Thursday, February 27, 2014

Required Reading Challenge

"Let it go! Let it go! Can't hold it back anymore! Let it go! Let it go!"



 
Like most kids these days, my sons love the movie Frozen; and if I let them, they will watch it over and over not just every day by several times a day!

I was getting a little bit worried about their increase tv time.

I wanted them to spend more time playing and reading.

I have asked them to do activities related to the movie (i.e. drawing Olaf and other characters from the movie and writing their names). But I think that they were still watching too much tv.
 
So, I challenged my eldest son to a reading challenge.
 
I brought out one of his reading programs again and reminded him of these books. I told him that if he is able to read aloud to me all the 10 books in his reading program in 7 days, he could have unlimited play on a Saturday or Sunday at Active Fun, BGC.
 
My sons loves playing there that's why I used that as reward for the challenge.
 
As soon as he heard what he could get as his reward, he wasted no time and grabbed a book right there in the middle of our living room.
 
He started reading even before I was ready to listen to him. So I hurriedly finished what I was doing so I can focus on listening to him.

We sat in the living room with his younger brother as he read to me. He finished reading one book. Then, he got another one... and another one... and another one. I think he has read around 5-6 books already when I asked him if he wants to rest for a while and resume later or the next day.

He said that he still wants to read. He wants to finish reading all 10 books that day according to him.

I told him that he still has a number of days to achieve his goal. But he was bent to finish reading all 10 books right away. So, I just let him.

He was reading fast. There were times when I would remind him to pause or stop at punctuation marks. There were also some words that he was not able to pronounce correctly but he was doing his best to read even unfamiliar words and I was happy to see and hear him persevere in reaching his goal.

I taught him the correct way of reading some words and reminded him how to read when there are periods.

The result: My eldest son read all 10 books in an hour!

This reading program was given to me in 2012 and my son and I have read these books that year. But because we moved to a new house, most of our books are still in boxes. I consciously brought these out so my son can read them again.

 
 

The reading levels were: Starter, Progressive and Champion. There were 3 books under the first two levels and 4 books in the last.

I was very impressed! I was not surprised that he was able to read the books because my son  has been reading since he was 2 years old. I was surprised at the determination he showed to achieve his goal!

He finished reading just in time for our lunch so during lunch and after, I decided to test his retention and comprehension on what he read. I asked him questions. To which, he answered impressively as well.

Let me share some of the information that he shared to me when I asked him about what he learned from the books he read.

"Spiders have 8 legs."

"An octopus has 8 tentacles."

"A lion is a big cat that weighs 400 pounds. The baby lion is called a cub."

"The baby shark is called a pup." 

Then, I remembered what his developmental pediatrician told me. Gifted children has very good retention skills. I was also glad to find out that he understood most of what he read because it moved him to ask me more questions about the topics he read. There were science materials included in the program and he asked me follow up questions to some of them. In truth, I didn't know the answers to most of his follow up questions so I told him that we'll research for the answers.

Here's are some examples of his questions:

"What's the weight of sharks and dolphins?"

"What do lions eat?"
 
 "Should we be afraid of skeletons?"

"What happens when the arteries are blocked?"

I realized as I looked back that he was really thinking and processing the information that he was reading even though he was reading fast. He was not only asking me questions after he finished reading but also along the way. I was delighted to hear him ask questions because that meant that he was curious and he wanted to find out more. Those are the foundations of learning.

Later, I told him that he should also read the starter books to his younger brother so that Mateo would also learn the things that he learned.

That was yesterday.

Today, although he has already finished reading all the books in our challenge, he still read them again. He read them to his younger brother. He actually continued reading even after his younger brother lost interest in listening to him and was already nursing from me.

He just kept o reading again... And the sight of him reading because he wanted to gave me joy.

My heart was filled with joy because I witnessed my son enjoying an activity that also fills me with much joy when I do it -- reading. Reading is one of my favorite hobbies. Reading was instrumental in shaping my personality, my character and even my career. I believe that I am the person that I am now because of the books I read. I believe that I became an author/writer because I loved reading.

I'm excited for my son! I'm excited for I know that reading would open many doors to him. It would enable him to discover many exciting things and teach him a lot of new things/skills.

I'm glad that I thought of this reading challenge. I think I'm going to do this either weekly or every other week. I'm confident that my boy would respond positively to the challenge again next time; so, I'd better fix our schedule so as not to disappoint him and grant him his reward as promised.
 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Adobo Adventures in the Kitchen

When you are a mom, what to feed your family will always be one of your daily concerns. Adobo is one of our family's favorite dishes and one of my specialties; but I don't want to cook and present it too frequently in the same way so as to prevent my family from getting tired of it.
 
Since it is so easy to cook and cooking it saves me a lot of time in the kitchen (compared to other dishes because I can cook and work a little while it's simmering), I looked for ways to cook Adobo in different ways.
 
I once shared in this blog my maternal grandmother's Adobo recipe, which is cooked in vinegar only (no soy sauce). It has been one of the bestsellers in this blog since then!
 
Last week, I cooked Chicken Adobo with pineapple tidbits. You cook the adobo in the same way until the chicken is almost cooked. Then, you add a small pouch of pineapple tidbits while you let it simmer in low heat.
 
Another variation to the traditional adobo that I do is to cook it with coconut milk. Again, the chicken is cooked until almost done before I pour in coconut milk (fresh, powder or liquid). Make sure that the chicken meat is almost cooked and that your flame is on low heat before adding the coconut milk because you don't want too much coconut oil on your adobo. You want a creamy sauce where the coconut cream is well-blended with the Adobo sauce. It would be tastier if you put finger peppers on this but if you will be feeding small kids, you might want to do away with that.

Photo source here.

I have included Adobo in my 4-week cycle menu, which I posted in this blog years ago. (That post is among the all-time bestsellers here.)
 
That's all for now. Next time, I will share my well-loved traditional Adobo recipe with soy sauce.
 
Have you tried other variations of the famous Adobo in your kitchen? Please feel free to share it in the comments. I would love to learn more variations to this all-time Pinoy favorite!
 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

My Little Assistant Did It Again

My toddler son asked to be breastfed right after we had lunch a few days ago. I granted his request while I sat in one of our dining chairs.
 
In the meantime, while I was doing this, I saw my eldest son clear our dining table. He carefully placed the dishes in our kitchen sink. Then, he wiped our dining table.
 
I said thank you to him and asked him to brush his teeth and take a bath afterwards.
 
I continued to breastfeed my youngest son until he fell asleep in my arms. Thus, I could not move from my seat, afraid that I would wake him up.
 
After a while, I carried my sleeping son upstairs and put him down on the bed.
 
When I got down, I discovered that my eldest son not only cleared our dining table and wiped it, he also washed his and his younger brother's plates, utensils and glasses.
 
I was so pleased that when he stepped out of the bathroom I thanked him for what he has done as I patted him dry with a towel. I also kissed and hugged him. I told him that I was proud of him for being my little assistant.
 
I wrote about him being my husband and I's little assistant years ago here. After a little more than 3 years, this son of ours continues to be our dependable little assistant. Reading my previous post about him helping us made me realize that my eldest son truly has a heart for helping others. He is always on the look out for something that he can do to help. He's eager to give a helping hand. He's happy to help and contribute. He likes to be involved.
 
He has been like that even when we have maids. He helps our maids in their chores. So, I know that he's not only helpful to me or his Dad.
 
And on days like these when we don't have any maid, his help no matter how small is magnified and more endeared.
 
I remember a story I read to him and his younger brother entitled A BIG HELP. The animals in the story pitched in the little that they were capable of doing to help another animal. In the end, the little that they contributed to the big desired outcome that was actually needed to help the wounded bird in the story.

 
 
This is what I often tell my sons especially my eldest son. I remind him that he's actually a big help through the many little things that he does for me and my husband every now and then.  
 
I'm blessed to have him as my son. I pray that I would be able to express my gratitude to him every time he does something good and sweet. I pray that I would not be too busy to notice and praise him for his good works. Because in truth I am really happy and proud of him and what he does.
 
Do you also have a little assistant at home? Feel free to share what your own little assistant/s do in the comments.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Experiencing God's Compassion Even When I Didn't Go to Mass Today

I did not go to Mass today with my family because I was very angry minutes before we were supposed to go to church.
 
I was angry at my eldest son and I spoke harsh words to him in my anger. I felt so bad. I felt unworthy and ashamed to come before God in the Holy Eucharist.
 
I chose to stay home and let my husband (who arrived minutes after all my drama with the kids) take the kids to church.
 
I stayed home... in the kitchen. I have just finished cooking tuna pasta with sun-dried tomatoes. Actually, I was almost ready to leave and was a bit excited to eat dinner with my family after the Mass. But my eldest did something that made me mad all of a sudden.
 
I mixed the sauce with the pasta with a heavy heart. As the noodles slowly turned red because of the sauce, I felt my anger slowly slip away. I felt that I have overly reacted once more. I felt ashamed of my behavior and the words that came out of my mouth. I feared how those negative and hurtful words could have pierced my son's tender heart.
 
I went upstairs to my home office... looking for ways to diffuse the negative feelings within me.
 
I opened my Facebook Account and saw a post where my name was tagged. I was intrigued with the title. Tears started to form in my eyes right after I read the title of the blog post. Those tears flowed as I read on.
 
Deep inside I felt that I deserved a strong rebuke from God for failing again on being a loving mother to my child. But instead of a rebuke from God, I felt God's compassion and mercy as I read the blog post titled When Mothering is Hard and No One Sees.
 
I was sobbing by the time I finished reading the entire post.
 
Let me share some lines that struck me the most.
 
"This laying down of your life for the children I’ve gifted you? This is worship in action."
 
"Your greatest contribution in the kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise."
 
I missed today's worship service by skipping daily Mass. But through this blog post, God opened my eyes to the truth that even when I'm not able to go to church to participate in the Eucharistic Celebration, I'm still able to worship Him every day as I "lay down my life" for my kids. What powerful insight from this lovely post!
 
The second line I highlighted here also struck me. It's as if God is telling me that even with all the books/articles/reflections I have written and the number of people I have touched through them, my highest calling and service to Him is raising the kids that God blessed me with.
 
I felt much better after reading this blog post of another mom who isn't spared from the challenges of being a parent.
 
Then, my kids and husband got home from church. My sons asked for my blessing by putting my hand on their forehead. (This is a Filipino tradition.) I quietly served dinner... with tear-filled eyes.
 
"Wow, pasta! I like this!" exclaimed my eldest son.
 
More tears filled my eyes as I heard him say those words.
 
My eldest son kept saying that he liked the pasta that I cooked and that it's yummy. He even asked for a second serving. It was so hard to keep my tears from rolling down my cheeks while we were eating.
 
After dinner, he asked permission from me to watch their current favorite movie (need I say that it's Frozen?). I asked him to pack away his school supplies and toys first before I said yes. Then, I asked for his forgiveness. I also asked him if he was angry with me earlier and he gave an honest reply. I reminded him that Mommy still loves him even when I'm mad. I apologized again, kissed him and gave him a hug. He kissed and hugged me, too. The, he happily went downstairs to watch a movie with his younger brother.
 
Like the author of that blog post, I sometimes feel that I'm doing my role as a mother poorly. Tonight, I felt that I have done something really bad.
 
I felt conscious of God's eyes that I could not bear to come before Him inside the church. Yet, as I read the post, instead of feeling the weight of the wrong I have done and God's judging eyes, I felt his loving, merciful and compassionate gaze. He saw not my mistakes. He saw the good that I have done instead. That's what really made me cry.
 
Thank you, God! I pray that You'd grant me grace to do better in living out this sacred calling of mine in my every day life.

 
I'm linking this post to the Catholic Bloggers Network
 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Challenges and Rewards of Being a WAHM (Work-at-Home Mom)

Becoming a work-at-home mom is one of my biggest blessings from God. I prayed for this kind of lifestyle and I had been blessed to be living this dream for years now. It's a wonderful lifestyle but it has its own challenges.
Let me enumerate some of my challenges as I work from home.
  1. I need to think fast.
  2. I need to work quickly and still deliver outputs of good quality.
  3. I need to meet deadlines at work while managing a home and caring for small kids.
  4. I need to work around my kids' schedules. I need to either wake up early in the morning or stay up late at night (like right now) to get some serious work done.
  5. If I choose to work while the kids are awake, I should expect to be distracted and disturbed OFTEN. Therefore, I should only do tasks/work that do not require a lot of concentration or much of my neurons. ;)
I thank God that He has prepared me well for this set-up. He has given me a lot of experience when I was still working in the corporate world that I grew to be very competent in what I do. (Click here if you want to find out more about my work.) I can deliver the expected outputs in relatively less time than a lot of people. I can design, organize, manage, and implement HR programs even with a lot of other things on my plate. (I've always lived a hectic but meaningful life!) I do not say this to boast. What I'm trying to say is that God has a lot to do with the kind of experience that I have gained over the years. It was He who gave me enough courage to pursue my passions, to learn from scratch, to climb the corporate ladder, and eventually get out of the rat race to live the dream that has been planted in my heart. That dream is to build a family and devote much of my time to them.
Working from home is challenging. I can't do many of the things I used to do at work. I cannot work too long on something I want to focus on and always meet the deadlines I have set for myself because there are little kids that I need to feed and take care of. And these kids expect me to look at them, to hold them, to play with them, to listen and talk to them, to answer their questions, to give them what they need at the moment, and to just be part of their little world. There are laundry baskets that get filled with dirty clothes, floors that get too messy to step into, dishes that fill our kitchen sink, and pots and pans that fill our stove top, and so much more.

These adorable kids motivate me to work from home.
Why do I choose to work this way in spite of the many challenges? I began by enumerating my challenges. Now, let me enumerate my reasons for choosing to be a WAHM.
  1. I want to see my children grow.
  2. I want to witness their milestones.
  3. I want to personally take care of most of their needs.
  4. I want to have plenty of time with them now that they are young.
  5. I want them to remember me as part of their childhood.
  6. I want more quality time with them.
  7. I want to be near them and observe them up close.
  8. I want to be the main person in molding their values and character.
  9. I want to be their first teacher.
  10. I want to have a strong relationship with my kids so I choose to invest in my relationship with them as early as possible.
This week is another hectic week for me. (When did I not have a hectic week? hmmm... Okay. There were a few in the past.) I'll be conducting an out-of-town teambuilding and strategic planning workshop for one of my new clients this Thursday. I've been doing some work at home in preparation for this event. I've been doing this on top of household chores because we currently do not have a maid. I've been doing some of these tasks while breastfeeding my youngest son or supervising my eldest son's homeschool lessons. Aside from this workshop, I'm also preparing for another event, which will happen next month, in relation to my latest book.
It's definitely NOT an easy path. But it's a path I'd rather take because I have a BIG WHY that moves me to persevere in the midst of my challenges. I keep choosing this kind of life because I have a clear vision of how I want my children to remember me as their mom/parent.
Are you also working from home? What challenges are you facing now? Or are you thinking of becoming a work-at-home mom, too? Feel free to leave a comment to share your reason for wanting to be one and the possible challenges that you foresee yourself to face in the future.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Nothing Fancy on Valentine's Day Yet Still Happy

Yanthy decorates a heart using red glitters and glue.
My kids and I spent the day before Valentine's Day doing some art activities. They decorated some hearts with paint and glitters while I supervised them. The kids love painting and I was happy to see my two children enjoy painting together. They finished decorating 4 hearts that day.
 
Mateo puts finishing touches on a heart that
his older brother painted before he woke up.

 
Painting together.
 
The heart on top and the one on the left is a joint effort of the boys.
Yanthy decided to give the pink heart to me and the one with blue paint to his Dad.
The red heart and the one on the right was made by my eldest.
He gave the heart on the right to his younger brother.
 
On Valentine's Day morning, I woke up to a wonderful surprise. My husband gave me 3 pink roses. I love flowers especially on Valentine's Day!
 
 
I initially wanted to go out with the kids and bond with them by playing in the park at The Fort and ride with my husband on his way to the office. But my eldest son was still sleeping and I wanted to show him love that day by not rushing him so I scrapped my plan of going out early with the boys. Instead, I had cereals for breakfast with my youngest son who was up early. We waited for his older brother to wake up until I realized it was already almost noon. So, I woke up my eldest son and told him that we will have a lunch date.
 
After eating sundae at McDonald's.
I had another plan again. I was thinking of going to McDonald's or Jollibee to eat spaghetti and strawberry sundaes with the boys. But my eldest woke up too late for us to go far from our house so we ended up eating lunch in a nearby café. It was still a good alternative. The pastas in that café are actually good. The boys had spaghetti while I had puttanesca. After finishing our pasta, we went to SM Bicutan to have our sundaes. My eldest wanted a chocolate-flavored dessert so I bought him hot fudge choco sundae while I got myself a strawberry sundae. We shared our sundaes with the little one. Mateo wasn't in the mood for a lot of sundae then so he just had a little.
 
After that, Yanthy rode a Lightning McQueen toy car and then we went to the Book Sale. We spent some time searching for good books but we were not lucky that day. We left and headed for the taxi stand. We were blessed to find the line at the taxi stand to be short and that we found a taxi right away that took us to SM Aura. Actually, I wanted to go to Bonifacio High Street at first but my eldest wanted to go to SM Aura. So, I gave in to his request.
 
We went to Toy Kingdom and they had a few rides. When I felt the rumble in my tummy, I brought them to Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf for some snacks. We went to the fountains and let them run around.
 
My Valentine dates.
 
 
 
 
 

We had ham and cheese pandesal and banana chocolate muffin.
 
We went back to Toy Kingdom again spent some more time there before we went home to go to Mass.
 
My husband and I were thinking  of going to Mass at the chapel in SM Aura since we were already there but our eldest son wanted to go to Mass near our house because he wanted to see his/our friend Tito Ed who usually plays the piano in the church. The kid prevailed and we went to Mass in our village. But before that we ordered dinner so that it could be delivered to our house after the Mass. Our eldest son's request prevailed once more. He wanted chicken from Bon Chon so that's what we ordered for dinner. Our eldest son doesn't eat a lot usually thus when he requested to have Bon Chon chicken for dinner on Valentine's Day, we granted it hoping that he will eat plenty that evening and to make him happy.
 
We had dinner after Mass and put the kids to sleep after cleaning up in the dining area and in the kitchen.
 
Finally, it was time for me and my husband to have some alone time when the kids were already in bed. We've decided to watch a few episodes from Merlin (a tv series that we both liked) before we called it a night. In truth, it was already the wee hours of the morning.
 
Because we slept late the night before, we woke up the following morning just before lunch time. Good thing I was able to thaw the steak and the ground beef for the pasta. I whipped up spaghetti for lunch and marinated the steak. My husband took care of grilling the steak. We had fun feasting on our food. My husband and I were also happy to use our new stove with grill to cook steak for the first time in our new home.
 
My HS BFF with my eldest son.
We were supposed to do some errands but we were too full to move after our very filling meal. hahaha! Thus, just rested before we left to attend a kiddie birthday party of my high school best friend's nephew. Before we left though, my eldest son painted a heart and wrote a love note for my best friend who is his godmother/ninang. We spent some time chatting with my best friend who is in the country for a vacation with her family before heading home.  
With my HS BFF, Antoinette.

Today, as I write this post, my sons are again painting a couple of hearts for their grandparents. My eldest son also started writing a letter for my parents.
 
There was nothing fancy that happened or that we did this Valentine weekend. Our Valentine celebration this year is more of a family day but it's okay. What is important is that we indulged in activities that made all of us happy.
 
How about you? How did you spend your Valentine weekend this year?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Breastfeeding is Love Poured Out From One Heart to Another

A child first learns about God's love 
at his mother's breasts.

When a mother promptly provides milk for her hungry child, a child experiences and learns about God's timely provisions. When a mother consistently nurses her child over a long period of time (like a number of years), the child experiences and learns about God's faithfulness. A nursing mother's loving arms gently wrapped around her baby warms not only a baby's body but also the baby's heart and soul. The baby is comforted by his mother's loving presence and touch. This experience in infancy gives the baby a sense of security and protection from the world around him. Psalm 22:9 (AMP) says, "Yet You are He who took me out of the womb; You made me hope and trust when I was on my mother's breasts." Babies learn to hope and trust that their needs would be met at the breasts. They hope and trust that when they cry (be it out of hunger, thirst or fear), their mom would be there to nourish and comfort them. Breastfeeding, therefore, not only provides for their bodies; but also, for their souls.
I was amazed when I discovered in the Old Testament that God compares His love for His people to the love of a nursing mother for her child. One popular verse related to this is Isaiah 49:15 (NLT) that says, "Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget." This verse recognizes the very strong unique bond between a mother and the child that she nursed. It's as if God was saying in this verse that it's impossible for a mother to forget or stop loving the child that she nursed at her breasts. Wow!
Here's another verse. This time, it's from Isaiah 66:12-13 (ESV). "For thus says the LORD: Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you..." I'm so honored to be a nursing mom! Imagine, God compared Himself to a nursing mom like me! God must have high regard for nursing moms! He definitely sees the powerful love that fills a nursing mother's heart which overflows through the milk that comes from her breasts. This verse gave insight, too, to the other purpose of breastfeeding, which is to bring comfort to a child.
When I was a first-time nursing mom, one of the pieces of advice that I heard was that I should not use my breasts to pacify or comfort my baby. I was told that breastfeeding should be mainly for providing my baby with food. I felt torn by this advice; for, a part of me wanted so much to bring my baby to my bosom every time he cried. Now I understand why I felt that way!
God designed a mother's breast not only as a source of nutrition or food for her child; but also, as a place of comfort and love.
I'm glad that as I grew in experience as a nursing mom, I've learned to break away from this advice. I'm thankful for the grace and wisdom to follow my instincts and to comfort my child through my breasts whenever he needs it. My second child is so blessed since he benefitted from the new lessons I have learned.
That's me breastfeeding my youngest son last year 
during our Mother's Day photo shoot.
I so love breastfeeding! I think God designed us moms this way so that when our babies are hungry, we would feel it in our breasts. When we are away from our babies, we would feel a tug in our hearts to run home to them. I think God designed us mothers to be near our children especially when they are young. I pray that we moms would recognize this wiring from God and we would choose to show our love to our children by breastfeeding them. 
*****
This piece above is an excerpt from the first chapter of my latest book BREASTFEEDING: A Journey Worth Taking, which was released during the last quarter of last year and launched officially at Mothercare, BGC last January 25, 2014.
My strong belief is that breastfeeding is love poured out from God's heart to a mother's heart and into a baby's heart. I believe that we moms are privileged to be given this sacred task of being God's first instruments in making His unconditional and passionate love known to our children. I pray that more mothers would accept and embrace this sacred calling. That is one of my reasons for writing BREASTFEEDING: A Journey Worth Taking. If only more moms would know what really transpires when a mom breastfeeds her baby, I think that more moms would choose to breastfeed their kids.
  
Let's keep the love flowing from God's heart through ours into the hearts of our babes!

To buy a copy of my breastfeeding book, please click here.
This post is part of the "Breastfeeding is Love" blog link up party. 
Please feel free to visit other posts from fellow mommy bloggers on the joys of breastfeeding! 

Hosted by Chic Mompreneur




Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Angels God Sent to Help Me Publish My Breastfeeding Book

I quoted Paulo Coelho in one of my previous blog posts recently. Today, I want to quote bestselling author and sought-after speaker Bo Sanchez. He said,
 
"Big dreams attract more resources from God's universe."
 
He further said in his book How to Know if Your Dreams are God's Dreams, "I believe that when we fulfill our Divine destiny, all of creation conspires to bless us, assist us, equip us, and provide for us."
 
I believe that God has called me to write about breastfeeding at this time of my life. In the beginning, I didn't know exactly how I would be able to complete this book and find all the necessary resources to have it published. It was a God-sized dream! It was so much bigger than what I initially imagined it to be. But as Brother Bo said, this God-sized dream of mine attracted the resources that I needed to complete it. God's universe conspired to bless me, equip me and to provide for me.
 
I believe that one of the ways by which God's universe provided for one of my needs in this book project is by sending angels my way. They are not angels dressed in robes with wings on their backs. They are mompreneurs with kids either on their backs, hips,  or bosoms.
 
I am honored and truly blessed to have them as my book sponsors. Writing a book is already an enormous task for a hands-on and work-at-home mom like me. Shouldering the costs of publishing one makes it even more daunting.
 
But as Bo Sanchez and Holley Gerth (both of them are bestselling authors) say, when you know in your heart that it was God who planted that dream in your heart, you cannot ignore it. You simply have to act on it in faith. That's what I did! I acted on this God-sized dream that God planted in my heart and took a step of faith one after another until that dream that seemed impossible to achieve was finally achieved.
 
Just like in my previous book projects, God provided just enough light and resources as the need for them came.
 
And when it was time to pay for the costs of printing the book, God gave me this idea to ask for help from other moms who supported the same advocacy.
 
I hoped in God and He did not disappoint me.
 
I am truly grateful for all these moms who didn't even know me personally yet they chose to believe in my book project and in me. I have already met some of them in person. However, there are still a number of them that I have not met. 
 
Let me enumerate and introduce to you these angels whom God sent my way to help me publish my book BREASTFEEDING: A Journey Worth Taking.
 
Venice Avante of MomBabyFabric. Ven is the mompreneur behind the very innovative nursing cape and nursing wrap. Those are just two of the items her business is known for. I first met her at Café Mary Grace one fine afternoon to give her a complimentary copy of my book. I was glad that we easily became friends.
 
This was my first meeting with Ven.
 
Denise Gonzales-Bernardo of Indigobaby. I first met Denise at a breastfeeding and babywearing talk last year which was held at Insular Life Building in Makati. But prior to that, I already felt drawn to her because of her breastfeeding story. She was also one of the contributors in my book and I could relate to her breastfeeding/weaning story with her eldest son. Indigobaby/Denise continues to support my book project by being one of my book's resellers through Indigobaby's online store.
 
First time to meet Denise. Signed her copy also.
 
Jonie Cheng and Jaydee Tan of Mamaway Philippines. I have yet to meet both these wonderful ladies behind this brand. I hope that it would be soon.
 
 
Maricel Cua and Beng Feliciano of Medela Moms, Inc. I first met Maricel of Medela Moms through our homeschool group called ROCKERS. We usually held our meetings at the Medela House. But I first met Beng at the first community weekend of Babyland in Shaw Blvd. Medela Moms has generously supported me and my book project even after the book has been printed. They sponsored Dr. Isip-Cumpas to be the other speaker in my book launch at Mothercare. They are also sponsoring the venue and the other speaker for my upcoming event on March 29. On top of that, you can also find and buy copies of my book Breastfeeding: A Journey Worth Taking at the Medela House. 
 
With Dr. Jamie Isip-Cumpas and Maricel Cua.
 
Jenny Ong of MamaBabyLove and the popular blog Chronicles of a Nursing Mom. I'm truly honored to feature this mom's breastfeeding story in my book. I first met her in the Hakab Na! Breastfeeding Mob organized by Breastfeeding Pinays last year in August. She's now also a published author. She co-authored a children's book on breastfeeding titled Snuggle, Wuggle Wee.
 
With Jenny and some of the organizers of the Hakab Na! Breastfeeding Mob. 
 
Chef Raquel Chua of Mama Chows. I first found out about Chef Raquel and her business through one of the moms who contributed her breastfeeding story in my book. I have not met the chef behind these tasty lactation goodies. I have only tasted her products. :) Chef Raquel has also sponsored my the snacks, giveaways and raffle prizes at my book launch and book signing at Mothercare, BGC last January 25. She is also sponsoring the snacks and giveaways in my upcoming book signing and breastfeeding talk at Medela House on March 29. She also said that they would love to sponsor my upcoming book tour as long as they can accommodate it in their busy schedule. Chef Raquel's currently pregnant with twins.
 
Cheryl Lynn Tom Wong, Lyn Reyes, and Goldie Lee of Latch a Babe Nursingwear. I have only met Cheryl Lynn from LAB Nursingwear. I met her last December at a bazaar in SMX where they displayed copies of my book in their booth. Too bad I was not able to meet Lyn with whom I was communicating most of the time when we were still finalizing the layout of the book. I hope to meet her and Goldie in the future.
 
With Cheryl Lyn at the LAB nursingwear booth.
 
Candice Cu-Yaw and Janice Crisostomo-Villanueva of Mommy Matters  Nursingwear. I'm honored to be supported by these two well-known mompreneurs. They are also the mompreneurs behind the Mommy Mundo bazaars that many moms go to. I hope I could meet them in person sometime soon and give them a signed copy of my book personally.
 
 
 
And last but not least, Mylene Santana of Moringana by Organics Asia. I was supposed to meet Mylene in person last December when my family went to Cebu for a vacation but our meeting didn't push through. I hope to meet her next time I visit Cebu. Moringana/Mylene continues to support my book project by signifying to be a sponsor in all of my upcoming events related to my book. Last January 25, they provided a refreshments through the tea station they set up at Mothercare during my book launch and book signing. They also provided giveaways to guests. They will also do the same on March 29.
 
I feel like I am swimming in God's ocean of love. May our Good Lord bless and prosper these mompreneurs and their businesses! And may God continue to use them and their businesses to inspire and empower breastfeeding moms in the Philippines!
 
If you are a breastfeeding mom or planning to breastfeed, I encourage you to support these businesses. Their products are very helpful to breastfeeding moms.
 
Thank you very much once more for your support! Let's continue to work together in helping make our country a breastfeeding nation!
 


Friday, February 7, 2014

Breastfeeding Support Group for Moms with Multiples

"Breastfeeding can be challenging. But in spite of the humps and bumps on the road, breastfeeding is a journey definitely worth taking!" This is a quote from my latest book Breastfeeding: A Journey Worth Taking.
 
Most moms encounter breastfeeding challenges in their breastfeeding journey. That is why it is essential that a mom finds a support group that will help her overcome her challenges. Those challenges can be multiplied if a nursing mom is caring and nursing more than one baby.
 
I know this to be true because at I was tandem feeding my boys frequently last year. There were times when they were doing this every night. This year, my eldest son (who is over 5 years old) has been breastfeeding less frequently. So, tandem feeding is no longer our norm at night or during afternoon naps.
 
But as I look back on those times, though they were extra fulfilling, they were certainly extra challenging as well. Thus, I'm glad that "Seeing Doubles" Multiples Support Group will be launched by Medela Moms tomorrow, February 8 at 9 AM at the Medela House in New Manila, Quezon City.
 
Moms with twins were invited to share their experiences of carrying, giving birth to, breastfeeding, and raising multiples. This would be a great opportunity for couples who are expecting multiples to learn from other parents of multiples. This is close to Medela Mom, Beng Feliciano's heart because she is also a mom of twins.
 
Committed to being more than just the Philippines' authorized distributor of the most well-known and trusted brand of breastfeeding products, Medela Moms is all about supporting mothers and babies in their breastfeeding journey. This is why they organize learning events related to breastfeeding and parenting, provide breastfeeding counseling if needed, and help coordinate breast milk donations whenever necessary, among other things.
 
 
The event is free of charge but attendees are required to pre-register by texting or calling MedelaMoms at 0917-8110821 or sending an email to medelamoms@gmail.com. Sign up now to experience the first support group for mommies of multiples in the country! Giveaways, special promos, a candy buffet, and other treats are in store for participating mommies.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Breastfeeding: A Journey Worth Taking Book Launch and Book Signing at Mothercare

"When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." - Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
 
It's only the first day of February but I'm already overwhelmed with the many blessings that I have received this year! One of my biggest blessings at the start of this year is the book launch and book signing for my latest book Breastfeeding: A Journey Worth Taking last Saturday. Having a book launch and book signing with media coverage in a known store was one of my dreams as an author. I was only imagining this before. Last Saturday, that dream has become a reality.

Dreams do come true! And sometimes, one after another!

I've heard of Mothercare's well-attended Baby and Me events and I liked that they are known to support young families through the products that they carry in their store and through the events that they organize. So, I thought of Mothercare right away when I started planning for my book launch for my latest book that I envisioned to help moms and their families. I also liked that Mothercare has a branch at the Active Fun building in Bonifacio Global City where my kids (my eldest especially) love to play. Thus, I was delighted to learn just before Christmas that they are willing to sponsor the book launch and book signing event for Breastfeeding: A Journey Worth Taking by providing the venue and other logistical requirements. Not only that, Mothercare provided prizes for the raffle during the program.
 
Mothercare entrance at Active Fun building, Bonifacio High Street
The winners of the prizes raffled off by Mothercare
with Mothercare Marketing Manager, Ms. Mariel Bartolome.  
 
Me and Mothercare Marketing Manager, Mariel. 
The event poster/invite

Aside from finding a venue for the event, I was also blessed with other sponsors who helped provide for the other things needed for the event. It was as if one by one, God has moved them to come to me.
 
Medela Moms, Inc. sponsored the other speaker for the event, Dr. Jamie Isip-Cumpas, whom I asked to talk about the amazing benefits of breastfeeding and breastmilk.

Me with Dr. Jamie and Ms. Maricel Cua of Medela Moms, Inc.

Dr. Jamie discussing the amazing composition of breastmilk.
 
Mama Chows offered to provide lactation cookies as giveaways. They also provided the cupcakes which were served as snacks for the guests. On top of that, they even gave away 5 gift certificates for a week's supply of lactation cookies.

Yummy lactation cookies from Mama Chows.
 
Moringana of Organics Asia also provided malunggay giveaways for our guests and a tea station. It was one wonderful afternoon tea party indeed!

Our Moringana giveaways for our guests and their tea station.
Loved the tea, both hot tea and the cold.
 
Island Rose provided for my rose bouquet and the long-stemmed pink roses for the moms who contributed their stories in my book.

Beautiful roses from Island Rose.
That's me with my husband and two sons during my speech.

Me and my family with some of the moms working outside the home who contributed their stories in my book.

Posing with my husband at home after the event.
 
Airbrush and Permanent Make-up by Princess Misa-Hernandez sponsored my hair and make-up. She was also the wonderful make-up artist who made me look stunningly beautiful during my wedding around six years ago. ;)
 
MRLightworkz Photography was our official photographer for the event and Irax Videography helped me come up with a book trailer that we can show just in time for the book launch and book signing.
 
 

I'm also grateful to our supportive media partners who helped us spread awareness for our event and my book. I feel that God has orchestrated my life in such a way that I became a freelance contributing writer for The Philippine Online Chronicles and Smart Parenting Online to pave the way for this event in my life. (Click here,  here and here for the links to the write ups about the event and the book by our media partners.)

Moreover, I was grateful that we got additional sponsors like Cradle baby bottle and nipple cleanser, Cycles mild laundry detergent for babies, Cycles Sensitive, Wealth Builder and Paper Chic Studio.

With my friends Jana and Ryan of Wealth Builders Asia with Maia Nuguid

Cradle baby bottle and nipple cleanser, Cycles mild laundry detergent for babies, Cycles Sensitive provided giveaways for our guests and raffle prizes. Zalor Maternal Care Massage Services provided complimentary massage services to 3 lucky moms who attended our event and to our 2 guests (Maia Nuguid and Cai Sio) in the Interview with Amazing Moms portion of the programme.
 


The lucky moms who won raffle prizes from Cycles.
 
Mommy Ginger and the Manila Workshops team helped me organize the event. There were a big help! My book launch and book signing for my latest book would not be as wonderful as it is without their support. 
 
 
 
The Manila Workshops Team at the registration table.

I was also grateful that my fellow WAHM and award-winning blogger, Martine de Luna, was our host during the event. Martine breastfed her son, Vito, also.
 
Martine hosting the event.
I was honored to have Dr. Elvira L. Henares-Esguerra as one of our guests and that she made time to attend my book launch and book signing and even gave the welcome remarks. She has played a significant role in the breastfeeding movement in the Philippines and she was one of the first IBCLCs in the country. She was the woman who influenced SM Super Malls to put up breastfeeding stations, which later moved other malls to do the same. Her breastfeeding story is also featured in my book.
 
Me and Dr. Elvira.
 
I was also blessed by the presence of two good friends of mine - Gemma and Raquel. Gemma helped us check the books that we brought to the event and she took charge of selling them there. Raquel on the other hand helped my husband watch over the kids while I was busy with all the preparations, while the event was going on and right after it.
 

My friend, Gemma, helping me inspect books before putting them on display and ready for selling and signing.

My youngest son, Mateo, with his Ninang Raquel.
I cannot thank God enough for sending all these people to me at this time of my life to conspire to make one of my dreams a reality. It has been one memorable Saturday afternoon! Praise God for making it happen!
 
Mothercare, Active Fun, Bonifacio High Street Branch packed with people who attended my book launch and book signing.
 
Photo ops with one of the attendees who bought a copy of my book
and had it signed.

Book Signing. Photo source here.
Signing more books.