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: .


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 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.

More On Hair!

I'm happy with my short 'do. I've been long haired for the longest time so cutting it off was a drastic change for me. So far, it has made me look much younger. Not only that, it is much easier to style. In fact, I will have another trip to the salon next week to trim it since my bangs are growing long. I'm giving birth in less than 2 weeks so I need my hair to be even more fuss-free, especially since I'll be undergoing the dreaded ge-lai.

2 Weeks To Go!

Only 2 more weeks to go, and our little girl is finally going to make her much awaited appearance! I'm now gradually letting go of my clinics -- what I call a "partial leave". On the week of my scheduled CS, I won't be holding clinic at all.

We're cramming though. Am trying to organize our room, throwing away stuff and making room for another member of the family. We even bought a caha de oro (a plastic cabinet brand) so that we can have more space for the children's clothes. Our bags are not packed yet! Well, we still have time, so I'll do it a bit at a time.

The good thing about a second baby and an scheduled Cesarean is that we're not as pressured as our first. I've dugged up my firstborn's old clothes and we're gradually laundering them. Since it's been raining the past few days, we can't dry them under the sun, though. Oh well.

It's a pretty exciting time for us. I hope E will not have too much sibling rivalry and will cherish his baby sister.

TV Time

My husband and I have different preferences on our me times at home. I prefer to read books, while he's more into watching TV and movies on DVD. The advantage of his preference is that we get to watch together, which also counts for our couple time since any parent knows how difficult it is to get away from the demands of both family and work.

I wonder if he would find subscribing to Direct T V practical? Right now, we have cable TV. The signal is sometimes choppy and there are some channels which, for some reason, we cannot access even if we're supposed to. I really do not know why. Also, he spends a lot of time (and money) searching for movies in the DVD stores. Well, he does love collecting movies, so I really cannot begrudge him that. Of course, like all movie fans, he craves for high definition, which promises to deliver. Another thing that looks interesting is the DirectTV DVR, which records up to 100 hours of your favorite shows, and may even record 2 shows at the same time, without using tapes or CDs. Wow, that's certainly something! We hardly get to watch the shows at their show schedules because of our little kid, but we can probably record some shows and watch them when our kid is asleep.

Low Risk Investment

The world of investing is such a complicated one, especially for an investment neophyte like me. I do realize, however, that investment takes risks: You could earn big...or you could also lose it all, especially if you engage in the high-risk-high-return investments. It's a little bit like gambling. If you can't afford to lose much, you can just stick to low-return yet low risk investments like certificates of deposit. Shop around for the Best CD Rates so you can get more for your money, and hopefully earn more with less of the risk.

Money & Marriage

Ahhh, money. It's something that married couples have to deal with in the entire course of their marriage, and even before. Remember wedding planning? It's just the start of the compromising, budgeting, wanting and having, wanting and not having, letting go of what you can't afford, and saving up for what you really, really want.

It was so much easier when we were single. We earn our own money. We pay for things we need, we buy things we want. We save money in our own accounts. We are accountable only to ourselves.

But all that changes when we get married. By law, everything we own at the time of marriage becomes conjugal. Everything we earn during the course of marriage is shared property. Now we can't spend for something just because of impulse, especially if the purchase would involve a lot of money. We have to think of how that one single splurge will affect the whole family budget.

I am aware that families have different setups, and as such, we all have different ways to handle the family money. There's the pooling of both incomes (if both are working) and just have one in charge of managing the finances. There's the I-pay-for-these-bills/purchases-you pay-for-those setup. There's also the option wherein you both contribute to a common fund and keep the rest for yourself. I'm sure there are other options. It's really dependent on the couple. Whichever works the best for you is the right fit for your family. This frequently takes trial and error, unfortunately.

We already had a joint checking account before we got married where we put in the money that we were going to spend for our wedding, and just kept it going when we got married. This is where we get most of our spending money for bills, tuition fee, hospital expenses, rentals (for clinic space), insurance, car expenses, child care expenses, etc.

At the beginning, when we didn't have any children yet, we did not pool our money and just contributed to the common pot.

However, we realized that it gives rise to some conflicts, especially since we don't really earn that much and that regularly (that's the problem with being self-employed and professionals) and it's difficult to decide on who pays for what if the common pot is just not enough. And, we kinda tend to go overboard with our personal, discretionary purchases. So, we decided to pool our incomes, and just give ourselves a small weekly allowance for our own discretionary purchases or personal savings. The family expenses come from the pooled income. So far, this setup has worked for us. We've kept spending for wants at a minimum (and we have to save for those wants from our allowance, just like students) AND we pretty much know where our income goes since we keep a rough record of what we spend on as a couple. There's a lot of transparency and less of the finger-pointing and quarrels (although I can't really recall any) regarding money. I'd admit, though, that this takes a lot of trust. But then, since technically, a married couple is supposed to be sharing in every material thing, shouldn't trust be a part of marriage, to begin with?

This is my contribution to Wifespeaks: Memoir Monday. Interesting theme this week! Join us!

Team Sports USA

The United States is such a diverse country. The different states I've been to reflect different personality, given its difference in cultures, landscapes, industries, and people. One thing that's common, though, for a lot of Americans, is their love for sports. Unlike here in the Philippines where there is very little interest in spectator sports except for basketball and boxing (especially with Manny Pacquiao's successes), the Americans enjoy watching and cheering their home team in a lot of different team sports. The most popular appear to be baseball, basketball, football and ice hockey, although they are also into other sports. I don't think their present economic crisis changes any of that.

That's why I would like to get Yankee Stadium Tickets when I get the chance to visit New York, Fenway Park Tickets in Boston and Wrigley Field Tickets in Chicago. I'd like to have a feel of the sports spirit that is somehow not here when we watch sports other than basketball here in the Philippines. Of course, these venues do not only feature sports events but also concerts and other shows, so I might just get lucky and get to see my favorite artists live.