Friday, August 31, 2007

Still in the Spirit of Frugality

I found a list (two, actually) of things that you can make yourself here. This is exactly my cup o' tea. :) I've been regularly visiting the site for a couple of days now and as soon as I'm done stressing over Marguerite's party, I'll spend most of my breaks on DIY projects mentioned there. It's such an amazing feeling getting to do things on your own. It would really be awesome to cut down our purchases to just ten percent of what they are now. Some of the items listed would make great homeschool projects too. I'm definitely bookmarking those posts.
All in all, there are 200 things included in the list. I'm listing down what I've done in the past and what I'm planning to do in the immediate future. I'm really afraid my first list will hold all of five items. We'll see. Here goes.

Done/ Currently doing:(if I may brag a little, lol)
1. applesauce 2. spaghetti sauce 3. jelly 4. guacamole 5. pesto 6. salsa 7. hummus 8. pizza 9. pasta 10. playdough 11. bubbles 12. soap 13. baskets 14. paper 15. rubber stamps 16. books 17. jewelry 18. curtains 19. rugs 20. candles 21. skirt 22. blouse 23. socks 24. compost 25. bread 26. potato chips 27. pinata 28. tortillas (both Spanish and Mexican - so have my students, lol) 29. kite 30. crossword puzzle 31. (something like) dreadlocks 32. hawaiian lei (well, sampaguita garland actually) 33. beaded curtains 34. notebook 35. windchimes 36. purse 37. cosmetics 38. snow globe 39. baby food 41. fried green tomatoes (ok, Sister was actually the one who made them, okra pops too) 42. table cloth 43. stencils 44. lamp 45. pie crust 46. chocolate truffles 47. cereal bars 48. granola 49. trail mix 50. gift wrap 51. rock candy 52. quilt 53. biscuits 54. french fries 55. corsage 56. margarita 57. gingerbread house (well, just cookies so far) 58. envelope 59. flower arrangement 60. wreath 61. herbal tea 62. fudge 63. apron

Interested in doing:
1. peanut butter 2. wedding (or any fancy-pants) cake 3. stuffing 4. ginger ale 5. pancake mix 6. ice cream 7. wine 8. moisturizer 9. bookshelves 10. tables 11. stool 12. sweater 13. poncho 14. coat 15. tree fort 16. gazebo 17. windmill 18. birdhouse 19. solar power generator 20. house 21. sun clock 22. pretzels 23. doughnuts 24. bagels 25. crayons 26. loofah 27. cheese 28. 3D glasses 29. igloo!!! 30. modeling clay 31. cheesecake 32. generator 33. computer 34. telescope 35. microscope 36. picnic table 37. pond 38. deck 39. vitamin water 40. backyard swing set 41. hats 42. wind generator tower 43. weather station 44. metal detector 45. watch 46. sunroom 47. rain barrel 48. boat 49. baby shoes 50. log cabin 51. seismograph (very Mad Scientist Club!) 52. rocking chair (or horse) 53. cradle/ crib (even just a moses basket) 54. easel 55. picket fence 56. stairs 57. creme brulee 58. mulch 59. vinegar 60. apple cider 61. paella 62. pillows 63. graham crackers 64. a tiara 65. mulled wine 66. mozzarella sticks 67. fondant 68. sandals 69. bench

Whew! More to do than have done, but it's not as bad as I thought it would be. :) Hey, if anybody's interested in working together on one of those projects, just get in touch with me. Let's do it!

Hmm, just previewed. Numbering's all messed up. Please excuse. I'm too lazy to fix it and Marguerite's up. :)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cheap Thrills

I love being frugal. My own mother, in fact, teases me about being miserly. Once I had to pay more than I had planned to for shoes (that proceeded to provide many years of service, mind you) and consequently felt ill. Mom had felt my forehead and chuckled, “Wow! I think getting those shoes gave you a fever.” And the shoes weren’t even that spendy.

If I have expensive things at all, they were all just given to me. I suppose it’s a blessing to have shopaholic aunts and cousins. They buy me things I otherwise wouldn’t even consider getting. I personally dislike trends and the latest in high technology, most probably because everybody else wants them and, sooner or later, gets them (including myself, but you should’ve seen the fight I put up, lol). I’m not keen on having what everybody else has. It’s probably a defensive reaction that dates back to my youth when wealthy classmates would always have the latest of everything and even if we could afford the same, my Dad didn’t (doesn’t) believe in catering to materialistic whims. Thus, knowing that it was pointless to covet, I just conditioned myself to think that I really didn’t want them. Now, it has become a knee-jerk reaction. I don’t mind being adverse to trends, although I do regret the superior attitude I display sometimes because I can get downright hoity-toity about being above wanting the popular desires (as thought that stops me from being common, hah! lol). Anyway, my tastes run along the lines of whimsical and quirky (my euphemism for downright weird), so I’m not really compelled to have the latest, which are usually modern and streamlined and, well, cold (although Husband can get really cozy cuddling up to his iPod). If I must (as though I was being begged to) spend a lot, I would rather do it on travel. When Marguerite was a newborn and Husband would mouth about getting her all sorts of gadgets (his way of telling me that he was going ahead and buying them for himself), I would answer back for the baby, “I’d much rather go to Paris, Daddy”.

It’s not just talk, my claims of frugality. Would you believe that I’ve never bought a cell phone my entire life? I still use a Nokia 6210, which is a hand-me-down from Husband (it has been with me for five years now I believe. I used my Mom’s hand-me-downs prior to this one), which was a hand-me-down from his sister (it still has her neoprint at the back, lol). I brandish the piece of “antiquity” rather proudly. I have no fear of having it snatched from my hands when walking mugger-infested city streets. That’s not to say I wouldn’t miss it if I did lose it, because I would. We go back a long way.:)

My Mom also thinks I can get a little ridiculous about all the conservation I do. When I was living by myself up in the mountains, she would come to visit me and remark at my practice of not turning on the light until it’s pitch black outside or (remember, I lived alone) not closing the bathroom door when I’m inside just so I wouldn’t have to turn on the light. I would also unplug everything when not in use because, hey, it adds up.

Besides the fact that I get to save money or conserve a little in the way of natural resources, I really like having an economical turn of mind because there’s the constant challenge to spend less. As with most of things in life, it’s another avenue for creativity. I’m always wanting to make, instead of buy. I subscribe so much to the concept of Do-It-Yourself that I’ve got projects lined up until my twilight years.

Despite the manic penny-pinching, I do believe in treats. For example, Marguerite gets many high quality and expensive things, but they’re really more practical in the long run and have good resale value. Also when I travel, along with eating ironed (my only means of toasting or grilling) camembert and mortadella sandwiches and staying in hostels, I also make sure to dine in style at least once and also have enough to buy something a little crazy. Needless to say, I’m also pretty compulsive when it comes to books.

Going back to DIY projects, many of them involve Marguerite. For example, we don’t bring her to professional studios to have her picture made. We just take her picture ourselves. What a blessing that Husband is into photography and knows Photoshop! We finally finished the design for Marguerite’s birthday invite two nights ago and it is now at the printers. I (because the photographer was busy at the salt mines, lol) took the picture that was used for it. I’m not including that one, but here are others from the same batch of photos.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Make Way for Books Crossing

I first encountered BookCrossing in a post from one of my yahoogroups. The way it works is for you to leave one of your books in a public area with the hope that somebody will pick it up, read it, and then leave it in another public area to be picked up, read, and passed on by another... so on and so forth. My initial reaction was, "what a wonderful idea". I love the notion of strangers being united or connected by something so chancy. I love random, but meaningful encounters. Given my love for books, of course I'd consider finding a book left by a stranger to be read by myself a very special one.:) It's all very "ships that pass in the night" (I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this poem).
As I got myself primed to register in the system, I began to have second thoughts. I love my books to the point of obsession. There was a fire in my sister's room a few years ago, right near her bookshelves and I practically wilted at the possibility that our books had been damaged. We have so many books that we cannot contain them in one place, so we'd split the collection. Most of the priceless (to us, but we do have quite a list of Newbery winners) children's books ended up in Sister's room, while the series, teen, classic, grown-up, and non-fiction ones ended up in mine. Hmm, so this posed a problem. I would love to participate in BookCrossing, but I was not quite willing to release my books. I've lost so many to evil (:-p) borrowers through the years that I've gotten quite bitter about sharing books. So I thought maybe I would share duplicates. Just in case I never get to retrieve a crossing book, I'd have one more copy for our family (please know that even as a young girl, I was already thinking of preserving my books so that they would also be enjoyed by my future children). The first title I could think of was "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn". I have two copies, one a paperback and the other, hardbound, which also includes a copy of "Maggie-Now". The natural option was to release the paperback as the other one is my only copy of "Maggie-Now", but every bit of my person balked at the idea. This was going to be harder than I had thought. I know we're not supposed to be too attached to things, but. BUT! They're my BOOKS! Please note the rising hysteria, lol. I couldn't part with the paperback ATGB because it had been my first copy. The very copy that made me fall in love with the story. And we go back a long way. I believe in caring for books up to a certain point, but I'm not averse to leaving chocolate stains, highlighting lines that I like, dog-ear-ing, or even writing phone numbers (I'm notorious for writing down numbers and then not writing down the name, so ten years later, I go "Whose number was this?"). I feel that the book and I are creating our history together, so as long as the book can still be enjoyed by a reader, albeit candy marks and a dog-ear here and there, no problem. When I was a kid and browsing through my Mom's Emilie Lorings, I would always feel a rush of connection to the kid who grew up into my mother. Sometimes I would find gum wrappers from the sixties and the seventies tucked in between the pages and that was always awesome. I'm digressing so much, I'm sure I've lost you, but I get this way when talking about books.
Going back to BookCrossing, I really was about to give it up, but then I remembered that I have Hemingway (of whom I'm not fond) and there's a chance I'd be getting them back anyway. I have two copies of Agatha Christie's Hallowe'en, one a gift, the other a sort-of hand-me-down. I thought I could release the hand-me-down. We have a zillion copies of "A Purpose Driven Life", so haha!, whatever that laugh means. Anyway, I've registered and I'm all set to release books in the following days. I checked and there were six books released in the Philippines, none in Manila though, so I better catch Manila up with Cebu, Negrol Oriental, and Ifugao.:-p

Monday, August 27, 2007

Four Generations

My grandmother (my mother's mother) turned eighty yesterday. Marguerite, who knows her as bisabuela, went to visit her bearing carnations and a balloon. That same afternoon though, our city had a bike tour, which our church took part in, so my Dad, Sister and the other cousins joined that one first before heading over to Grandmother's house. They received a drenching towards the end of the run, which was not any big surprise because, really! Outdoor activity + monsoon season = many people going home soaking wet. But hey, anything for our beloved city. Cousin Big C, who is our grandmother's roommate, stayed behind with us and got things ready. There was a small celebration with a menu that's designed to suit Grandmother's condition (she's a diabetic), but drowned rat types don't notice if food's a bit on the bland side. It wasn't anyway. The food was good, if not as salty or as sweet as Mariqueños like it. By the way, diabetes is practically the city's disease of choice. Mariqueños boast of a whole set of sweet teeth. Even their dentures (which they got after all the sugar had rotted the originals) maintain their taste for sweets.
I'm naturally happy that both my grandmothers are still alive, not only for the obvious reason that I love them and don't want them to die, but also because I really want Marguerite to know them. My paternal grandmother is in California and Marguerite has yet to meet her, but she (Grandma C) is strong and healthy so I'm sure there's time for great-granddaughter and great-grandmother to get acquainted.
I'd love for Marguerite to have an idea how important and how influential bisabuela was and is to my life. All through my growing up years, she was a steady force that kept everything moving like clockwork for the entire clan. She was definitely a terrific and formidable lady, but has been now mellowed by time and age. Regarding her as she is now makes me face the verity of a person's mortality. It can rock the arrogance of youth right out of my system. Once upon a time, they, too, thought that they were indestructible. The wisdom gained in the passing of the years replaced the cocky assuredness of fresh, young days.
Marguerite goes to see bisabuela everyday. She eagerly points to the door whenever somebody says, "Come, let's visit bisabuela." Grandmother, in turn, is cheered up by the little one's babbles and antics. That's a right blessing. I'm glad that my grandmother and my daughter, despite the span of generations, find delight in their fellowship with one another.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Post about "The Girl in 14G" Segues into a Photoblog

That Marguerite sure finds the strangest things funny. Yesterday morning as I was belting out my rendition of Kristin Chenoweth's "Girl in 14G", Marguerite just started laughing in shrieks, the hysterical, out-of-control kind of laughter she does when she's sleepy and is fighting it. I'm obviously not the greatest singer, but I really don't think that particular version warranted that kind of mirth. Oh well, who cares? It was fun and Marguerite is really cute when she's slumping to the floor in crazy glee, amused beyond laughter.

Our friend Joyce got married yesterday and Marguerite was one of her flower girls (the kind that had to be carried and restrained from eating her basket of flowers). It was a lovely wedding.:-)

The Gozes with the newlyweds

Forget Hermione, that there hair is worthy of Hagrid!

My little family

Friday, August 24, 2007

A Meaty Discussion

Husband and I brought Marguerite to her pediatrician yesterday. The doctor, a lovely lovely woman, practices natural medicine as well so I am very confident of her expertise and integrity (I have a feeling that she's "impervious" to pharmaceutical or infant product companies as per her views on vaccination and baby food. With regards to toys, she merely advised to try and get wooden ones as they are more sensorily and mentally stimulating than plastic ones. This was fine. Husband and I prefer the vintage/classic types anyway.:-p). The visit was just our daughter's monthly well-baby check-up and we're glad to note that God continues to bless us with a healthy child.
When the routine inspection was over and we were merely chatting as the doctor wrote notes in Marguerite's baby book, the conversation turned to the baby's diet. She had already included meat in the list of possible solids for Marguerite, but understood why I still wasn't giving any to my daughter. I have the impression from what she had mentioned in previous visits that she herself is a pesco-vegetarian. It was at this point when Husband brought up something that somebody had pointed out to him. He wanted to know whether it was true that meat consumption can benefit human teeth. The doctor has never heard of that one. She said that teeth need such things as calcium and fluoride, but meat isn't necessary for those. This, in turn, reminded me of something that I had read in one of my message boards. A member had posted about her toddler's recent proneness to throwing tantrums and one of the others replied with two possible reasons: TV time and protein intake. As to the protein, she wrote that she'd read that lack of fat or protein could affect the frontal lobe of the brain, which could then make an individual lose control, resulting pretty much in "animal behavior". When I sounded the doctor out on this, relating protein to meat, she told me that what she knew to be true was sort of the opposite: that eating meat could be cause for animalistic behavior, that it had something to do with the rush of adrenalin at the time of slaughter, which remains in the flesh of the animal and is then consumed by humans. This probably explains why most vegetarians are more "zen" than meat-eaters.
When we got home, I thought that this was something that I wanted to look into, so I googled away. Not that the doctor needed vindication as she clearly bore more authority, but I was still happy to note that all of my searches so far confirmed what she had said, while I couldn't find anything to support the other arguments. If you know something to the contrary or perhaps would simply like to second what the good doctor said, please leave a comment or a link to this subject. I remain interested. Thanks.:-)

Once Upon A Time, Husband Was A Musician. The End.

Just kidding. He still is. Let me lead you in a walk down memory lane. This was taken during his "sellout" days. Again, another joke. So, guess which one I am married to right now. Here's a clue: it's not the vocalist.:-p

Thursday, August 23, 2007

One Month To Go

Marguerite turned 11 months yesterday. I can't help but have mixed emotions about this. I try very hard to enjoy all of her stages, so I just pause every now and then to make sure that I am remembering to savor this time. This is a great time. She's just learning how to walk, express herself in actual words, do as we request her to, etc. At the same time, I think it's natural for a mom such as myself to miss the stages that we have gone through. This is a particularly perfect time to wax nostalgic. It's pretty hard not to to compare this time last year with now. Back then, I was still beside myself with excitement (and impatience) to welcome Marguerite to the world. I was still imagining what she would be like (believe me, she turned out more beautiful, more precious, more perfect than anything that I had hoped for). Anyway, with the conflicting feelings of being happy in the moment and missing what's past, I still have to add my eagerness to see the days ahead. I'm also excited for what's to come. It would be so awesome to carry conversations with her, enjoy treats with her, share my interests with her, etc. As you can tell, I'm a raw bundle of confused sentiments made even more dramatic by hormones.:-)

Yesterday as we were greeting the day by doing our usual morning stroll around the house, we encountered the stray cats that have become mainstays here. Marguerite called out, "Cat!". I asked her to say it again and she said, "Meow!". Later, I asked her to tell Daddy about the cats and she growled, "Merrrow!" It is not with irony that I say that these days are absolutely thrilling.

Because Marguerite turned 11 months yesterday, I post here a picture of a box of Tricia's cupcakes. She actually gave them to Husband on Monday as a "thank you" for helping her with her product shots and they were all gone by Tuesday, but, hey, I still have the picture, so enjoy!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"Do Your Share, Volunter (sic)"

I got that from "The New Adventures of Old Christine". I like saying it.:-p

The spirit of volunteerism is something I mean to instill in my daughter. Of course, if any such instilling is going to happen, exposure must be integral to the deal. It means that I would have to do volunteer work for her to acknowledge that volunteering is a part of her life. This, I have to keep in mind. Parents have been known to exhibit double standards, expecting lofty ideals from their kids and manifesting very little themselves.

I have, as a matter of fact, been exposed to activism, even prior to attending a very radical university. My Dad advocates it, but is quick to point out that being an activist doesn’t mean being a leftist. Being a pastor, he often engages members of the congregation in projects that require time, money, and hard work, but always on a voluntary basis. Members who aren’t interested need not participate. Gladly, we have a pretty enthusiastic bunch here, especially among the youth. We have been involved in pledges for an orphanage and shelter, rescue and relief operations during floods and other calamities, as well as clean election watches as NAMFREL volunteers.

I like volunteering. It feels great to contribute, to have your efforts, futile they may be on their own, join those of others until they collect in something that could greatly impact many people. Outside of our church (although we did try to get our youth involved) Sister and I had volunteered to be monitors of illegal wildlife trade. If I may resort to similes to describe the experience, I’d say it was very much like bailing water out of a leaky, fast-sinking boat with its captain trying to fight off pirates, do a sundance (to prevent the looming storm, of course), and repair the broken rudder all at once. Hmm, I’d say it still felt good to be bailing water.

If I were to cite three hopes that I have for my daughter when she grows up, I would have to say, that she be God-fearing, happy (whatever brand of happiness that might be), and a positive contributor to society. The third one could range from something simple, like working and paying taxes, to something absolutely noble, like being a guardian of human rights or saving endangered species.

Being part of a program the mission of which is to help any situation that needs it is a wonderful way to volunteer, but we do not have to limit ourselves to official agencies or groups. We can help out in the most banal circumstances. Of course, there are people who prey on those who are trying to be good Samaritans, but encounters with these kinds shouldn’t sour our desire to help. My Dad has always told us that he would rather be taken advantage of than to risk not helping somebody who is really in need. I know there have been times when he was taken in by con artists, but he has never displayed anger or regret over such encounters. He has always remained philosophical, never ruing the amount taken from him. “God will return it,” he has always said and true enough, God has always done so, even providing more than what was lost.

Anyway, even though I know those doubtful episodes did happen, they’re not important enough for me to be able to recall them vividly in my mind. What stuck with me though in full detail, pretty much like a mental treasure that I have and cherish, are those moments when my Dad had extended his hand and consequently had a positive effect on another person’s life. To date, I can still remember a man who was writhing painfully on the ground as though having a seizure, his son, no more than a toddler, kneeling crying beside him and everybody was just standing around them watching. I couldn’t have been more than eight, but I can still see Dad getting down to the man and urging somebody to calm the crying child. Thankfully, it wasn’t a seizure. The man had had a fit from immense hunger. He had gone to the city to visit relatives, but they were no longer at the address he had been given. He didn’t have much money, so the little that he had he spent for the child’s food. I won’t go into details as to how my father helped him, but some years later, the man came back to our house if only to thank my Dad again and to assure him that things were already going well.

Even the not-so-serious or potentially negligible incidents also stay with me: giving directions to somebody who was not familiar with the area, helping out a non-English-speaking Armenian to figure out her bus schedule, inviting a lone traveler to share a booth with us, offering to haul a lady’s suitcases up into the shuttle and being granted suspicious looks from her in return, etc. I could go on and on. They’re all with me, always reminding me how wonderful my father can be, especially when he’s being annoying.:-p

Having grown up with such an influence is why, nine months pregnant, I attempted to chase a runaway shopping cart, being careful not to slip in the rain puddles, to stop it from crashing onto the van of the very person who had left that cart unsecured, but to no avail. I was initially rewarded with a haughty stare as though I had been the one to cause the cart to crash into their vehicle, but was later thanked for my efforts when they finally realized what had happened. I could have just not bothered, but I was taught to do something when given the chance to help out.

Volunteerism can be a personal outlook. Being helpful can be an instinct. This is what I wish for Marguerite.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Poem After My Own Heart

I didn't write this, but I really just had to share.

If you give a Homeschooling Mom a Cookie
by Sher Birmingham

If you give a Homeschooling Mom a cookie, she'll want the recipe.
She will plan a complete unit study on the History of Cookies.
The family will take a field trip to a farm and see where we get eggs, milk and grain.
At home they will make butter out of milk.
The children will want to start grinding their own grain.
Mom will purchase a Bosch Universal Kitchen System.
She will remember she will need a new list of cookbooks.
So she will order An Introduction To Whole Grain Baking w/ CD, Desserts, The Cooking With Children CD, and Lunches & Snacks Cookbook by Sue Gregg, also Whole Foods for Kids to Cook.
Mom orders a 100 lb bag of wheat berries.
Now she will grind her own wheat grain into flour.
The children remember the farm field trip and knowing they can't possibly get a cow, they beg for a few chickens.
So to a trip to the library to research how to build a chicken coop and to how to care for chickens.
On the way out the door Mom sees the book, Chicken Tractor, by Andy Lee & Pat Foreman.
They stop by the Feed and Seed to pick up materials and ask where to purchase the chicks.
There the clerk tells them about eggs that can be incubated.
He sells them a book on hatching eggs, eggs, and incubator.
At home Mom and the younger children set up the incubator while Dad and the older children build the chicken tractor.
Back to the library to pick up gardening books and more books on chickens.
The oldest daughter now starts a business grinding flour for her friend's families.
While her younger sisters are selling homemade cookies to their neighbors.
The boys have started building a new chicken tractor because they want more eggs for breakfast.
That cookie that started this all: the homeschooling mom's three-year-old ate it.

Now, this is what I'm hoping homeschooling will be like for us. I'm very excited to start, although technically, I have. :-)

Signs of the Times

Does it sound like this is a post about the apocalypse? Sorry. I’m sure that’s more exciting, but this is yet another entry about my daughter. Mothers are terribly self-indulgent with their blogs, so please bear with this one.
Anyway, I’ve been signing to Marguerite since she was a newborn and still couldn’t see very well. I might have looked dumb, but I was excited about it and wanted to practice. I’ve always wanted to learn sign language. At camp and at Sunday School, the counselors/ teachers would always teach us how to sign songs. To this day, I still know how to sign “Silent Night” (which my own mother taught us btw), “Jesus, Name Above All Names”, “As the Deer Pants for the Water” (decades I’ve been singing this and I’m still not certain that’s the title), and “God Is So Good”, to name a few. Anyway, learning to sign those songs really piqued my interest in studying sign language, but I never really followed through that interest until I became pregnant with Marguerite.
I had initially bought a copy of Baby Signs, but the signs taught there didn’t coincide with the American Sign Language (ASL). They would have served the purpose of baby signs, but I wanted to learn the official ones with my daughter so we would be able to communicate with the deaf and mute as well. While I researched which product was best to get next, I tuned in to YouTube and watched videos of signing babies for inspiration. In my research I came across, which has instructional videos of signs of words most commonly used with babies. Their dictionary of signs, as I said, is limited to baby vocabulary, so I was very happy to learn about the MSU Sign Laboratory, which had a more comprehensive list of signs.
Marguerite is going on eleven months now and can sign a few words. The most common ones we use are “milk” (of course), “eat”, “water”, “more”, “please”, “thank you”, “all done”, “book”, “hi”/”bye”, “no”, “yes”, and “sorry”. I’d been signing away in the early months wondering when she would pick it up as she would never follow my lead when I demonstrated it (except for milk). There were times when I thought that maybe she was too young to learn them, but then she would start to do similar hand gestures and I would be assured that what I was teaching was, in fact, registering. My next question was whether she could associate the meaning of the word to the sign. When she was younger, she would do the signs, but never when I asked her to do them (the kid is very anti-stage-mothering), so I thought she could copy the actions, but not understand them. That was the case until she very distinctly asked for milk by signing. I was beyond thrilled, naturally, even if also a little embarrassed that I was actually taught by my own daughter not to be impertinent. There’s a correct time and purpose for signs and they’re obviously not for bragging moms’ show-off opps. And one thing further: never doubt the sponge-like quality of young minds. I’ve learned my lesson (just one of many) so kindly note that this mother is properly chastised.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sew Lovely

Sewing was something I never intended to delve into before having a baby. I knew I wanted to knit and crochet, but sewing was strictly for jazzing up plain clothing with appliqués, mending holes, and reattaching buttons. I always thought that it would be awesome to make our own clothes, but since my home ec and practical arts experiences just came this short of nightmarish, I was always quick to dismiss the possibility of doing this. Having a baby, though, can certainly show you that you are more capable than you think.

I hope I didn’t lead you to believe that I’ve already been expertly producing clothes for the little one because I haven’t. Yet. I only meant to say that it’s now potentially something that I could do, you know, in the future. I would love to be working on Marguerite’s first birthday dress now, but it’s too premature for that. I do plan to make her first birthday bib, so that’s a step in the right direction, I believe.

The thing that made me reconsider the whole sewing thing was a hotsling. Ten years from now as I’m churning out exquisite samplers (hah!), dresses, and costumes, I’ll remember to note that it all started with wanting to babywear. My mother and my sister had given me backpack carriers that I somehow couldn’t adjust to my body (believe me, I’m beyond petite) and that they ended up using themselves (but still to carry Marguerite). I was all set to buy a ring sling when somebody posted a “Look What I Made” thread in my birth club. As I’m sure you can guess, it was a sling and the poster was very kind to post the link to the how-to website . I visited the site and the rest is sewing history (not great history, but still history).

Would you believe that my slings were hand sewn? We have two sewing machines here, both with broken parts that we’re too indolent to do something about.

My second sewing project was leg warmers for babies (the most popular brand of which is babylegs , its name now coined to refer to all baby leg warmers). They’re perfect for little crawlers and are especially practical now that it’s dengue season. Anyway, birth clubs are a real godsend as I got the link to the how-to site from the same place. I also learned to make a tutu from there, but this type doesn’t require sewing. Like the slings, Marguerite’s babylegs were hand sewn. I had to improvise a little with the first pair of leg warmers as they were originally my Mom’s unused knee stockings and were too big.

A few weeks back, Husband finally borrowed his sister’s machine for me as it was just too ridiculous to spend hours stitching something that I could just zip through using the machine. I’ve made shopping cart covers using old bed sheets and following instructions from the same site that teaches how to make slings.

My current projects are a patchwork quilt with squares from family members’ old (but significant) items and another pair of babylegs, this time from my sister’s unused tube socks. I plan to add rickrack and heart and flower patches as they’re plain white.

I know that a lot of you can relate when I say that making our own things feels so good. I get to exercise my creativity and save money as well. I get more adventurous (sewing-wise) everyday, but I don’t think I’ll dare to make an actual dress just yet. After Marguerite’s birthday, I’ll start on my next project, which is a costume for our annual October 31st party (Do I mean a Halloween party? We don’t call it that to avoid issues with my Dad. :-p). Anticipating this event (as she’s its main propulsor), Sister had given me a book on making costumes as a Christmas present last year. I’ll see if I can come up with something fancy-pants. Hee!

Friday, August 17, 2007

My Crowning... I Wanna Say 'Glory'?

My hair has always been the bane of my existence, I tell you in an exaggerated dramatic vein. It is frizzy, thick, and totally uncontrollable - a real thug. It is so beyond bushy that I could have played Hermione Granger (except that I was too old and of the wrong ethnicity; also, that my acting skills left a lot to be desired). Anyway, since it has been raining rather wrathfully these days, the kinks have been coming out with matching fierceness. I do not dare let you see it untied as it could very well take over the picture. Or perhaps even the entire universe. Excuse me, but I have a feeling that hyperboles will abound in this post. I beseech you to be understanding. You have no idea what it's like to have your hair account for 1/3 of your weight (There you go! Another one!).
The real point of this post does have something to do with being a parent. As you know, I gave birth almost eleven months ago. I had gotten a haircut a few weeks before that so the heavy growth would be less troublesome. However, something is very wrong with my mind that I continue to think that that day remains to be just a few weeks ago when, in reality, an entire year has already passed. The hair, naturally, has grown back. Most postpartum moms wisely get their hair cut sometime before their hair starts to fall out or at the first signs of numerous strands coming off at one swipe of the comb. I, with my one-of-a-kind hair, never really noticed that I was shedding worse than a Pomeranian or that I had baby hair growing all over my head. These features were all disguised under the riotous thatch.
Behold the braid below. That is the very stuff stern or bow ropes are made of. It had to take decades and a baby before the poor old thing finally found favor with me. So, children, the moral of the story is: thick frizzy hair rocks postpartum and can anchor ships to the pier. :-)

PS. It also stands the tugging of ten-month-old hands.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Because He's Bigger Than The Big Picture

Whenever I feel an intense need to get out of where we are now simply because I’ve had the opportunity to momentarily step out of it and, with a comparing eye, view it propped next to everything that it lacks or simply is not, I quickly strong-arm my mind to switch to the bigger picture. Shame would then seemingly flow through me, washing away whatever inkling of self-pity, envy, frustration, etc. that might have started to burgeon from within. It is really rather mollifying to know that I can manifest strength of will when I choose to.

I’m not covetous, in the trite sense of the word. Even my worst enemy could not call me materialistic. Perhaps “transcendentalist” might be a bit ambitious for me, but I would like to think that I have enough depth of character to be beyond brands or to place possessions at the bottom of my priority list. I would not call myself an ascetic either as I do love regarding beauty and enjoying some of the finer things in life. For lack of a simpler way of putting it, I believe I’m just a healthy degree of needing and wanting.

My thoughts do veer in the direction of possessions every now and then, but I’m happy to say that I hold very little interest in the items of the times. My attitude towards trends is admittedly a bit scornful, but that’s mostly because of my anti-popular sentiments. The thing is, more often than not, I cherish an object because of sentimentality and not for its monetary worth. I cannot summon enough fondness for an iPod to make it compare with a tattered copy of “The Mad Scientists' Club” . As when I was a child, my primary material treasure remains to be my books. When it comes to things, I do prefer creativity, imagination, and the personal touch to store-bought perfection. It doesn’t mean I cannot appreciate store bought gifts. I simply recognize that there was more effort put into the former.

On the issue of wanting, I do sometimes feel discontent. We could be more stable financially, be in a place that’s more conducive to the lifestyle that we want, or generally just have a better setup. As I stated above, when my mind starts to whirr from the whines of dissatisfaction, all I have to do is to shift perspectives. The closer my viewing angle is to myself, the less objective I can be. There’s the urge to nitpick. When I look at the entirety, the image improves. After this, I can start including a backdrop of home, community, country, etc. As the picture gets bigger, I find more things to be thankful for. Long before I get to the universe, you will find that I have already given up. I cannot even begin to count the blessings I’ve received or the works God has done in my life and He’s not even remotely done. Once I’ve seen the big picture, I can go back to that close-up image and find huge blessings in the smallest details.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sugar Rush

My friend Tricia is quite the gifted baker. Her baking skills were honed into the wonder that they are now while she was pregnant with her second daughter, Danie (two months younger than my Marguerite). She had just become an SAHM and found herself confronted with the opportunity to get serious at being a homemaker. While I was spending my own afternoons getting dead serious at being a napper, Tricia was actively baking away in her kitchen. She got to be so good that friends and family naturally urged her to turn her hobby into a business. Fortunately, Tricia recognizes a great idea when she hears it and, lucky (term used loosely here, lol) gal that I am, I frequently get to sample her wares when I bring Marguerite over to her house for playdates with Spring (her first) and Danie.
While waiting for the official launch of her "Little Cakes Factory" , Tricia is doing fairs and bazaars. This week, she is at the Miriam College fair. On Monday, taking advantage of the availability of different flavors, I ordered a set of nine cupcakes, which she dropped off at our house on her way home from the fair. The very festive and enticing looking box delivered on its promise of not only delicious, but also gorgeous goodies inside. Such things do not last long in our house and by the time I got hold of a camera, there were only six left. And I believe Marguerite, being too fast for the adults around her, had poked a finger into the frosting of one of the cupcakes.
As I contemplate the speed of an unsugared Marguerite, it occurs to me that these lovely days are not going to get less exhausting. Please enjoy looking at the cupcakes below as I audibly sigh from imagining the energy of a sugar-consuming Marguerite.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Quiet But Lovely Moment

It was a choice between herbal and regular tea. I decided to go for regular. Then it was a matter of flavor. I would drink it plain, but the scent of apples and cinnamon reminds me of Christmas, so a true dilemma it was not. I noticed a silver pouch containing jasmine tea all the way from Vietnam lying next to a bag of flower tea from China, both untouched as I received them shortly before becoming pregnant with Marguerite. Tea in moderation isn't really bad for pregnant women, but I had an aversion to strong aroma, hence their being left to gather dust inside cluttered cupboards. They will be duly appreciated and consumed now that they've been noticed again. The lady who had given me jasmine tea had given coffee to the rest. "But I know without being told that you are a tea person," she replied to my query regarding the difference, as though I unconsciously displayed a quality of zen in the midst of the faculty lounge's caffeine-induced bustle. The stains on my teeth could very well have come from coffee, but it was not very "tea" to be argumentative. I, in fact, am a tea person though. Tea is a culture I delight in.
The heat from the mug warms my hands countering the crispness of the early morning air as I flip through the pages of my devotional. I need this. Later when Marguerite wakes up, she will try to tear the thin leaves of my old Precious Moments Bible as I read a chapter of Psalm to her. Her Bible board book has very little literary merit to it, but will stand the curious manipulation of a ten-month-old's hands. Later when she has learned not to be burned by hot liquid (not from any personal experience, I hope), we shall often pause for lovely tea moments to savor and reflect upon life. In the interim, I sit relishing the serenity of dawn and dreaming of those future Marguerite moments.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

¿Aprendamos español?

I'd love for Marguerite to grow up speaking Spanish. That's going to be a real challenge for me as I'm the only one here who speaks Spanish to her, and not even all the time, at that. I do set aside about an hour or so most days to read to her in Spanish (I have a number of children's books in Spanish, including a collection of leyendas - legends- and cuentos de hada - fairy tales.) and talk to her in Spanish with something Spanish going on in the background, like the TVE (Telemundo to some of you - and, no, not during telenovela hours), a Spanish DVD, or a Spanish CD. It's really just exposure, nothing structured. My DVDs and CDs are primarily for grown-ups though, so I comb the web for materials that are designed to cater to kids, particularly the younger set. While I have yet to order the items that I found, I turn to YouTube for canciones infantiles (children's songs) and Spanish kiddie video clips. I really like the ones posted by Enochmartin because most of them are the Spanish version of songs I learned in Sunday School, so I only need to learn the words and I won't have any trouble with the tune, not more than usual anyway. lol To all the moms out there who wish to have their kid/s learn Spanish, hope you like the video featured above, and

Myspace Graphics
Myspace Graphics

You Know You're a Mother...

...when you think that it's perfectly fine to post paragraphs upon paragraphs of your child's eating habits and that people would be interested to read them:

Marguerite has been a very picky eater lately. I have been rather frustrated about this as she started out really well in the solids department. She was rather late in cutting a tooth (until now she only has two at the bottom) and when she finally did start to teeth, her appetite hit a real low. Her milk intake remains on the high side and her growth is steady so her pediatrician is not worried. Her weight was in the 60th percentile and her height, in the 95th in her last well-baby (ten months) consultation, so there’s really no need to fuss about this. But.

Picture mealtimes and it’s really pretty hard not to get frustrated. There’s food wasted and she really does eat like a bird. I give her, say ten pieces of finger food, three would end up eaten and the rest, mangled and then dropped to the floor. Let’s not even get started on pureed or strained food. I would dish out the recommended amount for her age and she’d usually eat about a third of that. She’s the same with her juice and water intake. Her pedi advised four ounces of juice and eight of water daily, but she can’t consume more than 2.5 juice and 4 water. Again, I really shouldn’t worry. Husband and I were finicky eaters as babies as well (you should see us now!); there’s no big wonder our baby is the same.

Marguerite’s food preference also bewilders me. One day she’d love my steamed pears and the next act as though they’re poison. She always eats crackers, pasta and rice, still not a whole lot at any given time, but only if she’s given bits and pieces. It’s like feeding a parakeet. See? She literally eats like a bird. She’s usually not interested if you sit her down for an official meal, complete with her dish and spoon, but she really likes it when we share a bowl of organic rolled oats sprinkled with cinnamon (the same bowl, different spoons, plus she’s also holding another spoon that she drops about a hundred times per sitting). She would eat yoghurt if I had been enjoying it in the first place. Her own cup of the same yoghurt is yuck, judging from her face, but mine is delicious. She also likes for us to be eating toast together (plain, lightly buttered, or slathered with cinnamon-sprinkled cottage cheese). I do think it’s sweet that she likes us sharing food.

It’s also funny how she’s fascinated with big people food (in some cases, also known as food that's chock-full of chemicals) or stuff that isn’t food at all. I wonder how come carpet lint would go straight to her mouth, but a fruit cube would get hurled to the floor. Anyway, I want her diet to stay completely natural and meat-free for as long as possible, so this really means keeping my own diet the same. Her pedi (who also practices natural medicine) has given the go-signal on chicken and beef, but I really don’t want to give her meat yet. Marguerite would deign to eat tofu every now and then, but it’s not her favorite. She has tried an egg yolk mixed with rice and vegetable soup (sounds revolting?) exactly once, but she was not a great fan either.

I guess I’m trying to figure out a rhyme and reason to the entire thing so I could come up with feeding strategies, but right now it seems like it’s either I get lucky or not. Anyway, this is a trifling matter. She’s eating, she’s healthy, and this post probably bores the snap out of you.

In the meantime, here’s a picture of Marguerite eating a cracker:

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Love, Beauty, Happiness, Poetry, Fun...

When I married Husband, part of my personalized vow promised him a life together filled with love, beauty, happiness, poetry, fun, etc. (I can’t remember the exact words as that portion was impromptu… and here I was just talking about lacking spontaneity! I think at that time, I didn’t mind jazzing up my vow a little with something off the cuff as I wanted to add what I was sincerely feeling at that moment. Hmm, I don’t sound a bit defensive. Not one bit.) Anyway, I might not have delivered on that promise as faithfully as Husband would have wished. If truth be told, I might have filled his days with my neurosis more than I would care to admit, but when our baby came, I thought, “There you go… love, beauty, happiness, poetry, fun, et cetera et cetera personified!”. I think I finally really delivered, no pun intended.

When my daughter was born, I swore to her as she lay tiny and helpless in my arms that I would do my level best to ensure that her life be filled with love, beauty, happiness, poetry, fun… Déjà vu? Hee! The second time around, I might have sounded like a smooth operator, mouthing the same suave lines to different people to gain their trust, but I really meant those words more than ever then with Marguerite. I would be immensely happy to have her grow up to be a person with a positive disposition, with deep-seated happiness and genuine goodness in her.

The past few days though, on account of her cold, Marguerite’s disposition had been more fussy than sunny. Oh, there were still lots of giggles and smiles beneath the drip emanating from her nostrils, but everybody agreed that she may have already learned how to whine. Her babble and the few actual words she can say have very distinct tones now. You can recognize when she’s complaining, asking for something, or even when she’s telling on somebody (like when I hand her to her Nana, her babble seems to say “Mommy won’t take me outside!”. It’s monsoon season here, people!) Thankfully, as with her cries, she can easily be distracted away from those whiny moments. I just brandish something incredibly fascinating like an egg whisk and she’s suddenly fine. Do you wonder at the mystifying charm of an egg whisk or a balled up pad paper? Me too. Oh well. You’ll find that it really doesn’t take much to make Marguerite smile. I sincerely hope that that trait carries out into adulthood. Anyway, the cold stayed in our household for technically just a day and it absolutely didn’t take away from the incredible energy level around here. I’d like to think the germs were driven away by lots of cuddle time and those countless giggle moments as much as they were by lots of fluid, Vitamin C, and a Vicks Vapor Rub application secret shared by mothers across the globe. Marguerite’s nostrils may still show a little crust, but we’ve already claimed healing and given thanks (this, from the get-go actually).

*Posts such as this shall be labeled Marguerite Moments, not only because they are my moments with Marguerite (durrr), but also because here I keep a sort of record of parenting tactics in aid of creating precious memories for my child (and myself). Right now I’m all about common, but still extremely fond episodes, wonderful traditions, as well as those singular incidents of unforgettable exquisiteness, all lovely stuff that would surely keep one warm in a metaphorical cold and stormy night. I’d like your input too. If you want to share something, please email me at [email protected] or leave something in the comments section. Btw, the comments are being moderated to control spam. All of your comments will be published, positive or otherwise. I really encourage you to drop a line. I’d love to hear from you:)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Blowing in the Wind... but Only If It's Blowing My Way

As much as I would like to think of myself as naturally easygoing and free-spirited, there’s really a great deal of effort that I put in to affect such a demeanor. My upbringing contributes to this, I suppose (my parents were/are big on responsibility), but, as a matter of fact, it generally stems from a complex biological system that managed to produce a personality approaching obsessive-compulsion, or maybe even mild autism.

I am largely a creature of habit. I have to have my routine. To break away from it indicates a launch into chaos for me and I consequently find myself lost, floundering, and panic-stricken in a ridiculously non-harmful, non-confusing setup. Also, spontaneity is for the birds, as far as I’m concerned. I do not do spur of the moment things because my fancy takes me that way. Often I would allow myself to leap without: a. coming up with a detailed map and itinerary; b. sleeping on it; or c. numerous consultations; but such an instance occurs because I haven’t been given any choice. People in my immediate vicinity will sense the heat from the smolder of rage going on inside me about being forced into such a situation.

Husband teases me about these very uncool tendencies, but he has also learned to be sensitive to them. I, in turn, have also gradually learned to be more accepting that I married a man, who is not very conscious of time, of possible repercussions of actions not given much thought, of social expectations… in fact, a man who is really just not conscious most of the time as one would find him asleep if there’s really nothing of importance to do. The man is extremely fond of his slumber! Don’t get me wrong. My husband is a responsible person. He works very hard to provide for his family. He is, however, chronically and pathologically late. It’s all related to his love of sleep. He also doesn’t see the point in making a schedule for a day out, say, a trip to the mall (and I require that). More importantly, he is not about to fret over social conventions and what other people might think. If I seem to not care either, let me tell you that I achieved this disposition through a studied defiance against the norm and, really, years and years of practice.

Despite all my anal retentive inclinations, I do love the concept of absolute freedom. I love that Weezer song , "Holiday" and the idea of just “going where the wind is blowing”, but even as I contemplate doing it, in the back of my mind I ruin everything by detailing a budget, a time frame, a general scope of the whole adventure… Really, what’s the point?

Handicap or not, I can function extremely well despite that attribute and, in most cases, because of it. For example, although not a great fan of short notices, I can thrive in them. After coming to terms with the situation, but first being annoyed to tears about it, I simply have to make a quick game plan and then execute it. Spur-of-the-moment game plans can be some of the best. The adrenalin can hurl you into an incredible momentum and let you achieve astonishing feats.

Having a child though, and maybe even more later on (much, much later on), I have to learn to bend without much strain. They are pretty good at catching you off guard and wreaking havoc in your organized haven, but what can you do except to learn to just go with the flow? In keeping with my demand for control, if I know to anticipate such moments, I can deal better with them.

It would really be awesome to be naturally uninhibited and spontaneous, but considering this personality, I believe I can only achieve it if I consciously set out to practice it and… perhaps, make a list of things that are okay to be impulsive about? It will be a study in irony. If in the future Marguerite and I make an unscheduled turn to lollilag at the flower market and feed the birds at the nearby plaza, know that it has been thought of way before she learned how to walk. Planned spontaneity. Nice. I do like the occasional oxymoron. :-p

Monday, August 6, 2007

Creativity High

Creativity is a big thing in our family. My sister and I knew that with our "living by God’s grace" lifestyle, we could never compare, in the material sense, with our schoolmates in the exclusive academy we had attended and simply chose to use natural talents as our edge (as much as I’m against the entire concept of competition now, we were raised in that kind of society). This is merely one of the reasons why creativity had become a force of habit and pretty much a way of life for us.

I, for one, have always known that I wanted to write. I don’t remember exactly when I decided this, but my mother can tell you about the time I had written a poem about the stars (and was subsequently accused of plagiarism by her - “Really? You wrote this? I think I’ve read this before.”) or the time I showed her the story I had written about the strawberry people (she was more supportive that time). My recollection of these episodes is very vague so I must have been really young. I have also regularly dabbled (because I haven’t been able to commit myself to the thought thus far) in art, drawing and painting very amateurishly, but with much zest for the task. Also, when I finally started thinking about boyfriends (actually, I started thinking about them pretty early, but the folks had let me know right from the start that I couldn’t have one until I … well, they had never actually set any specific time, so I suppose they were hoping I’d eventually just give up the idea), I told myself that he, whoever he might turn out to be, had to be an artist. I definitely would never have given a yuppie the time of day. Although my husband can credit his chin dimple for winning me, that alone would never have gotten him any cigar (as you are confronted with these accounts of immense superficiality, please bear in mind that this writer was but a stupid silly kid at that time). The thing is, that husband turned out to be a musician, designer, photographer (et cetera, et cetera… the man keeps on finding new skills to hone!) was no co-winky-dink. He had passed muster. In our case, creativity attracts creativity and, hopefully, breeds creativity too.

That very long introduction was to segue into an account of my sister's accessories sale last Saturday. Sister and I are avid crafters, but she’s the one who has proceeded to make a living out of it. She is, without a doubt, one of the most creative people I know. She’s a great performer, a very gifted artisan, and a serious daydreamer. She decided to hold her sale at my grandparents’ house, which had definitely gone to seed in the last decade, the cause of which, we shan’t go into (that’s another post). We had spent the days prior to the sale sprucing up the living room with an enchanted forest theme. We put up fake overhanging branches strewn with golden flowers and leaves, as well as Christmas lights that circled the old tarnished chandelier dangling from the ceiling. We didn’t really need to do much as the accessories showcased in the room were to be the focal points anyway.

My daughter was up and dressed early Saturday morning to do her bit in the entertaining (which involved drawing attention to herself by simply being a cute baby). She, of course, wore the angel bracelet that her aunt had made especially for her.

That day, Sister was also scheduled to be interviewed about being an entrepreneur by a group of schoolgirls (cousin Big C’s classmates who had to do it for a project) who presented her with roses as a “thank you”.

The day was certainly a lot of fun. Somebody brought out the hula hoop and everybody started getting silly. Sister fed her guests flat bread with pesto and spicy mushroom dips and tiramisu slices and since we’re big tea drinkers around here, the beverage options were milk tea and sweet lemon tea. Customers showed up until late in the afternoon. One upsetting thing about the day was Jacky, the dog, who had to stay at the back the whole time. She showed her indignation at being left out by insanely barking her head off. Although the air was peppered with doggy cusses aimed at us, everybody was in good spirits and went home with a piece or two (or five) of Sister’s handiwork. More days like this please.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

A Lovely Day to You!

I need this. Of late, I have been forgetting so many things. I am inclined to blame the epidural the same way my mother has always blamed us, her children, for her own silly scattiness. "The C-sections!" she would point out (usually amidst our raucous laughter), hence nuestra culpa. Although I know that my mother jests when she says that, and my sister and I, in turn, have never taken offense, I don't believe I shall ever do the same. I had wanted a baby and whatever I had gone through in the process of having one was of my own wishing. It is important that my daughter be certain that her advent was welcome. Like most mothers, I intend that my child be fully and constantly aware of how much I love her, bearing in mind how fickle emotions can be or how dynamic that very love for her can be, which, in this case, could only mean its growing stronger and deeper every second, notwithstanding the nature of future encounters.

Be my own forgetfulness anesthesia or, more naturally, age induced, I plan to remain on top of my game. Doing this is in aid of that. I want to chronicle our moments, to be filed away, archived in web cache, and retrieved at my own fancy, no detail missed and the original perspective intact.

I also do this to raise my own awareness of time passing and how imperative it is that I work on my own disposition. I have never been known to be brimming with cheeriness, but I do want very much for my daughter to imbibe positivity from me. If I keep myself conscious of my efforts by documenting them, I can keep those times of seeming futility from defeating me. Writing about favorable effects, no matter how minor a success might be, would get the old motor going and keep me encouraged. Publishing my intent, at the very least, would shame me into carrying out those plans. Many times in the past have I been almost stagnant, my dreams lying dormant, as I vegetated in my own procrastination. With a daughter to whom I am determined to present la vita bella, I can no longer afford to idle in time pockets, stalling change and growth.

This weblog is also for me as much as it is for my daughter. There is no reason at all why I myself should not finally hurtle through life in uninhibited joy, flinging the notion of coolness to the wind behind me and leaving it to perish along with regrets at chances I had let slip by in the past. There is certainly no room for such in this new journey upon which I have embarked.

Finally, this is an avenue for sharing. The idea well might run dry from time to time, so feel free to inspire me with your own experiences. You can email me at [email protected] or you can simply leave a message in the comments section.

It is dawn as I write this. There’s a sunrise to watch and a breakfast to match sincere wishes of a “good morning”. It will be a gorgeous day even if soon after it starts my daughter decides to be picky about her solids again and dump her food onto the floor. Until the next post, have a lovely day! :-)