Me, me, me!

These days I don't have too many pictures of myself. It's a natural progression, I suppose; my kids are the cute, precocious ones now, the center of my and Alfie's world. We don't change much, so there isn't the urgency to capture our moments as much as theirs. Truthfully, if I were a bit more confident about my looks and figure, I'd probably be strutting my stuff in front of the camera more than I do. As it is, most of the recent photos of me are taken with kids:

But once in a while, I let loose and say, to hell with self-consciousness. Today is my day. I want a portrait of me.

For more self-portraits, click here.

Update on the babies

For this Love Thursday post, I'm revisiting an earlier entry: Our Venus flytrap plants. This is what they looked like on the 1st of May:

And here are the babies now. Haven't they grown? The leaves don't look so heart-shaped anymore, and the traps are starting to look mean and scary-ass hungry. At this point, I'm not sure what to do with them... should I catch them some flies? Or let them do it on their own (it's not like our house is infested by insects...)? I feel like a mother of an adolescent.

For more images of love, click here.

My boys

Today I grabbed my new macro lens and tried my hand at snapping some portraits of Alfie and the boys out on the playground. I experimented with various settings and ended up taking 84 photos in about an hour.

Some of them were completely outrageous:

But I think I managed to capture some really nice moments today.

I'm still not convinced I know what I'm doing. But it's a start.

Moms Tshirt giveaway

Calling all you moms out there! Who wants a free shirt? Especially a free shirt that tells the whole world just how much you love being a mom? Awww, come on, you know you do..... and all you have to do is enter my giveaway here...

My birthday present

Look at what I got for my birthday! No, not these yummy Filipino snacks from my childhood days (although this is a rare treat, since my mother just arrived from Manila and brought them with her). I'm talking about the lens I used to take the photo.

Behold my new macro lens, the one I've wanted since I first found out what a macro lens is. It's not a high-end lens by any means, but I've read some good reviews and I'm convinced it's a good macro lens for a beginner like me. I'm looking forward to taking lots of closeups of food, babies, flowers and the like. With a bit of practice and luck, hopefully someday the Filipino snack photos I take will look more like these.

Shoes, shoes and more shoes

When I saw this week's Photo Hunter's theme, I had a sense of deja vu, and I was right -- this is the second Photo Hunt with a shoe theme! Here is the photo I chose last year:

And here is the subject of another shoe-related post I did last year:

And for this year's shoe theme, here is 3Po in his tap shoes, all ready to do the shuffle step:

Last but not least, here are The Pea's current favorite shoes. If only they made these sparkly pink-and-brown confections in grownup sizes
For even more shoes, click here.

How many miles did you drive this week?

With gas being so expensive these days, I thought I'd start keeping more careful track of how far I drive. The answer shocked me: I drove over 200 miles last week! Mind you, I'm a stay-at-home parent, so how in hell did I rack up so many miles? Here's how:

Going grocery shopping (twice)
Taking kids to school
Taking kids to ice skating lessons
Taking kids to soccer lessons
Taking kids to dance lessons

So, how many miles did you drive this week?

Do you have a question of your own? Get it answered here!

Somebody loves me

She used her most prized stickers, the best and most precious of her collection. 'Nuff said.

* for more images of love, click here*
*check out the birthday giveaway on my review blog, Bonggamom Finds!*

What a great great-grandmother!

God bless grandmothers! Especially grandmothers who knit and sew. When our kids were born, Alfie's mother got her knitting needles busy; the resulting baby blankets and sweaters were the envy of all my friends.

Now The Pea has these American Girl dolls, and like the great grandmother (and technically, she is the dolls' great-grandmother) that she is, she has knitted some bedding for them. The new blankets go perfectly with the bunk bed that Alfie made for her out of the scrap wood lying around the garage. I think the whole ensemble is as cute as anything you could get from a store! The dolls certainly like it, and so does The Pea.

Sweets to the sweet

Who doesn't love candy? We don't have any candy in the house right now, so I ransacked our photo archives and came up with a collection of some of the sweetest things in my life:

Our holiday gingerbread house.

Ice cream cones with candy sprinkles, the more the merrier!

This is the only kind of candy corn that I like.

What do you suppose he's been eating??

Have a sweet day! For more candy, click here.

Just call them twinkletoes

3Po and CleanBoy finished off their spring tap/ballet class with a special tap performance set to "Take a Little One Step" from the musical No, No Nanette. The class actually danced it without any coaching from the teacher. Also, the mirror was behind them, so they couldn't copy any of their classmates. At least, not without turning their heads and looking around, which is what most of them did. Which made it even cuter.

Go Ahead. Pick a Fight. And Kick Cancer in the Ass.

Today is LiveStrong Day, the Lance Armstrong Foundation's one-day initiative to raise awareness and funds for the fight against cancer.

Like so many people, cancer has affected the lives of people I love. There is a strong history of cancer running on my dad's side; both his mother and father, my late grandparents, had it. We've lost them, and some of their brothers and sisters, my great-uncles and great-aunts, to cancer. My aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer about a decade ago, and my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer a couple of years ago. Both of them underwent successful treatment and are in remission. I have some wonderful friends who have had cancer.

I can't cure their cancer or ease their pain. But I can show my support. To anyone who is fighting this disease: You are amazing. You are beautiful. Your courage is an inspiration to me.

So today I am painting my blog yellow. And I am joining the San Jose Livestrong Challenge on July 13. I invite everyone to lace up their shoes and join as well. For today only, if you sign up to bike or run at any of the LiveStrong Challenges around the country, you'll get 50% off the registration fee. Just use the discount code LSDAY08 when you register online.

If running / walking/ biking is not your thing, you can still help by donating $5 to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Just go to my Livestrong webpage and use the secure online donation form. Or donate via the main LiveStrong Foundation donation page. I don't care. Every little bit helps the foundation provide support to patients and research programs. These people are fighting and they need all the help they can get.

Wow indeed!

I've been meaning to check out the annual Stanford Powwow ever since I first arrived here in 1994, but somehow I never got around to it. I finally decided that 2008 would be Powwow Year. Since today is Mother's Day and I got to call the shots, I dragged Alfie and the kids along with me. I knew they'd enjoy all the costumes and dancing and crafts, and I wasn't wrong.

I didn't know whether it would be tacky to ask the participants to pose for pictures with us (after all, they're not Disney mascots) but everyone seemed to be doing it, so I set aside my reservations (no pun intended) and began clicking away.

The imperfect mother

I'm not the best mother in the world. If you've had a rough parenting day and need to lift your spirits, just look at the list below and take comfort in the knowledge that I screw up every day:

  • I send my kids out in wrinkled clothing.
  • I don't always make sure their teeth are cleaned and their hair is brushed in the morning.
  • I put the TV on so that I can spend time in front of the computer.
  • I sometimes find chores to do when my kids ask me to play Monopoly or Candyland with them.
  • When CleanBoy comes to us in the morning and asks for breakfast because he's hungry, I tell him to wait 10 minutes. Or I ask The Pea to help him get breakfast.
  • I've withheld our regulary bedtime story as punishment.
  • I once put 3Po in the corner for a time-out and forgot all about him.
  • I've forgotten to pick The Pea up from school.
  • I've sent The Pea out on a playdate, forgetting that one of her other friends was on her way here for a playdate that I scheduled.
  • I give in way too often when they hear the ice cream man coming and ask for a treat.
  • I yell at them way too much.

But despite all of the awful things I've done, my kids love me anyway. So on this Mother's Day, when everyone is saying Thank You Mom, I'm also saying Thank You Kids.

The babies are growing

Since this week's PhotoHunt's theme is basically, anything, I thought I'd pick up from a post I did last week on our Venus Flytraps. They were so much smaller just 9 days ago; just look at them now! They're actually starting to look like Venus Flytraps. The inside of the the bigger trap is starting to turn pink, and I swear the trap was closed just a couple of days ago. Maybe our baby is starting on solid food?

For more photos, click here.

Fridays Feast

Appetizer: When someone smiles at you, do you smile back?
Yes, I do.

Soup: Describe the flooring in your home. Do you have carpet, hardwood, vinyl, a mix?
We have hardwood in every room of the house except the bathroom (tiles) and the kids' bedroom (carpet).

Salad: Write a sentence with only 5 words, but all of the words have to start with the first letter of your first name.
Arthur Andersen ate Annie's apples.

Main Course: Do you know anyone whose life has been touched by adoption?
A good friend of mine recently adopted a 2-year-old from India. They are one big, happy family -- mom, dad, 2 big sisters, and their beautiful new baby sister.

Dessert: Name 2 blue things.
My husband's eyes.

For more feasts, click here.

Win a pack of All Natural snacks!

Eat More Fruit.... Eat More Fruit.... Eat More Fruit..... but I want junk food ..... shut up!!! .... Eat More Fruit... Eat More Fruit...
Well, here's a chance to try out a great healthy snack: Brothers All-Natural Fruit Crisps and Potato Crisps. I'm hosting a giveaway on my review site, Bonggamom Finds -- head over for a chance to win some yummy, healthy snacks!

The sweetest present

The Pea asked me last night what I wanted for Mother's Day. I told her I would be happy with some of her lovely artwork or a nice card. No, besides a card! , she insisted. Then how about something homemade, like the lovely beads that your brothers made for me at preschool? No, something else!

My next thought was to say, I want a day to window shop all by myself. But I didn't really want to tell The Pea that what I want most is a day without her. And besides, if I spent Mother's Day window shopping, I'd probably end up eating some junky treat from the mall food court.

So I told her I'd love to get a spa manicure. And sweet girl that she is, even though her life savings amounts to just $40, her face lit up and she said, "OK mommy, I'll use my own money to pay for a manicure for you!".

I tell you, spending Mother's Day with the Pea and her brothers beats window shopping any day.

(but for my real wish list -- take note, Alfie!! -- click here)

Parent Bloggers has teamed up with Johnson’s to for this Mother’s Day Blog Blast to promote their new charitable giving site, Johnson’s Baby Cause, to give help care for mothers and children - not just on Mother’s Day, but every day of the year. What's your wish?

What do you love?

Alfie loooooves motorcycles. I never really thought about motorcycles being works of art before I met him, but the artistry in some of the bikes features in this year's Legend of the Motorcycle show is undeniable.

Here's a rather cleverly hidden heart on a motorcycle gas tank:

This is Alfie's current "must-have" bike (aside from the one he already owns). It was ridden by actor Ewan McGregor from John O'Groats, Scotland all the way down to Cape Agulhas, South Africa. The bike doesn't look that great to me but I love the tank detail:

This is another of the bikes on display:

And this is my favorite one. WTF?? Is this the Baby Jesus drinking beer?! I love it!

For more things to love, click here.

What a girl wants

Overheard at the breakfast table today:

Pea: CleanBoy, straighten up! You have to sit up straight otherwise your back will grow crooked! Then you'll be a hunchback and no one will want to marry you!

I do NOT love these babies (yet?)

We've got lots of babies this spring... baby plants, that is. I've got a new windowsill herb garden, Alfie has a couple of tomato plants out back, and the kids have pansies, lavender, tomatoes, wildflowers and herbs. Oh, and these little darlings.

We got these Venus flytrap seedlings at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show about 6 weeks ago. I thought they were disgusting. The kids fell in love.

At the time, they were just tiny shoots, like a small leaf poking out of the ground. I thought they'd die for sure. For the first 3 weeks we didn't even water them with distilled water like we were supposed to (apparently they are very sensitive to the chlorine and other minerals in regular tap water). I kept "forgetting" to buy the water. But in spite of it all, they survived, and continue to thrive.

I have to admit, I now find them quite fascinating. They're not quite big enough to swallow flies yet, but their traps are growing quite nicely, and you can already see the little hairs on them. And who would have guessed that they have heart-shaped leaves?

Now they get lots of sunshine, water (yes, distilled water at last) and love. And if they do end up swallowing up all the flies and mosquitoes around the house, even I will fall in love with them.

For more images of love, click here.