Out of the mouth of babes

Sometimes, in the busyness of daily life, I find it hard to set aside some quiet time to sit still, think about what is right, pure, lovely, noble… (Philippians 4:8) and to pray and thank God for the day ahead of me. Mostly, it is just a quick ‘Thank you, Lord, for this day and for all the blessings, please heal…amen’ at night before I snooze into dreamland. I often have a couple of hours of alone time in the morning after sending the little boy off to school before the little girl wakes up, but more often than not, I spend this time planning what to do for the day, preparing meals, and facing my computer for some work.

Today, I had two moments which made me sit up and reflect. The first was when I found a plastic egg, the kind that opens up so you could put candies inside. I gave it to the little girl to play with, as she was already on the floor cutting up her blocks with her knife. She let out a tiny shriek while saying, ‘Yay, egg surprise!’ and then proceeded to play again. What caught me off-guard was when, a few minutes later, she called me and said in her sweet, tiny voice, ‘Thank you, mommy!’, with pink egg in hand, her face beaming with the pure, radiant joy only a child’s face can muster perfectly. I melted. I was in awe at how a small, pink plastic egg could  bring about such a simple yet sweet expression of gratitude.

Which reminded me again, how, a couple of days ago it was the little boy’s turn to teach me about gratitude. I had decided to bring them to the playground at a village close to ours. It was a ten minute walk (with kids) away, but we could easily have taken the tricycle to get there in a jiffy. I decided we would just walk for exercise. Hehe. I did not tell them where we were going, just said we’ll go out for a walk. Now, even a walk excites them. They were skipping and singing the moment our gate closed behind us. A few meters from home, I told them, let’s go to the playground and play in the park. You bet this brought on a lot of screams of delight, in chorus. The little boy literally jumped for joy. The little girl laughed hysterically. Lol. Just before turning the corner away from our street, the little boy stopped in his tracks and looked up at me and said, ‘Thank you, Mommy!!!!’ with so much fervor, his grin extending maybe up to his nape. Lol. I asked, for what? And he said, ‘For bringing us to the playground, because it makes us happy! So very, very happy!’ 1477713160088After remembering this incident, and with the little girl’s outburst just moments before, a tiny voice inside me seemed to ask, ‘How long has it been since you felt that grateful and actually expressed it?’ And, I thought, has anything so simple caused such delight to me recently? I thought about all the things I have forgotten to be grateful for and started thanking God for them. You bet the little rascals were on the top of my list.

Indeed, out of the mouth of babes God has ordained praise and thanksgiving.

Change is Here :D

It’s been two months since I had my “awakening” of sorts and decided to start living a healthy lifestyle.By healthy lifestyle I mean eating well and exercising regularly, no deprivation and a lot of sweat. Just a few weeks into it and I started feeling the positive effects, like increased energy, less body aches and pain, and even no migraine (now, that’s something that I just realized today). Another of the most prominent effects that I’ve noticed is that I fall asleep easily now. I already struggle to stay awake past midnight, when I have been an insomniac most of my life. Hallelujah.

The latest addition to my quest for a healthy lifestyle is going to the gym. Now, friends who’ve known me for more than a decade will know that I have an aversion to gyms, lol, and that it was a leap of faith of sorts for me to finally set my foot in one. Bwahaha. I’ve always been a runner/jogger/walker, but lately I’ve been looking for something more challenging, something I’ve never done before, something that I FEARED (nyahahaha) and for me it was the gym. Now, there’s this village gym where my nieces used to go that I wanted to try. I convinced them to come again with me. Luckily, they agreed, and now, we’re hooked. Okay, now I’m hooked. I love perspiring like a liter of water every time, I love the challenging routines our instructor puts us through, I love the sore arms and legs and shoulders, the cramped feeling in my belly. But, most of all, I love that I am finally working for a stronger body.

During one of our sessions, we were chatting about why we were suddenly serious about working out, and I blurted that I wanted to be fit and fab at forty – which is going to be next year. I wanted to welcome this new “beginning” in my life by giving the world an upgraded version of me – Momma M  version three-point-oh. Naks.  Wouldn’t that be great though, that I grow old and I grow younger at the same time? I add to my age, yet I lose whatever makes me feel old – the aching joints, high blood sugar, the bloat, the wimpy muscles?

Like I was telling my friend Mama S this morning, this is no longer about getting a beach body, it’s more like a change in mindset. I don’t aim for washboard abs, I aim for a strong core. I don’t aspire to bring sexy back, I aim for a fit body that can cope with the demands of being a mom to two active tots.  I started by watching what I ate, progressed to having a regular cardio exercise, and now I’m working on strengthening my core. Eventually, I dream of doing CrossFit too, you know, like constantly challenging my body to perform better, be more flexible, stronger, and resilient. That way, I get to enjoy a longer and fuller life.

So, yeah, I’m a late bloomer but it’s never too late to give your body the attention that it deserves. Fit and fab forties, here I come! 😀

You Already!!!

I just finished reading this post on my blogroll. Para sa mga friends kong di nakakakilala, she’s Neri Miranda, from Star Circle and wife of Chito Miranda Pinoy  artist. Napanganga na lang ako sa kadalisayan ng puso niya, haha.

Yun, lang, quickie. I have a post coming up pero I’m still swamped with work. Huhu. Nag-sanity break lang. :p

 

Work is a blessing

Next month marks my first year as a work-at-home momma. I remember surfing the Freelancer site, looking for possible jobs that I can handle. It was a bit threatening at first, since I had to bid for a job in order to be considered for it. I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know anyone who worked there, I just tried my luck. What pushed me to do it? Well, the little boy was such a big eater already that our weekly grocery and market buys were no longer sufficing. Lol! I figured that if the little girl follows suit (she did :p), then we’d be in deep trouble relying on just the hubby’s salary. The kuya had started school already, and additional expenses like his school service and baon were piling up. I needed extra money, quick!

So, I bid for a writing job, and that same day got invited to send in my sample work. I was asked to write about IOS vs Android. Whut?! I didn’t really know a thing about techie stuff like this and I got so stressed out researching about it. I finally turned over the article in the wee hours of the morning, and after I woke up a few hours later, I was told I was hired.

Fast forward to today, I am still working for the same employer, and have worked with two more. One is an Australian who asked me to revise several immigration articles, plus another Chinese national who works with an IELTS school, I think. I’ve wanted to resign from my original Bangladeshi employer a couple of times, but due to the language barrier I think, they didn’t get what I was saying and kept sending me work. Lol. So, here I am still working for my first and original employer. Plus the Chinese one (who pays better, but send work erratically).

The thing about the two is, when one doesn’t send work, the other is quiet too. On those days, I get to do the laundry, clean the house, cook several meals. But when one sends a job order, the other one will send some too, with just a few hours interval for the deadlines. Now, whenever that happens, expect the house to be messy, the dished piled up, the laundry turning into a living monster that keeps on growing and growing. Those are stressful days for me, and they usually happen when the little boy has some exams coming up. As if my life was not crazy enough, right? So what do I do? I ask my go-to manang labandera to do the laundry for me. But what about the food? Well, I have no choice but to cook. Or, sometimes, buy from our friendly neighborhood carinderia who cooks home-cooked meals (na walang lasa minsan lol). The mess, well, the mess… I just have no choice but to ignore them for the time being and just continue typing until I get my job done. Days like these are the stuff my nightmares are made of. I hate having to buy food someone else cooked and not tasting like I want it to; I hate seeing the piled up dishes in the sink; I hate having to tread carefully over the living room because the two kulits have made a war zone out of it. All that mess drives me crazy, and it’s a wonder I can even get an article finished.

And then, yesterday, I got another job order which is enough to last me for about two weeks, give or take. It’s starting to get my stress levels up, because I can no longer stay up late until the wee hours of the morning working when everyone is sleeping. It already gives me a headache. I can no longer think clearly, and I start craving for food I’ve stopped eating like chips and dips and sweets and soda. The struggle is so real.

So today I am giving myself a pep talk, that work is a blessing and I need to get the right motivation and work out a schedule that will work for me. I have to learn to ignore the two little kulits‘ petty fights so that I can continue working while they are wrestling or screaming at each other. I need to learn to plan meals ahead so I don’t get stressed thinking of what to cook and what to feed my family. I need to plan out my day so I can accomplish all that needs to be done in the short amount of time I have. Lastly, I need to sleep late and wake up early para magawa ko silang lahatAyun lang, easier said than done. Kaya ko to, Lord! Aja! 😀 

Shut up ka na lang.

There are times when I like to engage in a healthy discussion, mostly when the topic is something that I am passionate about. I like hearing other people’s opinions on things, and comparing them with my own, finding out where we may differ and where I am likely to learn a thing or two from them. But mostly, I like to learn about new facts that I have no previous knowledge of. It makes me want to learn more about that subject by embarking on my own research.

But lately, I’ve learned that some discussions are better left unattended. And unread. As in, leave thread, unfollow discussion, or hide from feed. Lol. For my own peace of mind, and for world peace na rin. Because, no matter how much we all (think) that we want only the best for a particular situation, sometimes by asserting our own opinions, we only show that we just want to prove that we are right, and the other party is wrong. Which, to me, is not the point of a healthy discussion. So, yun na nga, long story short, shut up na lang ako. Lol. There is precious peace in silence. 😀

No pain, no gain

Every night I try to squeeze in a little sweat-inducing activity, mostly workouts that I find in youtube.com.  Mostly I would search for zumba routines, because I love dancing and it makes me perspire like crazy. After which I would find a cooling down exercise to complete the session. This week, I’ve been trying a different workout, mostly strength exercises that include planking, lunges, push-ups. I used to hate planking. I did this on day 1 of my exercise awakening (lol) and i.hated.it. :p The ten counts killed me. And the push ups. Oh dear the push ups. I hated them in high school, I still hate them until now.  I swore to stay away from these kinds of workouts ever again.

But last Monday, I don’t know what spirit possessed me to type the words strength training for women  in my youtube search tab. The video that I clicked on was a ten-minute workout sesh. Now, don’t be deceived by numbers. The ten-minute only  workout could be so tiring and intense already. Surprisingly, I survived it – planking, push-ups and all! Lol. Little girl was still awake while I was doing it, so she kept me company, which somehow made the session a bit easier and more enjoyable for me. I had to keep from laughing a lot of times because she was imitating the instructor on the video and, well, you know how babies move. I didn’t want to laugh at her because she could be so sensitive and cranky when I do that, the little drama queen. :p

Last night, I wanted to try something new again and I found this. I thought, wow, 1 mile exercise for around 15 minutes. It seemed so harmless and easy. Lol. So I tried it, and even enjoyed it. The little girl was already asleep when I did the workout, so I was able to complete everything without interruptions. I finished the routine, rested a little, then showered and went to sleep around midnight.

This morning when I woke up at 6, I got up as usual and got a shock. My legs were a bit achy. When I bent over to get my slippers, my hips and arms were sore as well. Oh my. The 1 mile workout was a traitor! Lol! I didn’t see it coming, as I had been doing a lot of leg work and stretching exercises so I thought my body could tolerate it already. But I was wrong :p

Anyway, this is the kind of growing pains that I like. The feeling that you’ve stretched yourself some more, more than what your body has been used to. It’s not so painful that I can’t sit, walk or stand properly, it’s just the lingering kind that makes you want to work out some more until it no longer hurts. Although I know better than to push myself too hard. I just have to be consistent so that my muscles will get used to it.

Tact

Over the weekend, I was able to meet up with a group of people who I haven’t seen in a couple of months or so. As usual, we had a little chit chat, and one of the things that a Tita greeted me with was, “Ano bang kinakain mo at tumaba ka nang ganyan?” I had to laugh at that, the question was so absurd I couldn’t believe it.

It wasn’t the fact that she said I was fat – which I am, by my own standards – that was absurd to me. It was the fact that she had to ask it at all. Now, I am not the type who gets offended at being called fat, chubby, or anything related to weight. Really. Because I know if I did indeed gain weight. I can laugh at myself for that, I can go dramatic over my weight woes, but I can accept it. What bothered me though about this encounter is, 1. The fact that it was asked and 2. The setting of the conversation. (For some reason, I can not elaborate on this one because I would like to protect some “things” and “people.”)

My initial reaction was to just laugh and answer in a joking manner. My usual demeanor. But when I thought about it later, I realized, what if the question was asked of someone who takes their weight seriously, like, they get offended at being called fat? What would they think of the person who asked this, and of the group that she belongs to/represents? What if the person was a new acquaintance, or not as thick-skinned as I am? Would they dare to meet with this person/persons again?

The thing is, there are manners which must be observed in social settings. There are observations that are best kept to yourself, and there are ways of speaking that are acceptable and unacceptable. If I was the sensitive type, I guess I would block this tita from my Facebook friends lol and just avoid that group altogether. However, I am still looking forward to meeting with them over the weekend because, yeah, fat or not, I love being with people. 😀

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is…

…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and SELF-CONTROL.

Of all the manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit, Self-Control has got to be my ultimate weakness. And gentleness. Haaaay. When the kids are getting so out of hand, screaming at each other, the kuya teasing – no, provoking the little girl to anger, and the little girl wanting to bite her kuya, I just can’t help but to join in the scream fest! Ako pa pinakamaingay!

I know they will be kids for just a short time. But the days are uber loooooooooong, though the years may fly.

Oh Lord, I need grace. As in overflowing grace. As in grace that abounds and abounds and abounds.

Zucchini Fritters

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Yesterday, I discovered a recipe for zucchini that my kids love. I was originally going to saute it the usual way – with garlic and oyster sauce, and use it as my rice with chicken breast. But I thought of searching online first for some other easy recipes for zucchini and I found the one for this. It only needed garlic, eggs, cheese and flour plus seasoning.

I tried it, and tasted it first before cooking up the entire batch. It was yummy! crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Maybe because I didn’t have enough cheese, but anyway the kids loved it. I gave them the sample I cooked, and they immediately gobbled it up and asked for one more. So there, I have another dish for merienda or lunch or dinner to add to my list. It’s really hard to think of what to cook and feed your family especially if you want them to eat balanced meals. Thank God for the internet, I have more options to choose from.

P.S. I used a milk+butter+cornstarch sauce with it, but it’s good even without the sauce. It also goes well with ketchup, I think.

Health Benefits

I can’t believe it’s been a little over a month since I decided to have a healthy lifestyle. I mean, tweak my food and activities a bit to remove what’s not healthy for me. So, yeah, yun na yun.

I have not been eating rice as I used to – yung kaing construction worker type; now I almost don’t eat it at all unless there’s no other option. Like when we went to Baguio and La Union, I couldn’t be maarte and ask for wheat bread or brown rice when it wasn’t on the menu, right. What I did was to eat veggies as my staple in place of rice, and meat or fish for my protein. And that’s what I still do now. I just load up on avocados as it makes me full without craving for anything before the four hours to the next meal has arrived. In between, I’d drink green tea or lemon water, but I still get my morning coffee fix. I try to eat a lot for breakfast, like a fully loaded avocado-veggie-and-meat sandwich and oatmeal, and then have smaller portions for lunch and dinner. So far, so good. I am surprised that I was able to live without rice, and that I can work at night without having to eat my usual chips and dip, coke, and chocolates to keep me awake. I think because this time I really, really got scared after my brother had  that gall bladder operation without any warning that he was sick.

What I have not been consistent about is my zumba nightly workout. Well, for one, when my brother got operated on, he had to take one month off from work so that means he’s at home every night and I can’t muster the courage to do my moves knowing he might go out of his room and see me. Lol. Another is that the little girl somehow developed this habit of  grabbing my legs as I dance and hanging on to me like the little monkey that she is.At first I would tell her we’re gonna dance, she would put on her shoes like momma, and when we’re in the middle of it, she’d decide it’s more fun to pole dance on momma’s legs, the crazy girl! So I would wait for her to sleep before I could do my zumba. But she only sleeps when I nurse her, soooooo…when she’s finally asleep I’m already sleepy or sleeping, too.

Anyway, so all I wanted to say is that all these healthy stuff has made a major change in my lifestyle. I used to be a night owl, awake til the wee hours of the morning working or reading, or doing stuff to make me fall asleep. But now, I find that I want to sleep earlier than I used to, and then I wake up more easily in the morning to prepare the little boy for school. It used to be such a struggle for me to wake up early. I used to go back to bed the minute the little boy’s service has whisked him off to school. But now, I enjoy preparing my breakfast, getting some quiet time alone as the little girl sleeps in our room, getting some work finished, and then preparing what I have to cook for lunch before the kuya comes home. On days when I have a lot of work, I just finish what I can at night, and then go to bed when the little girl already feels tired. I tried to stay up until 2 am one day when I had a deadline, but I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I think it’s a good thing, this new schedule. At least now, I get enough sleep and I get a few hours in the morning to myself to do the things that I want to do. Like color a page on my coloring book for adults. But that’s another story. 😉