I'm reading young again.

Currently, I enjoy reading literature for young readers, say, 12 to 15 years old kind of young. But I'm not surprised for 3 reasons:

1) I turned into a bookworm late in high school so I'm sort of catching up with all the books I missed - if there is such a thing, haha. But seriously, there are so many good reads for young people now - Young Adult - being a genre in itself in literature nowadays, that even I cannot resist. But hey, reading books knows no age.

2) Since I am raising a reader, I need to fill our home with good books that will hopefully develop my children's "taste" in literature. And also, S will not be a toddler forever. The rate she is growing up, I will not be surprised she will read on her own soon.

3) All this reading is fueling a desire to get further studies in.....literature. Which scares me, but I will not talk about it here. Hahaha. I know I am not doing it in the next few years because I've got a lot in my plate right now, but still, I cannot help but think.

So here's my first set of missus must reads for young readers..

When You Reach Me (Rebecca Stead)
12 year old Miranda's life is changing. Her friend Sal is avoiding her and she's getting mysterious notes about the future. I am exercising total self control not to spill the beans on this one so I'm not ging to say anything anymore but you have to read this to find out the mind blowing surprise this book has for you.

Sarah, Plain and Tall (Patricia MacLachlan)
Anna and Caleb are getting a new mother. I got this through The Learning Basket's book recommendations.I have to tell you though that the thought of putting an advertisement for a wife and mother seems too radical for young readers but I was able to look past that. This book is story of family, no matter what the circumstances - simply heartwarming.

Everything on a Waffle (Polly Horvath)
Primrose Squarp seems to be getting everything at its worst: her parents believed to be dead, her Uncle Jack lost his custody over her and she ended up in foster care, losing body parts and everyone seems to believe she has emotional issues. I find this book very funny, although nothing is funny with losing your parents, being taken cared of someone you barely knew and ending up in foster care after all. But Horvath has definitely created a girl with a remarkable and courage. Read on how Primrose found strength in the presence of waffles.

I am looking forward to the time that S and I will be talking about how much we enjoyed this books. What about you? Do you have any books you currently enjoyed and will require ask your kids to read them when they are a bit older? Feel free to share in the comments section.

Here's how my week is currently going...

This has been mostly a difficult week. I had a tooth extraction last Monday which I have been putting off for the past month because of my busy schedule and right now, I am still trying to recover.

Getting a tooth extraction now is extremely difficult. Not because of the pain but because I have a toddler. Dentist (Hi, K!) specifically told me after the extraction to avoid 3 things: too much talking, avoid exerting too much effort e.g., lifting heavy stuff and get plenty of rest.

GOOD LUCK TO ME FOR ACCOMPLISHING ANY OF IT.

Too much talking? S loves to re-enact her movies and it just happened that I can memorize movie lines quicker than I can finish a blog post - which makes me the ultimate supporting cast in her games.

Avoid exerting too much effort? Well, as a working mom, my shift does not end after office hours. When I get home, I take on another shift: mommy. I always make sure that when I am home, I am hands-on with my daughter, no matter how tiring or long my day was in the workplace. When I arrived home after the extraction, I explained to S as to why I cannot carry her for the next few days. She understood for the next few hours and I have to remind her often every time she requests to be carried. I have to be honest here that though I have not exerted any effort from carrying her but I have exerted too much effort for saying no to my little one's lambing. I think my heartbreak over this is too much effort too.

Get plenty of rest? I was already anticipating this advice so I requested Ate R to help us out for a few days so that Yaya will just take care of S on the days that I will try to get some rest. Oh, yes. We have only one household help now. She's good with S but oh---I don't want to talk about her because I will classify it under exerting too much effort :) On the night after the extraction, I was expecting the Mister (Y) to take care of S's night time reading and her other antics when dear husband decided to work overtime which really pissed me off big time (again, too much effort!) so I told S that it will be lights out immediately. I was in so much pain to actually register mommy guilt that time. Thankfully, it was a holiday the next day so Daddy Y took care of S but S still wanted me to play with her and I actually did spend time with her on those hours that the pain reliever was working. I was supposed to go to work on Wednesday but since my extracted area was still really throbbing (and I had diarrhea - what bad timing!), I decided to stay home. I did get a few butinterrupted rest because as I've said, S really wants me to play with her and saying no to a pleading toddler is also classified as too much effort in my mommy book.

Thankfully, pain in the extracted area has abated today. Maybe because I am not at home and have not been talking for the past 6 hours? If there is one thing I missed from my pre-mommy days is getting the luxury of rest while recovering from illness. I actually thought of staying at my parent's house for a few days to recover but I don't think I can be away from S for that long.

I guess this is motherhood - I still have to take care of myself and I cannot be hounded with too many mommy guilt. I promised S that I can carry her by Sunday so I am really trying my best to get well by Saturday. I think I have said too much no creatively to my daughter this week.

My 3 Guaranteed Toddler Friendly Films and Why I Love Them

Since S's exposure to TV time is limited rare, I make sure that she only watches movies that are a) age appropriate which means it has (almost) zero violence or if it has conflict, it will be easily understood by toddlers; b) with a great storyline that I can use as springboard for our lessons. I thank the heavens to a friend who introduced me to Studio Ghibli and my, they have really good animated films. So far, I've watched most their films with a few ones that I have not yet completely finished, which reminds me that I have to finish them, NOW. Hahaha. Anyway, here are the 3 movies that our little toddler likes..

 Ponyo (2008)
Quirky and strong willed fish-girl wants to become a human. See what happens to the little town when she got what she wants.

My Neighbor, Totoro (1988, Walt Disney 2006)
Together with their father, Satsuke and little sister Mei moved in a house to be near her mother's current residence where she is being cared for an illness. While there, they befriend the gentle forest spirit, Totoro who has fondness for rain pattering in umbrellas.

Kiki's Delivery Service (1989, Walt Disney 1997)
This a very heartwarming story of Kiki, a witch on training leaving home on her own for the first time and discovering adventures and more importantly, herself.

These are the 3 first films that S watched ever since she turned 1 (Frozen cannot be counted since she watches only the singing parts and some scenes that she likes..) and we absolutely love them because...

1) All the main characters are little kids (except for Kiki but girls relate to older girl characters easily so still..), which makes them really appealing to young viewers. There is a certain calm demeanor among the characters that as a parent, you will not worry about mimicking them. Because of these movies, S has become our resident artista (child actress). She loves to act out scenes from the movies and we cannot help but laugh because she has got her acting skills to pat. It is sooooo adorable. And speaking of calm demeanor, even the film's antagonists are.......tame. When my husband watched Ponyo, he exclaimed, "Wala man na'y kontrabida oy." As I've said, toddler films should have conflicts that can be easily understood by a young mind.

2) All their songs are catchy and a perfect break from nursery rhymes.

3) These movies are a great play for memory skills since S memorizes the scenes and we act it out. Aside from being an artista, I am amazed that S can memorize even the simplest prop (e.g. pail or a pillow) a particular scene has.

4) We practice her comprehension. Every after a movie, we "talk" about what we have seen. You'll be surprised at how the conversation goes because for us, its so fun!

5) We used the movie Ponyo as a springboard to learn about the ocean, transportation and bodies of water. For Totoro, I found some printables on the Internet and we painted and colored our own Totoro. For Kiki, S has got her styling skills practiced as you can see in this photo...
Hahahahahahahaha! I simply looooove this hilarious little tot of mine! I swear, I had nothing to do with this scheme of hers! After watching Kiki, S insisted on wearing her Daddy's shirt and she took out her headband and her customized walis tambo. In case you are wondering why we have a customized broom for S, well, because S loves to sweep and since my husband is selling this kind of broom (comment if you want to buy or order!), we just had to make one for her! Hahahaha. But seriously, S likes Kiki. It's really silly but hey, who wants serious toddlers?!?!

There are other Studio Ghibli films you can enjoy, but personally for me, they need to be viewed by older children. Another thing for me is that, no matter how child friendly these films are, I never leave S on her own to watch them. I take Parental Guidance seriously.

What about you? Feel free to share films or movies that you find toddler friendly or if you have watched the films I mentioned, maybe we can chat on how fun these movies are for our kids.

Still here and with few changes...

First, just so you know, I'm still blogging. Not just as much as I thought I would. I still have a lot of stories, some still in my drafts that are waaay overdue (like a mother's day post, I'm not kidding!) and some that I prefer not to talk about - well, not yet. Hahaha. Yes, I am busy, both in a good and not-so-good way but, I am deeply grateful for this little chaos that gives me happiness. I am not saying goodbye to blogging, nor I am saying I will be on a temporary break. I will be here but with a purpose and direction. You could say I am going on a quality rather than quantity.

Second, I realized that my Missus Reads segment was starting to be a bore. And I do not want that!!! So starting now, I will not bore you with my thoughts on every single book I've read nor bore you with every single book purchase we made for S because truthfully, they were not quite being really helpful. I am greatly looking forward to my better posts for Missus Reads. However, if you are still interested to follow the books that I've read, you can check me at Goodreads. Feel free to add me up there.

Third, I want to apologize to a mommy friend who I have neglected to guest in my Guest Mom segment. I promise I will make time for it - I do not want to put a deadline but I really will. I owe you one, K :)

With that said, I am doing my best to be a better blogger. Until my next post!

I'm on occassionally on Twitter too! And sorry, I am not on Instragram. I find it too taxing. Hahaha!


Hirit for Summer 2014

I rarely talk about my work so maybe this is the first here. Our summer (Our means colleagues and I) is the exact opposite of vacation. Our department is the busiest during the days when the rest of the population are basking under the heat of the sun. So our "summer break" is somehow a bit late but nonetheless, FUN! :) So this year, the team celebrated our months of hardwork at Secdea Resort, Samal Island.

Since the resort is at the complete opposite end of our residence and I do not want to miss the outing, I decided to spend the night at my parentals so its easier to join them early in the morning. S loves spending time at her GPa and GMa's house. I just realized that my daughter knows how to unleash her charm to her grandparents. Hahaha!
Doing the TIGER pose with me and her Tita Abin. My daughter invented this pose.
We decided to be early at the ferry to avoid the insane line on a Sunday. Mission accomplished! One must be really early on their way going to Secdea because there is a 20-30 minute drive (and that greatly depends if one knows the way going there!) to the destination. And judging by the drive, one really needs a personal vehicle to reach the place. Although my husband (who went to the place a day before us, weird noh, we could have gone together, nah, long story!) said that they just "rented" the Samal bus since they were that many. I guess that is possible but your group must be above 20 for that.

Personally, Secdea is impressive because it is new thus the charm lies in its novelty. I will try to visit them after 3 years. Maintainance and consistency is the key to resorts. But now that I am a mom, I have to see whether their pool is child friendly. Hehehe. And so far, S enjoyed their pool so I kind of like the place. Kind of because I have to be honest here that S pointed out to me some "lumot" she found at the sides of the pool (I am starting to be convinced that my daughter takes after my mother's OC-ness, hahahaha!). I should have taken a photo of that! So please Secdea, if you get to read this, take note. You can check their website for more information - Secdea.

Obviously, we spent the day doing everything we can at the resort. The area is quite sprawling but I was not able to go around and take a look since I had my toddler with me who simply refuses to go anywhere but the pool. S swam and swam to her heart's content. Thank goodness it was a bit cloudy but still scorching hot. As for the beach, I have no opinion since we did not swim there. Mainly because the resort's beach was not particularly inviting. I thought it was just me but my colleagues felt the same way so I do not know what to make out of this, YET.

And now for the photos (and I do not own the photos because as I've said, when I have my toddler with me, I am lazy with everything else, hahaha!)...
I am terribly sorry for my pose. I was trying to make S follow me. Hahahaha.
S does her poses now. Here, she is doing a Giyomi. Hahahahaha.
Our version of Tabing Ilog. Hahahahaha!
Love :)
All in all, the Secdea resort is something that belongs to my "I am willing to go back there..." category. (laughs) But seriously, I think the resort has more to offer in the coming months because there was construction work going on there. So maybe they can also clean up the sides of the pool. Hahahaha. Till our next hirit!

- FriendS -