Books open a whole new world of knowledge, stories, ideas, and advices that can enlighten you, make you laugh, give you a moral boost, inspire you, or introduce you to a different outlook. Here are some recommended books for moms and moms-to-be.

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch – The Canadian picture book Love You Forever started as a song according to the author. It was published in 1986.

“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
as long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.”

Munsch made up the short song after he and his wife had stillborn babies. The song was meant as a tribute to their babies who died at birth. The song lingered in his head but it was too painful to sing. For a long time, it was just a song but one fateful day, while Munsch was sharing stories at a big theater at the University of Guelph, he was inspired to create a story around the song. The thought later materialized into the book Love You Forever. Kids were the initial target audience of the book but to the surprise of the author, it became a hit among adults as well.

The heartfelt story is a chronicle of the experiences of a mother and her young son. It describes the little boy’s annoying behavior in his youth. Despite her son’s troublesome behavior, the mother never fails to visit the boy in his bedroom to cradle him in her arms and sing him a short lullaby. The nightly display of affection is constant a reminder of how much the mom loves her son.

The boy eventually reaches adulthood and leaves home to start a life of his own. Sometimes, the mother would sneak into her son’s old room to sing the same lullaby as she longed for his presence.

As time passes, the mother grows old and weak. When the son visits his sick mother for the last time, he sings his own version of the lullaby as a tribute the unconditional love that his mom gave him all through his life. He promises to love her forever.

When the son goes home, he takes his newborn daughter in his arms and sings to her the same lullaby that his mother used to sing to him. The legacy of love goes on.

Parenting With Love and Logic by Foster W. Cline, Jim Fay, Eugene H. Peterson -This parenting book helps parents prepare their children for the real world by shaping them into self-confident and motivated individuals.

The authors enlighten parents about the importance of teaching their children a sense of responsibility to help them have a good chance of a bright future. The book stresses the significance of instilling good values through easy and positive steps. Parenting With Love and Logic explains that it is possible to bring up and nurture children without the need for “anger, threats, nagging, or power struggles.”

Confessions of a Scary Mommy: An Honest and Irreverent Look at Motherhood: The Good, the Bad, and the Scary by Jill Smokler – This New York Times bestselling collection features original essays that reveal positive and negative thoughts and deeds of parenting. The book offers the readers a glimpse of the reality of parenting, both good and bad sides. It shares stories and confessions that most mothers would find very difficult to admit.

“If I can’t survive my daughter as a toddler, how the hell am I going to get through the teenage years?”

“I end up doing my son’s wrong, but so much easier.”

“I clock out of motherhood at 8 P.M. and hide in the basement with my laptop and a beer.”

“I pretend to be happy but I cry every night in the shower.”

The Girlfriends’ Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood by Vicki Iovine – New moms step into the world of motherhood with a mountain of questions, worries and fears. The author deals with the common mommy queries and doubts. Iovine gives a hilarious twist to parenting. She offers straight to the point advice and funny observations.

“Baby euphoria”: Is it a mind-altering drug?

“Husband? What Husband?”: Taking care of the big baby, as well as the little baby

“I Want My Old Body Back!”: What you can fix and what you can’t

“The Droning Phenomenon”: The inability to discuss anything but your baby for more than thirty seconds

“Do I Have to Become Carol Brady?”: Conquering your fear of being a less-than-perfect mother

“Competitive Mothering”: Coping with know-it-alls, finger-pointers, and others who try to “Out-Mom” you

Calm Mama, Happy Baby: The Simple, Intuitive Way to Tame Tears, Improve Sleep, and Help Your Family Thrive by Derek O’Neill, Jennifer Waldburger – It is normal for every parent of a newborn to feel overwhelmed by the reality of taking care and nurturing a baby. Parents especially moms may feel nervous about fulfilling the responsibilities of parenthood. It’s quite challenging to get into a schedule with your baby. The daily challenges of feedings, sleeping schedules and diaper changes can be exhausting. It’s not a surprise that many parents feel stressed with all these duties.

The book opens the eyes of parents to the “cause and effect between parents’ mental and emotional states and their baby’s mood and behavior.” According to the authors, the parents’ emotional state may directly affect their baby. For instance, parents who are calm and centered are likely to have calm children.

Clutterfree with Kids by Joshua Becker – Having children is a big blessing in life. They bring love, joy, laughter, energy, and meaning to every home. Despite all these positive things, you can’t deny that children also add clutter. Don’t worry, this little parenting downside has simple solutions. Clutterfree with Kids focuses on how parents can set a balance in their lives and manage clutter by sharing fresh insights.

The book shares both inspirational stories and practical solutions. It encourages parents to reflect on their lives, try new habits and techniques, and eventually embrace positive changes to make their home clutter-free.

The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman, Ross Campbell – Communication between parents and children has a big impact on kids’ attitude and behavior development.

Children have different ways of expressing themselves.Sometimes children may desperately seek attention while other times they act as if you are not there. There are moments when kids display affection but there are times when they don’t seem to care.

A child’s behavior is greatly influenced by their relationship with their parents.
The authors believe that there are five different communication styles and children may use any of the style to express themselves. The book helps parents build fulfilling relationships with their children by “teaching them to speak each others’ love language.”


Photo collage by author.

by Ma. Rachel Yapchiongco, as originally posted at the Philippine Online Chronicles

Rachel Yapchiongco, also known as Rach to her friends, is a Psychology and Marketing Management graduate of De La Salle University. She took up MBA at the same university. Rachel is a full-time mom to a charming young boy and married to an entrepreneur with a passion for cooking. She shares parenting experiences and slices of everyday life on her personal blog called Heart of Rachel.

The most important political office is that of the private citizen. ~Louis Brandeis

I love my children.
I think of their future.
I hope for a good leader.

We all want that for our children, right? So listen up…we need to do our share in helping our country change for the better.

Be part of the change for the better by starting with yourself. .It starts with choosing candidates that will work for your children’s future. Armed with that choice, you need to go out and vote .

But your part does not end in casting your ballot. Be champions of Honest, Orderly and Peaceful Elections by taking action on the 2013 elections. Social media has made it easier for citizens to participate in the electoral process. You can make a difference by being part of the #juanvote network of citizen voters empowered with their social media tools.

As netizens, we have the social media capital and channels to make our votes count, to help educate both candidates and voters, and help expand the coverage of the elections beyond what we see on TV and hear on the radio.

It was in 2010 that Filipino netizens formed #juanvote network to monitor elections online . This year, we are using the same hashtag to report law violations. Why?

We want to keep a close watch on today’s elections. The name #juanvote is used because the network calls on citizens to use hi-tech means to expose and hopefully thwart electoral fraud and violence. These elections are very important. We have to make sure that the candidates know that netizens and other citizens want changes and reforms to keep the internet free, to improve and expand internet access, check telco abuses, and make government more transparent and accountable. These issues could be addressed by candidates who have a clear stand on the laws we want repealed or bills we want passed into law.

I call on bloggers and all netizens to tweet using the #juanvote hashtag. Tweet that you have voted. Tweet if you see law violations and problems during the voting,

Take up the challenge to make a difference no matter how small just like Krem- Top’s campaign “Change for the better” .

Today May 13, do your share in helping the nation change for the better.


A Moment of Silence or a prayer of Hope for all of you.

—-, let me be the change I want to see
To do with strength and wisdom
All that needs to be done
And become the hope that I can be.
Set me free from my fears and hesitations.
Grant me courage and humility.
Fill me with spirit to face the challenge
And start the change I want to see.
Today, I start the change I want to see.
Even if I’m not the light, I can be the spark.
In faith, service and communion
Let us start the change we want to see,
The change that begins in me

This is my #juanvote Blog Action day post:

It is five days before May 13, 2013.

I made a choice.

I have only three in my list.

You ask, ““So who are you voting?”

It does not matter who my candidate is. As project editor of, it is prudent that I keep that choice privately. Oh yes, netizens, friends, and relatives  ask me and I tell them my choices and the reasons behind my choice and why I did not vote for the others .

citizen media

Certain quarters cannot distinguish me as a voter and me, as the editor.  I want Blog Watch to remain non-partisan. I can tell you  though that I will vote with my conscience.

My decision was based on an article I wrote  Voting matrix: How to select a candidate to vote for as senator .

Click to enlarge

This election day is start of new things to come. Changes need to be made. Enough of political dynasty. There is no law that stops them from running but my vote may make a difference if I start today. I voted for you because you are not associated with a dynasty.

I made a choice to vote those NOT associated with a fat political dynasty (having immediate family members running or currently holding an elective position) .

Why the big deal on political dynasty?  Most say the people decide on election day. This is democracy. But is it really democracy?  My rationale is based on the explanation from  the Policy Study, Publication, and Advocacy (PSPA) Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) October 3, 2012)

The concentration, expansion, and consolidation of political dynasties over the past 100 years attests to the continuing hegemony of feudal politics, the absence of any form of real democracy, and the continued powerlessness of a vast marginalized majority in the Philippines. Definitely alarming today is the entrenchment of the system of political dynasties on a higher and blatant scale making the fair representation of the large majority of Filipinos even more elusive.

Two of the seven desired criteria I identified carried the most weight :  supportive of women’s rights (maternal health) and standing up for children rights. The rest of my desired criteria were:

1. voting to repeal/amend the cybercrime law,
2. promotion of small and medium enterprises,
3. in favor of an anti-political dynasty law
4. Supportive of a divorce law
5. a pro-environmental platform .

These are my beliefs and issues that hold dear to me.  Your track record, competence and platforms were indeed good factors to consider in my decision making process.  The other non-quantifiable aspect is gut feel and your campaign strategy.

The way a candidate handles his/her campaign gives me an insight to the governance of this candidate.

I know impressions can be misleading  but I trust my gut feelings on my experience dealing with you. (Hint: my candidates are three of those Blog Watch interviewed: View Summary of podcast of the 10 candidates : Jun Magsaysay, Teddy Casino, Risa Hontiveros, Koko Pimentel, Edward Hagedorn, Cynthia Villar, Alan Peter Cayetano, Tingting Cojuangco, Gringo Honasan and Jack Enrile.) . I placed a big weight on this because I know you are busy but took time to talk two hours with ordinary citizens.

As a citizen-voter, I will practice continued vigilance and participate in governance.

I will participate in legislating laws through legislative advocacy, a process of engaging with the legislature and other governmental and social institution to ensure that the concerns and welfare of the general electorate be articulated in the deliberations of bills and other legislative measures as well as in the final versions of laws.

I know you will be good for the country and the future of my children’s children.


@momblogger on Twitter

P.S. Here are other letters dedicated to you

A background material on political dynasties:

CenPEG Analysis : Horizontal and Vertical Expansion of Political Dynasties


The election results are now official. My sister, Myrna emailed me a few minutes ago “I won second place (75 votes less than John Delgado). The important thing is I am elected! Now on to governing.”


I am so happy for her, thrilled that I was there in the last two crucial weeks and helping out in the mini rallies. She won a seat in the city council of Hercules. In 2013, she will be the vice-mayor and on 2014, the first lady mayor of the city. Many of you asked me if my sister won. I purposely did not make an announcement pending official results. The winner was known 4 hours later but you never know. I didn’t want to jinx it.

Filipino-Americans are slowly having a voice in their communities. My sister won because she had a proven track record of competence, commitment, and character as a a community member in the Planning Commission. Oath-taking will be on December 14 and suddenly I miss my sister.

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“I cannot do everything but I can do something. What I can do, I ought to do. And with the grace of God, I will do it” – Prof. Monsod

Economics 11 is just one of my required subjects in my BS Food Technology course . The year 1976 was my Junior year in UP Diliman and I made sure that Prof. Solita Monsod was my Economics teacher because she was known to be kind. None of those terror teachers, please. Economics is not exactly my cup of tea. Science subjects were my forte. I didn’t know it then but it was also the semester that my mother died of breast cancer and Monsod’s kindness helped me pull through with make-up exams.

It was Martial Law times and I don’t recall her talking much about the state of the country like she did in the Honor and Excellence video taken by one of her students last October 5, 2010.

Honor and excellence was ingrained in all UP students. I don’t recall the people responsible for placing it in my thoughts. Prof Monsod however elaborates that the ““fruit of honor and excellence” is ““competence and integrity”.

What hits hard is staying in the Philippines even after graduation.

“The Philippines needs you more than you would ever think. And if it is not you, who else will do it?” says Prof, Monsod

I have often heard the monicker ““Iskolar ng Bayan” in all of my college life. Prof. Monsod drives the same point . As scholars of the people, UP students owe a debt of gratitude to the Filipino people, whose taxes paid for part of that education. Fighting the dictatorship was a struggle that I fought for as a student in the state university.

I understand Prof Monsod.

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I was supposed to post these photos in but for some reason , I can’t upload the photos. I was able to cover the Town hall meeting with the theme ““Isang Daang Araw sa Isang Daang Matuwid: Report Kay Boss,” where President Aquino presented his report on 100 days. I had no access inside La Consolacion auditorium but that was fine since the new media team provided us a “Bloggers’ room” with strong WIFI signal. Yay, a first.

Here are photos I took this morning.



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““I would rather die a meaningful death than to live a meaningless life.” Corazon C. Aquino

That photo above is a screen capture of me taken from the Laban ni Cory documentary. I feel honored to be part of the memorable documentary. I had no idea that video was taken until someone told me. It looks like I was reflecting as I ventured out on my first attempts of citizen journalism.

Through all the combined 15 hours of coverage during your funeral procession, this has got to be the greatest outpouring of love that I have witnessed in all 52 years of my life.

I will not forget the people who sacrificed their lives for democracy.
I will make sure that my readers are aware of the implications of the Constituent Assembly before the 2010 elections, and that we should oppose Charter Change perpetuating President Arroyo and her allies in power.

I will continue with the fight, to help maintain our democracy.


(Photo credit to Malou Escasa)

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The presence of the Kamaganak Inc. in the Cory administration was a huge turn-off in the past and it is one of the other reason that I didn’t choose Noynoy as my presidential candidate. We all know that the Aquino-Cojuangco feudal clans (and their extended network of cronies) arguably make up the single biggest oligarchic bloc in Philippine society which is called the Kamaganak Inc..

Noynoy will soon be our new president. Vigilance is the key and we hope that the Kamaganak Inc will not be a strong force in the new administration. In the spirit of transparency and good governance, I think the Kamaganak Inc. Mapping Project is a wonderful initiative.

The the Kamaganak Inc. Mapping Project reveals some of these Kamaganak

Some of the factions within Kamaganak Inc are already scrambling for the spoils of Noynoy’s ““landslide” win in the polls, to name a few:

– The Aquino Siblings (Kris, Ballsy, etc.).
– The ““Hyatt 10″ – emo officials who resigned at the height of the Great ““Hello Garci Scandal” of 2005
– The cast and crew of Noynoy’s Hindi ka Nag-iisa campaign video (Ding Dong Dantes, Ogie Alcasid, Regine Velasquez, etc.)
– Peping Cojuangco – who is a power bloc in hig own individual right
– The ““New Media Bureau” of the campaign headed by Enteng Romano that delivered Noynoy his million-strong ““fan” base on among others.

You can also view the map here.

I feel ambivalent towards Erap.

I neither like nor dislike him. My feelings has something to do with the memories of my little boy. My 6 year old son adored Erap. Luijoe thought the world of the former president. Luijoe yelled at the top of his voice that Erap was the smartest president in the whole world, in a jumpacked room at a plane ticket office ten summers ago.

In his booming voice, he threw his hands up in the air , twirling around the room, “Mom, President Erap is so smart, the smartest president in the whole wide world”.

awkward silence

Nobody in that room could deny not hearing my son’s adulation. It was May 2000 at the height of Erap’s unpopularity. I wanted the floor to open up and swallow both of us. I could feel the steely gaze and snickers surrounding us. My boy never sensed the awkwardness of the situation but I wanted to save face.

“So , why is Erap the smartest president in the whole wide world?”, as I squeaked the question to my naughty son.

“Mom, his jokes mom. He says the funniest jokes. That is very smart of him” (or something like that)

See my son had a great sense of humor and loved to throw a joke or two. Then he discovered the Erap jokes during one of our conversations. Luijoe overheard us laughing to our heart’s content on an Erap joke. He wanted to know why were laughing. He badgered to know the joke. So I narrated the joke

Erap: Miss, do you have a ballpen?
Clerk: Sorry, sir we don’t have any ballpen
Erap (angry): Why did you name your store “Penshoppe“?

royal_elastics 043.jpgHow my boy laughed! Luijoe loved to tell this joke to everyone . One time, Luijoe and I passed by Penshoppe ( a teen fashion store) in Glorietta mall and I teased him if he wanted to go inside with me , so I could ask the same question Erap asked. Luijoe tugged me away. hehe

I bought him the book , “Joke ni Erap” by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism in early 2000. Luijoe often packed this Erap Joke book in his backpack and kept re-reading those jokes that he could understand. He loved the book so much, he even labelled it with his name. Here are a few of his favorite jokes culled from that book.
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To the Noynoy supporters

Take time to read carefully from beginning to end including citations from columnists. This is about the grief and sense of loss (then road to acceptance) as the title suggest. This is not about you. Be happy your candidate won instead of making fun of people’s pain. Of course, you are entitled to get pissed (at the author of the Business World article I quoted) as we are entitled to our sadness. Remember that the quality of a victor shows in how he treats the defeated. thank you.

Juan VoteMay 10 called upon #juanvote to close the day with our anecdotes of the historic first national automated election. Right before we went live, the breaking news of the Comelec hit us hard. The speed of the results just stunned us. Thirty-five (35%) of the votes were just transmitted. Noynoy Aquino took a lead.

I was restless that night, unable to sleep. Did I waste 9 months of my life to voters’ education when I could have ventured into more profitable endeavors? You might all know by now that I didn’t vote for Noynoy Aquino because he didn’t fit my critieria of competency, character, coherent platform and clear vision. The night before May 10, I told myself that no matter who the president will be and as long as it is a fair and clean election (unlike the Hello Garci scandal in 2004), I will support the new president whoever he/she may be.

Just like sudden death, the impact of the news was shocking. How could 40% of the voters ignore “several candidates far more qualified by a record of public achievement than Noynoy” ? As Rene Azurin expressly wrote

“Mr. Aquino, because he is famous and a celebrity, can claim authority over us without any demand to show prior proof that he is at all qualified to exercise it. That’s intrinsically unfair. Of course, this is not Mr. Aquino’s fault. It is our fault for allowing ourselves to fall — stupidly, let us admit — under the spell of celebrity.”

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