Friday, March 24, 2017

This Season of Grieving

It's been around 3 weeks since my only sister suddenly died. She was complaining of a terrible back ache, which was quite normal because she has a mild case of scoliosis, but that fateful day of February 3, her back pain was so intolerable that she went to my mom's room to rest on her bed, then she said she wanted to vomit, but wasn't able to anymore because she collapsed. Her eyes looked terrifyingly delirious and she couldn't form words anymore. To say that it is painful for me to recount what happened next is an understatement. I may perhaps be able to write them in due time, but right now, remembering everything brings back all the fear and trauma.

Anyway, we rushed her to the hospital at 11pm, at 4:45am she was having seizures (her 4th or 5th on the emergency room), at 5am she was being revived and given CPR, at 5:40 she was brain dead but there was some heartbeat, at 6:45am she was pronounced dead. Cause of death is Multiple Organ Failure due to Sepsis and Pneumonia.

As what I always answer my friends who ask how I am coping with the loss, daytime is easier because there's so much to do. But night time is the worst because my mind involuntarily rewinds everything. Every scene, every conversation, all the minutest detail always return to my mind. It's so scary and I am scared at the highest level. I didn't know I am capable of this much grief and fear. not only do the scenes return, but also emotions and thoughts, realizations, what if's and what could've beens.

Many times I am afraid of closing my eyes because all I can see and think about is her struggle in the emergency room. Many nights I feel like drowning. My heart is heavy with sorrow and terror.

This is driving me crazy.

Soccer Summer Camp

It's been three years since my daughter started playing soccer. Soccer camps are really fun not only because of the of the games but also of the lessons one learns by being in a team. My daughter has learned camaraderie even among kids that she's not regular classmates with, even among kids of various nationalities. In my daughter's soccer camp, she's had Korean, American, Japanese, Malaysian, American, Canadian and Chinese teammates.

Being an only child, it's wonderful seeing her not having ANY problems dealing with others. She's always been Miss Friendship ever since she was a baby and up to now I can see her veering towards being happy both in a group or with one BFF. Regardless, she's having fun!

Anyway, just wanna share some of the latest photos of her during her soccer games.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Dr. Walter Mischell's "Marshmallow Test"

Many years ago, I came across this article that discussed Dr. Walter Mischel's "Marshmallow Test." It's an interesting study on delaying gratification for children. This said study was done in the 1960's at Stanford. I've always found it interesting and knew the moment I read about it that I am going to teach it to my child.

You see, Dr. Mischel gave children two choices; be able to eat one marshmallow anytime they want, or wait for an adult to enter the room and that's only the time they can take and eat two marshmallows. In a nutshell, one marshmallow now, or two marshmallows but you have to wait. Wise Mr. Mischel followed his subjects through the years and found out that the children who could wait and control their urge to get a marshmallow "have lower BMI, lower addiction rates, a lower rate for divorce and higher SAT scores."

As parents, especially of onlies, it is always easy to give in to our child's need and wants. But delaying gratification not only teaches them patience, but also discipline, grit, and whole lot more of life skills they will definitely need in the future.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Human Nature's Anti Hair Fall Shampoo Product Review

Finally, a shampoo that does what it promises to do!

I have been suffering from hair fall for years. There is not a day in our house when you can't find strands of my hair on the floor. It's frustrating, but somehow I was able to get used to it. I adjust and minimize the strands by going out of our house and do the combing on our front yard. I tried anti hair fall shampoos particularly that of Pantene and Lauat, but they don't do the job. I have a separate post about the Lauat Anti Hair Fall Shampoo though so you might want to check that out, too.

So anyway, I started feeling bothered late last year, around November to be exact, when I noticed my daughter is going through the same thing, too! I was startled, and yes, got scared. She has nice, smooth, soft and thin hair and she is one healthy girl. But to see her hair brush with strands whenever I comb her hair after her morning bath gave me reason to worry.

I didn't want to try those commercially available products, knowing they all have chemicals which might do more harm than good, so I decided to observe the amount of strands she sheds in the morning. Then I came across, okay, I scouted for a non-chemical based shampoo in the grocery around mid-December and found out that Human Heart Nature, of course known for their all-natural products have their own anti-hair fall shampoo as well. It isn't as expensive as their Kids Natural Shampoo and this one comes in a smaller bottle, costing P129.00 which isn't bad at all.

I got the strengthening aloe vera anti-hair fall variety that promises less hair fall in 4 weeks of continuous use. Not only is it chemical-free, but it also smells good. My daughter and I are on our third week of consumption of said product and I can say that it delivered what it's promised! I believe our hair also became stronger, no longer brittle and there is 98% less hair fall, particularly with my daughter!

I am just so happy I found this product that when I went back to the supermarket today, I got a bottle of their other variety, the one for dry, damaged hair that's specifically for color-treated hair (mine). Can't wait to see if this one's as effective as its sister product. :)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Ideas for Family Activities for Christmas

Christmas always brings warm feelings to my heart. No matter how busy I am and no matter I "decide" sometime in August that I won't be as affected with the Christmas rush, there's always some kind of a switch that automatically turns on inside of me come November. Besides, me and my husband can't help it - we have a daughter who loves Christmas and we can't of course disappoint her by being Mr. and Mrs. Scrooge of the year.

So anyway, I am still in the will-not-be-as-stressed-mood-for-Christmas this year, but I'm gonna have to give in with regards to making the holidays fun and memorable for our daughter.

Which brings me to want to help you parents out there who are looking for activities with your children which will not put a hole in your pockets. Here are some suggestions we've tried and might do again this year.

1. Start a Christmas Tradition. There a lot of interesting traditions out there but ours include the following:

a. Decorating the house by early November. We make sure we don't spend too much on decors. In fact, most of the decors we are using now were the same batch we bought around 3 years ago. I just try to give variety in the manner we decorate and in the color combinations. Last year I placed garlands with red and silver balls and poinsettias outside our gate and fence. This year I opted to let the gate and fence go bare but instead I placed a garland on our window with blue and silver balls. We also didn't put up our usual Christmas tree but placed 3 times more Christmas lights instead this year outside the house. Our Christmas village, which is an investment, since each Christmas house costs quite an amount have rested for a couple of years but this time we put them out to be displayed and enjoyed.

2. Let the Three Wise Men Travel. We do have a Belen, but the three wise men figures aren't there yet. From November till the morning of December 24, we make them travel by putting them around the house - on the stairs, under the dining table, on the kitchen, to make them look like they're still finding their way to the manger. As Christmas Day approaches, we place them nearer and nearer to the site of our Belen. On Christmas Eve, that's the time we let them make it to baby Jesus's side.

3. Display our Christmas books. One of the things we've collected over the years are Christmas books I've bought from Book Sales. Most of them cost as low as P20, while the most expensive is around P175. Aliya and I love reading those stories and looking at the pictures.

4. Visit the Christmas House. Every year, my daughter's school holds their Christmas program/Family Day in a mall in the east. Nearby is the subdivision with the famous Christmas house, called as such because of the lights that adorn it as well as their gigantic Santa figures. This year, we plan to visit it again after the Family Day with one of my daughter's best friend's family.

5. Visit the Casa Santa. Located in Antipolo City, Rizal, this house is full of the owner's collection of Santa Clauses of all shapes, sizes and kinds. I think they're open all year round but you have to call up first for an appointment in case you want to visit and have a photoshoot there. It's quite off the Metro so I suggest dropping by on a Sunday to avoid the usual Ortigas Ave Extension traffic.

5. Make Christmas crafts. Pinterest and youtube have a lot of wonderful ideas you can make with your kids.

6. DIY decors, cards and wrappers. A lot of age-appropriate suggestions can be found online.

7. To teach the value of sharing and generosity, why not declutter your closet and give away/donate old clothes, toys and books. You'd be amazed at how much stuff you actually have.

8. Read the Christmas Story. To remind our children what Christmas really is about, this one is strongly, highly suggested. Besides, it's the best story ever!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Family Vacation in Macau, China

For summer of 2016, we wanted to explore this one place we've never given a chance of visiting even during our trips to neighboring Hongkong: Macau. Most of the time, the first thing that comes to mind about Macau is the casinos and the gondola ride in Venetian Macau. Quite a lot of people don't know that kids can also enjoy a trip to this destination that's quite close to the Philippines. Because I was in between projects the past couple months, I was able to research about things to do and places to go in Macau. So let me give you a rundown of some of the highlights of our trip with our 8 year old daughter.

1. When asked what her favorite part of the trip was, my daughter would always say it was SHREKFAST. It's a character breakfast with the characters of Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon and Madagascar. It takes place in the Holiday Inn Cotai Central. Each ticket costs MOP 238++ for adults, and MOP138++ for child.

Breakfast was buffet style and we enjoyed everything.

2. My daughter's next favorite memory of Macau was the gondola ride in The Venetian Macau. The experience was lovely and relaxing. We loved that our Italian gondolier sang a familiar Taiwanese love song that my father loved. They sell your photos after to you but because we didn't avail of them, I forgot how much they cost. But the gondola ride costs MOP128 for adults and MOP98 for kids. The whole ride takes about 15 minutes and the gondolier sings 2 songs.

3. If toys and candies are what your children are looking for, then check out KIDS CAVERN. It's in the Sands in Cotai Central. They have the largest candy selection I've ever seen and they have all kinds and brands of toys for both boys and girls. My daughter was so overwhelmed it took her a long time to decide what to buy!

4. QUBE. One is in Venetian Hotel and the other one is in Sands Cotai Central. The one inside the Venetian Hotel is an 838 sq m indoor playground that's both innovative and interactive. Entry price is MOP90 for two hours. If your older kids are no longer into hitting the slides and jumping around, there are computer games around as well.

5. DreamWorks All Star Parade. Since you're already in the area, there's a parade of DreamWorks characters that happen every 4-4:20pm in the Shoppes in Sands Cotai Central. Admission is free.

6. Macau Science Museum. Although we have not visited this place, I have heard nice reviews about their Science Museum and the entry price is as follows: Exhibition Galleries MOP25, Planetarium, Dome/SKY Shows MOP 35, Planetarium 3D Dome/3D Sky Shows MOP 45, Free admission for children under age 2.

7. Panda Pavilion. This one's sort of out of the way as it is not in the Macau Peninsula nor in the Taipa side, but it's in Coloane. Though it is reachable both by public bus and cab, we haven't the time to go visit this place. Admission is only MOP10 and free for kids under 12 and for senior citizens. However, remember that they are closed on Mondays and admission is at 6 intervals per day.

8. Food and shopping Senado Square, Rua de Mercadores, Taipa Village and New Yaohan Department Store. I think it's the 5th floor of New Yaohan that has the kids stuff like toys, clothes and stationery.

9. Wave pools in Galaxy Hotel. Reviews of their pools are all thumbs up and when you check out youtube videos of their swimming pools, you'd maybe consider checking in Galaxy Hotel as non-staying guests are not allowed in their swimming pools.

10. Kids City in City of Dreams. Be sure you dress up your kids in long sleeves, trousers/long pants and socks if you want them to play in this fun 17,000sq ft interactive playground. They have all kinds of slides, inflatables, arts and crafts areas for your little girls as well as interactive corners!

So there. With all these fun and exciting activities, isn't Macau family friendly after all? :)