Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day, Vince!

These photos are from Vince's birthday last February. He really doesn't like being celebrated so he gets all bothered on his birthday or Father's Day. Vince thinks it's all one big hullaballoo over something so common (because everyone has a birthday) or over something all fathers should be and do (fathering should be normal, not extraordinary).

But I like to celebrate him anyway, us and the kids, because we love him so very much. We would be absolutely nothing without him. He's a great husband and such an amazing father. He's the fun parent, the smart parent, the cultured parent on top of being a hands-on parent, too. My boys are the fun-loving, happy, intelligent, endlessly curious, and even sophisticated boys that they are because of their Papa. They're exact replicas of him!

I knew I was lucky when this guy fell in love with me and insisted on marrying me. But when we had kids, I was off-the-charts amazed with him. I've been with him 11 years before we became parents so I knew him pretty well, but when we had kids, I saw even more love, wisdom, patience, gentleness and compassion from Vince. He is a better man every day, and every day I fall more in love with him.

Our boys can't get enough of him, too! Their whole world is all about making their Papa proud and happy. They jump on him, clamber all over him, compete and demand for his attention and approval. They're just all over themselves. It makes my mama heart swell with happiness.

We're so lucky to have this man in our lives! What a gift, a blessing, and a treasure. I love him so very much!

Happy Father's Day, Vince. God bless you and God keep you. My heart is overjoyed that you love me! And I'm beyond grateful you gave me children and that you love and care for them 24/7. Parenting is a hard job but I'm having the adventure of a lifetime because I have a true partner in raising our kids. Thank you for being there!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Our first ToyCon: what we saw, what we did, what needs improvement

This post is brought to you by SMART Communications, Inc..

My Facebook feed is exploding with updates about ToyCon and I just need to tell you that my family had the fun adventure of trekking to SMX to go to our first ever ToyCon Manila!!! Thanks so much to SMART for inviting me and my boys—big boy and small boys haha—to ToyCon. I swear my life's become really so much more fun ever since I became a SMARTie!

Anyway, we were so excited to go! Toys toys toys! We left early to get there early, but it seems there were more people even more excited than us because the place was already packed with pop culture fans, nerds, cosplayers, and kids. My boys and I are still talking about it! Here's what we saw and what we did:

Voltes V! This was really big—20 feet tall—even though it doesn't look so impressive in this photo. Because it's its 40th anniversary, it was the centerpiece of the event and it towered over everything. I just don't know why it was encased in those scaffolding. It didn't look safe to approach as a result.

The exhibit that we enjoyed the most was the Stan Lee Excelsior!. Stan Lee is Marvel and Marvel is Stan Lee, and this is his personal private collection of Marvel memorabilia.

As a mom of boys passionate about Avengers, I of course had to bring the boys in to check it out. There were vintage comic book covers, artwork, movie props (some signed by the actors!), and other collectibles.

They didn't just check it out. They climbed all over it! Buti na lang napaka-stable ng Iron Man Hulkbuster na yan.

There was a lot of musical performances lined up for the three-day affair. When we went, Japanese musicians Eletric Ribbon, Yanakiku, and DJ Kasu were live.

I must say these Japanese performers are so enthusiastic! And kinareer talaga nila mga outfits nila.

Pero ang kinareer namin ng asawa ko is to catch Game of Thrones star Kristian Nairn. Sana naka-costume din siya like the other people with him! LOLz

We are still reeling from his final appearance on the phenomenal HBO series (naiiyak ako right now just thinking of it) so it was so nice to see him... alive! Hehe.

Here we are at SMART's big booth! These are toy boxes and you pose inside and pretend you're a toy in a box. So smart! Here are my boys as Kai of Ninjago. They loved it!

They're huge fans of Ninjago. I remember having to write down all the names of the ninjas, villains, et al when they started their obsession with this Lego show. Haaaay, mom life!

Yes, as a mom, I do have a few suggestions for future ToyCons so that the experience for families will be better:

1. More light.
We couldn't see anything, guys. It's hard to appreciate toy collections and toys for sale if we can't see the merchandise. The whole venue doesn't need to be lit up like a mall—just the selling areas. I gave my husband and kids a budget. A big budget, too. How much did we spend? Wala pang 2K dahil wala kaming makita!!!

Plus, it's the age of social media. Lahat ng tao there was selfie here, selfie there, picture with toys, picture with cosplayers. But it was soooo madilim. Kailangan pang i-mega filter, mega-brightness lahat ng photos bago ma-post sa Instagram. Huhu, more light please!

2. More room.
SMX is huge. In the middle was the stage. To the left was crammed the selling area, the food area, and the exhibit areas. To the right was practically nothing. So there was definitely lots of space, just not utilized well.

That was another reason we weren't able to shop. The space for shoppers to walk through was like 2 feet wide. There's no space for shoppers to dawdle, look through bins of comic books, check out the toys, haggle. People were pushing each other forward. Super siksikan! Dapat sobrang luwag sa shopping area, at least 2 meters, maybe even 3! There were people with kids, with strollers, on wheelchairs, in elaborate costumes with capes and horns and wings! Two feet?! Really?! Ilang beses kami natusok-tusok ng mga sungay at spada at guns, guys.

3. Real booths.
Real booths and not tables or shelves the sellers had to bring themselves. Yung parang mga tiangge sa Greenhills na may tents and walls so that the sellers are clearly identified and separated from each other. For example, SMART had a really nice booth. Okay, they're a brand so of course they had a nice space, but the organizers sana made the sellers' spaces more pro. Mas masaya ang shopping experience pag mukhang shop!

4. More seating.
Look at my kids sitting on a window ledge. Cute hehe. Anyway, back to my point! Please please pleeeeease provide benches and chairs. A place to rest! We sat on the floor a lot and we had to eat standing up, too. We wanted to explore more but we were so tired from all the standing and walking that we went home earlier than planned. Sayang! We wanted to do more and spend more!

Just four suggestions! Everything else was amazing. That Walking Dead exhibit was unforgettable. The cosplayers were intense. The crowd was fun! It was fun to be around nerds! So congratulations on the successful event, ToyCon! Jampacked with lots of great attractions, stars, musicians, and toys toys toys. Good job!

Thursday, June 09, 2016

I saw my future in an instant

Because it's Thursday, I'm listening to old songs while I look through old photos for, you know, Throwback Thursday. Because that's what people do now when it's Thursday!

But first, another story before I get to what I'm going to really talk about.

This afternoon, while Vince and I were stuck in traffic, I wondered aloud, "I'm wondering aloud what makes men finally decide that this is the girl they're marrying. I mean, George Clooney and Amal. That's, like, of course! He'd be dumb to let that one go! But what about Vic Sotto and Pauleen Luna? I mean, she's okay but it's not like he didn't have amazing girls before her. What made him decide to marry her?"

Vince said it's really simple—a man marries the one he really loves. I said that these guys were in a relationship with other girls for years, surely they must've loved them. And he said, "No, love demands a response. If you really love someone, you marry her."

So that made me think, kinda guiltily because I never wanted to get married, why I delayed marriage to Vince when I knew—cross my heart and hope to die!—that I loved him. I did and I do, but why did I delay the response? Well, I finally admitted to myself that it's because I loved myself first. I needed to prove something to myself and to others first, that I was going to make something of myself first. Vince has always shrugged off this huge issue of mine (my insecurity in overdrive!) because he knew he was never going to hold me back from my dreams anyway—whether we were married or not. But it was an issue for me.

Still, because he loved me and wanted to marry me, he waited. I guess that's a response that love demands, too.

It didn't help that I knew he loved me. I knew it, I knew it, I knew it. Very early on, Vince knew he was going to marry me. We met on a rainy Monday in April. A month later, he asked me, "Do you want to be a June bride?" I laughed, "No," but I knew he wasn't teasing me. He was serious.

Have you ever looked into someone's eyes and saw your future in an instant? I did. I've met many boys who promised me the moon and the stars but no one promised me tomorrow. I only saw a future in Vince's eyes. He had a whole wonderful world planned for us but I wasn't ready to go into that world just weeks after meeting him. That's one of the most cowardly things I've ever done, not jumping down the rabbit hole after him. But I guess because I knew he already built that world for me, I had the luxury of time to dawdle, to get ready. I knew he wasn't going to do that for anyone else anymore, which allowed me to be selfish. It took me seven-and-a-half years to get ready, and I don't regret it and neither does he because we were practically husband-and-wife anyway in all those years. But marriage does do something to a relationship—it makes it more than love, more than happiness. It makes something fleeting and tremulous solid and real. It makes it about life and death.

Vince and I have loved each other for 17 years, been married for 9. The best years are the married years. It's not all moonbeams and roses—there have been days of thorns and harsh daylight! But even on the worst of days, I hold something dear in my heart: the promise of tomorrow. Tomorrow, we'll work this out. Tomorrow, we'll be better. Tomorrow, we'll try again. I can look forward to tomorrow. And that hope is a comfort and joy.

Which brings me back to my first sentence! Who remembers this song? I soooo loved this song and always hoped I'd find a guy that would say these things to me! And I did!!!

I did not realize that he had such a whiny voice!

Happy weekend, everyone! May you have bright tomorrows with the one you love!