My Mommyology

Learning from Motherhood.

January 12, 2017
by mymommyology
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A Religious Ed Volunteer

We go to a public elementary school, which means  religious education is a family choice, and it is done outside of school.  Our church offers it, but apart from the staff at the church, the classes are conducted by parent volunteers.

My kids love it when I volunteer in their classrooms, and I do it as often as I can.  It doesn’t involve much — I show up and do as I’m told, and then I’m done for the week and I do it again the next week.  The one thing I never thought I’d do would be a Religious Ed volunteer.  No particular reason — I just, never thought about it.  Plus this year, with both Jamie and Sam in class at the same time slot, I was going to have an hour in the middle of the week all to myself.  It sounded so — divine!

Maybe “divine intervention” had other plans for me because we attended mass one Sunday when they called for more parishioners to volunteer due to the volume of students that were coming in.  Sam heard and asked me if I would do it for her class.

Earlier in the year she had just taken her first communion, and I was told that a lot of parents stop sending their kids after that.  They come back when it’s time to get the sacrament of Confirmation.  I felt very strongly about a continuing religious education for my kids, no matter how sparse it felt as compared to mine in a Catholic school, and so I took the plunge and gave my name as a volunteer.

I was nervous and apprehensive at first — because I have no background in education whatsoever.  But according to Carrotte, the Religious Ed representative of our church, the only requirement they had was for the desire to share our faith with the children in the class.

And so week after week, I show up to a group of 10 third graders, all at different places in their faith formation, and all of different personalities.  It is unnerving to think about what to expect from them, but at the same time I remember, they are looking at me too to learn and hopefully grow.  I don’t pretend to know everything, and an inner voice just always tells me — just be present.  It’ll work out. 

A teacher’s prayer — I never thought it would apply to me. But it does!

There is a book that we follow as a guide, but they are not strict about following it to the letter.  “It will depend on what the kids need, and sometimes that’s not in the book,” they said at the Cathecist’s briefing.  So we learn to go with the flow.

The guide-book.  My bible.

I’d have to admit that it is this part of my week that stresses me out the most.  The group I’ve gotten is very smart, and also very active.  It’s hard to contain them in their chairs every afternoon in the middle of the week right after a long day of school.  Most of them would rather be outdoors running around.  I am challenged each week to think of a creative way to teach the lesson.

Calling in Father to teach the children about the mass.

It’s more work than I bargained for, and it’s also not something I need on my already full plate.  And while it’s quite the roller coaster ride each time, surprisingly it’s also one of the more fulfilling moments of my week.  So far, after each class there is a sense of inner peace, with the hope and prayer that something good came out of this particular session with me.

I email the parents after every class as to what we have done and covered, and I have heard back from a few of them who appreciate the effort and tell me that their kids are having a lot of fun, and I do appreciate the feedback.

I am learning too.  I’ve learned a lot about these kids and their families and knowing their stories, I feel has made me a more compassionate person in such a short span of time.  I’ve learned a lot from them just by being around them.  And it’s because I’ve opened myself to this opportunity that I feel I’ve found — dare I say — a vocation, and a sense of purpose in the larger community.

January 9, 2017
by mymommyology
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Ski Lessons and Lessons from Skiing

My husband and I took a trip down memory lane one night when he found his old iPhone and watched old videos of the kids.  Sam was just around 2, maybe almost 3 then, and Jamie was a newborn.

It was fun to see the girls so young and wide-eyed at the world around them.  There was so much joy with every new adventure.  We had done so much when they were little!  Road trips, beach trips, museums, snow days — and all kinds of stuff.  I was teary-eyed and wished out loud that we do more of those again.  My husband and I had both gotten so busy that most of our travel plans last year had gotten shelved or pushed back.

Much to my bewilderment and surprise, it didn’t take him too long to act on it.  It all happened over lunch and coffee with friends, who were talking about their winter and ski vacations.  In a matter of hours, he had us driving up the mountain to Snow Valley Mountain Resort for our very first family ski trip.

Here we are!

It was such a whirlwind plan (if you can even call it that), and it was a shock to my system.  The careful planner in me needs time to process and work out little details and pack for contingencies.  But this — this was a blur.  My head began to spin because after the holiday bustle, I had imagined a relaxing weekend at home.  Instead, I found myself in a daze scrambling for (ill-fitting) snow pants for myself (I had 5 minutes before the store was going to close), and gloves and helmets for the girls.  They on the other hand were wide-eyed with excitement and squealing with delight.

Skiing was never in my vocabulary to begin with (I was raised in a tropical country, can you blame me?), and growing up I never took ski trips with my family.  My husband on the other hand, had good memories of ski vacations and he’s been wanting the kids to learn.  Plus, we were told it’s best to start them young (which is something I now believe).

Our friends had been inviting us to go with them too, but I’d always been hesitant to thrust my ever-so tentative Jamie in a high adventure, active sport that involved cold and falling.  One bad experience could ruin it for her, so I wanted to wait another year or so.

And yet, there we were — at a ski resort.

I can’t deny it was a beautiful day to be out.

We rented skis and boots and enrolled the kids in ski school, where they spent the whole day with trained instructors.  The fee included meals for them too.  After dropping them off, technically we only saw them again to pick them up at the end of the day.

Days later, sore and still in shock from the flurry of events (pun intended), I am trying to process it all — as I do with most of our new and exciting adventures.

I cannot say that I would spontaneously plan a trip like that in a matter of hours, and while I had many apprehensions, I’m glad I kept them to myself and have learned to just “roll with it.”  Coach Pia once said that kids don’t come with fears and anxieties.  Whether we mean to or not, we pass it on to them and they learn it from us, their parents.

I was very conscious about this and careful about not putting my anxiety out there for my kids to tap into.  Jamie is a very sensitive soul, and like me, stresses about unknown variables and events we can’t control.  Thankfully enough, without much fuss she suited up, walked into ski school, and was fine!  I had to hang around for a little while until she gave me a thumbs up, but I was pleasantly surprised to see she was enjoying herself — and doing well at that.

Jamie learning about “french fries” and “pizza”

By the end of the day, she learned to go through rainbow hoops and swish from side-to-side.  She could dodge snowballs while staying upright too.  She didn’t cry when she fell, and while she was exhausted, she said she definitely wanted to do it again.  I’m very proud of her.

Sam, my adventure-seeking peacock was no surprise.  I knew she’d love it, but I was still pleasantly surprised at how much she picked up in a day.  She was going down the bigger slope with the adults, jumping and twisting from side to side.  My husband took a video of her on her last run down the mountain.  I have to admit I thought she was pretty cool!

My fearless girl zipping down.

I’d definitely recommend ski school, especially for novices like ourselves.  It guarantees they’d have a good time while learning ever so quickly and staying safe.

I was impressed, but as her mother watching Sam go at a speed faster and further beyond my reach, my heart was in my throat the whole time.  My young adventurous scuba-diving, bungee jumping heart is not what it was.

But again I kept it to myself, and rolled with it… literally and figuratively.  I was glad for it too, because the kids had a wonderful first experience and are asking to do it again.

Ironically enough, I on the other hand had a painfully entertaining one.

Against my friends’ advice to get ski lessons myself, my husband took it upon himself to be my teacher.  That didn’t quite work out.  Remember:  tropical country + no previous ski /skating experience + anxiety over unknown variables + old age = (comedic) disaster.  It’s true, it’s harder to teach an old dog new tricks.

I think I fell more than I skied.  It’s why I’m so sore in places I never expected to be.  And that slope Sam went on five times?  I was only able to go up once.  I barely made it down.

I give props to my husband for being so patient and encouraging (even if he was laughing at my expense), and for attempting to be a good instructor. 😉  Ultimately I think he was just glad that after seventeen years, he was finally able to get me on skis.  

I am still smiling here… and standing. A rare occurrence.

And I must give myself props for trying too, in spite of all my preconceived notions and fears.  There was nothing else to do but laugh at myself and my misfortunes — another skill I’ve developed in my old(er) age.  Man, those ill-fitted snow pants definitely came in handy.

Over all it was not a completely horrible experience.  I may not have had the best time, but I did love that the rest of my family had an awesome one.  If there’s one thing I learned about parenthood, we do things well outside our comfort zone for the benefit of our kids.  And this entire experience was miles beyond my comfort zone!

I find myself thinking that if only for those reasons, I would keep trying until I could ski with them (no matter how slow I may be).  With the proper instruction, and better ski pants, maybe it won’t be so awkward and so hard the next time around.  Hopefully one day, I’d be able to say we learned a new sport as a family and it’s something we can enjoy together as they get older. 🙂

January 6, 2017
by mymommyology
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Happy New Year, Blog

Why hello there, blogging world. 🙂  I don’t know if you remember me.  It’s been four months after all.

So much has happened since then, and a lot of it is still going, just one thing after another.  Time escapes me.  Sometimes I think — yes let’s sit and write, but then — something else needs my “urgent” attention.  Or, I fall asleep (okay, that’s not time that’s old age). 

As my friend Michelle says, we haven’t been able to get off the train.  Everything is fun, educational, exhausting and time-consuming all at once.  We are making memories and learning as we go.  And so much changes so quickly.

I realized it takes a lot of energy to inflate all 5 life bubbles.  It is a whole other ball game keeping them all equally inflated.  Even that is a lesson in itself.But six days into the new year, I finally find myself with some spare time (well really… there is a pile of unattended laundry staring me in the face) to write, even just a little bit.  And I have to admit, it’s a nice feeling to come back to this again.Sam had an exercise in school last year that I thought would be great to repeat this year, even for myself.

This is our second year to do this exercise.

I focus on the “1” — As you may have read in previous posts, I am not big on new year’s resolutions.  But hey, we all change even just a little bit right?  So maybe a regular post or update is the one thing to start — or re-start.  For whatever other purpose it serves, coming back to this space is something that makes me feel a little bit more like me, and that’s a good place to start the year.  Let’s see how far we can take this, this time around. :)Happy New Year to us all.  Onwards, 2017!

August 31, 2016
by mymommyology
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Celebrate Change: The #2TMovingSale

2tmovingsale.001

After the release of the 2T Newsletter, we got a lot of questions about where Two Tots will be moving, and why.  We know it’s just been a year since we announced our new “home”, and yet, here we go again — packing up and moving out.  Actually, it’s moving up. 😉

Bea, Zharina and I had some discussion about this big change, and I can tell you as much:  there are a lot of good things in store for Two Tots in the coming months.  We are fortunate for this next opportunity, and we felt there was no better time than the present to make it happen.

We also thought:  what better way to celebrate than by having a showroom wide sale!

A lot of our furniture on-site are going for (at least) a 15% discount from their original price.

Everything holding the accessories is on sale too!

Most* of the furniture holding the accessories is on sale too!

And there are accessories like hampers, magnetic boards, pillows and the like that are close to (if not already) 40-50% discount.  They are great to give as gifts, especially with the Holiday season creeping up on us so fast.

Limited quanitites of matching sets are up for grabs!

Limited quantities of matching sets are up for grabs!

The sale begins today, September 1, and will go until September 3, from 10am – 3pm at,  Unit 510 #24 General Araneta St., San Antonio Village in Pasig.

We will be at the showroom to greet you and walk you through everything.  What you see is what you get.  Some items are one-of-a-kind so I’d encourage you all to drop by at your soonest convenience to get what you want.

All hampers are below P1000, quite the steal if I do say so myself!

All hampers are below P1000, quite the steal if I do say so myself!

Two Tots accepts cash or check, and a direct deposit to our BDO Account.

Happy Shopping!

August 14, 2016
by mymommyology
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Jamie’s Recommended Reading List

With school just around the corner, I’ve tried to up the girls’ reading time a little bit more each day.  As I mentioned in my BetterMePH post, reading is central to the girls’ schooling.

Sometimes wanting to read is the hardest part.  Reading proficiently and consistently comes next, and I have heard my girls’ teachers use the phrases to help them develop “grit” and “reading stamina”.

Sam is my reader.  It is harder to get her nose out of a book than it is to get her to start reading.  Our biggest challenge for her was finding books for older kids with not-so-mature content that she could still appreciate.  It is why she has a recommended reading list in the Kids Know It section of the site — her first blog post.

Jamie was the child who started out as not much of a fan of reading.  She learned to read as a baby (thank you, Your Baby Can Read), but I think it had more to do with her confidence level and her maturity towards bigger words.  I remember stories from her teachers when she was little about how surprised they were that she could read words, but would get self-conscious when people took notice.

Recently, I spent more time reading aloud with Jamie each night to build her confidence, grit and stamina.  In the last few months Jamie has gotten more confident and taken a greater interest in chapter books.  I noticed she picked apart her Two Tots doll house bookshelf and starting pointing to the books that were “too easy”.  Then she crossed over to Sam’s reading cabinet and started browsing for books there.

I took that as my cue to encourage her to read and find books that were to her speed and interest.  So over the last few months, Jamie has also built her own recommended reading list that she’d like to share with fellow five-year olds.

Diva and Flea, by Moe Willems.

Diva and Flea Book Cover by Mo Wllems

Diva and Flea Book Cover by Mo Wllems

Jamie has always been a fan of Mo Williams.  And as the Piggie and Elephant journeys were getting too easy and too comfortable, I was happily surprised to find a Mo Williams chapter book about a cat and a dog in Paris.  I immediately bought it ( you can’t go wrong with Amazon!), and because Jamie loves animals and saw that it was by Mo Willems, she gamely picked it up and read it on her own.

The Mercy Watson Series.  As I browsed online for best chapter books for children, I came across Kate DiCamillo’s Mercy Watson story.  It’s about the adventures of a pig who lives with a farmer and his wife.  Jamie saw the first book on this year’s Barnes & Noble Summer Reading program, and so she picked up a copy on her own for free.

Filling out her B&N summer form for a free book.

Filling out her B&N summer form for a free book.

The book was quite silly, but silly enough for Jamie to appreciate.  We looked, and are continuing to look for more from this series.

Zoe’s Rescue Zoo SeriesThis was one of Sam’s recommendations for Jamie from her shelf.  There is a little girl who can talk to animals (Princess Sofia much?)  and she and her family run a zoo that rescues animals.  Zoe helps each new baby animal adjust as needed.  Jamie has gotten through two of the books and is now on her third.

Easy chapter book read for animal-lovers.

Easy chapter book read for animal-lovers.

The Princess in Black Series.  As much as Jamie loves animals, she also loves her Princesses.  Last year Sam picked out the first of the Princess in Black series when she filled out her Barnes and Noble Summer reading form.   Jamie found it on the shelf, and was curious enough to open it up.  The Princess in Black’s text is big and each page is peppered with pictures, making the feel of a chapter book easy.  We recently discovered that there were more Princess in Black Books, and so of course when Jamie saw it and asked me to get her a copy, I gamely agreed.

There's a 4th book coming soon!

There’s a 4th book coming soon!

Anna and Elsa Series.  Ah yes.  The never-ending legacy of Frozen.  The tales of Anna and Elsa are little stories after the Frozen movie has happened, when Queen Elsa is comfortable with her powers, and the rest of their Arendele adventures begin.

There are 8 books in this series already.

There are 8 books in this series already.

Jamie received the first two of these books as a gift, and Sam got the three after them (it is now up to #8).  Jamie started to read it however this one has less pictures on the pages, so it feels a little bit more sophisticated than she’d like, but she is curious about it nonetheless.  We are going slow on this series and taking our time.

Books by Julia Donaldson.  Back in Manila, the girls and I watched The Gruffalo performance.  We bought the book during intermission, and that’s how we discovered Julia Donaldson.  Sam enjoyed a lot of her other books, and while they are illustrated like children’s books the words are smaller per page, and some are harder to read.  Jamie can get through them on her own now, but every once in a while she still enjoys snuggling with me to have me read through these silly books while she points out the new thing she sees.

I love watching the girls build their reading skills.  It helps that they choose what they read too, and that we talk about what they’ve read so far.  Jamie especially has come a long way in just a few months.  She now has the habit of settling herself down and opening a book to read at her leisure.  It’s a lovely sight to see. 🙂

Passing the baton: Teaching her pals to read.

Passing the baton: Teaching her pals to read.

Do you have any book favorites your kids would like to share?

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