Sunday, July 5, 2015

BTS of our family photo by Pampers

This post is brought to you by Pampers.

Last Sunday, my family and I went off to Marketplace at Power Plant Mall to have our family picture taken. Pampers had a fun promo that ran for a few days last week. Called Pampers First Family Shoot, this activity invited all families who have diapers on their grocery shopping list to drop by select supermarkets and have their family photo captured for free. 

Since two of my boys, Iñigo and Piero, are Pampers users, we were definitely going to avail of the freebie! But, more importantly, we seldom have a family photo. There's always the kids, or me and the kids, then the rare photo of Vince and his sons, and even more rarely, all five of us in one photo. With this promo, we can all be in one picture together!!!

Here are a few behind-the-scenes shots of our Pampers shoot at the supermarket:

There was a cute setup of a baby's room—a crib converted to a day bed, pillows and toys, a sidetable with a lamp and a picture frame on it, and benches. Very cozy! On the side was a little vanity with a well-lit mirror, brushes and combs, and even a bit of makeup so that families can freshen up a bit before the shoot.
Pampers had to fix the crib setup for our big family kasi hindi kita yung product nila hehe.

And after just a few shots, nag-umpisa nang magwala ang mga bata.

Vince and me in our own happy world, the kids in their own violent one.

Okay, okay, we can't ignore the kids anymore!

And that's a wrap! Whew. I wonder if the photographer got anything useful!

He did pick one but sana ako ang pinapili niya. Heehee. It's okay really. That's just me being an editor. I have years of going through thousands of photos and picking the best one! So nag-work mode ang brain ko. Let it go, me!

We got two copies of one pose. These were printed on wet-proof paper that will last 100 years. The Pampers team proved it truly can resist water by rubbing a drenched cotton ball all over our freshly printed photos!

And here's our photo that came in a free picture frame, too!

Here are a few shots of the other families who use Pampers diapers and got their photo taken at the Pampers First Family Shoot activity last week:

Monday, June 29, 2015

My #SmartLife!

This post is brought to you by SMART Communications.

As a SMART subscriber, I'm living the #SmartLife. You know what it's like? Fabulous!

No office? No problem. I can work from home.

No car? No problem. I can always Uber.

No idea where a meeting with a client is? No problem. I can Google its address and Waze my way there.

No idea what time I'll get home because of horrific traffic jams? No problem (well...). I can always entertain myself with Facebook and reading my favorite blogs.

But I will confess that there's one part that's not so fab about it:

A video posted by Frances (@francesasales) on

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Taking back my joy

I'm going to come right out and say it: the past year has been tough. I use "has been" instead of the more definitive "was" because I'm still wading out of this but I see the light at the end of the tunnel and that light grows stronger and brighter each day so I know I'm coming out of the woods and the trying times are going to be over.

What happened?

Well, I got pregnant and it was a miserable pregnancy. Lots of health issues that I didn't talk about publicly because I was afraid verbalizing problems may attract my biggest fear, which was losing the baby. Thankfully that didn't happen and I gave birth to Piero, the happiest little boy in the world but, woah, three kids is suddenly a LOT.
December 2014

I used to think that I can write a book on how to juggle motherhood, marriage, homemaking, career and gorgeousness because I truly believed I had it all. Happy and still very sexy marriage? Check. Adorable, healthy and smart kids? Check. Lovely home? Check. Fabulous career? Check. Still smokin' hot even though I'm a mom? Check. Then the third baby arrived and everything unraveled.

Sex? What sex? You know what a sexless marriage is? It's not fun and it's not intimate. Adorable kids? What adorable kids? They exasperate, infuriate and defy me every day. Lovely home? Well, it's a mess. Legos, crumbs, rice, smelly socks everywhere. Not even my favorite scented candles can smother the smell of those stinky feet and sweaty little bodies! Fabulous career? What career? With three little boys and the last one being a tiny baby, my career fell many slots down my priority list. And smokin' hot? I can't even find the time to shower or brush my teeth. My belly still looks like I just gave birth and everything is flabby and soft.

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I am a wife. I am a mom. I have a wonderful husband. I have three healthy and amazing children. I live in a beautiful home that's fully ours. I have a job that allows me to stay home with my family. I look fine for a 38-year-old woman. I am healthy. I am alive!!! But this past year, all I focused on was not the abundance of this glorious life but the imperfections of it. The mess. The missed opportunities. The little irritations. The busyness. The exhaustion. The feelings of ugliness, resentment, despair.

Then one day, a little verse that I love came to me gently as I was flipping through inspirational blogs. John 10:10 says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." 

This is a favorite verse because I loved the promise when Jesus said, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." Growing up poor, I always wanted that abundant life. Then my eyes wandered to the part of the verse that I always ignored: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy," and I realized that I do have this abundant life. My God! How You have blessed me! But instead of feeling gratitude and wonder at my abundance, I have allowed Satan to steal my joy, kill my spirit, and destroy my peace.

March 2015

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I see now that the past months have been filled with God's calling to me to come out of my malaise. Old friends like JaneMartineGinger and Nicole came calling, encouraging me to focus anew on things I love outside my family, which is blogging and writing. Then God sent new friends my way like Cheka, Rica and Marilen, who talked with me about family and marriage.

I'm sure they didn't know what I was going through and they may not know that God was using them to get through to me, but as we talked about random things online, on the phone, when we see each other, I was refreshed, revived, renewed. And I resolved to take care of myself, my home, my marriage, my passions, my blessings. And I resolved to ignore the negative people, the little irritations, and the whispers of discontent that come my way.

I will fix my eyes on God. I will fix my eyes on my family. I will fix my eyes on loving and positive friends. I will fix my eyes on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8), and those are my children, my husband, my friends, my God. Nothing else should matter!

* * * * * * *

My husband is also hard at work with me, making sure this family will be strong and stable. We had our unspoken resentments, which eventually blew up into big fights where ugly words were flung at each other. We simmered in fury and disappointment.

Then just recently, as summer waned and the rains came, Vince and I had a long talk about commitments and vows and how we are afraid we're losing each other. We're together 24/7 but those hours are filled with children and work and we hardly have time to catch our breath so when the rare instances we find ourselves alone together spring upon us, we don't know what to do. We were fast becoming strangers. So we talked and talked and talked, and held hands, and cried, and laughed, and promised we were going to be together till death do us part. Not for the kids' sake, but for ours.

Vince and I are on a mini honeymoon now. Just here at home. We send off the kids to the playground and we relish our alone time together. It feels like we're rediscovering each other and I won't say anything anymore but we are definitely no longer just roommates!

* * * * * * *

So yes, it looks like I'm coming out of the woods. But not through my own strength. Whether they were aware of it or not, my husband, my always-forgiving kids, and my friends all helped me along the way. But definitely it was God, patient and calm and steadfast, who pulled me out of that darkness.

As I type this, the day is coming to an end, I'll be faced with yet another crazy evening of a noisy, messy dinner, kids who refuse to sleep because they want one more story, and I will be tired and exasperated, but I will remember (and I hope Vince reminds me should I forget!) that I am living the very best days of my life. The very best.

Don't lose sight of that, Frances! These days will not last forever—the exhaustion of it, the fleeting joys of it. Just cling to God because it is only through Him that I can be the best wife, mother, friend, and me that I can be.

Isaiah 40:31 says, "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." So there, dear mommy friends, God is with us!

Now I gotta go prepare dinner. Time to soar!

(I found so many old photos I've never shared with you! That's why the pics here are of us with different hair haha. Do you want me to share more?)

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