3rd MONTH

IMG_7545.PNG

March has been BIG for the whole family. I’ve been accepting more writing projects, shoots and speaking engagements this month and I love it! It’s like I’m back to the old busy bee Kat. But there are just moments when staring blankly in the ceiling is the number one thing that I’d like to do… AND SLEEP!

I’m tired and exhausted. Many moms might raised their eyebrows with my statement but I feel soooo tired. I almost forgot that I’m raising two kids now and I’m still recovering from my CS operation (which still hurts at times btw). My partner on the other hand started working on different projects too aside from his car business. He is out of the house most of the time- running errands and finishing business plans which puts me in charge of the house and the kids most of the time. Still not complaining though because we know we gotta hustle.

And as we try our best to stay on top of everything, there are days when we both crash- physically, mentally and emotionally. When we’re overworked, we start raising  voices at each other only to find out that we’re arguing over small stuff at home. I realized that we need to pause and decline some projects to allot more time for our kids, for ourselves. Despite roller coaster ride this month, there are many things that I’m still thankful for. March is still the best because..

1.Career-wise, I’ve managed to create a steady monthly income which i was worried about before I accepted the challenge to work from home.

2.Even if I have to work long hours, I still get to spend a lot of time with the kids-I’m still the one giving them a bathe, we still share meals together, I still homeschool the ate and we still take naps in the afternoon. Oh siesta time! my favorite time of the day when everyone’s just quiet and calm where I get to gather my thoughts.

3. Our newborn- who is able to sleep through the night without getting fussy. In fact, I’m the one who wakes up from time to time to check if he needs dede. But no, he’s just asleep like he had a long day. And because of this, I still get enough energy to work in the morning.

3.Our helpers- without them I’ll be a complete mess. They already know how I want things to be done so I don’t have to tell them everything, everyday. They’re already family to me and it’s a plus that they treat my kids as their own too.

4.My partner-it’s because of him that I’m able to do what I love right now. His support keeps me going and we continue to brainstorm for future plans-for bigger opportunities to come for the family.

If there’s anything that I’m praying for is that the Lord continues to give all of us good health to keep up with our schedule. Hustle hustle hustle.

How’s your March so far? Looking forward to the summer season? 🙂

Advertisements

Orange and Peach breast milk storage bags

IMG_7519.PNGI am a breastfeeding advocate. I made a promise that I will exclusively breastfeed my children and will do everything to keep up my milk supply. My daughter was breastfed for 1 year and 9 months and still continued to drink breast milk from the bottle until she was 2. I thought, “Finally, it’s over!” I had mixed emotions when she started weaning- I was happy that I don’t need to pump milk or to wear my not so fancy nursing bra but I was also sad because it became a routine for me that suddenly stopped. I’m just glad that we didn’t have to fight over weaning her. Now with my son who is almost 4 months old, I’m trying to do the exact same thing-pump, drink malunggay capsules, drink my nursing tea (not so yummy tbh) and drink lots and lots of water. I pump at least an extra 5oz a day, not bad right? So I was able to build my milk stash in a matter of two weeks! #blessed with breast milk. I happily placed everything in breast milk storage bags and would just thaw whenever I need to leave the house for a while.

I never had problems with storing my milk- I used different brands of milk bags and even had my milk brought home from Hong Kong because I knew that the bags are strong enough to keep my milk intact.

When I started using Orange and Peach breast milk storage bags, which we bought from UP Town Center, I got really disappointed. The milk was spilling! I couldn’t believe my eyes. All breastfeeding moms would know that every drop counts and seeing my milk which I pumped for around twenty minutes gone in just around 20 seconds was just unacceptable!! Maybe it was just me? Did I store it the wrong way? Maybe. But it happened again, and again and again.

IMG_7512.JPGSee the milk spilling? We had to put it in a container so I could still salvage the remaining milk (Don’t worry it’s clean)

IMG_7516.JPGImagine my face whenever I see broken milk bags. It’s like throwing away money- so heartbreaking. And as a hormonal mom, I immediately messaged the brand distributor and reported the incident, which happened more than ten times. Apologies were said and I accepted it because honestly, there’s no one to blame. I changed my milk bag and keeping my fingers crossed that nothing like this would happen again. Have you had the same experience with your milk bags?

Home styling tips for moms as told by Cat Arambulo-Antonio

Cat Arambulo-Antonio, interior designer and mom of three tells us how her style preference shifted from bold and wild to a simpler and more tamed look because of the presence of her children. “I make the necessary precautions now that my kids are around and we know that accidents, dirt and spills are unavoidable. My number one rule in choosing my accessories is that they should be pretty but unbreakable”, says Cat.

For moms who still want to create a stylish and functional space at home, these are some tips to keep in mind.

Opt for custom-made furniture

custom.jpgAside from being budget-friendly, you can tweak your pegs a little by adding a personal touch. Also, the measurements are more precise and will be more fit in your home.

Don’t overspend on accessories

accessories.jpg

“You can find affordable yet classy accessories from H&M, they have those rose gold cups which by the way are trending now. You can also go to SM Home and of course, look at tiangges when you travel!”

Work with what you have

dinnerware.png“I used to buy new sets of tableware whenever a piece gets broken but my latest discovery is that you can use old and new plates together matched with different silverware and cups and it works, it still looks pretty!”

Consider the personality of your kids

kids room.jpgWith her youngest, Alana, Cat mixed pink and black to keep it fun and classy. As for her 13 year-old daughter, Danielle, she used green wallpaper because green stimulates the mind. She also injected other bold colors that her daughter loves. And for the only boy, and three year-old Asher, “He is into planes. He doesn’t want to drive or own one, but he seriously wants to be one!” So we’re guessing his room is full of flying planes as well.

Moms can still inject their personality when styling their home. Just because you have kids, doesn’t mean you can’t show your fun side anymore. Play with colors and texture and even use irregular furniture (just as long as they are safe for the little ones). If you are not confident enough to style your own home, then you may want to hire professionals you can comfortably work with.

moodboard.jpgMoodboard Manila offers services that can help you style your place with ease. Head on over to Moodboard Manila to know more offerings and services and they’ll be happy to team up with you to achieve your #NoRulesJustStyle home.

*images not mine.

Why Moms shouldn’t sweat the small stuff

292672_10150721370052105_1769378453_n.jpg

This was me taken 5 years ago. Living young, (wild?) and free. I remember traveling with friends, being a backpacker and having control of my time. Those days!

Having two kids made me worry about the future. In fact, I had to change plans for the entire third quarter of the year 2016 because I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to juggle my career and parenting with hormonal imbalance coming in and my growing tummy. But you know what? I was able to do A LOT, more than what I expected. And I wish I didn’t let fear get in the way in the first place. So now that baby #2 is almost two months old, here’s what I learned so far..

1. Enjoy the afternoons

Most moms like me try to be the super version of themselves- meaning they want everything done on time. If you think that the best time to finish all your chores is when they nap, think again. I learned that being able to tick off things from your to-do list is superb but being able to rest with the kids is beyond amazing. I get to cuddle with my toddler while marvel at my little one’s small toes. Afternoons are meant for some tea, some relaxing Spotify music and of course some Zzzs if you’re lucky to catch some.

2. Create a task force

I tried doing everything during the first few weeks- homeschooling, changing nappies, putting my daughter to sleep and pumping milk for the newborn. Needless to say, I was exhausted. I knew I was because I became irritated with my toddler who is now in the No! and I don’t like! phase. As much as I wanted to do the disciplining on my own, I asked help from my partner, my mother in law and trusted helper. It wasn’t easy because they did things differently but it saved me a lot of time and energy.

3. Sing in the shower

We’ve already been told that me-time will be cut once you have kids so the 20 minute shower time that I have is so precious that I just wanna sing my heart out and enjoy the music that I once loved back when it was just me, myself and I. Go ahead, try it!

4. Go out

And don’t feel guilty about it. Luckily, we have this small commercial place right outside the village where I can meet my friends for some coffee or dinner. I feel recharge every time I meet old faces. It feels good also getting out of your pyjamas and wearing some lipstick even if you’re just running a bank errand.

5. Clean up

Clean the house, don’t let the old and dirty clothes pile up, throw your trash right away, wash the dishes. The thing is we tend to skip duties because we are tired from taking care of the kids but once you see that everything is in order, your mind and heart clears up too making you more energetic throughout the day. But if you can’t do it because baby kept you up all night, don’t worry I understand. You can just delay or ask help.

6. Be you

People just tend to judge moms when they don’t act like moms. Just go with whatever you think is right for your baby. Don’t feel bad when you can’t be the mom you saw in your Instagram feed. Or if you can’t go back to your pre-mommy body. Remember that you carried a baby 9 months and it will take a while for your body to heal especially for CS mommies. Have fun and enjoy the treats you’ll be getting. This is the perfect excuse to eat your favorite (but healthy) snacks if you’re breastfeeding.

Breathe and don’t sweat the small stuff. This too shall pass. 🙂

First Month with Newborn and Toddler

IMG_4807.JPG

It has been exactly 28 days since I gave birth to my second child, another baby A in the family. Few days before my scheduled C-section, I was already worrying about how in the world will I manage to make time for our older child and even squeeze in some me-time. I don’t want to jinx it but it’s been a smooth-sailing transition for my family. So how can you adjust with two kids and not be a zombie for the first few weeks? Here are some tips that actually worked for me.

Prepare.

Like in my previous post, I mentioned that we already prepped our toddler that we were going to have another baby. We told her that there’s a baby inside my growing belly and read her some books on having a sibling. Although I doubted that she understood exactly what we meant, I’m still glad we did it because it paid off.

Stick with the basics.

Pinterest was my BFF during my first pregnancy –read articles, listed down things to buy and worked on a Instagram-worthy nursery. This time around, I just went with my instinct. Didn’t buy a lot of new items because I know how fast newborns outgrow them in just a few weeks! We bought a number of white newborn clothes and that’s about it! I also had baby showers where my friends gave essentials (wipes, clothes, body wash, pillows). Just what I wanted, basics.

Be realistic.

During the first week at home, I really wanted to have the same old routine that I had with my toddler but I realized that it’s impossible for her zombie mom to actually sing and dance in the morning when I haven’t really gotten a good night sleep. We still do some morning activities in her study area but most of the time, we just stay in her room where she plays with her toys while both of us babysit her sleeping brother. That was more realistic on my part. Afternoon naps are just heavenly where I can squeeze in some work and blogging or just go through social media and see what’s happening on the outside world.

Delegate.

Here in the Philippines, househelp are hard to find and keep but thankfully we have Daday, our trusted all around help/nanny.. I also have my MIL to thank whenever I need extra hand to look after the kids while I fix up or have at least a decent shower time. And of course, my life partner who “tries” to wake up in the middle of the night to burp baby after feeding or just get me some cold water whenever I get super thirsty (Yes, you’ll be thirsty when you exclusively breastfeed!). My parents are also happily involved in babysitting the kids. Thank God for family.

Don’t rush things.

Yes I gained a lot and I still have 15 pounds to lose. Been looking at the weighing scale every single day until there came a point when I told myself that it’s okay to see those love handles and jiggly thighs. I read that the fats accumulated in your hips, thighs and tummy are helping you build up milk supply. Yes, I wanna go back to my old body but I’m giving it some time and just really happy that I don’t look pregnant anymore! Haha!

Breathe.

I thought that having two kids will put me in house arrest but man I was wrong. I’m not used to spending the whole day at home so taking some time off to get a haircut, do some shopping and having breakfast with friends make me feel like my old self again. I’m fortunate enough that I have enough milk supply and I was able to build a stash in our freezer so whenever I need to head out, I just ask our helper to give a bottle to my newborn. Don’t feel guilty about it because really, you need to breathe and see yourself again- the person you were before having kids. Remind yourself that you also need to recharge in order for you to take care of others- that includes you and your partner.

It’s been easy so far but let’s see what changes will happen in the coming months. I’d also like to establish a routine for my newborn and create some activities for him in the future. Any newborn activities in mind? 🙂

Online Store We Love: Ma’am & Moms

When I started homeschooling my child and opened a tutorial center, I first thought of renovating a small space at home to serve as our study area. Aside from that, I listed down the materials I’ll be needing for the activities and which art materials that will most likely take a big part in our lessons. Again, I’m not fond of purchasing items that are found in bookstores so as much as I can, I try to research on local products which are actually good and within my set budget. That’s when I found out about Ma’am & Moms.

IMG_8067.JPGMy art set picks- toddler brushes, foam paint brushes and tempera paint

Since I’m homeschooling a toddler, I made sure to use non-toxic and washable paint which can be easily removed afterwards. It is important that we let our kids get messy from time to time. Controlling them while doing art works is a no-no. It’s best to let them choose and mix colors. I even let her paint on our glass doors and let her wipe excess paint on her shirt! I exposed my child to these early on and whenever she sees them she’d tell me Paint! Paint! Plus, I also like how the brushes where made, the handles are easy to hold and help kids have a better grip and control when working on their strokes.IMG_8715.JPG                                                      See how vibrant the colors are!

Here are some classroom activities where we used the tempera paint. I bought them last July and a 100ml bottle goes a long way. Trust me, it’s super sulit! Which reminds me, this could be a great Christmas present for your kids and pamangkins!

IMG_2276.JPG

Mix ‘em with little water. Shake shake shake!

IMG_2162.JPG

Foil painting

IMG_0070.JPG

IMG_0073.JPG

Great in canvas too!

IMG_3227.JPG

pattern painting- we used foam brush here

IMG_8777.JPG

Just like marble painting but we used pingpong balls which are bigger! Slide away!

There are many ways to enjoy painting it’s just a matter of experimenting with what you already have at home. You can use different kitchen tools, balls and other items to introduce texture and shapes! Always keep in mind to use trusted products like to ensure safety during activities. Don’t worry about the mess, what’s important is that your child learns to explore and discover what her hands can create! Enjoy!

To know more about Ma’am and Moms, visit her Facebook and Instagram for more updates! She has more art supplies and activities which you may find useful in your next art session at home!

Halloween 2016 Costume Ideas

14725501_10153796731017105_7676088802548102651_nIt’s that time of the year again where you have the perfect excuse to dress up your little one! Whatever look you decide on, make sure that it’s comfy since you’ll be walking around to look for sweets and treats and of course, keep in mind a costume that your tot would also love! 🙂 Thinking of buying or making a DIY costume, we’ve got you covered! Head on over to Smart Parenting’s website and check out Movie-Inspired Costumes or Last-Minute DIY Costumes! Have a Happy Halloween everyone!

14725582_10153799213572105_8223043926588492805_n.jpg

Here are some photos of Baby A captured by Lai De Guzman. She’s such a pro already! 🙂

How to Prepare your Toddler for a New Baby

IMG_2360.jpg

Spending as much  time as we can with this little one!

Baby Number 2! Yes, I’m officially in my third trimester and it has been a roller coaster ride for me as my hormones are constantly playing up my mood- there are days when I’ll be super productive and work on blogging, tutoring and other writing projects but some days I just want to sleep and watch Narcos or Stranger Things. But then again, I always think about the remaining time that I’ll be spending with my toddler so I force myself out of bed and create activities for her. It’s a good thing for me since it serves as my morning exercise too (picking up all the toys in the room, cleaning after her used paintbrushes and   making sure to maintain the cleanliness in our classroom)! I’m happy that I can still work and attend to my tutees every afternoon because I honestly can’t let go of work and I’m so lucky I don’t have to go through traffic every single day! Hello Manila traffic has gone from bad to worst.Writing projects (webvertorials and online articles) are also a blessing for me. It’s like the gym for my mommy brain. Keep ‘em coming! haha! Anyway, back to the topic. How did I try to prepare my tot with her new sibling? 🙂

Introduce the new baby as early as possible.

It’s inevitable that you’ll grow a baby bump  and everyone will notice it including your tot. I told her right away that there is a baby growing inside my tummy. I let her touch and massage it and remind her all the time to be careful and to just pat it gently. Sometimes when the play gets rough, I tell her that it’s ouchie and she should not target my belly anymore! hehe.

Read books on having another baby.

I only have two books right now and it’s okay since she likes repetition and enjoys being asked all over again about the details from the story. I’ve switched the names of the characters and turned them into our real names so she would feel as if she were part of the story. We even re-enact some parts and I guess that helps so when the real thing comes out, she’ll do it to her new sibling too!

Call her Ate or Kuya

When we found out that we’re expecting, we immediately stopped calling her baby A. Instead, we taught her the new word Ate so she can familiarise herself with her new role. Now, she would say “No, A_____ not baby”. I would often say the baby’s name to her also so that she can remember it as well. Although she doesn’t know yet what Ate really means, I think it’s best to work on the role as early as now.

Spend QTT.

And I mean lots of it. The first three months will be dedicated to your newborn. Of course, there’s a bit of guilt on your part because as much as you would like to attend to your tot and make the old routine work, you also need to get more sleep than before and rest while you can. Helpers and other family members will greatly matter during this time to make her feel loved despite your little absence.

Spend time with other kids.

As much as you’d like to keep your tot all to yourself, she needs to be interacting with kids of different ages too to make her more comfortable being with others aside from family. Interaction with other kids will help her learn that the world does not evolve around her. Sharing and compromising through play will hopefully help her understand how life works outside her comfort zone- which is your home.

Don’t make your toddler wait.

I read an article that really hit me and it’s about not making her wait. The newborn will go through the sleep-feed-poop phase and that’s all that matters. Baby will not remember the times you changed his nappies but the toddler will remember when you refused to play with her or look at her latest drawings. She will remember those moments you spent with the newborn while saying no when she tags you to come and play with her luto-lutuan set. The problem is that she might resent her new sibling and it’s the last thing you would want to deal with at this point. Just remember that as much as you can, pay attention, play with her and involve her in taking care of the newborn. That way, she will really feel like an Ate. It’s a win-win situation for the both of you.

It’s so easy to write about all these now but I’m pretty sure it’ll be hard to deal with the situation once the baby’s here at home. Goodluck to me! For moms with two kids or more, how did you prepare your child or children for the new baby? Any tips? 🙂

Project #BalanceMom

super-mom1.jpg

As a mom who works from home (lucky to be able to write articles and tutor students from nearby schools), everybody thinks that I have all the time in the world. Well, think again. Sure, I don’t have the 8am to 5pm schedule but it takes some discipline to create a schedule that will fit all my mom-teacher-homemaker duties in one day. When I look at my social media, it seems that some moms have already found their rhythm when I see posts of well-curated photos on how they balance family, business and me time. To be honest, I dream of that too but I’m still working on a balancing technique that will fit my personality, the whole household and our budget. Here are some tips to get ourselves started on project #BalanceMom.

Write it down.

I like taking down notes and writing something about my day. Writing is still the best option to keep mommy brain away (so you won’t forget the birthday of your child’s playmate, or a bill to be paid on a certain week, etc.). Writing is still different from typing in your laptop or mobile phone. There’s a sense of fulfilment whenever you cross out a to-do item from your list.

Plan ahead.

I’m not good at this part. Most days, I just look at the art materials available in our home classroom then I decide what activity I’ll do with my child. Planning weeks ahead or even the day before will ultimately save you some time and effort. I know, i know, planning can be a chore for moms but you can always keep an alarm using your phone or a note posted on your ref. Ask someone else to remind you if mommy brain does really get in the way.

Keep things simple.

Sometimes, we want to do things the Pinterest way but reality shows you otherwise. Be open to other options and just do what you can. For example, I wanted to create unique Christmas gifts last year. Our budget can’t accommodate the number of people in our Christmas list so we opted for lemon-honey-ginger in bottles. It something useful (for their teas or breakfast) but are reasonably priced. Be realistic and try not to please everyone. Make sure that whatever you do, you can finish it without killing yourself.

Talk to your partner.

We try to be the supermoms that are expected of us. Well, we also have those days when we just don’t feel like doing anything at home and would just like our kids to have a cartoon marathon just so we can have a long and peaceful afternoon. It’s okay for moms to feel like blah sometimes. The best way to release this feeling is talking to your spouse about it and figuring out how you two can work things out around the house. Maybe for that week, he can offer to bring the kids to school or make sandwiches in the morning just so you can have longer time on your own. Instead of keeping everything to yourself, it’s best to speak up before you explode.

No to perfection.

Give yourself a pat on the back at the end of each day. You know you deserve it even if you weren’t able to finish your to-do list or your child threw tantrums for two hours straight. Relax, you have the next day to start over again. Just remember to clear out all negative thoughts before you sleep. For me, the best way I create balance is by making sure to allot time for my toddler in the morning, some me-time after lunch and work in the late afternoon with my tutees. Lastly, I dedicate my evening time to my family making sure that everything is okay. Find your own balance, you’ll get there.

Keeping a Healthy Parent-Teacher Relationship

418486_10150599003902105_797162771_n.jpgMe with my grade 2 students from Ateneo

Hi everyone! Here’s an article I wrote for Smart Parenting magazine wherein I included some tips on how to create a good tandem with your child’s teacher throughout the school year. It’s not to make sipsip but more on getting to know how to work with the the teacher and knowing that we, teachers, are human beings who need our own space and time after school. Hope this helps especially for parents who are about to enter the world of big school!

You have now found a school that fits your personal beliefs and has a teaching philosophy that matches yours. If it’s your first time to send your little one to school, heed these tips for building a healthy relationship with your child’s second mother in his second home.

From Smart Parenting’s website: 5 Ways to Make Your Child’s Teacher your BFF
1. Communicate
There’s no better way to express your thoughts and concerns than telling the teacher directly. If you’re a bit apprehensive to approach her and think she is too busy to attend to you, then a simple note or letter to be given before or after class will do.
If you are concerned about your child’s grades, you might want to assess his school performance first. Avoid putting the blame on the teacher straight away. Again, it’s good to communicate with her directly and to ask for her help with solving the problem. Listen to her advice, and be willing to explore all options with her, even if it means acknowledging that your child does need help.

Teacher says: “I like parents who ask even the simplest questions. It shows how involved in and concerned they are with their child’s performance in school.” – Carmela Maniego, grade school eacher at Xavier School, San Juan City

2. Follow up
Some parents, especially those who are quite busy with work, tend to rely on the teachers too much. They let them decide even when it comes to personal matters, such as what food to buy for lunch. Remember, you still have the responsibility to constantly check up on your child after school hours. Check his homework, and note upcoming school events, such as a play, for example, where he plays a lead role. You don’t want your child feeling left out just because you were too busy with your meeting the day before. If you really can’t prepare something for, say, a potluck Linggo ng Wika celebration, then let the teacher know right away so she could make the necessary adjustments.

Teacher says: “I salute the parents [of my public-school students] who know how to cooperate [with their children’s teacher]. Despite the lack of funds, I still see parents trying their best to bring the children to school and give them money for baon.” – Loreen Eslao, volunteer teacher at Teach for the Philippines, a nonprofit organization

3. Trust your teachers
As the saying goes, do not judge a book by its cover. From the orientation or the very first day of school, pay attention to the teacher’s reminders, and not how she matched her outfits. Teachers are trained to work with kids — they know much about children’s behavior and how to handle it. Let the teacher work her magic.

Teacher says: “Parents who do not pressure me are the best. They simply [trust] that I [know how to] handle their kids. Yes, I do make mistakes, but I can acknowledge them without the [need to be] judged.” – Jaea Kiocho, grade school teacher at Xavier School, San Juan City

4. Know your boundaries
Teachers have personal lives, too. You may think that adding your child’s teacher on Facebook is a friendly gesture, but the truth is you may be invading her personal space. Do not be too intrusive. You can still learn about her likes and dislikes (if you want to send her, say, a Christmas present) based on your child’s stories. If you have school-related concerns, find the right time to approach her or send her a note.

Teacher says: “Some parents expect me to be available at all times, even after school hours. In my case, I don’t reply to inquiries after 10 p.m. I also need to attend to my own personal needs.” – Vicka Siddayao, kinder teacher, University of the Philippines Integrated School, Quezon City

5. Relax
When parents get too involved in their child’s school performance, this may lead to a competitive attitude towards other parents and even other students. Relax — your child is in school to learn and also to make friends. Let him do what he needs to do, and everything else will follow.

Teacher says: “The best way to help parents be more at ease with their child’s education is to change their perspective. We teachers educate their child not [so he will get high] grades and [win] awards but in the hope that when he does achieve these [awards], it would be because he has acquired the skills (e.g., planning, researching, etc.) and the values (e.g., resiliency, independence, etc.) needed to get there.” – Yna Mendiola, teacher at Mentari International School in Indonesia