‘LY’tters to my boys: on Friendship.

Mama got a little bit sad today. The news about the girl found in the bathtub after a night of partying with friends is the kind of news that no mama should ever get to hear. It made me think about how little time we have left in having you as little boys who we can keep under our watch. Soon enough, you will go out on your own, choose friends of your own, have a life on your own that in many ways do not include us. And it makes me think if we can ever do enough to mold you and shape you and most of all to protect you from all things bad out there in the real world.

Mama’s prayer ever since both of you were in my tummy was always: Mama Mary, please guide, bless and protect my boys and keep an eye on them and keep them away from sickness and harm. You see, way before you were even born, I was already preparing myself for moments that I will have to watch you from afar, watch you walk away and lead a life completely separate from us. I don’t think I can ever prepare enough yet I know those days will soon come. As much as I want to keep you under my watch and under the same roof all the time, I know that would be too selfish of me. I am bringing you up to be independent, adventurous, street-smart men. As the second half of my daily prayers go: I pray that someday my boys grow up to be happy, healthy, extraordinary people who will someday make a positive difference in this world. And I know that in order to bring that prayer into life, I must let you go and let you be. Did you know Mama cried in the car when we first dropped you off in big school? Yes, Mama is a massive (bad word that starts with B) but this massive (bad word that starts with a B and ends with an H) cried watching the video when you first walked (Mama was at work), cried when you said your first words (Mama was at work again), cried when you drew me your first ‘love letter'(Mama was at work but came home to this), cry silently when you give me a hug out of nowhere and just because. So you can imagine how you growing up makes me feel. Mamas can be tough but we’re big piles of fluff and tears when it comes to our babies. I know you will tell me again I am OA but dude, it’s the truth.

My dear boys, Mama won’t always be around to pray for you, to watch over you and to protect you. And while we are still here and we still have the finite (a.k.a limited) time to dictate (a.k.a. tell) you what to do, how to do it, where to go, who to be with, I wish to share with you one of the most magical ‘gifts’ you can forever give yourself: FRIENDS. Friends are family that you get to choose.

You see, friends are the people who will get to share your amazing journey in discovering what you want and who you want to become. You will go on adventures with them, share the same likes and hobbies and things with them (like gaming and music and sports and some other stuff Mama doesn’t understand), they will be the ones you will find so easy to talk to because they will understand you (and know what you’re talking about – like what flexin’ and rage quitting means (!?!?) and who Elias of WWE is (?!?!) and who Lany is (!!!). Sometimes, you meet people you have nothing in common with but they end up making your world so much more colorful and you become friends. From now until a long time from now, you will meet many different kinds of people and many of them will become your ‘friends’. Please take into heart when I say: Friends are family that you get to choose. I pray with all of my heart that you choose people who will love you for who you are and not for what you have or what you can do for them. I pray that you choose people who will in somehow, someway take our place when we are not around: to guide you to choose what is right, to care for you when you are sick and to make you laugh after you cry, to pray for you and with you, to remind you to keep on keeping on and to tell you when you’ve had more than enough, to keep you safe and protect you when your defenses are down, to learn with you and grow with you and most of all, I hope you choose people who will make you feel like you are home at anytime of the day, anywhere in the world. You see, my dear sons, home is not only a house. It’s not the place where we live. Home is where we should feel most comfortable to be our true selves, to not feel afraid, to be safe and to feel at peace. And Mama’s prayers will always be about those: praying you will always find home, and that you will always have guidance and protection and peace of mind surrounded by family and friends you get to call family.

I’ve always believed that in my heyday (like, ew, this makes me sound ancient) wherever I went, whoever I was with and whatever I decided to do, my Mommy has sent her angels ahead to sprinkle my places of travel with her prayers of love and protection and I believe the same. Not all angels come flying in white dresses with wings and shiny bright halos. Sometimes angels are the people you play with during recess, the people who share with you half of their snacks (pre-Covid this was), the people you happen to share a nice song with (like Lil Nas or Dua Lipa who did not turn out to be a boyband – my bad.) Basically ‘angels’ can also be your friends – the people you choose to become part of your life and who choose you to become a part of theirs. My prayers can only do so much, boys, that’s why when you read this, take into heart: Friends are family that you get to choose. Mama and Daddy will not always be around, but we pray that angels keep you safe everyday and always.

Love you so much. So very much. – Mama Ly

Friends are family that we get to choose.

Money Matters: Credit Card Debt

We were never really taught about credit and taxes and managing funds in school and what little I knew of it, I kind of picked up from books and magazines and tidbits of overheard adult talk.

#moneymatters

I was always amazed at how much power a microchipped piece of plastic can yield. Blinded mostly, by the sheer convenience of just swiping away hard earned salary I literally couldn’t see. There’s a huge difference between paying cold hard cash and paying with a card, and it’s mostly psychological. No money in my wallet, nothing to spend. Simple. Credit card equals “I’ll pay this right after. Will go to the bank. Promise. Wipe this clean next payday.” Etcetera etcetera. The lies I told my 20-something self are now so cringey. 😅

Purchasing power!

Unless you were born into a family of financial gurus (I wasn’t) or was fortunate enough to be exposed to financial literacy during the developmental ages (nope, not I) or was born with an uncanny knack for math, fund management and self-control (def not me!), well then, my friend, we’re probably on the same boat. 😆

When we’re young and impressionable, we don’t initially pay attention to the interest rates or annual charges or the other details in the fine print. Until we have been sucked into the abysmal world of credit card debt.

At one point, I had 4 credit cards with credit limits exorbitant enough to pay for ten of my neighbors’ children. And as i was young, wild, free and reckless, didn’t really bother much with due dates and what nots. Until the bank and the bank’s collection arm started to bother me with it. Bothered me enough to awaken my financial conscience and take control of my wanton spending. What did I swipe for? Shoes, gadgets, bags. Mostly revolved around those items. Long story short, I slowly paid off my credit cards and stuck with only one.😊

Now, I usually prefer paying with a debit card instead. Or cash. Because out of sight, out of mind (this refers to my virtualy tucked away money, whether I really do have money to spend or not) and tangible money or money I can see/smell/touch, triggers my visual brain that no-money-in-wallet means nothing to pay for my shopping.

Cash. Tangible cash.

So what are the simple steps in saying no way josè to piling up credit card debt?

1. Read the fine print a.k.a. T&C (Terms and Conditions) of the bank. Some banks offer low interests rates and zero annual fees. Collect and select.

2. Be aware of your due dates. Calendarize it. Write it down. Set an alarm. Tell your mother. Do it. Pay on time.

3. Self-control. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. No Lizette, you don’t need 30 Muji ballpens, 10 notebooks and 5 different sizes of acrylic boxes plus a cute stapler.

4. Use the reward points. Credit card companies usually have marketing promos. “Get a free 2 piece Jollibee chickenjoy meal for every Php5000 single receipt purchase.” Yes! That means that’s one free lunch somewhere in the future. Most people use this feature to redeem miles for their #travelgoals but I’m really just happy with free meals.

5. Relative to #2: Pay on time. And pay in full. If you can. The idea of a credit card is to pay for something in advance. This is where the old adage comes in: Give credit where credit is due. (?!) And when credit is due, pay it pronto. This means you are a responsible, trustworthy adult who has enough discipline to maintain good credit standing in all aspects of the banking universe and with this, you can sleep in restful peace.

6. Relative to #5: If you have current credit card billS, the trick is to pay this off with consistency and persistency. Slowly but surely is the key to success. If you’re a visual person like me, type up or write up your budget and expenses in excel file and use the hoarded multi-colored highlighters and Muji pens to really see where your money goes.

Financial awakening is similar to the process of mourning: Denial (WTF I.do.not.spend.that.much.in.a. month!), Anger (pistingyawaanimalkulerabitok kamahal ba diay!), Bargaining (dear self, if you stop spending, I swear I will…*insert half hearted promise*), Depression (huhuhuhu self pity crying) and then finally, Acceptance and Awareness. And I would like to believe that this is where the real journey towards financial freedom truly begins.

Thank you for taking time to read as I’m really just writing this to remind myself not to repeat my past mistakes. 😇 The road to financial awareness is an interesting, but tough one. If you see me at the mall with my credit card, please approach me and check if the items I’m purchasing are essentials.😅 Catch you on the next installment of #moneymatters 🤗

Beach please.

This weekend marks 18 weeks of baby number two being hell bent on experiencing the wide spectrum of pregnancy symptoms known and unknown to mankind. From projectile vomiting, to debilitating cramps and dizzying migraines, lousy is an understatement in trying to describe the past 4 ½ months of this pregnancy.

This weekend also marks my lovely mothers 53rd birthday and I’ve been looking forward to this getaway for weeks. I needed to feel the sand between my toes and the sun on my skin and let the sea float the fugly preggy feelings away. How I look like in a bathing suit is an entirely different story for an entirely different blog entry.


Back to the beach. The best thing about living in the wonderful tropical island of Cebu, a close second to crispy, tasty, crunchy Cebuano lechon, is that you are only 30 minutes away from world renowned beaches. For dear mommy’s birthday weekend, we are staying at Movenpick Resort, located in Punta Engano, Mactan, Cebu City.


I have been waiting with bated breath to feel the lovely white sand beneath my feet and to taste salty water so you can just imagine the orgasmic sense of fulfilment when we got to the beach. The sun, sea and sand does waters for the tired and weary city soul.


So, as I sit here, staring out into the beautiful blue sea framed by a blazing orange sunset, I think about all the despicable choices I have made and all the crappy things I am stuck with because of the choices I made. But despite the significant amount of stress, I know my gratitude should be bigger than my regrets and my fears.


Thank you Mama Mary for my mom, the best kind of mother any kid could ever ask for. I pray for her good health, happiness and success and may you hear the deepest prayers of her heart.


Thank you Mama Mary for the gift of family time, for fulfilling weekends, for something to look forward to, for new adventures and for the gift of new life. All praises to you.


Now on the next adventure.

 

 

 

 

The Beautiful Miracle That Is Pregnancy.

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The beautiful miracle that is pregnancy. This tiny miracle mutant in your body begins to dictate every single aspect of your life from the way you sleep, to the way you eat, how you function at work, why you cry when you watch Revenge Body with Khloe Kardashian. Mothers do not own their bodies for nine whole months. For you to willingly accept a tenant in your own body who manipulates and controls every aspect of your being for a long period of time, that, that my dear friends, is True Love.

Did you know that your body can do a multitude of tasks at any given second? Yessss. Men have no idea about the maximum capacity of bodily functions because they never get pregnant. Yessss. You have not truly lived until you become a mother. Say for example, the mundane task of sneezing. Did you know that you can sneeze AND burp at the same time? Ha. Bet you didn’t know that. Bet you also didn’t know that brushing your teeth, regurgitation and peeing could happen at the same exact time too. Ha. You know nothing and your life experiences pale in comparison to the beautiful miracle that is pregnancy.

It’s awesome being pregnant. I also didn’t know you can produce so much saliva you start to think you can hydrate yourself without drinking any liquid. Bet you also didn’t know the super power of your olfactory nerves. You can actually smell what your neighbor three doors down is cooking for dinner, or what exact liquor your husband drank 18 hours ago. Ha. Bet you didn’t know that. Also, pregnancy is a contradiction of sorts, you don’t like the smell of cooking oil but you want stuff yourself senseless with fried spam, fried hotdog, fried pork, fried chicken. You become completely bipolar and you know it but you can’t really do anything about it. The things we find out during the beautiful miracle that is pregnancy.

It’s great being pregnant. Once the morning sickness goes away, the indigestion and the constipation takes over. Have you tried belching and barfing in supremely high decibels it would put the exorcism sound effects of Linda Blair and Emily Rose to shame? I didn’t know my vocal chords could do that. Seriously. The things we discover during the beautiful miracle that is pregnancy.

It’s lovely being pregnant. I go to work and when I come home at night, and ask the sperm donor husband if he bought me fuji apples and Chowking chicharap and he says, “I’ve had a long day. I forgot about it, I’m sorry. I’m tired.” And my head snaps and faster than you can say sperminator, the pregnant lady can start a verbal and physical assault of nuclear proportions, husband will want to go back to his mother’s womb and come out as a girl instead. Tip to Fathers: You are not growing an arm or a foot or building someone’s brain and liver, therefore, never, ever say you are busy, all the more, never ever say you are tired. And never ever forget the fuji apples and Chowking chicharap. Just breathe. And follow instructions. It’s only for nine months. This beautiful miracle that is pregnancy.

I heard somewhere that the second pregnancy is easier than the first. Ha. My first pregnancy was easy breezy compared to this! I ate like a vacuum and drank like a pirate. Zero physical drama.

My husband and I have fervently prayed, and fervently tried, haha, to give my son a brother or a sister for four years. After several unsuccessful attempts, false positives and mini heartbreaks, we prayed that if we were meant to have a bigger family, we will leave it all up to God. And by some divine intervention, here we are, despite and inspite of the high velocity barfing, zero control over bodily functions and mental and emotional instability, we are “enjoying” and above all, just GRATEFUL for the beautiful miracle that is this pregnancy.