Don't be Seven

It's difficult to believe that seven years ago today I was lying in a hospital room with two tiny babies lying beside me. At the time, I was numb with pain and exhaustion, and paralyzed with fear at the prospect of taking care of two tiny boys (note: my use of the word tiny is relative, because the boys were 6 lbs. 10 oz. and 7 lbs. 4 oz., and after carrying over 14 pounds of baby, I was much happier to have them out than in). The Pea was 2 years, 9 months old, and as girly as a girl could be. I didn't feel capable of taking care of one boy, let alone two.

I won't lie to you: the second half of the pregnancy and the first year was difficult, both physically, mentally and emotionally. I often joke to people that I erased it from my memory, and the only thing that stood out was how quickly I wanted that first year to be over and done with.

Back on BlogHer

Being a review blogger is probably as close to my ideal job as I could get -- especially when I'm blogging as a BlogHer Reviewer. I get to try all kinds of new products, I get to host great giveaways, my blog gets great exposure, and I get compensated for my time. What more could I ask for? How about the chance to blog about topics near and dear to my heart? I was quite excited when BlogHer invited me to host a new review series, the Jimmy Dean D-Light "Better Breakfast, Better You" program, because it meant my post would live right on the program's landing page. And since there are 25 chances to win $100 at stake, you can be sure that thousands of people are going to be heading to the landing page and reading my post! Hopefully they'll remember the name Bonggamom -- and if they do, I'll have BlogHer to thank for it. Click here to read my post, and enter to win $100 with 25 other BlogHer reviewers.

Christmas is where the heart is

All my life I've been accustomed to Christmases overflowing with family, friends, food, presents, parties, and all the other holiday stuff. I've spent Christmas by myself just once in my lifetime: in my first year of graduate school, when I couldn't afford to fly myself home. I spent it with some classmates, and although we had a fun Christmas dinner, I still spent most of the day by myself, and I cried pretty much the whole time I was alone.

This year we're spending Christmas alone, but tears are nowhere in sight, because I'm no longer an I, I'm a We. Our family of five is spending our very first Christmas by ourselves, with no grandparents, cousins, aunts or uncles. It's the first time we've been by ourselves for the holidays since we became a family.

Blogging for Good

Have I ever mentioned how much I love being a blogger? It has given me an emotional and intellectual outlet, it has done wonders for my confidence and sense of purpose, and it has given me some incredible opportunities to try new products and meet new people.

One of the best things about being a blogger is that I've had the opportunity to help my local community in ways I would never be able to do on my own. We're not the richest of families, but we give what we can, and what we can't give financially I try to make up for by giving my time -- I volunteer at school, at local family shelters, and by spreading awareness for causes near and dear to my heart through my blog. But this year, through the course of my blogging, I've been able to team up with several amazing companies who have provided the resources to help me and my family spread some holiday cheer among families need it the most.

I'm Welch's Fruit Snacks Blogger of the Month

Welch's Fruit Snacks recently launched a Facebook page where they showcased selected Facebook fans and bloggers -- and I was surprised (and pleased) to see that I've been featured as their Blogger of the Month. I did a review of Welch's Fruit Snacks a couple of months ago and I guess they were flattered by how my kids fought over the samples that were sent to us. It's just a little thing -- it doesn't come with any prizes, job offers or telegrams from the queen -- but it's still nice to see your face pop up on someone else's Facebook fan page!

The North Pole Express has arrived!

What's the first item of Christmas decor to come out in your household? The tree? The stockings? The garlands? The lights? The nativity set?

At our house, it's a toy train.

The kids begin clamoring for The Train as soon as the Thanksgiving turkey has been eaten; if a hurricane swept through our neighborhood and tore our decor up in shreds, you can be sure this is the first thing the kids would run to save -- assuming Alfie or I don't get to it first.

Paella made Easy, Paella made Special

I've always thought of paella as a Special Dish. When I was a kid, it was too special for me to even try; the only kind of paella my family (and the whole of the Philippines) ever prepares is full of shellfish: mussels, shrimp, clams, all things I'm allergic to. Even when I moved to the US and discovered Paella Valenciana (in Boston's best tapas restaurant ev-ahh), it was still a Big Deal: if you wanted it, you had to wait 40 minutes for it to cook. To add to its mystique, one of the key ingredients in paella is saffron, the world's most expensive spice by weight. To me, paella was kind of like that tall, dark, handsome, rich, exotic stranger that you can only have in your dreams. Trying to make it myself never even crossed my mind.

Spreading Holiday Cheer... and Zhu Zhu Pets

Random Act of Zhu 2010
Zhu Zhu Pets have invaded our playroom. One hundred and four of these mechanical hamsters arrived at our home a couple of weeks ago, and they've been blocking up the heating vents and hindering our cleaner's ability to do a good job ever since. What are they doing here, you ask? Did I mistakenly type in an extra zero when ordering holiday presents? Was this my compensation for being interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle about the Zhu Zhu Pets phenomenon? Have I decided to go into the toy store business? Or have I finally given in to my kids' desire to own a menagerie of Zhu Zhu Pets?

My husband has a mistress... and that's okay with me

Yes, it's true; Alfie is having an affair. He has a gleam in his eye and a spring in his step, and he can't wait to leave for work so he can be with her. Every night he comes home gushing about how much he loves her, and he can't wait for the weekends so they can spend more time together. Last weekend they went all the way to the Lick Observatory up on Mount Hamilton; there was snow on the top but Alfie said he didn't feel cold, thanks to her. She's hot stuff, all right. Men turn their heads when they see her and nod to Alfie in that Good for You, Man way. He loves feeling her vibrate between his legs (yes, he admitted as much to me, we have no secrets between us)! They even have similar temperaments -- Alfie says she loves all those twisty, turny roads as much as he does. I could never go there -- I'd get carsick and toss my cookies all the way up -- so that's something only the two of them will ever share.