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.