Wednesday, 31 July 2013

dinosaur fascination

Our soon-to-be 4 year old is very much fascinated with dinosaurs!

"Roarrrr! Groooowl! Mommy, I'm a dinosaur! I'm a carnivore, I only eat chicken (and maling, too)!"

He's a big dinosaur fan. He knows dinosaur names from A to Z!

He was so happy when we bought a dinosaur egg. He couldn't wait for it to hatch! Akala nya siguro lalaki talaga.

(We bought the egg in blue magic. I've also seen some in National bookstore.)

He was a wee bit disappointed when it did not grow as big as he imagined.

His daddy also bought him 4m Glow in the dark mould and paint dinosaur in toy kingdom.

He kept bugging his daddy to make the dinosaurs until his daddy reluctantly gave in. Ang kulit lang talaga!

He could hardly wait for the mold to set in. Akyat-baba sa hagdan at panay ang tanong kung okay na daw ba.

Umeskapo na ang daddy! So I was left with the daunting task of painting the dinosaur. I managed to paint one before I feigned fatigue and sleepiness.

Spot the difference! Hahaha. I tried my best, promise!

The next morning, he wouldn't go to school until his daddy promised him that they'll paint the rest of the dinosaurs when he gets home. Makulit lang talaga!

The other week, he threw a tantrum while we were hearing mass because I don't know a dinosaur that starts with the little F.

Mommy, what dinosaur starts with letter F? Mommy!

I honestly did not know and he wouldn't stop nagging me. His daddy had to get him out of the church because he was too noisy.

After the mass, he told me (with as much indignation as he could muster), "Mommy, Fabrosaurus starts will little F. You should know that!"

I should really spend some time browsing his Dinosaurs A-Z book, which his daddy bought at a bargain during a book sale.

Our little one is also a budding dinosaur fan. Here he is reading his big brother's book when he was confined in the hospital.


Just the other day, I woke up at dawn and caught him busy thumbing through the same book.
Kaya pala hinde umiyak at nanggising, abala na sa pagbabasa!

We seem to be raising promising bookworms. :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Bucas Grande Island adventure

It's been a while since I saw a view as breathtaking and raw as that of the Blue Lagoon in Bucas Grande Island in Surigao del Norte. Stunning! As in wow talaga! I felt so close to our Creator and the grandeur of His creations.




Forgive the resolution of the pictures. We only used our phone cameras.

Husband and I booked a trip to Club Tara Resort last November 2012 and it proved to be one of our most memorable yet. I got the deal through cashcash pinoy. We stayed for 2 nights.




This post is long overdue but I wanted to write about our unforgettable trip before I forget the details. Hehehe. My memory is becoming so unreliable.

From Surigao airport, the hotel van service picked us up. It took 1 hour and 30 minutes to get to the pier and 30 minutes from the pier to the island. It cost us P6,000 good for 2 persons when we availed of the hotel transfers. Very convenient but a bit expensive compared to haggling with the van and banca drivers.




Felt like we were traveling forever until finally, we caught a glimpse of the island and the tiny cottages perched on stilts.




The cottages have their own terrace overlooking the sea to give each of the guests access to the picturesque view of nature. It was well-worth the travel!




The staff gave us a warm welcome before they gave out the keys to our cottage. There are only 10 cottages, giving the place an exclusive feel. At the time of our visit, there were around 12 guests only. It can get a bit eerie at night because of the silence. You can hear the sound of the wind and the bats.




While in the resort, we availed of the kayaking facilities and took a dip in the pool. We also trekked the mini forest to get to the beach side - white sand!








The water in the resort is so clear and calm.

To make our visit complete, The staff encouraged us to go to the Sohoton Cove National Park and Blue Lagoon. There are many other activities they offer but i'm not really the adventurous type.




The entrance to the Sohoton cave series is accessible only during low tide. The husband went inside the snoring cave. He had to dive and swim to get inside since the entrance was still filled with water. No amount of encouragement from him and from our guides could make me get my *ss off the boat.

I am scared of deep waters! Sissy!

But they were able to convince me to go inside the other cave and try cliff diving.

Sabi nila, tumalon daw dun si Angel Locsin. Akala ko kasi mababa lang kaya go ako. OMG! Di ko na uulitin!

We had to dive into the deep from a cliff about two story high. And I can't swim. The only thing that kept me from going back down the cave is that it was very dark and slippery. Daym! No choice. After about a thousand futile attempts, I finally jumped. That was the scariest thing I have done in my life. Nahulog ang puso ko!




Adrenaline rush! I felt the backlash two days later and ended up spending three days confined in the hospital. Unforgettable!

And the doctor told us to keep the kids in mind before doing anything like that again.

I'm sure I won't do it ever again.

Minus the hospital confinement, the whole experience was wonderful!

We might visit again (with the kids years from now) to check out the millions of jellyfish in Tojoman. They were out of season last November so we only saw a few.




By the way, Bucas Grande Island is one of the emerging tourism spots identified in the Philippine Gems - Rediscovering our country's natural assets launched by PwC (Isla Lipana & Co.).




Philippine Gems is a part of Isla Lipana's corporate social responsibility which aims to showcase the country's beautiful spots to the world.

The project hopes to help promote tourism to further boost the country's growing economy.

You can do your share by voting for your favorite spots out of the Top 25 pre-selected emerging destinations.

Please help spread the word:
www.philippinegems.com
You may also like the Philippine Gems on facebook.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Babytv cake

We're done with TL#2's 1st birthday party. Whew!

TL#1 enjoyed the party so much and was so tired that he slept until 9 am on Sunday. We hope the guests, especially the kids had a great time too.

This morning, I had TL#2's cupcake for breakfast paired with nestle hot chocolate. The chocolate cake was moist, yummy and not too sweet. Nice way to start my day!




Since I did not include backdrops in the budget for the party, the cake and the cupcakes were the centerpiece and the only thing that points out the theme for the party - baby tv characters.




They were beautifully made by Emily Uy- Swing of Sugarbox. There's a lot of cake suppliers online that I did not know who to contact at first. A friend referred Sugarbox.








I contacted Emily through email and she sent me an order form. After I made the payment, she emailed me the cake and cupcake designs. I made a few comments and sent some pictures for her reference since baby tv is not yet as popular as a birthday theme. She also gave me her contact numbers so that I can reach her.








If interested, you may send her an inquiry through asksugarbox@yahoo.com. I contacted her barely two weeks before the party and she and her team delivered.
Sugarbox is very easy to deal with. Ideal for busy moms and party-planning snobs like me.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

time to grow up?

Am I thinking too small?

In a meeting with our bosses and fellow managers, I found myself a bit out of place. My colleagues seem to be talking a foreign language. They were into initiatives, growth, marketing. In my mind, I can only see myself on my desk busy reviewing deliverables, answering queries, making proposals. But to go beyond that, I feel some reluctance and a lot of pain. This grown up has some serious growing up to do! But how? 

Should I spend less time reading my magazine subscriptions (Yes!, Star, OK) and browsing pep.ph? Aside from spending time with my hubby and kids, updating my blog and watching the Voice! Philippines, I do nothing else but sleep and eat. My hands are full as it is. 

And yet there is still some growing up to do? I'm clueless where to start and I'm a bit inflexible because of my age. But am I at least asking the right questions? 

Is it time to grow up? 


Friday, 26 July 2013

UNICEF champion for children

Be a Unicef Champion for Children.

I have become one only recently. I was in Powerbooks Greenbelt, looking for some school supplies for TL#1 when someone approached me.

I am normally wary of salespeople and say no right away. But the UNICEF fundraiser's come on was, I'm sure you do not have kids yet.

And I was (ahem) flattered and said I already have two kids. That was the start and soon he had me convinced to sign up as a champion. Beforehand, I was aware of the program because the husband receives mail from UNICEF regularly.

UNICEF is an agency of the United Nations committed in helping the world's poorest children.




Champions for Children is a community of individuals whose regular monthly contributions help the poorest, most vulnerable children to enjoy the right to education, healthcare and nutrition as well as protection from violence, abuse and exploitation.

I chose to become a champion for healthcare and nutrition. I only made a modest pledge but i'm glad I joined this initiative. I hope I will become a millionaire so that I can give more.

You can help too by giving a one-time donation or by pledging a monthly contribution to be directly charged to your credit card for a minimum period of 2 years.

To be a champion, you only have to accomplish the form, give your credit card details and affix your signature. Just make sure you are dealing with a legitimate fundraiser. The one who recruited me showed a UNICEF ID and he was allowed by the guard to stay inside the bookstore.

All donors who sign up undergo verification calls, where donor information is checked against the forms they signed. This ensures that no fraudulent sign-ups take place.

I received a call a few days after I signed up. The caller verified the information I provided and confirmed my monthly pledge. Shortly thereafter, I also received a text message welcoming me as a champion.




Imagine, your Php 500 / month can help 5 children stay in school with books and basic supplies.

If you're not ready to commit to a monthly pledge, a separate team of fundraisers also accepts one-off cash donations.

With your pledge, YOU are helping change the future of the poorest children in the Philippines.

You can help. Be a champion for children NOW.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, 25 July 2013

boiling point

A week ago, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. It has not gotten any better since. My behavior today before I left home for work was inexcusable. Matinding matandang tantrums!

My patience has run out. I am at my boiling point. I snap at anything and anyone, most of all at my husband and TL#1.

What's frustrating me? Well, among others, TL#2's ever-reliable yaya is leaving and we have not found a replacement, even an unsuitable one.

My denim pants won't fit. Daym! Oh I forgot, I have a client meeting, can't dress down.

I can't find my ID!

TL#1 won't stop whining and he's late for school. Shut up please! I have not even combed my hair yet. Nasaan ba ang mga suklay dito?!?

Hay naku, pudpod na ang sapatos ko!

My husband is still in bed playing Clash of Titans and I am envious. Sabay lang naman kami uuwi!

I did not have a good night's sleep. I kept dreaming about the giveaways. What's up with that! And TL#2 woke me up twice to ask for milk. Have I prepared everything for Saturday's party? Will the cake be delivered on time? Daym! We have not yet updated our guest list. How many kids will be there?
We took the day off yesterday but it felt like we did not spend enough time with TL#2 on his birthday. What were we thinking! Our visit to LTO ate half of the day and TL#1 bangled the other half with his tantrums.

And let's not begin to talk about work!

Lemons, lemons, lemons! I'm not in the mood to make a lemonade. Drop me a bucket of ice cream instead. Please. Give me a break!

I have become what I have vowed not to become - a nagging, hot-headed, ill-tempered, bitter old woman.

Don't dare cross my path at this time.

I don't want to keep attracting bad vibes. Breathe in, breathe out.

I just have to get over this weekend. Have enough sleep. This too shall pass.




- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

renewal of driver's license

Today is TL#2's birthday so hubby and I took the day off.

To maximize the day, we decided to spend the morning eating a frog in the Land Transportation Office (LTO) - me, for the renewal of my expired driver's license which i've been putting off for more than a year now. I do not really drive so there was no point until recently. I will turn 32 in August and there's no harm (really?) to try to muster the courage to drive live with all the other drivers out there. Scary!

We arrived here in LTO - FTI Taguig at 9:15 am. The queue is organized and the officers are helpful. There are also documentation requirements and steps posted in conspicuous places.





Fo renewal, you only need your driver's license and accomplished application form plus medical certificate. There was no need for a drug test due to the recent lifting of such requirement by Senate Bill 45 filed by Sen. Tito Sotto.

The medical examination consisted only of getting your weight, eye examination and blood pressure check. It was all done in less than 10 minutes with cost of P150.




Since we arrived a bit late, it took more than 2 hours before my license was released. Not too bad.

Here are the steps in the Renewal of Driver's license:

1. Proceed to customer service representative (CSR) to take and accomplish Application Driver's License (ADL) Form.

The CSR got my license and ask me to take a sit while they verify it for validity.

2. Proceed to drug test and medical test center (LTO accredited).

This part was easy breezy.

3. Go back to CSR window & submit filled up ADL form and supporting documents including receipts for verification.

Here comes the waiting time. It took around an hour for this.

4. Proceed to window 1 to have your picture and signature taken.

5. When your name is called, proceed to cashier and pay for the fees including penalty for late renewal.

6. When your name is called, proceed to window 4 - releasing counter and claim official receipt and driver's license.

While waiting, be entertained by a foreign gag show running on their TV.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, 22 July 2013

time management?

Pwedeng umiyak? Gutom na yata ako.

My head is aching. Maybe I talked too much in the meeting. Mondays are really manic. As soon as I tick off a to do, another one crops up. Mushroom?!?

I've been toting this book The One-Life Solution by Dr. Henry Cloud for about two months now. I have yet to turn another page since I got stuck on p.66 (of p.239).

The byline promise is - Reclaim your personal life while achieving greater professional success.



Here's the point on the page where I stopped reading:

Your time is your life. Period. How you spend it ends up being what your life is.

To quote further:

No matter what you want to do, wish you had done, plan to do, or fantasize about while you are doing something else, the final reality of your life is how you spent your time.

What can I say? My time management does not seem to be working. Heto na lang -Sana manalo ako sa lotto ngayong gabi. Please please!

And if I do not win tonight, i will continue reading the book tomorrow. Habang may buhay, may pag-asa. Makakain na nga. Gutom lang 'to!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, 20 July 2013

fridate

The hubby and I had a wonderful time clubbing last Friday night! It could just as well be our first time to be in a bar together, drinking and dancing the night away. I'm glad I decided to come with hubby to that fancy birthday party. Really nice way to celebrate. Kudos to the celebrant!

It was not just any bar. We were at 7th High in Bonifacio Global City. Bongga! If interested to host your own private party, manila clubbing has more details.

The food was yummy, the celebrant showcased his talents, playlist by the DJ was great and best of all, drinks were free. Ang saya-saya! There was also surprise entertainment, when some had a few drinks too many. Reminded me of the younger, carefree days when it felt rightful to go out and drink with friends once in a short while.





So two vodka cruiser + 1 tequila shot later, I found myself grinning from ear to ear as hubby and I hit the dance floor.

It was one good night. Married couples should go out, drink and dance like singles or newly-weds at least once a year. Bring on the dark (ahem) vibes!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

blog, blogging, blogged

So I am a frustrated blogger! In my mind, I have already blogged a lot, if only I had more time and energy. Kung kinakaya lang sana ng katawang lupa ko ang gising ng 24 oras.

Finally, after planning to, starting a new blog, abandoning it, starting another, deleting it, I have decided to settle on my new blog - head over heels. And because I wanted this to work, I spent the last two Saturdays obsessing over the design of my blog. Feeling magaling lang sa design.

To come up with my site background, I browsed through my magazine subscriptions for pretty images and edited and edited and edited yet again using paint program until finally I decided to settle on the simpler format that it is now. Naka-15 edits ata ako.

I would like to give photo credits for the images I grabbed from Smart Parenting, Oprah, OK and Star magazines.

It is a work in progress but I hope I learn more of the technicalities as I go on blogging.



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 18 July 2013

novice costume-making

Our Friday started early. At midnight, husband and I were putting on the finishing touches to TL#1's costume for today's school celebration of Nutrition Month. He is going to be a milk. It's the closest thing to a nutritious food that we are capable of making. No sewing involved!

It was the husband's brainchild and he did most of the work. I merely helped put the word MILK. He even put a straw. 😄





The body is made of styrofoam from National Bookstore. Husband lined it with gray masking tape. We printed, cut and taped (double-sided) the nestle brand name and the word milk (which was a bit big but we had to make do). It even has 'nutrition facts' at the back. 😊

TL#1 was so excited to put it on and he wouldn't let mommy go to work. He wanted me to come with him to the Costume Parade. Unfortunately, Mommy's committed to meetings at work. I can't wait to hear his stories on the activity later today.

Happy Friday. See you weekend. Hooray!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

working mom struggle

Mainit ang ulo ko.

I'm trying to figure out exactly why. I do not, by nature, easily get frustrated or mad.

I may be frustrated because apparently, I failed to check that TL#1 needs hairnet, gloves and apron for today's activity. I only prepared the ingredients for the graham cake. Epic fail.

Lesson learned: Check the diary. Do not depend on the discussion with the assistant teacher.

I'll make it up next time.

I may be mad because I anticipate a very busy day at work yet I have to remember to email the cake order form for TL#2's birthday and pay the cake. And yes, I am in charge of the word 'MILK' for TL#1's costume for Nutrition Month celebration tomorrow. I have to do all that today. Ilang oras nga ang Thursday? I'll probably get home by midnight.

I may be mad because the weather is humid and I am stuck in traffic.

I may be mad because it's already Thursday and i'm tired and we still have lots of things to do for TL#2's birthday party. I'm just glad the week is almost over. I can't wait for weekend.

I may be frustrated because i am merely human and not a superwoman. But sometimes I wish I could be. Ding, ang bato!



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

success so far

Let's celebrate a small success! Our pre-schooler has been going to school for 3 days in a row without much fuss. Hooray! Mommy is able to get up as the alarm goes off (miracle!), wake TL#1 up and give him a bath. We leave the house at the same time and I see him off to school. Hopefully, I did not blog this 'success' too early and the whole week goes well and the next and the next.

It is actually the hubby who is behind the resolution of our issue on TL#1's reluctance to go to school. Our pre-schooler used to throw tantrums and would even hide under the bed. Ang hirap sa umaga.

Hubby discussed with our little boy the 'special steps' he has to take every weekday. Then they agree on something to do on the weekends as sort of a reward. Peg nila si Captain Oso.

Here are the special steps they have agreed on written on the hubby's white board:
1. Wake up at 7:00 AM.
2. Eat breakfast.
3. Take a bath (with mommy).
4. Brush our teeth.
5. Put on our clothes.
6. Go to school at 7:45 am.



The hubby also had a heart-to-heart talk with our little boy about keeping promises and being friends.

When he doesn't do his assignment, for instance, we tell him that he is no longer friends with mommy and I would not talk to him until he finishes it. Hope it works for a long time. Our pre-schooler is a bit innovative and manages to get around our 'techniques' and reason out.

Raising a pre-schooler is difficult. We operate on trial and error. Sometimes a technique works, most of the time it doesn't. We just hope we're doing the right thing.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

live in the present

Surprised that hubby was free to go home by 8:00 pm but by the time he reached the office to fetch me, it was raining cats and dogs. Ang lakas!

So rather than be stuck in traffic, I asked if we could go watch a movie instead. Instant date night!

I needed to relax a bit. My head was aching from the number of issues I had to address. I would rather be busy than stressed anytime.

But then, issues and queries put me on my toes, make me think beyond the box and force me to stretch a bit, get out of my comfort zone, reach out, consult, learn. Daming sinabi. Haha!

I'm trying to look at the positive side. The proper mindset helps me a lot at work. Worrying and being anxious is useless, I know. The moment I have learned to let go (a bit) of my fears of failure and confrontations, the nature of my work became more manageable (on most days, at least). It also helps that i'm trying to focus on the here and now. Mindfulness. That's the goal!

I am trying to subscribe to these wise words by Lao Tzu:
“If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

By the way, we decided to watch Pacific Rim. It was intense and funny. Parang Voltes V lang. Haha!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, 15 July 2013

joke time

Our eldest TL#1 had learned to crack some (corny) jokes from his daddy and he keeps repeating them, even to his daddy's Indian colleagues who don't understand Tagalog.

Before he gets over this funny phase and I forget all about it, here are some of his jokes:

Ano ang tawag sa octopus that goes meow! meow! meow!

Ano?

Eh di octoPUSA!

Nyeeee!
_______

What do you call a fish that crawls?

Ano?

Eh di IPIS!

Nyeee!!!
_____

Anong fish ang pwedeng pambayad?

Ano?

E di PISO!

Nyeee!
______

Ang dami kong tawa!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

takaw-lechon

Yesterday, we had an early dinner in the office courtesy of those who got promoted (ahem).

We ordered yummy lechon from Elar's. 15 kilos of roasted pig was gone in approximately 30 minutes! Gutom lang?

We did not even have the chance to take a picture of the whole lechon.




The 4th picture shows what was left of the kawawang baboy. 😋
We also had soupy sinigang sa miso and sweet leche flan, thanks to our in-house caterer - ECG.
Happiness!
👍

________

15k lechon approximately P6,500 + P500 for the chopper



*photo courtesy of Elar's facebook page

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, 14 July 2013

our chaotic mornings

Waahhh! It's 7:30 already, TL #1 is going to be late for school again. I promised him we'd wake up early this week. My alarm went off an hour ago. Internal struggle!   Ang hirap gumising ng maaga lalo na at umuulan, malamig ang aircon! Our eldest is sooo like me, he would snooze as long as he can. 

And he wouldn't go to school if mommy or daddy will not bring him (kahit hanggang sakayan lang). Not so much an issue if I don't get off work at 10 pm most days and have to wake up at least twice at dawn to feed TL #2. I need and deserve my sleep, especially because I have anemia and I don't want my world to go spinning around. Husband is on mid-shift, he also gets to sleep by midnight. There are days that we get home by midnight and our sons are still awake. What the...! 

But it is a Monday, there's no excuse except that (okay, okay) maybe i love my sleep too much. 

TL #1 is a mommy's boy - Nooo. I want my mommy

He wants me to feed him, give him a bath (in his words - Mommy, take a bath me!), brush his teeth, change his clothes, help him with his assignment. It was adorable and heart-melting at first but it is getting old as he gets old.

I relent on most days but I have bad, busy, stressful days so we squabble. 

Our mornings are normally chaotic. 

Mommy, please wait for me. I want to race you eat. 

Mommy, mommy. What are you doing??? I want to take a bath with you. (I'm in the loo). 

Mommy, please heat your water first (he doesn't want to take a bath) 

No! I want mommy to bring me to school. 

And the worst part ( when I need to leave the house before him ) 

Mommy, please stay with me. Please don't go to work. Mommy, please. 

You know I can't baby, I need to go to work for you and little brother. 

I don't want you to go to work mommy. 

But I need to make money. 

I don't want money mommy. Please stay with me. Wah! Stay with me. 

I'm going now. 

I want to kiss and hug. (kiss and hug).  Please stay with me mommy. Please ask your boss to let you stay with me. 

Kahit nasa kanto na ako, dinig ko pa rin ang sigaw at iyak nya. Hay. 

I know we need to provide him more structure and sense of security. He and his little brother are left to their nannies/ househelp. Mommy comes homes late most days. He has a new yaya, his 5th one so far. Most of the time, I am too tired to argue that either I give in to what he wants or I ignore his whining completely. 

I need better time management, self-discipline, wisdom and some divine intervention to be a better mom. So help me God. 


Saturday, 13 July 2013

head over heels

I realized for a while now that I am living head over heels aka in disorderly haste every day, mostly because I'm very busy at work. I hardly have time to be a good housekeeper, wife and mom. I am grateful, therefore, to have the weekends to myself and for my family.

I am a wife and a mom to two young kids but most of my hours are spent working, which makes me a hardworking (albeit sometimes reluctant) working girl, aiming for self-fulfillment and financial freedom.

I love reading and writing and sleeping (not a morning person - not me)!

I have taken up driving lessons but can't find the guts to actually drive. I have a love-hate relationship with commuting. I hate the traffic and the queue and the drivers who hate traffic too. But I love that I get to read and write during commute, my precious ME time during workdays.

I am an Ilokana but thrifty is not in my vocabulary, to save and spend wisely are my flitting goals.

Despite of my lack of time, I find myself perpetually wanting to write down my thoughts, to blog, to share, to remember, to be present in the here and now. For the past months, I have began a number of blogs but they never seem to stick and I end up abandoning one to start another. Ang gulo, parang ako lang!

So yesterday, after tackling a mountain of tasks, I found some free time to think my blog over. I wanted a blog name that would capture what I go through everyday - thus, head over heels.

I am importing relevant posts from all my other blogs here and hope that I can sustain this blog.

I wish a lot of things for myself - but mostly, that I can focus on those that truly matter.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

hospital arrest

Apparently, we're going to spend our third night here in the hospital. It's our first staycation for the year, probably our 10th (or more) in the last 3 years. It's a becoming family tradition which we are trying and praying hard to break. This should be the last one.

Our youngest is sick - down with persistent cough, fever and diarrhea. Oh, nothing serious really compared to our eldest son's bout with the kawasaki disease, the very reason we tend to border to paranoia when it comes to bringing our kids to the doctor.

I was never confined in a hospital until I gave birth to our eldest son at 28 years of age. Therefore, it was traumatic for me to be back barely 6 months after and have him admitted for dehydration due to diarrhea. It stressed us a lot when he had to get treated again for same sickness before he was a year old. Then I had to undergo laparoscopic surgery to have an ovarian cyst removed. It proved to be benign. Shortly after (while I was pregnant with baby no. 2), our eldest contracted the rare kawasaki disease. We were devastated but we survived. After that, doctors, ECGs, emergency rooms and hospital admissions got old. Of course, we still get stressed but we're coping. It's nothing to be proud of nor something that is good to be used to, especially our babies' hysterical cries and trauma over needles and nurses and doctors. But I have had some realizations over these incidents:

1. God always provides. He is good all the time. During those times when it hurt so much to think of the reasons 'why', one thing kept us strong - our faith that this too shall pass!

2. Health is wealth. More than money or physical things, we should give value to good health and take care of ourselves and our family's well-being. This is proving difficult to address but if there is a will, there should be a way.

3. I love my husband and I admire how he handles our family situations. We make a formidable team. Oh yes, we snap at each other, stressed and tired as we are but we have learned to grit our teeth, set aside our differences and pull through, together.

4. We have family and friends who are always there for us no matter what. Of course, it helps that our jobs (husband's, mostly) got us covered through health maintenance organizations (HMO), which shoulders most of the hospitalization expenses in some cases. The same HMOs also give us access to the best hospitals in the metro.

5. I can be resilient. I always thought of myself as weak, cringing over the slightest of pain, getting emotional over the smallest of things, crying over trivial matters. Then I became a wife and a mother and had to grow up, get used to heartbreak and pain. Motherhood made me vulnerable and strong at the same time.

6. Philhealth contributions are important and we should keep our list of dependents updated.

We have dimmed the lights, grateful that our sick son is now asleep. We can hear his labored breathing due to clogged nose. Thankfully, his bouts with cough have temporarily ceased. In a while, he will wake up crying due to headache from fever or discomfort from his diaper rashes. He has become wary of strangers coming in the room, clinging to mommy or daddy for dear life, then feeling betrayed for being forced to drink his medicine. I had to divert my eyes when the doctor inserted the IV. It hurts us to see him in so much discomfort and pain but we trust that we are doing what is best for him. In a few weeks, he'll be turning a year old. We hope by then he'll be back to his vibrant self and be able to enjoy his party. Thank you for your prayers for his fast recovery.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Maynard

This past Saturday we lay to rest my neighbor’s father. He was a famer, rancher, cowboy, gentleman, and a friend to all. He died doing what he loved doing best, checking on his cows and spraying fences. He was teaching this 50 something city boy professor how to become a farmer and I kind of think he enjoyed seeing an old dog try to learn some new tricks; a desk jockey work a field and get cow sh*t on him.

His untimely death got me thinking about balance and how we live our lives each day. Personal finance is about planning and saving for the future, but it is also about living for today. How do you find balance in your personal finance life? Do you save every penny so you can retire like my roommate from college who just retired after 30 years of teaching? Do you plan on working until you are 70+ and therefore not need so much in retirement to still afford your lifestyle? What do you plan to leave to your heirs? Someone said you lived your life right when the check to the undertaker bounces, meaning you just outlived your savings. Do you agree or disagree?

I hope you all find your passion and that you are able to do what you love to do; that you find balance in your finance goals to support that passion. Personal financial success is your definitions of success, whether it is to retire when you are 53 or never retire. The important thing is to have a plan and be proactive at that plan.

I hope we all find that balance.

- From a green farmer who is happy learning how to work cattle and smell like a famer after a hard day’s work