Mama’s Day Out

I love my kids and husband to bits but sometimes it’s nice (and necessary!) to have time away. I had much needed me time today. Just a few hours though, because I had only one bag of expressed milk for Paco and had to be home before he needed a second bottle.

So what did I do? Not get a mani-pedi, although my nails are in a sad state. I went out and ate.

First stop was SM Aura, where I had churros from Churreria La Lola. The churros is perfect, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. It’s nice and quite big, unlike the Dulcinea churros which is a little on the scrawny side. At La Lola, they fry it in front of you, but it isn’t too oily, then they dust it with sugar. Mmm-mmm-mmm-mmm-mmm! I always order chocolate to dip it in. It’s warm and thick, not too sweet, and coats the churros just right. There are six pieces in the medium box (they don’t offer a small though) and I can finish it all. Oink, oink! I’d have taken a photo but I thought of writing this blog post only after I had wolfed it down.

I paired it with a flat white from Toby’s Estate.


Man, is that coffee g double o d good! The first time I ordered it, I knew it would be excellent because it didn’t look at all watered down. It was thick and caramelly and just seemed like the perfect cup of coffee. I’ve been hooked on it since! I seem to be craving good, strong coffee lately and have been drinking two cups a day. I didn’t spend too much time in SM Aura. I also bought a swimsuit but let’s keep that between us, shall we?

Next, I went to Bonifacio High Street for The Gourmand Market.


It’s an outdoor food fair and I believe this is the second time they put it up. It was quite nice, with wooden picnic tables around where you could sit and eat whatever food you bought from the stalls. There was all sorts of food – uncooked meat, ready to eat meals, drinks, ice cream, cakes and cookies.


I had every intention of having lunch there but nothing called out to me. Instead, I bought a couple of bottles of cold brew for Julio and some monogrammed hand-woven napkins. Lunch was so-so sushi from Marketplace, where I also bought potted herbs. I considered having a nice, leisurely lunch at TWG but I had lingered long enough and it was nearly time for me to head home.

Shortly after I got home, Julio and I went to an Aussie surplus store called Aussie Surplus (haha!). I’d been meaning to stop by to canvass for a circular saw or a jigsaw. That place was cheap! I ended up buying a compound mitre saw for only P1,100. It normally sells for more than P10,000 brand new! The owner of this brand must be Pinoy, because Ozito = Aussie ‘to. Hehe.


This purchase I was beyond excited about. The whole ride home, I kept mumbling, “Cool… Cool… Cool…” and wondered what my first project would be. My husband probably thought I was nuts. But, yeah, I’m so super excited – this will take my DIY-ing to a whole new level!



Ate Bea

Bea has quickly gotten used to having a sibling.

While we were in hospital, Bea stayed at my parents’ house. I decided that it would be best for her not to visit, because she could catch whatever sickness if she did. So she and my mom fetched me and Paco from the hospital on the day we were discharged. I didn’t want her to come home to find a strange baby in the house, although we prepped her months before. Julio and his mom rode in another car. I was sitting on a wheelchair by the hospital driveway, holding Paco in my arms, and suddenly there she was, standing a few feet away from me. I’ll never forget the look on her face. She was incredibly excited to see me, but she was apprehensive about the little bundle in my arms. Her Manang Gina brought her closer and I hugged her as best I could and told her I missed her. Then I introduced her to Paco. In the car, she sat on my lap and Gina held Paco. Bea was curious but didn’t want to come any closer. When we got home, she asked to hold him so I made her sit on the couch hold out her arms, and put Paco in her lap. After less than a minute, she asked, “Can you get him na?”


Bea loves to nuzzle her little brother and always pulls on my arm when I’m holding him so I can bend over and she can rub her nose against his cheek or give him a kiss. She used to pinch her tummy while she drinks her milk but now she’s taken to rubbing either one of his fingers or one of his toes.


We co-sleep (trying to move her to her big girl room is for another blog post!), and the first couple of nights after Paco came home were difficult for her. I was afraid it would go on that way for a while! The first night, I put a pillow between the two kids because I was afraid she would roll over him in her sleep. That was the least of my worries! Paco would wake up crying, wanting his milk, and Bea, not used to the noise, would also wake up but kicking and screaming. I had to tell her several times not to kick because she could accidentally kick Paco but in her sleepy and muddled state, she couldn’t/wouldn’t comprehend. Julio had to restrain her and she soon fell asleep again. So instead of nursing side-lying like I would have liked, I had to do it cradle-hold and hold Bea with my other hand to calm her down. The second night, the same thing happened but she kept kicking out so Julio picked her up and put her on the floor. That made her livid! She screamed louder and cried harder. I talked to her and told her if she was ready to stop kicking then she could come back up. Otherwise, she’d have to stay on the floor. After a while (it seemed like forever), she quieted down and climbed back on the bed. Since then, she and Julio have slept through Paco’s wails and I’m the only one who wakes up!



Enrique Francisco Veloso

Baby Paco is 2 months old! Enrique Francisco Bengzon Veloso was born on September 10, 2014 at 10:20 a.m.


Julio and I went to the hospital the night before. The admitting process was an ordeal in itself! The waiting time was crazy. When we were finally brought to my room, they put an IV in. Let me tell you, it was not easy wheeling the dextrose to the bathroom every time I needed to pee!


The next morning, the nurses prepped me for my c-section. In the OR, one of the nurses made me lay on my side and contort my body to expose my spine so the anesthesiologist could give me an epidural. When the anesthesia kicked in, so did my anxiety. They placed blankets on my torso and tied down my arms. Then I started to panic. I couldn’t feel anything below my chest but I knew the doctor was prodding and pulling. I suddenly felt claustrophobic – I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move my body, the blankets were too heavy and I was too warm. The nurse placed an oxygen mask over my nose and mouth and told me to inhale deeply. Soon after, I heard my baby cry. Then they showed him to me. It felt like one of those times when you order wine at a restaurant and the waiter brings you the bottle and pours you a teeny bit to taste. You take a sip and have no idea what it is you should be tasting but you nod and smile anyway and the waiter pours the wine for the rest of the party. When they brought Paco to me, I looked at him and smiled a little and said hello. Honestly, I don’t want to sound like a bad mother but I didn’t feel anything for the infant who was on my chest. I knew he was my son but there was no sudden outpouring of love for this child. It wasn’t instantaneous with Bea either.

They took Paco away to clean him up and check him before they brought him back to me to nurse him. The embarrassment of having my breasts exposed for the male nurse, who was holding Paco, to see was soon replaced by my coaxing Paco to latch on. I watched him as he suckled away, waiting for the emotions to hit me. We were both brought to the recovery room where I alternated between trying to move my toes and feeding him. I wanted to go back to my room, to my husband, and I knew that being able to wiggle my toes meant that the anesthesia was wearing off and they’d let me go. It was a while before I was finally brought to my room though. That night, I barely slept. Paco wanted to nurse every hour and the nurses kept coming in to check my temperature and blood pressure and Paco’s too. And that night, I wanted to give up breastfeeding. I didn’t have any trouble with Bea, but with Paco it was excruciating. We’ve kept at it though, and it’s now much, much easier. As I type this, he’s fast asleep in my arms but latched on and sucking intermittently. He still keeps me up at night, waking up almost every hour!


Going back to my confession. I was very protective of Paco but I didn’t love him. Not yet, anyway. When I would look at him, there was no warming of my heart or feeling of tenderness towards him. About a week later, it just hit me. I was looking at him and all the emotions came out. Suddenly he turned from just a baby to MY baby boy. The space in my heart that I thought I had given all to Bea expanded to make room for Paco, and my love has multiplied to encompass them both. It’s amazing how that’s possible. And it’s absolutely wonderful to watch him grow and develop. He has started to respond with coos and smiles when we talk to him, and it makes me melt every time.



Hello Again

Why, hey there!

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? So much has happened since my last post, which was back in December. Seven months of silence on Spoon and Hammer. Wanna know what else is on its seventh month?


Yep, baby #2 is on the way! Julio and I are ecstatic, and so is Bea. She’s always asking what the baby is doing and insists on kissing and hugging my belly goodnight. Sometimes, when I’m putting her down for a nap, she’ll lift up my shirt or dress and rub my bump. Hopefully she doesn’t get too jealous of the baby when it’s born. I’ve already asked her to help me with the baby – help me take care of it, give the baby a bath, teach it to sign (it’s cute – she started watching Baby Signing Time again to refresh her signing skills!), teach the baby the songs she knows, etc. And she seems pretty gung-ho about it!

So… what is it? We’re having a BOY! I’m a little worried. I realized I have no rapport with little boys and have no idea what to do with one, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’ll be as easy as his big sister was. Bea wanted a baby sister because she finds her male cousins a bit too rowdy for her taste. I told her she can help teach him to behave, and that warmed her to the idea of a baby brother. She now goes around saying she also has a baby in her belly, and she’ll have two baby brothers. Oh boy.




A Mid-week Break

When my sister and her fiancé (now husband) got engaged, they knew they wanted a small wedding. But in Manila, having a wedding with only 50 guests is close to impossible. A lot of toes will be stepped on, there will be loads of hard feelings. So Isabel and Nicky decided to have their wedding on a weekday and invite just their families and closest friends.

Which is what we drove to Tagaytay on a Tuesday for. My mom said we would schedule to leave at 10 a.m. and of course, we didn’t leave until nearly an hour later. Here’s Bea, all ready to go. I packed several snacks for her to eat in case she got hungry in the car, and she didn’t touch a single one.


We stopped for lunch in Sta. Rosa and it was another 45 minutes to an hour before we reached our destination, Balai Taal.

This gorgeous house was to be our home for a couple of nights. This place was huge! There were 5 bedrooms, plus maids’ quarters, a living room for each floor, a dining room and kitchen on the bottom floor, and a garden. We all fit quite comfortably.


The view was amazing. I would sit on the lounge chair by our bedroom, which was right next to a window with a view of Taal Lake, and try to read a book. My dad, who loves the sun, was soaking in the view too.


We all took advantage of the lazy day and disappeared into our rooms for a siesta, only to emerge a couple of hours later to have merienda at Bag of Beans. By the time we got there, it was getting a bit close to dinner time so we decided to stop by Santis and buy Wasa crackers, salami and cheese for a light dinner. Isabel was getting a little stressed too, so it was good that we had a relaxed dinner at the house instead of shuttling everyone out to a restaurant.

Marmalade with cheese sounds gross but it was actually really good with the Roquefort cheese – not so much with the brie.


The garden lights were turned on once evening hit, and it made the place look even better. Nicky’s family rented that identical house next door.


My younger brother, Jiro, and his girlfriend, Cristina, drove to Tagaytay after work that day and only arrived at the house after dinner. Apparently Jiro had badgered Cristina so much about leaving Manila already that she forgot her dress at home. Yes. The dress she was to wear for the wedding. Luckily, my older brother and his family were arriving from Singapore early the next day so the driver could swing by Cristina’s house to pick up the dress before heading to the airport. Crisis averted.

The next morning, the big day, I woke up early to catch up on my reading and admire the view from my divan. Later on, I hear the shuffling of feet in our bedroom, and out comes this little sweetheart.


After a leisurely breakfast at Starbucks, we all headed back to the house to relax before it was time to get ready. We had one mission: to tire Bea out so she would nap before the wedding and walk down the aisle as flower girl. So out came the bubble wand.


In the end, everyone else but her seemed to be tired. True enough, she only fell asleep on the way to the church. She only woke up when we removed her from her car seat. She consented to practice walking beside me, and that went well. Did she walk down the aisle? I’d love to say yes. Bea took one look at the strangers around her and decided she’d rather be carried, thank you very much.

The church was small, but beautiful. It had brick walls and large stained-glass windows. Most brides are weepy when they walk down the aisle, but my sister laughed as she neared the altar. She found it funny that Nicky (and everyone) was crying. That was the first of many amusing things that happened that night.

The reception was held at Antonio’s. I love that restaurant and would dine there more often if I could. The food was delicious and the speeches heartwarming. My dad had a few drinks, which was a shocker because he doesn’t really drink! But we all enjoyed ourselves. I love my family. My sister was a beautiful bride. And her groom wasn’t so bad either.


The next morning, we all gathered at the dining area for a breakfast of McDonald’s sausage mcmuffins and hash browns. While Isabel and Nicky had to stay behind to have lunch with his family, the rest of us checked out and had lunch at Taalena. It’s a restaurant that serves Filipino food along the ridge.

And because of all that eating, I decided – no, needed – to go on a diet.


October 1, 2013

My sister is getting married this afternoon.

The whole family, except my older brother, his wife, and their son (who fly in from Singapore today) arrived at Tagaytay yesterday and will be staying until tomorrow. We’re staying in a gorgeous 3-level house in Balai Taal that has a great view of Taal lake. Isabel’s fiancé and soon-to-be in-laws are staying in an identical house next to ours.

For dinner last night, we bought wine, cold cuts, cheese and bread from Säntis and had a very relaxed meal in the dining area. I think my sister appreciated that. She was getting slightly stressed about the gifts for the principal sponsors, and I guess just a little anxious about the big day.

I’m a bit anxious myself.

She’ll always be my little sister (but bigger than me) and, although I’m older by eight years, I like to think we have a good relationship. It could be better, but I think we’re quite close. When she was a toddler, I used to carry her around the house and we would wear matching dresses (our mom’s idea, not ours).

For someone who, as a little girl, once thought holding hands was scandalous, she has come a long way. Isabel has found in Nicky her best friend, business partner, and soulmate. They’re so much alike and can be mistaken for siblings, if not for all the cheesiness and PDA.

She, of course, will be moving in with her new husband. I will miss arriving at Abada and seeing Isabel coming down for breakfast, with bed head and still in her pajamas. I will miss seeing her beg Bea for a kiss and a hug on her way out. She and Nicky will live in Makati and although she promises to visit often, I don’t think I will see her aside from the regular Sunday family dinners. When we were younger, our parents always insisted on having meals as a family, and I suppose that’s the main reason my siblings and I have the relationship we have today. After I got married, Jiro, Isabel and I got together a few times for sibling lunches but that stopped when I had Bea. We finally had one again about a month ago, and I think we should try to make it a regular date.

I’m sure the wedding will be beautiful and the food will be superb. I like Nicky and know that he will love and take care of Isabel, but I can’t help but feel a little sentimental that my little sister will no longer be my little sister by the end of the day – if that makes any sense.


Mommy Confession

Motherhood has been pretty gratifying for me. I guess it helped that Bea was such an easy baby – hardly ever fussy and we could bring her everywhere. If there were any sleepless nights during her infancy, there weren’t enough for me to remember. When she was younger, she was not at all a picky eater. Julio and I took her with us on our Southeast Asia tour and I was quite surprised at how easy it was to travel with her. She ate whatever we ate, slept wherever we slept and hardly complained. My daughter will be two years old next Saturday, and I often find myself wondering where the time has gone. Bea is, of course, still my baby but in some ways she isn’t anymore. She’s starting to test her independence and sometimes it makes me a little sad when she won’t let me brush her teeth because she wants to do it on her own, or wants to use her utensils by herself. I’m still who she looks for when she wakes up in the morning, and she’s very attached to me. I suppose it’s because she and I are almost always together.

I work full-time for my dad and our office is in his house, so I bring Bea with me to work every day. Now that she’s older, she’s more mobile and more vocal.  Many times she comes to me while I’m working, saying “Play, Mama!” or “Mama, carry!” Sometimes I’ll stop what I’m doing and play with her for a few minutes, but there are times I’m working on something that can’t wait. I tell her Mama is working and, more often than not, she’ll throw a fit.

Who else whips out their iPad or throws in the TV card when this happens? Anybody? Is it just me?

That’s where the guilty feelings come to play. I tell her that Manang Angie (our helper) will play with her, or tell her to go watch Baby TV, or give her the iPad. And I know I shouldn’t, that I should be taking the time out to play with her. I tell myself I’ll play with her when we get home. But when we get home, I have to prepare dinner and she hangs out at my in-laws’ house until it’s time for bed. There are also times I’m not doing anything important, just surfing the net or checking Twitter (fine, and Facebook) and Bea will come to me, asking me to carry her or play. Most of the time I’ll do it but there are days when I just don’t want to be bothered, and I’ll turn on the TV and plop her down in front of it or hand her the iPad.

At the rate she’s growing, the day is going to come when Bea won’t want to play with me anymore and I’ll end up being the one imploring her to spend more time with me. So I guess work can wait even 10 minutes while I go cuddle and play with my little girl when she asks me to.