Where the raindrops as they're falling tell a story...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mommies can be princesses, too!

And so it was a movie date night with hubby and I was so into being a girly girl that I pulled out this frilly, flowing, green skirt I was only able to wear once going to Bora. I paired it with a sexy red top, with yeah, frills around the neckline--what's a girly top without frills?!. You get the picture? Frilly, flowing, long skirt paired with sleeveless, frilly, red top.

I went to the living room, and there was Xofi, wide-eyed and amazed, blurted, "PRINCESS MOMMY!!!"

I know, it's either she never gets to see Mommy in a skirt ever, or media has started corrupting my 2-year old daughter's mind. I am more inclined to believe the latter.

She won't let me sit down because Princesses don't sit down, they walk and dance around holding one end of the flowing skirt with a flick of a finger. It was an hour before showtime, so I had ample time to be walking around the house with Xofia in tow while sometimes doing the can-can with my skirt. I was exhausted by the time her daddy started the car, a signal for us to go.

When I bade goodbye, she kissed me and said, "Goodbye, Princess Mommy! See you later!"

I was half-expecting she'd tell me if I'm gonna spend the night in the castle (Waterfront Hotel). You never know what ideas two-year olds come up with these days.

My version of white picket fence

Once upon a time when I was little, I too dreamt of a beautiful country-style house with white picket fences all around and a quaint ecco mailbox by the gate.

Then I grew up, become an adult and realized that the dream house is expensive. And adults have more difficult tasks of decision-making and budgetary woes to be concerned about white picket fences. It was just not possible.

In our current place, I maintain a pocket garden. One time, I decided to demolish the pocket garden away to give more room to the garage area. I took pity, or my husband rather took pity on the garden, so we kept it. I am on the process of planting greens in it and quite possibly, an herb patch. After which, I plan to surround the garden with wooden fence painted in white. Thusly, my little white picket fence. And to finish the touch, I'll have a quaint ecco e7 mailbox installed at the front. My dream place is slowly realized, only in a different scale, but dream realized all the same.

I just learned that there are beautiful residential ecco mailboxes I can choose from the comfort of my home. I am getting closer to my dream, indeed! :-)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kangaroos and marinara sauce

(written on 8/03/09, dusting off unfinished blog entries, and found this)

It boggles me, how Xofi still gets to dance and play around with a 40C temperature. It is also a testament on how different we are. Here I am with only a slight headache, plopped down in bed and must not be disturbed.

When I saw her hopping on her knees, I was afraid she'd hit the hard floor and seriously hurt herself. I asked what she's doing, and she knowingly replied "It's a kangaroo, it's a kangaroo!" with one eyebrow raised as if to say how dumb mommy can be.

Because it seems like I can never have as much enthusiasm as Xofi has, I retreated to the kitchen and cooked. I slaved off over marinara sauce and shrimps to make pasta sauce for tonight's dinner. Somehow, the kitchen provides an ever-elusive release. Or I'm just weird like that. Once satisfied, I whipped up 2 glasses of apple-mango milk shake and surfed youtube. Yes, I sinfully rewarded myself.

Oh, this was after I downed 2 Advils. I simply cannot function even with just the littlest of discomfort.


Take me to HOME COOKING tab

Cheap theater tickets

I am a self-confessed glee addict. Yes, the TV series. Can't get enough of it, really. And I got the whole household into glee, even my two-year old! Her all-time favorite glee song is "Alone." Now, she's gravitating towards Ep 9's Defying Gravity. Who can blame her?

Glee has awaken everyone's thirst for everything musical. The most recent one, was Wicked where Elphaba, the supposed wicked witch of the west, sang Defying Gravity with Glinda. That really made me wish I had St. Pete Times Forum Tickets and you know, just wait up there until Wicked gets shown.

For the little one, Sesame Street Live Tickets is perfect. Maybe when she gets to see Elmo and friends live, she'd know that Elmo is the monster, and Nemo is the fish, and ultimately stop calling Elmo Nemo already. I know, I should not force it. I should just let her enjoy in the meantime.

For the husband, I can't resist Staples Center Tickets where everything wonderful just happens. And oh yeah, I do have plans of flying from one theater to the other. Who said it's not doable?

Now, if only I'd get my hands on those acheapseat.com tickets. There's just too many to choose from. I now know the meaning of the word "overwhelming."

Friday, October 9, 2009

Watch your mouth, Mommy!

We found out that having Xofia watch TV later in the night towards her bedtime contributes to her restlessness during the night. There are nights that she'd sit up in the middle of her sleep and whimper. It's scary. There are also nights that she'd continue popping bubbles or calling TV characters with eyes closed. So we stopped the videos right away. Her nighttime activity must only include light play. No excessive mental and physical stimulation. Not even potty-training. It settled her a bit, and I was afforded an additional snooze time.

It's amazing how she accumulates words everyday. We talk to her in straight, big people words, no baby-talk allowed in the house. She'd repeat the words you said and get those words real fast. Before you know it, she'd be talking to you using those words. It's wonderful! Well, only for those words you'd like for her to learn!

Last night at the dinner table, while I was busy strapping her to her seat, she grabbed my soup bowl. Because you never know what two-year olds do with ceramic soup bowls, I hurried to yank it from her hands. In my haste, I stubbed my little toe! Because it was so darn painful, the F-word escaped from my mouth.

Xofia looked at me and said with such gusto, "f**k!" She was beaming ever so proudly, I was lost and sat there unbelieving and immobile.

The three of us, me, my husband and sister looked at each other and laughed.

Big mistake, Mommy. Big mistake.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Catastrophies everywhere, is this really happening?

Luzon has been ravaged with flood courtesy of typhoon Ketsana, the worst the country has seen. I don't have to see the news and scour the internet for information, help is needed everywhere. If you have something extra to spare, please don't hesitate. The universe or the power greater than the universe know how to repay you. And what goes around comes around. We need not experience the flood ourselves to see how horrible it is. Please help.

The very same day that the rain never stopped falling in Luzon, I was somewhere north of Cebu fishing, unaware of what's happening farther up north in the country. We had few rainfalls and a considerable wind, but that was that. Since we were offline practically the whole day, we didn't know what happened until we came home late that night.

We were supposed to be in Manila today, for Xofia's checkup. We postponed because there are two more typhoons looming by the Pacific. In Indonesia a killer quake has claimed lives and more are missing. A tsunami triggered by an earthquake struck Samoa. It's all just happening at the same time, it's overwhelming to say the least.

What are we really doing, in our part, to take care of the earth? Is it too late to be doing something, to at least ensure that our children and their children will still have an Earth to call home?

Do we even care to be bothered?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I know how to fish!

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A day at Intosan Water Park

So we've been wanting to spend time with good friends Pang and Glenn since Glen came back from the US. Thinking of an opportunity of a long weekend, we planned on a day trip to Intosan Water Park in Danao City.

The place, though lacking the standard of a starred resort hotel, didn't disappoint. Xofia had a blast with the tiny water fountains, and I swear she could stay there the whole day, she won't mind. For a P120 entrance, it'd do for families with lotsa kids. Probably grownups wouldn't have as much fun, but surely parents will enjoy. We parents get a natural high seeing our children happy and enjoying life.

The major downside was the lack of upkeep and cleanliness of bathrooms. Or maybe I'm just too particular with bathrooms. Because I didn't want to stay in the bathroom longer than 3 minutes, I took my shower outside, soap and all, and changed clothes by the vanity inside the public bathroom. Took me two minutes tops inside.

Will probably come back there, but I think I may first want to know how often they're cleaning their pools.

Rain Barrels for collecting rainwater

For the longest time, there is not a day without rain. And of course, I am loving it! I don't like the humidity that comes before the rain, I like the rain itself. I especially like the first few drops as they slowly and deliberately wet the earth. I like that smell.

As what Barney (yep, the dinosaur) had said, when we're thirsty, we get our water from the sink (or bottle) but the plants and trees had to wait for the rain to fall. Rain also, is the best water for the plants. Water from our tap may contain chemicals like chlorine which are harmful. In this thought, I was seriously considering of getting rain water barrels for rain harvesting. Because of the bills I've been grappling with lately, rain barrels simply provide an energy-efficient, if not energy-free way of collecting water.

There are rain barrels for sale that look like planter boxes and decor. If you need to put the barrel out front, it's important to camouflage it to complement the look of the house.

OK, ok. Function first, but if I can have both functionality and aesthetic, why not?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bills, bills, bills!


(image from thedigeratilife.com)
My whole life is full of bills!

Then there's auto-credit that my card company is offering to place all my bills in 1 single bill. Yay, I won't have to wade through bills after bills anymore. But then that's not the issue. Technically, I still have the same number and amount of bills to pay.

Imagine this.

We don't use running hot and cold water in the house. We've long abandoned the water heater because, hey, who needs hot bathing water in the Philippines, really?

We stopped using the rice-cooker. Not because it uses too much energy but because helpers just love to bust them.

We only use airconditioning during the night, in one room, usually.

Almost all lights in the house are energy-efficient, save for the one in the stock room and the flourescent in the guest room.

We don't use the washing machine. Oh yes, because I have a helper who's idle most times of the day, so yeah, I let her wash by hands. It's more efficient anyway. :-P

And still I get a whooping P5K~ electricity bill. I think it's a joke.

So, I read the Green Living section of realsimple.com. They have a good article on cutting energy cost. Some, I've been practicing, some I need to enforce on the helpers. Let's see if next month's electricity bill will show any improvement.

Small space bar

We entertain a lot. Our house, because it's practically right smack at the city, becomes the unofficial gathering place for friends and family. And because we're living in a small townhouse, I need all practical storage solutions that doubles as something else.

In connection to entertaining, it's very important to have a bar where guests gather around and socialize. But because my dining area is small as it is, there's just no space to tuck a bar somewhere. I find this bar with wheels practical.



The bar showcases a built-in stemware rack and wine station. I could just easily roll the bar from the dining area to the living space where people usually spills over. After entertaining, I can push it out of the way under the kitchen island. Perfect!

Another practical solution that also caught my eye is this undercabinet wine glass rack.


The hanging wine glass rack had me swooning. What better way to display your crystals than this? Plus it doubles as a wine rack. And oh, be still my heart, it comes in polished chrome. Chrome just has this way of matching with any decor.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Don't linger by the doorway

It’s been months since we were at my mother’s. And because her place is significantly bigger than ours, Xofia naturally had a blast. She kept going the whole day and only crashed at 5PM. Dozed for an hour then egged us to go with her high-pitched “Let’s go, let’s go!”

She’s forever fascinated by the presence of animals. Those that she’s only able to see on TV, she can actually see live in her grandma’s place. I could tell she’s gonna be asking for a vacation at grandma’s for years to come.

There was a rooster that kept on crowing. Xofia would go near it, cajoled it to play with her only to be lead out to the backyard where overgrowth becomes unsafe for 2-year olds. She’d then patiently wait for the chickens to come out from the overgrowth and start her befriending. At times when there’s no chicken on site, she’d go to the dog and, well, befriend the dog. I intentionally did not tell her the dog’s name because I don’t want her to get attached to it. The whole time, she’s been calling it “Dog.” Play, Dog. Sleep, Dog. Wake up, Dog, Doooog? Then Dog had to be bathed. The helper had to call Dog by his real name, Pie. Xofia won’t stop calling the dog by his name from then.

Dogs do what they usually do, lounge around and sleepily close their eyes. Pie was lying on the bench and Xofia would knock the other side of the bench because she wanted Pie to wake up. Pie would glare at her and would haughtily turn his attention away as if saying “Go away pesky kid, I don’t wanna play.” Pie has been like this ever since he got injured by a hit-and-run. The once playful dog is now grumpy.

After lunch, I tried putting Xofia to sleep. As routine, she naps around this time. But you don’t get a nap at grandma’s. There are just too many things to do! By and by, the rooster would crow, the chickens cluck, the dog barks, the cows moo. She’d stand up, open the window and call out, “[animal making the sound], wahappen?” Sometimes I wonder if she’s still 2 years old.

So I gave up. We went outside the room and joined the rest of the family. She played with Little Jam, her cousin, and watched Barney. It so happen that the helper’s daughters, aged 8-9 were by the kitchen door. Upon seeing them, she hastily went to the kitchen, smiled, motioned the girls over and cheerfully said “Come on in, come on in!”

My jaw dropped.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Xofia enjoying bubbles with Daddy


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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Another hospital stay

Xofi has had another bout of pneumonia. I don't know why it went there when I am always extra careful whenever she has colds. Then again, I am not always around.

When she had colds and cough the other week, I waited until there's fever. Because really, doctors would only give you Salbutamol and I can very well administer that at home. On the third day of her cough, she developed high-grade fever. We went to the doctor the very next day. She was given Ceclor, an antibiotic. She had it for 7 straight days. The fever was gone on day 2.

However, after the antibiotic, her cough and colds worsened. We went back to the doctor that very day, and since there's no fever as of yet, our goal was to get rid of the symptoms. The doc RXed Ventulin nebules 3x a day. That night, after nebulizing, we played a bit because I wanted the phlegm to clear out before she went to bed. She slept at around 9:30. I got ready myself and went to bed thereafter. At 10:50, I felt the mattress shook. I looked over at Xofia, she was shaking and trembling all over. At first I thought she was only having a hard time breathing because of the colds, but there was mottling on the skin already and it just spelled bad news.

Now, I never had an experience with a baby having chills. I called up my husband who happen to be out of town that day, and relayed to her over the phone what's happening. I woke up Xofia to check if she was still coherent. She still was. I checked the temp, it's still 37. No fever. What's happening? My husband called the doc and the doc advised that we rush her to the ER. All these, while I was frantic and crying the whole time. My goodness, I have got to get a grip of myself!!

On the taxi, I felt her fever rising. When we arrive at the ER, her fever was 39-ish to 40-ish. She was weak and wanted to go to sleep but she can't because the ER is so noisy and busy. I asked if can we have her admitted instead so she can rest in a room. The ER people didn't recommend because the tests aren't back yet. I was like, "Hey, colds and fever clearly indicate infection, what else are you waiting for?" No, we have to wait for the test results, and if I have to insist, it would be against their advise. Needless to say, I was frustrated, and not wanting to waste my energy discussing why these girls should listen to a mother, I shut up and concentrated on collecting Xofia's urine sample.

We got into a room at 3AM. Xofia was cranky the whole time because she's being poked with needles more times than necessary, lodged into an x-ray machine and whatnot.

We stayed in the hospital for 4 days. We are currently finishing her oral antibiotic, and we're down to our last day. Hopefully this time, the meds will get the bacteria.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Saving space and using planter boxes

Living in a small townhouse, I don't have as much freedom when it comes to gardening. City lots are expensive, and every square inch counts. But how drab could life be without something green and alive to look at. I turn to planters, of course, for my needs.

I love how outdoor planters nowadays come in varied designs, they're as effective as planter and as decorative accents. I'm not sure why, but I am partial to square planters, I just seem to prefer them over the circular ones. Maybe because of the deluge of circular terracotta planters when I was growing up, there's not much choice then.

Right now, I have a handful of basil plants in a couple of window box planters. And because I have to transport them upstairs for their daily dose of sun, I used a plastic window box planter for convenience. If I could provide them a good ray of sun at a fixed place, I would've used a sturdier material.

I am now eying a bag of flower seeds back at the store. I'm thinking of germinating them in a garden planter where they can grow to maturity. I am a slacker when it comes to transplanting. But I think it would be just as pretty.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Changing nannies again

The other day, our little household went on a little restructuring. Though we've known this for quite some time now (the nanny was kind enough to let us know beforehand that she intends to leave), it was still full of uncertainty. Sadly, something that's unavoidable.

The nanny told us that she wanted to go home. She didn't provide a reason, we didn't demand. Boredom, probably. Boredom is cruel when it eats you up, and you have nowhere to go to avoid it. Being eighteen is difficult, how much more being eighteen and staying in one place for the longest time. Who knows, really?

As for me not stopping her from going, I have reasons I prefer to keep. As soon as she said she wanna quit, I hastily looked for replacement. My Mama was always there to help me out with helper issues. By about a week, I have a replacement ready. I told her she can go home anytime she wants now. And added that I'm not hurrying her up, that she can finish the next 15 days to have her salary intact. She did stay until the 15th... and beyond. We were actually wondering if she ever intends to leave, which drove me to start worrying. Hell, I can't have three helpers in such a tiny household!

She finally went home the other day. I am here hoping that Xofi learns to have fun with her Ate Ai-Ai and forget her Ate Lanie, fast.

Househelps, you can never really tell what's going on in their minds. And you can only be so good to them that you'll never know where you went wrong that made them wanna go. Well, at least that one lasted for over 1 and a half years.

Need help in Math?

I didn't know why I took up Psychology in college. All I remember thinking was I wanted to do something fun, and Psychology looks like an interesting subject to immerse yourself with for four years. I did not remember taking into consideration how I hated (and still do) math. But looking at it in hindsight, I'm pretty sure math had so much to do with that decision.

Oh yes, I memorized the multiplication table. Memorizing was easy. Then the teacher told us to not just memorize them, but also to understand how the numbers work. I mean, really?! I know numbers may fascinate some, but their mere presence on a sheet of paper or on screen makes me cringe. I am beyond thankful that cellphones right now have built-in calculators.

Then I get to tutor 2 grade 6 students. I had to re-learn what I already purged into oblivion. Online math help was a big help to reacquainting myself with numbers.

If you're in K12, or planning to go back to school, or just plainly need help in college math, go see what Math help has in store for you. Their offers are very affordable, and they also have Free math help for those who want to try the service first.

TutorVista.com, the company behind Online math help, promises an unlimited tutoring which is available to students 24x7, anytime and whenever they need it.

If you're in the crossroads of a possible life-altering decision, don't let math stop you from getting what you want. I know I shouldn't have.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

No. 2 finished in the chair

One week after we started potty training, Xofi pooped in her chair! Yay! But not quite ;) she actually started in her nappy, then she shouted "poo-poop!" Her nanny then hurriedly ushered her to the chair, and she completed the "job" there. Good enough for me, really. I'd like to see it as a mini-milestone. There is such a thing, right?

Then today nothing happened. She sits at the chair and that's about it. On some days, she won't even sit! I had to bribe her with a sticker just so she'd sit. Oh yes, my sticker supply is fast dwindling down.

Xofi is not one that's hard to learn stuff, actually. She pretty much knows our nighttime routine and that when the small hand of the clock points to 9, off to bed she goes. Before we had this established, there was a lot of screaming and crying because she still wants to play with Mommy. Now when I say "na-nyte time," she kisses everybody goodnight and goes upstairs without fuss.

At 1 year and 6 months, she was already counting up to ten, and learning to read her alphabets and numbers. To date, she has mastered all letters, big and small, aced her shapes and even know a hexagon from an octagon. She knows her colors well but sometimes gets confused between yellow and green (Well, I still get confused between green and blue myself!). She also talks in a fairly understandable toddler-talk, memorized her favorite rhymes and some Pussycat Dolls favorites. At about 15 months, she uttered her first sentence: Catch the ball!

C'mon, I carried her for 9-mostly-ugly months, labored for 24 hours, I am entitled to these bragging rights :P

I just wished she'd learn potty training as fast as she did her alphabets and stuff.

But the main concern really is the nappy cost. My goodness, the price of those pull-ups!! I can't wait for the day when she no longer needs them. Booo overpriced nappies!

Thinking of going back to school

Most of the best times I've experienced in this life I experienced while in school. High school was great and fun and college was so much more. By and by I’d reminisce and wish I was still in school today. Well of course, I should also be younger :P

It was amazing, how, my whole life, I've never been to a private school. My parents sure saved up on me. I went to a state college in high school, pretty much no tuition fee and another state university in college with just a bit of a tuition fee. School fees were never a problem for me. The government pretty much had that covered.

Remembering how I came to choose my major, the decision-making process I had to go through – made me realize I pretty much did not put as much thought on it as I should have. I chose my major because it was fun, period. In hindsight, I should’ve gotten an engineering degree. Oh believe me, I could’ve made so much more with it :P :P (Wait, they have lots of Math subjects). OK, maybe went into the Culinary Arts. Hah!

In any case, and if I’m really serious about going back to school, nothing can stop me. No sir, not even the crisis. I just have to be aware of the available Student Loans that offer the best deals.

And then there’s another hurdle. I’m a mother and a wife, I can’t afford to be away that much. Plus I need to earn while doing all these lest I’d be hurting the family income. More diggings, and what do you know, reputable Online Education abound. Even if an online degree won’t get me anywhere in my current career, it’ll prove to be useful in some areas. I love accumulating skills and improving what I know. It’s a never ending process. I just have to carefully select from the list of Accredited Online College Degrees and I’m off my way. My merry, merry way.

Now, how did Xofi do in her potty training again?

Monday, August 3, 2009

I forgot to pay?!?!

I feel so utterly, utterly helpless.

I was confused beyond reason why my card was declined for the last week I used it. Good thing I always carry cash specifically for times like these.

I thought maybe the card is damaged in some way. I sometimes knowingly put the card and cellphone together in one pouch, that's why.

And because I know no other way why my card is declined when I am still way way below my credit limit, I called Customer Service.

Me: Miss, kindly check what's wrong with my card? It got declined twice already.
CS: Ma'am, your card is temporarily blocked because you haven't paid your previous bill yet.
Me: How can that be? I did not receive my bill at all!
CS: But it was sent successfully in your email, Ma'am.
Me: Can you send me again my bill?
CS: No Ma'am, we're not allowed. You have to dig back in your email if it's there, or I can start the request now which will take 2-3 working days.
Me: Oh, never mind. That will be all.

After hours of pondering and killing myself for the mishap, I still can't reconcile it. Imagine that! Me, as OC as I am, FORGOT TO PAY A BILL!

My records show that I did receive the bill and all entries checked out. Which the anal me would then print it, prepare the money, and hand both to the husband for payment.

Apparently, as records show, I only came to the part where I checked the entries out and not really sure if I printed the bill or not. Sadly, my calendar shows nothing to reassure my damaged psyche.

It's simply irreconcilable!

I called Customer Service back and asked if I really have to pay the Finance Charge. Yes, I have to pay because it’s a legitimate charge. Don’t they give chances to first time mishaps? (I know, pathetic!) She wishes she could, but she’s sorry. If I threaten to cut my credit with them, will they now forgo the charge?

Of course I did not say that last line. I figured my mishap, I’m owning it up, and I’m paying it up!

Wait till I get home and check my records.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Save up and camp

Routine bores me. That is something I need to work on. Unlike the husband who feels secured on routine, I'd go crazy if I can't do something different in a week. We usually pepper our routine with travels just to appease me. Sometimes I'd vehemently demand it. "Please for my sanity," is my usual speech to the husband.

With the rising cost, we have to watch our expenses. And this includes cutting on travels. Travels take a huge share in our income pie, you see. Which also prompts me to look for alternatives. I'm thinking we don't have to give up travel altogether, we just have to know where to cut costs.

I also happen to love the outdoors even if I'm a well-known mosquito food. Mosquitoes seem to prefer me as their main course but I don't care less. I could go on trekking a river for hours and feel completely happy and contented. There is something in communing with nature that speaks to me.

I was actually thinking of that 15-minute drive Mountain Resort and camp. We happen to live where everything's near and accessible. If the savings account is truly hurting, I guess we could just go home to my mother's and pitch a tent at the backyard.

Now, that is just an idea I hope you'll find useful. But before everything else, everything has to be planned and mapped out. I hate routine, but I'm also kindov anal. :P

Potty training miserably failed at week 1

Last week Monday, we started potty training. It was a morning filled with howls and screams and clinging on to Mommy. The whole day, Xofia didn't poop. I wondered if it was the introduction of the potty chair that made her not want to poop.

Now, Xofia, when constipating is not a site you'd want to see. She'd double over, recoil while crying "mommy, daddy, boo-booooo!" I know her, she doesn't cry for just any ordinary boo-boo. For her to cry like that, sweating and flushing, it's got to be really painful. So what's a mother to do? Insert glycerin suppository, ASAP.

That basically made up our first day of potty training. I had to literally force the poop out of her. Sigh.

I am now feeling utterly incompetent at being a mother. And now there's a fact that I had to go work, that I had to be away, that I won't be there to supervise the whole potty training thing. Companies should give mothers Potty-Training leave! I think it's equally as important.

One week after, there was really no progress. Thanks to my absence and my baby-sitter's i-don't-care-less attitude, the week has gone to waste.

I just have to remember that potty training is way way easier than sex education. Yes, worse things are yet to come.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The house needs repairs!

The upstairs common bathroom has started to leak out. My BIL, who's an engineer suggested we re-tile and fix the sealing around the bathroom. Admittedly, I am a bit wary that the whole house will one day collapse because we haven't been keeping with the repairs faithfully. At least we already bought bathroom tiles, in rustic pink floral patterns (which now makes me doubt the choice), grout and trim. Installation will come next.

With a very short awning, the terrace is bound to collect rainfall, if not water from the AC. And because the terrace floor is built in such mediocre fashion, the water instead of flowing to the drain, flows to the living room downstairs.

I swear if I were a man, I'd be a carpenter, a mason, and acquire all the skills to fix the house. But sadly I'm not. So I am left to daydream away and live in constant fear that I can never afford!

While I'm at it, I'll go ahead and nag about the condition of our kitchen. Yes, the eternal problem of a leaking faucet remains. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why the plumbers we send to check the leak can't fix it. I told my husband that if ever they're going to rip the sink off inorder to really see what's keeping it leaked, I'd rather remodel the kitchen. I have been wanting to get rid of the plain, boring, white cabinet doors anyway.

And then there's cost to consider. Oh, well.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Xofia is 2 and all I'm thinking is this

I watched as Xofia, now 2, wiggles away around the living room while singing along Blues Clues theme.

I wondered what I was doing, what I was capable of, when I were her age. Surely, I wasn't singing along to some TV character, we didn't have one.

Probably, I was out in the backyard, early in the morning, to join my Lola in the garden. I remember relishing the moment over a mound of pulled grass by my side and thinking how good I was at this. Now, I smell a freshly-cut grass and all I remember is this sweet and poignant memory of my Lola.

Xofia is now 2. They say it's high time that she'd have a brother or sister. I think you'd have to let me enjoy a full night's sleep first before I plunge into another months of sleeplessness. And besides, my God, the crisis!

I'd like to take a step back for awhile. Imagine life worrying about one person's heartbreaks and pains and joys and happiness when she'd old enough to experience all that. Gosh, that is already a handful; what about imagining two person's worth of all these? How can a mother endure?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

That unforgettable scent

I seldom shop these days, even window shopping. Last weekend we did, and all we got was for Xofia, none for us. Being most of the time online anyway, I realized there's more bargain to be found in the Internet than anywhere else. I find tools for comparing prizes nifty. (Stop me before I talk how numerically-challenged my brain is). And being bargain sucker that I am, or maybe just cash-strapped someone who wants to get the best out of her buck, I shop early for Christmas, too.

One of my most favorite item to give away is fragrances. I don't use them due to an allergy, so I give them to my loved ones who can enjoy them on my behalf.

I especially like Calvin Klein's Euphoria, which is one of the award winning fragrances. Euphoria boasts a contrast of "exotic fruits, seductive florals and a rich, creamy signature." Ah, scent after all, is one of the most unforgettable memory. Gotta get that something you want to be remembered with.

I am also thinking of getting a cologne for my husband. Cool Water is a classic favorite but I'm thinking of something else. Pasha de Cartier, perhaps? I think we'd both enjoy a blend of lavender and amber with mint, citrus, wood and musk thrown in. HAH!

Friday, July 3, 2009

I wish for a balloon twister


So, Xofia will turn two in a few days. You must be thinking I got myself so busy planning for her party. While I wanted so much to give her the best party in the world, the current economic condition and our savings account disagree.

I tried pushing for the jumper rental, complete with colorful balloons, pinata, pabitin, popcorn stand, balloon twister, what-not. Sadly, I always go back to the monthly household budget spreadsheet. And I just don't know where to fit all these in there.

And then there's the reality that Xofi is still two. She won't remember most of this, really. She won't remember much of a party, lavish or not. The important thing is the people we love and cherish are there to celebrate this wondrous anniversary of her birth with us. And most especially, lots of children to make it a fun, rambunctious crowd.

The balloon twister and jumper rental can wait. Maybe when Xofi's old enough and the economy is no longer screwed.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A good way to save money is to stay home

I very recently mapped out the family expenses against our fixed income. The result won't give us much for a fixed monthly savings. I guess it's time to forget about getting a new car, like seriously. Anyway, as long as the old one is still running, there's no real need. Help me convince my husband that our old Gallant is a real neat car ;)

Then there's the problem of personal insurance policies. I figure, as soon as we're done paying for the old insurance, which probably will take two more years, we can get the new one we're planning for my husband. So actually, our situation is not too bad, we're pretty much in good shape, financially.

However, we as a family never stays put when it's a good weather out there to be in the beach. After curling in our cocoons for long, we'd be screaming for a holiday or two. Hey, we need to reward ourselves once in a while... and we hate scrimping on our self-rewards! There lies the rub.

Or maybe we can just console ourselves with the fact that Philippines is a tropical country and almost everyday is beach day, so there's a lot to go around. And staying at home is not really that bad. Here's proof:

video

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Don't mess with Xofia's heart, you hear?

It's been more than a week since Xofia's transcath ASD closure procedure. She's back to normal even before now, she was back to her old silly self the moment we came home that Saturday. And me? I could never be any happier. Totally broke, but perfectly happy, nothing could really affect me, even with my no-carb diet.

It's a wonder how, this being, this person who entered my life a little over a year ago changes everything. My outlook, my perceptions, my reasoning. You can say that this little girl has such an influence in me. And what an influence it is! I knew I was tough, I've always known to stand up and speak out, and I've thread through life chin up no matter what. But I never knew I could be this strong as to go through what I went through. To stay whole and still find beauty in things I see.

And what a husband I have! In moments that I find myself shoulders hunched down and sobbing, my husband has kept the optimism. He is always the calm, level-headed, rational one. I am always the passionate, impulsive one. What a team we make!

At the end of it all, I can't help but thank the heavens for giving me such a beautiful family. We are not perfect, but we are perfect for each other.

So... fifteen or so years from now, if I happen to see some teenage nitwit messing with my Xofia's heart, I am so ripping that boy's heart literally, if I could. I'd like to get that heart out, bore a hole, and see if his mother can go through fixing that hole as I went through fixing Xofia's. I guess what I'm saying really is, boys, don't be messing with my daughter, and mothers, tell your boys to steer clear.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Our Journey on Transcath ASD Closure

Dr. Kelly, a blessing in the guise of toxic goiter
Dr. Raquel "Kelly" Pasimio introduced us to Amplatzer. Before we met her, all I could ever think of was how I could let my daughter undergo open heart surgery. I was frustrated. I had no other option. My only hope was that the surgery would not be needed until she's older.

About the same time we learned of Xofia's congenital heart anomaly, my husband had to take medication because of his toxic goiter. He casually mentioned our situation to his doctor, Dr. Marsha Tolentino. Dr. Marsha told him about how Dr. Kelly is working with a team of doctors in Manila doing transcath closure of heart defects. We met Dr. Kelly a month thereafter. She's not just a ray of hope, she bonded with Xofia instantly. We had no doubts. We wanna see this non-surgery ASD closure to the end.

Questions
On Xofia's next transthoracic echocardiogram (2d-echo), the hole very slightly increased according to the reading, but the local pedia-cardio advised surgery before she turns two. Isn't that a bit drastic? The hole is not even bigger by a size. Emotionally, I was back to square one. Why is the hole not closing up? How can Xofia has this when she's a perfectly healthy, happy baby?

Sometimes when your current doctor cannot answer all your questions, you look for answers from somebody else. It's tiring to be asking the same question to the same person and be getting the same answer that never satisfies you.

We sent the 2d-echo results to Dr. Kelly. Because of her being based in Manila, we're only able to catch her every once in awhile when she's in Cebu---and while in a vacation at that! I couldn't believe the heart of this petite doctor, how she accommodated, guided and helped us through.

Through a letter, she let us know that Xofia is certainly needing an intervention, but a surgery this early isn't necessary. This opinion was based on the two readings by our local pedia-cardio obviously stating that there is no dramatic increase in numbers. This opinion was being collaborated by Dr. Charles Cuaso and Dr. Jonas del Rosario, both interventional pedia-cardio experts. But if we wanted a real opinion from her and from Dr. Cuaso, we'd have to fly to Manila for a transthoracic echocardiogram done by her.

Higher numbers
Six months later, which was last week, we were in Chinese Gen doing a very intensive echo on Xofia. Dr. Kelly was reading higher numbers! The hole has gone bigger. From the previous reading's 6.5-7, it is now in 12-13! The inferior rim has also gone dangerously small, 6-7.5mm. If the rim is any smaller than 6, we wouldn't have a chance on transcath closure. Dr. Kelly told us that if we wanted the transcath, the procedure has to be done ASAP. Even so, Xofia's was a 50-50 case. There's a big possibility that she's not viable for the Amplatzer implant, this Dr. Cuaso explained. The rims around the hole has to be enough for the device to latch on to. Xofia's inferior rim was borderline.

We made it clear to Dr. Cuaso how we wanted the procedure, and that surgery is the last thing that we'd entertain. And we wanted the procedure done ASAP, no time to wait. Since only St. Luke's has the small TEE probe that can be used for Xofia, the procedure has to be done in St. Luke's. We didn't mind the least. It's the best hospital in this country, and we have the best team of doctors attending to Xofia. Dr. Cuaso made some calls, and had it not been a legal holiday (May 1) and banks were open, we would have done it right away. We then scheduled for the transcath ASD closure on May 7.

The longest 3 hours
Now Xofia has a memory like that of an elephant, and she hates hospitals. She was OK when we were at the concierge, but the moment we stepped into the room, the mood has changed. She wouldn't even sit on the bed! We had to place the IV on her and draw some blood. Everytime she's poked by nurses, she'd look at me almost telling me how her mommy can let something like this happen to her. I kept telling her I was sorry and that everything will be over soon. She did not take that lightly. As soon as her hands were free, she'd hit me with such passion I didn't know a baby's slap could hurt like that!

I accompanied her on the cath lab. She needed to be with me before she goes under. The anesthesiologist told me to keep her happy. The nurses were so attentive and caring. They kept Xofia entertained to the extent of kidnapping toys from lockers they didn't know who owned. At about 2pm, and while Xofia was under general anesthesia, I went to the waiting lounge to start my longest 3 hours. Dr. Charles Cuaso, Dr. Jonas del Rosario, Dr. Dexter Cheng and Dr. Kelly Pasimio then entered the cath lab. Dr. Cuaso, before he entered, said, "We will try and hope, but no surprises, ok?"

I could have watched, but I didn't. Apart from the fact that I wasn't sure I could handle it, I was confident that my baby was under the care of the best team of pedia cardiologists anyone can hope for. I can endure the wait.

I will not go through the details of how I dealt with the knots in the pit of my stomach and those lodged in my throat. I was only waiting for Dr. Cuaso or any of the doctors to come out of the door. While all our friends were praying, attending and offering masses, every piece of me hoped and prayed that the transcath procedure will be successful. Just please, don't let her have to go through open heart surgery, please!

Relieved and grateful beyond words
Three hours after, I saw the smiling face of Dr. Cuaso, the team of doctors by his heels, and I welled up even before he was able to do a thumbs-up. The gratitude that I felt is beyond words. Words, emails, texts, hugs can never do justice of the happiness I felt. We are forever grateful to everybody who extended help and time. We are extremely thankful for all the prayers. God must have heard the noise you guys were making!

Xofie only has a couple of puncture wounds on her groin area. It's nothing compared to open heart surgery. Now, the only problem is how to keep her from playing too much and running around. I hope she understands me when I explain that she has to let the booboo in her thighs heal before she can run. I think she does, but only for about three seconds, and she's off running again.

Needless to say, THIS is the best gift any mother could have. Happy mother's day to all mothers out there who knew exactly what I endured. We are tough, mommies! Oh, yes we are!

Friday, April 24, 2009

OMG, Where have I been?!

Phooooo! Dusty in here!

I may have to do some housekeeping before I could get this house blogging again. Sometimes, real life catches up and leaves you nothing more to spend online. Online life has to take a back seat.

I am not unhappy, though. I just wished I had more time and energy to be spending more time online and blogging. I miss all of my blogging friends, and I miss jumping from one blog to the next. I miss the mixed feeling of exhilaration, joy, sadness, giddiness I experience in each and every page I read. I miss laughing out loud and crying over YOUR posts. I miss blogging. Soon, I'm gonna get back to it in full throttle. Soon.

In the meantime, please excuse the dust and soot that has accumulated through the days. Housekeeping will come in no time.

...Well, maybe after the housekeeper is done enjoying her summer?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Aside from spam

... I also regularly get this with Yahoo:


Under those pink lines is my all-too-common YM alias. I think there are at least 3 people out there who mistakenly give my address to people confident that they just handed out their own addresses. You can't blame me for staying invi or just altogether not log on to yahoo chat.

I almost got pissed with the accusing tone. Almost, but didn't come to it. The second time I explained and tried to convince her that I am the legitimate owner of the address, she stopped replying to my chats--gone forever, I hope. Good for her, really.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shake that booty!

I am so proud, my Xofia dances Jai ho and sings along as she does.

She wasn't a Slumdog Millionaire fan, but her Auntie Han probably was, or she's just liking the theme. The two had the Bollywood dance steps memorized perhaps while the Auntie is killing time or generally just wanting to make fun of her niece. Whenever Xofi starts getting fussy, turn the volume up and play Jai ho... everything in the world will seem right in an instant.

Presently, these are Xofia's favorites. She's also memorized some of the lyrics and sings along whenever she can and when she's not busy concentrating on her spin, skip or hop.

1. Jai ho from Slumdog Millionaire
(Xofi: hooooooo.....)

2. Honey, Honey by Amanda Syfried from Mamma Mia!
(Xofi: Honey, honey, pa-pa-pap; to me.....)

3. I Hate This Part by the Pussycat Dolls
(Xofi: heeeee.....)

And oh, she loves it if she's infront of a mirror while dancing. Doncha?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Welcome to our home

Hi, thanks for coming over. Welcome to my living room. Make yourself at home. I hope the furniture is warm and cozy enough.

What can I get you? I have freshly brewed iced tea and freshly-squeezed tropical fruit juices. It's humid, but no matter, I just plainly love our weather! Anyway, I guess we better help ourselves to an air-conditioned room. Come, follow me. I had a hard time looking for the perfect living room furniture. The market nowadays is cramped with contemporary, sleek, futuristic designs. I love the plain, old-fashioned comfort. This one imparts a sense of warmth and historic feel to the room. Don't you agree?

Oh, let me show you the rooms upstairs.

I know I only have a twin bed here, but I'm planning to change this one to a more spacious queen-sized. Me and the husband doesn't like extra luxurious bedroom furniture. The thing that really matters is that the mattress is extra comfortable. You might say that the room is too youthful. That is just what I was trying to achieve. I hate four-posters, but gosh, how I swoon over storage beds. Crazy? Nah, I love the freshness and the extra storage spaces.

This is the Princess' but she can only hold on to it long enough. She loves that the bed has an "attic" where the loft bed is located. I like how the cubbyholes are designed beautifully to blend in with the rest of the design. It keeps her toys, knick-knacks and whatnots neatly in order.


When she's older she may move into this room which I already prepared for her.

I can't imagine her liking to stay in this floral-bordered pastel-themed room forever, though. I bet after high school, she'd wanna move in here.

I may have to change the beddings to suit her, but that can wait. I like how the storage is neatly tucked in this loft bed. She can just hide the pull-out to use the workstation, pull a chair -- it's all so clutter-free. The bed maximizes the room for some other things I know she'd have a lot of come college.
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OK, enough dreaming! Back to reality, but before you do, check out furniturefromhome's Captain Bed. Or you can use their Advanced Search feature to refine your searches based on your preferred room, style, and color. I had so much fun visiting the rooms and dreaming my dream home! :-)


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Broccoli and prawns stir-fry

It was all I could ever wished for. I think not a day has passed since I had the duo (grill pan and wok) that I haven't used them. I cannot believe why I waited this long to have a grill pan, it's totally crazy! And the wok? HA! I think I just told the husband that I am never going back to using any other wok, ever! See how gorgeous and spacious that is!

I thought stir-fries can never go any easier. Then I stir-fried using THE wok, and guess what, it was so so much easier, I'd like to stir-fry anything and give some to the neighbors :-) Of course, there's a lot that I can do with the wok (I think I may be trying paella soon) but for now, let me give you this awesome broccoli and prawns stir-fry dish.


Recipe

  • olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, pressed and chopped finely
  • thumb-sized ginger, grated (I used microplane zester)
  • 1 red onions, sliced
  • three medium heads broccoli cut into florets, washed and drained
  • three prawns, shelled and cut in bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • salt
  1. In a heated wok, pour 2 tbsp olive oil and saute the prawns. As soon as they turn pinkish, set these little guys aside.
  2. In the same pan, heat another 2 tbsp olive oil and saute the aromatics: garlic, ginger, then onions. You'd want the oil to get all that infused flavor.
  3. Mix in the broccoli florets and stir fast coating each floret with the flavorful oil. All these must be done in high heat.
  4. Pour the chicken stock.
  5. As soon as the florets change color, add in the reserved prawns. Give another minute to mix these little guys in, season with salt, then turn off heat.
  6. Serve immediately onto a plate. Be careful not to let the stir-fry sit in the wok long after it's done because the heat in the wok will overcook the dish.

Take me to HOME COOKING tab

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I should get a Home Treadmill Equipment

I don't know what will finally make me move my lazy butt and exercise. Definitely the scale on a threatening forward lurch is not enough. I also don't know what number is enough for me to do something, but this I know: I must do something before it's too late.

The extra 10 lbs is definitely the hardest to shake off. I can imagine myself going to the gym, but have no idea how to fit gym time with my routine right now. If you know me, I'd rather be cooking or playing with Xofi than doing anything. And going to the gym takes so much time. Plus I hate taking showers in locker rooms where people I don't know take their showers, too. Sorry, I'm just weird like that.

I guess the best thing I can do is get my lazy self to use the treadmill. The best thing is I can do it at home, thus, I can take my shower at home. I'm not getting any younger and staying healthy as much as I can is the best thing I can do to myself and to my family.

Now, I have to work it into my routine. I can't do it in the morning. I am so not a morning person. Even my taste buds don't work on mornings. Dinner at home is around 8-8:30ish. An hour after would be a good schedule. I just have to muster enough will to do it. And here's hoping that putting it in writing helps. Cheer me on, people!

Because hey, it's bikini season. Gotta do something fast which doesn't include starving myself. That, and staying fit. Should be enough reason to shake off laziness.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My first grill pan

...is an IKEA Grilla.


I've been wanting to have one for the longest time. When I pass by the nearby mall, I'd sneak a visit at Rustan's and run my fingers on their pans tracing the grill lines. That's how much I wanted it.

Not so long ago, sister asked me what else I lacked in the kitchen. (She's my primary provider when it comes to pots, pans, and kitchen gadgets. My sister simply rocks!) In passing I think I mentioned a grill pan, a non-stick wok and Corelle dinnerwares. Of course, my stuff makes most of the box space. "Happiness" was my name when we opened the box! :-D

This one's from IKEA, and so far, I've read this is the best grill pan for less than $20. I really have no point of comparison. I'm just so so happy I finally got one.

OK, so for the first day that I got Grilla, I was able to grill chicken breasts, pork belly, pork chops, clams, and prawns. Ain't that a par-tay!

It just made my whole life a lot easier because grilling can now be done 15 minutes before meal time. I'm loving every minute of having Grilla. Sometimes, I find myself reaching for it thinking what I'd grill next.


Take me to HOME COOKING tab

Monday, March 2, 2009

Must.Wean.


When Xofi was hospitalized for pneumonia, we had to take the paci out to give way to her breathing. One can't really suck on a binki with a stuffy nose, so even if it comforted her greatly, we had to take it away. She survived. She did not ask for it. Or maybe because she was way too preoccupied with the pain and the medical people in white uniforms to bother with her binki.

Then she got well. My husband and I let out a gallop of joy thinking we finally weaned her from the binki. She did went through a couple of nights without it. But without the pain from being sick, I guess she remembered. She'd wake up in the middle of the night, though not a great crier, still enough to keep me awake. She fussed and couldn't go back to sleep.

It must be the binki. We thought. So we tried giving her the binki, and instantly, she fell back to sleep. She's been on the binki since, but only at night.

I want to wean her off it. I gave myself until she's 18 months, which is NOW. She'd be 19 months old this month. And I still don't know how to do it. I know for sure that I'd have to give up more sleep in the process of weaning. I read some moms put holes in the binki so it's not as effective as it should be, thus discouraging the baby from using it. I'm tempted to try that, but isn't it dangerous to be giving your kid a defective paci?

If you have tricks that worked, let me know. For whatever it's gonna take, I am so weaning her off the paci. Just don't know when, or if I'd have the energy to go through the pain of sleepless nights yet again.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pesto Chicken and Pine Nuts

I know I can substitute, but for this instance I'd like to be a "nut" snob.

I have only a tablespoon of pine nuts left. And I don't have the vaguest idea when my next pack will arrive. I'm not buying them locally, they are priced ridiculously high, I'm afraid I'd gag eating my pesto. Yes, I rely on a balikbayan box my sister is sending me. Until that box arrives, I'm keeping my tablespoon of pine nuts as security blanket -- which my husband wisely advised.

The little pine nuts I have is what's left of the latest batch of pesto sauce I whipped up. It's not summer here, but hey, this is one of the best things living in the tropics -- I can have basil anytime of the year.

And because this is my husband's favorite, and I only get to pamper him through my cooking, this is the first dish I made with the batch. It's simple and fast, and super delish; and you can do this half asleep. :P

Creamy Pesto Chicken Recipe

  • 2 chicken breast fillet, quartered and sliced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
Prepare chicken slices thick or thin enough for a quick pan fry. Season with salt. Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Fry chicken slices until brown on parts.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup creamer
  • 3 tbsp pesto sauce
  • pinch of salt
In the same pan, heat olive oil. Saute garlic. Once fragrant, pour in stock. Bring to a soft boil. Add creamer little by little, stirring as you do. Turn off heat; then add pesto sauce. Season with salt.

Place the pan-fried chicken slices onto the pan and turn the heat back on. Coat the chicken slices with sauce. Once the sauce starts boiling again, turn off heat.


I wish I had a pic to show but nah! I made this early in the morning half of my faculties are still asleep. Just imagine chicken slices browned on parts smothered with creamy pesto sauce. Heaven!


Take me to HOME COOKING tab

Thursday, February 12, 2009

So Soon, Girl?

I didn't expect for her to visit me again this soon.

Yes, I'm calling my migraine a "her" because for whatever it's worth, she has the temperament and a personality of a female.

She makes her presence known by gently throbbing at my head--which of course goes unnoticed (maybe I were a man, then?). Then she'd start her tantrum, this time not so gently, covering one part of my head, and if I'm not so lucky, the back, too.

Because I still deny that it was her again, I drink coffee. Now, unlike me, she loathes coffee.

I try to justify that maybe it was because I'm hungry from drinking too much coffee. "Stupid!" I can almost hear her.

So she gives me nausea and I start to vomit. But I can't, she won't let me. No matter how hard I try, no barf comes out. "Tease!" I shout back at her.

"That's what you get from ignoring me!" she said with finality.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Project: Renovate Porch

I think I should count me lucky. Even with the salary freeze, the company is giving us a little bonus -- something we didn't expect, which made us all the more happy. Guess they know how to counter the depressing effects of recession, huh!

Or maybe some higher being saw the situation I (yes, MY situation - my blog, mine!) am currently in. I need some serious house renovation, but is not willing to get the budget from the current household cashflow. I guess this is a sign that I really, really have to start doing it. Like, really.

I was thinking of starting with the porch. I've been wanting to build an awning to protect the area from heat and rain; but mainly to provide additional seating for the MahJong sessions we host for family and friends. Have I not mentioned before that MahJong is the family's official game? Which would make me an outsider for not learning it? (I'm on my way there, worry not... Or my daughter will save me from myself!)

Xofia learning the ropes early

If you're familiar with the MahJong game, the place must be well-lit. Maybe because I'm a woman, but when it comes to light fixtures, I am very particular. Lighting fixtures, for me, can very much make or break the room. Much thought must be invested on projects that involves home lighting. They have to be placed in the perfect location of the room where they can both serve functionally and aesthetically. Oh, I have such a picture in my mind where I can place a pair of charming, timeless sconce . And because tropical weather can be such a drain, I'd like to counter humidity with a casual ceiling fan.

Wait, how much was my budget again?

Monday, February 2, 2009

25 Random and Useless Things About Me

Reposting the list from my Facebook page. I'm new to Facebook and I'm taking everything in, little by little, baby steps so they say. So far, I've been having fun.

  1. I am crazy over Figaro's Coffee Jelly. I swear I can have it everyday.
  2. I love to cook dinner for my family. I'm lucky they don't mind eating late dinners.
  3. I dream of living in a self-sustaining farm with a house sitting atop an ocean cliff.
  4. I have sweaty palms...
  5. Which is the reason why I shouldn't be drinking coffee, but what am I to do with the daily grind without caffeine?
  6. I go into indescribable fits of happiness when I hear my Xofia says "Mommy" and is actually looking at me.
  7. We have 3 coffee presses. Goes to show how much coffee means to me.
  8. This mark right smack in the middle of my cheek is an indelible ink... kidding, it's a birthmark not many are blessed to have.
  9. I hated morning sickness. It's the reason why I wasn't able to totally enjoy my pregnancy. Some say it's part of pregnancy, and should also be enjoyed. Not!
  10. One of my closest friend told me she didn't expect we'd be this close after college. She said I was a snob, lanky social deviant back then. Well, not exactly her words, she was kinder. I told her that's what she got for judging over appearances.
  11. I think my childhood was the most colorful, fun and dangerous childhood. I climbed trees, skied hills with nary a slipper, swam rivers and seas without proper training, ate wild fruits, made my own fire to cook my own food -- all in the name of play.
  12. Everybody in my husband's side of the family adores durian. I can't stand the smell of it.
  13. I have very shallow tear ducts. I think because I have very short eyelashes, and dust gets into my eyes all the time that my eyes have to be regularly cleaned, nature has to provide me with a cleaning agent at a ready. Ha ha.
  14. I love to scrapbook by hand, the traditional way, but found no time for it lately.
  15. I am still not giving Xofia her MMR shot because, darn, the autism scare still scares me.
  16. Xofia is the best thing that ever happened to me, next to Bongkie, of course.
  17. I love a glass of orange juice with my morning cups of coffee.
  18. I used to make scented candles. I find making them equally soothing as lighting them. Then my allergy got worse because of all the fragrances, had to stop.
  19. I am still green with envy over Lelany's first edition of The Graveyard Book, and signed by no other than Mr. Sandman himself.
  20. I think Neil Gaiman is the coolest person to ever grace the literary world. I also think Edgar Allan Poe was cool but stupid for wasting all that talent over alcohol.
  21. I'd like to believe I'd be the Barefoot Contessa in my second life, minus the celebrity status and the TV show.
  22. I think cockroaches are the most despicable thing. I was told they're the only ones who can survive a nuclear attack. Still. Ick.
  23. I hate to see people leave even if it's just for awhile. Whenever I can, I avoid instances that I have to see them go. Again, see number 13.
  24. I don't do well with numbers; and thankful that cellphones now have built-in calculators.
  25. I grew up pampered by my Lola (grandma). Mother thinks this is why I act so bratty at times. I think we just happen to have different opinions and I happen to assert mine more strongly. :P
Useless, but I hope you had fun :-)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

If not a new kitchen, a Coach purse then?

I am frantic. I lost my keys.

I must have left it or dropped it when I was hurriedly preparing to attend an induction ceremony of a good friend of mine, Emi. (Emi who makes speeches so passionate and heartfelt jaded people like me gets inspired in an instant.)

I try not to think about it, but I get really stressed thinking where could I possibly left my keys. And by golly, when I'm stressed, my senses heightens and I start noticing little things around me that needs fixing.

I need a new set of cupboard. We need to move the sink to the right, and please, position the stove near the window. I need a windowsill, a place for my herbs to sit. A new countertop, a polished and repainted drawer doors -- Ok, I'm putting it simply, I need a new kitchen that offers a lot of shelf space. And while we're at it, give me a new workshop for my home improvement projects. I swear if I were a man, I'd be a carpenter!

And what does a girl do when she's stressed? Shop!

Letting my fingers do the shopping, I stumbled upon this great site that shows everything that's on sale on the net, not just from stores that paid for the placement.

In the meantime, while the I'm passing on the stress to the husband for wanting a new kitchen, I am content on momentarily soothing my stress away with shopping. Ah, retail therapy. Who said this never works?

Foot-In-Mouth Disease

By: Bongkie

Editor's note: This is a guest post from my better half. While he's accumulating issues to talk about in his planned (?) blog, I let him -- no, beg him -- to put his thoughts here in the meantime.


Secretary Eduardo Ermita is a good comedian. Why? Because he made me laugh till my gums hurt. And I don’t laugh that easily especially if the topic involved is government and most especially GMA. In fact, Ermita is such a funny guy that he was able to tell a joke about Obama. According to a news article, Secretary Ermita claimed that Obama could learn a lot from GMA in being President. Say that again? OBAMA CAN LEARN A LOT FROM GMA! BWAHAHAHAHAHA! (evil laugh)

How the hell did he arrive at that conclusion? Well, the answers are simple, really.

1. GMA became president when Obama was still in diapers at the Senate. Obama is just starting while GMA is already on her way out. And during the past few years that GMA was president, she has survived a couple of attempted coup d’ etats, people power rallies, petitions for impeachment and other creative ways to unseat her from office and yet she was able to hold on like a rodeo cowboy on a crazy jumping bull.

2. Both GMA and Obama assumed office during a time of crisis and Obama can learn how to stay in office even without solving the crisis just like GMA did.

3. Remember the Hello Garci controversy? Now, that’s a classic that Obama can really learn from a lot. The denial, the apology, and the acting chops that went with it were Oscar worthy. (NOT!!!)

Please feel free to add what other things Obama can learn from GMA. I know you’ll be able to think of something funny, although not as funny as Sec. Ermita’s joke.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Share your "stuff"!

Have you heard of Acobay, lately? If you haven't yet, I suggest you head on over there and see for yourself what I am about to rave in this blogpost.

Have you ever wanted to buy something, but it's a considerable amount of investment that you're not quite sure if the purchase was worth it? Conscientious consumer that I am, I always have that moment. Like everytime. Good thing I know how to use the internet to my advantage.

You know how important it is to get honest to goodness reviews nowadays, right? How many times have you finally purchased something because someone you know or trust said something good about the product?

And oh, if I purchased something that fell short of my expectations, how I love to rant about it! The company that provided me with the product or services should at least know what I expected from them and meet that expectation. Otherwise all my friends are gonna know about it.

Imagine my delight when I learned about Acobay. At Acobay, you get a chance to establish network with real people with real opinions about products, games they play, places they visited, cars they drive, movies they love, books they read, and so on. They even have Wishlist wherein you can put in the stuff you wish to have, planning to purchase, and get personalized recommendation from other Acobay members who share the same wish or stuff as you do. Else, you can browse through stuff, read real reviews by real people with genuine product experience.

Afterwards, off to google you go to scour for the best bargain you can find. And oh, get the one that offers free shipping, too. ;-)

While I'm writing this, I'm adding more stuff to My Stuff, and probably on to Wishlist next (I so wanna know what people say about the new toy I'm eyeing for Xofia). I'm excited to finally see my Stuff Network grow!

So, see you there?

Monday, January 26, 2009

What will I do without Dr. Karp and ice packs?

Dr. Harvey Karp said that toddlers acting out when their mommies (yes, mommies, not daddies) are around is the ultimate form of flattery. I remember he made an explanation as to why (and it made sense!), but totally forgot the moment my 1 1/2 refuses to go to sleep when Mommy is in the room.

At one and half, my little Xofia is beginning to be a handful. I think she forgot how to walk, she's running all the time. She has mastered throwing things at a precision that everytime she'd successfully hit her target, she'd beam with pride, clap her hands, say "bub" (her version of "good job"), and look around for a nod of approval. Her glowing pride will most definitely stop glowing when she'd see my serious, upset face. I then proceeded to lecture in toddler-ese how we don't throw things in a civilized world.

With eyes almost filled with tears but refusing to let herself cry, she'd walk away with shoulders down, and observe me from a distance. If a glance in the next minute is met with a neutral face, she'd let out the cutest smile and who am I to resist that. The moment I curve my lips into a smile, she'd come running to hug me.

Sometimes, my Harvey-Karp Method makes me feel like she's the grownup and I'm the baby. Those moments that she'd look at me about to cry, I have to stop myself from saying sorry for getting upset, that it was nothing what she did.

I just hope she remembers all those in the next 5 minutes before she rolled to the edge of the bed despite my stern warnings, and in a blink of an eye, hit her head on the floor and got a major boo-boo.

Thank God for ice packs!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Is your home secured?

You watch the news, scan the channels for a good 15 minutes and tell me if you don't come out of it depressed (if you weren't already) and more worried. Crime rate is staggering. In UK, burglaries are up as recession takes its toll that the leaders plan an emergency summit to tackle the issue. With the rising cost of living, cities all over the world are experiencing an increase in, particularly, property crimes.

Of course one can always argue that crime statistics are better indicators of the prevalence of law enforcement and crime reporting, than actual crime prevalence. But then, think about it, what's there to report if there's no crime happening? The fact is that crime is happening all around us, even so with the recession, and we better come prepared.

I'm sure all of us have a trick or two on keeping our home and loved ones safe. I know somebody who lines up food cans along the inside of his doors and windows to startle would-be burglars. I personally believe outside home lighting is a good deterrent. This is counting on the good Samaritans in my neighborhood, hoping they'd report any suspicious activity. However, robbers also have tricks up their sleeves to outwit home owners.

With the layoffs and salary cuts, I expect to be working doubly hard, and rendering more overtimes in work. So is my husband. How do you think we'd feel leaving our house and the people who live there under the watch of the subdivision guard, who also happen to be watching 75 other houses, and manning the gate? Home security is never overrated. Before anything happens, God forbid, start securing your home, your loved ones, and your personal belongings. Personally, I find ADT Home Security Systems equipped to provide you peace of mind. Their video surveillance system allows you to watch your home from anywhere in the world. It's really something to personally see that everything's all right even if you aren't physically at home.

ADT provides a lot of other security services that are worth checking out. The safety of your family and your home is one less thing to worry about while you concentrate on a host of other things in these trying times. I suggest you start securing your home now before it's too late. Better to have a tiny bit of paranoia and acting on it, than sorry.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Made.In.China

Say again?



This was from the box that one of my french presses came with. Aside from the lead and melamine issues, I simply love Chinese products. They're cheap, functional, and they provide entertainment -- a value-add to customers if you, like me, enjoy cheap thrills.

In this lifetime, I've mourned over the demise of 3 french presses. For coffee drinkers like me, a coffee press is an important thing. Of course, there's drip coffee maker. But aside from consuming so much electricity, they separate the oil from the coffee making the drink less, uhm, full. Oil makes the flavor really really bold and aromatic. It also maximizes calorie content. Filtering coffee beans in the coffee-making process just strips off the fun of enjoying full, bold, calorie-filled drink. Coffee press brings all that back in. Ah, little joys.

Since I've lost every single press I've had, the husband and I thought of buying several at one time. It is his ardent belief that if you store several pieces of presses, the one you're currently using will not break. I am willingly subscribing to the belief, dutiful wife that I am! Currently, we have 3 french presses. All are proudly Made in China. Because they're cheap, they serve the purpose, and they make me look like a supportive wife without dishing out thousands of pesos for a Starbucks or a Coffee Bean press. Those from these two are just outrageously expensive.

Oh, if you're looking for a press, Metro Gaisano at Ayala Center has plenty. You're welcome to hoard.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Night, night! Don't let the bedbugs bite!

I have very, very sensitive skin. At least that's how my dermatologist describes my affliction. Yesterday, I finally went and saw a doctor. (Oh, congratulate me!) And because of the type of skin that I have, I am now to follow a strict skincare routine twice a day. Aside from that, I am to stay away from almost everything that this polluted world is basking in.

I have always wondered why I get welts so easily, why insects seem to see/smell me and make me their first victim in a crowd of hundreds. Either I smell really good (move over, Bella Swan) or I'm just totally unlucky. Among other sites, I consider bedbugbites.com an additional treasure when it comes to guides on bugs and insects. The site provides a lot of information about bed bugs, how to treat them and prevent them. Because bites differ from one person to another, they also provide pictures of bed bug bites to help you identify if what you got is really a bed bug's doing.

I don't want to come to a point where I have to worry how to treat the bites, heaven forbid, I need to know exactly how to identify if we have bed bugs at home. Once I get the bite, the welts will then develop into something terribly ugly. I then use lotions or creams, which in turn, irritates my skin and I'd get flare ups. So either I stop the bugs from getting close to me, or I pray I see them first and kill them before they get close to me. (Oh, I mean bugs, bugs. Not people). And if the unlucky me gets bitten, I can only use the most natural treatment devoid of any allergen. Ah, it's a blast to be me!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Rocking out

It's the connection.

I am, once again, wondering if I did the right thing going for this provider.

Even Speedtest.net refuses to load. So I made screen captures of all those loading pages to while away the time. Pathetic...Internet.Connection.


Incidentally, however unrelated, I was reminded of some pics I owe Xofia's godmothers. Xofia received a big Dora pillow and an electric guitar from Titas Caffeinated-Muse, Diva, Faery, and Jan. She went to sleep late that night because she kept on turning her pillow over. Dora wins all the time, there's nothing much you can do about that. The guitar makes a lot of noise, alright, but this girl likes it, so I bite my lips and bang my head like a true rakista along with the rest of the household.

But really, nobody here can rock it out like this girl can:



OK, now, don't be such a killjoy and rock with me!


YEAAAAAAA!!! *peace out*

Mga Atih, you girls rock the most! Thanks for making my little munchkin so happy. :-D

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Picking up and gaining speed

I've been away for quite some time that I don't know where to start. To save you from going through my boring list of TODO's, allow me to assure you that I am picking up, albeit slowly, from where I left off. Holiday recipes will be posted soon, and some videos as well. For those who are wondering, my blog also serves as communication tool between me and my relatives. They don't comment as frequent, though--we're very shy bunch--but they do pester me with updates ;P

Anyway, I think I should be starting with my most favorite subject: Xofia. Oh, the things these little munchkin has learned over the past month! I dare not believe how fast time flies. But Xofia accumulates skills in a heartbeat sometimes leaving me and her daddy wide-eyed and wondering where she got all that. Before we went to Bora, she only knew one number: 2. When I counted with her, we finished off until 10! And man, can she dance! She danced before she can even walk. And now, she sings like it's the most natural thing babies like her do. Am I grooming a performing artist here? :P :P

How do you keep those very fleeting memories stay without leaving you blissfully overwhelmed? I am dreading the time when I cannot recall each and every moment of wonderful discovery with her. Ah, simple joys. Happy 2009, everyone!


video

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