seems self-control can be taught!

All that is just a teaser. There's plenty more to discover.

Experiments on human nurturing. Don't drop the test tube!

The book quotes a lot of science. Many times, Bronson and Merryman were first-hand observers to the studies they cite. They explain things so well, you'll be riveted. It gave me a lot of aha moments. In this day and age of hovering helicopter parents (okay, guilty!) - sometimes we just have to relax, lay-off the over-protecting and just let our kids be kids. I am still hovering though, as I'm not about to miss out on anything during their growing up years. I'm just working harder to keep an open mind and gain better perspective.

We're pretty lucky to be parents these days as there is so much science, research and experience to take from. But ultimately, the book made me realize... while many aspects of child rearing can now be put down to a science, much of parenting is still an art - the most challenging balancing act of all time. Read it and you'll find out why.

Oct 14, 2009

Mad Men on the Street

Presenting a mid-week treat for those of you who love Sesame Street, are hooked on the series Mad Men, smitten by the dapper Mr. Don Draper and dig the fact that they all hook up to give us a big laugh. Leave it to the creative minds behind PBS to manage to sneak in a lesson in vocabulary. Enjoy but be ready to answer "Mama, what is a sycophant?"

Because no one is ever too old to watch Sesame or too small to learn big words. Have a great day and keep those "sticky smiles on your faces".

Oct 11, 2009

Spongebob Pink Pants

So.. maybe some moms aren't too hot about the world's most famous sea sponge, SpongeBob. But when he ditches those yellow square bottoms for pink pants in support of Breast Cancer Awareness this month, I'm digging him already.

For the entire month of October, Nickelodeon Philippines is selling an exclusive range of limited edition SpongeBob Pink Pants merchandise for the li'l ones. Shirts, pillows, totes, awareness bands and a really cool multiway headwear are available for purchase at the kiddie section in all SM Department Stores.

And what do you know? Proceeds from the sale of these items will benefit my very own ICanServe Foundation . I am loving this Bob already.

At the launch. Mak and Nona's Bear hamming it up. Thank you,Tato for taking the photo.

The boys smitten by the sponge

Tato cozying up to SpongeBob

Oh, and we did bring Chicha along. Just no photos on me as she was too busy at the display booth and at the cashier tickled pink with all the new pink gear.

Oct 10, 2009

Philippine Blog Awards 2009

Pretty cool collage of all the finalists' sreencaps.

Cue awards-speak cliche: It was an honor a trip just to be nominated... and to make it among this year's finalists under the Family and Living category. We didn't snag the award. But that's all good since we didn't even expect to be a finalist to begin with, hence the opening cliche. Anyhooo... congratulations to the winners at last night's Philippine Blog Awards!

Spotted: Viva La Vida Mama!

Cue jazzy music for awards show: Think FAMAS Awards circa 1970's. Heehee...

Oct 9, 2009

Don't Forget the Accessories!

If you have a little girl, maybe you've already met Fancy Nancy? Chicha has been loving this book series written by Jane O'Connor and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser.

I love Nancy too because she's not afraid to express herself with her quirky sense of style - incorporating tutus, ruby shoes and all things fuzzy and feathery. Her favorite color? Fuschia. You see, Nancy also likes her words to be fancy and dreams of learning French someday because she explains "everything in French sounds fancy!" Chicha completely digs all this.

I dig it too because, Nancy is no princess who's happy ending is dependent on snagging prince charming. She's no Bratz. She's not Barbie with the impossibly perfect face and anatomy... a possible precursor to low-self esteem and eating disorders.

She's a girl who works on being fancy, likes learning fancy words, and making her world a fancier place to live in. That's all. It's great because she's not aspiring to be some air-brushed-cover-girl-media-stereotype. Nancy uses her creativity and her can-do attitude to reach the levels of fancy she aspires to. Which is why we let our in-house Fancy Nancy live out her own fashion fantasies.

Thanks Tita Anna for the dress. Colored pearls from Divisoria. Feather clips from one of her old fairy costumes - they used to flicker with light. Bulbs have conked out. Seriously. They make stuff like that these days!

If you have been reading our little blog for some time, you know I have very little say on what our Chicha-fashionista wears. Case in point here and another here. Oh and here. From the green and pink pearls to the feather hair accessories... Chicha styled herself for school today.

Channelling Nancy. Fancy, eh?

To all the little girls out there: Live your dreams and just be who you want to be. Viva creative expression! Until our next post... as Nancy would want to say... au revoir!

Oct 5, 2009

Nice Weather for Ducks

Credit goes to Lemon Jelly for the title. Why the eff did you guys split up?! Namesake track seemed to be a good post-typhoon song. We've been listening to the kick-ass BBC Live Lounge rendition over family dinner the past few days. I share the song with you here. No ifs, no buts, no fees... download na. You're welcome Lemon Jelly fans!

During this past week of rainy, gloomy weather, Bear made this painting "because I miss the sun".

Our 5-year-old painter also really likes this Lemon Jelly song. Maybe because when he was wee-months-old I used to play it (a lot) while nursing him or just dancing around the room while I carried him. I remember Baby Bear giggling when I made my funny voice singing, all the ducks are swimming in the waaa-ter! So here... just a little electro-pop ditty to welcome the sun...

Chicha is also glad Mr. Sun came out today so they can go back to school. Good morning sunshine!

Mr. Sun kisses the flowers somewhere outside our home, as we all get back to work and school and outdoor play.

After a week reeling from a climate change calamity, there is still a lot to be done to overcome loss and tragedy - not to mention stop global warming! But life goes on... and we can still count some of our blessings.

Oct 4, 2009

Beating the Odds

80 years ago yesterday my favorite doctor arrived in this world. 41 years later -on the day - his own son was born. 35 years after - still on that very day - twin boys arrived. That's the GranddadDoc, MacDaddy and the Mak-Tatos. Four boys, three generations, one birthday. What are the odds of that?

Yesterday, a super typhoon was all set to demolish an already storm-ravaged nation. We prepared. And braced ourselves. And prayed very hard. Rains did come but the super typhoon never did.

Yesterday was a good day. I like defying the odds.

Happy Birthday Dearest Boys!

my boys on the go