Mami’s Fun Finds: MOA Edition

Last Sunday, we were at the Mall of Asia. Honestly, I am not a fan of MOA. Yes, I am a self-confessed mall-rat but I find it too big for my short patience and legs. I never liked having to “hunt” for the store that I want to go to. It was an exhausting mall for me so unless we have a specific reason for going there (we went bowling yesterday), I would opt to spend my time in a smaller mall with all the stores I want to visit. So since there was a reason to go there yesterday, I had no choice but to spend a few (exhausting!) hours there and do what I do best: find fun stuff around.

Wait, before that lemme just say how much my son loved playing bowling. He had his first bowling experience last May and never forgot about it. The SM MOA bowling has guide rails and stands for little kids to use. I was also surprised that they have bowling shoes for kids as young as Lucas. Here are some photos at the bowling alley.

Matchy-matchy with Dadi at the bowling alley! (uy it rhymes! lol)

Okay, back to my fun finds, MOA edition.

These cute items are from Forever 21

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Pretty ceramic jewelry holders

 

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iPhone 5/5S phone case – Php 585

 

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Cute owl lip balms

Mike saw this herb pot in Gourdo’s for Php 500. This is great especially if your worried of bugs eating your fresh herbs.

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Daphne Oseña, one of my favorite style icons, launched a line of stationery this year but I never got to see these up close. When I passed by National Bookstore and saw the Daphne brand kiosk and I love everything in it! I am a pen hoarder and these pens are love!

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Check out the other Daphne stationery products in her blog.

I also discovered fun foodie finds at MOA.

My husband has been talking about this food baby called custaroons by Custaroonery. These are coconut macaroons on top of a sweet, creamy custard. I found it right outside National Bookstore at the ground floor of MOA. They sell 15 mini custaroons or six regular sized custaroons for Pho 265 per box.

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These were so gooood. The custard is so smooth and creamy it’s like biting into a really good leche flan. It’s not too sweet so you won’t get tired eating it. I personally prefer the bit-sized custaroons for that perfect one-bite goodness…and then you’d catch yourself eating two or three or more. That’s okay. Haha.

This is the perfect pasalubong or gift if you got tired of giving cakes or doughnuts. The boxes are so pretty and so far, all my friends who have tried it have never been disappointed. So good! Wait…let me get one from the fridge.

Alright, last fun foodie find is Pie Face.

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You can find this small cozy cafe at the North Wing of SM MOA, beside Sbarro, across the hypermarket. They sell savory and sweet pies. I tried the savory pies while my sister, who apparently is already a fan, bought some of their dessert pies. I liked the pulled pork pie with the spicy barbecue sauce. Too bad they didn’t have the classic Aussie Mince mini pie. I didn’t want to try the large pie because I might end up not liking it. The meat pies are sold for Php 45 for the mini pies, while the regular sized ones start at Php 115.

My sister loved the dessert pies but I find it too sweet for my liking. These are Php 45 each.

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Watch out for more fun finds from this mall-rat mommy!

Learning Watercolor Lettering with Crafternoons

When I was small…wait…younger (there, better), like when I was a kid, I love to doodle. My mom would bring home reams of scratch paper and I would draw and doodle on them every chance I got. In highschool and college, I liked lettering using chalk and stabilo highlight markers. Then I started working and all of a sudden my budding “skill” was forgotten. Until I saw calligraphy workshops and creatives popping out of FB and IG starting last year. I really wanted to rekindle my love for lettering and even learn something new to improve the skill. Unfortunately, most of the workshops were held in the north side of the metro and for someone who lives in the south with a new baby in tow, joining those workshops was quite challenging. There were a few calligraphy and lettering workshops held in the south but it was so seldom and would normally be held on a weekday and Mike couldn’t drive me and the baby to the venue. It would also be filled up so fast because, well, workshops like these are rare commodities in the south.

Then there was crafternoons. Crafternoons organize various workshop for crafty southerners like me. They are organized by Michelle of Momma n’ Manila and Patty of Mrs. C’s Sugar Coated Life. No kidding, it was like a southerner crafter’s oasis in a desert. I wanted to join the brush lettering workshop last March but since I just gave birth to Marcus, I held back. When I found out that they are holding a watercolor lettering workshop this month, I knew I had to join.

I was so excited because the class will be taught by Anina Rubio. If you check out her IG feed (aninarubio), her calligraphy and lettering works are fantastic. I was also excited to meet Michelle, whose blog I’ve been stalking errr reading for quite some time. Later on I found out that Patty was her partner and that got me more excited because I also read her blog. Wonderful, crafty ladies indeed!

Materials were provided by Zig and Stabilo. I was awed by the water brush that we used. It’s shaped like a pen or a marker so it’s easier to write. One end’s a brush while the body holds water that you can squeeze on your palette or paper to change the consistency of the medium so you don’t need to dip the brush over and over again in water. Amazeballs.

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Anina blissfully taught the class. She taught the basics of watercolor for painting and lettering. The class was pretty small so she was able to visit each table to demonstrate and check our work. She would also give us tips and guidelines to follow. For someone who’s always been intimidated by watercolor, I sure learned a lot. Of course I still need a little practice and that’s all I’ve been doing during my free time since the past weekend.

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Draft Gastro Pub was the venue for the workshop and they served us good food during the break. I had the bleu cheese burger. I loved the tang of the bleu cheese. It wasn’t overpowering and the burger was cooked to the right temperature.

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The class was so much fun. I was seated with a group of fun ladies. All of us were nervous, anxious and excited to learn. I think ours was the noisiest table. Sorry neighbors. :)

I am so thankful that Michelle and Patty thought of Crafternoons and hold workshops like this to Southerners like me. If you are a crafty southerner who’s also looking forward to attend arts and crafts workshops, check out CrafternoonsPH’s Facebook and Instagram (@crafternoonsph). Here is an upcoming workshop:

Thanks, again, CrafternoonsPh! Looking forward for more workshops!

Honoring a Friend

Yesterday, I lost a friend to cancer. I was devastated. She has been fighting and in pain for a year and now the battle is over and she is pain-free. It took a whole day for me to succumb to the fact that she’s gone. I want to honor her and remember her not as the lady who was in pain but as the energetic person I have come to respect and love. What can I do? How much can I say? I’ve known her for more than a year but I only had a close relationship with her as my superior for two months before she underwent a surgery. Then I had to take a leave due to sensitive pregnancy and when I returned she had to undergo another surgery. I have been reading through the posts that my colleagues who’ve had longer, deeper relationship with her share their love and grief for her. How much can I say?

A lot.

Dada’s a strong personality. Straightforward, energetic, loud, no-nonsense type. That was my first impression of her and probably a lot of people. She was more than that.

Dada had a gift. She saw people for what they are and knew how to reach out to them exactly how they want or need to be. She knew the right words to say and she says it in a different manner for each person so they would understand. She was genuine and true to the point of being brutally honest that you will end up forgetting being emotional and instead telling yourself “sh*t, she’s right”. She tells you the words you needed to hear. As her direct report, I felt she had knack on reprimanding me but instead of feeling bad about her, leaves me a feeling of motivation that I should do better. As my colleague put it, she taught us to be the better us and she taught us well.

Dada was someone who knew how to have fun. I see her a lot of times playing candy crush in the middle of a meeting but when asked for her opinion or report, she’s ready. Pretty cool, huh? She was awesome.

Dada was genuinely caring. Brutally honest as she was, she only means the best for you. She was straightforward and never misses a chance to correct things as she sees or learns about them. As a boss she gave tough love but the kind that your will embrace. She always had our backs. She was generous…with everything: her food, her stories, her life, her wisdom, her time. She thinks of the people around her and maybe even finds time to reach out to them. Dada was one of the most kind-hearted persons I know. She was thoughtful, remembers special occasions that are important to other people. She’s like the older sister who’s strict and badass but will always care for you. This is how I have fully given my trust to her. Would I have entrusted my life to her? You know what, I would have.

She was a badass. Even in pain, she was such a badass. I regret not seeing her when she was still able and we can still talk. I would text her and ask her how she is and she wouldn’t reply. I knew she wasn’t doing well but maybe she didn’t want me to worry because I was pregnant, giving birth, just gave birth or taking care of the kids. That’s her. She’s a badass but she will always think of other people first before her. She will not say she’s in pain even if she was. She was a brave, brave badass until the very end.

I know other people closer to her would have so much to share about her. I do envy them for having created more memories with Dada but I am grateful to have her to call my mentor and my friend. She picked me up when I was at my lowest and I had almost no self-efficacy left about my career. She made me feel and realize I am better and I can be better. She supported my decision of becoming a full-time mom and was genuinely happy for me. She was always excited to listen to my stories about my family because she knew it’s what’s important to me. She never failed to me make me and the people around her smile whether it’s her funny, sarcastic comments, words or wisdom, or her tough love. This is how I want to remember her. I want to remember how much impact and inspiration she made in my life even for such a short period of time.

I don’t think there’s internet in heaven yet, but this is to honor the awesome person that she is. This post is for other people who knew her to remember her this way too. This is for those who didn’t knew her well or doesn’t know her at all to share how wonderful she was.  This is to let you know how a kind heart, strong faith, honesty, and genuine care for others can have a great impact to others. It creates respect, love and trust to other people. Dada did not leave anything material to me but she left me with these memories and the inspiration to follow her steps and pay it forward. She taught me to be kind, and be brave, have strong faith, be genuine and to have fun.

When I visited her last Saturday, Portia said she’s such a superstar because of all the friends coming to visit her. She was. Now the star has gone home to the heavena and I bet on the night when all the stars are bright, she will be shining the brightest. 

She was Geraldine Antoinette Dela Cruz. Dada to most, a daughter to her parents, love of her partner’s life, a friend to a lot of people, a sister to those closest to her. She will be missed. She will always be loved.

 

Weekend Shopping and Shops Holding a Sale 

One of the things I love about my birthday is that it always falls on the month where the shops are always on sale. Usually, the months of June and July would cater to shops’ great bargains. Of course this year is no exemption. Today we went to Makati for our monthly playdate with cousin Sha and CJ and the kids and while waiting for them,  I got to check out my favorite shops.

Old Navy has sale items on sale up to 70% off. I was focusing on the kids’ section but there are also some good finds in the adults section.

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Mothercare offers buy one get the second item for 50% . This is applicable to all regular items. I always go to Mothercare for baby items even when Lucas was younger. I am a fan of the brands they carry. The clothes are also super cute and practical. We got t-shirts for the boys especially Lucas because when I cleared out his closet a few weeks ago, he has outgrown literally half of the shirts in it!

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Cotton On Kids was also on sale. I also love the clothes here for Lucas but Mike just got back from Australia and has bought enough shirts for Lucas already from Cotton On. I didn’t get anything but here are some of the items I liked.

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Baby scarves for Php 400

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Sleep sack for Php 800

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Star Wars shirt for Php 450

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Carter’s OshKosh B’gosh had sale items with 30% to 50% discounts. Carter’s is one of the brands that I really like for babies because the material is soft and stretchable. I didn’t get anything from Carter’s today because my friend is sending over some clothes from Carter’s Canada but there are some great clothes for the lil ones in there too.

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I went to Hobbes and Landes and they too were on sale. Here are some of items that I saw with discounts.

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My most favorite store is also on sale! Mango’s clothes and accessories are on sale for up to 50% . All the items are on sale and it basically drove me crazy. They are on sale until the end of the monthHere’s my favorite purchase from Mango.

Striped cotton dress | MANGO

Dress for Php975

Basically almost all of the shops in Greenbelt 5 were on sale: Pedro, Charles and Keith, Warehouse, Promod, etc. And most of them will still be on sale until the end of the month soooo if you are in the mood to shop, head over to Makati and find great deals there! Dali! The next time these shops will have great sales will probably be next quarter pa!

Sunday Musings: On Creating Happy Memories

Hello blog world. Yep, I am still writing and I still have a blog after what seemingly feels like a hiatus from blogging. Yes, I have not given up on blogging albeit the crazy, happy busy-ness that I have with a growing baby boy and an equally growing active preschooler. Let it be recognize that I dream, think, breathe of blogging. I just don’t have enough hands to type down my thoughts. I often times wish that I can blog my thoughts as I think of them. Finally, as I wait for my meringue cookies to bake (in the wee hours of the morning, mind you), I finally found the chance to type my thoughts before my life as a mom and wife begins. Here’s hoping that I get to finish this post too.

The challenge of not being able to blog for a month leaves me the question where do I begin? So what have been my musings lately? My life has been quite eventful in my standards, I must say. A baby growing so fast in front of my eyes, me adjusting (still) to the SAHM life, husband getting  a new job (thank you Lord), baking here and there, learning new baking design techniques, a business venture brewing, the eldest moving up to the next level.

Most recently, my thoughts are about my eldest. I admit not being able to spend quality time with him since Marcus was born and even resorting to gadgets to keep him busy. When he got sick this week, that’s when I automatically shifted my focus on him. That’s when I realized how big he has grown in a span of two months. For starters, he has grown taller, bigger. We bought him several pairs of jeans, shirts and shoes because he has outgrown those that he used to wear two months ago. He speaks more fluently than he did two months ago. He has significant comments about things that he observes, emotions that he feels, even questions that he thinks of. I told myself, “man, my baby is no longer a baby. He really is a kid now.”

This is where he will start to have memories.

As a mom, I feel it is my responsibility to give him happy memories to look back to when he is older. Every mom would want her child to have happy, blissful memories worth remembering and sharing to friends and their future families. This is the time when his mind starts to collect pebbles of experiences when he laughed the most, cried the most, felt fear for the first time, learn and understand things and people around him.

Admittedly, I haven’t been as “present” to him as I wanted to be the whole summer having to care for another baby. When I was pregnant, I had plans of the many gadget-free activities that we will do together. Those have been replace with gadget-filled time with him alone. I feel guilty, I feel sad. I am also determined to stop it and start contributing to his happy memory bank.

Dates

I have always enjoyed our “dates” together. We had those before I had Marcus but I never really paid attention to the time we spent together. Our recent date together felt very special albeit short and simple. We just went to school, hung out a bit in an ice cream shop and just talked. It was just him and me and we both loved it. I plan to have our regular dates together. Just the two of us being silly and talking about almost anything from his fear of cockroaches, to his new toy car, to Peppa Pig. My plan is to do this until he’s older and I’m older-er. Oh maybe for the next 50 years or so =) .

Daily We-Time

Apart from our regular dates, I will plan a daily we-time with him where I will give Marcus to the care of the yaya for an hour or two without feeling guilty about it. Of course I will make sure he’s well-fed or there’s a stash of milk in the fridge before I give him to the yaya. Lucas and I will play together, do his school work together, watch Peppa Pig or Team Umizoomi together. do chores together. Yes, I am teaching my child to be independent at this stage but I do not want him to feel neglected because of the new baby.

Take photos and videos of each other

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And have it printed. At least the photos.

One of my goals for the year is to have a photo album for the family. Mike and I have been checking out Fotogra Books and as soon as he comes back from his trip we will start pooling the digital pictures and choosing which ones to be printed.

Mini surprises

I would put mini surprises in Lucas’ lunch box every now and then. Whether it is a note saying I love him, a yummy treat or a small sticker. He loves it! One time I made him numbers-shaped sugar cookies and he kept on asking for more. I don’t do it every day otherwise, the magic of surprise will fade away.

Plan Ahead

Doing all of these was easy when it was just Lucas. Having Marcus in the family will make a difference especially with the demands that he has. They may be basic but boy, they are time consuming. So planning for the day and the week is the key to accomplish all these. Yep, even memory building needs planning =).

I am fortunate to have a little boy who is easily pleased. Even if just get to find a lost marble, his joy is genuine. His smile is real and his gratitude is not forced. I want for him to have more of those. He’s growing up way too fast now and I do not want to miss the chance to fill up his childhood memories with happy ones.

What about you? How do you create happy memories with your kids?

My Favorite Quotes from Children’s Books

I love children’s books. I love books, period. Before having kids, I find children’s books boring (or so I thought) and totally ignored them. I wasn’t a reader of Olivia or Charlotte’s Web, or Shel Silverstein books. I was focusing more on Garcia-Marquez, Kundera, Coehllo and Esquivel books. When I did have a child, instinctively I was drawn to children’s books. Thanks to Maqui’s list of 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time, I was inspired to collect as many as I can. When I started doing so, I found myself doing the same I used to do with MY books: I underlined meaningful phrases that caught my attention.

Simple as the books may be written, there are so many life lessons that can be quoted from these books that adults should pay attention to. I have compiled my favorites so far because I have plans of printing and framing them or even having one or two hand painted in the boys’ rooms in the future.

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Here are my favorites:

  • A person’s a person no matter how small – Horton Hears a Who, Dr. Seuss
  • It’s fun to have fun but you have to know how – The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss
  • The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go. — I Can Read with My Eyes Shut, Dr. Seuss
  • Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. – The Lorax, Dr. Seuss
  • Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you. — Happy Birthday To You, Dr. Seuss
  • You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights! You’ll join the high fliers who soars to great height — Oh! The Places You’ll Go, Dr. Seuss
  • You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.  — I Can Read with My Eyes Shut, Dr. Seuss
  • You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose — Oh! The Places You’ll Go, Dr. Seuss
  • And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go. — Oh! The Places You’ll Go, Dr. Seuss

How fun are these Oh the Places You'll Go Dr. Seuss Printables? Perfect for a kids room or gallery wall!

  • If you keep your eyes open enough, oh the stuff you will learn! The most wonderful stuff! — I Can Read with My Eyes Shut, Dr. Seuss
  • I love you forever. I like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.  — I Love You Forever, Robert Munsch
  • Someday your eyes will be filled with a joy so deep that they shine. – Someday, Alison McGhee
  • Someday you will run so fast and so far your heart will feel like fire. – Someday, Alison McGhee
  • Someday you will swing high — so high, higher than you ever dared to swing. – Someday, Alison McGhee
  • Someday you will call a song to the wind, and the wind will carry your song away. – Someday, Alison McGhee
  • I wanted you more than you ever will know, so I sent love to follow wherever you go – Wherever you are, my love will follow you — Nancy Tillman
  • You can dance til you’re dizzy, paint til you’re blue. There’s no place, not one that my love can’t find you. – Wherever you are, my love will follow you — Nancy Tillman
  • The sky is just like love. It never ends. – Mommy’s Little Star, Janet Bingham
  • I am your way home; you are my new path. – You are My I Love You, Maryann Cusimano
Best quotes from children's books. This one is from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Image from Popsugar

 

  • I love you right up to the moon and back. — Guess How Much I Love you
  • Even if you’re little you can do a lot. – Matilda, Roald Dahl
  • If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely. — Matilda, Roald Dahl
  • Life will never be the same because there had never been anyone like you ever in the world. — On the Night You Were Born
  • Anything can happen, child. Anything can be. — Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein
  • The moment where you doubt you can fly, you cease for being able to do it. — Peter Pan
  • No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. — The Lion and the Mouse, Aesop
  • Be who you are and say how you feel , because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. — Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss
  • Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. — Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne
  • A little consideration, a little thought for others , makes all the difference. – Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne
Printed this Free Printable for Bryce's Winnie the pooh Party and put it in a Cute Frame and it looked Great. Defiantly Recommend this Printable especially if you are a Winnie The Pooh Fan.. ♥

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What about you? Do you have favorite quotes from children’s books too?

Family Bowling and Thoughts on Mother’s Day

Yesterday, we went to play bowling. Mike though of it because Lucas has been fascinated with the game. There’s a mini bowling game for kids in Timezone and aside from basketball, that’s the only game he plays. He would also ask us to look for videos of bowling matches in YouTube and he would watch it. He even ask me to download a mobile game. Yep, he’s so fascinated with bowling.

Kiddie bowling game in Timezone

 

You can just imagine how happy he was when we took him to the bowling alley in SM Megamall. He didn’t realize it at first until he saw the big “Bowling” sign outside. He yelled with delight when I pointed to him the bowling lanes. “Bowling!!!!”, he screamed happily.

After paying for our games and shoes, it was him vs. his dad. Ok, I was suppose to play against Mike but I let Lucas play because he was so excited! We had to guide him and guard him properly because he wanted to get the bowling balls by himself. Mike guided Lucas as he pushed the ball down the lane. Oh the joy when it hit the pins! He was jumping up and down and said,”strike!” or “I did it!”. It was pure joy that I have never seen from him.

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I give kudos to Mike too because he was just as excited to teach and help Lucas to bowl. He even slipped and fell because he was trying to kick the bowling ball that Lucas pushed so it would roll faster. Sorry, I knew it hurt him but it was freakin funny. :p But then I realized how much he loves his son because he would do anything to make the little boy happy. #buwisbuhay #bestdaddyawardplease

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Little Paeng and his coach

 

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Honestly, I didn’t want to go bowling. I suck at the game. Tried it once and I didn’t like it. Tried it again yesterday and I am just as bad. I even had a selfish thought before going to the mall. “It’s mother’s day, right? Should the mother choose what we I want to do?”. But then again, I agreed because I know Lucas will like it. Besides, I was outnumbered. Haha!

When I saw how much fun my son was having, I found myself enjoying the game too, or at least watching him have fun. I found myself laughing and jumping with him every time his ball hits the pin. My heart was so full to see that big smile and get an energetic high five from him. I realized at the end of the day, this is exactly what I wanted to do on Mother’s Day because it’s exactly what I want to feel.

I guess somehow, that’s what Mother’s Day is for. Of course it’s awesome to treat moms to spa, shower them with gifts and honor them on this day so they, we, would feel special. I think it’s also important to remind moms how wonderful it feels to be a mom when you’re being a mom. Mike of course treated me to a nice shopping spree and I truly appreciate that but the moment that I will remember forever is sharing the joy my son felt. He made me so happy and he doesn’t even know it. It reminded me how amazing it feels to be a mom and why I would not trade it for the world. Sometimes, children don’t have to do so much to make their moms feel great. When they are happy, mothers will always be happier.

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I thank my husband for convincing me to go bowling. He made both me and Lucas so happy. Oh Marcus was happily sleeping by my side throughout the game too. :) It was one of the best Mother’s Day celebrations I have experienced.

How about you, mom? How did  you celebrate Mother’s Day?