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Limbo

April 8, 2014

I haven’t written much lately. More of I haven’t written at all. These days I feel like I’m on a state of suspended animation. Morning comes, I wake up, make my coffee, check my email, check my pages, get ready, do what it is I have to do for the day and go home. Blah blah blah. No matter how my afternoon went, how exciting and fun it was, my day just ends grey, dreary and flat. Why? Basti is on vacation. 😦

He’s been gone in the last two weeks, visiting the Cebu relatives in their little corner of Eastern Cebu. He’s having the time of his life. I’ve called his vacation the “Tunay Na Lalake” vacation because he’s been doing all sorts of things he can never do here in the city.

 

He’s feeding goats and chickens, washing the car, fetching water at the water pump, taking walks by the river and the sea, and sleeping in a nipa hut. He’s also got more cousins than he can count (because he can only count up to twenty right now) so everyday is a party.

While I’ve been enjoying my Me Time, I’m also missing him terribly. He doesn’t come back for a few days and honestly, I’ve had enough Me Time, I want my little bugger back. This house is just too empty without him.

Before Basti left, I had all sorts of stuff lined up. I was going to organize, and top of the list, I was going to blog. Sometime in the last few months, I lost my blogging mojo and my blogging voice, and I’ve been struggling to find it again. I thought I would find it while Basti is gone. I thought I would have the time and the silence to really give the blog some thought and think about what it was then, what it is now and where I want it to go. I am not succeeding.

What I do know is that with Basti gone, a part of me left with him. What I did realize that finding my voice will always and forever include his. That is the mother I am, and Basti’s presence in my life is part of what defines me. I didn’t know it, but my blogging mojo never left. My blogging mojo was always there. Basti is my blogging mojo. And it took a vacation to make me realize that.

The Painter’s Wife is on its last legs. We’ve had a good run, this blog and I. But it’s time to move on. I do have a new website in the works. I’ll announce it soon, and hopefully I’ll have lots of stuff to share to celebrate its launch.

Do any of you want to guess what it’s going to be like?

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No Hope Lost: Vaccination Awareness by GSK

March 13, 2014

Before anything, I’d like to put my stand on vaccinations out there. I believe in vaccination. I believe the real benefits of vaccination outweigh the alleged risks. Basti is vaccinated completely from birth till boosters. His doctor was an emergency room pediatric doctor and her experience was key in making the decision to fully vaccinate on schedule. Between the alleged risks of vaccination and the risk of seeing Basti sick with pneumonia, rotavirus, measles and all the other diseases, I chose the path that feels safer to me.

Having said that, I was quick to say yes to attend an event hosted by GSK called #NoHopeLost, an awareness campaign on vaccination, most particularly those for pneumonia and diarrhea.

Hosted by Ria Tanjuatco-Trillo, the event also had Barbie Almabis-Honasan as a guest to recount her motherhood experiences.

All of us there could relate how difficult it is to have a sick child. Dr. Gatchalian then came on board for a presentation. Here are the points that remained with me:

  • Pneumonia and diarrhea are the top 2 killers of children less than 5 years of age in the country.
  • The rotavirus is a “democratic virus.” It doesn’t pick a time or a place. It’s the reason why rotavirus rates are the same anywhere, whether you live in a first-world country or a third-world country. Even if you say you live in a “clean” environment, the rotavirus can still thrive.
  • The rotavirus can stay on a surface for several days, and for hours on your skin, even with handwashing.
  • Prevention is the best way to protect our children from these two illnesses. The toll it takes on our children is a path I never want me or Basti to take as much as possible.

Most people think since these two vaccines are not part of the Expanded Program on Immunization for the government that they are optional. The government has already acknowledged the need for these two diseases to be prevented and are slowly introducing the PCV and Rotavirus vaccines to the public, starting with 700,000 units in the CARAGA region. Soon, the vaccines will be available nationwide.

The #SoMoms who took part in the event all put our pics to commit to the #NoHopeLost campaign.

The “No Hope Lost” campaign is initiated by Glaxo Smith Kline to support the WHO, UNICEF and the government’s efforts to reduce the incidents of pneumonia and diarrhea among Filipino children.

Lunch with Cycles Sensitive {Giveaway Alert!}

February 20, 2014

Cycles has long been popular in the mommy circles as a gentle but effective detergent for our kids. It’s high up on the list of the modern cloth diaper addicts users and has a strong following and wonderful feedback from lots of moms. I myself learned about Cycles years and years ago, way before I even had Basti!

When the invitation for Cycles Sensitive came, I was quite excited. I have a history with Cycles that goes as far back as college (the people behind it are friends from school) and I felt very proud of what Cycles has accomplished. Knowing the good people behind the brand makes me just a bit prouder. (Clap, clap!)

So what is Cycles Sensitive? It is a line of skincare products that’s perfect for baby’s delicate and sensitive skin. We’ve all been made aware of the many things that may have effects on our skin and body. Words such as “endocrine disruptors”, and “parabens” have become commonplace words when the topic of baby skin care products is being discussed.

At the luncheon, pedia-derma Dr. Sarrosa gave a presentation on baby’s skin, atopic dermatitis and other concerns. (Atopic Dermatitis not “skin asthma. Noted, Doc!) I was particularly interested in the details of the mosquito repellants. Having been a victim of dengue last year, dengue fever is one of my fears, with a lot of paranoia mixed in. They have two formulas – one that’s all natural, and another that’s got chemicals, but is DEET-free. The active ingredient in their non-DEET formulation is Picardin, a proven ingredient that provides up to 8 hours of protection. Good enough for me!

The lunch was fun and it was nice to catch up with some of my friends after a long period of being busy.

It was also such a pleasure to meet the Cycles Sensitive spokesperson, Cheska Kramer, with her super cute Gavin in tow. #teamkramer

 

Cycles Sensitive was so generous to give us a goodie bag full of all the products in the Cycles Sensitive lineup. So generous, that they also gave us three more exact goodie bags to give away on our blogs! Three readers will get a bag with these:

Cycles Sensitive Baby Lotion (500 ml size only), Head-To-Toe Baby Wash (500 ml size only), Natural Insect Repellent, Non-DEET Insect Repellent, Protective Diaper Cream and Anti-Mosquito Citronella Patches.

Enter through Rafflecopter below! (Reload the page if you don’t see the widget, or just click on the link to go to the Rafflecopter site)

Entries will be accepted until February 28, 2014. Announcement of winners will be via Facebook Page, Twitter and email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Happy Anniversary Gingersnaps!

February 14, 2014

Last week, Basti and I attended the 20th anniversary fashion show of Gingersnaps at SM Aura.

Other than presenting the spring collection of Gingersnaps (which is awesome, by the way), the fashion show was also a celebration of Gingersnaps’ 20 years in the business. From its humble beginnings in department stores, Gingersnaps is now a top-of-mind brand for children’s, teen’s and maternity clothing, and have expanded their operations internationally.

Hosted by Daphne Oseña-Paez, the fashion show featured the kids who topped the Gingersnaps Kids Model Search, who were spectacular in their walk down the runway. Direction was by top fashion show director Robbie Carmona and styled by Pam Quinones.

Host Daphne Oseña-Paez; President of Gingersnaps, Mr. Jerry Uy

Little Miss MFO had her own moment on the runway. You were awesome Berry!!!

The SoKids were the real guests. Us #SoMoms were just the drivers and bantays, really.

Jenny of COANM and Naima, Michelle of Momma In Manila and Gellie, Manila Mommy Neva with her beautiful family, Jackie of Go Jackie Go with cuties Gabbie and Juro, Patty of Nonstopbabble and Sabine, Mommy Fleur and Anika.

Basti and I have been big fans of Gingersnaps since he was a baby. The clothes are great quality and are of the highest standard when it comes to safety. I also love how the clothes are stylish yet don’t make your kids look like people in small-sized adult clothes. Before the fashion show, Gingersnaps was very generous to treat Basti to an outfit of his choice to wear to the event. It was a very hard decision.

Basti’s at the age though, when he’s starting to pick his own clothes, so it wasn’t up to me. This is what he picked out. FLORAL. My boy knows his prints!

Congratulations Gingersnaps! Here’s to 20 and more years of beautiful clothes for kids!

 

Join LATCH!: LATCH Peer Counselor Training Batch 5

February 5, 2014

My journey as a peer counselor with LATCH started two years ago when I went through the training seminar as part of LATCH Batch 3. Since then, my life has been intertwined with LATCH in more ways than one.

Apart from the talks, classes, breastfeeding testimonials, projects (Snuggle Wuggle Wee, Nanay Bayanihan and Dr. Jack Newman, y’all), there’s something about belonging in an organization full of like-minded women who care about a cause as much as  you do. We are all different, but all sisters in the name of breastfeeding.

We did LATCH Peer Counselor Training Batch 4 recently in Cebu.

The excitement and fire from the participants prompted us to schedule the Manila training leg sooner than later.

So do you wanna be a LATCHer? Check out the details below. The LATCH peer counselor training will be held on two whole Saturdays this March. (Click on the image to enlarge)

There will be an interview and all applicants will go through a screening process. As with all organizations, it’s good to know whether LATCH is a fit for you and what you represent and how you want to be represented. Let’s talk! Sign up to be on the candidate list on http://bit.ly/LatchManila5.

I hope to see your name on the list!

The #BetterMe Sessions: Better Relationships with Household Helpers

January 27, 2014

I have been trying to write this post for weeks but the mojo for it was hard to come by. Well, there’s no better time to write about it than now. I am, once again, household help-free. Our 4-year yaya went on vacation last Christmas and didn’t come back. Don’t freak. I am not upset by that fact. I am no stranger to a yaya-free environment. But this incident got me thinking back to the session we had with Coach Pia of The One Core on having better relationships with household helpers. It was a long morning, but I wanted to share with you guys the points that I took home with me, and hope that these will help you in your domestic dramas (don’t we all have them).

Wants vs. Needs

Coach Pia first had us make a list of characteristics of our ideal home. We had similar lists – organized, safe, environmental, etc. We were then asked to list down the tasks involved in making this list happen, which area of the house needed the work, the specific tasks involved to do it and importantly, WHO was in charge. With this we then determined which characteristics were “Wants” versus “Needs” and if the person involved in doing this work felt it was a “Want” or a “Need” as well.

In my own home, one of my needs was to a spotless and organized kitchen. To my helper, this was not a need. It was not even a want. We had constant disagreements and I felt I was endlessly reminding her of how I wanted the kitchen to be kept. To me it was important; to her I was being OA. What could’ve worked was for me to explain why this was a need for me, for her to understand the reasons behind my nitpicking and to communicate how important it was to me.

This is not just for your household helpers, but for the rest of the family as well. It works both ways too. As mothers who run the house, we sometimes feel we have a say on what goes for EVERYTHING and fail to see that the other members of the family have needs as well. So if the husband asks for a bike rack, doesn’t want it, but NEEDS it, then by jove, let’s try and make that happen. Being able to meet and compromise on everybody’s wants and needs is the first step to a harmonious household.

Willingness vs. Ability

When it comes to household helpers, there are varying degrees of willingness and ability we have to live with. We also have to figure out what levels we ourselves can live with. Check if your helper is:

  • Willing and able
  • Willing but not able
  • Not willing but able
  • Not willing and not able

I think I’ve encountered kasambahay in all these levels of willingness and ability. Sad to say, most of my friends who have trouble with their household employees have people who fall under the “not willing and not able” category. For me, I am quite content with “willing but not able” because then you can train them how to handle things in your household. I will never have anyone who is “not willing but able” stay with me because from my experience, they are smart-ass, eye-rolling, complaining, sass-mouthing people who will leave you at the drop of a hat with no consideration at all.

So once you’ve assessed your helper, assess the tasks that need to be accomplished in your household. Are these tasks well within the scope of her willingness and ability? Maybe you’re asking and expecting too much.

Go back to the values.

In line with needs, wants, willingness and ability, it’s very important to explain the core values of the family to our helpers. If you are a working, breastfeeding mom, for example, simple directions about the storage and handling of milk sometimes will not suffice. I have heard many moms literally cry over spilled and wasted milk. But, if you explain the benefits, the care and the effort you put into expressing milk, then she might be able to understand why she should thaw with care, check for spoilage, not throw leftover milk, and so forth. That is, if she is WILLING and ABLE.

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It was a really fruitful morning, and we were fortunate to have the session, thanks to the wonderful people of Marca Piña Cheeseballs, Tonkita by Arix and Gustare Kitchen as the venue. We took home some very useful household cleaning implements from Tonkita (homemaker’s goody bag dream items, hear hear). I really like this two-well bucket. #homemakerjoys

The food at Gustare Kitchen was so yummy! I especially liked this squid ink sotanghon, which reminded me of my lola’s recipe. They also have packed meals ready for takeout. Perfect for condo-dwellers, small families and people who just need a break from cooking.

We also learned about Marca Piña Cheeseball (which was the perfect companion to grapes and made an awesome snack during the session). We had this session right before Christmas last year, so the timing was perfect. Who doesn’t get giddy over cheeseballs during Christmas season?

I think all of us went home that day with a bit of wisdom on how to handle our household. I hope there will less domestic drama for all of us this year!

Thank you Coach Pia! Looking forward to the next #BetterMe session!

 

Quick Post. I’m Still Alive.

January 13, 2014

Hello everyone! Happy New Year! Happy Three Kings! Happy Valentine’s!!!

I just wanted to take a breather and say hi. Chichika lang ako. I’m super loaded these days because I am moving for the nth time in my life. Anyone who has ever moved know that I am half-insane right now.

I do have so many things that I want to share and this 2014 is a time for new beginnings for this blog as well. I have been contemplating about where this blog is going, where I want to go versus where it needs to go, and I’ve decided to do a revamp. I already have some ideas for the design, themes, topics and I can’t wait to launch it.

Before that though, well, I have to finish moving. Grumble, grumble, grumble.

Catch you guys soon from my new blogging corner in our new home!