Mommy & Son Time

Today is the second day that I’m picking Angel up from school and I’m so excited to see him that I couldn’t help but write about it as my first post here. I’m so glad the sun is out although it’s a tad bit chilly. We’ll manage like we managed to walk in the rain under my giant golf umbrella yesterday.

I always like to sneak up on him and just watch from the door window until he sees me or one of his friends tells him his Mom’s here, after which he would literally light up and come running towards me. He has grown so much… Yet every time I hold his hand in mine, he’s MY LITTLE BOY.

Sometimes, I see some young Asian Americans on the streets or on the bus, and I can’t help but “imagine” how it would feel like when Angel was finally THAT age.

I’m almost sure we’re going to go get his favorite Chicken McNuggets at McDonald’s before heading for home. we walk slowly as I adjust to his shorter strides, and he talks and I listen. Sometimes we sing. It’s just Mommy and him…

15 lbs down

I know I haven’t been good maintaining my weight loss journal. Blogging hasn’t been as easy the past few weeks due to all the excitement about the trip home and the very heavy workload in the office. Here I am “thumbing” through another post via blackberry, with the morning commute being the best time for me to post a new entry these days.

15 lbs later and now on my 8th week, I’m very happy that I can now wear my size 12 clothes without feeling like I’m bursting out of my pants. I’ve combined a conscious portion/calorie control with maintaining the Jenny Craig diet and adding more of my own food. Spending over $100 on a 1200 calorie diet can be too much after a while, even after you see actual results. Don’t get me wrong— I’m very happy with the way the diet has worked for me. It’s just that I have no intention of continuing to spend THAT kind of money continually in the near future. As it is, every pound I’ve lost so far has cost me something like $75. That’s quite a price to pay, but I achieved it in record time — at least as far as I’m concerned.

My body has a way of clinging to fat, and since you’d have to pay me to hit the treadmill or use my gym membership, I have to try harder cutting my food intake.

For all the hype about the food, I consider my being forced to eat more vegetables to voluminize my food during meals as the best perk of being on their diet. Even Alan noticed he’s eating healthier because I always prepare the same sides for everyone. It’s just that I would normally not eat the same entree as Alan and my mother-in-law, or if I do, I eat much, much less and without the rice.

I’ve been “mixing” meals on my own (as the diet refers to meals where the member doesn’t eat their food) and the regular diet meals the last four weeks, and so far I have continued to lose weight — keeping well within the weight loss goal of 1% of my total body weight per week. Sometimes I lose less (like a pound), but I’ve continued to lose it little by little.

My efforts at finding a good mix of foods and portions that will “wean me off” the diet food are with the goal in mind of eventually eating healthier for the long term. While I don’t see myself totally giving up the diet food until it totally runs out on me (perhaps by next week), I’m looking to observe the same “habits” and try to be good while on vacation in Manila.

It hasn’t been easy but I think I’m getting a better grip on managing my hunger. I continue to look for healthy food I can incorporate into my daily menu plan, keeping in mind the “exchanges” and calorie count. For example, I have switched from my favorite breakfast of Banana Nut Cereal which came in at 170 calories to 1 cup of Special K Berries Cereal, which has me taking in a mere 110 calories, eaten “dry” (without milk) which is my preferred way to eat it as a breakfast meal.

I’ve also taken to switching the Jenny Craig Anytime Bar (120 calories) with any of the low sugar Quaker Oats Chewy Granola Bars(100 calories). While I am not claiming I’m eating healthier doing the switch, or that I’m using a sound substitution of exchanges (only nutritionists on the Jenny Craig forum or your counsellor can actually give you exchanges), these are the steps I am taking to help me with my personal weight loss.

So that’s 15 lbs and counting.

Packing up

I’ve started “surveying” my luggage plans and this afternoon, Alan and I agreed that we would have to put together a balikbayan box.

I’m on my first duffle bag and I’m not even halfway through.  It’s not as simple as just stuffing everything into the bag then stepping on the weighing scale and deducting my weight from the total with the bag in hand.  That’s the reason why I wanted to start this early.  The smaller pieces are the trickier ones, because I have to find the heavier smaller items and consolidate them into the smaller bags.

With any luck, I’ll find myself with spare room when all has been packed.  Am I excited to get on that plane to go home?  Beyond words. 

Meanwhile, I’m starting to get things ready at work and I’m trying to get as much work done before I leave. Can you believe I have less than 2 weeks to go?  Fortunately things are lighter at work this week only because the boss is on the road again.  So I’m hoping to get more done before she returns on Thursday again.

I spoke with my father yesterday and he’s all excited.  He gave me some last minute bilins which I hope to take care of in the coming days.  Can’t wait, can’t wait!!

Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day

Originally posted in Motherhood, etc.

My company had our annual “Take Your Sons & Daughters to Work Day” last Thursday, and I sort of decided on the spur of the moment to take Angelo. It worked out just fine because my mother-in-law was having another eye procedure and wouldn’t have been able to get Angel from daycare.

I have always taken every opportunity to show Angelo where Alan and I work. I want him not only to see where we are in our careers — but I wanted him to see what he can achieve and surpass if he strives to do well in school. I have always believed that it is never too early to instill ambition in the boy.

The cafeteria and all its offerings was quite a trip for Angelo. We went back up to my office with two bananas. (I brought a full box of cereal and I had water, milk and juice in my pantry.). Other than the occasional embarrassmet of Angelo proclaiming he needed to “make peepee,” he really behaved and having him around wasn’t too much of a distraction. It was hard at times to tell him to wait for Mommy to finish an e-mail or to keep quiet as I spoke with someone on the phone. We even had a nice polaroid taken with the company mascot which he did not want to let go of.

He actually wanted to go back with me the next day and I had to explain to him we don’t normally bring kids to work. It was just a special occasion that’s why there were so many “little people” in the office when he was there. My colleague who is the second assistant in the office have agreed that we will bring our little ones during this big event when all the bosses travel on a major recognition conference. I am already looking forward to that.

More Gift Ideas

Just wanted to share with you all this $10 off any $30 purchase coupon from Bath & Body Works. The coupon is good until May 12, 2008.

For those who like shopping online at Spiegel, you can use s11 for free shipping, and Merchandise Certificate 6085473 for $10 off any purchase of $50 or more. (Best way to maximize all the special codes you have is to phone in orders at 1.800.345.4500)

Macy’s is having a FRIENDS & FAMILY event from April 30 to May 5. (Plus 10% off small electircs, personal care electrics, technology, furniture, mattresses and area rugs.) Use MACYSFF, also applicable at

Disney Online is offering a 25% off discount on all new items this weekend only. Coupon code is SUMMER. And you can ship all purchases for $5 with a minimum purchase of $50 bys using promo code SHIPFOR5. They actually have a lot of personalized giftd for Mom that you can choose from.

Not only is it a time to think about Mom, but with the financial crunch everyone is going through, it pays to take advantage of all the sales and discounts available. Whether it your usual discounts at the neighborhood drugstore or grocery or big ticket discounts off of a major purchase, it pays to be a wise shopper these days.

16 days and counting: Shopping List

(Reminders to self:)

1. Soap dishes/pH Strips for GP
2. Special tea for Ms. L
3. Gimmick shirt for R
4. Fridge magnet alphabet for Art
5. Burn Scrapbook CDs for V
6. Get 2G memory card for self
7. PSP + games for Nikky
8. Dual voltage hair dryer
9. Salt & Pepper pack for hotel
10. Pack away USB keys
11. Get usual meds: Aleve, Sudafed, etc.
12. SPF 45 Sun tan lotion
13. Umbrella for Mom (her choice of brand)
14. Garbage, Ziploc bags
15. Mother-in-law’s decaf instant coffee
16. MiracleGro for Mom

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

It’s one of those occasions when we find ourselves looking for good gifts to give to one of the most important woman in our lives. I did my shopping early but have come across the following finds which you might find useful for yourself or for mom. Enjoy!

$50 off a $200 purchase at any Dooney & Bourke Retail outlet. (Not valid online)

Sephora is offering a new make up pallete for just $30.00 — and after looking at the colors and what’s in the kit, this is definitely a good buy. I’m actually getting one for myself and one for my sister.

18 days and counting: have to start packing!

I’m still trying to make it to work a few minutes past nine, standing by a favorite corner where I can lean on a conductor control room door so I can keep my hands free. There’s a young Asian couple in front of me having a breakfast of steamed buns or siopao as we know it better. Do they look delicious! I’m so tempted to ask where they bought it but it wouldn’t do me any good since I can’t eat it anyway. =(

Packing? I haven’t quite gone beyond mentally planning things, but I think I have to ystart laying out my luggage options now lest I end up not maximing the 8-piece 70 lbs each baggage allowance. I think prudence requires that I leave one or two pieces lighter in case I need to transfer some things from the other bags. I already know meeting the 70lbs per piece will be a challenge given the bigger suitcases. It all requires striking a balance between the space available and the baggage allowance.

I’m already mindful of the actual weight of my purchases now, even taking the time to check the weight per piece of the chocolate bars I grab from the grocery shelves. I’ve started organizing my “fillers” and trying to get things sorted.

Yes, I’m on my way home.

An afternoon full of Faith, Love & Hope with His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI

I haven’t even reached home yet. I’m on the last leg of my trip home — sitting on the bus that will take me to my part of Queens. The heat in the bus sure feels good. I actually feel like my body is overheating after being subjected to cold winds even if I sat on one of the covered portions of the stadium.

All I can say is that I feel truly blessed. I texted our friend, Sgt. M, who so graciously extended his help in securing tickets for my friend amd I, and I told him “I can’t thank you enough for the big favor you did me today. You were in my thoughts and prayers…”. I am sure that he was surprised to hear of my request from Alan and his girlfriend who are friends from way back. I had met him briefly and know of him and we have sort of existed in the same social circle vicariously through our significant others. While I am aware it was by no means easy to pull it off, the significance of the courtesy he extended to me is way too profound for me to accurately express in words.

I feel so blessed to have had a firsthand encounter with the reigning shepherd of my Church — whose warmth and strong embrace I felt as he waved to his people who were so hungry for his love and care. The stadium was literally swept in a wave of emotion as the Pope Mobile emerged from the far side of the stadium. The people cheered and he waved and stretched his arm out in acknowledgement, drinking in the faithful’s affection and devotion.

At the same time, I felt like one with the crowd in cheering His Holiness on and who, as one, let him feel how he was so deeply loved. It was reminiscent of Pope John Paul II’s visits to Manila — but perhaps because of his proximity to where I was seated and the wonder of technology which enabled me to take countless crisp and clear pictures of him upclose, I literally felt like he was at arm’s length and truly within reach. His eyes glimmered with a glow full of love and hope that made me feel the happiness in his heart that shined from within.

As my friend Jackie put it, it was truly a once in a lifetime experience — even if we should be blessed with Pope Benedict’s presence again or that of the succeeding Pope, today will be a day forever etched in our hearts and minds.

My date with His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI tomorrow at Yankee Stadium

Unbelievable but true, but yes, we got tickets to hear mass tomorrow at Yankee Stadium with His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.  My friend Jackie and I are all excited!  More details are available here and although this is not an official site, I am reprinting the schedule here for the benefit of others who are going:

9:00 a.m. – Gates Open
12:00 noon – All Gates close
12:00 noon – “Concert of Hope” begins - 
              *featuring Harry Connick, Jr., Marcello Giordano, Stephanie Mills, Jose Feliciano, and Dana.
2:00 p.m. – “Concert of Hope” concludes
2:10 p.m. Holy Father travels around the stadium in the Popemobile
2:20 p.m. Procession begins
2:30 p.m. Celebration of the Mass begins
5:00 p.m. Mass Concludes
5:30 p.m. Pope Benedict XVI leaves stadium
5:45 p.m. Guests leave stadium

Once in the stadium, ticket holders will not be permitted to leave and re-enter. No one will be admitted after 12:00 noon, as the Secret Service will close access two hours prior to the Pope’s arrival.

Visitors will not be allowed to bring metal, plastic, or glass containers into the stadium, nor backpacks, strollers, totes, large bags, food, beverages, video cameras, or tripods. Diaper bags will be permitted. Still cameras are permitted.