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Life in CA Mommy Discoveries My Mommyology Recommends My Mommyology Tribute

MyMommyology Loves: Peace and Me by Lantana Publishing

Peace and Me by Ali Winter, is one of the newer books released by Lantana Publishing.  If you go to their website, the first statement says, “Lantana Publishing is a young, independent publishing house producing inclusive picture books for children.”

I love them already.

I love the theme of this book.

The book has several stories of how peace was displayed in different parts of the world, by different people across time.  It actually starts of with Mr. Nobel’s story himself and how the Nobel Peace Prize came to be.

Even as I read it with my kids, I learn new things too.

My good friend and one of my favorite authors, Gutsy, the Director of Communications and Projects, works at Lantana, and told us about this book even before it was released.

She and I grew up on books.  She knows my kids (she’s one of Jamie’s godmothers!) love books too.  In fact that’s one thing I enjoy learning from Gutsy — finding new books to read.  I’m so excited that she’s now part of a group that publishes books she’d like to read too.

She sent me a message one day and said they were releasing the book on the International Day of Peace, Sept 21, and creating their very first book trailer for it.  (side note: How ironic is it that in the Philippines, Sept 21 is most remembered for the declaration Martial Law. )  

 

They needed a voice talent for the trailer she said, and would Sam like to do it?

We were very honored of course — to be part of this project and have Sam voice their very first book trailer.  I was even happier that I’ve learned to embed videos into my posts. 🙂

The girls and I read a little bit of 32-page book each night.  One or two stories at a time, and then we talk about it and process it together.  We put a little bit more context behind it.  Reading about peace, sometimes means reading about war, and my girls ask why people fight.  It is quite the eye opener too.

And while it is a picture book, the content is truly for older children too.  The girls love the illustrations by Mickaël El Fathi.  We look for the little girl common in every page.

And at the end of the trailer, they ask, “Peace can mean many things to many people.  What does peace mean to you?”

A very timely question indeed. It is a good question to always keep in our minds for all time.

Thank you, Tita Gutsy for including us in this project and giving Sam one minute of fame!

Peace and Me is readily available on Amazon, along some of the other books published by Lantana.

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Life in CA Mommy Anecdotes On Becoming a Better Mom

Firsts at #Seawheeze2018

It’s been over three weeks since the #Seawheeze2018 half marathon in Vancouver, and I feel like I’m still on recovery / catch-up mode.

I always say it was the hardest half I’ve done, and maybe that’s what makes it so memorable.  And there were a lot of “firsts” that I can associate to it as well.

It was the first time I traveled outside of California to run.  In fact I said I’d never spend money to do that!  My husband already thinks paying to run in local races isn’t a good use of money when I can run for free.  But I told myself, it’s a lottery system, what did I have to lose?

As it turned out, I got in on second round, which fell on my birthday!  Do you believe in signs? 😉

When I got in, he surprised ME by saying — go ahead and do it.  That was a big first in itself! I guess the old adage, never say never, still rings true all around.

My best friend lives in Vancouver and was gracious enough to host me for the weekend.  So I prepped, packed and flew over.

I’ve heard all good things about Seawheeze.  It’s a beautiful course in a beautiful city, and there is nothing like it.

Pretty #raincouver

And of course, Lululemon.  They had a jam-packed weekend with yoga, shopping and a party, but I’d been so busy leading up to the weekend I really didn’t have time to think any of it through.

Actually, leading up to the race felt like a race in itself.  I didn’t have time to properly prep for it, and so going in I felt ill-prepared.  I was going to  Orange Theory but outside of that my runs were sporadic and short. I started to feel aches and pains and I was constantly sore.  My best friend took me to her boxing circuit the day before, which was a good way to warm up our bodies in the cold.

Where I met Bob.

The weather forecasts showed signs of rain and this wasn’t something I could wrap my brain around.  I’d never run in the rain.  That’s something my mom told me NOT to do!  I hoped the chances of rain would decrease but as my friend says, “honey, they don’t call us #raincouver for nothing.” 

But at some point, I had to come to terms with it.

Rarely do I do selfies, but the trash bag look is in these days…

That’s also the reason for the cling wrap around my ankles and socks.

The race began without rain, hurray!  But the trash bag flapping was pretty distracting.  So I chucked it and just as I rounded the corner for mile 2, well whaddya know: DOWN. CAME. THE RAIN.

In a couple of minutes I was soaked and everything was squishing in my shoes.  I tried to avoid puddles, but people were running past me and splashing thru without a care in the world.  There wasn’t much else to do but keep going if I wanted to finish.  And boy, was it hard to keep going!

Yes indeed. Thanks for the photo, Dewi!

This wasn’t my first half, but it was definitely the hardest one.  It was truly “mind-over-matter”.  My toes were gripping in my shoes so hard that parts of my body I never knew could cramp started cramping!  It had to keep reminding myself: Beautiful course, beautiful city, and force myself to look up and enjoy the sights.  I didn’t get a picture of it because my phone was encased in ziploc, and even that was wet.

All things considered, I finished with an acceptable time (to me).  For all the glamour that a brand like Lululemon holds, I felt the farthest from it, a tired, cold wet rat to be honest!

The view WAS beautiful though, and on a good non-rainy day, it would’ve been an ideal race.

Debbie and I post-race, limping up to catch a better view.

Props to the swag too:  it’s the best I’ve seen in the little experience I’ve had with races.

The Sage bath salts, oh my word! Love them.

And thankfully, I had friends to share this experience with!

Part of my running village!

Even off the course, and my entire weekend stay was absolutely delightful.

The best support group I could ask for! Love them all.

My own little after party was full of eating, laughing and shopping! And just such good conversation all around.  Gotta love decades of friendship.  It was a first to have my own cheering squad at the end of the race, bananas, and dry clothes to say the least!

The big question is, would I do it again?

And the honest answer is:  I don’t know just yet.  If it weren’t for the rain, I’d most definitely say yes.  But I think I need a little bit more time to think about it. 😉

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Life in CA

Summer Outdoors

I’d like to think that my seemingly more active lifestyle has inspired the rest of the family to be active as well.

We purposely took away a few of our regular activities to make time to just be outdoors.  My girls love being outdoors anyway, more than I’d care to admit.  Thankfully, I dodged a camping trip this summer.  Whew!  I probably was the only one happy about that though.  But I want to say, we more than made up for it!

We did spend a lot of time at the pool this past summer.

with Maga in the pool!

We had play dates and friends, and all sorts of good fun over the 4th of July weekend.

As my mom says, more summer fun!

On another night, we were able to get them out and bike.

Chasing them down the path.

One of my prouder moments last summer was teaching Sam how to ride her bike.  Jamie has the balance bike and soon hopefully she will join her sister pedaling away.  It’s nice to see she’s not as timid about taking risks.

For our 13th year anniversary, the girls requested to go to the beach.  My children are like me – we love the sand and the sea.

Strong waves, cold water.

Although I’m not particularly too fond of this sea because it is COLD!

We spent a good portion of the day in the cold water and on the sand.  The girls were happy to build their little creations and turn into mermaids.

Then went to visit some of the tide pools.  I have to admit it was fun, although I was mostly worried about the slipping and hitting of the head.  Thankfully there was none of that, but now I have a mental note to buy water shoes for next time.

She’d escape to the sea if she could.

And I didn’t have to worry about cleaning off, we had our trusty portable shower!

We don’t leave home without it.

We did more than one beach clean-up over the summer too (Yes, a True Girl Scout makes the world a better place!).

Separating the plastic and fishing lines from the seaweed.

We pretty much marked all the major holidays this summer and special occasions with some outdoor fun.

Over the Labor Day weekend we went up to Big Bear and did a quick hike around the neighborhood.

Climbing uphill.

Then there was some kayaking fun in the lake filled with moss.  Ewww.  I can’t say the girls didn’t enjoy it though.

At least Dad got some exercise.

As we move into fall, we look back and it still felt like a jam-packed summer.  I think I’m still recovering from it all.  But I can’t deny it was a lot of fun!

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Life in CA Mommy Discoveries

MyMommyology #FieldtripFriday: California Science Center

I love that my girls love Science.  I find that I appreciate it a little bit more too now that I’m an adult, and I enjoy our little exploration trips together.

The California Science Center is always a favorite to go to.  One, because it has the Endeavor housed in it.

Our very first visit here. We’ve gone back multiple times since.

Sam has always been fascinated with the study of space and planets.  For a time being she said she would grow up to be an astronaut.

Meeting Astronaut Col. Mike Mullane, getting their Space book signed and asking a million and one questions about being outer space.

I thought that was pretty cool, until I saw Gravity.  Since then I’ve made it my mission to bring space to her instead (… and maybe slightly change her interests.)  😉

There are a lot of facts about the Endeavor and its missions and its history in that museum, and each time we go, we visit and try to learn something new.

A look inside the Endeavor today.

Beyond that however, there are other parts of the Science center that the girls love — especially all the biological exhibits.  There’s even a rot room (ewwwww), which talks about the decomposition of materials.

Why we have to go back here EVERY time we come is beyond me.

We like to watch the IMAX shows as well.  We’ve seen the one on National Parks, and another one on the Pandas!

They’re as tall as the beaver!

The California Science Center also has roving exhibits.  Up until next month, King Tut is on display.  I remember we took a survey about what it is we’d like to see, and I think my girls did put Egyptian history.  So it’s a nice little perk for them to know that they’re “heard” somehow.

A replica of King Tut’s tomb

There are stations outside the exhibit displayed too, for the kids to learn about ancient Egypt.

Learning hieroglyphics.

King Tut however is a little dark, both in ambiance and in content (it does talk about buring live guards with the king), but somehow the girls had missed all of that in favor of other Egyptian artifacts and pieces.

Listening to the docent explain the actual jewels and gems on display.

The California Science Center is one of many museums located in Exposition Park.  When you exit the back, there is a Rose garden in the middle of that and other museums, like the Museum of National History (we will save this for another #fieldtripfriday)!  We haven’t gone to much more outside of this, as each time we visit, the girls always choose to go back!

***

The gift shop at the California Science Center has some cool STEM-related toys.  Be prepared to spend!  Any purchase of tickets beforehand too will facilitate your entrance to the museum.  Sometimes the ticket lines outside can get long.

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ExperiMOMent Life in CA Mommy Discoveries Mommy Lessons (on Parenting) My Mommyology Recommends On Becoming a Better Mom

Education via Broadway Musicals

Maybe I’ll blame this one on the Greatest Showman.

Sam spent some time with friends who are Greatest Showman fans.  Soon after she was googling lyrics, learning the songs, and playing them on our Spotify playlist.  We (her parents) tired of listening to the same old songs on repeat for the nth time.  And to cope with the constant This is Me car rides, I had a moment of introspection and realized that when I was her age, this is what I would do too — with Broadway Musicals.

I had a phase in my life when it was all Broadway.  My Grandfather was the one who introduced me to it, when, at the age of 10, he took me to see Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, The Phantom of the Opera, and The Secret Garden, all in one summer.  I took a liking to the Broadway musicals after that, and learned the songs from Cats, Evita, and Fiddler on the Roof on my own. Like me now, back then my house had Broadway on repeat.  Can anyone say #karma?

I continued to see some local and foreign plays as I grew up, and even though my husband repeats the story of how he traded Phantom of the Opera for a WWF show when he was younger (go figure right?), I’m glad he appreciates the value of this kind of “art”.  Here’s a little secret:  One of our first dates was to a ballet!  *gasp!*

We agreed on the benefits these types of musicals, concerts and more (operas, musical conciertos included), would have on the girls’ upbringing and said that we would consciously include it in our “family to do list” as it came up.

There were little introductions here and there.  I once took Sam to her first show in Manila, Wicked.

I’d love to watch this again!

Like The Greatest Showman, Defying Gravity and For Good were on our playlist for quite some time back then.  And I love to see her perk up when she hears it again and says, “why do I know this song mom?”

Thanks to all their Girl Scout selling efforts, Sam was able to watch Cinderella on stage too.

With her friend at the photo booth op.

Both Sam and Jamie were able to watch Matilda just recently as a prize for selling Nuts and Chocolates.  That was pretty cool, and one of my favorites still to date.

So far the best we’ve seen in a long time.

Segerstrom is within reasonable driving distance from us, and when I checked their calendar, School of Rock the Musical was scheduled.  A friend of mine took her son to see it and in true word-of-mouth fashion, I went ahead and bought tickets because of their review.

I remember the movie and Jack Black being pretty funny, but I could not imagine how they would translate it into a live show on stage.  Then I came across this clip of Andrew Lloyd Webber , and was pretty sold on the idea after that.  I’m not a rock fan, but I know enough of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s past musicals to know, at the very least, the music would be good.

And it was!  The lyrics to the songs were brilliant (no surprise).  And the feel of the entire musical was completely different and interesting.  I am not a rock n’ roll person, and thanks to this musical I was able to appreciate the genre a little bit better.  I think my kids did too.

The kids on the different instruments in the band were awesome.  AWESOME.  However old these children are, they are talented, and I am completely in awe.  I feel like my girls appreciate this better because they both now play instruments.  Sam even laughed at the line “cello feet” because she could relate to it given her more recent encounter with the Cello.

trying out their rock hand signals. Ohhh boy.

The girls had questions about some references and things they picked up in the show, which made our car ride conversation home all the more interesting.  But they appreciated the show over all and I love that they are expanding their palette outside of the usual choices of movies and activities to do.

All in all, the message of the musical was good (just ignore the swear words, but hey, it’s all part of the vibe).  It was great in fact for today’s times, and very relatable from a parent’s perspective.  They kept the jokes relevant and current too, which elicited some cheers from the audience.

As you would imagine, Stick it to the Man and If Only You Would Listen have been added to our car ride playlist, and I can’t complain.