New Business!

Excited about this!




More info here: http://daipaidong.multiply.com

This 2009, I Am Most Thankful For...

The birth of my Baby Girl!!!

2009 is not a good year for us. There were just too many things that happened: my mom's motorcycle accident, Ondoy, the break in at our house, financial problems, to name just a few.

But through it all, I am thankful for 2009, because it is the year when our little girl, our second child was born!

This makes 2009 a Happy Year inspite of all the other problems!

The other things I am grateful for:

  • My family surviving Ondoy. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law stayed on the roof all night, but they survived.
  • No one got hurt during the break in, except our dog :( Nothing taken either.
  • While our finances are not exactly rosy, we've been surviving!
  • My mom walking again. She had a hip replacement surgery after a motorcycle hit her! But she's ok now, not like before, but still ok.
I am hoping that 2010 will be an even better year for us!

Write about what you are grateful for in 2009 and win a Moleskine Colour A Month Daily Planner 2010 by clicking here.

If I Were A Starbucks Drink...

I'd be a White Chocolate Drink. Not the White Chocolate Mocha, but just plain White Chocolate. It's available as White Hot Chocolate, but I was able to order Iced White Chocolate.

Why this reflects ME:

  • It's a very simple drink. No whipped cream, no syrup, at least not for me, just plain hot or iced drink.
  • It's unique. Everybody else orders fraps or coffee. I look for this once in a while.
  • It's white. In a sea of brown coffee. Like a Tsinay in the Philippines -- that's me. :)
  • It's not very obvious. Sometimes people aren't even aware of this drink, it's that unobtrusive. Sometimes I don't see it on the menu and just ask for it, especially the iced version. Like me, I usually blend into the background.
  • Since, strictly speaking, it's not a coffee drink, it does not contain caffeine. Not exciting. Doesn't raise the heart rate. Doesn't make one palpitate. Boring even, at least for some people. But good for everybody -- kids, preggy women (this is my staple when I'm preggy and find myself in starbucks), hypertensive people and other people who have to watch their caffeine intake.
So, in a nutshell (or should I say, a coffee bean), I'm a simple, unique, white (hehehe), unobstrusive, unexciting person!!! :D Just like Starbucks white chocolate!

If you can answer this question, "If you were a Starbucks drink, what would you be and why?" You might get the chance to win one Starbucks planner from Maver! Click here to learn more. You have until December 12, 2009 to join the contest.


To Maver, if I'm lucky enough to win one of your planners, I think I'll get the "Cherries" version.

I Enjoyed My Century Bangus Fillet at Home

December is a very hectic month for me and today is an especially hectic day!

Our Christmas list keeps getting longer and longer. Since today is no-work day for me and hubby's clinic is in the afternoon, we decided to do our shopping today to hopefully complete our gift list. Although it was a good idea to shop during a weekday as there was much less people, it still was very tiring.

Hubby had to go to work right after our shopping trip. I had to bring our little boy to school in the afternoon and wait for him to finish his session.

All through this, our little 5 month old girl also tagged along since she doesn't take anything but mommy's milk. It was simply more convenient.

We finally headed back home at around 6pm. My sweet little baby girl (she's usually very good-natured, except when she's REALLY hungry!) decided at that moment to cry her lungs out. It turned out that she was hungry! Not only that, her diaper was soiled! I couldn't breastfeed her at that point because I was driving. The yaya couldn't change her either! I was cursing all the red lights and all the vehicles that do not want to let me pass!

When we finally got home, I had the yaya wrap the little girl first with a receiving blanket and breastfed her first. The yaya then prepared the stuff needed to clean the baby while I was breastfeeding. After breastfeeding, the little girl slept for a short while but soon awakened, probably bothered by the uncomfy feeling on her bottom. We had to endure another round of wailing while we cleaned her up and gave her a sponge bath, after which she demanded for more milk. When she was satisfied enough, I looked at the time. Oh no! It was already past 7 pm and hubby will be home any minute now! I do not have the luxury of time to cook!

Fortunately, I remembered the cans of Century Tuna Bangus Fillet I bought last week. I figured now is a good time to try it out.




I picked the variety with Tausi and shared it with my hubby, son and brother. Hubby actually loved it! And he's somebody who doesn't really like fish in any form!



I realized that it would probably be a good, go-to dish whenever we couldn't cook any ulam. I'm considering having this as a baon for workdays. It's so easy to bring along, and I don't have to worry about the ulam spoiling, even without refrigeration. And with the easy open can, no need to bring along the can opener at all!


I am so glad I discovered Century Tuna Bangus Fillet! It certainly saved the day for a harried wife and mom! I am pretty sure that it will continue to be a lifesaver!

Where To, The Working Mom?

I'm afraid this particular blog of mine has suffered a PR beating. It's my fault really. I have been quite remiss in doing personal, non-earning posts. But I guess I have benefited from it, so I'm not really complaining (not that much, anyway!).

I'm thinking of migrating to my own domain, but I'm having a lot of second thoughts. I've thought of this several times in the past but I've always been hesitant. That's because this blog has been so much a part of my life for the past few years. Also, I haven't determined whether to stick with blogger or to shift to wordpress. And, of course, since the PR then was good, I am aware that moving would actually put me back in PR zero status. The last reason is now moot, so I'm actually seriously giving a lot of thought to this.

I have another blog in wordpress and I like the platform, but, honestly, it does cost just a little bit more since I do need to pay for the webhosting aside from the domain name. Fortunately, the search for the best host is now quite easy, as sites like webhostinggeeks give a comparative side-by-side analysis of the different web hosts available. Comparisons are made for their performance as well as their price. As I am on a budget, I am leaning towards the lower-priced services, although I have to make sure that they perform just as well, if not better, than the higher priced ones.

I really do need time to think about it.

Time To Invest

The recent events, both good (giving birth, christening, big boy going to school and applying to big school) and bad (the flood brought by Typhoon Ondoy, kids getting sick) have almost wiped out our savings. Unfortunately, this is also the time of the year when the number of patients start to dwindle.

Now, more than ever, we are feeling the need to put aside money in investments. Since we do not have a very big amount to invest and to risk, we are better off putting our small extra cash in gold coins by a reputable coin dealer like Monaco Rare Coin. After all, precious metals usually appreciate in value. They may depreciate once in a while but usually it goes up over the long term. It's also easier to store. And if, heaven forbid, it gets flooded, it does not lose its value at all and you can still sell it at market price (except, of course, if you lose it).

My father used to give me gold coins as gifts for my birthdays. I think I will do the same for my kids when they are older and know the value of such.

But the reason why I want a tried-and-tested dealer is that, as with everything, there are scammers out there who will leach your hard earned money. In such cases, instead of earning or at least saving your money, you lose it.

I'm Still Here

The past few weeks have been a roller coaster of sorts, hence the absence of updates in this blog. I have not really found the time to "seriously" blog on both this blog and Joey M.D., but I've had a few short posts on Tsinay and Practical Tips and More.

Several things have happened, both good and bad. I will try to give more details in future blog topics, if and when I get the time.

First, the good:
1. My son celebrated his 4th birthday! He had a school celebration for that.
2. My daughter got baptized.
3. I ventured into a diaper selling.

The bad:
1. Typhoon Ondoy. Enuf' said.
2. My son got sick.
3. My daughter got sick.
4. This blog got a page rank beating. Sigh...

I am attempting to get the mindframe to do more posts. And, oh, more time to do posts...in between 2 children who need my attention and my work, both online and offline.

Wish me luck!

Early Christmas Shopping

The past few months have been a blur of spending -- not on wants and luxuries but on definite needs. While it hasn't been easy, we're grateful that we were able to go through this difficult time, at least on the financial front.

This means, however, that we do not have a lot of money left in savings. We're taking it one day at a time. But since it's less than 100 days till Christmas, we do need to look for a way to save AND for affordable gifts for people on our (very) long Christmas list.

I found some online coupons that could be used to purchase some great gifts online, at a discount, of course. There are plenty of choices online. I'd love to get my son some Lego toys (which could be had for 50% off with coupons) since they encourage creativity. My daughter...hmmm, perhaps Stuffed Animals would be appreciated? I'm still looking around for the best choices and the best deals, not just for my kids, but also for my husband and the rest of my family. And our inaanaks too. Quality gifts at great deals, that would be such a treat for me!

Checking Our Credit Score

My husband and I always dream of getting our own place someday, but we've realized that it would be close to impossible to actually be "saving up" to get a house. We'd probably be saving all our lives and in the end not get any house because by then the prices would have been way, way higher than they are right now.

So we're trying to see if it would be possible for us to get a housing loan and if we could afford to pay the installments. We're checking if our credit score would entitle us to get a big enough loan for the house that we want. It's a pretty new concept for me -- credit score, that is. What is a credit score? That is what I am studying right now. What I basically know for now is that if you do not have a good payment history, your credit score goes down. Also, having no credit at all is not necessarily good because lending companies do not know anything about your paying capacity and how good you are with your payments. And, that there are ways to improve your credit score so that you will have a better chance of getting the loan that you want.

I would have to study more about it. I'm actually wary of getting into debt but sometimes debt is good -- if we can afford to pay it off.

I Love Scrubs, But....

I used to be so proud when I finally got to wear my first set of hospital scrubs. It's standard uniform inside the operating room, the delivery room, the nursery and all the other places that required a very clean environment. Changing into scrubs (from street clothes) is a precaution against bringing in microbes that would infect the patients that are particularly susceptible. Now only people who are already given the go signal to enter those areas that were considered off limits to many get to wear scrubs. So just imagine how I felt wearing scrubs and entering those "hallowed" areas.

Our scrubs used to be boring -- just one color, with a generic design. My first pair of scrubs was white, because it was the required color for medical clerks (4th year of medical school). Later on, though, some enterprising individuals made scrubs out of printed fabric. With more designs to choose from, it became sort of like a fashion statement. I remember that I bought quite a few.

I don't know when the trend started, but when cheap nursing scrubs with cartoon characters became available, some mommies snapped them up as uniforms for their kids' nannies. Protest is futile. They will never understand what those scrubs meant to us. It's like uniforms for soldiers. Or even uniforms for students in a certain school. Nobody else gets to wear them except those who earn it by being qualified.

Now I only wear the hospital issued, boring scrubs inside the operating room. Never outside the OR. While I still love the designs (and prices) of the discount nursing scrubs now widely found, I am aware that people no longer associate them with my profession, but instead think of them as uniforms for nannies.

But there's hope, I've found that there are actually more elegant versions of this hospital staple. I just don't know if the hospitals here would accept a design like this, for example...


Hmmmm.....I'd probably get something like that for myself!

New York, New York

Although I've been to the United States, I've never been to New York yet. I'd like to go there someday as it's one of the cities that I've heard so much of. I have a cousin who lives there and works there as a private tutor. I haven't seen her in a long time, maybe more than a decade already. Her job entails her to go to her tutees' homes. I don't even know if she commutes or drives. I'm guessing she drives (if so, she needs new york car insurance for her vehicle -- one can never be too careful!)

New York also a place where a lot of Pinoy MD's go to for further training. My friend told me that when she was just starting to apply for training in New York, she had absolutely no idea on how to get around and was getting around in taxis! I didn't ask her for details but I'm guessing that she soon got a car with ny auto insurance when she got accepted and eventually spent a few years of her life there.

New York also has Broadway, which I (and maybe most people on the planet) have only heard about. It also has the Empire State Building. It used to have the World Trade Center before that infamous event almost 1 year ago. There's also the Statue of Liberty among others. One thing I'm sure of...I won't run out of things to see if I go there.

Vicks -- An Awww... Moment

I have to blog about this!

Background: Our son considers Vicks Vaporub as his cure-all for minor booboos. When he gets bumped, a swipe of Vicks and the pain is magically gone :).

Last night, my little boy E was sitting on lap when he noticed that I had a small wound on my thigh. He said "sugat mommy" (mommy's wound). He stood up and looked for Vicks. When he found it, he opened the cap, put a little on his index finger, came back to me and rubbed it on my wound. It was pure magic for me--a loving gesture from my small son which warmed my heart and made me so happy. :)

Blog SEO?

Everybody and his mother has a blog nowadays, some more than 1 blog. Heck, I have FOUR active blogs! That's because not only has blogging been an avenue for sharing one's thoughts and emotions with the entire world, it's also a way to make some extra money, mainly through selling adspace or promoting products through the web. However, it's no secret that the higher ranked blogs and the blogs which get the most traffic get the most opportunities. That's where Search Engine Optimization comes in. In a nutshell, it simply means that you try to make your website or blog more search engine friendly, hence making your site appear whenever people use certain search terms. For example, if your blog's topic is about cosmetics, you'd want your site to come up when people search on Google or Yahoo for "cosmetics" or "make-up".

For the life of me, I do not really know how to really do that myself. Maybe I should consult an SEO Firm to improve my site's rankings? I'm thinking about it, actually. As a blogger, I want my blog to be popular (who doesn't) but I do not really have the time to learn SEO myself. All I want to do with my blogs is to write content.

Just testing...

Your Own Home, Your Own Rules

The advantage of living with parents or in-laws even after getting married and having children (which is a common practice with some Asian nationalities like Chinese (which I am, by ancestry), is that you have a built in support system to take care of your kids when you are busy with work. It's also more practical, money-wise, as you only need to purchase, say, 1 washing machine, 1 sofa set...you get my drift.

The problem of this arrangement is not having your own rules. Since you are living with the senior members of the family and the house is theirs, it's a given that they set the rules and you have to follow them.

I guess most couples dream of setting their rules and their way of doing things when they have their own families, but this is limited in a setting wherein there are more senior members of the family. We are not exceptions. We dream of the day when we can afford to have a place on our own, look into some home plans, and generally envision life as we want it to be, with our own rules.

As early as now, we are looking over some house plans even if our dream seems to be far from foreseeable at the present. While luxury dream home plans like those found in www.HousePlansandMore.com of HDA, Inc. seem to be too out of reach for us, it's fun to look over them and see what we really, really like about them. After all, a dream home is a composite of all the things that you want in your home, and it usually is not found in just one plan.

Money For Emergencies

Money should be the least of problems, right? However, the reality is that you need money for practically everything. It becomes more glaring when you're trying to raise a family. Everything your kids need, you have to provide -- material and non-material. The material needs, including the basics like food, need money. Vaccinations, hospitalizations, tuition, diapers, milk, clothes...the list goes on and on.

While my husband and I are both working, we are categorized as self-employed, meaning we don't work for a certain company and get a fixed amount every month. It has a lot of advantages, however, the chief disadvantage is that there are really times when you are not sure if you have money coming in. What if some emergency arises and we are caught without money? Believe me, it has happened, and not just once.

I am not very happy having debts, but I have to admit that sometimes payday loans come in handy during the times that money is tight. In such cases though, you need a loan that will be approved quickly, that doesn't charge a high interest, and easy to access. This particular company seems to be promising, as I've found some testimonials on how easy it is to get a loan from them.

Should Go Into Sports

I am very happy to note that I'm only about 6 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight, as of today! That's without exercising and without any true diet. What I'm doing right now is breastfeeding my baby and trying to make my rice portion a little smaller -- just enough to make me feel satisfied without being too full.

My OB has given me the go ahead to do some exercises at 2 months post CS. I'm thinking of starting to do some crunches, as my problem area is (and always was) my abdomen, since the muscles there are quite lax, especially now, after 2 pregnancies. I know, however, that I need to do more cardio exercises.

I wish I were more of a sporty person so that exercising would not be such a chore. Golf is such a hit among other ophthalmologists, but I've never gotten into that. My husband and some of his friends also used to play tennis. Me? Nothing really. Do you think it's too late for me to start a sport at this age, any sport? I certainly hope not. But if I do start on any program, I'd research via shopwiki.com so that I can buy the most appropriate equipment right off the bat.

Searching Rapishare

Technology really makes things easier. Before, the only way you can share files with somebody else was physically giving a copy of the file (xerox even came later). Then there came the fax machine, where you can send a copy through the phone line. Then email, where you can attach virtual files, although there is a limit to the file size you can send this way. You can still send files the old ways, or you can send files through the net.

Sharing files are easy nowadays with Rapidshare and similar file sharing services. If you want or need a certain file, chances are that somebody has already uploaded it -- you just have to look for it. The only problem is that it may be difficult to search for it. That's the rationale why some people came up with a Rapidshare Search Engine. This attempts to make searching for files uploaded to rapidshare easier for users.

What Will He Be This Year?

Last year, he was an angel (and won a cutest award!). In 2007, he donned overalls and brought along his tools as Bob the Builder. In 2006, he was Kobe Bryant--eaten by a shark.

It was a lot of fun dressing up our little boy as different characters for Halloween. Now, we have a small girl who's joining in the fun. Costumes for Halloween have become more and more creative and imaginative. Now, they're not limited to the strictly scary ones, which is a good thing because some kids do get scared of them. And they're now available online in incostume.com. So whether our kids would go as superheroes, scary creatures, Winnie the Pooh & Piglet or whatever, we can be sure we can find the costume we want.

Keep A Baby Picture In Your Wallet

Here's something interesting -- apparently there's a higher chance of having your lost wallet returned if you keep your baby's picture inside.

Click here for the link.

Hmmmm, I don't put pictures of my loved ones in my wallet (I don't even like posting pictures of my family online because of privacy issues) because I really don't want my family's pictures falling into the wrong hands, but maybe I have the wrong idea. :)

I Want My Kids Into Sports Too

I'll make a confession. As far as sports is concerned, I am more of a spectator rather than a participant. I am not sure if it's innate in my personality, or it's the way that I was brought up. Unlike boys wherein they are encouraged to be more physical and to engage in sports, girls are supposed to be more laid back and reserved. And SJCS students (which I was) were criticized to be nerdy. That's part of my reservations about sending my kids there, that they will focus only on academics (which is admittedly very good, if not one of the best) and not on sports.

I'd still like my kids, both my son and my daughter, to have some sort of sport of their own. I may not be much of a participant, but I love watching tennis. I know my husband plays tennis. Strangely, I have never seen him play though, maybe he needs a new tennis balls and a racket. But maybe he can teach the kids.

Not being a sports person is tough when it comes to buying the right equipment for the sports. Fortunately there are now sites like shopwiki.com that actually helps you choose the right equipment for different types of sports by listing their features so that even clueless people like me would have a better idea of what best to buy.

My Memories Of Cory

I was born in the Dekada '70 (1970's) of immigrant parents. Martial law didn't really mean anything to me. Curfews? I was a child, I didn't go out without my parents anyway. Activist activities, Plaza Miranda bombing etc? I was blissfully unaware. I don't watch the news and preferred the cartoons on our black and white TV set. Aquino, Laurel, Diokno, Pimentel etc? Sino sila? (Who are they?) As far as I know, they were enemies of Marcos. Beyond that, I really didn't know much. Didn't care much either. I did hate it when they cancelled Voltes V and the other similar shows, but that was it.

In 1983, I was watching some show on a lazy late afternoon when there was a news flash. Former Senator Benigno Aquino ("Ninoy") was gunned down in the tarmac of Manila International Airport (now Ninoy Aquino International Airport). I didn't think much of it, just thought that it was some Marcos enemy being killed. Little did I know that it would be the start of what would be a big, big change as far as the Philippines' political landscape is concerned.

Before this, nobody knew who Cory was. She was, in her own words, just a plain housewife to Ninoy. I was in high school when the events leading to the toppling of the Marcos administration occurred. Since our school was just beside Malacanang Palace, we were unwilling witnesses to truckloads of soldiers being sent to JP Laurel Street just before an expected rally erupted.

The 1986 snap elections was the first election that I really remember. (There was one in 1981 but it was unmemorable to me). Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino, Ninoy's widow, was persuaded to run against Marcos.

We had no classes for quite a while, 2 weeks if I remember correctly. Then COMELEC (Commission on Electrions) announced that Marcos-Tolentino tandem won over the Aquino-Laurel combination. NAMFREL (National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections) says otherwise.

People, unbelieving of the official election, marched to EDSA to protest. And the rest is history. Cory Aquino became the first woman president of the Philippines. She was to go through 7 coup attempts. I cannot say that she was the most competent president, but she certainly was the most sincere of them all.

I realize that a big group of teeners and young adults didn't live through EDSA I, when there were no cellphones (thus no text brigades), no liberty of press (thus official newspapers were biased towards those in power), and government controlled most radio and TV outputs. It was so different from EDSA II.

Thinking Of Getting Away From It All

Hubby and I are really feeling stressed for a while. We haven't had a vacation for what seems like ages. It's all about work, taking care of the kids. The last we REALLY had a vacation was our honeymoon, and it was only a 3 day 2 night break since we had to be back soon -- for work!

The next time we had an out-of-town trip, it was to Tagaytay for a convention. That was 3 years ago already! We brought along our then 8 month old son and we had a nice time, even if it was not much of a vacation, more of a convention. This year's midyear convention was in Cebu and we were thinking of going there, but then when I got pregnant, we decided not to because I would have been 8 months pregnant by then.

We hope that we could get away, even just to a nearby destination like Baguio, for a family vacation. If funds permit, a trip out of the country, preferably in one of Karisma’s five signature resorts, particularly the Azul Blue, which promises a family friendly and the world's first "stress free" hotel, with lots of pampering included. That I got to try for myself. Or maybe the Azul Beach Hotel which is family-friendly with conveniences for babies and kids, even kid-sized bathrobes! Or should we leave the kids and embark on a romantic "second honeymoon" at the El Dorado Royale Resort?

What do you think? Me, as long as it's a break from the usual humdrum of work! We need a recharge!

Big School, Here We Come....

Now that E's almost four years old, we're starting to apply to the so called "big schools". We want our kids (yes, even Baby R) to have an education that also teaches Chinese since it's part of our heritage. So far our top two choices are Saint Jude Catholic School and Xavier School. They both have their pros and cons, so we're applying to both. We'll see where he gets accepted and we'll go on from there. I'm one nervous mom, though, because I don't know if E will pass the exam and interview and where we'll enroll him if he does not.

This early though, I am a bit concerned if I will be able to be able to tutor him in his subjects. I am proud to say that I was (and still am) a good student, but I am not sure if I will be good in teaching my kid. For example, I know that I am good in math subjects, but I was not able to offer my classmates any math help when I was in school. I understood it but I was not able to transfer what I knew to others. Not only that, we all know that math is all about concepts. I understood Geometry and Trigonometry when it was taught to me in High School but I don't think I can handle that now. I think I would need online math help myself, especially for those advanced math subjects. Don't even get me started on Calculus, which I never took. I know I'm getting ahead of myself here, I mean, it's gonna be a while before E would take any of those advanced subjects, but I couldn't help being grateful that there's actually online math tutoring nowadays.

Now, history is another matter entirely. I think I'm pretty good at it, even at teaching it. My classmates used to ask me for help on this subject. I'm sure I'd be able to handle this subject well enough to help my kid with it.

In About 20 Years Or So...

I'll be retiring!

Traditionally, parents work, then use up all their earnings for their family's needs, including those of their parents. They then expect that their children will be the ones taking care of them when they themselves get old.

That is no longer the case. We should realize that our children will have a lot of their own problems when they are already working, and while we would appreciate some "gratitude" from them in our twilight years, they will already have other priorities like the ever rising costs of the needs of their families. That's why it's now important that we save up for our own retirement, rather than "expect" our kids to take care of us when the time comes.

While we are still quite far from retirement age, we do need to save up and invest for retirement. While our children's needs and education may be our top priority right now, I think we should also give it a lot of importance. There's always the SSS where you can get your pension when you're at least 60 years old, but the amount probably would not be enough by that time. I wish that the local SSS pension would be something like that of the IRA (individual retirement account) or the 401k that they have in the USA. It's also recently that I learned that you can actually have a gold 401k or gold ira.

Knowing how to put gold in an IRA or 401k is good because as we all know, cash depreciates. In twenty years, your money wouldn't buy you the same thing that they do now. It's well and good that you can put it in gold instead, because there's a better chance that you'd have a bigger cashout value when the time comes.

An Interesting Hobby (Maybe More Than A Hobby?)

I have a cousin, who used to make pottery items during the time when she was single. I thought she had a talent for it. However, she was not able to continue with it because she didn't have her own ceramic pottery kilns and had to go somewhere (I don't know where) to make her pottery and then "bake" them. It's a pity because she had talent and was not able to fully utilize it because of lack of equipment.

It was maybe 20 years ago. I realize that like many other things in this day and age, the art of pottery making has evolved and there are now a lot of improvements and modernizations. AMACO/Brent has come out with a lot of art clay kilns which are low fire and lead free. They also have wheels and other equipment, clay and other supplies. But they are especially proud of the kilns that they have been making since 1931, of which there are two types, the amaco kilns (square/rectangular) and Excel kilns (round).

Hmmm, interesting hobby (and maybe something you can earn from), indeed! Hey, cousin, wanna revive that hobby of yours? :)

Not Much Progress Yet...

I mentioned in my previous post that I am working on a website project. I've got the hosting, I've got the domain name and I pretty much have the idea of what I want. It will initially be done on the wordpress platform, since I am doing it myself and need something I can easily understand since I am no computer programmer. I am aware though that I may eventually need the services of Denver Search Engine Optimization if I want our website to be easily searchable through Google and other search engines and to have a higher ranking.

Because I am currently busy with being (temporarily) a stay-at-home breastfeeding mom (since I'm on self imposed maternity leave) and my boy is currently sick :(, my website is coming along VERY slowly. Oh well, as long as it's progressing, I'm happy. There are things in life that just have to come first, and my family is definitely it.

RIP, Tita Cory

Today, Former President Corazon "Cory" C. Aquino is laid to rest beside her husband, Former Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino.

There was a big crowd during the funeral march, paying their last respects to the woman who never wanted to be president but rose to the challenge when she was needed.

Rest in peace, Tita Cory.

Portable Business

I'm currently working a new website -- what I hope will be a good online business for my family. You see, although my husband and I are both physicians, we believe that we should spend a lot of time with our kids, hence we're not really spending ALL our time in our practice. The problem with a medical practice is that no presence = no patients = no income. Hence, we really need an alternative source of income, one that we can operate from home or from wherever we are.

The in-thing right now is having a business online. This is a good thing because with the internet, you can actually work from home. Or even between patients. Or even on vacation. It's practically "portable"! That is, if you have a good website and a good internet service provider so you can provide the online services and support that are needed for your business. You also have to determine what sort of web hosting would be best suited for your needs (is it joomla web hosting, or UNIX?) How familiar are you with web hosting terms?

Since I'm not getting a computer programmer and I'm no computer expert, I'm going with Wordpress because that's what I know best. I'll let you know when our pet project is out. (Keeping fingers crossed!)

Cars

I have cousins and cousins-in-law in the car business, but I do not know if they are successful. I think some of them are, but some just can't cut it. Some of them are in Toyota Motors and some are in Honda Motors, both good quality cars with good track records. What made the difference between success and failure?

I wonder if the more successful ones had better tactics. Or they made use of outside help for their Automotive Marketing. I would think that would make a big difference, of course.

Now who of them would I pick if I were to purchase a new car? I guess in the end, it's the one who can better present their wares to me, give me better terms, outline better the advantages of the vehicle that they are selling. Even small things like better car mats, tinting, radios and alarms would tip the scales just a little bit.

One things for sure in marketing to me. Cold calling or texting me with offers won't really help if I don't need or want it. These tactics would just annoy me, since I could be in the middle of something important and your call or text just distracted or disturbed me.

For Football Fans

While most Filipinos are mainly basketball and boxing fans, I'm sure there are football fans out there who may be having a hard time looking for their favorite games. I guess they try to get their football and NFL (National Football League) fix from cable TV whenever they can. The problem is that it may be difficult to watch all the games that you want, because of their schedule.

DirectTV has something for you, football fan! It's the nfl sunday ticket! You can watch up to fourteen NFL games every Sunday, or a total of up to two hundred games per season. You just have to get hold of the nfl sunday ticket schedule so you know when your favorite teams will be playing. I'm sure the nfl sunday ticket price is worth it if you really, really would like to watch the exciting games and to be up-to-date with what's happening in the NFL.

Online Investment

As I've repeatedly stated before, we really need to save up and to invest. Although our income at present is more or less enough for our day to day needs, we have to admit that we need to think far ahead, to the time when we can't work. We can't depend on our kids because they will have problems of their own.

That's why it's really imperative that we have investments. The problem is that most investments need a big amount of cash, which we do not have right now.

What's interesting right now is the presence of small investments that are easily disposed like gold and silver coins from reputable coin dealers like Monaco Rare Coin, which is part of the Monex Group of Companies, a trusted leader of precious metal investments for almost forty years now. And the bonus for busy people like me? You can actually transact online! How convenient!

Online Sideline

Mommies (and daddies too) often have a hard time achieving the so-called balance of career and family. Working moms get to earn money, but they experience less time with their family. Stay-at-home moms, however, get to stay full time with their brood and answer to their needs, but they do no earn any money since traditional jobs dictate that work should be done outside the home.

Now that there is the internet, though, more and more mommies like me are discovering how to make money blogging.

Blogging for money is nothing new. There are actually lots of ways and avenues in doing it, whether through pay per click ads, the most famous of which is Google adsense, through private advertising either through paid blog articles, banners and similar avenues, or submitting your site to a high traffic site for revenue sharing.

You can actually earn during your spare time, meaning you can do your work in between your chores or when your full time job is done. Just perfect for family men and women who have families.

I Need Shoes!

I need a new pair of shoes. Seriously. The last dressy pair (the one I use almost everywhere) gave out just before I gave birth. Now, I'm surviving on a pair of rubber clogs, just because I'm on maternity leave and not going anywhere for a while.

Unlike most women who buy shoes on a whim, I actually buy shoes only when I need them. I'd like to maximize their use so I'd look for a comfortable style that I can bring to the office, wear with either jeans or something a little dressier. Something versatile. In fact, when I bought my wedding shoes, I actually bought a pair that I could use for later parties and events! So when I say I need shoes, I really do!

That's why it takes a long time for me to find the "IT" shoes each time. Not to mention that IT has to fit my budget aside from the criteria above. It's good that you can actually do comparison shopping for shoes online. And not only shoes but also socks and stockings that should go with the shoes. That's certainly a godsend for someone like me!

Our Messy Bedroom

Our bedroom is really a mess right now!

Well, what do I expect, there's now four of us in the room which used to be just mine when I was still single. Four includes our pre-schooler who's perpetually tinkering with his toys and a small baby who has more stuff than we do. Sigh. It should've been okay but I get comments from visitors about our room being a mess and I can't argue because it is. Double sigh. This too shall pass.

Perhaps when the kids are older and we have our own place, we'll be able to get our own master bedroom with a contemporary bedroom set where we can sleep the day's cares away.

For now, we're simply enjoying our kids...mess and all!

Need To Earn More

We brought my kids for a check up yesterday afternoon. When we got out of our doctor's clinic, we found that our friend and fellow ophthalmologist Dr. JCN was holding clinic in the room just right across our doctors'! We just had to say hi!

Since we have not seen each other for months, we talked about a lot of things. One of the topics that cropped up was the fact that there seems to be less patients nowadays. Of course, we know from previous history that even health care has seasons. Like it's low season near Christmas and near school opening, and high season during January - February. It's just exceptionally low right now, because of a combination of factors -- school opening, economic downturn (people having less money for healthcare), swine flu (people not wanting to go out of their homes unless really needed), etc. Although we've always thought that health care is a priority, sometimes people just hold off spending on health care because of other concerns.

Which brings us to our concern, with the economic downturn and the lessening of patients, we get to earn less. And with prices of necessities going higher, school tuition fees rising (I have 1 kid in toddler school) and overhead expenses in having a clinic, we doctors have to have an alternative source of income and investments in order to have a fallback in times when our income is low. It also pays to put in any extra cash we come by into our mutual fund account while the value is low and to look for a few ways to earn on the side so that we'll have a comfortable nest egg for emergency and retirement purposes.

How Do You Receive Your Mail?

Mailboxes are not really not "in" here in the Philippines. The kartero or mailman usually prefers to hand it over to someone he happens to see in the house. This is a good way to make sure the mail gets received, I guess, but during working hours, you cannot always count on anyone being around.

If it happens that he does not see anyone, he would rather just insert it between the grilles of the gate even if there are there's a mailbox or a slot for letters and bills. The problem with this is that sometimes the mail gets blown away by the wind, gets wet when it rains, or simply stays there for days/months/weeks exposed to the elements if the occupants of the house happen to be away for a period of time.

In spite of the penchant of Philippine mailmen for ignoring the mailboxes, I still like the look of those. They are both functional and decorative, and I still hope that someday, the mailmen would realize that it's better to use mailboxes to keep the mail in good shape and to ensure that the occupants would not lose their mail.

Planting Ideas

I have to admit that I do not have a green thumb. I do appreciate having plants and flowers around but they have to be low maintenance or else they won't last long since I do not have the talent to take care of them.

So maybe a full garden setup is not really for me. I wonder if the Indoor Planters would be a good idea for our future home? Having a bit of nature indoors would make the area even brighter than it is. But for me, as I've mentioned, it has to be low maintenance plants.

Maybe we can set up some Decorative Planters so that they can double as decorations even if the plants, unfortunately died in my care :P. A Window Box Planter may also be a good idea -- my uncle had one since they didn't have space for a garden and it looked great. That might work for us too!

Thinking About Satellite TV

For the past few days, our cable TV reception has been very bad, so bad that my brother has been complaining about not being able to watch some shows. I wonder if Direct TV would be better for us and if it is available in our area. I've heard of good reviews about Direct TV receivers too so I'm thinking this may make my brother happy. Of course, it depends on whether our household budget can handle an additional expense, but then, this is supposed to come out as more value for money. And, there are several packages to choose from so there certainly should be one which should meet our needs and our pockets. Now all we have to do is pick the right one for us.

I'm Yours

My son E loves this song! His a-ku (Uncle) Jack, my brother was singing and playing the guitar one day and the kid just loved it! He now refers to it as A-ku's song. :)


Lyrics | Jason Mraz lyrics - I'm Yours lyrics

Do You Care?



Frankly speaking, I don't even know about some of the things that's happening right now. When I saw the news about Michael Jackson's death I thought I was delayed in getting the news.

It may be because right now, I have my hands full and my priorities at the moment are my kids.

Indian Clothes, Music and Dance

The internet has certainly made shopping much easier. I remember when we celebrated United Nations Day in elementary (or was it high school?) and our class was assigned India. A few girls from our class presented a dance number . We're actually not sure if the dance and the music were authentic, since we don't know any Indian who we can consult for advise, but to our untrained eyes, it sure looked nice. So did the costumes, even if they just improvised.

Of course, it would have been easier nowadays to just order Online Kids Wear from India. If my son were to need a costume like that, I'll be sure to look up the internet first. I'm sure I'll be able to look up authentic Indian music and an authentic Indian dance number if I search the internet for it.

Dream House

Since we don't have our own house yet, we've been dreaming about it and designing it in our heads. The advantage of not having a house yet is that it affords you the luxury of dreaming up what you want and don't want, especially if you're gonna have it built rather than buy it ready made already.

We are thinking of at least a 3 bedroom house, with en suite baths, a lanai and a small garden, a big carport, lots of natural light and air circulation via well placed windows and extra rooms for our own personal hobbies.

It's gonna cost a lot of money, but, hey, dreaming is free so we'll enjoy dreaming for the meantime. Anyway, whatever kind of house we get, whether or not we get the house of our dreams, we have to protect what will be our biggest family asset with home insurance. So far, I like what Houston Home Insurance offers, as aside from the house itself, it covers for the possessions inside the house and protection of your house against lawsuits.

Well, we certainly hope that we'll soon get and move into our dream house. Maybe, I'll win in the lotto or something? :P

It's Going To Be A Challenge...

A 3 week old and a 3 year old.
Me recovering from a Cesarean operation.
No yaya (nanny).

For 2 weeks.

Will we adjust? Well, I've been rather spoiled actually, being in the Philippines and all, so I haven't really tried that out. But others have been doing it.

And it's not as if I totally don't get any help. There's hubby who can bring our 3 year old to toddler school (about 5 mins. drive away -- or even less). There's my mom, who can -- and wants -- to cook traditional Chinese ge-lai food for me. There's my mother's laundress, who has volunteered to take over washing my kids' clothes and my mother's all around girl, who I can call in when I need some assistance.

And, of course, there's me, who is able bodied and can do mommy tasks. I've been taking care of my baby 99% of the time anyway.

Just need to get my bearings. Just need to simplify our life. Just need to know how to manage our free time. But we'll make it.

Car Search

We need (and want!) a new car! Both me and my husband need a car to go to work, bring E to school and run errands. The number coding system here in Manila also makes it more difficult for us not to have a second, or even third car because once a week, the car is virtually useless unless we leave very early and come home very late. The "grace period" does not apply to us since we live in San Juan City during the work week -- they do not honor this grace period.

Looking at different car models and deciding on which one is the best for us is half the fun. It also allows us to give our imaginations as to what to get free rein, whether or not we can really afford it.

For example, a mercedes benz would definitely be something to drool over. Beautiful, classic, timeless and durable. However, it's way out of our (financial reach). Maybe a nissan altima? Still looks beautiful, and most probably more affordable than the mercedes. But I wonder if it is fuel efficient? And would it be the right size for our growing family? A dodge 1500, but it seems that the cabin space is not very large, probably just the same as a sedan. So there's really no advantage for us since we do not need a truck bed. Well, for our budget, we may have to settle for a kia, which has gained considerable reputation as regards its reliability despite its lower cost. We'd probably have to check out the bigger models in order to fit our at least 6 people -- COMFORTABLY.

I'd like to check out more vehicles, and it's good that we can now check them out online (before actually going to the dealership and checking out the real thing) and doing a side-by-side comparison. After all, we do need to make sure that the (huge) money we plunk down to buy our vehicle would be worth it and something which really fits our needs.

Myrtle Beach

The last I've been to the United States was more than 10 years ago already! I didn't realize that it's been such a long time. The next time I go there, I will have to bring my whole family and visit a place like myrtle beach. It's out of the usual path for the usual Pinoy but it offers a lot of things -- golf (what it's most famous for), nightclubs, aquariums, NASCAR-themed go-karts, amusement parks -- for the whole family to enjoy.

My New Daughter!

Here's the big announcement!

We have a new daughter, R! All of us are very happy, the hubby, the new kuya, and of course, the mommy. She arrived the day before my birthday, a squalling, female look alike of her kuya, but with more hair :D. She weighed in at 6 pounds and 13 ounces, more than a pound lighter than her brother when HE was born.

I got admitted the day before my scheduled CS, had the non-stress test. Initially, I wanted to go home to check on my little boy, but it turned out that going out-on-pass is more trouble than it's worth.

Since I was scheduled at 9am the next day, I started on NPO (nothing by mouth) starting midnight. I took a bath at 5am and waited for the nursing aide to shave me. I was wheeled into the labor room (even if I was not in labor) and waited for my doctors (the OB, anesthesiologist and the pedia). They brought me to the operating room, where I was put on spinal anesthesia. I was adamant that I wanted to be awake throughout the entire procedure. I do not want to be knocked out the whole time that my baby was coming out. I wanted to witness her coming out! Especially since they didn't allow my husband to be present with me (hospital policies!).

My daughter came out at exactly 10:03 am, with a large wail and APGARs of 9 and 9. She had a full head of hair, unlike her kuya. Otherwise, they both looked similar when fresh out of the oven :P. My pedia and I wanted the breast crawl, but since space was limited (the drape was up to the top of my breasts and the operating table was narrow), we settled for latching on at the recovery room.

My daughter was then brought out to be shown to her daddy and lola, then brought into the nursery to be cleaned thoroughly. They brought her to me for latching when I was at the recovery room.

As for me, I actually shed tears (of joy) when looking at my daughter. I feel so blessed. :)

It was not easy, what with the pain after the operation, but it was definitely all worth it!

-o-o-o-o-o-

R's birth is pretty straightforward. It was a repeat elective Cesarean section. I was able to choose my daughter's date of birth, so my mom and I chose a date and time that's considered auspicious (in the Chinese calendar). Well, we chose a date within the date range set by my OB, and we thought that, hey, there's nothing to lose if we choose a good date, right? Now it would have been different had it been a normal delivery, or even an emergency Cesarean! I would have just let my daughter choose the date and time when she wants to be born!

The advantage of having a scheduled Cesarean is that you can pretty much schedule everything -- when you go on leave, when you get admitted, when you get operated on, the type of anesthesia (either spinal or epidural) and even when you can go home. Everything's planned and deliberate.

Why did we have a scheduled Cesarean? I already had a previous (emergency) Cesarean with my firstborn (due to early rupture of membranes and failed induction of labor). My OB's also thought that my birth canal was too narrow, hence my babies never engaged and never descended, and I never dilated past 1 cm. So, CS seemed like a better option. Another 2 things we considered: my age (I'm 39, hence I was classified somewhat as high risk since I'm quite an old mama) and the fact that I had an H. mole prior to this pregnancy. So since, we've decided on Cesarean, there was really no point in getting me to labor. Hence, a scheduled CS.

Pictures to follow. Sorry haven't uploaded them yet....

Football!

There are two sports events that Pinoys usually watch out for. Boxing (especially if Manny Pacquiao is one of the fighters) and basketball. The other sports events are not really given much importance. However, real sports lovers also watch the NFL (National Football League). However, since the games are not as readily available as that of the NBA (National Basketball Association) games, fans will have to look for other means to enjoy the sport.

Fortunately, if you have direct TV, you can have direct access to the nfl sunday ticket. That gives you as much as 14 games every Sunday. Sports fans can pick the
nfl sunday ticket schedule that they want.

Is it worth it? Well, if you're a true fan, the
nfl sunday ticket price is much, much lower than going to the actual games to watch them, especially if you still need to get a plane ticket to be able to do so. :)

Are Our Homes Safe?

I don't really know if the crime rate is really rising, or it's just that people are more aware of the threat posed by bad elements in the society. Nevertheless, it's we cannot discount the fact that sometimes we cannot feel safe even in our own homes. Break ins and robberies are becoming more publicized, criminals are becoming more and more audacious! We do need some Home Security Systems in place so that we can protect our family from being victims.

In the seventies when we used to live in our grandparents' compound, we used to have a few break ins from petty thieves. The strategies we used to ensure our Home Security are (1) to hire a security guard and (2) install steel bars on our windows. We realize this didn't work. The security guard we hired oftentimes fell asleep during his duty and steel bars made our home difficult to escape from in case of a fire. We have since moved to a gated community which is actually safer, but we still had 1 case of robbery in our house wherein our airconditioner was taken from one of our side walls. Sigh. We should really research more on what the Best Home Security Surveillance System is for our home.

Dengue On The Rise

With all the recent hullaballoo about swine flu, people seem to overlook the fact that it's now Dengue season here in the Philippines, what with the onset of the rainy season.

Dengue fever has been a perennial problem here. It caused more deaths than swine flu ever did, and in a faster fashion. We already know the cause: it's a vector-borne disease, and it's main carrier is the Anopheles aegyptii day biting mosquito. What's sad is that it's actually preventable. Mosquitoes are pretty predictable, and as long as you get rid of it, there would be less outbreaks since Dengue is not spread without these carriers.

Since we live in a tropical country, I guess we do have to live with the reality that we will always be plagued by mosquitoes. However, there are ways to prevent mosquito bites and subsequent disease (like dengue or malaria). In fact, nature has provided us with some means. We currently use our own natural insect repellant (made of virgin coconut oil and oils of citronella, lemongrass and lavender) which are effective so far in preventing mosquito bites and far safer than DEET containing repellants. A good website for more information regarding mosquitoes is this: http://www.mosquitoinfo.info .

Golfing?

I started leave from work last week, but that's not because I'm going to one of those Myrtle Beach Golf Vacations. I'll be giving birth to a bundle of joy, a little girl this time!

Come to think of it, we haven't gone on a vacation in quite a while. That's the problem with parents having very young children. It's kind of difficult to plan for one if you will still worry about your kids. I've heard of a few of our contemporaries who are golf enthusiasts who really take the time out to enjoy their chosen sport and to socialize with other enthusiasts while they're at it. I think they've sometimes availed of some Golf Packages Myrtle Beach. I've looked at their site and the place looks great! Maybe we could go there someday, if there's a Myrtle Beach Golf Package that's fit for absolute beginners like us. I know our son would enjoy it. He has a toy golf set and he likes hitting the balls. Who knows, that just might be his sport!

She Says....

I wonder what my husband would say....

1. When watching television, custody of the remote controls belongs to:
a. the husband
b. the wife
c. whoever turned on the TV
d. whoever is stronger
e. whoever can find it underneath the cushions

2. Entertaining friends for dinner should be:
a. a catered affair
b. a sit-down meal lovingly prepared in your own kitchen
c. served buffet style
d. pot-luck
e. food brought home in boxes

3. A new car should be selected based on:
a. its purchase price
b. its performance, repair and insurance costs
c. what your business associates are driving
d. its color
e. the arrangement of the cup holders

4. The toilet seat should be:
a. down, with the lid closed
b. down, with the lid up
c. left up
d. left up or down, it doesn’t matter
e. up in his bathroom, down in her bathroom

5. The proper location for dirty clothes is:
a. the clothes hamper
b. the floor near the clothes hamper
c. the floor in the room where the hamper is located
d. on the furniture in the room where the hamper is located
e. near the bed so you can wear them again the next day

6. In the middle of summer, it’s best if:
a. the air conditioning is in full blast, at all times
b. the air conditioner is on, sometimes
c. no air conditioning, the electric fan will do
d. no air conditioning and no fan, a pamaypay will do
e. the windows are left open for the breeze to come in

7. Any home-cooked food is best if:
a. it is eaten immediately after it’s prepared
b. served with candlelight and soft music
c. it’s made the way mom made it
d. it has catsup on it
e. the fire department didn’t have to be called

8. The best way to travel on vacation is:
a. by plane
b. by train
c. by car
d. on foot hiking through the wilderness
e. separately, to different destinations

9. Trips to the mall should be made when:
a. there is a specific item that is needed
b. there is a big sale
c. it’s raining and there’s nothing else to do
d. you can’t find what you need at a tag sale
e. you have a new credit card

10. The volume on the stereo should be set:
a. low enough to allow normal conversation
b. loud enough to fully appreciate the quality of the recording
c. low enough so the neighbors don’t complain
d. loud enough to feel the vibrations
e. just low enough to avoid significant structural damage

11. Laundry should be done:
a. twice a week
b. weekly
c. every other week
d. monthly
e. when you run out of clean underwear

12. My idea of an exotic vacation destination is:
a. Hawaii
b. Thailand
c. Boracay
d. Tagaytay
e. Luneta Baywalk

13. Repainting the living room should be done by:
a. a licensed professional
b. the two of us working in harmony
c. the college kid down the street
d. whoever’s idea it was to repaint the room
e. the time your mother arrives to visit

14. When buying a new TV, it is important to consider:
a. the size of the room in which it’s located
b. what will fit in the entertainment center
c. your budget
d. how many people you’ll be inviting over for football games
e. whether you can fit it through the door

15. Before having children, you should be together for:
a. at least one year
b. at least two years
c. at least five years
d. at least nine months
e. one last quiet, romantic evening

16. Eating in bed is:
a. inappropriate under any circumstances
b. okay if you’re sick and can’t get up
c. acceptable if served on a proper bed tray
d. good to do while watching late night TV
e. an effective way to avoid having sex

17. The best videos to rent are:
a. the newest releases
b. classic films
c. romantic comedies
d. action dramas
e. found in stores with XXXX on the sign

18. When one of you feels he or she should lose weight, the other should:
a. insist that their partner is perfect just the way they are
b. be supportive
c. join in the weight-loss program
d. buy him or her a membership in a health club
e. move out until the diet is over

19. When the female is upset or angry, the male should:
a. be comforting
b. ask what the problem is
c. try to solve the problem
d. tell her to get over it
e. apologize. She’s already decided it’s his fault anyway

20. Household chores should be done by:
a. the wife
b. the husband
c. both of them working together
d. the maid -- if there is one, that's what you pay them for
e. the kids, that’s why you had them

21. When decorating your first home, the furnishings should be:
a. the latest style
b. an eclectic blend of antique and new
c. the best you can afford
d. purchased at tag sales
e. whatever you can swipe from your parents’ homes

22. You should attend a place of worship:
a. weekly
b. monthly
c. on major holidays
d. when your mother’s in town
e. when you find one that serves 1995 Domaine d’Auvenay Criots-Batard-Montrachet for communion

23. Taking out the garbage is the responsibility of:
a. the husband
b. the wife
c. whoever put the last item in
d. whoever is going out anyway
e. the household staff -- again, if there are maids

24. My idea of the ideal birthday party is:
a. a romantic dinner for two
b. cake and coffee with a few friends
c. a small gathering with family members
d. a surprise party with everyone I know
e. a celebration that would rival a Presidential inaugural

25. If we have an argument we should:
a. kiss and make up before we go to bed
b. sit down and discuss it like two rational people
c. go to separate rooms until we cool off
d. contact a marriage counselor
e. make sure all lethal weapons are out of reach



------
My answers to this week's Wifespeaks: Chika Tuesday :)

Making Ends Meet

In these hard times, it's not unusual to hear of people going into debt just to make ends meet. I am so glad that as of the moment, we still have clean credit and do not need any credit repair yet. We have anticipated that we will be spending a large amount of money at this time this year because of two things: (1) I am giving birth and (2) my son will be going to school for the new school year. We've therefore planned ahead and saved up for these two big expenditures by prudently setting aside some money in another account.

I am still quite jittery though. Our savings are enough for the expected expenses but if we find ourselves with unexpected (and big) expenses, we might need to take out a loan. I'm trying to arm myself with credit repair information so that in case the unthinkable happens, we would know what to do.

Had To Change My Blog's Look

I got a free layout (which really looked great, by the way) which I wasn't really in a hurry to change. However, it seemed that the designer's photobucket account exceeded the bandwidth limits. My blog really didn't look nice with all those reminders from photobucket saying that bandwidth was exceeded and that upgrade to pro was advised. Hence I was forced to change the design -- FAST! It may not be my final one, though. Let's see....

Coins As Investments

My dad used to give us gold coins for our birthdays. He reasoned that it was a more practical gift than gadgets or clothes. I agree with him, and I'm happy that he decided to do that for a few years. Precious metals are good investments. They are finite, they are easily kept, their values usually rise over time and they can be easily passed down as inheritance. But it's difficult for people who are not experts to know which coins are genuine and which are not. That's why it's best that we go to a reputable coin dealer so that we're sure we're getting the real thing at the right value.

Fixing The Room

For the past few days, I've been attempting to straighten out the mess in our room. As I expected, it was not easy. What I didn't expect is that I'd feel a little depressed while doing it. It's not easy to dump things, even if they should already be thrown away long ago. Oh well, we really have to let go of stuff. Especially as we need the space for the new baby. It's less than a week away!

Marrying The In-Laws

When I was still lingering in the w@w yahoogroup even if I've already married and should have moved on (what can I say, I still had wedding preps hangover!), I've seen some brides-to-be ranting about their in-laws, whether it was because of their meddling in the preparations or their personalities. The other brides-to-be would usually advise her to do what SHE wants because it's her wedding and it's their son she's marrying, not the family.

The truth of the matter is that no matter what you say about marrying the man and not his family, you can't separate one from the other. You can't separate him from the people who raised him into the person that you love. The same goes for him too. No matter how much you don't like each other's families, you do have to get used to the fact that after you get married, your family becomes his family and his family also becomes yours.

The problem regarding in-laws is that since they're basically a different family from the family of your origin, you get used to different values and different ways of doing things, hence the big adjustment. Think about this, getting married is already one big adjustment, what more if there are other extraneous factors and people to consider? But that's something you have to put into consideration already from the beginning.

Now, it's probably easier for me because my in-laws are decent people who respect my ideas even if I am not exactly an ideal daughter-in-law. They respect my opinions as much as I respect theirs. I guess, in the end, mutual respect, compromise and love are what you need in order to maintain a smooth relationship with each other.

Oh, and my husband and I already discussed this before we got married. When it comes to sticky situations regarding MY family, I will be the one to represent us. When it comes to HIS family, he will be the one to speak for both of us. That's because we know each other's family better and would know how best to deal with them. This should make for a more harmonious relationship and less friction between us and our families.
------------------
This is my contribution to Wifespeaks: Speak Friday.

Higher Education

School opening here in the Philippines is right about this time...some schools have opted to delay school opening because of the swine flu scare.

But more the current health scare, there are many problems facing the educational system. More and more parents are finding it hard to make ends meet and to put their kids to private schools and private universities for their education because of the current economic situation. I have to admit that it's difficult for us to come up with the amount required for my son's tuition, especially since I'm also giving birth. And to think that's just pre school!

An option to consider is to get an online degree. This would require a lot of discipline on the part of the student, though. But it's an option for those people who need a flexible time schedule or cannot go to the brick and mortar school.

Too Much Cola Can Cause Muscle Problems

My husband's is a Coke addict. The drink (Coca cola), and not cocaine, in case you're getting the wrong idea. I think that he should be consuming less softdrinks as they are really not good for the body. While I don't believe the forwarded emails regarding the purported evils of softdrinks, specifically Coca Cola, I do realize that there is no nutritional value in such drinks. But like any addict, he finds it hard to quit.

I came across this article though, and I told him that his recent complaints of muscle pains may be related to the amount of Coke he imbibes. I'm glad to note that his consumption seems to be decreasing, although I really hope that it would cease entirely.

Wedding Q and A's

1. Your top 'Moment' during the preparation (for both married and unmarried members)

  • Getting my gown and accessories -- "This is it! I'm getting married!"
2. Your top 'Moment' during the Wedding Day (for married ones lang)
  • My walk. It was short, sweet but meaningful. I met my mother and uncle (who took the place of my father, who had already passed away) a few steps from the entrance, kissed my mom and walked with them until we reached my groom.
3. Nicest thing done to you (wedding preps/wedding related; by anybody either your supplier, entourage, friends, family, fiance or even W@W sis/brod, basta an 'aaawwww' moment)

It's plural -- nicest THINGS done to me...
  • my surprise wedding shower at a spa -- organized by w@wies who came to be my friends
  • a whole box of wines given by my uncle during the wedding. Because of budget constraints, we decided not to serve wine. I actually asked the waiter who poured red wine where it came from and how much it cost (!) then he told me that someone gave a whole box as a gift and pointed out my Uncle Sev.
  • the support of my extended family. You know how much that meant to me :)
  • people actually making it to the wedding rites and the reception despite the heavy rains and the awful traffic. The chapel was full! I felt so loved. :)
  • The sermon by our priest (the best I've heard in a wedding!) and the speech by the Head Abbess in my mom's temple (she's Buddhist)
4. Married life is... (for married members, this will help the brides as they will know what to expect) not limited to one reply
  • all about compromise.
  • not all romance.
  • needs constant communication
5. Things that went wrong in my wedding (for married members) doesn't have to be just one answer
  • It rained. Heavily.
  • Traffic was VERY bad.
  • The sound system.
  • The cake was not served.
Thankfully, the last 2 were not really noticed by the guests. The first 2 naman, well, we had no control over that!

6. Things I splurged and will splurge on. Max of 3 answers lang pls. (we will tally thing kasi and get the Top answers)
  • The food!!!
  • The photos and video.
7. Your bridal march song (indicate both what you will actually use and what you wish to use if ever it is different from what you will use)
  • The Wedding March from "The Midsummer Night's Dream" -- I know it's no longer uso (in fashion) but I've always felt emotional with this song and felt that this was THE song for weddings.
8. Your first dance song
  • Inseparable by Natalie Cole
Side story: Should have been "The Nearness of You". But for some reason, the sound system people didn't tell me that they don't have it (they burned the CDs used in the reception. Lesson learned: prepare your own CD of songs to be played.

9. Possible DIY's for your wedding (pls indicate which are the ones you did or will do)
  • Missalette - my w@w sisters & I actually did this :)
10. What you think are the wrong reason to marry. Name as many we will filter pa naman eh.
  • Too "old" to wait
  • Baby on the way
  • To satisfy other people
11. I learned that a wedding....
  • ...and its preparation is actually a practice for married life. You get to learn to budget, to compromise with your fiance, to prioritize things...
12. Advice to a bride planning her wedding (my most important tip)
  • On the day itself, just relax and let go...there's really nothing else you can do. Just enjoy your big day.
13. I wish... (on wedding, wedding preps etc etc whatever)
  • ...that my Dad were around and that he and my mom rode with me in the bridal car and walked with me towards my groom...

Too Excited To Be A Doctor!

I bought an ophthalmoscope-otoscope set very early on in my medical career -- in fact, when I was still in medical school. Even bought it brand new, at full price. I probably bought it at about the same time I bought my first stetoscope and an aneroid blood pressure monitor. I was very excited about learning how to use them. You see, being a doctor was my lifelong dream, and buying acquiring these equipment make me feel more like one!

Later though, when I underwent training to become an ophthalmologist, I had to buy another ophthalmoscope set, one which is rechargeable and comes with a retinoscope which I needed in order to do objective refraction, unlike my older set which was purely battery operated. I no longer have use for an otoscope, except maybe for looking into my son's ear when I suspect him of having an ear infection. Looking back, I could have probably just bought a second hand one for my first set, and sold it later on, and bought my brand new ophthalmoscope-retinoscope set when I was already set to be an ophthalmologist. But, my friends who are now in pediatrics, and of course, otorhinolaryngology use their otoscopes regularly and very rarely use their ophthalmoscopes.

The lesson here for medical students and doctors in training: Don't buy everything yet. Borrow first if you haven't decided on which course to take before wasting your parents' money.

Had Another Haircut!

I had long hair after I gave birth to my firstborn. It was often unruly since I didn't realize then that caring for a newborn was so "fulltime" that it hardly left me with any time for myself! And the fact that my mother was watching over me like a hawk means that I couldn't get away with shampooing my hair during the first month after giving birth!

This time, I planned on having a haircut. I wanted a hairstyle that would still look good even if I just woke up, and would need zero maintenance! So I went all the way and had it cut short! (Sorry don't have pictures yet).

My only problem is that my husband prefers me with longer hair. Next time na lang dear...hair will grow back naman. :)

To Do: An Update!

This is an update to my earlier post on what I have to prepare for the big day! In one week's time, our baby girl is gonna make her appearance! So exciting!

Things to look for and clean:

  • newborn clothes -- tiesides and frogsuits - ok
  • stroller - ok
  • crib - ok
  • receiving blankets -ok
  • socks - ok
  • mittens - ok
  • feeding bottles - ok
  • breast pump - ok
  • sterilizer - ok
  • nursing clothes - ok.....
  • breastfeeding pillow - ok
  • extra baby book - can't find it yet
  • gauze lampins - ok
  • bath tub - ok
  • Launder / clean all clothes and baby stuff!!!

Things to do:
  • organize Philhealth papers - ok
  • check benefits with SSS - ok
  • inform patients about my leave - ok
  • look for another yaya for new baby -- still looking
  • decide on maternity leave length -- more or less
  • decide on date for Cesarean - ok
  • look for Pedia to catch the baby (my pedia is on leave) - ok
  • put away Ethan's old clothes - ok
  • organize room - not finished yet!!!

Things to buy:
  • newborn diapers - ok
  • baby toiletries -- baby wash (ok) , baby oil (still have some), petroleum jelly (still have some)
  • BPA free feeding bottles - bought a few already
  • another mattress? - deferred
  • girl clothes for going out - bought a few already

Great Looking, Inexpensive Jewelry

Even the most unfashionable lady likes to dress up once in a while. While my tastes run to the simple, I do like a few flashy pieces of clothes and jewelry to wear once in while when the mood strikes. However, while real jewelry are good investments, they are expensive so we can't really have too many pieces, given our limited budget. It's certainly a good idea to have a few pieces of classic, "real" jewelry made of diamonds and other precious stones set in gold or precious metals of your choice, and a few sets of discount jewelry which you can use for dressy affairs, without going over your budget or worrying that your thieves may want to steal your jewels.

Check out these jewels and these prices! Looks great, don't they? Without the expensive price tags!

Meaning of Dreams

I just had a really weird dream last night. I'm not really comfortable sharing it yet, I'm pretty scared about it. But it's still so vivid that I wonder if there's any hidden message or meaning to it. Some people say that dreams actually have meanings. Or maybe it may be a portent of things to come. I've found this interesting site on the net which may give us some insights into the dreams that we have.

7 Cheesecake Recipes

My family is not really fond of cakes. We buy the requisite birthday cake for everytime somebody has a birthday so that my kid can experience the whole simple, basic celebration of singing the birthday song and blowing out the candle/s after making a wish. I am also not a domesticated person, household chores are things that have to be done, but I do not necessarily have to like doing them. But I do cook. I don't bake though, because my family appreciates ulam better than cakes. But we do love cheesecakes. I've found some great recipes for cheesecakes which I might try if I get the urge to. In case you're interested, click on this link.

Water Problem

A few days ago, something weird happened to our running water system. The water from the faucet suddenly became much, much slower. Initially, we thought that was due to low water pressure in the area. But our water meter was spinning like crazy! All of these seem to point to a leak -- a large leak at that. We're inadvertently throwing out water! What a waste of resources and money! Unfortunately for us, the plumbing plans were never turned over to us when my parents bought the house. Worse, the pipes seem to be buried, so it would be a difficult thing to look for the problem area.

We've decided that it might be best to just bite the bullet and have the whole plumbing system overhauled, probably cutting off the original water pipes from the main and installing a new set of pipes that would be more visible externally, so that we can see future leaks and can easily repair them. We need an expert, somebody with the skills and expertise (and the affordability) of a good plumber like the Raleigh Plumber so that we will be able to lick this problem once and for all. Do wish us luck!

Safe And Secure Home

We are currently living with my folks right now. While it may not be the most ideal setup, it works for us at the moment. We do dream of someday moving into our own dream house, when we've saved enough. We don't really need a large house, just one big enough for our family, hopefully not too far from our kids' school and our work.

What is non-negotiable for us is the security of our home. That's the reason why we're considering getting ADT home security. ADT is America's leading home security company, so we're trying to see if they have services here. We want an environment wherein we can feel safe leaving our children in the house. That's partly why where still living with my folks. While I have a nanny, I really do not feel safe leaving my kid without someone I trust fully, like my mom. There are so many crimes lately, from burglary, break-ins, kidnapping, that I fear for my family.

If we could afford it, I'd prefer that we live in a gated community with 24 hour security. Even then, it's not a guarantee that break-ins won't occur. Whether or not I get my dream of living in a safe, secure gated village, I'd still put in additional security measures like the ADT home security system that I mentioned earlier. I'd feel safer that way.

Car Shop?

I guess boys will be boys. You know the stereotype of toy cars for boys and Barbie dolls for girls. My husband is into cars. His dream business is a car shop where he can get to fix and enhance cars. He's a fan of sports cars like the Ferrari (he has the whole collection of toy cars from Shell), Lamborghini and the rest, although he knows that such cars are impractical choices here in the Philippines. I do not know if there is a market here in the Philippines for a shop that caters to luxury and sport cars, something like the pontiac supercharger where hard-to-find parts and auto supplies can be available and searchable online. Maybe we do need to do research. If it's feasible and we have the resources to open up such a business, why not? It would be a great business, and he'd be doing something he loves.