Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Is Around The Corner!

Whew! It's been a heckuva start for December! We gave up our yaya and then the family came down with flu. And we suspect Oona's teething again. She's been really cranky and clingy, refusing her usual solid foods, drooling a lot and sticking her finger in her mouth, rubbing her gums. We think her canines are about to make an appearance soon.

To top it off, the holidays are upon us and we haven't had much time to really get down to it. In truth, the holiday season starts really early in the Philippines. As soon as the -ber months hit, Christmas songs are starting to play and the malls have stuff for decor and presents lined up for Pre-Christmas Sale and promos. We only managed to buy a parol yesterday and materials for a DIY christmas wreath for the front door. The happy thing about shopping and decorating a little late is that we got everything on sale! Now, I have a really nice wreath done up the way I want for half the excruciating price if we bought it at the peak of the decorating season. We agreed christmas trees would be for when Oona's older and she can better appreciate it other than trying to pull down the pretty balls to see if they bounce.

Looks like this year, we won't be able to go crazy for presents like we used to when RF and I were still both working, childless professionals. (Nevertheless, it doesn't stop me from window-shopping!!!) Still, there are really great finds on foot and online. Landmark and SM are for shoppers like me with an eye for pretty stuff and a bargain. With a Christmas Sale going a dime a dozen in every mall and promos with freebies at almost every store, now's the time to go shopping! Go when it's not rush hour madness from 5PM til 8PM: lots of people, less time to choose items and sometimes, less chances of nabbing what you really like. The magic shopping time for me is as soon as the mall opens at 10AM until right before lunch time when the malls fill up with people trying to eat and shop at the same time before going back to work. Then again at around 2PM til 4PM, before people rush to the mall from school or work. Cabs are also easy to get at around those times. :D


Speaking of presents and pretty stuff, Grow In Style invited me to check out their online store. I fell in love with their sweet Eco-friendly, Organic Diaper Cakes. For the uninitiated, Diaper Cakes are not edible cakes. They're constructed of diapers and other baby items put together in an adorable way. It beats having stuff in traditional gift boxes, you know. It not only looks good as a present for birthdays, baptisms, or the first hospital visit, it can even be the baby shower centerpiece if you want them to start early in style! It would even look good under the christmas tree! (I want one for my next bundle of joy, people! Hint! Hint!) :D

Diaper Cakes are so practical, bursting with items you and your baby needs but looking SO darn good, you'll have issues about pulling it apart. See? SEE? That on the left is the Buzzy Bee 4 Tier Diaper Cake. That's my favorite. And no, you really can't eat it.

This one comes with: Approximately 70 Size 1 Baby NatureCare Diapers, Organic Bumble Bee Cotton Teether by Under the Nile, Natursutten BPA Free Pacifier, 100% Organic Onesie, 100% Organic Thermal Receiving Blanket (measuring 30"x40"), 5 Piece Weleda Starter Kit, Buzzy Bee Storybook, and 2 Handcrafted Bumble Bee Alligator Clips (can be used as decorations or hair clips for a baby girl). You can even add your own surprises to be tucked within the cake itself!

Apart from the way the Grow In Style Diaper Cakes are made, I'm particularly happy about the fact that they're 100% Organic and Eco-friendly. You can use everything guilt-free! Their baby products are all made from natural ingredients, some are even hand-crafted. Toys and accessories use non-toxic paint and "guaranteed NOT to contain any harsh chemicals, parabens, BPA, PVC or phtalates". Weleda Baby Care Products were also chosen for these qualities. According to Grow In Style: "they protect the baby's skin using the gentlest and most natural ingredients, such as Calendula, beeswax and almond oil. The 5 Piece Starter Kit gives mom the opportunity to try out a variety of their products."

However, should you prefer the more traditional gift boxes, they still have goodies you can put together for thoughtful presents that show you care (Uyyy...Tag line!). And since all this is online, all you have to do is place your order and they'll deliver it to you or the recipient (if you're not able to give it personally). Yup, Ninongs and Ninangs, they do international orders! They're based in the US but shipping overseas is okay. (I'm not sure how long it takes to get to Manila though.)

All in all, do I think Grow In Style's got bang for your buck? Yes I do. It's all natural, very practical and very safe. They also look darn GOOD. So Go! Support Eco-friendly products! It's never too early to start kids on being earth-friendly either! Make a new Mom or Mom-to-be happy.

Sigh. As for us with toddlers nearing potty training, I guess we'll have to wait for the next baby to have the perfect excuse to expect or get ourselves a Diaper Cake! :D

Friday, December 5, 2008

FUN STUFF FOR MOM: Baby Astrology

you're nauseated, nothing settles you down and your hormones are giving you a heckuva rollercoaster ride. great news is, you're pregnant!

there's so much stuff on the net to help you have more fun if your hormones aren't driving you to be moving around or nesting. on the down times, here are a few places i checked out.

First up is Baby Astrology: What's your baby's sign?

Yes. I checked out Oona's Astrological sign one day that I was bored to death. Along with being named after strong women, I'm afraid we hit her with a double whammy to be a fierce little fighter with her Western astrological sign. At least her Eastern Birth year tempers it so we haven't had a really difficult time with our little Leo Piggy! Read on!

The Leo Baby is, above all else, loud! Forget sleep for the foreseeable future, Mom and Dad. This is a baby who must be heard and will certainly let everyone in their midst know what they want. Think center of attention, since there really is no other way for this tot!

> so true! she's a little dynamo! moving, moving, moving all the time! nobody goes to sleep before she does. the only way for us to convince her to go to sleep is to pull in the shades so this little sun-worshipper could rein in her energy for a bit to get rest in the afternoons. she doesn't know her own limits yet so we're teaching her to sleep at a certain time so that she won't over-exert herself and get cranky the entire day. she also loves noise, even in the dark, she would still play or sing or babble or carry a weird conversation with me (weird because she's got her own language and i can't understand it in a cerebral way). she expresses herself well, though...babbling, pointing at what she wants or dragging you to what she wants you to do or where she wants to go. at a year and three months, she uses her entire body for expression. but, no coherent speech in our language yet. all she's got is her own language and that bond we share with her. so far it works. she's also a true performer. being the center of attention, she's very gracious to her audience, pulling out all the stops on her cute tricks and adorable antics. thank god she behaves well whenever we're in public or with company...except when she's already stretched to tantrum-point (like any child) and even that hasn't happened beyond what I can count on one hand.

With a Leo baby as part of the plan, family life will revolve around this magnetic child. The Leo baby adores an audience, so it should come as no surprise that many of these tots go on to become stars of stage and screen. This babe is auditioning early on!

> Yep, she loves a good, appreciative audience. But I'm also glad she has enough independence and confidence to be able to play on her own. When there are people, she'll be her gracious little self, like a gracious little hostess entertaining guests at a dinner party. I haven't seen her be mean or selfish to anybody. She pulls out all her toys to share to the kids, even gives the adults a toy so they can share in the fun...she tries to give people a ten-cent tour of her favorite spots in the house or attempts to share her bottle. When she's tired, she'll be quiet or if she really doesn't feel up to it, she tells Mommy or Daddy or Lola in no uncertain terms (whimper...).

To that end, this is a child who is also competitive, so maybe they are prepping for that dog-eat-dog Hollywood whirl from day one. When in a play group or any social situation, the Leo baby will make friends easily and will thrive on the interaction, since being on-stage is where they're at. Even so, they will have a hard time sharing things, such as roles, responsibilities, and even toys.

>Hmmm...If I have anything to say about it, she will continue being the gracious and unselfish little girl that she is. A little competition is fine but I don't like brats and spoilsports. After all, I am an Aquarian and I live to break the mold. Above all else, I'm happy that Oona has a sunny disposition and nothing should ruin that...not childish selfishness or vanity at always being the center of attention. I don't want any shooting stars for my child, I want her to shine steady, strong and true. Light like that shines longer.

The King (or Queen) of everything they see, they will be the one making the rules, after all. To sum up, the Leo baby is the leader of the pack, loads of fun, and will expect to live in the most comfortable of kingdoms. Pity the parent who won't play along!

> She is certainly Princess-in-training-to-be-Queen-someday. But I hope we would be able to guide her to be a true Queen as her namesakes are: to emulate the best qualities of each, learn from their mistakes and avoid them and be strong where their frailties have weakened them. From myself, though I know I'm far from being the perfect specimen, I hope to help her along to learn from history and her own experiences. I am terrified, of course. This is huge. We can all only hope for so much for all our children. But that is what parents are for.

I never liked brats or the kids who can't control themselves. I'm no paragon of virtue but I'll be darned if I let Oona grow up to be a Queen and not deserve every bit of the good it means (and none of the bad).

Now on to Oona's Birth Year!

About the Pig Baby

Contrary to its rather negative reputation in the West, the Pig of Chinese Astrology may be the most generous and honorable Sign of the Zodiac.

>WHOO-HOO!!! Great tempering agent to the aggressive Leo!

Pigs are nice to a fault and possess impeccable manners and taste. They have so much of the perfectionist in them that others may be inclined to perceive them as snobs, but this is a misconception. Pigs are simply possessed of a truly luxurious nature, one that delights in finery and riches (in surroundings, food, lovemaking and otherwise).

> Hmm...must teach Oona value of simple living. After all, one can find elegance in simplicity. Think the Japanese way of life!

This Sign believes in the best qualities of mankind and certainly doesn't consider itself to be superior. Pigs also care a great deal about friends and family and work hard to keep everyone in their life happy. Helping others is a true pleasure for the Pig, who feels best when everyone else is smiling.

> Bait ng anak ko! Buti na lang Leo sha so she won't be a push-over! Oona does love to laugh and see others laugh. She's generous with her smiles and her flying kisses.

A Pig with no one around to appreciate its giving nature is a sad sight. Pigs are so magnanimous they can appear almost saintly; this can lead some less-than-well-intentioned souls to stomp all over this Sign, and the bad news is, the Pig will take the blows! Pigs make great companions in part because of their refusal to see the more negative or base qualities in a partner, but that rose-colored view can lead to this Sign's allowing itself to be taken advantage of. Contrary to their seemingly benign dispositions, however, Pigs can be quite venomous in response to being crossed by a lover, friend or business partner.

> Yup...Oona really is a generous little girl. Mental note: Must enroll Oona in aikido for proper ass-kicking training. You know, just in case. Still, I'm hoping that the Leo in her kicks in to balance this emerging magnanimity. I hope she can manage to be firm and giving without being a doormat like I was when I was younger.

Pigs are highly intelligent creatures, forever studying, playing and probing in their quest for greater knowledge. They can be misinterpreted as being lazy, however, due to their love of reveling in the good stuff; this Sign could happily spend hours on end making love, napping, taking a long bubble bath or dallying over an incredible spread of rich foods. Pigs tend to make wonderful life partners due to their hearts of gold and their love of family. Even so, Pigs can be rather exclusive, choosing to spend time with those who will appreciate them most and ignore the rest of the populace. Pigs would do well to realize that there's more to life than being needed. When they open up their world to a diverse group of people, they will truly bloom.

> Must cultivate her innate qualities and balance it out with the Leo's love of social interaction.

The most compatible match for a Pig is the Rabbit or the Goat.

> Haha...tsaka na yang compatibility thing na yan! I'll deal with the matchmaking after seventeen years or so.

Of course RF and I believe it's in the upbringing how Oona's going to turn out. We both have high hopes and dark fears about ourselves as parents. I know we'll never be able to get rid of the feeling that we're responsible for this little being, because it's true. We brought her into the world, it's up to us to teach her how to get on in it. While there's no manual on how to raise a good person, it does help to have little things like these to contribute to how we could shape her character and how well she'll do later on.

Of course an astrological reading has to be more in depth to truly nail things down, but I don't mind a general overview. I still pretty much love surprises so I think it's no fun if at this point, I'll be neurotic enough to want to know everything about my daughter's fate and destiny, if such things can truly be 100% read in the stars. She'll have to figure out those things on her own, I believe. I won't be the kill-joy to deny her the adventure she'll be making of her own life. I'd like to help and be there along with her and be as surprised as she is at the wonders waiting for her.

Next Up:
Babies Online

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


anybody out there who is from CEBU DOCTOR'S UNIVERSITY? if you lost a camera in manila, please comment here or email me. please, no spammers and be honest!

Lilypie Breastfeeding Ticker

Friday, November 28, 2008

from WM to WAHM to SAHM

that's 'from Working Mom to Work At Home Mom to Stay At Home Mom' to the uninitiated public.

Whew! This past year has certainly been full of surprises! This blog alone, just one facet of my life, has been testament to the major changes that affected all aspects of my existence.

Today i was just supposed to write about the last of my weekend rantings but the more i thought about it, the more i realized it was more than just a mere rant. it's practically a transition from one mode of living to another. You see, in the same long week/weekend that my pc contracted its ongoing disease, my arm gave up on me and my last project almost never saw the light of day, our yaya since oona was born, up and quit.

A lot has happened to warrant her leaving us. Suffice to say that apart from the little things snowballing into big things, she was a great yaya to our little girl up until the day she left. She was conscientious about oona's welfare and well-being, kept oona clean, well-fed and healthy. When oona gets sick, she'd be diligent about medicine, keeping her nasal passages clear, applying hot or cold compresses, hydration and the other million or so things babies need that rf and i were clueless about. She knew how to take care of infants and kids, being the mother of a sickly child herself. She had a lot of good suggestions and insights gleaned from a lifetime of experience being a yaya. We were lucky to have her for as long as we did. However, being human, she was not perfect and neither were we. And there lies the rub, as they say.

To make a long story short, respecting boundaries became an issue in the family. She's become too familiar with us that she increasingly forgot we were her employers. Us, for that matter, found it increasingly difficult to gently deal with her as her attitude was really an indelible part of her. it wasn't that she was evil, it was just that thing when character traits rub people off the wrong way. since we've had her long, she's let her guard down more so she's more kampante. di na pumopormal, like my mother would say. Treating her as part of the family worked only to a certain extent (ensured her dedication to caring for oona), since her behavior towards us frequently crossed the line.

Don't get me wrong, she's really a good person. Strong, knowledgable, caring and would fight for oona to the max should something threaten oona. but i share most of the blame. i should have been more firm with her, more employer-like and less friendly. well, less friendly doesn't mean less kind anyway. it was also my fault for not putting her more firmly in her place whenever she'd cross the line. she comes on too strong kasi, and her opinionated views are more often than not inflicted on everybody non-stop. it's a challenge keeping up in volume and in content when she starts talking. and lately, she forgets that she's talking to her elders and her employers, treating orders as suggestions, pretending she doesn't hear or conveniently forgetting what we say. she would go for her own preferences rather than ours and basically make choices for us.

we did talk to her a bit about these things when it wasn't as bad as it got recently. she reasons well, so sometimes it boils down to a he-said-she-said thing that would just blow things out of proportion if pursued. you know those types of conflicts? when democracy isn't the answer? well, i learned it too late: too much latitude is too much latitude. while it is true that we had our failing as employers, it shouldn't be my burden to try to please her constantly either. i guess i was also afraid that should i show any displeaure, she might vent her ire on my poor little girl. anyhoo, she left only after she herself felt that things were not working out between us all and it was time to go. she said her goodbyes, packed her bags and tried not to cry when oona threw her a flying kiss.

of course, our little girl was terribly upset over the abrupt change. we knew it was something she couldn't name or understand, all she knew was something wasn't right in her ordered world. for a week, her separation anxiety manifested itself in temper tantrums and crying spells. she would be visibly upset if someone said goodbye or anyone left her line of sight. She seemed pretty determined never to be a victim of a broken heart again. I don't blame her, yaya lavished her with much affection and care. The way she cried and clung to us kinda freaked us out so much, rf, me and mamang (rf's mom who lives with us), that we each did our own tradition of warding off usog, loosely translated as unwanted vibes. You know, just to be on the safe side. More than that, we kept oona occupied and comforted whenever she'd feel bad. We took her everywhere we went, including her in all our activities, no matter how mundane. She kept her dad company while he got ready for work, toddled around after me while i did housework (getting in my laundry, 'helping' me clean house using her bib, etc.) and accompanied her grandma on her walks around our condo building.

So far oona's adjusting pretty well now. She's established a new routine, with us filling the void her yaya left. Soon, she'll forget to miss her. It's sad, yes, but these things happen.

As for the rest of the household, we're more relaxed. There's little to no tension among us three. We didn't even realize just how uneasy we've become with each other until she left. All the more that i felt it was really time for this change. You know what they say about people coming into your life for a season, a reason or a lifetime, right? Well, yaya was for a season and it was time to let her go and march on without her. Mamang and my mom for one, are happier since they both think she was fast becoming un-disciplineable. No one was going to talk back or give us, especially mamang, lip.

For rf and me, we decided that we weren't going to have another yaya again. Maybe a maid if i get pregnant with kid 2, but definitely not a yaya. We're doing the raising ourselves since we've proven during these past weeks that we could do it and we spent very little time worrying about oona than when we weren't the ones watching over her. I personally feel more like a mother being hands-on like i am now.

Speaking about personal feelings, i told rf that i felt i was really okay making the transition to being full-time with oona. Not that i'm only a mom when i'm with oona, but since the universe was pointing me in this direction, it was definitely time to give up working at home. Sure i could still do rakets, but it must be workable around the times when oona's asleep or she doesn't need me around. I can't do jobs that require me to ignore everything else just to reach a deadline so animation and video editing's out. At least i'm left with writing and a little graphics (when i find the time to get my poor pc fixed), so i won't really starve for creative expression.

Grabe, from assistant studio director of an art studio to full-service freelance graphic artist to my sole lifelong career as mommy to oona, my world got increasingly smaller and my task proportionally all that much harder. But like i told my friends, i'm exponentially happier and satisfied with my life.

I can't ask for anything more than this peace i am so definitely rockin' now!

Lilypie Breastfeeding Ticker

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

the weekend woe continues...

It started in the middle of the week when i was cramming to wrap up my latest project. It was just a sore spot on my upper back, near my shoulder blade that i normally attribute to the casualties of working for extended periods of time as a graphic artist. So naturally, i ignored it.

Over the steady course of long hours and little to no sleep for the next three days, the sore spot became an ache even my personal masseur (the hubby) couldn't eliminate with talented fingers and patented moves. From the ache, it spread to my entire upper back and began to creep down my right arm until the stiffness felt like it would tear my muscles apart if i so much as took a breath.

I bore the worsening pain, psyching myself that i would visit my hilot right after the project was shipped out. I didn't want to break stride and lose momentum. But after one lunch break, as i sat down to continue the headlong rush to the deadline, i found out i couldn't even move my fingers and breathe at the same time without feeling like i would pee in my pants with the exquisite pain. Stars exploded in my eyeballs and my arm and back were filled with broken glass grinding into raw muscles and bones.

I had to face it. My spirit is willing but my body is a cantankerous old lady in orthopedic shoes beating the spirit part into submission with a geriatric cane. And an incredible choke hold. I had to tap out before i passed out on the proverbial mat! Old lady wins the title round!

I managed to get dressed minus the usual help from my right arm and i all but ran straight to my hilot. Riding a jeep to the spa where nanay hesusa works was pure agony as the driver made it a point to run into every pothole and speed bump with as much speed as possible. I kept myself going one step at a time and was infinitely relieved to find that she had an hour or so to kill before her next appointment.

I took a shower from their hi-tech sosyal shower stall with all them buttons and nozzles. Of course i make it a point to be clean before a massage. I wouldn't want nanay hesusa's palms to glide away and come off with my libag! To help the healing process, i turned the heater to as hot as i could take it without possible 3rd degree burns. Concentrating the jet of hot water onto my tired back muscles eased the pain and relaxed me no end.

After that shower, nanay hesusa began to work on my back. She's been taking care of me six months after i gave birth so she's already familiar with the territory. When she got to my throbbing pain however, she declared it a pinched nerve. She scolded me for taking too long before i paid attention and proceeded to kill me with her healing hands.

As i lay there, being tortured to be cured, she explained to me that i overworked the arm. Not giving it a rest (coupled with my poor posture and unhealthy work habits) squeezed and pulled the nerve trapped between stiff muscles and the moving bone of my shoulder blade. It irritated the sore nerve to be the angry mess i was putting up with.

She alternated between relieving the stress and soreness of the affected area and the rest of my old lady body.
She had to work on the spot at intervals, stopping when i couldn't stand the pain anymore. Believe me, i have a high threshold for it, i had a normal delivery.

I know the wisdom of it would be doubtful to most. She could have damaged my back permanently, right? But prior to her stint at the spa, she was a real hilot and kumadrona of the old school in her hometown in negros. Yes, the kind who helps you give birth, sets broken bones, massages away fevers, pains and all sorts of body ailments. A real barrio 'doctor' with inborn and inherited skills. It's not easy to find one nowadays and there are a lot of fakes, but she's the real deal. I was amazed the first time i came to her with my sciatica. She knew what she was doing and when i interviewed her about what i was going through, her diagnosis was as concise and precise as the medical report i read about my pains. She attributes this to life experience, common sense and a familiarity with the human body and its conditions, such as we who are dependent on medicines and quick remedies of a modern age are sadly far removed from.

After the massage, the pain was still there. Nope, it didn't miraculously disappear because as nanay hesusa said, it's been too long there. But she assured me that it's on its way to healing as the surrounding muscles have been relaxed and unknotted. She prescribed lots of rest, a hot compress and a pain reliever ('put two salonpas,drink an alaxan and keep off it til morning').

I couldn't help but laugh, my old school barrio doctor doesn't mind combining her traditional healing methods with science. Very progressive for a 65 year old hilot!

The swelling did go down and was gone the next day. Now it's as good as new. I haven't abused it since then as the project's been passed on but i'm lifting oona nowadays and she's an easy 10 kilos. So, i'm more careful about using this arm as i wouldn't want to drop my little girl or go through that agony again!

Next up..no yaya blues!
Lilypie Breastfeeding Ticker

Sunday, November 23, 2008

christmas countdown!

a few more days and the christmas season is officially here! sooo...a break from my scroogy posts: i'm thinking of getting me, rf and oona in a christmas theme photo.

i know it sounds corny and i would definitely have cringed at the thought two years ago. but now, i really think oona would look sooooo CUTE in a little santa claus hat or maybe even the entire outfit! i didn't get to put her in a creche or a little baby angel costume last christmas because i was just so blaaah from giving birth, settling us down and all... but maybe this year, we could throw ourselves into the spirit of the holidays for the kid's sake (future blackmail photos!). i already surfed and found lots of Santa suits from buycostumes.com that we can choose from (hehehe!). yes, santa suits for us three! okay, so maybe rf would probably die first before wearing the beard but maybe i could get him to wear the outfit at least!

well, digging around the site unearthed lots more christmas inspired costumes and a treasure trove of other stuff! it was easy to move around the site so i was able to quickly pick out a few things i liked before i get back to mommying (no nanny yet, not that oona's a pain. she's such an angel!) and/or before the computer hangs up on me again (cos it's still wonky and all...ugh, scrooging later on!)

anyhoo, i would absolutely LOVE these for oona! they're so adorable! if i'd seen these last year, i would have been a little bit more inspired to celebrate the holidays with more pizzaz.

this for rf :D (okay so maybe it's old hat but it's better than dressing him up as an elf in tights and a bobble hat!) he could even wear this on christmas day while giving presents for oona's benefit, to build up the christmas story!!! (although rf's definitely going to need a pillow to build up that jelly belly there.)

and these are for ME! rawr. i definitely should celebrate the holidays more, if only as an excuse to shop-fantasize! these are most definitely going to get worn more days than there are in the christmas season.

heehee! okay, so it's stretching my imagination a bit but hey, it's christmas! what's an airbrushed christmas photo-op between family and friends, eh? :D

Lilypie Breastfeeding Ticker

Trojan.AgentMB.JIXQ513316 aka FUvirus.exe

reposted and expanded from a yahoo! answers post earlier:

apparently this a new virus and the infection is spreading. there are more of us out there and we are all frustrated by the lack of information and panicked by the havoc it's creating. since i got hit a couple of days ago, i'm still searching for a cure to put an end to this madness, while burning my uninfected files to dvd in case there is no hope left. thank god for security task manager that's enabled me to at least keep my computer from totally dying while i save my files. if i had the money, i'd buy the thing to keep me sane beyond the 30-day trial period.

anyway, some things that might be find useful for others out there while the computer doctors race for a cure to this disease. my band-aid solution while waiting for major surgery.

1. first up, the virus is called Trojan.AgentMB.JIXQ513316. it's also called the FUvirus.exe (Welcome to Fu Virus!)

2. it's lodges in the system32 folder and it is programmed to stay hidden. it pretends to be a legitimate process so other antiviruses cannot/have difficulty sensing it.

3.deleting it and putting it in the trash bin won't work as it will tell you it's a running process..i only found out where it was when i downloaded the trial version of security task manager. it helped stem the havoc it was creating as this program was able to detect hidden processes and gave me the option to quarantine it. i would suggest you download it here. security task manager will show you the FUvirus process running, and let you quarantine it when it pops up. should you delete the process from quarantine, be warned that it will stem the tide but not totally eradicate it as it will have infected other drives or folders as it happened to me. do not panic if you can't find files....go on to the next item.

4. it impersonates all the folders it can get its hands on, attaches a .exe to make them into application folders. don't be fooled!!! your files are still there, the virus just hides them as system files so you can't see them if your folder options hides these kinds of folders. just go to folder options and uncheck the hide system folders option. your files will then be visible as semi-transparent system folders.

5. then i suggest you install bitdefender as it was the one that identified it as Trojan.AgentMB.JIXQ513316. bitdefender recognizes this virus and blocks it no matter what signature/path or name it uses while letting you access all your files, even ones whose folders are still infected.

6. this jumps from port to port via USB so don't use any for the moment. burning files to dvd works. just don't burn the .exe infections...be sure you are NOT burning the files that have .exe's where there aren't supposed to be.

as of now, i posted this in the bitdefender forum and am just waiting for a reply. i will post as soon as i get the right cure :) hang in there, everyone.


another way is for a system restore to an earlier date, as AJ said. but i haven't tried it yet. still burning my files as of now, just in case something goes wrong and all my files get blipped out of existence.


don't use your infected usb or let anyone else use it. when you're able to find a cure, clean your pc first then attach your USB to be cleaned.


or reformat. but don't use your infected usb because it will reinfect your comptuer.

:) whew! hope this helps. goodluck to us!

Lilypie Breastfeeding Ticker

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

the weekend odyssey

i had a doozie of a weekend to cap the peach of a week, to say the least. For starters, the project i was working on barely made it to its preview because just when i was exporting it, a particularly nastehhh virus chose that time of all times, to make an appearance. From the usb flash drive of my unsuspecting client, who can only speculate where it came from, it jumped to my poor pc. It embedded itself in the windows system32 folder, making it a part of my platform, i think that's what it's called, and autolaunching on start up. It converted all my folders into application folders with a .exe added to the folder names, replicating itself through all my directories and drives. (not to mention replacing my sleek windows xp folder icons with ugly, tacky folder graphics from computer stone age!)

The virus slowed down my processors by as much as 50% then i couldn't access my admin panel at all. At first i thought it was the newfolder.exe virus but apparently this one is called the fuvirus.exe...um, virus. I don't know what the 'fu' means either but i think it means 'f*ck up'. I so hate viruses and their programmers. You may be geniuses but you suck! Why don't you guys do something useful for a change, like an idiot cure you could use on yourselves?!

Since my free norton anti-virus had already expired, i figured that's how this got through. I was able to download avg 8 but installing it became another nightmare. It kept telling me i had other anti-virus programs running while i already uninstalled everything, even going so far as to tweak and clean the registry entries in regedit with a registry cleaning program. Then, it would show me an installation error. Various messageboards identified the error as a permissions issue so i 'permitted' and 'allowed' everything i possibly could. But still, no go. I wanted to forego reformatting until i've exhausted all possible solutions (or i scream bloody murder).

There doesn't seem to be specific entries about this sort on google. It seems to be impossible that i could be the first hit this bad. I tried norton, mcaffee, bitdefender...no fuvirus in their virus directories!

As of now, i have bitdefender on, but i also have secure task manager running to block the virus. It's helped a tiny bit, this band-aid solution while i look for a cure. At the very least, it's shown me where the pest nested originally (the system32 folder) and a few telling characteristics (autolaunching, poses as a legit program and is hidden/can therefore escape detection by most anti-viruses).
Courtesy of the trial task manager guard, the virus announced its presence with a cheeky 'welcome to fuvirus!' message! Oooh the b@strd! Me want to smash! GRRAAA!

So much for my pc. And the moral of the story is a bad safe sex analogy, as i'm sure you can guess. Always use protection and don't 'consort' with strangers.

But wait! There's more! That's just the first of my long weekend woes. Stay tuned for more as my thumbs are going numb from posting via my cel. It's not easy even with autospell on.

I so HATE viruses. *kick*

(Anybody who knows what to do short of reformatting the entire thing, please feel free to put me out of my misery!

Lilypie Breastfeeding Ticker

Friday, November 7, 2008

SURFACING FOR AIR: Mommyluscious Works At Home

It's been awhile since my last post and like a drug, I've had my withdrawals. But I'm glad to be able to at least take a bit of time to slowly get back into the loop.

I've been working extensively for the past few weeks. Just at home but it doesn't make it any less hard nor does it eat less time. The project I got entailed working on graphics and animation whose complications I sorely underestimated. Plus the fact that I haven't done this much in years. And my equipment lacks the necessary plug-ins to respond as quickly as it should have. AND the schedule and requirements for me to do my job with as little to no problems at all was sadly thrown out of kilter by inconsiderate people.

Of course I shouldn't rant so much given that the production has its inherent problems but professionalism dictates that THAT shouldn't be my problem. I have a schedule, a list of requirements and a deadline. If problems should arise, there should be adjustments and compromises to ensure everyone's happy. It shouldn't be that I'm the peon and I should bend over backward to keep accommodating irresponsible people until my back breaks. And it's damn near broken.

Clients should treat service providers better than they do. The mentality of "the client is always right" really sucks because most people abuse that for all its worth. Being reasonable is always subjective but common human decency shouldn't be pushed aside. Problem is, with this kind of mentality, the abuse couples with "taking as much as I can get because I'm the client and I'm always right." So enter delays, irascible demands and immovable, uncooperative deadlines. Then when you don't deliver, you're told you're unprofessional, the cause of delay and they claim it's only right they don't pay you for your troubles. Or cut your fee. Whateverrrrrr!

This made me seriously reconsider if I should really just quit while I was still sane. After all, I did sign up for SAHM-hood and I don't really like missing Oona's milestones while I'm stuck in front of the computer. On the other hand, finances being seriously tight, I keep grappling with the guilt and restlessness of a former contributor to the family funds.

Was I being merely selfish? Or lazy? Or was I being the one unreasonable? After all, work is work, isn't it?

I seriously didn't know I would be thinking about all this when I decided to accept being a SAHM. I also thought there was little difference between a Stay At Home Mother and a Work at Home Mother so I thought the cross-over would be easy. Yeah, NOW I know!

Schedules and routines are much tighter at home, especially since your own movements are structured around the little girl's timetable. She's the ultimate boss. Not me, not RF, not anybody. It's not that she's bossy, demanding or being a brat, but it really is how it goes down with a baby.

When I said I'll take on jobs I can do at home, I thought I considered it enough. Apparently it needs more thought. As my esrtwhile hubby said, working at home isn't a problem nor are my skills. Talent, honed by skill can be polished to full function given a little time so I shouldn't worry about having lost my edge due to inactivity and younger hotshots out there. What I should focus on would be professionalizing my services and sticking to my guns. He says since my time is in the little girl's hands, I can't give it away to people, things and concerns that are infinitely less meaningful than our Major Project: Oona.

I'm glad I married a very supportive and understanding man. When I'm going neurotic and wringing my hands like the worry wart I always become, he'd always try to make me laugh first then think second. Sometimes (okay, most of the time) it pisses me off because my neurosis makes me feel like he's trivializing my concerns then telling me what to do. Later on though, but grudgingly, I'd have to admit he's right on the money.

The world won't change overnight, least of all for me, but what I can do is make sure I'm not forced to sacrifice the things I quit the fast lane for: my ethics, my love for all things art and most importantly, my little growing family. It may sound demanding to others out there that I won't bend my rules, after all, I'm one of the little people and they hold the moolah. I'm merely prioritizing my life. They're not the one raising my little girl and they won't even remember who the heck I am in a month or even less. But my Oona and my RF would feel the vacuum Mom's absence or lack of time for them would create. I don't want to reason later on that I'm doing this for Oona's own good. While it stands to reason, it doesn't comfort me to make that compromise. I'd rather compromise on the side of my family, my core principle.

I decided to be a mother and wife first before committing to being an artist and business person second. So I should stick to it. No exceptions.

So watch out world, this mom's back in business with a vengeance! But always on time for the little girl's play time, feeding time, bath time, sleepy time...

Lilypie Breastfeeding Ticker

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


To everyone out there: My hubby found a camera while riding a cab yesterday. It's small, compact and almost brand new. If anybody lost their camera or know someone who's lost their digital camera recently, please post the model, description and any identifying marks on the camera for us to know it's really yours/theirs (just to be on the safe side). We can meet up and we'll gladly return it. We know how it is to have lost things too.


Lilypie Breastfeeding Ticker

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


So RF and I were talking about the feasibility of moving back to QC the other day. Supposedly it's cheaper than what we have to worry about here in Makati but apparently, the space we need (3 bedrooms) will cost us just about the same, compounded with the added cost of commuting to Makati everyday. Since RF's job requires him to be at the office from mid-afternoon to more often than not, the wee hours of the morning (sometimes more!), he needs to take a cab. Given that the fare hasn't gone down even if gas just had a recent roll-back, it's going to cost an arm and a leg in the long run. So, we're not going to be spending less. In fact, we'll be spending more than if we just stayed put. Of course, there's also the fact that moving houses is a major operation and a major pain in the wallet.

It's not easy to move. You have to pack up, box everything up, load and unload...If Manila had a service like one I came upon the web the other day, I wouldn't worry as much.

Moveme.com is a consolidated website for making lives easier for people who need to move. They basically covered everything from the moment you first think about moving, to packing up, moving in and settling down in your new digs.

They have listings of houses that would suit your needs, especially if you want to buy (or sell)! Their free mortgage quotes will save you from using up so much time combing the net or the newspapers for a good deal. You can easily compare rates that come from Moveme.com with your present agent and see which one gives the best mortgage quotes. What I like best though, is the fact that they can also help you find the best removal services or a moving company in your area with corresponding removal quotes. From the description, moving companies under their banner are reliable, dependable and easy on the wallet. Nothing haphazard and your valuables are safe, from just a man and van to shipping needs. They take care of the moving vehicles, the handling and getting your things into your new home with as little hassle as possible. This would be extremely useful as I always have to find a truck and people to move things!

The website has tips and guides from organizing your move, moving people with disabilities or people in their golden years to legal issues you may come across. Short, sweet and to the point, you would find their practical advice easy to understand. They even list down things I normally wouldn't have thought about like the Geek Squad, for example! These guys help you set up your wifi, computer and all your home tech so you don't have to worry about your cables, wires and goodness knows what else you might end up crossing and burning the house down!

All in all, the website's very user friendly, navigation is easy and you won't drown in too much or useless information. You'll easily find what you're looking for. The website's focus is clearly making the decision to move a lot simpler and easier than it normally is. It even helps you decide if you really should move, if it's the best for you and your family. They take into account how kids normally react to being uprooted and how important it is for them to be involved with such a big step.

I like them. I really do. They make me want to move just so I can try their service out. It's no wonder that these guys won the Yahoo Innovation Award and the Yahoo People's Choice Award.

My only beef is that they only service Europe. So lucky readers from London, Wales and Scotland have it really easy. (Although, they can help you organize an international move/relocation as well, should you need it.)

Nevertheless, for people who are moving or deciding to move, their tips, planners, advisories and guides are still highly recommended by this mom. Their articles are still worth reading to organize your own move even if sadly, they don't have a local counterpart here for the actual physical move. We could really use their kind of service! So check them out at Moveme.com or root around their cool blog for more stuff about moving from their very own Moving Doctor.

Happy moving!
Lilypie Breastfeeding Ticker

Monday, October 20, 2008


N@W is Newlyweds At Work, a Yahoo Group message board for newlyweds, about to be parents, wanting to be parents...everything that's got to do with being a wife, mother, woman, survivor, working parent, breastfeeding advocate, etc., etc., etc. Most are women though the odd guy comes around to see what post his wife keeps mentioning. Whatever the issue, there's a thread about it, a zillion ears to listen and shoulders to lean on or cry on. I'm not always an active poster, being guilty of running to the group mostly when I've got something I'm completely stumped about, but it's the equivalent of a sorority house without the hassles of being an initiate or a pledge. You can be sure of the support, understanding and wise advice of your sisters and brothers at N@W.

For those who don't know what being a N@wie is, it's the best group a first time mom can be in. Spinning off from the W@Wies (Weddings at Work) who went through the wedding and are now parents, the N@wies are a fun and supportive bunch even if I haven't met them all IRL (in real life).

And because I love this group, I made badges with the blessings of Benz of the W@Wie Rana Dynamic Duo :D Please feel free to grab one to post wherever you wish! Just right click and save. Link the image up to the W@W portal or N@W site so more moms out there can find their way to the group!

Here's the first batch! :)

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

More to come! Enjoy!

Lilypie Breastfeeding Ticker

Sunday, October 19, 2008


When I was a child, there was only one room in the house where everything really happens. Since there was no distinction between kitchen and dining room, you can imagine that most conversations, interactions and family activities centralized around this area.

There would always be someone preparing food, eating, making a snack or using the dining table as a study desk, drawing table, battlefield for toy soldiers or secret bandit hideout from the cops stationed in the living room. I used to hide under the table to escape from having to sleep in the afternoons when I wanted to play. My mother had the coolest make-up kit from my grandmother's Hong Kong trips with little drawers and slide-out compartments. I'd sneak it out from her dresser, paint my face up and make a dash to the kitchen sink when I heard her coming down the stairs to hunt me down for the bothersome nap.

Most growing up conversations also happened around the kitchen/dining table. We'd get reprimanded, praised or grounded until we were thirty while we were having breakfast, lunch or dinner (when activity reports usually roll in for our parents to comment about). Of course you couldn't leave until you finished your food so even if you wanted to die of shame from being publicly executed, you had to soldier on while conversation flowed to other more wholesome topics around you.

When I was old enough to help in the cooking, the conversations evolved as well. From how to cook my favorite Sinigang (Tamarind Soup) to how to deal with the bullies in school, to deeper, more intense issues later on in life. Life lessons are easier to deal with while your hands are busy, but wrestling with them while chopping up vegetables amidst the warm, homey smells of bubbling broth seemed to drive them straighter, truer and deeper into the heart.

Late at night, on occasions where one is restless and sleepless with the countless things that plague growing minds, the kitchen/dining table was the scene of many a hot coco philosophical discussion.

Heartbreaks, arguments, life decisions, confidences. I'm sure many kitchens and dining tables in small houses like ours have heard them all.

My ideal house would have the kitchen/dining area exactly like that, where the heart of the home is at the hearth. (sidenote: Hearth= heart, earth/mother earth...cooking, eating, sharing food for the belly, heart and the mind are such earthy activities...no wonder we feel fuller and more grounded, reconnected.)

I've always dreamt of a home that would be sanctuary to family and friends. Such as when I was growing up and bringing home friends, we'd gravitate to the kitchen where my mother would usually be found cooking dinner. And since I brought extra appetites, she would whip up something for us and we'd help cook while filling her in on what happened during our day. Sometimes, one of my friends would find herself confiding in my mom while shelling peas or stirring the stew. My mother would listen and dole out her brand of wisdom like she would dole out steaming soup for the heart-sick. My friends would always say how cool my mother was, sated with the yummy food we helped prepare, hearts soothed and minds at peace with practical advice.

When I was still single, I had the fantasy of living alone but always having a warm and welcoming home. Now that I find myself married and a mother to a precious little girl, I am nostalgic for kitchens and dining areas that remind me of my mother's kitchen. Of course, this would mean warm wood furniture, unobtrusive kitchen appliances, functionality with down-to-earth, homey styles . . . and a bunch of wild flowers stuck in a jar somewhere.

I want Oona to know how it is to come home, plunk her school bag on a chair and tell me all about her day as she gobbles a snack and I start preparing the family dinner. As it is, at 14 months, she likes playing under the kitchen/dining table. She listens in on the conversations of her mother, father, grandmother and nanny. She offers her babbled opinions every now and then and pokes our legs to let us know she's still there. Whether we're cooking, eating or typing away at a laptop, she'd be right there, camped under the table, among the chair legs.

I look forward to having midnight coco in my pajamas talking over the serious business of a first love or deliberating over college courses with Oona and her siblings (hopefully soon!). I can't wait to be solving crossword puzzles with a cup of coffee at 2AM, waiting for the last kid to come in after a concert. Or making anti-hangover specials for someone who came in four hours after their curfew, reeking of way too much beers, hunched guiltily over black coffee, waiting for me to read them the riot act. God forbid my kids have my spunk! But I DO truly look forward to it all, including cooking their lunches for school and baking cookies (Cookies? Bake?! ME?? Quick, someone pinch me!). Well, I'm sure there are idiot-friendly contraptions nowadays for people like me who can basically cook but can't whip up a chef's masterpiece.

My husband would laugh and tease me no end if ever he reads this. He's never seen me take the initiative with ruling the roost, so to speak, let alone cook everyday. But since his Mom lives with us and she likes to cook for the family, I can understand her sentiments enough to know it warms her heart to see us gather round to eat together and enjoy her food. And I know, it will be my turn soon enough, to have my own kitchen and rule the roost. Nowadays, I share the crown with the hubby and his mom, but mostly, it's Oona who wears that crown most.

Currently, we are paying for a pre-sold condo home at nearby Beacon (so near, we pass the construction site everyday). It's amazing how it feels, to watch your investment for the future rise from the foundations going up, up, up! Before we know it, it will be our floor that's going to be done and the condo guys will be calling us to go over the specs we want for our new home. So this early, I'm already looking at lovely stuff I want for our own first home, interior decorating it in my head.

Most especially, I would finally be able to have a kitchen, a hearth of my own! Sure I'd still be sharing with Mama, my hubby's mother, but I would have picked the tiling, the cabinets, the stove, the everything! Besides, it doesn't take anything away from me to share the traditional domain. It makes for incredible conversations when we're cooking together, even now. For sure, since it's a condo and we have kids running around, we'll have appliances that would be space-saving and child-friendly (if not child-proof).

I'm glad I'm a net surfer so it's easy for me to find things I like and hopefully buy, when the time comes for moving in. The condo's already fully furnished in my head! Although I'd love to go out and "get dirty", walking around to hunt down furnishings, drapes and sinks, it really isn't realistic for me nowadays. It helps that the ever-reliable Shopwiki's there. I don't have to go all over the place to find something I need, they already have stuff from on-line stores all across the web, centralized in one website. Think your very own, friendly, reliable on-line warehouse with goods from all over the world in one place! The interface is very user friendly and very informative.

I would also suggest fully reading through the Shopwiki shopping guides as it also helped me decide which ones I can do without and which ones I would definitely need for condominium living and the lifestyle that I want. What's noteworthy for me is that they help promote Green Living with earth friendly products! Definitely for us earth mommas! They also support advocacies and causes near and dear to our hearts, like this October's Shopping for a Cause is about Breast Cancer Awareness. So think pink while shopping and beat shopper's guilt by saying: "It's for a cause!"

From the bedrooms, to the curtains to the little reading corner I want to have (with a computer, naturally!), I have bookmarked a dozen pages or so from this shopping guide! Too bad our bathroom's not big enough for a bath tub or a home spa . . . Oh well, I'll keep that in mind for the next house! :D

All in all, I truly look forward to making our new house into a home, where my daughter, her siblings, their friends and everyone we welcome into our midst, would feel the love and warmth radiating from the heart/h, filling up tummies, minds and spirits with food for the body and nourishment for the soul.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008



It's Blog Action Against Poverty Day, and it's brought to mind so many things. Central to these thoughts would be how poverty seems to be the most used and abused condition.

Behind every campaign, crime and policy, on either side of law and morality, poverty is the ready answer, reason and rationale. And who are its greatest victims? Children. Always the children.



Can anyone really tell me what poverty truly is? Or where it comes from?

Is poverty solely a lack of material comfort? Or is it a lack of spiritual wealth manifesting as a lack of the material kind?

There are a lot of philosophical and metaphysical discussions all over the internet regarding "How To Increase Your Abundance", "Be Open to More Money" or "Be a Millionaire While Being A Couch Potato". It's pointless to tackle them one by one because whatever they're selling boils down to us (people who want more abundance) buying their program and making them more, well, abundant. You have to admire these people, seizing an opportunity to provide people for a means to reach their dreams of gold. So they make gold!

I get spam mail like that and as always, there's a catch. Fool's gold for the naive, incredibly stupid or incredibly greedy.

There's also that South African/Arabian/Singaporean/Alien Banker/expat/businessman/wife of dead politician who would email you about millions in US Dollars or Pounds that has to be transferred and can they please use your account? Of course you have to provide your personal info and bank account numbers. And YOU shell out fees.

Whatever. Scam central, hello?!

Internet sweepstakes also lure people into buying entries with the promise of sure winnings. But the only thing you'll win in the end is a huge credit card bill. It's true all over the world, in whatever way, the house always wins.


There are so many ways people all over the world invest in exploiting our common concepts of poverty. In or out of the net.

For me, I am not afraid of being scammed via internet. I'm not stupid, naive or greedy enough to bite into promises that sound too good to be true. Nothing is taken away from me.

I am afraid of poverty, however, when I step out of my house.

I see beggars everywhere. With children. Some look like they haven't eaten in days, some have a blank stare and some don't look like their beggar parents at all. They're either too beautiful or too different.

All in all, those faces, those eyes haunt me.

I know, because I've heard stories and watch the news. Children disappear everyday and babies are stolen from parents, caretakers and their own homes. They are never seen again, bought and sold like meat into gangs, syndicates or slave rings.

Sometimes, very rarely compared to those who are never heard of, there is the odd survivor who is meant to be found to give a call for action against this particular problem. These survivors are found in other far-flung cities, maimed, starved, beaten and abused, enslaved by criminal syndicates to pose as beggars' children to increase chances of larger alms. By some incredible blessing, they are found and restored, but not without having sustained injury and often permanent physical damage. Some have been found crippled or blinded by their captors. What more can we say about their mental, psychological and emotional health? Who can say that the only injuries they have are what we have seen? What about those who have no words for the horrors they have endured?

I fear poverty whenever I walk out of the house. I fear that its fingers will reach up and curl around my own child's leg and yank her out of my life. I fear that this little ray of sunshine would be taken from me, her mother, to line some dirty bastard's pockets. Bad things happen to good people. I know things happen for a reason, but my heart refuses to stop fearing.

Where do people get off doing this? Is there no conscience left in their souls?

This knowledge also conflicts me.

I want to help these beggars but giving alms only seem to aggravate the mendicancy problem. I want to help them maybe get a good dinner at night, but don't want to perpetuate the grim cycle. Or maybe they're really hard up and they have valid reasons, being victims of circumstance, to be standing at the corner begging for mercy, but how can we really know? How do we tell the really needy from the ones who are just exploiting poverty as we know it?

And I'm a mother. How can I resist another mother asking for help for her child? How can I risk shaming her in front of her little one by denying her? But what if she's in on exploiting the child? Do I want to be party to that?

I am scared of poverty, more so because I am scared of what kind of person it is driving me to be.

I'm not particularly well-off and we do try to make ends meet. But there will always be something to spare for those who need it. After all, RF and I always say that we'll give what we can spare for someone who needs it more than us. But, that doesn't include beggars.

We've come to the agreement that though it may be heart-breaking, it's best to give them food or clothing even. Rather than money, you wouldn't be sure would really be going to see to their own comforts.

Sometimes, I am ashamed to say that I try to ignore them. I am angry at how they make me feel. At how they make me slide my eyes away from where they stand, refusing to meet their eyes. I'm even angrier at the well-dressed people with clean, well-dressed children in tow, who pose as lost travellers who found themselves short of fare to go home. The people who use these children's plight try to take advantage of the guilt and conscience of other honest, tenderhearted, unaware people. Then you see them the next day somewhere else, saying the same lines. How can we be angels of mercy and charity when what we are up against is a great poverty of the soul? I am ashamed of my anger and angry at the shame.

I know the answer would usually be as long as you give out of the goodness of your heart, it doesn't matter where your money is taken or if it is used for the intent it was given. But how can you not care? Knowing your money will not be feeding the sad urchin you gave money to, but lining some fat syndicate's pocket DOES bother me no end.

I am scared of poverty and how it has become a monster to be reckoned with. It seems to me to be a huge, smelly, lazy giant with many dirty, hollow-eyed grim children at its beck and call. And how capable it is of turning me, us, you, into monsters as well.

I don't know what can be done to stop it and stop it good, never to rear its ugly head again. I don't know how we can reach out to each child in the arms of a pretender to give them back to their heart-broken parents. I don't know how to reach those who truly need help and rescue and separate them from the scammers and the thieves.

All I know is, I want this never to touch my child.


What really is poverty? Where does it come from? Where will it end?

Is it poverty that drives us to deplete our stores of humanity and decency? Or is it a lack of goodness in many souls that enables poverty to manifest on our material plane in such soulless proportions?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Parents! I got forwarded this email. :)

For moms out there who breastfeed and would like to breastfeed their child without having to leave work. Do pass on to those who can benefit from it especially now that (melamine tainted!) formula milk is replacing the best milk for babies..


    Being (and Keeping!) a Productive Employee Who Raise Healthy Children

    Breastfeeding is a rewarding and nurturing experience for both working mother and child. Learn how you can continue breastfeeding even after you go back to work.

    Get helpful tips on how to sustain your supply of breast milk before you are tempted to buy a can of formula milk out of desperation.

    Find out how employers can support productive employees who desire to raise healthy children through breastfeeding.

    Get it straight from VELVET ESCARIO ROXAS, Deputy Executive Director of Arugaan – an NGO that is a staunch advocate of breastfeeding and earth-friendly and indigenous diet for children.

    OCTOBER 18, 2008
    9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
    The Kolisko School for Steiner Education
    10 Alabama Street , Brgy. Kristong Hari, New Manila , Quezon City

    Php 250 donation entitles you to a seat.

    Fifteen (15) slots only!

    Please reserve a seat before October 18.

    Contact 0906-3034065, savechildhoodnow@gmail.com

    Wife of Jonathan Adam Roxas, head of TATAY - a father support group especially for breastfeeding

    Mother of Jehielle, 6 years old, Bahay-Bahayan at The Kolisko School, breastfed for 3 years and 2 months.

    Mother of Voegelle, 15 months old, currently breastfeeding. Her waterbirth is a Philippine Medical pioneer - the first ever recorded hospital-based waterbirth in the Philippines !

    High School Mathematics Teacher
    Philippine School for Innovative Studies
    Malingap corner Malumanay St. ,
    Teachers Vill. West, Diliman, Quezon City

    Deputy Executive Director, Arugaan
    April 2003-Present
    #2 Starlight cor. Vista St., SSS Village, Marikina City
    Email: arugaan@mozcom. com Tel: +632-4905452

    • Counsels mothers on good infant and young child feeding practices
    • Teaches proper breastfeeding techniques to other mothers and other health practitioners including doctors, nurses, midwives, etc.
    • Co-authored the book “Let’s Eat, Learn and Play”
    • Creates crèche/daycare for babies and toddlers
    (home-based, community-based and in workplaces)
    • Instrumental in organizing the “First International Workshop on Indigenous Foods for Complementary Feeding” of 13 countries in Southeast Asia held in Bangkok, Thailand
    • Organized 1,000 women and youth leaders as breastfeeding counselors and defenders held in Quezon City Hall
    • Team leader and team member in coordinating and organizing different events (trainings, seminars and workshops) supported by different organizations including WHO (World Health Organization) , UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund), DOH (Dept. of Health), WABA (World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action), IBFAN (International Baby Food Action Network), Plan International Inc., etc.
    • Trains, presents and lectures for different national and international trainings, seminars and workshops


    Lecturer/Trainor/ Presentor:

    • Asia Pacific Conference on Breastfeeding
    November 30 - Dececember 3, 2003
    New Delhi, India

    • First International Workshop on Indigenous Foods for Complementary Feeding
    June 2004
    Bangkok, Thailand

    • Every Mother is a Working Mother
    August 14, 2004
    St. Luke’s Hospital, Quezon City

    • Lifeskills Training for Brgy. Health Workers and Day Care Workers
    January 30 – February 1, 2006
    Llorente, Eastern Samar
    September 2005
    Lilo-an, Leyte

    • Women in Media’s “Bulong Pulungan”: Pushing Up Breastfeeding as a Culture for Moms
    August 2007
    Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Pasay City

    • The First Father Support Summit
    October 2007
    UP Diliman, Quezon City

    • Breastfeeding at the Heart of Waterbirthing
    November 2007
    AMA School of Medicine, Antipolo

    • Waterbirthing for City Health Workers
    Feb. 2008
    Maasin City, Southern Leyte


    By Greg Kitma
    President, Philippine Biodynamic Agricultural Research Foundation

    OCTOBER 26, 2008 (Sunday)
    7 a.m.-2 p.m.
    Malvar, Batangas

    Php 750/adult, Php 350/child

    Contact BABA ALBERTO 0921-2234844

    SOURCES of STRENGTH: Exercises that Nurture the Soul

    Speech and the Developing Child

    Creating a Stuffed Animal
    Crocheting for Kids and Adults
    Raise Nature-loving Kids in the Time of TV and Gadgets
    Effects of Electronic Media on Young Children

    Homemade Juice from Indigenous Fruits
    Budget-friendly Ways of Raising Healthy Families in the time of Junk Food
    Education That Promotes Social Transformation
    Teaching Math through Art, Movement and Music

    HAMOG/MORNING DEW: Harnessing the Power of Nature to Improve Health Sing a Song to Promote Social Health
    The Big C: Social and Spiritual Dynamics of Cancer
    Unclutter Your Home, Mind and Heart
    How to Start Saving for a Baby
    Household Rules for Working Parents
    Multiple Intelligences: Unfolding Your Child’s Specific Intelligence at the Right Time

    CONTACT: savechildhoodnow@gmail.com for more information.



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Friday, October 10, 2008


At last, we arrive at the sling we (or rather I, since RF says he'd still rather carry Oona, aching arms and all) eventually chose.

There were not a lot of this type of sling in the net when I was first looking for one. Sure there was a growing number of it abroad but the merchandise hadn't reached local department stores yet. At the Newlyweds@Work message boards (offshoot of Yahoo groups Weddings@Work), I chanced on asking about baby slings and learned that members Jen and Ella had developed a product that was both functional AND stylish as well!

At first, stores around the metro had trouble keeping up with stocks as soon as these slings hit the local shelves. As they were just starting, supplies would run short and the more popular designs would get sold out. They were really so in demand and still are! I have had growing R'Jellybean sightings ever since last year when I grew aware of their existence. As a N@Wie, I was able to get in touch with Jen and was delighted to see new designs they were developing. She kindly offered me a sling from her own stock, but before I could take her up on it, we were able to snag one at SM Makati. It wasn't any of the posh designs and colors I wanted (saaad) but it was better than brown, the only other one left. Not that the brown wasn't nice, it was just that I'm not a brown person. Oona can wear brown, she's got that type of coloring and skin that makes brown rich. But on me, brown is too dark. So I got the stripey one in light orange, pink, white and dark, muted green. What I liked about it, more than the colors, was the textile used. It looked durable, felt durable and I knew this to be the type of fabric that was breathable as well.

Of course, it's one of those purchases that I was afraid would prove an unnecessary expense. Times are hard nowadays and I am guilty of being a closet shopaholic. However, it has managed to impress even my own husband who's often leery of my purchases (for purely practical reasons). I am proud to say that it's one of the BEST investments we've - - - er, I've made.

Next 9's R'Jellybean Ring Slings! It's proudly Filipina-made! WOOT!

Durable, stylish and very versatile. Quite close to the malongs and indigineous fabrics of my heart and culture! The designers even included an instructional video with every purchase to help you get the knack of wearing it and using different carrying styles.

With Oona getting to be more mobile, I thought she wouldn't be up to being hoisted around anymore. But, I was wrong! Oona still loves it at 14 months. She's already walking around and very very bibo. But I find that she still loves being cuddled and close to me when we're out. She's very quiet and relaxed, watching the world pass us both in the nested security of the sling and in my arms. She falls asleep faster, longer and better, even if it's a noisy environment when I'm out on an errand with her.

Everywhere I go, people stop and stare. Some are curious about the sling and ask if it's really safe. Yes, it is! The cloth is very durable, the stitches are very strong and the rings don't slip or snap.

Some ask if it's complicated to put on or if it's expensive. I always point them in the direction of the nearest department store in the vicinity and explain that it's very user-friendly and cost-efficient. I point out that RF and I barely use a stroller nowadays and can even go without it (on hindsight) as babies are better raised being close-carried by their parents in the spirit of attachment parenting. I can use the sling from infancy to toddlerhood since it's adjustable and breathable for the tropics.

Most importantly, I can use both hands when I'm slinging Oona, therefore making it easier for me to include her in more activities wherein I would normally have to put her down. The sense of belonging and involvement is priceless, as well as developing the child's natural awareness of her environment.

It also doesn't aggravate my sciatica. Prolonged lifting of course, still gives me a heckuva back ache but I can sling Oona for extended periods of time and not be debilitated for the next week as I used to be with the strappy carriers. I guess it's because when you use this type of sling, even with the wrap around Mei Tais, your center of gravity and balance doesn't have to shift that dramatically. You carry the weight closer to your body rather than away (which puts unnecessary strain and tension on your whole frame to compensate for the shifted center of gravity). To keep yourself from falling over with the weight of the baby (in a frontal carry) and the carrier's placement on your body as dictated by the straps (that really doesn't conform to your body's contours and needs) you put undue pressure on your spine and general back area. You can't even adjust the carrier to a more comfortable position.

Let's not forget that the strappy frontal kinds are hell on milk-engorged breasts, not to mention that it's harder to respond to the baby with all the snaps and straps restricting access. With the sling, it was easier to breastfeed Oona. I just sit, snuggle her closer and lift my shirt. So eazsyyyy! We even had the bonus of the loose fabric to double as a modesty cover of sorts when in a public place. I also use the loose fabric to shield Oona from sudden onslaughts of the wild weather we seem to be having, all the while running for cover.

I can't rave enough about ring-slinging and R'Jellybean. Even RF and my MIL agree that apart from being unique and back-to-the-roots, it's really very practical. Old school does it best...with modern improvements of course! I even got RF to use it every now and then, although he still prefers to carry Oona around minus the aid.

It's different for everyone, I guess. For me, this is true love. I'm already looking forward to using this again with our next little one. Or more likely, I'll be buying another one to use because Oona might still be "baby" enough to want to be carried with her stripey ring sling, that RF and I would have to wear one baby apiece! :D

Up next: Interview with Next9's Dynamic Ring Sling Duo: Jen Tan and Ella Ampongan!

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