Nov 27, 2009

My Parents Were Awesome

...or so apparently the world would like to think. How else can one explain the phenomenon of new "It-blog" MY PARENTS WERE AWESOME? A surprisingly simple but ultra groovy site oozing with nostalgia where anyone can send in photos of their parents and grandparents from a time "before the fanny packs and Andrea Bocelli concerts".

It's a comforting daily post-it reminding us that yes, before rules about curfews and parties and riding cars with boys, they too (along with thick moustaches, greased-down hair, slim waistbands and big skirts) were once fashionable, happy-go-lucky folks that knew how to have a damn good time.

I've already submitted this photo:

Mak, Tato, Chicha, Bear: one day we hope you think we're pretty awesome ourselves.

Nov 25, 2009

Bohemian Rhapsody a'la The Muppets

Oh wow, I just found the best cover version of a Queen classic. Tadaaaah....

Don't you just love Animal? Mamaaa! If you're a fan of The Muppets, they just launched their own YouTube channel. Show the kids!

And here's my P.S.

Yes Waldorf and Statler, we love the internet too. Bring on the sarcastic comments.... Hahaa!

Nov 24, 2009

From Tita Faye, With Love

Here's a portrait of 1-year-old Chicha that hangs in her room, lovingly made by her Tita Faye.

Faye is one of my good friends who doesn't just do wonders with Photoshop - she also paints, makes clothes, cooks great lasagna, makes her own tiramisu, makes her own limoncello in the prettiest bottles, designs interiors and a whole lot of other creative stuff.

For no occasion at all, Chicha will get a dress from her, or a skirt or a pair of shorts - all fantastically cute and lovely. I'm going... hey, what's the occasion? Her: Oh I had extra fabric... I think it's more like, she gets inspired and we get gifts all year round. Did I mention she has two adorable kids? Her son is one of Bear's best buddies, who has declared he is marrying Chicha one day. Her daughter is even more charming than the charming, quirky clothes her mom makes for her.

Anywaaay.... One thing Faye and I share is a love for Nena Saguil.

Landscapes of the Mind I, 1969

Landscapes of the Mind II, 1973

Landscapes of the Mind III, 1973

So she sends me this the other day. Me plus Saguil-inspired pointilism equals this...

"Nona Saguil" hee hee!

I don't really like myself in pictures, but I'll take exception if Faye does some magic with the photo. It's not even Christmas yet but the gifts are starting to pour in....

Nov 23, 2009

Good Read - A Color of His Own

One of the Mak-Tato's all-time favorite books (and mine!) is Leo Lionni's A Color of His Own. The sweetest little story about a chameleon sick and tired - and ironically green with envy - of not having his own color.

Parrots are green, elephants are gray, pigs are pink...except for chameleons. They change color wherever they go.

Like many of us at least once in our lives, the chameleon tries desperately to fit in.

If I remain on a leaf, i shall be green forever, and so I too will have a color of my own.

And like most of us that are in a hurry to get things done without thinking things through, he realizes that the seasons change the color of the leaf. And our sad little storybook hero is back to square one. So you can imagine we are all tickled pink (pun intended) when he finally finds another chameleon friend. And they decide the heck with trying to fit in. They travel, change colors and find joy in being different. Together.

We will still change color wherever we go, but you and I will always be alike.

Its a beautiful story about friendship, acceptance, embracing change, finding inner peace and being happy with yourself when you find it.

This one will probably find itself under the pile when newer, more exciting books start to arrive. I'll be holding on to this one for a while longer. One day a story about a certain chameleon may just help brighten someone's day. Or mine.

Nov 19, 2009

'Twas a Trip

Time is up. Show is over. I'm back. Thankful for the adventure that was (it was a trip!) but even more thankful for baby-sitting grandfolks and for the wonderful 21st century treasures like emailing and instant messaging (that was trippy!) that make mothering-on-the-road a tad more bearable.

Mommy Me-Time at the Roman Theater (Orange, Vaucluse)

Mak's daily email (the animal list what else?.. but check out the last ones. Awww.. Let me gush.)

...and journalist on-the-move Tato's regular reports on the goings-on back home. (Take note second e-mail is for mama ONLY in case Papa tries to read over my shoulder. Hehe)

Still gushing.

Nov 17, 2009

Bear's Birthday Rumpus

Okay, another post to cap Bear's 6th Birthday before the clock strikes twelve. I've been doing birthday videos for the kiddos every year. Since going back to work full-time I didn't think I could do it today.... but but but... here's something quickly thrown together from pictures of this morning's festivities with Bear's Keys classmates. Adorable bunch they are! You'll see Bear's posse doing a birthday dance, the traditional birthday Q and A, two stray boys from a higher class trying to score some fried chicken, etc.... hee hee! Happy meals, happy smiles and a Happy Birthday Boy. He got teary-eyed as I put him to bed awhile ago. Mama, I'm going to miss my birthday!

Today was a very, very good day.... Thank You. Thank you. Thank you.

Analogy and Hyperbole

Rewind to 17 November 2003, Philippines and The World. Preceded by days and months of somber headlines and bad news, Manny Pacquiao makes the front pages of Manila's newspapers with Victory and Hope. The day before he had beaten Marco Antonio Barrera in a fight that started his unprecedented trajectory as one of today's boxing greats.

16 November 2003, Pacquiao beat Barrera via TKO.

Fast forward to last Sunday 15 November 2009. The Philippines' pride scored an historic victory versus Miguel Cotto. Pacquiao is now the one and only world boxing champion in 7 weight divisions.

Champion from 112-pound to 145-pound divisions.

A quote from boxing impresario Bob Arum: "I would go on record as saying Manny is the best fighter I have ever seen and that includes Ali, Marvin Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard." Talk about hyperbole.

But as The Guardian UK, CNN, and other news sources had reported... no one was laughing at the boxing promoter's statement, outlandish as it may seem. A broadcaster annotating the fight called Pacquiao "a freak" as he was throwing lightning fast combinations towards a battered Cotto. Another sports writer puts it this way: "He just defies the laws of physics."

Rewind again to 17 November 2003, somewhere in San Juan, Manila. Preceded by days and months of nausea, too much Ma Mom Luk siopao and anticipation, a boy aptly named for Victory was born. That was my Baby Bear. Our miracle baby. The child one doctor told me would never come. Here he is, born at 3:08 PM. A little bloody, face swollen--like Pacman post-fight...

It was as if Manila's newspapers knew he was coming on November 17, 2003. Their headlines were all about Triumph and Hope. We all know how rare that is. I have forgiven the yaya who accidentally threw the headline clippings for that day, which I had saved for Bear's scrapbook.

The analogy evokes itself 6 years later. Again, amidst Pacman fever, we celebrate another year in the life of our own Victorious Little Man. I love it when the stars align. We're all having a big slice of cake today to celebrate Victory all around.

The bike is a birthday eve gift from Pappy. Because he declares, "My dream is to be a LEGO designer and a triathlete." Mama got him more of... what else?... LEGOS.

Happy Birthday is not enough. I need more hyperboles!

Nov 16, 2009

Carnival Fun

Chanced upon at the harbor: The carnival scene alive and well... in Monaco.

The treats... the sweets

The rides

The games

The prizes at the games

A closer look at those prizes

A little over the top under the big top don't you think?

Nov 15, 2009

Running, Riding, Ritalin

Somewhere in the middle of soaking up all the sights and trying to get enough sleep to do it, somewhere alongside the Rhone River and next to the nursery rhyme-inspired Avignon Bridge (see them dance, see them dance, on the bridge of Avignon...), I discovered trail running. There was something both exhilarating and calming about it. Stride after stride. Under trees, through rocky paths and over twigs and branches. I think I'm hooked.

Which reminds me... there is an article I've been meaning to share. Props to LilBro for telling me about this read.

An inspiring story about Adam Leibovitz , who after being diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and after years of struggling with the side effects of Ritalin, found way more than everyday exercise in those long bike rides with dad. Today he is a living experiment and continues to baffle both the medical community by finding a better solution behind the wheel of his bike than taking the pill in the bottle AND the cycling community with every race he wins.

Its a long one. But a great one. And makes you take a longer, harder look at exercise and fitness. For ourselves and our little ones.

Nov 12, 2009

A World of Books

Spotted at the museum shop: Some of the VivaKiddos' all-time favorites. I love knowing these books are enjoyed all over the world.

Can you spot Mak's Jungle Book?

Bear's Red Balloon

The Mak-Tato's Goodnight Moon and Cat in the Hat
plus Chicha's Madeleine, how can we forget?

Nona, here's something Chicha might like. Even I want to read it! Elizabeth Matthews' Exceptionnelle Coco Chanel. A picture book on the amazing life of Coco Chanel.
(Note to self: Find the English version)

Can't read French but I'm guessing this is where she learns how to sew in that dreary orphanage where she grew up in.

And this is probably where she finally rises above all that hardship. Coco Chanel, pardon my French but...You rock, Mademoiselle!

Nov 11, 2009

Have Fun with Your ABCs!

Hey Nana, your adventure in France reminded me of this creation by Parisian graphic designer Marion Battaile. I'm guessing she is a genius who's also inspired by her gorgeous, picture-perfect native city...

This got me googling around for more creative ABCs. Lo and behold...

Origami Alphabet by Emma Downing.

Click on the pictures to enlarge. As Mies van de Rohe says, "God is in the details." Especially in this one...

Buildings and Sky Alphabet by Lisa Reinermann. I LOVE this!

Chicha is currently in this phase where she likes showing us that what-not looks like an L, this-and-that is a P, and she also likes to contort her body or fingers to make ABCDEFG, etc. There are too many examples so my epiduraled-brain can't even remember them! I think she'll really like this...

Found Alphabet by Jen Quinn

This one for block-loving, LEGO-fanatic, 3-D thinking Bear....

Cubic Alphabet by Svetoslav Simov.

So many more cool, creative ABCs at ReubenMiller and ShareSomeCandy.