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    I cried because I miss taking photographs.

    Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Two days ago, I cried because I miss taking photographs using my camera (Note: a real camera, not a phone camera). Two things (aside from Daddy A and the kids) that truly makes me happy are traveling and photography. In fact, before I started Mom On Duty, I used to have a blog with just my travel adventures (with lots of photos, of course) and followed bloggers under the travel and photography niche. I didn’t mind if I only had a point-and-shoot camera. What matters is that I really enjoyed capturing moments — even of people I don’t know — and beautiful sights.
    A butterfly in the Kew Royal Botanical Garden
    The London Bridge
    A British guard on duty
    But getting a better camera was at the top of my list then. Imagine my joy when Daddy A gave me a Nikon D3100 camera as a birthday gift a few years back. I have been meaning to get myself an SLR camera, but I couldn’t afford it just yet so I was super happy when he bought one for me.
    That’s me trying out the camera at 1 in the morning. LOL! Sino ang atat? Hindi ako! 😀
    I took lots of photos. Of Kelly. Of Daddy A. Of the places we went to. With a better camera on hand, nothing stopped me from enjoying what I love to do.
    “Discernment”
    “Angel”
    Mango Sorbet w/ Eggless Chocolate Mousse at Red Makati Shangri-La
    Then The Princess became a toddler and I gave birth to The Little Man. Going out with two little ones, their things and an SLR camera became too much of a hassle. And so I stopped bringing my camera with us. With that, I stopped taking photographs — well-captured ones. Instead, I settled with my phone’s camera. Months after, I decided to take the SLR out of the cabinet and gave it another try. To my disappointment, I can no longer take shots like I used to. So, I cried. Call me a drama queen, but I felt like I lost a part of me. I’m not blaming the kids at all — but I just wish I can give more time for myself and the stuff I love to do… ALL PHOTOS IN THIS POST ARE TAKEN BY KIMBERLEY REYES OF MOM ON DUTY. You can view my other photos here.

    TRAVEL GUIDE: Scotland

    Most of my two months in the United Kingdom was spent in London – and I somehow regret it. It’s not that London is not a beautiful place – it is – but it is not my kind of place. If you are like me who enjoys a more quiet kind of life and tries to stay away from busy cities, then I suggest that you head over to Scotland instead. I only had three days in Scotland when I went there, but that did not stop me from seeing most, if not all, of Scotland. I spent my first day in Edinburgh alone. Being a city for walkers, it was pretty easy to go around the place on foot. My first stop was the Princes Gardens and Edinburgh Castle. It is paradise for those who love photography as the gardens are beautifully decorated with colorful flowers and majestic trees. I concluded my day with a delicious meal in a Chinese restaurant that left me wanting to walk the whole night just to lose all the weight I gained in one sitting. 😀 The second day was spent on a coach tour followed by a ghost tour in Edinburgh. In the coach tour, we went to see the river Clyde, rode on an hour-long cruise on Loch Lomond and ended with a tour around the Stirling Castle (so far my favorite castle in the UK). We were back in Edinburgh by around half past 6 in the evening, which was enough time for me to join yet another tour. Edinburgh is dubbed to be one of the scariest places in the world, which is why tourists join ghost tours around the graveyards, underground vaults and much more. The tour I joined was the one of the underground vaults where hundreds of people died. The guide first brought us to a torture museum where various of torture devices are housed. After that, we headed deeper into the underground vaults and stopped in a hallway where a man is said to walk from one end to another. Thankfully, we did not hear any footsteps or saw a shadow. I would have died right then and there. The second stop was a Wiccan temple where modern Wiccans used to practice their religion. They stopped going there and said that violent spirits reside in that specific vault. A protective circle was left inside the vault to keep the spirits inside. It is said that if you step into that circle, bad things can happen – most of the time, participants get physical injuries. Good thing no one from our group dared to enter the circle. The last stop of the tour was the most haunted and violent vault. According to the guide, 96 people died there from a fire. They thought that stone does not burn… little did they know that a stone room can act like a huge oven. All of them died and their bodies were already fused together due to the extreme heat when they were found. We were also told that violent things have happened in that room during tours. Participants reported getting their hair pulled back, some were knocked out, while others said they thought they were holding on to a fellow participant and later found out no one was beside them. I tried to put a brave face on as the guide spoke about all those stories and kept telling myself that she was just playing with our minds. I only felt extremely terrified when we went out of the vault and discovered bruising on my arm. It wasn’t there when I went in nor do I remember hitting something while inside. Creepy. The tour ended in the haunted pub where we were given free whisky and short bread – a nice conclusion to calm ourselves down! On my last day in Scotland, I decided to head over to high street for some goodies I can bring home with me. I only ended up buying biscuits and scarves, though, due to lack of budget. 😀 I would have been extra happy if I bought myself a Scottish kilt, but it was out of my budget so I had to go with the biscuits and scarves. Scotland is definitely a place in the United Kingdom that any tourist should take time to see. It showcases a good mix of the old and the new and has a very interesting history behind it — great for history buffs like myself.
    Suggestions:
    • If possible, give yourself at least five days to go around Scotland.
    • On a budget? Stay in a hostel instead. I checked in at Westend Hostel and it only cost me £11 per night! Not a bad deal at all.
    • If you are coming from London, you can either go to Scotland by coach, by train, or by air. If you have time to spare, I suggest that you go by coach. It will take you 9 hours to get there… but the scenery is just perfect!
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    Easter Egg Hunt 2013

    So we had a mini Easter Egg Hunt for the little ones in our street today. When I was younger, I remember joining hunts prepared by our uncles, aunts and neighbors in this very street. However, Easter Egg Huting stopped for a few years (because the kids, my batch, grew up already). Now that there are kids again, the parents decided to bring back the yearly tradition. Painted eggs were hidden along the street by the teens early in the morning. Like 3 AM early — no wonder my younger sister was like a zombie the whole day!
    Small budget = Small banner Photo taken by my sister
    The hunt started at around 7 in the morning. Most of the kids were still in their jammies, but very much awake and excited as they searched for eggs.
    Easter Egg… Haunting?! Photo taken by my sister
    Is that a ghost?? No, no. That’s Kelly in her Halloween costume. She just loves running around wearing that! She kept clapping her hands every time they find an egg. I think Kelly and Daddy A found a total of twelve eggs. Unfortunately, they didn’t get a single egg with a number (egg with a number = big prize). So the Princess only brought home a loot bag. That’s fine, though. The important thing is she enjoyed her very first Easter Egg Hunt!

    Why I Blog

    the minis
    Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that–a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest. – Debra Ginsberg
    A few days ago, I read a beautiful post by Sellabit Mum. I thought it would be nice to write something of that sort in my blog too so that I can have something to show the kids when they ask about why I blog. Here goes! To my little ones, this is why I blog… I blog because I want to remember. I want to remember the two wonderful moments that your daddy and I cried tears of joy after hearing your heartbeats for the first time. We couldn’t see your faces then, but hearing the steady thump thump thump of your hearts already brought so much happiness. I want to remember the first time I held the both of you in my arms, the first time you smiled, your first step, your first word. I want to remember your monthsaries and birthdays, the first time you went trick or treating, Easter egg hunting and Ninong/Ninang hunting during the holidays. I want to remember even the smallest of things. The times when you two would tease each other until one of you cries, the times when both of you take on Mommy and make me cry out of frustration. I want to remember our little heart-to-heart talks–even though you have your own “languages.” Trust me when I say that Mommy understands both of you clearly. 🙂 I want to remember EVERYTHING because for me, every moment with the two of you is worth capturing — big or small. SUMMER I blog because I need to let all the frustrations out. Of being a mother, that is. Because sometimes, Mommy gets tired, too. And there are times when people put Mommy down for choosing to be with you. I have moments when I wish I wasn’t a mom… maybe then I can do all that I love to do: play instruments without little hands constantly pulling the strings, take photographs without being in a hurry because my subjects might get too bored, and going on spontaneous adventures on my own, with Daddy A or with my friends. Then I read my posts in this blog and I’m reminded that being with you two is way better. This blog continues to remind me that my happiest days are with you–tantrums or no tantrums. Pretend play with The Amazing Kelly Pretend play with Captain Caleb I blog because I want to connect with like-minded people. People who are like me: parents in the process of learning the twists and turns of parenthood. I learn so many things from them and I am happy to know that they get a few tips and tricks from my blog, too. My readers and fellow mom/dad bloggers are my our virtual family. Thank them, when you have the chance. They have provided the support your daddy and I need when being parents becomes too difficult.
    get hooked on diy

    LEFT TO RIGHT: Kim Reyes of MomOnDuty.com, Serene Shikukeza of Nurses-Diary.com, Denise Rayala of Bebengisms.com and Marie San Luis of MamaneesNest.com

    And I blog because I want our family to be an inspiration for others – and for you, dear minis, when you have your own families. I want us to be a reminder that bad days do not equal a bad life. These difficult days come and go; and as long as the family sticks together, we can face whatever hurdles come our way. jollibee birthday party One day, I hope you will find the time to read Mommy’s blog so that you will be reminded of our memories – both the happy ones and the challenging ones – together and how much Mommy and Daddy love you. Happy reading, babies! Love, Mommy

    Coron, Day 4 of 5

    Coron, Day 4 of 5 (You can read the rest of our 2011 Coron Trip here) Note: We went here in 2011. Rates may have increased since then.

    We were supposed to go wreck diving on the fourth day. But, since my scratch developed into a very painful wound surrounded by really bad bruises, we decided not to dive. So, instead of diving, our friend suggested to go out of Coron Town and brought us around Busuanga. We visited different resorts in Busuanga like Puerto del Sol. There we had a hearty lunch and stayed for a few hours to enjoy the scenic view.

    The resort is rather quiet as compared to those located in Coron Town. The silence is actually very deafening, but I liked it. It’s the perfect get-away for those who just want to take a break from the buzzing city. After hanging out in Puerto del Sol, our friend brought us to Busuanga Island Paradise. I wish we had more time there since it seems like there are a lot of activities to do there. They have a forest trail in the area where guests can try bird watching. It’s something I’ve been dying to do so we might go back there when the kids are old enough to go on an adventure trip.

    We headed back to Coron Town after having a drink at Busuanga Island Paradise. It’s a long drive from the town, so it was best to leave early so as not to let night catch up with us. At the end of the day, I didn’t regret not diving in Coron. This road trip is actually a great substitute to a wreck dive.