Monday, November 25, 2013

The Richwell Sale 2013

It's been long overdue.

I am pretty sure a lot of the mommies and daddies out there have been toy shopping for their kids but I want to share it nonetheless for those who have not chanced upon the schedule.

The Richwell Warehouse Sale has been going for two weekends already but you still have time to visit.

I love it that they have upgraded their venue as they are on a fairly-airconditioned floor in the Richwell Building.  You won't miss the banner!  It's still by Scout Torillo and Scount Limbaga near Jade Garden Restaurant.

What can you expect?

  • This year, the bargains are not as good as the previous years.  You will still see some Barbie dolls, bikes and Hotwheels tracks that are below the 500 peso-range but apart from that, all toys are on the 20% to 40% discount
  • The bargain toys are not so dusty as the previous years (possibly because the venue is air-conditioned)
  • A lot of the new, excellently packaged toys are 20% off.  You will chance upon some toys, like the Dora The Explorer Megabloks tub, that are 50% off
  • Long lines never go out of fashion.  Prepare to fall in line for an easy 1 hour before you can get to the checkout counter

What Did I Get To Buy?

  • My 6-year old girl is into Winx Club dolls now.  I bought two dolls that have 20% off the regular price of Php1,150 each
  • My 4-year old bought a tub of Dora The Explorer Megabloks (regularly priced at Php1,500 but have a 50%-off sticker on it)
  • A Barbie Rockstar guitar at 20% off (It was Php1,000 but paid Php800)
  • RoseArt color pencils, mechanical pens and Art stuff at 50%
  • A cute stuffed animal for Php200.
  • Hotwheels cars for Php79 (previously Php100)

There were a few more knick knacks that I do not remember right now.  Overall, it was still a good buy.  If you have the patience to look around for shoes (Ollie, Barbie, Fisher Price etc) and dresses, shirts and pants (Big & Small and Orange Juice) then you'll more value for your money.  With two girls who run around to look at toys, I didn't have the time and the energy for dresses and shoes.  

Happy Christmas shopping!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Motherhood and Mush

I was watching The Voice 5 Marathon on AXN yesterday afternoon while I was working from home.  These days have been so stressful that I need to have music (or any sound in the background, really) to prevent myself from thinking too many thoughts.  I don't know if that makes sense.  Do you ever encounter that?


I was watching the early blind audition episodes and one 16-year old contestant and her family caught my attention.  It was just a typical interview and song number; she was quite good that she had a four-chair turn.  She was still singing when the camera was panned back on her family.  Focus on her kid brother - he was teary-eyed.  Then he said, "she is wonderful."  I swear that scene just made me cry!  A LOT!

What the heck, right?  I used to be a "toughy" when I was younger.  Now I think motherhood has brought out the mush in me.  I can cry as fast as Porsche's 0-60 in 4.6 seconds.  It's amazing!

So what other things made me cry so much recently?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sale Alert: LJS Warehouse Sale

A few decades ago, you can tell it is almost Christmas when the commuters go berserk over heavy traffic and when a jacket is a necessity.  Now, the traffic is pretty much the same all year long and the thermal digits never drop near the equator.

So what are mommy and daddy indicators that it is almost the holiday?  Aside from whining kiddos to start shopping for Christmas stuff (heh), it is the consecutive announcement of various Warehouse sale!

This year, this is one sale I am most interested in!  It is one of two shopping tradition that I do not fail to do for the kids (and myself, because of all the good finds and savings).  It is the 5th LJS Warehouse Sale!!

There are various great buys that you can find!  I used to work somewhere near the warehouse and I make it a point to visit at least once to buy for the house, the kids and some others I can give away.

Go check out the participating brands!  I am sure you'll find products you will not regret getting.

The brats grew up with brands like Philips Avent and Aprica.  Now that they are bigger I get to buy them comfy Sanuk and Kickers footwear as well.  

See you there!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Ray of Sunshine

It was such an eventful day.  

There were heartbreaking revelations that I fear I cannot digest.  It was such a bad day.

My work day was toxic that it felt more like a Thursday than a Monday.  I had a ton of email to reply to - a lot needing careful consideration because one step can be deadly, career-wise.  Procrastination got to me again as I preferred to wait until it was the deadline before I sent out my peer feedback;  I had eight write-ups to do.  It.was.TOXIC!

By late afternoon, I felt like I was going to pass out.  How crazy can this day be?  I was working from home but there was no chance for a breather.  Then there are "requests" from the kids here and there. 

Mom, I want this.  Mom, can you get that? 

Then I saw it.  My six-year old daughter was in the kitchen, her small hands washing the plates and glasses they used for snacks.  My four-year old ran to hug and kiss me.  

Mommy, I love you.  

I guess she saw that I needed the confirmation.

Sometimes it takes those little things to affirm that, although you are hurting, life goes on.  Will things mend to the way they were before they were broken?  I don't know.  I just know that, in case it stays broken, there are blessings to be thankful for; there are rays of sunshine even when dark clouds cover them.

Friday, September 27, 2013

That Scary Time Of The Year

It is that time of the year again!  

I do not mean Christmas.  We still have about 90 days to procrastinate for the girls.  I mean it is the Focal Point Review again, for employees who follow the fiscal year calendar.
Taken from

Selling myself and "bragging" about achievements isn't really one of my best traits.  I cringe and die when asked.  I was asked once, by my boss no less, why she should give me an "Achieving the Expectation" rating.  I knew I deserved something decent, given that there has been improvement of late with the department.  But see, the first thing that came to mind was, "Uhhh... You don't have to, if I do not deserve it".  This was never articulated, of course; sanity arrived just in the nick of time.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Being in a Multi-racial Lovely Chaos

This is probably the most frequently repeated conversation since I became a parent.  Mostly exchanged between a stranger who are amused about how we, as a family, look.

       Stranger:  Ohhh they are lovely little girls.  Is their Dad a foreigner?
       Me:          Uh yes, he is.
       Stranger:  (to my girls)  You are beautiful! <insert small talk here>
       Stranger:  (to me)  How about their mom, is she American too?

My reply will depend on my mood - in one instance, the conversation was with a sales lady.  I ended up saying I'm their mother and bought more than what I needed to, out of spite. When I am in a jolly mood, I tell them that I asked my friends in the hospital's nursery department to swap my kids with more beautiful "foreigner" kids - Pinalitan sa hospital.   What I wanted really to say was how good they must look if they have their foot in their mouth. Heh.

Then there's this variation:

         Stranger:  They are lovely little girls.  Are they yours?
         Me:          Yes, they are. <awkward smile>
         Stranger:   (looking at my 3-year old)  The Dad's American?
         Me:           Yes.
         Stranger:   (looking at my 6-year old) How about her?
         Me:           Last time I checked, American too.

Note to self:  Next time, be more specific.  Say American-Italian.  One of the brats look more Italian.

Joking aside, I know I do not need to answer to any of their questions.  I am not accountable to satisfy their curiosity.  It is just interesting to see their reaction.  Wayyy funny to see them scramble to redeem themselves at the end of the conversation.

One of my guilty pleasures. :)

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Scary Questions

Every time I am close to convincing myself that I am ready for parenting, there will always be something to prove me wrong.  

Mommy dearest has gone a long way from the "almost-punched-a-nurse-during-newborn-screening" mom to "calm-and-cool-even-when-you-see-blood" kind of mom.

Then there come these moments when you don't really know how to answer; when the simple questions or comments can be quite difficult to deal with.

Like when Pot asked if the middle finger (or the ring finger) is the bad finger (gasp!). Or when she has enthused comments about her classmates having boyfriends; or a doll's dress and the way she smiles as "sexy" (faint!).  She IS in first grade!!!!

How prepared are you?

Because really, did I miss the memo?  Shouldn't we be invited to a conference on how we deal with this phase.  Because, by golly, I might literally faint the next time she ask me these things.

Have you had a similar experience before?  How did you answer them?


Friday, August 16, 2013

Read-Up: An Elegant Blog Giveaway!

When I first saw Zuri Baby Couture’s website, I was awed by the brand’s fashion accessories for babies.  Their headbands, necklaces and shoes are to die for.  To think the list doesn’t end there. 

For those who have been regularly following my blog, you know that my bratinellas love dressing up - with their favorite tutu dresses, hair accessories and little ladies’ shoes.  So when I showed them Zuri’s line of accessories, I saw their eyes brighten while they were saying wow.

Here are a few of their lovely designs.  The full catalog of their designs can be found here:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What Is Best For Babies (and Mommies)

There is a photo that has been circulating all over the social networking sites about a mother who was nursing her little baby in front of an infant formula vendor’s booth.  That picture prompted a number of arguments about breastfeeding versus bottle feeding.  Some applaud this mother for making a bold statement over formula feeding while others felt that she has shamed women to ask about options, thus preventing their right to choice.

For one, breastmilk is known to be the most complete form of nutrition for babies – for their immunity, health, growth and formation.  Breastfeeding also forms a strong bond between the mother and child, which experts have stated helps make a more confident child…. Studies also show that mothers lose their pregnancy weight-gain faster when they breastfeed.  And hey, breastfeeding is free so it is cost-effective as well.

In defense of those who decide to bottle feed their infants, it is argued that with bottle-feeding, a mother knows exactly how much her baby intakes so she does not have to worry about accidentally under or overfeeding.  Proponents also contest that modern formula milk has at par nutrients with a mother’s breastmilk, so all the health benefits are amply provided.  In addition, the mother is given freedom to go back to her normal life, as fathers or older siblings can participate in feeding the newborn.

I am very interested to know how my readers feel about this.  I would like to know, which do you prefer best – breastfeeding or bottle-feeding?  

Watch out for my next post as this will be a poll on this topic.  You will surely like what we are giving away!

My Learning Tidbit: Childproofing My Home

It was another eventful evening.  My little girls were playing pretend, the bigger one was the doctor while the little one, Nemo, was the agitated patient.  Doing the general check-up, the doctor decided to clean her patient's ears with a cotton bud.  She ran to her grandma's room to get one and started cleaning.  Within seconds, pretend play was done and the little one cried and shouted real loud - the unmistakable pain evident.  

Since my husband and I work the afternoons, their grandma looks after them while we are away.  She made the nervous call to us because my little one's ear is bleeding and then she and my brother took off to the Emergency Room.  Hours after that, we were sent home with a anti-tetanus shot and an order slip to see an EENT specialist.

Scary.  We are bringing her today.  I pray her ear drums are intact and there are no serious damage on her ear.

You can take precautions to make our homes safer but it is also necessary to watch kids at all times.  My girls can be Houdini-apprentices sometimes.  They can do tricks while you're watching them and, if you're not at par with their speed, you'll realize they've done their magic tricks on you.

Childproofing is important.  Here are some tips to make our home safer for them:

  • Scope out the Territory - It is important to take a child's view of your home.  What dangerous can they get?  What can interest them?  No one knows what entices them better than you.  If you can't childproof all the rooms, make sure they do not have access to those that are not.
  • Secure Your Windows and Doors - Can they easily open them?  Is it easier to reach especially with chairs or tables around?  There are window and door guards to stop them from falling and accidentally pop them open.  
  • Know Your Furniture and Appliances - You will be surprised at how children can innovate.  They can ladders out of drawers, "swimming pools" out of linens over hard floor, "trees" to climb on with furniture that are "strategically" together.  Bolt whatever you can to the wall.  Put heavier and bulkier stuff on the bottom shelves so they are harder to topple over.
  • Prevent Drowning - Do not leave your children unattended in the tub, even if they are on a bath seat.  Drowning does not take a lot of water.  It only takes a few inches of water.  If they lose their balance while looking at our trusty ole timba (a bucket the Filipinos can't live without), they can fall and drown.  This can happen when they look at the toilet so latches are handy,
There are a lot more tips which can be found in this article that I saw in babycenter.  The key takeaway here is keep our homes safer while we watch our kids closely at all times.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Zen vs. Road Rage

I want to believe that I am good at keeping my composure. Most times, I just let things slide. The worst thing you might hear from me is a hum, a sniff and it's like that awful things did not happen.

Then there are the not so frequent "Ohhh-I-so-want-to-punch-you-in-the-face" moments which instantly consumes my inner peace.  

This evening was one of those moments.  On our way home from Festival Mall, we were greeted by the biggest bottleneck in front of the Metropolis.  It's always bad there with all the cars, friggin' jeepneys and buses - all wanting to take a U-turn.

Let me try my best to help you visualize.  Think of a 6-lane road.  All of these roads have a fair mix of vehicles.  The first five lanes to the left then gets into a bottleneck going to the other direction to take a U-turn.

Everyone was boxing out the lanes to take that single U-turn slot.  It was mental!!  The bus to our right looked like it wanted to exchange paints because it was too close. If the driver sneezed, I would probably get his germs.  On top of that, people were crossing the street/leisurely riding the jeeps like it was the safest thing to do! Double-mental!!

So I got home with a huge headache and an equally awful body pain.  My husband wasn't exactly feeling giddy either.

Hummmm.... hummmm...

This tranquility is brought to you by my lavander-scented candle.

(Okay, so I had my favorite 400-calorie milk tea too but let's keep this as our little secret).

Monday, May 27, 2013

Do Not Open Until Christmas

 I remember one night, near Christmas, when a snowstorm blew down over Lake Erie from Alberta, Canada.  Those are always the coldest ones.  Canadian air in December will change what’s going on outside the window in a matter of minutes.  There is a howl as it rushes through the trees.  Branches creak.  Signs sway.  Dead leaves, dry and crisp, swirl in corners.

I was with my two brothers in an upstairs bedroom when it hit.  The topic of discussion?  Christmas vacation.  In Ohio it begins on the twenty-first, every year.  Two weeks without school, and new toys to play with.  It was still Matchbox for me back then:  the cars, the cities, the racetracks.  Oh and Milton Bradley had this really cool spaceship called the Starbird.  You wouldn’t believe the stories I could dream up around those things.  And come the twenty-fifth, I would have more set-pieces to use.  I wanted two weeks of that.

But when that clipper from Alberta came down, everyone stopped talking.  It hit the window like a fist.  Tony, the oldest brother, went to the glass and peered out.  Todd and I did the same seconds later.  The street—West Main Street—was empty, but shadows played everywhere over the blacktop as the trees shook and the streetlights swayed.  There was a storm coming.

There was a storm coming… so the three of us started doing something that lots of other people in the western hemisphere do during snowy nights at Christmas-time:  We started telling ghost stories.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Quick Hello!

I would shout out that I am BACK (again) but, heck, saying that and blogging after 2 weeks would be embarrassing.  Heh.  So can I say I am back-ish and that I miss all three readers of my blog?  LOL!

It has been a crazy ride.  It still is actually.  From moving to a new house to surviving life  without a nanny to a crazy WFH  <--> looking after the kids while making sure the deliverable are covered.  It has been C.R.A.Z.Y!  I am happy we are surviving!

I can't tell how the whole experience has given me more patience.  Crazy drivers bother me less (it still happens, you will know in the next blog).  Series of unfortunate events hardly even moves me.  The universe does not conspire against me.  They are busy doing that to somebody else. 

Maybe I am being more patient... or maybe I am just doing great in mastering the art of tuning out. 

Anyhow... I hope to touch base more often now.  Sending you tropical cheers from the sunny Philippines.

Oh and hey, while we are on the subject, doesn't this feel true?  Somebody turn the A/C on!!

Not mine.  I saw this at the "I Love Philippines" FB page.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Notebook -- Nicholas Sparks

Ever since we had our cable TV back, I've been catching up on my movies.  Prior to this, and just right having kids, I was left to watch ONLY cartoon films in the silverscreen.  My daughters always join us when we go out.  I know it's not entirely healthy relationship-wise but that's another topic to write about.

So this evening, I arrived home after the girls fell asleep.  I caught up with more chick flicks in WarnerTV.  Tonight, it was an adaptation of one of my favorite books.  The Notebook.  This is one of those movies that wasn't afraid to get the limelight from the published book.  I love both.  Of course, the book will always have a special space in my heart.

 but the movie is equally enticing.

Let's just say that the phrase "Take a Box Of Kleenex" isn't really applicable here.  If you are watching this (or reading the book) for the first time, be sure you have a bath towel handy.  You need that much to wipe the tears away.

The screenplay's a killer.  The lines melt and breaks your heart.

If you have not read the book, I suggest you do that first.  It is also a pain to not see this movie.  Go watch it.

With that, I leave you with my favorite line from the book:

“The reason it hurts so much to separate is because our souls are connected. Maybe they always have been and will be. Maybe we've lived a thousand lives before this one and in each of them we've found each other. And maybe each time, we've been forced apart for the same reasons. That means that this goodbye is both a goodbye for the past ten thousand years and a prelude to what will come.” 
Happy weekend!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Jazzin' Up My Phone

One thing I like about the technology now is how versatile it has become.  Back when the mobile phone was first released, everyone was carrying ugly (and heavy) phones.  

Who would have known that, 20 years after, you can jazz up your phone so that it exudes your personality and your mood.  

I love that my current phone model has so many cases to choose from. I controlled myself successfully, owning only three cases.

The first case I bought was an Otterbox Commuter Series. It gave my phone that protection it needs especially since it is daily subjected to the craziest torture any phones can adhere to (A.K.A. Kids).

I also have a personalized case that I won from Alabang Bulletin's Christmas raffle.  They were made by Instamug, a company that is quickly gaining popularity even to celebrity customers.  This is my favorite because my kids' pictures are printed.  Please visit their website as you can have one via their no-fuss online orders.

The newest is quite ostentatious and girly - it has diamond stubs and lovely swirls.  I love how the diamonds feel on my hand.

Maybe I can splurge and buy more if I can save a part of my budget for food.  :)

What is your favorite phone accessory?

Leaving The Kids Behind

I often feel rotten whenever I leave my little girls at home to go to the office.  This afternoon was no exception. 

We had our normal "no-don't-go-i'll-bawl-my-eyes-out" goodbyes.  Each kid was hanging on to one leg to convince us to stay.

My conscience was eating me.  How can you leave them like this?  What if they don't get to eat well? What if they escape and leave the house?


It was quiet on our way to work. My husband and I were probably worrying about the same thing.  

As soon as I got to the office, I called our house to make sure they are okay.  Our trustee ole Yaya said they were in their room.  She called them to let them know I was on the phone.  

My younger little girl sounded like she was sobbing - "Mommy, where are you?  Why aren't you here?"  I explained why I needed to be in the office and gave her the promise that I will get her a little something for "pasalubong".  She gave a very soft okay and what followed was a surprise.

She said in the most cheerful and rushing-to-get-out-of-the-call tone:

"Portia, mommy mo!!  Tawag ka!"  (Portia, YOUR mom is calling you)
"Mommy, bye na.  I'm watching Backyardigans."

I heard Portia said "That's your mommy.  Later...  I'm playing my game."  before I heard a loud click and a busy tone.

Fun!  I love how kids can move on sooooooo fast! 

Here I was worried how they were coping.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I'm Back!

Life's been getting all my usual blogging time.  I would sometimes stop and think about how I should write about the kids' smart antics, or experiences I encounter along the way. Here's hoping our trusty nanny (who's arriving this weekend) will be everything we wish for.  Believe you me, I am not hard to please.

So yes, I am back! :)

Talk to you more later!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Identifying Colors

We all know that kids can't sit still without any form of entertainment.  While waiting to be seated in our favorite restaurant, I took the opportunity to review my 3-year old's familiarity with colors.

Me:      "Nemo, what is the color of my shirt?"
Nemo:  "Brown" (Correct!)
Me:      "What color is your shirt?"
Nemo:  "Pink!"  (Right!)
Me:      "What color are my shoes?"
Nemo:  "Black" (Exactamento!)
Me:      "How about your hair?"
Nemo:  "Light brown!"  (She distinguishes light and dark colors at three) 
Me:      "Your bag?"
Nemo:  "Red!!" (Yup, yup!!)
Me:      "How about Tita Myla's teeth?"   (My cousin flashed her sweetest smile)

My Kryptonite

The concept of maternal superpowers has always been an interesting conversation piece for me.  I believe that mothers have the ability to fly the heights as high as Superman, run as fast as Flash can, be as strong as The Hulk... you get the idea.  But like any superheroes, you'd come across that version of a Kryptonite - that one thing that makes your super human abilities weak.

Mine, for example, is being around dermatologists.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My Love Affair

Yes, I have a love affair.  One that shattered me to pieces when it ended and has since been giving me heartaches whenever I think about it.

Love comes in different forms.  Mine was just... magical.  Like I just NEED to have it when I first saw it.  IT.WAS.LOVE!

More than two years ago, as my husband and I were scouting for a new house in the village, we found somebody who recommended a place just two blocks away from where our permanent address was.  It was not widely advertised because the owners wanted referrals instead of walk-ins.  They needed to find somebody who can brand the house as a home.

And... that is what we did.  We took the next possible chance to transfer. It was ours - our humble abode; with the garage where the kids can run around while the car isn't park.  The kitchen where we will have our countless of dinners together and the bedroom where all the resting and memories were built.

Two years later, we were tearfully loading all the furniture and appliances in a big mover's truck.  We were off to leave our dear home.

It was heartbreaking to leave behind all kinds of memories that were made in that house. It was what formed me to be what I am now, which I would say is the same for the rest of the family. 

It is just not practical to be renting you when we have a family house that only has two people there.  There is also that need to have someone who can look after the kids' welfare while we're earning.

But still... I still wake up in the middle of the night and wonder where I am at.  My 3-year old daughter still cries and asks us where her home is.  My husband who still has his quiet moments - I am sure he also thinks about home.

It's on repeat in my dreams.  How I had that last day of moving all the things to the new house.  Looking around on that last round, seeing nothing more than the memories of how the living room looks while the kids were playing their video games and making a hell of a mess.

I miss you.

I miss home.

One of these days, I am going to buy you and we will meet again.

Monday, January 28, 2013

When You Think Everything Will Be Boring (Part 2)

I just realized life got in the way and I left you hanging with my story about Nemo's antics.  This is part 2 of my blog about our scary experience last Christmas.  It is easier to recount now because I see Nemo being herself all the time - no more worries about the after-procedure side effects.

So Nemo needed to have an endoscopy to take the coin out.  It was scary how it was explained, even scarier that we had to check the instrument out.  A decision had to be made soon.  We were told that if we wait, it might even be more dangerous; that it can poison the rest of Nemo's system.

It is also worth noting that the medical insurance (health card, we have two for the girls), did not cover the procedure.  We had to pay for this.

On the helluva morning (after tossing and turning on that not-so-comfy hospital chair), we were wheeled in to the X-ray room to check if there was a chance that the coin has gone down the natural way.  This is where I first met my pedia gastro doctor.  She discussed with me what she needed to do.  It was quite graphic that the whole time, I was probably holding my breath with a big lump on my throat.  It won't be a surprise if my face was turning blue.

More hooplas and discussions and we were wheeled in to the prep room.  This is where the doctor popped the question - "Misis, are you okay?"  For the love of heaven and earth, please do not ask any parent in a similar scenario that question!  Of course I was not okay!  That was my final straw - I cried a river and had hurricane-sounding sobs in front of the doctor. I was scared, what were you thinking?

The anesthesiologist gave Nemo some meds to make her sleep after which I was showed my way out of the operating room.  After 15 minutes, I was called by the EENT doctor to show me what toy they took out from her ear.  It was the gastro doctor's time to shine.

It was probably the longest 3 hours of my life.  It felt like my eyebags extended to my chin.  My husband was waiting with me then.  

Because of exhaustion, I crashed and fell asleep while waiting for the doctor.  I woke up to see a small plastic container with a stained coin.  It turned black!  The doctor informed us that it was saving grace that we decided to go through the procedure.  The coin was embedded on Nemo's stomach walls.  It was difficult to get it out.

Two more hours in the recovery room and we were assisted back to our room.  We were given some good news.  We can celebrate Christmas at home after all.  We can go home the next day.

I have so much to be thankful of despite my life's biggest scare.  I am thankful for wonderful extended families who have assisted us in so many ways.  I am thankful for a competent medical team in Asian Hospital.  

I would not wish for this to happen to anyone.  It was horrible and I can only shiver whenever I think about it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

When You Think Everything Will Be Boring...

Just when I thought my holiday break was going to be uneventful, my three-year old Nemo decided to spice it all up with an adventure.

Three days before Christmas, while watching the Muppets for the nth time, she decided to put a small toy in her right ear - pushed it a bit further inside before announcing it to her father who was watching the movie with her.

"Daddy, my ear!"

Those three words were enough to make my husband panic.  He saw her holding a small ball from her big sister's art set.  A few seconds before he can take it from her, she decided to keep it somewhere safe. 

Checking her ear, he saw something blue and foreign - like the presence of the Smurfs in NYC.