Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pigeon's MagMag: A Product Review

My husband's cousin first influenced me to buy the Pigeon Magmag.  To her point, it is a cup that "grows" with your baby.  It seemed to me like a great idea at that time because you can change the top depending on the age of your child.

We bought the set at the SM Baby Company for Php 699.75.  It comes with a 180ml cup, a handle and 3 different tops: the nipple top, spout top and the straw top.  The cup is easy to grasp, non slippery and it claimed to be spill proof. 

The nipple top is designed for newborns, which is perfect for me.  A tip: if you're breastfeeding your baby, you'd want to stick to a slow flow nipple. 

When my son was around 6 months old, we switched to the Spout top.  He found the spout too soft and refused to take it.  All he did really was bit on it but never really drank from the spout.  He'd rather drink from a regular cup.

So we had him try the Straw top at that age.  Surprisingly, he drank using the straw top like a pro!  There were days though that he'd suck on the water really strong that he'd end up coughing.

What's great about the MagMag is that it is BPA free (all pigeon products now are) and my son can easily grip the handles.  The flip cover of the straw spout is easy to open.  My son can easily do that without any help.

We used the magmag pretty much everywhere we go.  Lately though, we had to bring a zip lock bag so that the water would not spill inside the diaper bag.  We've been using the straw top for several months now which made me think that maybe it is time to replace the straw.  It would be great if a recommendation on how often the straws need to be replaced is written on the box.

So far, I didnt see any MagMag set that came with a different color.  The cup and the tops are colored orange and I'm not really a big fan of that color.  Cleaning the straw top is a bit of a challenge too.   I suggest that you also buy the MagMag Straw brush which is sold separately.  The brush is made of stainless wire with nylon bristle and only costs around Php 150.   The cup can only hold 180ml of water so for a toddler (like mine) who drinks a lot, that may not be enough.

To summarize:
Pros - BPA Free, easy to grip, easy to open, multiple tops, reasonable price
Cons - leaks, spout is a little too soft, straw is difficult to clean, no other colors available, small cup

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Don’t Make The Mistake Of Paying Later…

A good friend of mine at work shared this with me.  This only made me re-assess my life. 
Most mornings, I bike with my two boys around our village. 

Actually they bike and I run after them.

Because I don’t have a bike (mine is broken). 

But I don’t mind.

 Because that means they win our races. And they have fun laughing at their father who always comes last, my tongue hanging out of my mouth, ready to faint.

 This morning, after biking, we also played chess and checkers. Obviously, I beat them in every game. (Sweet Revenge!)
Some days, we play the Wii together. It’s an interactive game console and we have loads of fun doing that. From pingpong to bowling to flying to car racing. (Yes, the old guy looses again.)
And if I can get off from work a bit early, we’ll go running and biking again in the afternoon.
My point? 
I spend an enormous amount of time with my kids.
Is it difficult?
You bet.
I do a lot of stuff. I run 12 businesses. I lead 9 non-profit organizations. I preach 300 times a year. I write 80 articles a month.
But I’ve made a decision that nothing is more important than my family.
Here’s what I learned about life: You either pay now or you pay later. If you pay later, it’ll cost more.
I don’t want to pay later. It’ll cost me 100 times more!
Like some parents I know. Sadly, they never spent time with their kids.  In other words, they didn’t pay before.
Today, these parents are paying. They sit restless at night, crying, worrying about their adult children. And they ask these very painful questions:
• “Why is my son hanging out with the wrong crowd?”
• “Is my son drinking too much? Is he taking drugs too?”
• “Why did my daughter choose that bum as her boyfriend?”
• “Will my son ever grow up and take responsibility?”
• “What have I done wrong as a parent?”
I ask you: Don’t pay later. 
It’s more painful that way.
No matter how difficult, pay now.
Spend time with your kids.
Make it faithful. Make it fun. Make it fantastic.
May your dreams come true,
Bo Sanchez


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm Thankful for.............

Thanksgiving is a holiday in the United States celebrated every 4th Thursday of November.  When the Europeans first arrived in the US, they brought with them their tradition in celebrating safe voyage and good harvest.

In spirit of the holiday, I've listed a few of the many things and people that I am thankful for this year

My husband
   who is doing such a great job in making sure that he takes care of things that I couldn't (a.k.a. my daughter's projects, PTA meetings, assignments, research, etc.);
   who has been very supportive with my career 

My daughter
   who has been very loving and caring for her younger brother;
   who has kept her grades up even if I hardly have the time to tutor her;
   who is very understanding and ulitmately the best daughter ever!

My son
   who despite the fact that he has been diagnosed with asthma hasn't had any attacks (knock on wood) for the past 8 months;
   who grew to be a smart and very loving little boy

My Parents
   who continue to spoil and love my kids;
   who constantly challenge me since I was a kid.  I wouldnt be who I am now.

My In-laws
    for giving my kids the love and attention in the absence of my parents who live in the province and for the support too.

Yaya Beth 
   Finally!! A nanny I could trust and who love my kids as much as I do. 

Finally, a few more people to thank for
   The people and the friends that I have created in the online community;
   My breastfriends in making sure that I am successful in my breastfeeding journey.  Yes, I have met my goal which is to make it for one year and now I'm raising the bar at 2 years minimum.
   My job, colleagues and my boss.  I have the best team and the best mentor and my job pays for our expenses at home.  Enough said.

The list could be endless if you think about it.  

What about you?  What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Christmas Party @ AVENTopia

My family was one of the lucky group who scored an invite to the Exclusive Avent Christmas Party last November 19.  Although I know that I'd be coming from my graveyard shift, I went ahead and confirmed my attendance. 

Getting There

The Avent staff was kind enough to provide transportation going to the LJS building from SM centerpoint.  So we went there at exactly 2:30.  You should see the panic on my face when I couldn't see any Avent Van or Avent staff wearing a green shirt.  I thought they left.  So I started calling the contact numbers I had on my phone (Sorry for the hassle Avent.  That was me, sleep deprived and panicking).

Traffic was really bad but when we arrived at the LJS Building, the staff greeting us with smiles on their faces which made us feel less tired.


Contrary to the other parties, the games were played after everyone has had their turn at the buffet table.  The food was great.  For the kids, they have spaghetti and hotdogs.  For the young at heart, they have rice, beef with mushroom, fish fillet and yes, LECHON.  Then there's the dessert table that my son and my daughter enjoyed.  They have a chocolate fountain where you can dip the pretzels, the marshmallows and the sliced apples and grapes.  I couldnt help but allow my son to have a taste of this chocolatey treat.

Baby Brent, the boy with the Best in Costume

What I loved about it is how they make sure everyone participated in the games.  I may be sleep deprived but the kid in me couldnt wait to have my turn.  A total of 5 games were played.  The staff did a great job in incorporating their products in the party games such as the "Interchange me" game highlighting the interchangeability of the Avent products and the Avent Pinoy Henyo.  The highlight of the party was when the Baby with the Best Costume was announced.  Baby Brent won hands down with his soldier costume.

It's a party for the mommies, daddies and the babies too!!

Prizes/Loot bag

Avent has been very generous with their prizes ranging from the Sunnex Flask, Avent Insulated cups, to the Feeding sets, Aranaz bag to the mini blender.  And everyone pretty much went home a winner because everyone took home a loot bag with all the Avent/Sunnex/Aprica goodies.

Everyone had a blast.  It was great to have met those mommies that we have bonded with in the online community. 

"Thank you Avent for being instrumental in the newfound friendships that started with our love for your products.  We're all honored to be part of the Avent community!"

photos by Grace Rey

Friday, November 18, 2011


My daughter explored her creativity by writing a poem for "Santa."

by Alyssa Nicette

There's only one day that I like the best
It is christmas day like a fest
We give gifts and love
to open our hearts up above

It's like a day that never ends
and celebrating with my friends
And if someone asks my favorite holiday
I'll "Christmas cheer" my way out to play

It's the "BER" month.  Don't you think her poem is just timely?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Breastfriends

Breastfeeding my son was perhaps the best decisions that I've made in my life.  Not only I was able to provide the best nutrition for my son, our bond was incomparable.  Breastfeeding moms, they say, need all the support that they can get in order to be successful.  I have met people and learned about things in my breastfeeding journey.  They are what I call my "Breastfriends."

La Leche League - Manila.  La Leche is an international non profit organization that provides education, support, information and encouragement to women who wants to breastfeed.  My endless netsurfing has lead me to the La Leche meeting information and without any hesitations I confirmed my attendance.  Abby Yabot, the La Leche leader was very accommodating.  What I like about it is that everyone is there to help everyone.

Mommy Treats - Galactagogues-full yummy muffins, cookies and brownies.  Malunggay leaves and malunggay capsules work for sometime but nothing beats Mommy Treats.  I noticed that my milk became creamier and my milk supply didn't dip even if my stress level increased.  Oh and they're organic, even my son and daughter loves it too.

Next 9 Ring Sling - Probably the best thing I won on a contest. With the ring sling I am able to wear my baby and breastfeed at the same time.  The sling has a tail that can double as a cover. Perfect when nursing in public.

Boncho - Before I had the ring sling, I purchased a Boncho (breastfeeding poncho) from Indigo Baby.  This is not just a breastfeeding cover but a stylish piece of clothing.  You can wear it in 14 different ways.  So I use it as a shrug when we're at the malls and then transform it to a breastfeeding cover if my little one wants to feed.

It's not just for the nursing mom.

Breastpump - For working moms like me, the breastpump is more of a necessity.  I need to keep my milk supply up and what better way to do it than to sneak in 2-3 sessions within my 9-hour shift.  My Avent Isis on-the-go is the best birthday gift I got last year.  It comes with the manual pump, two ice packs, two milk bottles, a newborn nipple, insulated bag, extra parts, instruction manual and a couple of breast pads.  It's simply on-the-go because everything that a working mom needs is found in that small box. 

Avent Isis Manual Pump, via cup (not part of the set) and the insulated bag shown above.  The set comes with breast pads, gel packs and another feeding bottle.

Breastmilk containers - I need to keep my stash organized so my yaya knows which milk to thaw or use first.  For the containers, I love the Avent via cups.  With the use of the adaptor, you can pump directly to the cup and store it in the refridgerator.  Use the same adaptor and screw the cap with the newborn flow nipple and you can already feed your milk to your baby. OR just unscrew the lid of the via cup and you can immediately offer that to your toddler.  Best thing about the container is that it's stackable and reusable too.

I also like Babymama's spectra bags.  I got this as a freebie from Mommy Treats.  It's self standing, freezer safe, pre-sterilized, ziplock, self standing, BPA free and you can store up to 9oz.  For a box of 30, you only need to pay 200php -- that's around 7 pesos per piece.  

Ice Packs - Even if my Avent Isis on-the-go Set comes with two gel packs, I bought extra packs from Babymama.  It can keep your milk cold for 12 hours and its cheap at 100php for a pack of 4. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

LJS Annual Bodega Sale

My husband and I went to the Bodega sale never really expecting what to find.  Going there was a bit of a challenge.  Coming from my office in Makati, it took us almost an hour (including the traffic); and to think that we took a cab.  I'm not really that good with directions so I trust my husband with that.

You'll know you're near the place if you saw Lourdes Hospital and they put up a lot of signs. Yup, even the pedicab has one. 

The way I see it, everything is a STEAL.  Avent feeding items are 20% off.  Some of the bottles are now at 50% off.  There are a lot of Sunnex pots and pans sold at 50% off.  I was too distracted with the Sale to take note of everything.  And the staff are so accommodating too. 

We stayed there for about an hour.  We were able to buy a 30-cm Sunnex non stick frying pan for 575php from 1149php and a Chef's Classic 18-cm pot for 200php from the original price of 400php.  We also bought a few more things like a knife and a couple of cleaning items and got a free eco bag.  

Sale is still up until tomorrow.  They are open from 9am to 2pm.  To see the map, visit Avent, Sunnex or Aprica FB fanpage.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thoughful Conversations

My daughter and I recently had this conversation:
Daughter: "Mama, I feel sad."
Me: "Sad? Why?"
Daughter: "Because your attention is always with Andre and I miss you."
It broke my heart especially when I saw tears welling in her eyes.  I may have
been too busy to notice.
I shared this with my husband and think of ways how we can equally divide
our time with our siblings.  So we came up with Alyssa day and Andre day. 
On Alyssa day, she can spend the entire day with us doing whatever she
wants.  It can be as simple as just going out and having ice cream and talk
talk talk. 
I was heartbroken when she said that but a part of me is glad. 
I'm glad that I was able to develop a relationship with her where she feels
that she can open up to me; that what she feels and what she thinks matter.
I'm glad to see how much she has grown.  That instead of throwing tantrums
to show her sadness and lack of attention, she actually talks about how she
I'm glad that she gave me the chance to see that there are things that needs
to change in our family.
I told her that I don't love her any less and that I miss her too.  I said I'm
sorry if I didn't notice how much attention I've given Andre.  I explained that
I'm still nursing her baby brother that's why he's always with me.  Then I
thanked her for letting me know how she feels and how much I've
appreciated that.
Seeing how my daughter reacted made me think, I must have done something

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Getting the Kids involved in the Pregnancy

All attention are most often focused on the arrival of the new baby.  If there
is one thing that my husband and I dont want to happen is for our older
child to envy, if not resent her baby brother.  We want to see them grow up
loving and supporting each other.  So we got her involved in the pregnancy
right from the start.  Here are some of the things that you too can do to get
your kids involved:

Take her with you during pre-natal visits.  You can do this in all trimesters of your pregnancy.  Treat every visit like a field trip.  Explain what the doctor
is checking and have her listen to the baby's heartbeat.  We usually schedule
our pre-natal check ups every saturday so my daughter can join us and then
we go out for a chocolate milkshake.

Guessing Game.  You pretty much have 5-6 months to guess the baby's
gender.  You can make it fun by saying that whoever gets it right, will get an
ice cream.  Bring everyone along on the day that you're due to get an
ultrasound.  Don't worry.  This game will work too even if you only have one
child.  You and you husband can join in the guessing game.

Name Game.   Now that you know what the baby's gender is, it's time to
think of baby names.  This is probably my daughter's favorite.  My husband
and I decided that we're going to let her name her baby brother.  Until my
daughter said that she'd like her brother to be called as "Beast" if she is
"Belle" (she likes Beauty and the Beast by the way) because they're partners. 
My daughter thought of crazy names including Zohan...yup...taken from the
movie of the same title.  We knew there is a need for us to supervise but we
definitely had a lot of fun doing that.

Shopping.  When shopping for your new baby, give your older child a
budget and a list of things that you need.  You can maybe assign her to
choose the cutest little bootie or a few bibs.  That will give her a sense of
accomplishment and pride that she "bought" the bootie that the baby is
wearing.  Never mind if the one she chose are not the ones that you really

Snuggle time.  Before going to bed (or anytime during the day), snuggle with
her and let her feel your tummy.  While doing that, you can tell her stories
about how you felt when she was inside your womb -- how you felt the first
time you found out you were pregnant or how you felt the first time you
heard her heartbeat.  Make her feel that she is as special as the baby inside
your womb now.  This is the best time to reassure her that no matter what
everyone will say, a mother and a father's heart is always big enough to
make room for one more.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mom's Day Out: The Paintball Experience

I've seen videos.  I've seen pictures.  I've heard stories about paintball but I've never played an actual game.  So when our Senior Manager suggested this as a Team
Building activity, I couldn't help but feel excited.  It was a pretty darn good idea to me.  Plus we had a great deal at 200 per person for a 1 day pass to any Global Gutz
Paintball Park with Full Gear and Equipment.

Most of us will be coming from the workplace in Makati.  Getting there only took about 10-15 minutes with moderate traffic.  Global Gutz is located at the Philippine Army Gymnasium compound in Fort Bonifacio, btw.   We got pretty confused when we got there because we didnt see any sign whatsoever on where the field actually
is.  We eventually figured it out after asking a few people.

Getting Ready
Since majority of us never played paintball once in our lives, one of the employees was kind enough to introduce us to the basics.  He showed us how to use the gun or the paintball marker and the different safety precautions.

The ammunition was not what I thought it would be.  I pictured large squishy balls that breaks and will actually drench you when you get hit.  Contrary to that, it was as small and almost as hard as a marble.  This explains why you should NEVER remove your mask when the game is ongoing and you are on the field. 

waiting for our turn in the field

Game On
So we put on our protective vests and masks.  The vest only covered our neck, chest and shoulders which makes our arms and our legs vulnerable.  We put our game face on and head on to the field.  We didn't even notice how long we were playing.  What's important is we defeat our opponent and we do not get hit.

Our team played a total of 4 games.  I ended up playing on 1 out of the 4.  Lack of sleep (yes, we came straight from our Graveyard shifts), exercise, food and the heat was too much for me.  And my legs were pretty shaky after that one game.  It was like as if I did lunges, squats and leg press for what seem like forever.  That's what I get for not getting my butt back to the gym.  Everyone enjoyed so much that we're actually thinking of doing this again.  Maybe this time we'll make sure that I have sandwiches in my bag and I rest the day before the activity.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What to Expect When Mommy is Having a Baby: A Book Review

One of the things that parents prepare and sometimes dread is the talk about the birds and the bees.  How much information should we give and are these information age appropriate?

My daughter was 5 when she said that she wanted a baby brother; 7 when me and my husband started trying for baby number 2 and 8 when I finally got pregnant.  My husband and I are already anticipating her questions when we stumble upon the book written by Heidi Murkoff.  What to Expect When Mommy is Having a Baby is every parent's best friend.  Heidi Murkoff is the co-author of the book What to Expect When You’re expecting.  The book answers questions from how babies are made to how babies get out of the womb.  To make it more fun, the author created a character named Angus who gives out bits of information along the way. The book is recommended for children ages 3-5 but we still find the book useful even if our daughter was 8 when we found this.

The first part of the of the book is the author's note to the parents -- congratulating them on the new baby and acknowledging the fact that explaining the pregnancy to a toddler could be quite a challenge.  The book not only answers some of the questions and at the same time the topics in the book could serve as a springboard for further discussions.  For some who might be reading this book to anyone younger, the author recommended that the parents should read the book first and decide which information is appropriate for their child/children. 

Each pages addresses a question that children may have.  The answers were straightforward and any child could understand.  There are also activities for the kids in relation to the question.  My daughter's favorite activity was to roll herself in a blanket because according to the book, that's how the baby feels like inside the uterus.  She's probably done that almost everytime we finish reading it.

The topics that were covered are:

  • Where is the baby?
  • How did the baby get in there?
  • How can a baby fit inside mommy?
  • What makes the baby grow? How can I help?
  • How does the baby eat?
  • Can the baby hear and see me?
  • What does the baby do all day?
  • Why doesn’t mommy feel well sometimes?
  • Why does mommy go to the doctor so much?
  • When will the baby come out? How does it get out?

We found the book at a perfect time.  We sat down as a family to read it and took time to answer additional questions.   The most difficult question that my daughter asked so far was, “Mama, where is the birth canal?  Can I see it?”  So you can imagine what our faces looked like she asked that.

What I love about the book is that it helped my daughter somewhat understand what any mommy is going through when she’s pregnant.  If I don’t feel well, she’ll just say “I know. You’re not sick. You’re just pregnant.”  Then she'll give me a kiss and run off to bug her father.  The book was instrumental in bringing us closer and getting her emotionally ready for her baby brother.  The time we spent together just talking and telling stories about the time when I was pregnant with her never fails to put a smile on her face.  And when her brother was born, she has nothing but love to offer to the new member of the family.

(This blog entry was posted in Smartparenting's online publication.)