Friday, March 22, 2013

all our bags are packed...

... we're ready to go...

... on our 5-week-long vacation!!!

See you when we get back!

Click here for the down-in-the-dots version of this post.

Monday, March 18, 2013


This is Noah at 1 year and 8 months -- playing soccer on our street.

Yes, I let Noah play on our street. I have always been a believer in the importance of play in a child's development.

Just recently, Noah was playing outside with my niece Makki. When our neighbor Sophie went out to play with them, he came running into the house crying. Turns out, the girls didn't want to play basketball with him and instead, wanted to play badminton. After processing the situation with him - how he wanted to play a game they didn't like and how they wanted to play a game he didn't like, I sent him back out to deal with the problem. He suggested they take turns playing basketball, then badminton (syempre, una pa rin yung gusto niya!). But the girls didn't want to because they said there wouldn't be time to play both games (they only had a few minutes left before dark). So they ended up choosing a game they all wanted to play: this tag game these days called Ice Ice Water.

Aside from the physical skills the active games inevitably taught them, that day's playtime drama taught them essential character-building skills like problem-solving, compromise, conflict-resolution and frustration-tolerance.

It is no wonder then that reputable entities like Johnson & Johnson, Play Pilipinas and DepEd have banded together in the campaign 'Di Lang Laro Ang Laro (Playtime is not just a pasttime), which advocates the importance of 1 hour of daily active play in children's health and holistic development.

I love that this campaign reminds me of what's important. Because with all the academic pressure in schools these days, it's easy for parents to fall into the trap of thinking playtime is just a pasttime.

Even I was guilty of this recently. I was out doing errands and arrived home a couple of hours after Noah got home. I came home to so much homework and very little time to do it. Frustrated, I asked Noah what he did the whole time since he got home. And when Noah said he played outside, I -- the supposed advocate of play -- found myself scolding Noah for playing. Yes, it is easy to dismiss play as just play.

So I am grateful to the Di Lang Laro Ang Laro advocacy of Johnson & Johnson, Play Pilipinas and DepEd. It is important for every parent to be educated that play is as important as everything else on their kid's daily to-do list: Play is just as important as eating, sleeping and studying. So let's all put PLAY on our kids' daily to-do list. Let's include 1 hour of play every day on our children's schedules.

Noah actually put playing with his cousin on his to-do list (I put red checks so you can easily spot this task on his list).

Now, my job is making sure its box gets ticked every day.

'Di Lang Laro Ang Laro. Add 1 hour of play every day on your child's to-do list too!

Photos are my own, from nyctaughtme and courtesy of Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Johnson's Baby Cooling BathJohnson's Baby Prickly Heat Powder, Johnson's Baby Daily Sun Protection Lotion and Johnson's Baby Happy Berries Cologne -- my personal picks to keep Noah cool, refreshed and protected from the discomforts of playing under the sun. With these products, I can make sure Noah can play outdoors at least 1 hour every day without me having to worry about the hot, sticky feeling, prickly heat, sun damage or stinky smell from playing under the sun

Watch out tomorrow for the down-in-the-dots version of this post.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

there's a new missus in town

Two of my fave travel & foodie buddies - J & K - are getting married today!

Funnily enough, J jokingly refers to me as the missus because during one trip, we ended up loading one cart with his & my luggage so we had to pass the Immigration Officer together. The Immigration Officer asked us if we were married and at the same time, I gave a vehement "no" and J mischievously answered "yes" -- which led to him having to sheepishly say to the Officer that "I'm still working on getting her to say yes". Since then, both J and K jokingly call me J's "misis".

And so today... I am happily bequeathing the role of missus to J's, now true missus: K.

I cannot be happier to witness these 2 friends of mine officially become Mr & Mrs. They were never a showy, mushy, PDA-type of couple.

But I've traveled so much & spent enough time with the two of them to have caught subtle sweet moments of affection between them.

That's why I know that even though these public displays of affection will never actually happen, I know that they are both feeling the exact same emotions deep inside...

Right J?

And K?

Here's to a beautiful wedding and a happy, wonderful life as Mr. & Mrs.!

Photos from annnniegirl

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Today, I am loving...

Today, I am loving... my new Starbucks name. 

As some of you might know from here, they always get my name wrong in Starbucks. So many precious minutes are wasted repeating my name over and over and they still misspell it on my cup. Then one day, I blurted out a fake name - Vivian - and they got it right with one try. So Vivian has been my Starbucks name for several years now.

Until two months ago when they spelled it Viviane. So I called for new coffee-shop-name suggestions here

And one of my readers suggested Eva. I tried it last week and the barista called out "short Caramel Machiatto for Eva!". I'm not sure if the other patrons noticed it. But it didn't matter. I heard the barista say "forevah" and I couldn't help smile. As naughty as it sounds, the harmless mischief just made my day a little more fun.

So today, I am chuckling... at my fun, new Starbucks name.

Photo from i'mjustsaying.

Click here for previous posts from the Today, I Am Loving... series.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Noah says...

We were listening to old music on the way to the mall one day. The playlist had Neil Sedaka songs including Run Samson Run. Noah had heard the song a couple of times already so he was singing along at the chorus.

I was surprised because later at the mall, Noah asked, "Why should the TV run? In Run Samsung Run?"

I wanted to burst out laughing but stifled it as best I could... 'Coz poor Noah... He was probably puzzled about it the whole time in the car and walking around the mall. :(

Click here for previous posts from the Noah Says... series.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

orange juice for a cause

During the Habagat floods of 2012 here, I remember thinking it was the perfect opportunity to expose Noah to the idea of making a difference in our community. My FB news feed was flooded with photos of my friends' kids volunteering to pack relief goods for the flood victims including this instagram of Sophia, daughter of Camille of

I would have wanted to let Noah volunteer too. Problem is, we were stuck at home with a flooded street.

Sadly, I totally forgot about my intention of teaching Noah about community service until I came across Tang's new advocacy campaign Handa, Inom, Gawa! [Ready, Drink, Act!] a few weeks ago. Tang's mission is to inspire and empower kids to take responsibility and create real, positive change in the community. 

Tang featured many kid heroes who've made a difference -- from International Children's Peace Prize Awardee Kesz Valdez who founded Caring Children, a group that gives out slippers, books and hygiene kits to street children, to Harvey Gana who organized a fun run to raise funds for the expensive medication of kids with cancer, and to Pablo Gamboa who wrote and published books to raise awareness for hunger and environmental concerns.

Other kids sold home-baked goodies, bracelets and bookmarks to raise funds for rainforest rehabilitation and for charities like Cancer Warrior Foundation. Children did all these... Imagine that!

At the Tang launch, Joy Abaquin, a multi-awarded educator and founding directress of Multiple Intelligence International School, talked about the 3 E's that parents should arm children with: Exposure beyond his little world so he becomes aware of the less fortunate's very different world, Empathy to feel what it would be like to live in their world, and Empowerment to help him do something about it.

Turns out, even before this advocacy was launched, Tang orange drink has been empowering children in its own little way (okay, marketing friends, this is where the link to brand comes in). The powdered drink is so easy to prepare that moms have allowed kids to prepare their own Tang drink by themselves. Without meaning to, Tang has become a tool to teach kids a "can-do" attitude. So this is why they want to expand Tang's ability to empower children. This time, empowering them to make a difference in the world.

So I am heeding Tang's and Teacher Joy's call to empower Noah. Summer vacation is just around the corner (are you swamped with quarterly exam reviews too?). It's the perfect time to channel Noah's energies toward something meaningful... So I'm thinking of encouraging him to raise funds via an orange juice stand. Just imagine the pipe cleaners spelling ORANGE instead of LEMONADE...

And because Tang orange drink is so easy to prepare, Noah need not slave over juicing an actual orange.

He might need to bark out (like the taho-man) though to announce his wares to the neighborhood.

I have yet to expose Noah beyond his little world to decide what he would like to raise funds for. I am curious to find out which charity or cause he will empathize with the most.

Ooohh, I am so looking forward to a fun but also meaningful summer! 

Empower your own child and share your kid-hero stories on Tang's online site and facebook page.

Handa, Inom, Gawa!

Photos are from nyctaughtme, camillekingphotography and courtesy of Tang.