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Showing posts from March, 2009

Earth is like a woman.

Earth is like a woman. She’s hot in the middle and cold at the poles. And as she gets older, her ice caps are melting… In intimacy, Men are like matches. They’re hot as soon as you ignite them And the flame’s extinguished in a minute; Women are like an electric irons, It takes awhile before they get hot And even after you unplug, It takes time before they cool down; In life, A father is the rock While A mother is the heart. Copyright 2009 © GottaLoveMom CJ Solutions, Inc Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited

The after hours of Earth Hour

In a big family with diverse ideologies and convictions, last night’s Earth Hour started a few debates in my household which lasted for few hours! What’s the motivation behind Earth Hour? Who’s behind this organization? What good does turning off your light for one hour do? Why is the term “global warming” sparks so much controversy on both sides? Why do other people think that inaction is acceptable? Why dismiss what scientists are talking about? I tend to believe that my family and I are living in a way that’s earth-friendly. But wait, what does “earth friendly ” really mean? I say, “earth-friendly ” means keeping earth clean and beautiful. Sounds like a simple answer but if you dissect the words – it can be loaded with meaning depending on who you’re talking to. Being earth friendly – does it mean you have to let mankind suffer? Do you choose the Earth before mankind? But do we just not do anything at all? Can we develop projects that won’t bankrupt manki

Lorenzo's Oil - a parent's love and determination

This weekend was “movie night”. Yesterday, we watched Lorenzo’s oil , a movie that’s so touching and inspirational. The movie is about the Odone’s struggle as their son, Lorenzo, was diagnosed with Adrenoleucodystrophy (ALD), a genetic disease that progressively destroys the brain of a young boy. Lorenzo was diagnosed at the age of six. He was 14 when the movie was released. ALD is a genetic disease transferred by the mother to her son. How can any mother carry that devastating guilt that it was her fault that her son is suffering and about to die? I don’t know if I can be as brave as Lorenzo’s mother, Michaela Odone . A parent’s love and determination to find medical help to their son’s devastating illness was portrayed in the movie. Both parents did not give up. Two ordinary people found ways to find different solutions and research to help find a cure or an alternative whereas a team of medical experts have failed. I was so taken by the mother knowing that the oil is not a

what's a mommy ewok?

Why does honey call me his “ewok ” which in turn led to my kids calling me “ mommy ewok?” You see, I was raised and born in the Philippines for 20 years. Even though I’ll be in this country for 25 years this coming August (2005), I still sound “alien ” to my family – a cute alien! When I get startled, I yell, “ Ang tatay mong kalbo !” (It means your father’s bald in Filipino ). I don’t know why, but those words just come out of my lips! So to my husband, that just sounds like “ewok ” talk. ( My husband is a Star Wars fan. Ewoks appeared in George Lucas’ Star Wars’ Return of the Jedi movie . ) And the kids caught on because… I don’t get the idiomatic expressions! I don’t even remember the Honeymooners, or the Happy Days. I don’t even realize a word has a bad meaning until I see everyone in the dinner table laughing hysterically. The only one that’s on my side ( so far ) is my eight-year old – I’m sure in few years, he’ll be laughing, too! I used to get too sensitive about

Life sucks … does it really?

As the weekend begins, I can’t help remember what my husband commented on yesterday. “Do you think we’ll have a quiet weekend? It’s like a never ending drama every week” I think he felt like saying, “WTF” ( I just recently found out what that meant – one of the reasons that give my family a laugh! Even after almost 25 years, I’m still language-challenged!) Anyway, I can enumerate all the tragedies that my family ever encountered. Looking back, I just felt like saying, “Oh yeah, life definitely sucks!” Does it really? Let’s see – we can start just a few weeks back: A few weekends ago: another what-ifs..pins and needles - my first car accident with my 13yo and 8yo sons to TaeKwon-Do. ( I recently have nightmares of me being in a “collision” sandwiched between 2 cars!) Couple of weekends ago: my 17-year old sent me a text message: “Mom, I need to go to the hospital. I fell and I’m bleeding all over!” He was skateboarding and fell on his face! He ended up getting 20 sti

theMotherhood, a unique gathering

It’s been two months, and I’m totally loving it! “Three Things I’m Grateful For” is how I start my day, Reading the headlines, the questions and the stories Is like hanging out with all of you in the park or in the hallways. theMotherhood, a unique place I bumped into, Every one keeps their doors unlocked. Knock once, and you’ll be greeted with a smile, Ask, and answers just keep pouring in. Meeting friends is hard to do, Finding true friends is even tougher! For two months, you all said hello! A community of mothers – supporting one another! We talk about our children; We share each other’s fears. We chat about almost anything We zenwalk together in different corners of this world. We share about our love for this world – making a difference no matter how small. We come together to support our husbands, We check out each other’s dinner menu, vacation and money garden, We share inspirations to cheer one another. We comfort each other in time of sorrow, We expr

But I am just a child!

“But I am just a child!”, my eight-year old exclaimed. I know it sucks at times, as you get older, the more you have to be responsible – mainly for yourself but then as you get more involved with more people, your responsibilities extend to your so-called extended family and community! But like a seed planted on a ground, one day that seed will sprout and become a tall tree; A seed that’s been blessed with rich soil, sunlight and water; A tree that extends its branches out as far as it can go. Wow, that’s a big undertaking. What if I can’t even be responsible for myself? You shouldn’t think of responsibilities as life’s hassles. Responsibility should empower you. You can still have fun, laugh and enjoy life and be responsible at the same time. Life is more fulfilling when you try to make a difference. Life is more colorful that way! Just look around… Look into your child’s eyes – there’s so much enthusiasm, hope and love! Capture that child in you and dream big!

not enough time in a day

Have you noticed that when your creative mind is in full blast, there seems to be not enough time in a day? It’s almost noon and there are still plenty of things to get done. I just finished the morning “after-rush-hour” clean-up of the house and I probably spent two hours going through some emails and articles. I have to be ready by 2:30 to get the Crumbcatchers from school and yet when I look over my left, I notice a pile of paperwork that I still have to go through. Do I think I just wasted half my day doing what I just did? Of course not! I was able to tidy-up the house and get my opinions heard. But I still have a lot of writing and reconciling to do. I would have loved to squeeze in an hour of exercise before noon, to write a page for my book, organize the kids’ closets and go out for a nice walk - but I may have to do those some other time. Nurse called, got to get my son home; Son called, he forgot his homework; Pick-up the kids from school; Organize a playdate; D

Why does it do that?

This morning, my eight year old took his regular shower and started getting ready for school. This kid does not have any inhibitions so he walks from the bathroom to his bedroom naked. And as I was trying to get him ready he noticed something. He asks, "Mom,why does my patutoy do that?" ( He was pointing to his anatomical private part. In the Philippines, we teach the kids to call it "patutoy". His patutoy is pointing out) I smiled and said, " You might have to ask your Dad since we're late." Of course, he forgot all about it and we hurriedly got ready for school. ( In my walk with his Dad today, I told him the morning incident) His Dad said , "Just tell him that his head is thinking!" Boys...boys...boys.. Visit Josh at Joshizms : the universe according to an 8-year old --- Copyright 2009 © GottaLoveMom CJ Solutions, Inc Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited

A positive ending to a dreadful day

Yesterday afternoon was a difficult day for my family, but it ended in a positive way. It was doubly difficult because we were hundreds of miles away. Not being there physically was nerve-racking. Luckily, we have the means of communication that made it easier. As we heard the positive news, we couldn’t help but be thankful. We had a choice on wallowing over how heart breaking having someone you love go through a heart attack or focus on the positive things that we were lucky to have; But don’t repress your emotions either. Cry if you need to. Go for a walk, have a drink, even yell if it helps you. But once there’s a sign of good news, then start walking towards the positive! It’s easier to feel bad and down about the situation than thinking of, ” Wow, it’s great that Dad got to the hospital on time, had a great medical team and is on his way to recovery”. But we have to train our minds and hearts to think the positive. For some of us, its easy to move forward; For others it

stay-at-home-mom - and loving it!

I started to write my book, “Pins and Needles, Hugs and Kisses ” on Feb 27, 2005. But then something happened that year that put every creative outlet on hold. It seems like I’ve always known that I will be a mother – not just one but four crumbcatchers! I remember my final retreat in College (25 years ago ); We meditated for hours and then we were asked what we envisioned ourselves to be. My professor probably thought I was making it up when I said, “ I'm at home taking care of my children. It seems like I would be a stay at home mom!” Oh I would love to go back to my alma matter and asked her how she made me imagine my future! You see, I was ready to conquer the world. I was the top of my class – I was destined to be this successful career woman in Psychology. So saying that I will be a stay-at-home mom seems odd then! So fast forward 25 years, here I am a stay-at-home mom, mother of four kids age 19, 17, 13 and 8! For about fifteen years, I was a working mom at one point

letting kids be kids

As I go over the paperwork for college scholarships, financial aid and summer camps I can’t help notice how tough it is to be a kid nowadays! I don’t remember having to have all these responsibilities as a child. Is it because I grew up in a third world country or has time changed? Or are we forcing adult responsibilities early on in their lives? Does that make them better adults or just stressed-out, overworked and grumpy individuals? It’s end of March and the deadline for applying to most summer camps is closing in. My 13 year old wants to go to a sleep-away piano summer camp as a graduation present from his grandma. With the financial uncertainty I don’t know how one can afford to send their children to a summer sleep away camp or to any summer camp for that matter. None of my children are into ball sports. The only physical activity they are passionate about is TaeKwon-do and gymnastics. But their main passion is music. My youngest son’s schedule is not as hectic as my 13-yea

Being there for each other

As we promised “For better or for worst”, being married is to be there for each other. There are times that you have to listen and not say anything – just hear each other out. There are times that all you have to do is walk quietly hand-in-hand. There are times that you have to wait for the perfect time – think before you say anything. I’ve had plenty of challenges and my husband’s always been there for me. He’s always been the one that keeps reminding me to see the opportunity in every challenges. So yesterday, when I got a text from my husband … "Honey – I had a very bad day and I’m very upset with myself. I am going to take a walk." I dropped everything that’s on my schedule that day and made sure I am there for him. Of course, the “worry-me” is thinking of the worst! As I get to the house, my husband’s already in the driveway with his sneakers, hat, sunglasses and headphones (listening to the radio). At least he looks handsome! I asked my boys to wa

a mighty oak tree

Seeing the Forest from the Trees - b y Grandma Roz (Dec 2008) Well, this has been a year – what can we say, the most frenzied presidential election, the economy is a mess and our men and women are fighting for our freedom; I think this Chanukah, Christmas and in the New Year, we have to take a deep breath, sit back and count our blessings, of which there are many. It is easy to take our blessings for granted – The people we love, The home we share, The food we eat, Our good health, The things we have that seem so important, and yes , we have lots of “things” But they aren’t so important. My friend, Lorraine, used to say “people can’t see the forest from the trees” – What did she mean? I never thought much about that statement until now. Now I can look at the forest and see the tree that symbolizes our family. (Photo taken today along Mohawk Park - not really an OAK tree...but nevertheless, a tree!) A MIGHTY OAK TREE When we stand too close to our tree, it

another day

( Photo taken today of Mohawk Park around the corner) It’s another beautiful morning I wish I can share with all my family and friends Lately, it may look like that every morning seems to start like another lovely day and that I can’t help myself sharing it to everyone. The thing is my “ peace-and-happiness ” was taken away from me on October 27, 2005. Ever since then, there’s a big hole in my heart that seemed to totally consume my entire being. The first few days, weeks, months, years since then were very difficult. I must have aged ten years in one month! Hope and dreams were shattered and I ended up bringing down every one I love, too. (Just writing it now, brings tears and pain – but because I truly wish everything will just be perfect) It took a lot of love, energy, prayers and faith to go on. Once I felt like HOPE is around the corner, something awful snatches it away one more time! The past few months, I can say that something has changed on how I view the challenges. I

life, love, be inspired ... at this very moment

Morning, a promise of a new beginning So hit the pause button and snap-out of any sad thoughts. Smile, Look around, Admire the beauty Of LIFE. Yes, there is sadness, Yes, there is uncertainty, Yes, there is fear, Yes, there is YOU! We are blessed for this moment, Capture the positive, Flourish in the simplicity, Experience the greatness. Life is the greatest gift you have. Love is abundant in everyone - a ton for you to share! Inspiration is waiting for you to unlock for yourself and for others! So follow your heart and follow your dreams. At this very moment. ----- Photographs taken today with my Canon elph during my zenwalk by Mohawk Park - just around the corner! ( Zenwalk - walk outside and enjoy the moment without thinking about anything; no worries at all!) Copyright 2009 © GottaLoveMom CJ Solutions, Inc Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited

My faith, my religion – Am I losing faith or just disillusioned from organized religion?

The Philippines is mostly Catholics. For some childhood memories, I remember that the country goes on vacation from Dec 16th till New Year’s to celebrate the birth of Christ. I also remember that Holy Week is definitely the holiest of all the weeks. I went to church every single day of that week. Sunday mass is a "must " and not a "maybe ". I went to a Catholic school from Kindergarten to College – wore the uniform every single day! (All girls school from High School to College); my father’s families comprise of priests, nuns, archbishops, cardinals, monks – you name it, we got it covered! I still remember talking to my " ama " (Filipino for "father". This is what I call my mom's Dad ). I was sitting on his lap; my mother was very pregnant with my youngest sibling. (I already have 2 older brothers and 2 younger brothers) . That was 1973. I was nine years old and wanted to go to the convent to be a nun. My grandfather asked in Tagalog,

A Father - by Jonathon

My Dad is more than someone I love. My Dad is a part of my life and spirit. He means the most to me. I even got my nick-name “Little Craig” from him. He was the architect of my body and my mom was the builder. I love my Dad from the bottom of my heart. My Dad is the dad of all dads. He’s the coolest dad. He does and goes through the trouble of construction for me. He’s my life giver. He knows everything about love. I would say he’s a love-caster. My Dad is everything to me. I love my Dad. This is his well-earned special day. -- Written by Jonathon when he was 7 , Father’s Day Copyright 2009 © GottaLoveMom CJ Solutions, Inc Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited

zenwalk to recharge, reboot, be inspired

The mind is as essential as our body. You see a lot of people rushing to go to the gym. However, one has to realize that a peaceful mind produces happier memories. When you go to the gym, do you feel great or do you feel you did not push yourself harder? Have you noticed how young children do not worry about anything serious? Have you heard them laugh out loud just the sight and sound of something comedic? Have you seen them jump up in the air so carefree and alive? Have you listened to their conversations about simple things but with deeper meaning and emotion? As I look at my children, I see that their main mission in their cute little lives is to be happy, enjoy the moment, play and have fun. However, as we get older and obtain more responsibilities our minds seem to be clouded with priorities that only make us miserable and stressed-out. Sometimes our bad memories linger so long in our hearts that it is weighing our entire being down. Are you the kind of person that appre

ARK - Acts of Random Kindness

Last night, I was spending some quality time with my husband by watching a movie – “ Evan Almighty”. I heard it wasn’t really good but we decided to watch it anyway since it’s free and funny. Surprisingly, I like the movie! In raising my daughter and three sons, I pray and hope that they’ll live their lives being kind and helpful to others. My daughter’s been baby sitting her younger brothers since she was 10; When tidying-up my son’s rooms, I bumped into my ever-aloof 17 year-old's “Kindness and Justice” certificates from the High School. It tickles my heart knowing that he, too, has a big heart even though he acts like he does not have a care in the world; My eight year-old showers you with his cuteness every single day. Today, while driving my 13-year old to TaeKwon-do, he was telling me that he wants to compete in the Nationals (choir competition). You see, my 13-year old is lucky to be blessed with intelligence, personality and opportunities. He’s an honor student, a p

more than just neighbors

I’ve been residing in suburban New Jersey for about fourteen years, but it’s just recently that I came to a realization the importance of neighbors being there for each other. The dictionary defines “ neighbor” as someone who lives near or next to each other and “neighborly” as someone having or showing qualities befitting a neighbor. But what do you call someone who extends his/her arms to help you? (My husband says “armless”, ha!) Growing up in the Philippines, friendly neighbors are not a rarity. In the Philippines, we call such neighborliness, “bayanihan ”. I remember knocking on my grandparents' neighbor’s door asking for a teaspoonful of sugar or an egg. I also remember my grandmother keeping the doors open for anyone who needs help. She always has food for everyone. Someone’s always cooking something for somebody. (By the way, I grew up with my grandparents) I still remember the first few days we moved to our home. I was very pregnant with my 3rd child and busy unpacking wh

Surprise Birthday Parties

Saturday , Feb 28, 2009 - was the surprise birthday party. With aching back, neck and shoulders – with the help of everyone, we gave my youngest the “ best birthday ever!” I wasn’t planning on having a birthday party for my little one because of a lot of reasons. But seeing how he looked and felt when he opened the door and heard his 12 friends screamed “Surprise, Happy Birthday, Joshua!” I now understand why birthdays with his friends are precious memories. Birthdays to a child is the most important party one can ever put together! It’s not where the party’s going to be;It’s not what presents friends will bring; It’s not the pizza or nuggets or cake –Although the best cake baked by the best sister is a must!It’s the thrill and excitement of being with friends. It’s the high-pitched loud “rambunctious” noises that they make. It’s the silliness in dancing, games and high energy. And most of all, it’s those sparkly eyes and smiling faces that fill a room Achy back

Happy Birthday, Dad !

I have a big family so it seems like every month, there’s a birthday celebration. Every month is filled with greetings of love and grace, Every month is filled with hugs and kisses, Every month is another month that fills our photo books and lasting memories. Tradition – something that grows with the family every day. Waking up the birthday celebrant To a candle-lit pastry-cake While we all sing “ Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you...” Starts his/her day with a smile, big hugs, lots of love and kisses. On the 14th, my Dad will be celebrating his 77th birthday. We won’t be with him to personally sing him “Happy Birthday”, We’ll miss everyone getting together in this special day; We’ll miss Papa’s BBQ and Mama’s pansit; But most of all we will miss giving Dad big hugs and personal happy birthday wishes. “A man can be a father but it takes a special person to be a Dad” - Proverbs You gave us a home, you gave us each other; You dream big for us, you hope for

SAT Prep classes – is it fair?

Having had two kids who’ve taken the SATs thrice, I can say that taking SAT prep classes before the actual SAT test do help boost your score – in a big way! There are different SAT prep classes. The ones my kids have taken are Princeton Review and Kaplan Test . Before your 10th or 11th grader takes the test, he/she has already been exposed to standardized testing so you’ll have an idea whether your child gets test anxiety or not. There are a lot of pretty smart kids who don’t test well so preparation is key. These SAT prep classes are expensive. It can costs from about $900 - $1200. With my 2nd child, I found out that Kaplan has discounted program with our high school. And it was also convenient location-wise. There are SAT prep elective courses given at the high school, too. However, I don’t know how effective those courses are. In all of the three instances that my high-schoolers took the SAT tests, the one that was taken right after the end of the SAT prep class, got the high

Remembering Trixie - a special angel on her 18th!

The happiness and joy that are reflected in your smile will always be imprinted in our minds. Your laughter, Your love, Your joy Your enthusiasm - these are just a few that we remember you by; Your smile, Your happiness, Your music, Your sweetness – there are just a few that we remember you by; When you said “so-long” We were left with a big hole. When you said “good-bye” We were waiting for the sun to come by. One day we will meet again, Your smile will be there greet us. So many faces, so many memories, Forever we will remember together. Your life was full of beauty; You were surrounded with families and friends; You smelled the rain, You felt the wind, You fought for your dreams. Saying “good-bye”” doesn’t mean a thing, It’s the memories - time we all spent together, Laughter and tears that we shared , That’s all that matters. Today is your special 18th! With your smile – Trixie, you will always be in our hearts and minds ( Click to vi

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz This is the first of the three series of books about Odd Thomas. Brother Odd Forever Odd I enjoyed reading the first book the most! While reading the book, I kind of wonder whether which came first – this book or that movie that resembles similar plot as this book. It may not seem obvious in the beginning; this is one of those love stories that made me cry! Copyright 2009 © GottaLoveMom CJ Solutions, Inc Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited

Three words that always make me smile

I Love You Dear Mom and Dad, I appreciate the things you do for me. Thank you for creating me. Thank you for teaching me things beyond my knowledge. I love the ping pong table. I enjoyed the vacations! But what I love the most is love. I love you! Love, Jonathon , age 8 (2003) Copyright 2009 © GottaLoveMom CJ Solutions, Inc Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited


“Doing chores is a non-paying job because helping mom is priceless!” - Jen2 I remember when the kids were younger, about 5 years old; They couldn’t wait to do their chores. They thought of doing chores as a fun family event! Now that they’re older and have better and more fun activities to do, Getting them to do their weekly chores is like pulling teeth. I try not to make it a stressful event but when they keep putting it off, It can get pretty stressful. Last summer, due to antibiotics, I had major allergic reaction to almost anything . So after 13 years of saying “no” to hiring help to clean the house, I was forced to say “yes”. My friend actually commented, “You must be really sick to actually hire someone to clean your house!” I try to keep my house clean and tidy at all times. My Cinderella helpers do their chores every week – The older ones vacuum and mop, the younger ones do the dusting! ( The younger ones love to spray pledge that sometimes the floor gets s

Everyday should be mother's day

Why I celebrate Mother’s Day – by Nicole, age 7 We celebrate Mother’s Day because They care for us. They tuck us in at night. When we are bad and when they punish us, they still love us. They love us all the time. They sing to us before we go to sleep. Moms bring us to school and pick us up. Moms give us hugs and kisses. They wake us up and give us hugs and kisses. When we come home after school, they are happy. They think about us all the time. Sometimes moms play with their kids. They are happy for us when they see a good report card. They help us when we are sick. They stay with you when you are in the hospital. Sometimes moms give babies or kids a bath. Sometimes moms help their kids with their homework. Sometimes moms stay with their kids at the doctor’s. All of these and manu more. To all the mothers, Happy Mother’s Day And to my mom – She works very HARD at home, and on Mother’s Day She will have to relax for a LOT OF DAYS. - Written by Nicole