Dear Ico Part 2

mommy: ico, please give back mommy’s phone. i need to go now. 

ico: *throws the phone all the way down from the second floor*

mommy picks up her jaw, and her bruised phone.

to my darling little boy,

i just blinked and suddenly, i have a squirming and shrieking two-year old who might be my only child to undergo the terrible two phase. you throwing my phone a day ago would seem like the perfect revenge after mommy keeps leaving you at home every day, while ate and kuya happily go along with her. but baby, ate and kuya go to school. and mommy has to drive them there. pretty soon it would be your turn, but i kinda want time to stop for a while because you know, time is just moving on so fast. 

i cannot get over the sheer joy on your face when you saw your birthday cake, and how you sang the banana song afterwards. you, my ico mambo, is such a clown. hard to believe that an hour ago, you were ready to bite off the head of anyone.

i worry that i may have spoiled you too much. i see you wanting a toy being played with by your ate or kuya and you just grab it because you can. if they won’t give it to you, you shout and cry your lungs out until mommy comes to the rescue, taking the toy away from your older sibling and scolding them about being the bigger person because they are older than you are. i have a feeling i will regret this when you get older so i am telling you this right now, this has to stop. i won’t give in to your tantrums anymore.

i love how you fiercely cling to my arm as soon as you feel that mommy’s home and ready to sleep beside you. i love how you hug me so tight every night, and give me that grateful smile every time you finish a bottle of milk at 1:00 am. it’s these little things, you see, which melt mommy’s heart and makes her promise you the moon and the stars. you are such a typical bunso. 

coycoy, i wish you never stop singing and dancing and being silly. that your eyes would hold the same wonder, the same amusement, the same curiosity whenever you encounter something new, however little they may be. that you’ll never forget how you hold mommy’s heart in your tiny little hands, and that you are never supposed to use that against me. happy second birthday, ico mambo!




Ananda’s 7th!



our dear ananda,

they (that being your tita wewe) say that a girl’s 1st, 7th, and 18th birthdays should be celebrated with a big party. well, i didn’t bring it up but knowing how you are you, i kinda dreaded that one day you’d bring it up and say that you want a biiig party with all the ruffles and lace and whatever it is normal seven-year old girls want for their birthday. i forget of course that you are not a normal seven-year old. you cracked me up when you said that instead, you want a costume party and you will go as baymax. however, you changed your mind and just asked for a lalaloopsy doll and a picnic. your daddy and i both heaved a big sigh of relief.

look at you. seven years old. with weird-looking bangs because apparently, you were set to test how sharp the scissors was so you cut your own hair. and you hid the huge chunks of hair under nanay’s bed because. i know, just a normal day in the life of ananda celine.

it’s kinda crazy how you are growing up to be such a mini-me. you love talking, you love dressing up, and you’re quite dominating for a seven-year old. you act as if you’re way too cool for them ordinary people (no, i wasn’t like this growing up. i am all timid and shy, y’all) and don’t bother with niceties because really, why should you? and this is why, andi, you wouldn’t win student council elections.

if there’s one person who could melt your heart though, it’s ico mambo. and i love how you love him so much, and how i can depend on you to look after him. even if it means him screaming at you because ico is ico and he would shout his way out of everything. please be patient with him, and your kuya as well. we girls, we hold this family together.

you are beautiful, no matter how kuya says that you are not. brothers are crazy like that. but you see how he protects you and holds your hand whenever we’re out? because deep inside, he loves you. you are his sister after all.

happy seventh, ananda celine. we love you. always and forever.

So This Is What 32 Feels Like

i turned 32 some 20 days ago. july 2 came and went without much fanfare. apart from it being a school day, you kinda stop trying to put together something for yourself at 25. i lit several candles at the redemptorist church in the morning for thanksgiving, then had a wonderful lunch with close friends K, N, and andi-san at cafe sarree. their salpicao and lasagna are the best i have tried so far.

thirty two. wow. as they say, lampas na sa kalendaryo. it doesn’t bother me though. i am more distracted by my ballooning tummy than my age. haha. when you’re busy chasing after your children after your dreams, and hoping that it’s not yet too late to achieve something…notable…in this lifetime, every birthday, it seems, becomes a deadline. a deadline you celebrate. at least for me. and my husband.

i don’t make annual goals. i have these huge goals swimming in my head, surfacing sometimes at inopportune times, like when i am watching a relatable movie, or reading a passage in a book. now i think i have to set yearly goals, and achieve them before my birthday every year. sounds like a tall order? it should be.

now that i am a work-at-home mom (and i am not even home most of the time sheesh) and i am given this huge bloke of time that i feel like i have to fill with work, activities for the kids and the whole family, there’s this pressure to make every hour count.

yes, i spend time with my children whenever i can. i bring them to and from school, we make assignments and eat together, talk a bit before bedtime, go out and have fun on some weekends. i think the moments i have solely dedicated to them would be the ones they would remember me by. however, being a mother, despite being the most important title and my highest priority, doesn’t totally define me.

i am also a wife, a daughter, a friend, an employee, and most importantly, i am myself. so these goals i would like to set for myself every year, are basically for my growth as a person. it’s for my own satisfaction, for my own fulfillment. it’s easy to get lost in the daily flurry of things — get the kids ready for school, meet deadlines, pay bills. these things, they never end.  i don’t want to get lost.

a few days after my birthday, i bought a notebook and started writing down my daily tasks along with the things i want to do that doesn’t overlap with all my other responsibilities. do i go to law school when ico turns 4? should i pursue higher studies? should i whine to my sister about the business i want to start with her until she gives in? i tell you. the list goes on forever.

one thing stood out though. but i can’t tell you about it right now. no, i am not going back to school. at least, not yet. it’s something that i have been inspired to explore since i joined i am blessed that i found a mentor who immediately said yes, as well as a husband who pushes me out of my comfort zone. this project still has a loooooong way to go but the most important thing is that i have taken the first step.

i have never looked at my life this way until late last year when the struggles were all too real. i told myself there should be more to it than taking care of the children, being a dutiful wife, delivering work assignments on time, and making money to pay dues and bills and tuition fees. life anyway isn’t only meant to be lived going through all the motions. it should be embraced fully and passionately, while giving back in the perfect ways we know how.

so yes, this is what 32 feels like — exhausting yet promising.






Happy 1st, Ico Mambo



my dearest rico alexander,

mommy still has a hard time believing that it has been a year since you came into our lives — our little bouncing bundle of energy and laughter. in case it’s not that apparent yet, everyone adores you. oh, don’t give me that nose-wrinkling smile of yours, you know i can’t resist you when you turn on that charm.

as most youngest children go, you are the apple of our eyes. you came at the least expected time, it’s actually ironic.  mommy thought it’s just not possible to have another baby, yet at the same time, couldn’t be more ready for another one. both ate and kuya were thrilled, of course. hah! a baby! when they’re both old enough to torture appreciate a little one.

you were a wee 6.2 lbs when you came barreling like an angry bowling ball a day before mommy was supposed to give birth. gah, she has to remove her makeup and wash her face in the labor room because she wasn’t allowed to take a bath anymore. can you imagine meeting mommy for the first time with all that goo on her face? them doctors just don’t understand it.

i asked you to wait for a few hours but you wouldn’t have it. you want to be out now, now, now. so i guess it’s not all that surprising when you kick your legs and harumph whenever it’s milk time and everyone’s taking so long to feed you. patience is a virtue, ico, you will soon learn.

you were the tiniest among you three when i delivered you, but look at you now. those thighs! don’t worry. mommy won’t show your tambor tambor pictures to the girls you’d be introducing to her.  as long as you pinky swear that you won’t charm em ladies until you’re 30. what, that’s too old? okay, 28 then.

looking at how you possessively hold on to mommy’s arms now, i wish the time wouldn’t come when you’d pry mommy’s hands away because “boys just don’t hold hands with their moms in the mall, mommy!”

sigh. where did the time go?

mommy is happy though that she has been with you right from the very beginning. life is hard for work-at-home moms you know, especially when there’s a big looming deadline and all you want to do is tap at mommy’s keyboard and play and have her all to yourself. i will take what i can have though. mommy will always stop doing whatever it is she’s doing if and when you need her. remember that.

i wish you rainbows and sunshine and M&Ms, but maybe not until you’re a bit older. the M&Ms part, you silly boy. you can choke on those. mommy will let you have all the chocolates you want, don’t worry. nanay did and we turned out all okay.

i can’t promise you the world, but i would, if i could.  i may have to leave you at times but know that mommy would always come home.

you are our rainbow and sunshine and all things lovely. you, along with kuya raf and ate andi, make this life worth every second, every sacrifice, every challenge, all worth it.

happy birthday, ico mambo. daddy and mommy and kuya and ate and lotlot and friends love you. 

Dark Purple and Teal is Love!

how do you like our new look? I hope you all love it because i am super in love with the dark purple and teal hues of What’s Up, Kaith!

the awesome Patricia of Fancy Girl Designs created this theme for me. i swear she makes the prettiest themes in the whole wide world!  please visit her site after you’re done checking out the shelves here to see all the other beautiful sites she has designed. she also did my previous girly theme. she always captures what I want, even if i do a really horrible job of describing the nitty-gritty details. i guess it also helps that we’re good friends so she knows what i am like in real life. LOL.

this time, i told her that i want something fab, classy and elegant. something Stepford Wife-ish because! hahaha. and she came up with this! after re-watching the movie of course! just how lovely everything looks around here?

so yes, the blog hiatus is over! welcome to the new and shiny What’s Up,! *hands out the champagne*

Raf’s 4th of 30

i have missed two years of writing my birthday notes to raf. i started this in 2008 when i thought that it would be nice to write letters to raf and have him read them when he’s old enough to understand what i am trying to tell him again and again. 

Happy 9th Birthday, Kuya!


ah, was it only the other day when you were asking me how long it would be until you’re 9 or 10 or 11? you were, i think, four years old then. well, you’re 9 years old now! sigh. a few more years and we would have a teenager. i am happy though that you still take the time to cuddle to mommy and kiss me, and you are never embarrassed to hold hands with me when we are out.

mommy is very proud that you’re growing up to be a fine young man. i was actually surprised to know that you’re popular at school, knowing how you didn’t like it there at first. i am happy that you have found new friends and have fit in well. i would be honest and say that i was a little bit anxious that you’d bully classmates simply because…well, you know how you can be =P so mommy’s heart swelled with pride when one mother told me that her daughter said that your classmates would miss you because you always make them laugh.

i can see how you are smitten with ico, how taken you are with him, that you don’t mind him drooling all over your hands. LOL. thank you for being such a good older brother and watching over him while his yaya has to attend to something.  i can just imagine how much fun you would have when he can walk and run and jump. it’s going to be a riot. i know you love andi, as well, do not deny it. i can hear your frustration whenever she would do her daredevil stunts and you want her to climb down from whatever high place she has clambered upon. yes, she’s a handful, but you’re her kuya and i will never tire of telling you that it’s your duty to protect her.

well, we’re going back to cebu again. i guess you’re excited as you’ll see old friends and you’d be attending your favourite school. maybe you’ll rekindle old friendships and form new ones as you advance to the third grade. sigh. just the thought of you being a third grader is making mommy all mushy and sentimental.