The One with a View

What is the most beautiful view you’ve ever seen?

For Team Kramer – Doug, Cheska, Kendra, Scarlett, and Gavin – one of the most beautiful views can be seen from their new home.

This part of their house allows them to relax with a “grand view” overlooking Metro Manila. The first time I stepped in their new home, I had to stand here for a long while for me to take all the beauty in.

When Kendra and Scarlett were about to start homeschooling two years ago, Cheska and I fixed their home school area that shares the same space as Doug’s office in their previous house.

Initially, Cheska’s plan was to have our organizing session when they move in to their new house; but the kids’ homeschooling made her decide to have the organizing session right away.

This was the initial moving in plan which supposedly will give us a good 3 weeks to finish. But it was moved to last week of June and we were only given 5 days to complete the unboxing and organizing.

Cheska assured me then that Neat Obsessions will be a part of their moving in. What I really love about Doug and Cheska is that they are true to their word. While their new house was still under construction, they share the progress and developments with me. I was part of their moving in timeline.

Finally, when our organizing schedule came, we wasted no time as we had four floors and five days to finish!

Photo from @dougkramer’s Instagram

Team Kramer’s new house is such a sight to behold. Believe me, it’s difficult to be in a position where you are completely in awe of the house and all the beautiful views that come with it, but at the same time you are reminded by the balikbayan boxes in the hallways that you have to move fast to get a lot of job done within a short time frame!

I can already hear you ask me how we were able to do it in five days.

To answer your question, the five-day organizing was a collaborative project. The effort did not only come from me and my team. Team Kramer’s household staff lent their hand, too. Even Cheska and Doug were with us, not just to assist, but to actually pull the things out of the boxes, move the things around, and organize some of their personal things themselves!

For those who are building a new house or moving out in the future, here are three things we learned from the Team Kramer Moving In Project:

Know your things really well. The new house didn’t need so much storage solutions because there were no storage problems to begin with! Doug and Cheska know their things so well that there was a space provision for everything they own.

Team Kramer’s Homeschool Classroom
Cheka’s Bag Collection

Cheska allotted more than enough space for her clothes, accessories, bags, and shoes. Doug had his storage space for his DVDs and collectible figure collection. Even Kendra and Scarlett had so much space for their clothes and bags. Their play area had enough space for the children’s toys.

Sort your things. Prior to moving out of their previous house, Doug and Chesca already sorted the things from their old house in balikbayan boxes, and labelled each box with the rooms (and corresponding floors) in their new house! I could not imagine having to deal with unsorted items and be given only five days to sort and organize everything. Their sorting really helped us be efficient in our work.

Involve your children in the process. Kendra, Scarlett, and Gavin had their special participation in the organizing process. Doug and Cheska made them choose which toys they still play with, and which toys they can already let go so that other kids may enjoy them instead. They asked the kids to identify which toys are always played with, because these are the toys put on places they can easily access.

I really admire how Doug and Cheska lead their kids in understanding how important home and family life is. Like many family journeys, they also transferred to a more spacious house as their family grew. In each house, they made beautiful memories.

This new home is the cherry on top of their bountiful blessings. It’s true that they have a home that offers a really good outdoor space and a view of the city, but the most beautiful view is not just what the eyes see.

Photo from @chekakramer’s IG

For Doug and Cheska, the foundation of their house is built with a view on what really matters:

“What makes a house a home is family.”

For me, no matter the size of your house, having this kind of view will make a world of difference in the way you live your life everyday.

Here’s a throwback video of our organizing journey in Team Kramer’s new house:

Source

Have you ever wondered how many times the word Mom / Mommy / Mama / Ma / Inay / Nanay gets mentioned in the house in a day? 

Happy Sunday, Neatropolis! 

I write this entry with a heartfelt appreciation to mothers all around the world!

Whenever I am with my kids, I hear the three of them call me from time to time, either alternatingly or in chorus. (I’ll leave you to compute how many times I hear them call me) They call me for the most important and for the silliest reasons. Sometimes, when I hear the longest “Mooooooooooooom” (followed by a long rant or complaint) at a time when I am exhausted from work, I remind myself that these little ones are the very reasons why I am working hard every day. 

Surely there is no perfect motherhood. There are just perfect reasons why a mother keeps going.

Interestingly, aside from “female parent,” the dictionary gives us another meaning to the word “mother.” Although this dictionary meaning does not necessarily refer to a person, its meaning is beautiful and powerful enough to be used as a descriptor for the most important woman in our lives:

SOURCE.

Our mothers are our sources of love, wisdom, comfort, and strength. This is probably why even if they can’t hear us, we call them on instinct. This is probably why our kids call us from time to time too, because we have established ourselves to be a source of something – funnily enough, sometimes, the source of answer to a missing toy or missing anything. 

Those who are not our biological mothers but have become our source of strength through time are also mother figures to us. The people in our lives who have loved us unconditionally and who made sure we grow up to be our best selves are also people we call mothers too. These are the women and/or men who stand in the position of rearing and bringing up people in the best way they know. Motherhood, now, comes in all forms and does not only fit the mold of a woman who carried a child in the womb for nine months.

Many mothers have been breadwinners in their families or a source of income for the household. 

I for example, with the blessing and support of my husband, have become a mompreneur to pursue one of my passions in life. I admire many single moms for gracefully being the source of income and the source of everything else her children needs, no matter how difficult it gets.

I think about how wonderful it is for us mothers to live at this time that there’s Facebook and Instagram. We can easily share tips, hacks, and experiences that will help inspire one another to go about the ins and outs of motherhood.  

I am sure many moms would agree that no matter how much time we spend with our kids in the morning or at night, when we’re at work, we feel a little guilty of not having to spend that time with our kids instead. We worry too much about how we’re missing out on important milestones in their lives because we’re somewhere far from their side. 

There are nights when I just cannot go home early even if I want to. There are days, however, when you’d see me posting in my IG stories that I’m home before the sun sets. On days that I cannot go home early, my husband finds a way for him to go home ahead of me so the kids will have someone to play with. 

One time, when I felt I wanted to do more by being closer to my kids than I already am, when I got confused if I’m doing motherhood right by pursuing my passion, I heard the right words I needed at that time: “You are teaching your children the value of hard work.”

Then I get messages of love from mothers on Instagram, telling me how Neat Obsessions inspired them, either to organize their homes or to pursue their passions too. While some of us may be able to pursue passions and jump out of a sinking ship before we drown, some of us have limitations or restrictions that do not allow us to just “jump out.” Some, although having a strong drive to pursue their passions, are left with no choice but to stay where they are. I not saying this on the note that you are doomed for life – I am writing this to encourage you that the saying, “Bloom where you are planted” is something that you can cultivate in your life to make the most of your days as a mother.

Hard work is not just applicable for people who go out of their houses to work.

If you’re a mother climbing the corporate ladder, bloom. If you’re a stay at home mom, bloom. If you are in the period of transition from one job to another, bloom. Surely there is something you can do to learn more about yourself to be able to help the people around you. There is a reason why you are where you are at the moment. While you feel like you haven’t figured out everything yet, just continue finding reasons continue going, and don’t forget to “do small things with great love,” too.

It’s the small acts you do for your children and for your family that makes you a great mother, not the size of your paycheck, not the workplace you’re in, not even the gifts you shower them with. The little (or big) ones beside you – your children – are the reasons you must keep going. Looking at yourself with another mother in mind as a gauge will only make you insecure and inadequate. You are enough, momma. Your sacrifices are incomparable, and with that, your accomplishments are incomparable, too!

Mommas of Neatropolis, allow me to say once and for all that you all inspire me too – because I learn a lot from how you handle this all-too difficult yet rewarding job that is motherhood. Let’s continue being the source of light and strength to our children by supporting them in pursuing their own passions and dreams. There are holes and gaps from time to time, but we mommas can sure remedy them – go back to your source of strength (your husband, faith or your mom) so that you’re on your toes again.

You all are beautiful and strong, and to the people who look up to you as their source of love, wisdom, comfort, and strength, you are more than enough.

Happy Mother’s Day! Stay Neat Everyone! 🙂

The Simple Things

Have you ever been bothered by a Facebook status post? You know those cryptic texts that your friends post and you just feel like there’s something wrong…

Recently, my friend posted a status on Facebook, I couldn’t help but message her and ask what was wrong.. She replied and said she felt like the world is against her and that it seems like all her plans don’t work. Bothered by the tone of her text, I called her instead. Her voice was shaky and it sounded like she got a bad cold. I asked her if she’s crying and she just burst into this wallowing voice and poured all her frustrations… I didn’t know what to say. She talked about her failed marriage and not having a decent job, her child who got sick and how it bothers her that it’s just the two of them together now.

I am lost for words because I couldn’t even begin to imagine what she was going through… Then out of the long pause and silence we had, I shared with her a practice that I started last year with my kids.

Every night after we say our prayers as a family, we would always say what we are grateful for for the day. When we started this practice my husband and I would always come up with very serious and deep answers. Like, we are grateful for having a loving family, having the opportunity to work so we can provide a happy and abundant living, having happy and healthy kids and the like… and because we say it that way our kids would struggle and always come up with interesting answers.

One time instead of me going first, I asked my son what he was grateful for and he answered: “I’m happy because dad bought me french fries” and then my daughter said, “I’m grateful because I have nail polish” and my 2yo said “milk!”

It is in that moment when I realized that happiness doesn’t have to be complicated. That it is with the simple things in life that we learn to appreciate what happiness is all about. There’s this one night where I said I’m happy because my husband deliberately struggled to crack a big piece of crab claw and afterwards gave me the meat while my kids burst into laughter. It was so sweet that I got surprised how a simple thing can make me “kilig.” I love the idea that we all got to sleep at night thinking of that one thing that made us smile that day.

I told my friend that maybe she can do that too with her child… That both of them can think of happy thoughts before they sleep so that instead of feeling the sorrows and supposed emptiness, they will see the beauty of that day. Sure, problems and difficulties will probably still be there but the thought of a person, an idea, an act of service, a feeling, that happens in a day would have made you smile – all you have to do is to remember. I love how my kids taught me what happiness is all about. That we don’t have to seek for more because sometimes those little things that bring joy is enough for you to feel God’s miracle. This practice taught me how to count my blessings and it is with my kids’ list that I learn contentment and love.

Tonight my 8yo is happy for his piano lessons, my 6yo is thankful for having her friends come over to play, and my 2yo said “mommy.”

And I said… I am grateful for having that conversation with my friend, realizing how simple life should be. I pray that she will feel better and may all her worries be gone. To my surprise, my son said, “Let’s all pray for her, Mom,” and we did!

Good night Neatropolis! May all your worries be resolved with the simplest gratitude.

How about you? What are you grateful for today?

The first leaves off the tree
The way you look at me
A thousand chiming church bells ring
The simple things are free
The sun, the moon, the stars
The beating of two hearts
How I love the simple things
The simple things just are

I heard this song from my friend’s wedding. It’s such a great reminder how the simple things can have lasting impact in our lives. That it is with the littlest of things that can make us truly happy.

Landers Expert Moms

Expert Moms

Feeling Right at Home with Landers Expert Moms. Let me begin this blog with something you might have repetitively read from my posts: I will never get used to being in front of the camera.

The moment I received the invitation to be featured in Landers Expert Moms, this familiar feeling of anxiety and excitement rolled into one began. I love speaking to people, but doing it in front of a recording camera is another thing! I can handle conversations with moms most especially if it’s about sharing with them everything I learned ever since I became a mom… but as much as possible, no cameras please!

I continue to get amazed at how my good grip at things neat and orderly at home transcended to the homes of other people, whether we know each other for years, or we just got acquainted through Instagram. Before Neat happened, I never thought that my being “Queen of our Household” would tap other Queens in their respective homes to begin their journey in organizing, even if they are reading my posts miles and miles away from where I post them. I believe there is still a lot to learn everyday both in motherhood and in professional organizing, but I am thankful for the confidence that Moms have in my expertise… I’m beyond thankful to Landers for recognizing it and for choosing to share it with more moms.

(I only wish I could translate some of those to confidence in speaking in front of the camera.)

The thing is, no matter how much my anxiety or worries are, the taping day will inevitably come!

I am so blessed to have done this episode with my good friend Nadine Henson-Cuevas, who just does it so well in front of the camera! Her constant encouragement just lightens up the load of filming for me, and her being natural is just so inspiring! Nadine is more than just a good host. Having known her for quite some time, I could go on and on about how great of a mom and person she is. While filming, I just realized how very appropriate the title “Landers Expert Mom” is for her. Nadine knows Landers so well that she can bring you to that aisle or corner where the product you’re looking for sits. She knows which products suits the need of a mom, whether for her children or for her house. As a bonus, she can provide information regarding promos or big sales in Landers!

For me, Landers is also such an expert in the services it provides and the products it offers. Whenever I enter its doors (and I’m talking about doing this in any of the branches), there’s this feeling of welcome which is so familiar – that same feeling I get when I enter my own home. There’s comfort knowing that it will provide you everything you need, without hassle.

Shopping in Landers is just so convenient for me because I literally just hop off and go walk around this huge one-stop shop to get my needs. For mommies like me who balances time for a family with three kids and time for business, I find it time consuming to go to different stores before my shopping gets completed. Landers just saves me a lot of time and energy, that I get to spend with my family instead.

I also love how it offers a wide range of products. Any type of mom would find shopping in Landers a breeze. Moms who are keen on cooking, cleaning, or organizing would find something especially for them in Landers.

I must say that Landers being the filming location also helped a lot in making me feel relaxed during the shoot. Whenever I’m faced with unfamiliar or uncomfortable situations, I tend to look for faces and places to give me comfort. And while I constantly remind myself that just like in anything, I need to (slowly but surely) overcome my anxiety of speaking in front of the camera, I am thankful to Nadine, and to Landers, for even if I felt a hundred bursting emotions inside while the camera’s red light is on, they both managed to make me feel right at home.

What’s in your Diaper Bag?

Having 3 kids, I’ve gone through a lot… a lot of diaper bags, that is. Having a 7, a 5 and a very new 1 year old baby led to a journey of bag discovery – the stylish but heavy and big Coach diaper bag, the very organized Jujube, the easy access Anelo.

From the mindset of “the entire nursery” inside the bag to just having the essentials… I think I’m now a “specialist”, not by design but by sheer trial and error in editing what’s inside mom’s most loved essential – diaper bags. 😅🙈

This particular skip*hop diaper bag is a combination of all my previous bags, it’s spacious, (super) lightweight, easy access, organized, fits right at the back and stylish (doesnt shout that it’s a diaper bag).

Finally, the one for me! ☺️ Swipe left to see what’s inside mine and why I need them. I’m saying “I NEED” because I salute moms that can go with their toddlers with just baby wipes in their bag, waaahhh how to be you, as in seriously, how? 😅♥️ #neatobsessions #ochits #octips #diaperbag