Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"the one", church-wise


Disclaimer: This post will be about comparing churches, but not on the basis of faith or religion.

Last Easter Sunday, since we were in San Diego on vacation, we heard mass at a church we'd never been to. The mass hadn't started and our family was already seated in one of the pews. Isabella and her 9-year-old aunt were sifting through the hymnbook and singing some songs. It was an inspiring moment so I flipped out my phone to take a photo. While I tried to take a shot, my 14-year-old cousin, who sometimes serves as a sacristan there, leaped over 5 of our relatives to stop me from taking the photo and tell me to keep my phone in my bag.

Turns out, the church we were in was very conservative and gadgets were, I guess, not allowed.

It made me appreciate how progressive our church at home is. In our church, it is common for us to use our smartphones or tablets to access the bible. Even some pastors use a tablet to guide them as they preach the Lord's message.

I've also seen photos on FB and Instagram of churchgoers singing praises that I imagine could inspire others to trade their lazy Sunday of social-networking for an hour with God in church.

I also realized that day in that San Diego church that I am grateful for the Crying Room in our church at home. It's a sound-proof room off to the side of our worship hall. A huge transparent window separates the worship hall and the Crying Room. This way, parents with babies can go to Sunday Service without distracting other churchgoers in case their baby starts to cry. The seats aren't arranged in a rigid row so strollers can come in. Parents can feel free to stand up and soothe their crying baby since they are amid parents like them. While everyone on the other side of the glass (including me!) can worship God in literal peace.

I also appreciate that our "misalettes" include an outline of the "sermon". Sometimes there are blanks you need to fill in, while listening to the Pastor. Other times, there are big spaces within the outline to take down notes. This works very well for me because I need to do something with my hands to focus. So taking down notes, helps me listen more intently to the Lord's message.

I guess churches really vary and the important thing is to find the one that's best suited for you. I am grateful for that day in that San Diego church. Had it not been for that experience, I would have gone on taking my church at home for granted. I never would have realized that I was blessed enough to have already found the perfect church for me!

Photo from dirtroaddiva.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

oops, my neurosis is showing...


If you've been following my main blog, you might already know how enamored I am with the idea of wearing one's children's names or initials around one's neck. Katie Holmes started it by wearing her necklace with a Jennifer Myers' diamond-encrusted disc pendant of the letter S for Suri. 

As I posted here last year, I'd already gotten a set of discs with Isabella and Noah's names hand-stamped on it (from Tea Party Jewelry).


Shortly after, I also got a set of typewriter key initial pendants (from Gwen Delicious).


But during our recent trip, I ordered 2 more sets from Etsy: a set of these rectangle pendants - hand-stamped with my children's names again (from I'm Blessed)...


and a set of these tiny, delicate square initial pendants of an I and an N (from Silver Mustangs)...


When Isabella saw my new necklaces, she exclaimed, "What? You bought name necklaces again?! How many of those do you need?" It was then that I realized that she was right! I am obsessed!


But how couldn't I be? Aren't these tiny (they're only 7mm in size!) square pendants so pretty (remember these square bangles and rings)? I also like that the charms are brass and the necklace is silver (naks, mixing it up).


Then again, why do I need 4 different necklace sets of my children's names or initials? Eeep, my neurosis is indeed showing again!


P.S. I cropped the photo of Katie Holmes and Suri so you could see Katie's necklace better. But also to crop out those ankle boots that humiliates "Suri" in her burnbook. Have to say I crack up every time she disses Bennifer's girls' "style".

Click here for previous posts from the Oops, My Neurosis is Showing... series.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Today, I am unloving...


Today, I am sobbing... because my iPhone crashed the day after we arrived from our vake. Yes, crashed. 


Soft and hard resets wouldn't work. And I, and several technicians (I went to 3 different repair shops), tried restoring it but it kept on churning out a window with error 1603 or 1604. Long story short, it's still in the "ICU" and the technician warned me that it has a 50-50 chance of recovery.

I didn't realize how much I depended on the gadget until I lost it...

1. Eventually, I came to terms with the possibility that the vake photos in my phone will be lost forever. "Possibility"... Okay, maybe I haven't fully accepted it yet. There still is that tiny sliver of hope that my iCloud backed it up somehow.

2. My heart still aches at the thought of losing my Notes entry on the kids' quotable quotes & memorable moments, observations & insights during our trip. The Notes app on my phone has become my journal for these memories. And unfortunately, once I type them up on Notes, my brain's memory almost automatically relinquishes the task to my phone's memory. :( And when Noah uttered a new quotable quote a few days ago, I had to scramble for a pen & paper to jot down his words.

3. I tossed and turned at bedtime this week. I initially thought it was jetlag. Then I realized it was because I was used to falling asleep to a game of Word Warp or 4 Pics 1 Word.

4. I couldn't book a massage & nail appointment because I didn't have my trusty contacts. I couldn't "go back to work" either coz I didn't have my "work" contacts and my to-do list app (of course, laziness - er, inertia might have been a factor too).

5. Even my social media activities were put on hold because I only accessed Facebook & Twittwer via my phone, not my laptop. Same for web-surfing, blog-reading, online-shopping (am waiting for something to go back in stock!) and even cinema-sked-surfing (what time is Ironman 3 showing?).

6. Doing errands with Noah was also a challenge because it  turns out, my phone has become his digital pacifier - something that kept him busy so I could finish my errands without his constant "how many more minutes?".

7. I was late on some bank errands too coz I couldn't transfer funds, pay my credit card bill  and even monitor investments via my BPI mobile app. Expense-tracking via my Live Expenses app was also put on hold.

8. Yesterday in church, I didn't have a  bible because I was accustomed to using my bible app.

9. If I lived in the States (where we were the past 5 weeks), I'd probably be missing my  GPS and weather apps.

10. Blogging also became harder to do (hence, the 1 week lapse from the time we landed). I usually write my blogposts on Notes during my downtime - at night in bed, when everyone's asleep and I'm still wide awake or while waiting for Noah & Isabella to get dismissed from their after-school/summer classes. So I'm writing this post on my little moleskine notebook with my BIC 0.5mm mechanical pencil while waiting for Noah. I barely finished writing #2 of this post and my ring finger was already sore! By this part, even my neck is stiff... coz I need to write in my notebook (on my purse) on my lap versus holding up my iPhone & leaning my head on the backrest as I type my post. I haven't even gotten to the inefficiency of having to retype this handwritten draft on my laptop later.

I only started using an iPhone when I went on sabbatical. Just 7 months ago, I juggled an office phone, a personal phone and an iPod touch. I remember feeling liberated when I moved to my all-in-one iPhone. No more charging tray with different sockets for my different gadgets. No more 3-pocket pouch to hold them. But 7 months later, with what-I -thought-was-a-mere-utilitarian-gadget missing from my life, I feel crippled. I guess my iPhone has become my personal assistant - my JARVIS (Have you watched Ironman 3?! Awesome! Oh and JARVIS stands for Just A Really Very Intelligent System.). Just a week so far without it and I feel... trapped.


After my long 5-week vacation, I yearned for normalcy. So it's quite unnerving that even though we're back home, I can't go back to normal. It's like my life is on hold... until my iPhone is recovered... Oh, I hope my iPhone comes back to life! I can't wait to start living again...


Today, I am so unloving... that my iPhone has not come back to life.

Photos from heritage and acupofjo. 

Click here for previous posts from the Today, I am unloving... series.

Friday, March 22, 2013

before the all-packed bliss


Don't be fooled by the all-packed enthusiasm of this of-dots-&-things post. Getting there was not easy...

First of all, 5 weeks is our longest vacation ever (Hehe, perks of not having a job to rush back to.)! 5 weeks worth of outfits is not easy to plan for! Especially since this grows exponentially when multiplied by the number of people in the family that I also have to pack for as you might recall from this married with children math!

Preparing for the 16C weather in California AND the 7C temp in New York meant slightly different sets of clothes. It doesn't help that I get cold easily and experienced getting a nosebleed from the cold air atop the Empire State Building in the middle of Spring a few years back. Because of this low tolerance for cold, I have accumulated thick & bulky wool knits & coats from previous Fall & Winter trips to the States. But I couldn't bring myself to pack them because I didn't like the idea of wearing Winter clothes in the Spring (Eep! I know, how shallow! But on that Spring trip of mine years ago, I was in a turtleneck sweater with layers and a trench coat beside a woman working on her tan in a bikini at Washington Square Park!) Plus, there's no free baggage check-in on United flights. So we had to pack light for NYC (hehe, cheapskate) and do away with my bulky wool.

It was overwhelming at first, planning which bags (and contents) would stay in California and which ones get brought to New York. Eventually though, I decided to divide our stuff into 3: the California-only stuff, the NYC-only stuff and the cross-country stuff. I stuffed as much NYC-only contents into one big suitcase - our only bag to be checked in (Woot woot! Success!).



The cross-country stuff got packed into a carry-on bag. And those that didn't fit into the big check-in bag were packed in a giant Le Sport Sac bag because I noticed from previous trips that they're more lenient with duffel bags versus carrry-on trolleys. Passengers with standard trolleys get asked to slip their bags into the allowable-dimensions-frame while a duffel so big, they could fit a person, gets through without so much as a glance from the airport folks.

I also decided to assume we will do laundry once during our 2-week West Coast stay and once during our 3-week East Coast stay. So instead of 5 weeks worth of outfits, we just needed to bring 7 days worth of clothes for California and 10 to 11 for New York. 

Eventually, I moved on from packing clothes (including pajamas, jackets, undies, hats, socks, slippers, shoes, belts & other accessories -- all x 3) to essentials like toiletries, gadget chargers, vitamins & emergency medicines, toys for Noah on the plane and pasalubong for US-based friends & family.

Yes, it was quite a challenge getting to the blissful all-packed state here. But now that we're done, I can hardly wait to land and start our fun 5-week adventure!

Photos from annnniegirl & deliciouslyorganized.

Click here for the of-dots-&-things version of this post.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

dear DepEd


Dear DepEd, I am extremely thrilled to hear that you have partnered with Johnson & Johnson and Play Pilipinas on the advocacy campaign 'Di Lang Laro Ang Laro. I totally agree that 1 hour of daily active play will ensure a child's holistic development

But I really wish you could do something about the volume of homework and the highly-advanced lessons in private traditional schools nowadays. By the time kids finish studying for quizzes (Noah's school has a not-more-than-3-quizzes-per-day rule at that) and doing their homework, there is very little time left to play (worse, if your child rides the schoolbus home).

It doesn't help that the lessons are harder nowadays with preschoolers tackling multiplication (I swear, those flash cards came out not earlier than Grade 4 during my time) and Grade 1 students already studying fractions and capacity. My Grade 1 Noah even had to memorize how long it takes for each planet to revolve around the sun (from Mercury's 88 days to Neptune's 165 years), including the number of moons of and the gases (like carbon dioxide, helium, hydrogen & methane) found on each planet, for his 4th Quarter Exams this year!

I am pleasantly surprised that they are able to learn these things at such a young age, but I think it is much too taxing on them -- limiting their time to play, their time to enjoy childhood.

I know that it probably isn't you, dear DepEd, that requires these levels of academic excellence. It is highly likely that this is the schools' own doing. But just as you impose the minimum academic requirement on these schools' curriculum, I wish you would also set the maximum. After all, while too little is indeed bad, too much is just as bad.

Don't get me wrong, dear DepEd. I am glad that the stewards of education of our country understands that the playground is also a classroom for mental development...


... for physical development...


... and for social development. 


I just really wish that my child had more time to learn these things in the playground rather than doing worksheets on his study desk.

Disclaimer: I am writing this without having done any research on DepEd's required curriculum. I am just writing as a mother who, while watching her child study every day after school, worries that he is missing out on his childhood.

Photos are from  annnniegirl and courtesy of Johnson's Baby.

Click here for previous posts from the Dear... series. Click here for the of-dots-&-things version of this post.

Monday, March 4, 2013

my rebound shirt


I haven't been enticed to enter stores to go shopping these days. The lure of shopping has been lost on me since I took a break from work. Because I lost my shopping mojo, it turns out I haven't entered Zara in 3 months! I did though, right before Christmas to buy a few gifts.

And I was drawn to this cape coat. It was love at first sight. I loved how it still looked like a cape without limiting my arms' mobility like a cape would - even those with slits where forearms could go through. Yes, I know this because I tried it on. I allowed it to woo me. And it did... I loved how it looked with the collar buttoned up. Be still my heart!


Luckily, the pragmatic voice in my head drowned out the pitter-patter of my heart. What would I need a heavy cape coat for - bringing the kids to and from school? It won't even go with my daily uniform of shorts & a t-shirt. So I begrudgingly handed back the coat to the Zara lady at the fitting room.

Next, these ankle-strap shoes caught my eye!


Loved the leather-looking material (am not a fan of the gamosa, er-suede, material that is so common in shoes these days) and the subtle animal skin pattern on it. Plus, of course, the mixed-colorness of it! In neutrals this time (unlike here). And how sexy the toe-part looks with that plunging diagonal toeline! Oooohh. L.O.V.E.


Thank God it wasn't available in my size or I would have added a pair to my already full shoecabinet of heels gathering dust these days (this isn't as easy as I thought).

I guess my shopping mojo is still wired to shop for office clothes. It was heartbreaking to fall in love with the wrong coat or shoe.

So I stopped my eyes from straying onto another coat or pair of heels and my gaze landed on this shirt. I think I'd seen it in previous shopping trips (when I was still working and on a recent trip to HK), but was never enticed to buy it. I guess that was until I got so frustrated falling in love with things that aren't compatible with my life nowadays.


I liked that it fell within my casual clothes parameter. It's a tee! And I thought the leathery sleeves would give my casual outfits these days its needed edge.

So I tried it on. It was only then that I noticed this detail at the end of the side-seams. Love how it gives the shirt a chic subtle oomph for untucked days.


My rebound shirt. It is perfectly compatible with my life nowadays. I can even wear it tucked or untucked! I just needed to silence the voice in my head saying this is my 20 millionth gray shirt. :) Well, what can I say? Gray shirts have always been my type. :P

Photos are my own and from acupofjo, zara and here.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

daily dishonesty


Remember here when I told you I have a hard time lying and that this one lie (above) I had to admit I actually do tell?

Well, I discovered this blog that very prettily (via her hand-drawn typography) features the lies we tell every day. And it made me realize there are a few lies I do tell myself...


I just cannot give up junk food & candy.


Oh, they won't. Because I am really never getting on that treadmill. Remember these yoga mats?


But yes, these actually do.

Oh, and the quintessential lie of a crammer...  


Nah, I'll do it at the very last minute. :)

But this, I never lie about. I know I will have more than one glass. Okay, possibly a whole bottle.



Neither do I tell this lie.



I guess I'm an unapologetic drinker. Haha!

It is true that I find it really difficult to lie. These next two are pretty common lies that I really cannot bring myself to tell.


I'm always honest about this. I say "I just READ your text".

I struggle especially with this next one. 


I'd rather text where, on the road, I am so the person I'm meeting can estimate what time I will arrive rather than commit to 5 minutes when I'm not sure I can make it on time.

But there still are lies I have no trouble telling myself. This one I actually believe. 


I actually believe that I lose weight from shopping all day! Yes, I've lied so well to myself about it that I don't realize it's a lie anymore. Turns out, I am guilty of some daily dishonesty. 

Photos from dailydishonesty.