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.