Monday, December 27, 2010

Starbucks Planner Mission: Complete!

 I finally got my very own Starbucks planner!! Thanks to my ever supportive husband who would gladly offer to buy me coffee every time we go to SM and pass by Starbucks, for giving up his favorite Java Chip frappuccino just so I could complete the required number of stickers for the featured holiday beverages, and to that lady who gave me the one last sticker I needed to claim my planner.  My quest for the Starbucks Planner 2011 is complete.  I would probably take a breather from Starbucks for a month or so, simply because I think all the frappuccinos added to my weight gain this holiday season, hahaha  :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Not So Lonely Christmas

My kids are spending Christmas with my parents this year.  That leaves me and hubby together for the holiday seasons.  But we won't literally be spending time together because since he became Chief resident of their department, he has been so busy at the hospital, he never gets to sleep at home.  But since I came back, I have been seeing more of him lately.  I have been helping him with some of his errands and so we get to spend every afternoon together 3 days in a row.  The day I arrived, we had dinner at Tokyo Joe's.  I have been wanting to eat there for the longest time, but never get to do so since the kids food selection is limited to either Jollibee or McDonalds.  The following day we had lunch at Sbarro since he was craving for a Chicago deep dish pizza.  We went to Starbucks two days in a row.  That's how desperate I am to get the planner, hahaha!!  But I enjoy the time with hubby, we have been laughing more together these past few days.  I guess even when the kids get back, I would always find time for the two of us to go out once in a while.  That way he would get his mind off from work even for a bit.  He tells me what's going on in the hospital and I pity him because I know how stressful it is to manage people, more so if there are people in the team who's always on the naughty list.

This is the first Christmas away from the kids.  I miss them terribly but I know that they are happy to be in Tacloban with mama and papa.  When I left for the airport, I expected Micah to cry and run after me, but surprisingly she just waved me goodbye, planted a kiss on my lips and said, "Ba-bye Mommy!".  It's a day before Christmas, the house is empty, there are no gifts under the Christmas tree, but still I am happy because Christmas is a season of love and joy.  I am happy knowing that my kids are happy and having a blast with all the gifts they would be receiving.  I am looking forward to Christmas dinner with my hubby and after that we would be buying the gifts for the kids, so when they come home their presents would be waiting under the tree.  Since Christmas is a time for giving, we are also planning to give gifts to the kids in our apartment, and randomly I have been giving food to street kids.  I guess in my own little way I am able to share my blessings to others.  Merry Christmas everyone, I hope that you enjoy this holiday season.  Looking forward to a good year ahead!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Office Christmas Party

 We just had our office Christmas Party last December 12, 2010.  The theme of the party was Cosplay, but our team decided to come in wearing Scrub Suits and lab coats.  Why?  Personally because I do not have the budget for a costume, I miss wearing my scrubs, and it was something we all agreed on for practical reasons.  Anyway, the place was cozy, but a bit small for an office party with about 90 employees, the food was excellent, and the group presentations were awesome.  Each team really prepared for the program.  Our presentation was okay, we did not get to win any price but we had fun practicing our dance :)  I also enjoyed looking at other employees who came in costumes, it was a fun, fun night.  And for two consecutive years, I was able to receive the gift I wanted from my manita, thanks to the wish list.  So, here are some photos from that night.  Happy Holidays!!
 This was before we left the office.  All ready to do our rounds!

Aboard the Kashiong Bus to Lola Salings with my sister Ariane and our EOY.

Just getting settled, and ready to eat!

Divya, Teody, Limp, Gail and me.

Don't smile when your mouth is full!

The whole Implementation/EMR Team.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Quest for The Starbucks Planner 2011

  Last year, I never got to complete the 17 stickers needed to get the limited edition Starbucks planner.  But now I promised myself that before the year ends I would have my very own Starbucks planner for 2011.  I'm down to 9 more stickers... luckily I was able to get 3 additional stickers care of hubby and friends.  I know they sell the planner on ebay, but I would rather do it the usual way, at least I get to enjoy my favorite Java Chip frappuccino and get closer to my quest to collect all 17 stickers.

Now for the next 9 Starbucks coffee beverage, I would have to go for their Holiday featured beverages like Praline Mocha, Toffee Nut Latte and Peppermint Mocha.  Come to think of it, I'd scratch the peppermint variety from the list as I can't imagine the taste of mint as a beverage.  Hopefully, I'd still get stickers from friends, and I still have those gift certificates left to use, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed, and really, really hoping to get my Starbucks planner for 2011.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Relax, Enjoy, and Breathe a Little More

Things have been a little bit hectic lately, and I often find myself out of breathe.  I am always rushing because of the many things that I need to do and tend to forget about what is important in my life,  When hubby arrived from a conference in Manila and bought me a pair of scrub suits and my favorite Krispy Kreme doughnuts, I forget to say "thank you".  And he asked me like I would ask my kids after being given something, "What will you say?"  Then it hit me, I have been acting exactly the way I was afraid I would turn out to be, someone uptight, always stressed and tensed.  This is definitely not me!  Am I a turning out to be a grinch?  I hope not, I wouldn't be spoiling Christmas, it's my favorite time of the year!!  So here I am, trying to loosen up, breathe more, relax and enjoying each moment that comes. 
"A lifetime is not what is between
the moments of birth and death.

A lifetime is one moment
Between my two little breaths.
The present, the here, the now,
That's all the life I get.
I live each moment in full,
In kindness, in peace, without regret."

Chade Meng, Taoist poet

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What I Learned...

A few weeks back, I almost lost my wallet to a thief!  Andre wanted a hamster for his birthday, so I decided to bring him to a pet store so he could personally choose his hamster.  The store was crowded and we had to wiggle our way inside to get to the area where these cute rodents were displayed.  I noticed a lady standing closely behind me.  i didn't mind her at first, but I had this uneasy feeling about her.  While my son was so busy deciding which hamster to pick, I suddenly felt nervous and my gut feeling was telling me to check on my bag.  To my horror, I realized my wallet was missing, and I looked back and saw the lady making her way out of the store.  I hurried after her and tried to get her attention, on instinct I grabbed her hair and she was a bit startled to see me.  I wanted to ask if I could check on her bag because I was missing my wallet and she was the last person I saw standing behind me, but before I even finished what I was trying to say, she handed me my wallet, blurted an apology and walked away as if it was the most natural thing to do.  I was shocked at first, so I was not able to react.  But when I came to my senses,  I realized that I left Andre in the store, and God knows if it was some kind of gang who did it to distract me and grab my son when I ran after the lady.  I rushed back to the store, and a wave of relief washed over me when I saw my son at the exact spot where I left him, oblivious of what just happened.  When he saw that I was back, he flashed me a wide smile and said "Mommy, hamster please?".

A small crowd already gathered and they were telling me I should have called out security, or chased the lady, one was even telling me that if it happened to her, she would surely slap the lady and insulted her.  I thought to myself, if I was just a mere observer I would probably be saying the same things.  But I learned that it's different when it actually happens to you.  People have different ways of handling a situation, in my case I admit I lost my focus for a bit, and it was pretty foolish of me to run after the person and leave my son in the store.  I know I should have reprimanded the lady, called security or whatever it was people thought was the right thing to do, but when she handed me my wallet I guess I was just relieved that I had it back and realizing that I left Andre at the pet store, I had to go back and make sure he was safe. 

After paying for the hamster, we headed out and I was scanning the crowd for the lady.  I still remembered her face,  and what she was wearing.  One would never think she was someone capable of stealing stuff from other people.  But hey. looks are deceiving, right?  I wondered how many wallets she stole that day, I could imagine how someone would feel if they found out they lost their belongings.  I am blessed because i truly believe it was my guardian angel at work that day, and also equally gratefully that my son's guardian angel was with him as well.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Teenage Dream

 When I saw the  Youtube video of a group of high school boys singing "Teenage Dream" on Glee, I was shocked!  Their version was actually better than the original, well that's just my opinion though.  I know the Katy Perry fans out there would say otherwise.  And another surprising fact is that Darren Criss, the one doing the vocals is actually half-Filipino.  He is now in Glee as well, and another Filipina is joining the cast.  Wow, more reasons for me to watch Glee!

 Here's the Glee version of the song.  Makes me thing that it must be really exciting to live the "Teenage Dream', you know like taking chances... being carefree.  My adolescent life was pretty much on the simple side, no running away, no getting drunk on the beach,  and no skin-tight jeans either, but hey I loved my life and I wouldn't want it any other way.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Being Thankful

 Every 4th Thursday of November, people in the US celebrate Thanksgiving.  According to history, it started as a feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest, and has been observed and now has become a US holiday.  Working for a US based company catering to US based clients, I was hoping that we could also go on a holiday, considering we would not be having clients during that time.  But since the office is here in the Philippines, we were asked to come to the office and "find something to do'.

I then found myself thinking, what is it that I am thankful for?  I know that the list could go on and on... starting from being thankful for the people who are in my life, down to the most trivial things I could think of.  But let me first start by listing the 10 reasons why I am thankful for:

1.  I am thankful that my parents are always there to help me out whenever I have problems. 

2.  I am thankful because I had a happy childhood.

3.  I am thankful that God has blessed me with 2 wonderful kids.

4.  I am thankful for Ross, because in spite of everything, he would always be one of the reasons why I am happy.  I loved the person he was then, and the person that he has become.

5.  I am thankful for friends.. both the old and the new, because somehow life is easier with "friends" around.

6.  I am thankful for my job.  It may not be what I have imagined myself doing, but I find myself enjoying it, and most importantly, it helps provide us with our basic needs and more.

7.  I am thankful that we have a house to live in, sleep comfortably, have a good water supply, and eat 3 or more meals in a day.

8.  I am thankful that no one in the family has any serious illnesses.

9. I am thankful  that contact lenses were invented, and that even if I do not have  20/20 vision, I am not totally blind and still able to see the beautiful things around me.

10.  I am thankful for everything that I have been through, the triumphs, the disappointments, the mistakes, the opportunities... all these I consider blessings, because it has taught me to be stronger, wiser and appreciate my life more and the people in it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Andre!

Today is my son's 6th birthday, How time flies, I still remember 6 years ago when I had my first signs of going into labor, I was excited and nervous at the same time.  I was brought into the labor room, waiting for the big moment to arrive.  But after almost 12 hours of waiting, my labor did not progress and I had to undergo a C-section.  But the moment I saw my little boy, I knew that it was all worth it.  I would often wonder why in the movies the moms would cry after seeing their child for the very first time, now I know why, because I've experienced it. It's a feeling of pure joy and unconditional love.  At that exact moment, I felt protective of my son and only wanted to give him the best.

Andre is speech delayed.  Unlike kids his age, he still struggles to speak and communicate, but he tries his best and he has improved a lot.  I would remember the times when he would get frustrated because he wanted to tell me something, but can't seem to get the words out, he would either act it out or drag me to whatever it is he wanted me to see.  But in-spite of that, he knew he was well loved, because we would verbally tell him we love him, and encourage him whenever he did something good.  I'm proud to say that even until now, he would say "I love you, Mommy" and gives me bear hugs and wet kisses on the cheeks.

Thank you Andre for always making Mommy happy.  You know how to get away with being naughty by flashing your cute smile and saying "I'm sorry".  Thank you for wiping my tears and telling me "It's OK mommy, Andre's here" whenever I have my share of not-so-good days. Thank you for being the sweet kid that you are.  Mommy is a better person because of you.  I love you and Micah so much, and as long Mommy is here, things are going to be just fine.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

This made me Laugh

 I happen to see this photo over the internet and it really made me laugh.  It's so funny, I could just imagine if I happen to actually see these giant sized underwear.  Looks like old-style undies, probably 1960's style, not sure though.  But anyway, this photo made my day so I decided to share it with you guys.  I do hope I don't get to offend anyone, by doing so.  Just found this so funny!

Friday, November 19, 2010


I have been subscribing to Bo Sanchez's GodWhispers for almost 2 months now, and twice a week, I receive an e-mail with  personal messages that talk about kindness to others, forgiveness, love, and hope.  The messages are just short ones, but I find myself looking forward to these messages because it gives me something to ponder on, it uplifts me and inspires me to become a better version of myself.

Today, I received a message that talked about failure.  Having had my share of failures in the past, I know how hard it is to overcome them, but with God's grace I have come to accept my share of "downs".  There was a time in my life when I have failed not just myself, but the people I love because of some bad choices.  But I learned that to move forward, we should accept our failures and mistakes, and learn from them.  I would like to share the message I received today, and if you want to have your share of messages from God, subscribe to godWhispers since it's totally free.

Dear ChinChin,
Embrace failure.  Fail forward.  Fail quickly.  So that you can start again.

It's the only road to success.
To your great success,
P.S. ChinChin, you will succeed.  I know.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Every Day a Friday

I love Fridays, and I'm not alone. Most people associate the last day of the workweek with feelings of relief, relaxation, and anticipation of good times to come in the weekend ahead. You know there has to be something special about a day when the feeling of celebration that accompanies its arrival is even commemorated in the name of a restaurant chain!

And so I, too, celebrate Fridays. After dropping my son off at school I head to Starbucks, to pick up a coffee treat of one type or another. Then instead of driving straight home I generally take a long route through the most scenic roads I can find, which usually includes my favorite corner of the local state park. On and on throughout the day I find myself smiling and happy for no other reason than that the day's name starts with an "F" rather than a "M," "T," or "W."

When I pick my son up again hours into the afternoon we high-five physically and vocally, our chorus of "FRIDAY!" resonating at least as loudly as our hand slap. Then we point out to each other the signs of beginning celebration in the college town we drive through. We see footballs being passed on fraternity lawns, hamburgers being thrown on grills, people parked on front porch swings, and parties everywhere swinging into action. Sometimes it seems as if the whole world is celebrating Friday!

The other day I emerged from a doctor's office happy over a positive prognosis in a health situation I was concerned about. My good mood was amplified by the signs of spring that were bursting all around me -- flowers blossoming, birds singing, bright sunshine warm upon my back. I was suddenly ready to celebrate, and java-scented thoughts wafted through my brain. I whispered the word "Cappuccino!" and headed for the specialty coffee bar that was conveniently located just around the corner.

My mind rebelled. "What are you doing? It's Tuesday! Coffee treats are reserved for Fridays!" And suddenly I realized how ridiculous that line of thinking was! Why should Fridays be any more special than any other day of the week? Why waste six days while waiting to rejoice on the seventh? Minutes later I was walking back to my car with a big grin on my face and a raspberry mocha in my hand.

A small victory, to be sure, but it's also an accurate example of how many of us live our lives. We're waiting for conditions to be right before we allow ourselves to enjoy our time here on earth. Maybe when we finally graduate from college and get a job it will be time to celebrate, or perhaps when our toddlers are old enough to be in school all day. We'll rejoice when the car is paid off, or enjoy life when we're finally able to retire. And in that waiting we waste so much of the life that God has given us and the happiness that can be found in our todays. What if we moved a little of that "Friday feeling" into our rainy-day Mondays, our gloomy Tuesdays and our mid-week Wednesdays? Surely our lives would be much happier as a result.

It's interesting to note that T.G.I. Friday's isn't open for business on just the last day of the workweek! No, they celebrate all week long and into the weekend.

So should we.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Lutong Bahay: Mama's Home Cooked Meals

One thing I miss the most from home is my Mama's cooking.  I feel blessed to have grown up in a household where food was abundant.  It's as if we're always dining in out, not to brag but you could compare her cooking to well known restaurants.  Cooking is her passion,  She did not have proper training, what she knew she learned from my lola, who was pure Chinese and was a good cook as well.

When we went home for her birthday, I was so excited because she was inviting a few friends and relatives over for a small salo-salo.  I could almost imagine all my favorite dishes lined up, just thinking about them made me hungry.  

Baked Macaroni with all the melted cheese on top.  Mama's pasta dishes are heaven.  Every Sunday was always Pasta day at home.  She would cook different pasta dishes like spaghetti, carbonara, fettuccine and spaghetti with sardines and tomato pesto sauce.  I also make it a habit to cook spaghetti for my kids on Sundays.  By the way, I discovered that Spaghetti with Century Tuna chunks in Spanish style was also a yummy and healthy dish.  It's also easy to make, just saute the tuna in onions and garlic, add in salt and pepper to taste, and toss in the pasta.

Mama's Dinuguan is the BEST!  I would never eat dinuguan during parties or fiestas because I'm not really sure how they are prepared.  The only dinuguan  I eat aside from my Mama's cooking is the dinuguan they serve at Red Ribbon bakeshop.

One of her most requested dish is Paella.  It's a Spanish rice dish that she cooks on special occasions.  It's made up of sticky rice, with a variety of seafood's (crabs, shrimp, shells), chorizo bilbao  and quail eggs.

Other favorites include  embutido, sotanghon, and even the simple dishes she cooks for us during meal times are all yummy.  I guess cooking is her innate gift.  Her friends would encourage her to open up a canteen or go into catering, but she would always decline.  She just enjoys cooking for family and friends, and I think it is enough for her knowing that every dish she prepares is able to satisfy a hungry stomach. She is happy whenever her cooking is appreciated.

I am not a good cook like Mama, but every time I prepare a meal for my family, I remember what she has taught me, and when I have doubts, she is just a phone call away.  One important lesson I learned from her is cook with a happy heart and enjoy what you are doing.  Cooking is always a trial and error thing.  Don't expect your first dish to be perfect.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

His Corny Side

My phone inbox has almost a hundred messages, some were dated even from 2008.  Most messages I kept were from hubby, others were forwarded messages from family and friends.  There were messages that brought back painful memories and I finally had the courage to delete them because I have come to forgive the person who sent them to me.  But there were also messages that made me smile just remembering the story behind it.  

One of those was a message sent by Ross last September, I remember I was watching a Tagalog movie, while he was busy making his report.  It was a romantic-comedy, and he was even making fun of me because I was enjoying it even if the lines were a bit corny.  After the movie when we were about to go to sleep, I checked on my phone and was surprised to read the message he sent, it was a line from the movie I just watched.  I found the gesture sweet, considering that my hubby is not really the romantic type of person.  I guess that's his way of showing his corny side, by making it seem like a joke.  Maybe he's not ready to admit that he has a sweet and corny side hiding behind the pa tough-guy persona.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Favorite Hobby

Reading is my favorite past time.  It has always been a hobby of mine that started when I was a kid.  From comic books, to Nancy Drews, Sweet Dreams and Sweet Valley High, and then I started to read  from authors like Sidney Sheldon, Judith McNaught, Nora Roberts and Danielle Steel.

A second hobby developed out of my love for reading, I also started to collect books, magazines and novels.  I remember having a book shelf at home with all my Sweet Dreams, Sweet Valley High and Danielle Steel novels alphabetically arranged according to title.  I also had a collection of Seventeen and Cosmopolitan magazines.  I would save up my allowance to buy myself a book or magazine at least once a week from the Booksale store that opened in Tacloban.  

 When I was about to transfer to Manila, I had to clean up my stuff and had to give some of them away, which included the novels and magazines I dearly treasured all these years.  A friend suggested I sell them to a book rental store downtown, in that way instead of rotting away and being eaten by termites in our "bodega". it would still be a source of joy to book lovers like me.  So some of my books went to that book rental store, some I gave away, but a few I kept with me, including my Danielle Steel novels which has traveled with me from Manila to Cebu where I am now currently based.  I am still a D.S. novel collector, but I also have a couple of e-books from other authors I store in my PC.  I don't think I would ever outgrow my love for reading, it's amazing how words can inspire you, take you to places you could only dream of going, it widens your imagination, make you laugh and cry at times.  Reading feeds the mind and nourishes the soul.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Two is Better than One

So maybe it's true
That I can't live without you
And maybe two is better than one
But there's so much time
To figure out the rest of my life
And you've already got me coming undone
And I'm thinking two is better than one

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Alone Time

My kids and the yayas are with my parents for vacation, and suddenly I find myself alone in the house. It is unusually quiet, and suddenly I wished the kids were here.  I did not even bother to cook since Ross is on duty, so I made myself a tuna sandwich instead.  It's funny how I would often wish to be able to spend some quiet moments alone, and now that I have  a few days all to myself, I find myself missing the kids...  But since this is a rare occasion, I might as well make the most out of this "alone" time to catch up on sleep, sit down and finish the Dan Brown book that has been sitting on top of my side table, clean up my closet, and in a couple of days I would be going home to fetch my kids and life would be back to normal again...

Laguna Trip

Last October 8, 2010, Ross, me and the kids traveled for the very first time as a family, minus the yayas.  We were headed for San Pablo, Laguna to attend the baptism of my brother-in-laws first born son.  It was vacation of sorts, we planned to visit Enchanted Kingdom and Manila Ocean Park, but we ended up visiting the latter as on the day we intended to go to EK, it was raining so hard.

I knew it was going to be a challenge for me because I was always used having an extra help when traveling with the kids, but I never expected the challenge to happen so soon.  As soon as we landed at the NAIA terminal 3, Andre was all over the place, and I had a hard time keeping up with him because I was carrying Micah, and Ross was busy with the luggage.  I guess he was just excited to be in a new place.

While waiting for our ride outside NAIA terminal 3.  Andre was pretty much exhausted by this time, while Micah was still ready to smile for the camera.

 Day 1:  It was pretty much uneventful, this was the day we planned to go to Enchanted Kingdom but because of the heavy rains, we ended up in Jollibee in Los Baños, Laguna.

Day 2 was my nephew's baptism.  As usual, I was busy looking after the kids that I ended up not eating during the reception as I had to make sure the kids were able to eat first.  Ross was busy catching up with his old friends and that was fine since I know how much he wanted to spend time with them.

This was during the reception, Ross, Micah and me, Alex, Ria and Myke, Reden, Cathy and baby Reca.

The following day, we went to SM San Pablo.  Micah wanted to have her picture taken with her large pink lollipop.

Andre looking at baby Reca sleeping soundly despite the loud music playing in the background.

Andre and Micah acting goofy in front of the camera.  They really enjoyed those huge lollipops.  Andre always wanted to buy those lollipops at Candy Corner but It costs 99.95 and I would tell him to just get those gummy candies that costs 55 per 100 grams instead.  But since it was the opening day at this Candy Corner stall, they had everything on sale including the lollipops.

The smile of a happy and contented little boy!

Being the kikay that she is, Micah had to take her picture in front of this huge lipstick

With my nephew, Damian Reca... super cute!!

This is what kept my little angels behaved during our vacation.  

It was a memorable vacation since it was the first time we all traveled together as a family.  To be honest, it was pretty tiring at times, but seeing my kids enjoy and have fun was worth it.

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