My Word of the Year

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I have decided that this will be my word for 2017 — my overarching goal over several aspects of my life.

This year, I want to be more purposeful especially in the following:

MARRIAGE : Before the kids, there was just N & I.  Along the way, it is easy to let the partnership take a backseat among everything else that needs attention.  This year, I want to make sure that N & I spend time together –just the two of us.  I am not talking about grand vacations or fancy dinner dates (although I wouldn’t mind having those too 😜).  I just want to make sure that we will consciously pencil in couple time in our schedules and create opportunities to connect with each other regularly.

PARENTING:  I have a teen, a tween and a toddler.  Each of them needs me but in differing ways.  I want to make sure that I am able to spend time with them individually and hopefully, get to know each of them in a deeper way.  I want to be able to nurture each of them in ways that they most respond to and this means that I should be attuned to their learning styles and peculiarities.  Intentional parenting also means being aware of my actions and language around them as this is something that I know affects my children directly and indirectly.

HEALTH: Now, more than ever, I realize how important it is to take care of one’s health.  While growing older might be inevitable, I want to be able to do it gracefully.  Part of my being intentional is eating healthier — more veggies in the diet, less junk, less sweets.  I am not quite the sporty type who will wake up early in the morning to do a 3km run so I will not even write that down as my action plan 😄😄.  Instead, I will be more conscious in doing more walking and stretching and doing quick exercises.

There are a few more items that I wish to start working on this 2017 including this blog, more creative work and building stronger personal relationships with loved ones and friends.  I hope that having this word as anchor will help me achieve these goals for the year.

How about you? What is your word for 2017? 😊

Finding Balance

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Life is a constant balancing act.  With so many things required of us, we need to always manage our time and choose our priorities all the time.

My life is no different.  As a working mom, I am used to juggling office issues with homework and grocery lists.  My daily routine would include ensuring an updated menu for the house as well as keeping up with the emails I receive in my Blackberry (yup…still on BB! 😛).

I guess we’re always looking for the right proportions of work and home life, business and pleasure.  It’s about setting aside some kids’ time, getting some couple time and finding some “me” time. I know, I know — easier said than done!

In my case, N & I hardly ever get any quality couple time these days.  It was particularly difficult when we had no driver and (for a while) no yaya.  We had to arrange everyone’s schedule on a daily basis and shuttle from office to school to trainings in between that by the time the week is over, all we really want to do is rest at home…which of course, hardly ever happened because weekends seem more jampacked than weekdays! 😧 IF we were lucky to have extra time, we opted to stay in and sleep.

Admittedly, attending to the kids takes most of my free time. Football practice, tournaments, gymnastics training, competitions, play dates, doctor’s appointments…I could go on and on with the list!  Still, there are times when I feel that I am neglecting the two older ones in favor of the baby.  I guess it’s understandable on most cases, but those instances when S would come up to me and tell me she misses spending time with me, my heart would hurt and wish that I could have three sets to arms to hug them all at the same time!

“ME” time has taken a back seat for sooooo long, I don’t even remember when was the last time I really enjoyed some quiet, relaxing time with myself.  I know that everyone needs a breather once in a while, more probably so for working moms…but really, when does one find the time?!! Oh, the irony!

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So as I mull about this, I realized that time is really a scarce resource.  And if I am to find that balance, I have to be intentional and purposeful on how I spend my precious time.  If I simply “go with the flow”, it’s easy to get lost and drowned in the sea of endless tasks and activities.  Sharing with you also some realizations I had:

1.  Simplify.  Minimize. >> We all get our share of invitations, both for work and socials.  It can be difficult to turn down these invites but truly, it’s impossible to go to every single one of them.  The same is true for children’s parties and play dates and kiddie activities.  Choose those which really give joy and those where your presence would really matter.

2.  Breathe. >> When it gets overwhelming (and it inevitably does, remember to breathe.  Take a step back and re-assess the situation.  When I do this, I almost always find a better perspective and I am able to move forward.

3.  Choose relationships.  >> When it comes down to it, always choose to strengthen and nurture relationships that matter.  Date your spouse.  Date your kids— individually, not as a team.  Date your best friend. Date your mom.  Date yourself.  Make time with those that matter.

Finding balance is always a work in progress.  It is a choice that we make every day.  Make yours count.

Cheers!

*photos taken from web

My 2015 in Review

I know. I have been away too long, I know!  It has been crazy for the past weeks…errr…months for me.  But I am here now and I thought that there is no better way to get back on track than to look back at the year that was.

Our 2015 did not start quite as well as I hoped it would.  We were beset with illnesses and loss of dear ones.  We were in grief and sadness with Lolo Manny’s passing and still miss him a lot; but we have come to terms that he is already in a better place.

February was a happier month as we saw family and friends who visited from the States.  This month was filled with a lot of get-togethers and reunions.

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We got the biggest surprise of our lives as March rolled in and found out that I was infanticipating!  The initial shock that got to me was soon replaced by eagerness and excitement for our newest blessing 😊.

We also celebrated a milestone this month as F graduated from grade school, with an award for perfect attendance to boot!  It was indeed a proud mommy moment for me!

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We welcomed summer with F‘s first out of town football tournament.  La Salle decided to field a DLSZ-LSGH contingent to the NOFA Cup and F was one of those chosen to play.  It was our first time in Bacolod so aside from the football, we also made sure to try the delectable food that this province has to offer.

I took my core leave in May so I can spend more bonding time with the kids but our plans were interrupted by a spotting scare.  I had to go on bedrest which meant missing out on our Laiya beach getaway with my mom and siblings 😢.  This month, I also had to deal with domestic concerns with our household staff that added stress to my already challenging state.  But it’s true what they say that character will be tested during difficult times.  Despite the challenges we experienced on the homefront, I am truly grateful that my kids responded well and showed maturity beyond their age.  I feel very fortunate and blessed to have such caring and responsible children.

By June, F & S were raring to go back to school.  We had a new set of helpers and a few changes in our routine so we had to adapt to these changes in our household.  On my end, I am also happy to go back on work mode again.

July greeted us with sad new that our trusted helper (whom we’ve already considered as family) lost her battle with cancer.  It was very difficult to accept, especially for F & S, who have grown very close to Ate Jojie.  We were truly devastated with her passing but we had no choice but to accept it and just pray for her and the family she left behind.

August flew by without me noticing it as I got busy with work demands.  But as September rolled in, I was ordered to go on medical leave by my doctor because I was experiencing premature labor.  Thankfully, I work for a company which allows working from home.  This way, I was able to continue being in touch with my team without getting out of bed.

As I reached the homestretch of my pregnancy, we were already doing weekly visits to my OB-Gyne and regularly monitoring the progress of Baby#3!

October was our most anticipated month!  We celebrated S’s 10th birthday (has it really been a decade?!) with a simple party.  She invited her classmates and gymnastics friends to an afternoon of clay art fun.  It was a small party compared to the ones she had before but it was fun and enjoyable.

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Of course, the highlight of this month… nay, YEAR…was welcoming our newest bundle of joy!  From the moment I laid eyes on him, he has filled my heart with so much happiness!  We are exhausted and somehow, still trying to adjust to our new routines, but nothing compares to the joy that we feel 😊.

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With Baby J in tow, days and nights came and went with me taking very little notice.  I stayed home most of the time taking care of our little one.  Even before giving birth, I made a promise that I will try to do better in breastfeeding J than I did F & S.  It is, by far, the hardest thing I had to do as a mother! But challenging as it was, I am happy to report that J is still 100% breastfed…3 months and counting! Yay! 😊

We celebrated F‘s 12th birthday in November.  It was also J’s first month celebration (and marked the first time I stepped in the mall again after giving birth hehe).

December marked my 40th birthday.  Prior to getting pregnant, I had every intention to hold a party with family and friends.  It was a milestone birthday, after all, and it has been quite a while since I threw a party for myself.  But with a breastfeeding baby (and so many sleepless nights since then), I opted for a quiet dinner out with my family instead.  Maybe I’ll throw that birthday bash on my 41st instead…we’ll see 😜.

As expected, I missed most of the Christmas parties and shopping this year but I truly did not mind.  I was happy to spend Christmas (and New Year) and celebrate with those who matters most.

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2015 was indeed a roller coaster of emotions.  For all the happy and sad moments, I am grateful.

This 2016 promises to be a whole new adventure, especially with F, S and Baby J and I look forward to sharing these with you too!

Cheers! 🎉🎉

Birthday Reveries

Every year on my birthday, I try to step back and look at the year that was. I try to remember what I’ve accomplished (or did not), new places I’ve been to, things that I’ve learned or tried.  It’s much like new year —but only for me.

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This year is different as this is the first time I am actually documenting my musings.

This year, I turn 39.  Too old to be young…but too young to be old.

The highlights of my year in bullet points:

  • We went on our first trip to the U.S. this year with the family. We all had a great vacation there, the kids are saving for the next one already!
  • Sugar Lily has been steadily growing. It’s not yet at the pace we want but growth is growth ☺
  • I celebrated my first anniversary with my company and I couldn’t be happier.
  • I did my first ever fun run!
  • This year, I have started to regularly keep in touch with my friends — whether through monthly lunches or virtually, through Viber.
  • I started this blog!!!

Overall, I think it was a pretty steady year for me. It was a good one but there are some things that I wish I could’ve done better.  I wish I wrote more consistently for the blog.  I also hope that we can focus more on growing and promoting Sugar Lily.  I still hope that we can pursue the little artsy venture that my sister, Faye and I are cooking up.  And I sure hope I can regularly touchbase with my friends.  All these, I will endeavor to do this coming year.

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And while there is still a thousand and one things in my wishlist, to-do list and travel bucket list, I am also very grateful for the blessings that have come my way this year.  Most especially, I am thankful for my family — my hubby and kids who have been my source of love, joy and inspirarion; my mom who is my pillar of strength and my siblings who are my safe haven and comfort zone.

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This year, I turn 39.

POP the purple confetti…the best is yet to come!

Thank you, July!

July came and went without me noticing it.  There were just too many things happening all at the same time that before I knew it, August was knocking on my door already.  But I am not ready to bid July good-bye yet as I feel it gave me a lot to be thankful for.

1.  My mom underwent two medical procedures last July.  One was scheduled but the other one was…well…unplanned. For two weeks, my siblings and I were shuttling from the house to work to the hospital then home again.  Tiring and stressful as it may be, I am just grateful that both procedures turned out well and that Mom is on her road to full recovery.  I am particularly grateful for my siblings who took turns in staying with Mom in the hospital.  Thank God for family who are always there for love and support, no questions asked.

Happy Mommy makes us happy too!

Happy Mommy makes us happy too!

2.  My sisters and I have a small cupcake enterprise that we started over a year ago – Sugar Lily.  Kat is our chief baker.  Faye takes care of marketing and other creative stuff while I am in charge with the finances 🙂  We started as (and very much still is) a backyard operation with our family and friends as “customers”.  Slowly though, we’ve been getting some orders and inquiries from people unknown to us.  Some are friends of  friends; some are those who’ve tasted our cupcakes in a gathering they attended.  Last month, we received our biggest order to date – 250 pieces of cupcakes for wedding giveaways!  Woohoo!  We know how special weddings are and we were really happy to be a part of such an important occasion.

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Kat did most of the work, of course while Faye acted as her “assistant baker”.  Me? Well, I wasn’t really allowed to touch the ingredients, lest mess up measurements and ruin a batch!  I was assigned to less critical (but just as essential) part of the assembly line: making boxes, putting sticker seals and packing them for delivery.  I was happy to do my role and I did it with gusto!  Hooray for teamwork and assembly lines!

Boxed, sealed and ready for delivery

Boxed, sealed and ready for delivery

For more of Sugar Lily updates, follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SugarLilyCupcakes) or IG (@sugarlilycupcakes).

3.  F’s football training days include Fridays from 6-8pm.  Given this schedule, hubby and I have pretty much said good-bye to Friday night-outs or gimmicks.  So, when the club took a month-long break last July, we eagerly took the opportunity to have a date night! 🙂  It had been quite a while since N & I went out on a real date so we were really happy to be able to do that…even if only for a few weeks.  Now that training has resumed, I guess we would need to be creative and resourceful in making sure that we still get that quality couple time.

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As I write this entry, I realized that as we go on with our daily grind, it’s really easy to overlook the blessings that come along our way.  It’s good to take time to pull back once in a while and appreciate what we receive, no matter how trivial it may be.

How about you? What are you thankful for this month? Leave a comment and share with me your story and let’s celebrate that together.