Life in CA Mommy Anecdotes On Becoming a Better Mom

My First 10K

The day before Mother’s Day, I ran my first official 10K!  It was the longest I’ve run — ever — in my life. 😉

Nine months ago my fellow Girl Scout moms decided to run the Disney Tinkerbell race, and so without really putting much thought into it I signed up along with them.  The rules specified that you had to keep a 16-min pace per mile, or else they would pick you up.

After I signed up, I tried my luck and collapsed after 2 and something miles.  My pace?  19 mins per mile (Okay, 18’57”).  Eeek.

My only goal was not to get picked up by the car.  I knew I had to increase my chances of that by attempting to get in shape (read:  get back my pre-baby weight and body).  After all, it always helps to work towards something.

Now I will have you know that I’m not a runner  (can’t you tell by my run time?).  And never in my wildest dreams did I think I would get into distance running.  But the people around me were very encouraging, and the trails in this area are  pretty.  The air is clean and it wasn’t too hot.  So I thought, why not!  In Sam’s words, “I might as well try.”

I started off on the right foot (pun intended), by getting good shoes.  Some good friends pointed me to a shop called Road Runner.  They review your running style and foot needs, and then custom-shape a sole accordingly.  Of course, they also sell you a shoe to go with it.

The arches that support my messed-up feet.
The arches that support my messed-up feet.

As I waited for my turn, I eavesdropped on some of the triathletes present picking out their shoes.  Some of them threw advice my way, seeing as how I was a lost duck.  And that’s how I ended up with my very first pair of Asics.  I wouldn’t have picked that brand on my own.

Those triathletes knew what they were talking about, because I do like my shoes!  I immediately felt the difference.  I could go for longer periods of time and the usual aches and pains that made it hard to walk after, weren’t there.  Hurray!

Schedule-wise, I tried to get out whenever I could.  As a parent with multiple responsibilities, it was very hard to be consistent about exercise.  It’s not an excuse; it’s just how our lifestyle has been set up.  In between caring for two other human beings and their multitude of activities, the household chores and the little projects here and there, sometimes I’d just rather sleep (at this age — can you blame me?!).   When we were fixing up the house, it was hard because I’d have to free up my mornings waiting for suppliers to come.  I consoled myself with the fact that my frequent trips up and down our stairs were a workout enough.  Sometimes I’d think, “I could run…. or do the groceries….”  The guilty-mom in me would choose the latter.

In any case, I learned to be ok with my consistently inconsistent exercise schedule.  Thank goodness for the 10-month prep time.  I had time to try to build a regular exercise schedule.

At one point, I pushed a little too hard, I actually injured myself and couldn’t run for 4 weeks.  My aunt who runs all over Canada told me to take time and stretch.  Even she at 50 does not run everyday.  She tries to put some stretching in between her running days.  I had to remember that!

When I was ready to hit the trails again, my brother-in-law gave me the best tip I’ve had to date:  Interval running.  According to him, a one minute break in between consistent running times should help build stamina and endurance.  The minute is more than enough time for your heart to recover and re-circulate oxygen  (Incidentally, an app called Couch to 5k gives you a similar interval training).

I started with one minute runs and one minute walks, and as the weeks went by I was able to gradually increase the run time.  Thank you FitBit for tracking all of that as we went along.

The next thing was the music.  My triathlete friend Mench (she pens the blog Wandermench), advised that I kick the earbuds habit so I could focus on my running form.  I tried that for a while… and just couldn’t do it.  At the very least, thanks to Mench, I was now conscious of how my feet hit the ground and how I held myself up.  I used the Running stations of Spotify to help me keep a beat.

But if I’m being honest, I find running to be lonely.  And thankfully I have mom friends in my village who encourage me to keep going by running with me too!

Prior to the Tinkerbell race, we did a few 5K runs in the area.  It was also a gauge to see where we were in terms of time.

Color Run on the Left, and Running through the Hangar on the right.
Color Run on the Left, and Running through the Hangar on the right.

I was fairly happy with the times I posted, but they will still pretty close to the 16-minute per mile mark.  More than that, it was then when I realized I was a social runner.  I did much better running alongside other people.

So a month before the actual 10K, I proposed that a group of us would get together every Sunday morning at 630AM and run different trails in the area.  As my friend Cindy said, we held each other accountable.  The first few Sundays, most of us would show up because we knew someone else was waiting.

We kept that up until the Tinkerbell 10K, and even rode together to Disneyland that morning (Thanks my husband, our Uber Driver).

At 4AM under the tree, out of the rain. We were ready to go!
At 4AM under the tree, out of the rain. We were ready to go!

I was corralled in the same lot as Cindy, and she paced me the entire race.  Complete with a bathroom break, some water stops and picture-taking along the way, we finished with a 13’47” pace, way ahead of the car (and if I may say, a big improvement from the 19-min pace I started out with!).

Stopping to take a photos in Disney AND California Adventure!
Stopping to take a photos in Disney AND California Adventure!  It was my first race thru Disney.  Can ya blame me?

It wasn’t enough to win us any kind of distinction, but it was a personal achievement nonetheless.  And more importantly, we had fun!

We kept the Sunday morning run group in the weeks that followed, and added on some other moms as well.  We agree:  the schedule works for us because our households are still asleep, we get a good workout and some active me-time as well.

I’ve gotten so used to running on Sunday morning that even when my family took a trip out-of-town, I posted my hotel treadmill run to our group to let them know I didn’t slack off. 😉

View from the treadmill. And my Fitbit recording as proof!
View from the treadmill. And my Fitbit recording as proof!

Running a 5k used to take the living daylights out of me.  Now, I can survive a 10k almost every Sunday and still function properly.  My resting heart rate has decreased, which is a good sign!  I’ve started carving out time during the week too, to get at least one or two other days’ worth of exercise when I can.  It’s still not consistent yet, but I hope it will get there soon.

I am happy and forever grateful I have a group like them to motivate me to get up and be a little bit healthier at least once a week.  I do feel stronger, despite the bodily aches and pains that eventually come after a long run (that comes with old age I suppose).

Photo Credit: Jackie Wilkin. We ran 6.49 Miles that day. Does that count as my second 10k? ;)
Photo Credit: Jackie Wilkin. We ran 6.49 Miles that day. Does that count as my second 10k? 😉

I feel better over-all.  Because of these awesome women, on Sundays I choose my social running over sleep, and I’ve not regretted it since.  😉

Life in CA Mommy Anecdotes Mommy Lessons (on Parenting)

A Post-Mortem of My Mommy Weekend

In celebration of my special day, I will #throw-us-back to the Mommy weekend  I never got to share.  So here it is. 🙂

Needless to say, I had a blast.

Clockwise: 1) With the cutie little Seba! ; 2 & 3) Catching up with friends; and 4) Shoe-shopping!
Clockwise: 1) With the cutie little Seba! ; 2 & 3) Catching up with friends; and 4) Shoe-shopping!

Catching up with long time friends, shopping, drinking and just having fun sans children — it was long overdue.

I’ve had friends and relatives who have done this mommy away time before me.  And when I listen to them, there are three questions that always come up.  I got them too when I promised a post-mortem of the trip!

Were you guilty about leaving the kids  / being away from the kids for the first time?  How did you deal with it?

To be completely honest, the short answer is no. 🙂  Before you judge, I will tell you why!

First, it was all of 46 hours.  Essentially they’d be asleep for 23 hours of it, and for the rest of it, they would be tied to their dad and each other.  They had their weekend activities and there was plenty more to fill their time.

As I said before, I hadn’t been away in six years, and I knew that I needed this time for me as well.  I was really only trying to take better care of me.

Then there is of course Facetime, which closes the physical distance.  The girls would send me videos and call all throughout the day so I did get to see them in 6 or 8 hour intervals.

It was in fact, refreshing. It helped recharge me for the week ahead where I had both girls out of school all the time.  I think it was also the most peaceful sleep I had in a long time, with no feet in my face or body wedged into my back!

I’ll admit, at first it felt strange.  I’ve gotten so used to traveling with the kids and being pressed for time, I didn’t know what to do with myself now that I had it.  Thankfully I brought a book!

Disembarking was the easiest thing too.  In fact I found myself at the luggage carousel, already with my underfilled bag in hand, just waiting.  It took me a while to realize that I wasn’t going to haul a car seat off or pick up a stroller.  I even had a free hand for coffee!  Awesome.

Left: I had time to read! Right: All of what I brought.  And coffee!
Left: I had time to read!
Right: All of what I brought. And coffee!

Weren’t you worried, you know… about leaving them alone with their dad? 😉

We all know fathers care for their kids differently from mothers.  But we have to try at some point right?  And if I thought about it too much, then I wouldn’t fully enjoy my 46 hours.  I told myself not to be too  about it all (Thank you, Discover Your Core!).  As Elsa says, “Let it Go!

I did however, try to make things as easy for him as possible.

Easy as pie, right?

I left bags with labels and reminders on our board.  No matter how many times I discussed it with him, I knew that 95% would shoot straight through out the other ear.  I wrote it down for extra measure.

I called this the idiot board... hehehehe.
I called this the idiot board… hehehehe.

Plus, Sam and Jamie have excellent memory.  Sam is pretty much on top of their schedule so she was a walking, jumping, high pitched reminder of what needed to happen next.

And the girls most definitely had fun.  My husband would send me pictures of where they were so I knew what was happening real time.

Guess where they were all day Saturday?
Guess where they were all day Saturday?

Of course, I can’t say that it all worked to plan.  I’m pretty sure the board was even read.

When I asked Sam later on, she told me they didn’t get their vitamins all weekend (#choochoo much?).  As expected, their bedtimes weren’t followed (Yes, I know my husband.  And there was a  Manny Pacquiao fight he didn’t want to miss).  I also knew that the girls would get fast food in their system while I was away.

What caught me totally off guard though was that Jamie didn’t get a bath for two days!  And the reason I found this out was because before they went to Disneyland on Saturday, they sent me a videoAnd when I saw them on Facetime Sunday morning she was STILL wearing her clothes from the day before!  Hayayay!  Jamie’s daily bath is important because of her eczema, but according to my husband she fell asleep waiting while he finished the boxing match — not a surprise since it ended at 10 and she’s usually asleep by 830.  The next day, they just decided to wait for me since I was coming home that afternoon anyway.

They picked me up from the airport and the girls were immediately a jumble of emotions:  tired, happy, weepy, sleepy, hungry and relieved.  They clung to me after that and just wanted Mom for everything.

I didn’t mind:  I may not have been guilty about being away but I did miss them all very much.  Forty-six hours was enough time away for now.  And I was immediately able to give Jamie her much-needed bath!

Would you do it again?

The short answer, is definitely YES!  I can only see its benefits to all of us in the long run.  The bigger question is if the girls will be on board with it, heehee.

As my cousin Patty advised prior to my trip: “For as long as you get the kids back alive, then you know he did a good job.

If that’s the gauge, then my husband passed with flying colors (despite the missing bath time). 😉

ExperiMOMent Life in CA Mommy Anecdotes

A Weekend For Me

In the last six years, I can count the number of times I didn’t sleep with Sam at night.

The first time was when I gave birth to Jamie.  I stayed in the hospital overnight as mandated by the doctors.  I’d just given birth, what do we expect.

The second time was when I rushed Jamie to the hospital one weekend for aspirational pneumonia.  Someone had to watch Jamie through the night too.

The third time was when I was weaning Jamie from breastfeeding, and we collapsed in exhaustion in another room in the house.  I don’t know if that counts though, because at about 5am Sam found us and snuck into bed with us.

And as you can guess, in the last three and a half years, I’ve never slept away from Jamie.  There’s been no business trip, no weekend get-away, and no vacation without them.

Land, sea and air... they've always traveled with me.  EVERYWHERE.
Land, sea and air… they’ve always traveled with me. EVERYWHERE.

These facts surprise — and often shock — a lot of my fellow mothers.  By this time, most of them have had some weekend away from their kids, by themselves or with their husbands.    While they share their first experiences away, I often sit quietly with nothing to contribute.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the re-charging moments and the good night’s rest, and they know this —  so it makes them wonder why we haven’t done it yet.

My husband has never been “for” the idea.  He always says there will be time for us later when the kids are older.  Right now they need to be around me (all the time?) more than him (because he has taken trips away from them).  It’s having me around all the time that’s reassuring for him (them).  He worries a lot about how they’d be away from me (since it’s never happened!), and (I secretly think) how he’ll handle them without me there.  His hesitation has been the main deterrent to why we’ve gone as long as we have without a night away from the kids!

But really — it couldn’t have all been him because if I really wanted to, I’d have found a way by now, right?  I realize I probably don’t want it as much either.  Maybe it’s the loss of control over our routine.  I’m so used to doing it all my way, I’m not sure how I’d handle it if someone else did it differently (hence all my yaya issues of the past!).

However, it doesn’t stop me from broaching the topic when an opportunity presents itself, just to see where we stand.  I honestly feel he’s more-than-capable handling the girls without me.  If there’s anyone who can, it’s him!  And the girls are older and more independent too.  There’s always a lot for them to do in 48 hours (or less).  In fact one trip to Disneyland ought to do it.  And of course, connectivity makes it easier to stay in touch.  With the right pre-preparations and the accessibility of Jollibee and Chowking, I’m confident they’ll be fine.

We talk about it, but I expect status quo.  So you can imagine my surprise one morning when I woke up to find this in my inbox:

*gasp!* What a wonderful surprise!
*gasp!*  weeee!

One of my best friends invited us to the Christening of her baby in the East Coast for a weekend.  To have all of us travel that far is admittedly too costly, and impractical given the three-hour difference.  It’s too much for a weekend, and they’re not missing school! 

I talked about the possibility of traveling by myself and being away for one weekend (46 hours to be exact, inclusive of all travel time to and from the airports!).  These friends (and some other girlfriends who are going too) are like family to me, so it would mean a lot for me to be there.  I’ve been so busy with our own family’s milestones and events, I’ve missed out on theirs.  So it was (it is) important for me to go.

I can’t deny I’m both excited and nervous about this breakthrough milestone in our parenting.  It should be good for us all though.  And besides, spending two full days alone with the kids is something I do all the time!  My husband can finally have a taste of it.  How hard can it be, right? 😉 (Insert evil laugh here)

Thanks Dad!  It’s an awesome me-time gift (with shopping money to boot!  Ah-mazing!).  Between this and last week’s Date Night, you’re on a roll! 😉  Keep it up!  Heeheehee.

And by the way… good luck to you (insert more evil laughter)! 😉

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Much Needed “Me-Time”

Jamie. Has. Weaned.  She weaned!  I’m in happy, bittersweet disbelief.

After months of sleepless nights and intermittent dream feeds, and another few more weeks of constant screaming and wailing for “mommy’s milk!”, Jamie has finally (FINALLY!) weaned.  Can you feel my relief coming through your computer screen?!  She completely stopped 8 days before her 2nd birthday which was really my original target date.  I’ve known for a while that she associates the breastmilk with sleep, and because she looks for it 2 or 3 times a night, I don’t get much sleep at all.  In fact there was a part in Elizabeth Pantley’s book that was spot on to my situation.  Was she in the room writing while it was happening to me?!

Contrary to the title of her book though (The No Cry Sleep Solution), there was a lot of crying for about three days (Although she did say to expect it given the tight association breastfeeding had with sleep).  It was 3 nights of very little sleep for me (And she did say to expect that as well).  Little is equivalent to minutes of shut-eye at a time, all adding up to about 2 hours in a span of three days.  I really don’t remember what happened during those days and nights, when one ended and the other begin; I may have used toothpaste on my hair without realizing it.  Well somehow we’re all alive; I didn’t kill anyone.  So… it couldn’t have been that bad?

I will say for the record that I accomplished this incredible weaning feat all on my own (I’m not trying to be a martyr, it’s just the way things happened!). And to stop myself from really going crazy (since I still couldn’t sleep because, as you very well know – a mother never gets enough sleep!), I decided to pamper myself.  Thankfully, I had a lot of help in getting some much deserved “me-time”.

They say that here in Manila, with all the other people in your child-raising village, a mom can definitely get time away to recuperate.  Since I’ve been back though, those moments have still been few and far between.  I still can’t get a full day (or half day) for the said time, so I’ve settled with breaking them into time slots over the course of several days.  It’s not perfect, but I’ll take what I can get, when I can get it right? 🙂

the blỗ menu... and the curls I had for the afternoon. ;)
the blỗ menu… and the curls I had for the afternoon. 😉

A visit to blo bar.  blo bar opened their second branch in Serendra 6 weeks ago and the Mommy Mundo SoMoms got invited to give it a go (or should I say a blo?!).  Now I will say that I never really style my hair or go to a parlor to get it done unless there’s a big occasion; That weekend of no sleep and eventual triumph?  That was a special occasion.  My husband couldn’t understand it, and said I was quite out of character.  I didn’t bother explaining it to him, I just went.  So there I was, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, and quite excited because I was SURE shampoo was going on my head this time.

blo bar has a menu of styles to choose from, and that’s all they do:  Wash – Blo – Go!  No haircuts, no hair color.  They work with what you already have and make it spectacular.  That day I agreed to some soft curls and a bohemian braid, to make the look a little bit more playful.  It took a while for me to get used to it but the entire process was quite therapeutic.  It’s not everyday after all that I just sit in a chair and voilá, I am “pretty-fied”!  I got a few compliments too (as I mentioned, I was out-of-character) and was told to do it more often (I’m actually concocting up a few good reasons to go back already! 😉).  Even Jamie loved my hair, and after that day, she’d always touch it and ask me to leave it down.

The other cool bit about blo bar is the brand’s personality.  The copy (although it borders on controversial) is very witty.  And everything is thought-through such that the brand’s powerful, friendly yet knowledgeable personality clearly comes out; even down to their replies on Twitter.  It makes you feel like you’re engaging with a style expert — and that is always a good thing!

I got a *wink*.  On a different day, I accepted another invitation from Brand Consultant Liz Lanuzo to try out a treatment at Wink, the newest laser and wax studio in town.  Together with some of the other SoMoms Tin and Cai, I met Wink’s youthful owner Holly Chang.  She told us about her inspiration for opening and operating a studio with affordable laser treatments, and a year later here she is.  We got to try any hair removal treatment of our choice, and I’d have to say I had quite the pleasant experience.

The beautiful hallway.  Photo courtesy of Wink Studio
The beautiful hallway. Photo courtesy of Wink Studio

Everything about Wink is youthful and quirky, but it is still very (VERY!) hygienic and also professional.  I love the way the entire studio looks and smells.  Its main icon (and a big part of their interior design) is the asterisk (*) — which connotes the target of the laser.  I also asked Holly why she decided to call her studio Wink, and she said, “because you really don’t want to broadcast to the world that you’ve just gotten hair removed on that part of your body.  So it becomes your little secret and you can actually tell them with a wink.”  How true!

What I love about Wink, which I feel sets them apart, is that they focus a great deal on the after care.  Even before we started any treatment, I was given a handout by Lyn, my specialist for the afternoon.  She made sure I understood everything on the sheet, and repeated it to me again before I left.  She also sent me a text message two days later to check-in, and I truly appreciated that.  During our entire session Lyn constantly asked if I was comfortable, which is very reassuring because at least you know they’re conscious and concerned about your well-being and they can adjust accordingly.  I liked it too when Holly said they assign the same person to handle your treatments each time you visit (and you really would want to go back, I kid you not) because at least you build a bond with your therapist and she knows exactly what you need and how you need it done.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Wink’s treatments are the most affordable I’ve seen so far; and they offer long-term packages for both the wax and laser treatments.  That makes sense, since you need to come back several times for the laser treatment to last long-term.

So here I am, one hair style and one hair removal treatment later, feeling a little bit more refreshed.  I am once again ready to take on the next bought of sleepless nights (or so I think…).

Thank you Mommy Mundo, Blo, Liz, and Wink for helping to make me feel a little less like a zombie, and a little  more like a (well-kept) human being! 🙂


  • blo branches are at Powerplant (near parking entrance by True Value) and  at the 2/F of Serendra (near Global Art).  
  • Contact +63.917.6blodry (+63.917.6256379) to schedule your appointment.
  • Wink is located at Unit 315, C2 Building, 7th Avenue cor. 28th Street Bonifacio High Street Central. 
  • Contact +632.808.7258 +63917.303.WiNK or email for more information.


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My Mommyology’s Mother’s Day 2012

As it is Mother’s Day, I will tell you about the fairly decent Mother’s Day I’ve had thus far.

I thought I’d get to sleep in as I normally do on Mother’s Day, but I didn’t.  The girls were climbing over and on top of me for quite a bit when they got up.  My husband must have slept late with the NBA Lakers-Nuggets Game 7 show on our DV-R, so he didn’t get up until after we did, to take them out and get them breakfast.  But he did prepare my breakfast of toast bread and cheese.

My Mommyology Massage Envy
The flyer at the desk said, "A Relaxed Mom Looks Good." I agree!

After Mass we got a call saying that a slot opened up at the Massage Envy  where my husband had me wait-listed for this afternoon.  The original plan was to have a home service massage (how that would have been relaxing for me with the girls banging on the door, I don’t know…), however a few days ago my husband said that the business owner called him and said that she was closing shop, thereby cancelling all her appointments this weekend.

In the end it worked out well:  I helped him get lunch into the kids and they hung out at the Pet Store and at Target while I got some me-time.  I’d have to say my therapist Lisa was GREAT!  Then the Nail Salon across the street was open and could accommodate me for a much needed manicure-pedicure session, and without hesitation I jumped at the chance.  To cap off the afternoon, I got some frozen yogurt for the girls and myself at Moonberries.  Oh and yes, they got me flowers!  A yellow bouquet, as yellow is currently Sam’s favorite color.  Kids giving you flowers are the sweetest thing, wouldn’t you say?

The girls seem to be quite cooperative today too.  Sam was more behaved than usual at Church today and sat down for a good portion of the homily, and up until the writing of this post, has not had a meltdown of any sort.  Jamie — well… 🙂  Jamie saved her explosive poop for her dad while I was getting all my pampering treatments, and thereby saved me one dirty diaper to change.  Atta girl! 😉  Now the house is quiet as Sam is off playing with her dad and doing her Kumon with him, and Jamie is fast asleep for a late afternoon nap.

I am hoping for an evening of uninterrupted peaceful sleep to cap off such a restful day, but I may be pushing my luck (as would have been a facial treatment). 🙂  I’ve been thinking back to the last time that I’d had a truly restful night’s sleep, and it was before I became a mother.  I realize now that sleep and motherhood aren’t quite complimentary, and you just take what you can get when you can get it (like a 50-minute nap during a massage!).  So this is why moms enjoy pampering sessions so much! 😉

I used to think that Mother’s Day was a day when Mom would spend all day relaxing with her kids and family, but now I feel that there is some kind of irony in that sentence.  How can mom, whose natural tendency is to take care of the family, relax when everyone that she attends to is around?  In my case, while I undoubtedly love my girls to bits and pieces — when we’re together it becomes mostly about them than about me or anyone else.  And so, my husband has now concluded that Mother’s Day in our family is really a Daddy-Daughter day, because it’s Mom’s Day (Afternoon) Off.   If it means 120 minutes of pamper time to re-charge for the next few months of 24-7 constant care, then it’s well worth it, wouldn’t you say?

Happy Mother’s Day to all you Moms around the World!  I hope you get to spend your special day just the way you want to, no matter how simple it may be.  And if anything else, I hope that you get a decent night’s sleep! 🙂