Saturday, February 23, 2013

Everyone's a Critic

"I don't begrudge you of your choices. 
Why do you judge me for mine?"

On living with my in-laws for the first five years of our marriage:
First of all, we were invited by my in-laws to live there. We didn't tell them, "Hey, when we get married, we will live with you, okay?" We said we would rent, get a tiny apartment. His parents found the idea incredulous. Why???, they asked. We have a room to spare, we will help care for Kaelana, yadda yadda. So we agreed and said yes.

We lived with my parents the first six months after I gave birth. My mom helped me care for Kaelana. I didn't want to leave but I felt I had to, because Cyrus wanted to please his parents and I didn't want him to choose, so off we went. Needless to say, it wasn't the best idea. My good friends (and previous blog's stalkers) know the rest of this unpleasant tale. To make this long and unsavory story short, I've forgiven, but I haven't forgotten. So let's just say that whatever reconciliation, in whatever form, happens, it will happen in accordance to OUR terms. Not theirs.

Aaand, just to set the record straight, I never really had problems with the hosts. I only had major issues with the blood-sucking parasites. #figureitout #riddle

Why then did it take us five long, harrowing years before we moved out? Why did we wait that long?
Well, Cyrus and I pledged to each other that if we leave, we leave for good and never come back. We're such proud people, I guess. You can say we did suck it up while waiting, although I'm sure *they* will not agree. I maintain we did so, anyway. We promised that when the time came for us to truly try and make it on our own, we will not come crawling back. I'm glad to report it's been two years and we are very happy to have a little nest to call our own, with ownership papers to prove it.

On buying our own house:
Both the husband and I have been asked, Why don't you rent? Isn't it more practical to do so? Why buy a house that is so far? You can rent a house nearer to work.

Cyrus and I grew up in homes lovingly built through the blood, sweat and tears of our parents. Actually, Cyrus and his family rented when he was smaller, and so did my my family (although I have no recollection of it because I was too young; I only saw photos of me in a garden that wasn't our garden). However, for the most part, our memories have been in the homes our parents owned.

Like I mentioned, we initially wanted to rent, but those plans got scrapped. When we were living with his parents, and when things started to go awry, I brought up renting to him again. We did go on several excursions to look for places to rent, but upon looking at these rooms and apartments, these thoughts crossed our minds and hit us like a ton of bricks: We would be furnishing a place that will never be ours. We would be shelling out hard earned cash for something we will never legally own.

And that didn't sound pragmatic to us. It's akin to sprucing up a rented car.

Also, why did we choose a house that's so far?
Distance is relative. I grew up in a home in Mandaue City and my high school was in Cebu City. People thought that was far ten years ago but now, I don't think they still think that's extreme. Yes, Lapu-Lapu City, where we currently reside, is far. Far from the office, from Kaelana's school and uhm, from Ayala Center. But it's near the airport, it's near the beach, it's near uhm, the Gaisano Grand Mall. Haha! So, yes, distance is relative, and we have a car, anyway, so we get by. We need to get up earlier in the morning, we need to leave an hour earlier to catch the last full shows at Ayala Center's cinemas, and we had to get used to penciling in longer travel hours for appointments in Cebu City. These are things that we have come to embrace as part of living where we live.

Moreover, we chose to live here because we could afford it. We didn't want to buy (through Pag-IBIG) a house we couldn't afford just because it's nearer to the city central. We didn't want to be in over our heads.

The home we live in now is just the right size for us, is in a good neighborhood, is five minutes away from a hospital and allows our Kaelana to ride her bike to her little heart's content. We are very happy.

On being wife, mom and career woman in one:
Let me start by saying it's not easy. My family comes first, yes, but I also like the fulfillment that comes from growing my career, thriving in the cutthroat corporate jungle and most importantly, doing something I'm actually good at and getting paid for it. I shouldn't be punished for attempting to do a lot, for wearing different hats. So long as I know what my priorities are, I think I'm doing okay. I want my child to grow up with a multi-hyphenated supermom. I like how THE Daphne Oseña Paez puts it: I'm there for you, but I'm also doing other things - and you can do it, too." My Kaelana knows I will drop everything and anything for her. No questions asked.

More than ever, I am grateful for the work I do, now that Kaelana's a school girl. She's out of the house for most of the day, so if I were to stay at home, what am I supposed to do?

I know that someday I will quit the corporate world and I will retire the opaque stockings and four-inch office pumps. For now, I enjoy my multi-hyphenated title : Kiss Tañedo, wife-mother-corporate-trainer-instructional-designer.

On choosing NOT to judge the choices others make even if I don't agree with them:
People around me make choices I know I wouldn't make, but I don't and will never condemn them for it. I also do not extol my choices and say that they're better than yours. We live different lives and what may work for you, will not work for me. What also works for me will not work for you.

So go ahead, breastfeed your child until he is seven, home school him until he is in high school, feed him only organic stuff, don't let him believe in Santa Claus, whathaveyou.

So long as the choices we make are informed ones - and not just ones we make to rock the boat or go against the norm for the sake of doing so because you're hipster or a know-it-all like dut or you wanna impress people - then they are the RIGHT choices. Be happy.

photo from

Friday, February 22, 2013

Random Memories Six

- My friends and I used to spend so much time crafting creative requests to send to MTV Asia. We were in high school so MTV Asia back then was ruled by VJ royalties like Mike Kasem, Nadya Hutagalung, and Sonia Couling. We made elaborate collages and papier mache thingamajigs and wrote in requests for the latest Spice Girls/Janet Jackson/Backstreet Boys video. We wanted that MTV shirt so bad! We never got to see our requests read and shown on TV, though. I wonder why. But it's okay. It's all good.

- Believe it or not, when I was five years old, I had the brilliant idea of putting a small stone up my nostril. Yep, a stone. Uh-huh, up my nostril. Of course, I tried to take it out, but trying to do so only pushed it farther up my nasal cavity. I didn't say anything to my mom or my nanny but they noticed I had trouble breathing.  "DID YOU PUT A STONE IN YOUR NOSE?", my mom demanded. "A small one," came my meek reply. Of course, I had to be rushed to the ER where I kicked and screamed at the doctors who managed to take it out sans surgery. Phew. My mom kept the stone as a reminder of that fateful day.

- I used to like eating Milo. When I was a kid, I mixed it with rice sometimes. Yum.

- The infamous typhoon Ruping happened when I was in second grade. An art work I made for class was displayed on one of our bulletin boards in school. As the Philippines' seventh most destructive typhoon to date raged, I worried about my masterpiece by thinking thoughts like: Did the floods make it to our school? Did the winds blow our bulletin boards away? My eight-year-old self's priorities are very uhm, typical of an eight-year-old.

- I loved my Chong Hua Hospital-based pediatrician when I was a kid. I liked all the toys in his clinic and he let me play with them when my mom took me there for regular check-ups. I remember him telling us that I was healthy - that my asthma was just something that had to be vigilantly monitored. Whenever I'd get a clean bill of health, my mom would then take me for ice cream at Merry Mart. Merry Mart! Let me know if any of you here remembers that!

Happy Friday!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Call Me Maybe?

So The Husband has been hinting that he was getting me something really fun and cool for no special reason since mid-January. I kind of already knew what it was, because he would forget to log off from the computer and I'd see he was looking at iPhone 5 reviews. Ha. He's not very good at hiding secrets, let's just say.

I had a functioning Nokia E71 - a phone I've had for almost three years. I loved that phone because it was the first one I owned that could go online, provided there was WiFi.

photo from

Anyway, I wasn't really hankering for a new phone. Truth be told, technology scares me. Wait, it intimidates be. I've never been the kind to always acquire the latest gadgets and gizmos. You know why it intimidates me, like entering the Louis Vuitton store in Greenbelt? Because I knew I couldn't keep up with it - that it will always be several steps ahead of me. That's why I'm raising our daughter the way I am raising her. I don't want her to be one of those kids who are glued to their iPads and PSPs. Kaelana reads books; she just doesn't watch videos on the iPad. She plays outside and rides her bike; she doesn't just play games on a tablet. Anyway, I digress. We're really not a super techy family, except for Cyrus, but even so, we've always been practical. If it works and serves its purpose, it's good to go. If we can do without it, then we will. We won't get something just because everyone has it.

However, said E71 started acting up on me. I've been having problems with it since oh, last year. I've dropped that phone several times, see. But like a cat with nine lives, it always seems determined not to completely conk out on me. I'd sometimes get messages a day or two late. I'm not joking. The reception became super choppy. Worst of all, it would exhaust all battery life after being fully charged because I had made/received a  two-minute call! It was frustrating.

Anyway, so I kind of knew Cyrus was getting me the iPhone 5. I was mostly ecstatic, yet I was on the fence if I really needed it. Yeah, I'm like that. "But my E71 still worksssss", I'd reason out to him, stubbornly. He'd gotten to the point where he'd look me straight in the eye and say, "You need a new phone." Then I would say, "My phone just needs a new battery." He'd simply shake his head and firmly say, "We can afford this. Why are you being difficult?" Yes, ladies and gents, I'm one of the few people on the planet whose arm you'd have to twist to get me to say yes to something as beautiful as the iPhone 5.

So there. Our application got approved. I was getting my iPhone 5. I started getting eggzoited for it. This was a big deal. For me! For lil, old me! Yay!

Then my friend, Alveel, called. For someone expecting - she's pregnant -, she was talking really fast. Turned out, her sister didn't want her iPhone 5 anymore, that she wanted another phone and would I want to buy the iPhone 5 from her? Alveel and I talk (in person, through text or by calling) every day and she's one of my closest friends on the planet, and she really made me an offer I can't refuse. I was giggling while she was making her sales pitch of "You have to get this. It's practically brand new, and oh my gosh, do you know how difficult it is to hear you when we talk? Think about it. No more messages that arrive six hours after. Get this. You have to." The universe works in mysterious ways, indeed. I quickly made up my mind. I was getting that iPhone 5 so I can give it to Cyrus. Why should he get stuck with his two-year-old Samsung Galaxy when we can have matching phones? It was brilliant.

Alveel immediately had the phone sent over through courier with a sweet note attached to it that said: Cyrus, Kiss thinks you should get your own iPhone 5 because you're buying one for her. Pogi points to you!

Needless to say, he loves it! And I love mine too!

photo from

It's light! It's so clear! The apps are so fun! It's fast! And it's so darn pretty! Is it my favorite phone so far? Oh yes. YES!

My 2006-2009 pink Motorazr V3 comes in a close second.

photo from


Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Our little girl was christened three months after she was born. She was baptized at the Sacred Heart Church's Chapel of the Transfiguration.

The chapel was being renovated at that time.
Now, the baptistry is in an an entirely different space.

She didn't cry when the water was poured on her tiny head.

Kaelana had quite a number of godmothers 
and only one godfather, who wasn't even present, which is all right.

Her white christening eyelet and lace gown is from Rustan's.
I was wearing a halter neck Esprit striped dress because I was already mixed feeding her - part breast milk and part formula. I had gone back to work a week or two before.

The lunch reception was at Mooon Cafe. We had a buffet set up. Those are our good friends, Kaelana's godmother, Karen (and her husband, Mark) and Pam. Karen and Pam are my friends from high school in STC and were bridesmaids at my wedding.

My parents and sister are in the picture, together with our friends, 
Kaelana's godmother, Chiqui, and Coleen and Mahmet.

We love our friends! We're lucky they're always there for us.

Happy memories!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

So Far...

I may have rung in the new year with a fractured wrist, but that didn't stop me from holding my head high, praying fervently that all will turn out positively, and taking each day as it comes. I'm happy to realize that 2013 has been treating me well thus far.

Even my friends tell me I look happier. I'm not one to put my own self on a pedestal of righteousness and positiveness but most definitely, my thoughts are kinder now, my words gentler, and my demeanor, more pleasant.

I'm not saying that things are 100 % perfect for me. I am not the zen master. I still get frazzled over my work deliverables, I worry about how the little girl feels the pressure to be absolutely faultless with the things going on in school (I don't want to talk about it, really. I know this is something my daughter can overcome with our guidance and with God's grace but in a nutshell, she's being hard on herself because I swear to the heavens, she has such a type A personality, and she really has her plate full in school) and I have my share of the occasional estrogen-filled dramas perfect for daytime soap.

BUT... I always remind myself to take a deep breath - or ten deep breaths - and a step back.

I think that it helps immensely to immerse yourself in nothing but good vibes. It helps to believe in the infinite supply of wonderful and amazing things out there that are yours IF YOU CLAIM THEM.

It looks like 2013's water snake took a chill pill, and know what? I'm glad it did.

Monday, February 4, 2013


I was leafing through my 2012 planner-slash-journal this morning. I came across memories, plans, thoughts, realizations, musings and whatnot. I scanned through its scruffy pages and was able to recount trips, get togethers, outings, dates, events.

All I can say, I'm not the same person I was last year. 

I've learned. 

I'll continue to learn. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Heaven Sent

I am a godmother to exactly two boys - Lucas Matteo, my brother's son, and Justin, my dad's cousin's son- and now, six girls - Jaelyn, Ananda Celine or Andi, Atianna Xariah or Tingky, Sage Charlotte Erzulie or Charlie, Marile, and Luisa Isabel or Wyssa.

Every time a good friend or a relative asks me to be godmother to their child, I take the role seriously. My own little girl, Kaelana, is tremendously loved by her own godparents, and by loving my godchildren - even those I see rarely - I feel that all is right in the world.

Wyssa's baptism was last week, and we were happy to welcome another little one into the Christian fold.

Here's me and Mahmet, one of Wyssa's godfathers. He's The Husband's good friend and is a newlywed. He was also one of the groomsmen at our wedding.

And here's Wyssa, our darling. That's me with Wyssa's parents, our friends, Blue and Chiqui. Chiqui is Kaelana's godmother. That's Mahmet's wife, our friend, Coleen. Look at Wyssa yawning! Her christening gown is vintage, a family heirloom.

I'm wearing this year's it color: emerald.
OOTD: mini dress bought from my friend, black tights (I use Burlington) from the department store, Charles and Keith black and gray pumps #sonotfashionblogger

photos grabbed from Coleen's Facebook

Babies are truly heaven sent. Are you a godparent too?