Tooth fairy



I’m doing some work while “on vacation”. While preparing for a work trip, I hear Lily scream with excitement. “Mom!!! My tooth fell out. Yay!” This dangling front tooth has been causing me some anxiety. I didn’t want it to fall out while I was away. I just didn’t want to miss it. Like her first tooth – it fell out while I was in Bangkok. One of the rare times I traveled for work. And no one noticed. Not even she. Apparently she swallowed it.

So when she ran to me with the tooth and smiled proudly, the world had to stop. Tonight everything was about Lily’s tooth. We kept it in a little toy capsule. Tucked it under her pillow.  Then she wrote this —


Dear Tooth Fairy. I hope you find me because I'm in Canada for a vacation ("facacain"). And I lost my first tooth, my second tooth. First I swallowed the tooth, the next one I just lost it. From ?Lily #toothfairy #letter #lily
Dear Tooth Fairy. I hope you find me because I’m in Canada for a vacation (“facacain”). And I lost my first tooth, my second tooth. First I swallowed the tooth, the next one I just lost it. From ?Lily. To ?Tooth Fairy.


Another Lily milestone. #toothfairy
She wears her “bungi” like a badge. Oh Lily.



Vacation at home



Sorry for the lack of posts. We travelled. To my old home in Canada. I have yet to upload photos from my big camera. For now, if you’ve been following me on Instagram, you sort of know what I’ve been up to.

We booked our tickets with PAL specifically because of the new direct flights to Toronto. But unfortunately by March 15th they announced that it wasn’t so direct anymore – that they’d stop in Vancouver and let some passengers off. No big deal. It was just an extra hour of waiting in the Vancouver gate. We still had to clear customs and immigration in Toronto. The big hassle was in NAIA. PAL was ready and on time but we couldn’t take off because of the long line at the runway. Even the pilot sounded frustrated. That was a 90-minute delay.


Airport adventures.
After 10 years of experience as a mom, traveling with small kids isn’t so daunting anymore. The hardest was when they were 6yrs, 3yrs and 10 months old. No, the hardest was when Soph was 11 months and I traveled alone with her. Long haul. This time the kids were calm and focused on their personal video screens. I was the one who had a mishap – spilled two full glasses of white wine and water on myself. Good thing I always travel with extra leggings.


No more 34 degree heat. This is not Manila. #snow
The entire time of planning, the kids wished for snow. We landed on the first day of Spring. And this is what we got.


Everyone's sick of winter but our kids are still chasing snow.
While most Canadians have sworn off winter at this point, my tropical babies played in the backyard wearing borrowed winter jackets.


We took a stroll down by the lake in Oakville. I’d forgotten how biting cold my old life used to be.


Lolo and Lola with the big baby.
The best part of this vacation is being with family. Happiest with Lolo and Lola.


I love going to toy stores. Here's a froufrou one in Oakville. A huge #dinosaur stuffed toy for a kid who has everything.
Toy stores (and all shops) are starting to look the same in any city you visit. This was different. A giant stuffed dinosaur.
Dealing with jetlag everyday.


Randomly saw 3 deer by the side of this road near a residential area.
This is a place where deer and other “wildlife” roam freely. Here are not-so-wild deer getting used to snackies at the side of the road.


Canada goose (geese). Not the brand. Just the real things. In the suburbs.
Canada geese, chilling by the side of another road.


At West Queen West with my sister @joholmes
My sister Johanna took us to West Queen West, a formerly-seedy neighbourhood that has undergone rapid transformation and is known as the art and design district – lots of art galleries, bars, cafes and a couple of boutique hotels.


The Drake Hotel. #gentrification #parkdale #westqueenwest #toronto @thedrakehotel
The Drake Hotel is a building from 1890’s when this Parkdale neighbourhood was still posh and surrounded with a few mansions. Sometime in the latter half of the 20th century, Parkdale fell into hard times and deteriorated. It was scary here. In the recent past, the area attracted artists and designers. And now it has been gentrified. The Drake has been reborn as a boutique hotel. It is adorable. I will post photos from my big camera soon.


DJ's booth at @thedrakehotel
The Drake’s DJ booth with old school sound equipment.


#Photobooth at the lobby of @thedrakehotel. #irony #hipster
The lobby was awesome. Original granolithic pebble wash flooring. A fat tufted couch. Randomly placed photobooth in this corner. It felt very Pulp Fiction. More on The Drake later.


It's melting. #snow #spring
The snow was starting to melt yesterday. It’s 1°C this morning.


The two kids can't kick their jetlag and my suffering has tripled....
Still jetlagged. Stella skipped dinner last night. Lily ate with her eyes half-closed. Today we were up at 4am again. Sophia is the only one who’s well-adjusted.



Pain in the neck!



Dear Neck. I love you. Please love me back. Promise to never take you for granted.
I have Myofascial Pain Syndrome. It’s nothing too awful but I will need therapy. It’s not uncommon. Many people have this.


I’m sharing this story because I’m sure many of you can learn from my stupid mistakes. I developed this nasty habit of using the laptop in bed. I don’t know why, because we have a lovely “escritorio” in our bedroom. Lazy I guess.


This is how I would look like, for hours. Source: fwips.


I’ve been warned by many before. It’s the worst thing you can do to your back and neck. I eventually developed a chronic pain in my neck the past two years. Sometimes it would disappear. I used a fancy foam pillow. But it didn’t really take away the pain. Then last December I finally got it Xrayed. My orthopedic surgeon cousin shook his head. He said I needed physio therapy.

Yesterday while working on some jewelry designs, I felt and heard a cracking noise in my neck and it slowly moved down my left arm. I could not move. It was so painful. All I could do was pray. It lasted about 10 minutes. I ended up leaning my head and left shoulder on the wall. My cousin ordered me an MRI.

Feeling desperate, I over-shared in Twitter. And as his usual habit, Teddy Boy Locsin responded. This time, minus the vacuum cleaner “pain in the neck” joke. I couldn’t get an MRI on the spot in the south. Teddy and his wife Louie got me one in Medical City. Thinking an instant MRI will give me the answers, I went to Medical City for the impromptu appointment. I had a perma-grimace on my face. I was in pain. I answered the questionnaires and realized I won’t really get answers til Monday and my doctor is in the south. Logistics. Plus the thought of spending my Saturday afternoon in a tube scared the living daylights out of me. So I chickened out. Scheduled my MRI in the south.






I’m getting my MRI this week. Not really the way I envisioned spending my birthday week. But this is so important. So please, if you have the habit of working in bed… STOP!

Here are the 10 best laptop positions according to Spine Health. None of them involve using the lap. They best would be to prop the laptop on a table to eye-level and attach an external keyboard. Here’s an article on how laptops are crippling us. It’s not the laptop per se. It’s because we find it too portable that we end up working in the weirdest positions.


This is the ideal working position.


wrong posture laptop
What NOT to do, according to Dr. Stephanie Maj in this article, 10 Tips to Improve Your Positioning.


The Queensland Government issued these safety guidelines for classrooms and work places.


Good bye chichi work room. I’m going to have to look for an ergonomic chair. Speaking of back pains, I hope local schools do something about heavy bags for young students. That was Sophia’s bag in Grade 1.


I have my own line of linens
No more using the laptop in bed. Ever!


Folks, remind your kids to work on a proper desk and chair. Young students, take care of your back. You may not feel it now, but your 40 year old self will thank you for it.

On to find a good physical therapist.

Downside of blogging too much. Does anyone else have a pain in the neck?





Stella’s field trip



Yesterday I went with Stella on her second field trip. She’s been in preschool since she was 21 months. It’s not a couture fancy preschool. Just a lovely little school where all my kids learned how to be with other kids, play, perform, be kind and eventually read. We’ve been at that school since 2005. So this is my 7th year as a field trip mom. I haven’t missed one. Every year it’s different.

We went to a couple factories (more like we were herded, haha). Then we travelled to UP Los Banos to have our lunch. Beautiful place.


UPLB Botanical Gardens. We tried to look for a spot where we could have our picnic. But we were getting drizzles and showers.


photo 4
We ate by the tables. Stella insisted on having her picnic. So I set up her mat on the pavement (there was no grassy area there).


Then it started to rain. We used the mat as our “umbrella” because our actual umbrella was too small. I carried the cooler and three bags in one hand. Stella held the other end of the mat. After saying bye to Mt Makiling, Stella was looking for her bed.


photo 4
Then she fell asleep on my lap. Bunso.



My baby is 10



Morning sunshine


10 years ago today, I gave birth to my first child, our beautiful Sophia Rose.

I still remember her scent, her tiny fingers, her soft little head. She came earlier than expected. We weren’t ready. I didn’t know how to bathe her or swaddle her. But every day, I learned something new from her – the one who taught me how to be a mom. And I’m still learning.

From infancy to a precocious toddler, a big sister, and now a little girl with a two-digit age, Sophia is an amazing little person with a big heart. And I thank God for this miracle child who continues to be curious about the world and excited about what she can do.

Please don’t grow up too fast, Little One. I love you forever.