how to keep a tropical igloo from melting :)

Great hopes for 2012

For a lot of people 2011 was not an easy year. There were a lot of calamities around the world – the big earthquake and tsunami in Japan (March), floods in Thailand and typhoon Sendong, which brought additional suffering to many Filipinos before the year ended. Aside from devastation brought about by natural phenomena, there were notable social and political events like the London riots, uprisings in Arab countries, rise and fall of governments worldwide. One can also recall the death of several significant people – both loved and loathed by many.

In the Philippines it was yet another year of increasing commodity prices, chasing crooked politicians and winning trophies (from beauty pageants to boxing championships). Hot topics included the reproductive health bill, divorce, art vs. blasphemy,  tourism slogans, abortion and sex video scandals, football fever and social networking.

For me, 2011 was a life changing year. Here are some of the things that shaped my 2011:

1. I became a full-fledged stay-at-home-mom with no yaya (household help).

2. We started to home school Buchi. One of my highs for the year. Learning never stops.

3. I conscientiously filled out my budget planner and we religiously deposited money to save. One great leap to full financial freedom.

4. Lots of lessons learned about life, love and family. Lots of hugs, kisses and laughter.

5. We celebrated our third wedding anniversary. I’m blessed with an understanding, loving and sweet husband.

6. We made beautiful memories during our family trips here and abroad. We also started a monthly family dinner date.

7. I found a job that I love and the people I work with are wonderful.

8. We get to spend a lot of time together as a family. Eug has a great work schedule that enables us to take turns in taking care of Buchi.

9. I personally witnessed our son learn to read, count and acquire other life skills.

10. God kept us and our immediate families safe and healthy this year.

11. Old trustworthy friends who stand by me through thick or thin. New friends who made the year extra special.

12. Celebrations of all kinds: birthday parties (drinking and chatting till wee hours), family reunions (with siblings, parents, relatives) and weddings (standing witness to union of love).

13. I got bitten by the social networking bug. I love being updated with the latest news about almost everything.

14. I started writing again. It is good to be able express my thoughts. I wrote to God, to myself, to my loved ones and to the universe.

15. Last year was about trying out new things from food, books, movies, skills.


2012 will be better, brighter and happier. I can sense it. I read somewhere that it is healthy to get rid of relationships that are toxic and cultivate those that bring joy. This year I will surround myself with happy people, find time to do things that I enjoy and be more health-conscious.

Thank you 2011 for 365 days of surprises, memories and lessons. I’m ready for 2012.


Fan Club

30 July 2011

Yesterday we did another skype call with Pappy and auntie. Buchi proudly showed his Auntie Hippie his workbook, who in turn told him he had done a great job (talk about boosting confidence). The first time Buchi wrote the letter E, I was so excited and I drew a star beside it. Now, whenever he finishes a task he always asks me if what he did deserves a star. I want to put stars all the time (as a mom, you think anything your child did is the best in the world) but since we are homeschooling him I also wanted to be objective. My cousin Jola, who is a preschool teacher and a great mom, shared that she would encourage her kids more and avoid negative comments as much as possible. I try to keep that in mind when Buchi and I are having lessons. When he asks if he wrote his O’s correctly (and they look like eggs),  I say I’m proud he can write letters and through practice he’ll write beautifully. There’s also variety in how I evaluate his work: aside from stars I draw emoticons, suns, hearts and musical notes.

Even before Buchi was born he has had a fan club comprising of two loyal members: me and his Tatay. When he said hello to the world his fan base grew: my siblings, his Mamita, his Pappy, his Lolo. Friends and relatives occasionally say nice things about him (positive comments are always welcome) I don’t expect everyone to love my kid as much as I do, of course. I’m lucky that I have wonderful siblings who adore him and encourage him to do his best all the time.

The other day Buchi called Pappy to show him that he could play basketball very well. Auntie Hippie, Tito Benj and Pappy clapped every time he scored a point. Last week we were solving puzzles and we were racing against time. After the game, he said in the vernacular: “I will show Mamita next time that I’m very good with puzzles and she will kiss me and tell me I’m great.” Buchi also knows that his Lolo is always the first to say that he’s a smart boy.

Yesterday Buchi asked me why he had so many names. He has three given names plus one nickname. Eug and I fondly call him Buchi. He gets called “baby”, “babe”, “kulit”, “little guy”, “sweetheart” and “darling”. My answer: A person who has many names is well-loved. (I got this from my mom, but I’m not really sure if I said the adage correctly). Anyway, he got the point.

There is too much negativity in the world today. When he grows up people will tell him that he isn’t the most handsome guy, that he’s not smart enough, not strong enough, not good enough. But hopefully that wouldn’t matter when that time comes. He received and re all the love and encouragement from the people who are important to him. That being said, I think that every child should have their own fan club to cheer him on.

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Busy bee

It has been quite some time since my last update. The past few months have been crazy. Summer is always a busy time. Last April we decided to let Buchi take swimming lessons. You could tell that he was really excited because he would dress himself up and prepare his bag (towel, extra clothes, snacks) everyday. May is a special month in our family. We celebrate Mothers’ Day with the Rodises. This year my mom turned 50 and so we threw a theme party for her. Eug and I go on a trip for our birthdays, which is a day apart. Last May we went to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore with Buchi. It was physically tiring but we had a lot of fun.

June went by so fast. I needed this month to fully adjust to our daily routine as a work-at-home mom. In the Philippines, school officially starts in June. I felt a bit of pressure to start looking for a suitable preschool. After careful thought and weeks of prayer, we finally decided to home school him instead.

More than half of the year has passed and soon it will be Christmas. I am grateful for  6 months of small miracles everyday.

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Goodbye yaya/ nanny

When I was pregnant with Buchi, I was still working full-time so I knew that we had to get a yaya/nanny. It was a good thing that my parents’ household had two maids so my Mom willingly trained the other one to be Buchi’s nanny. During the first month, I was really paranoid to let anyone carry the baby, so most of the time he was with me. Since I had to rest and recuperate from the operation (c-section), my father would carry/watch the baby while I catched up on some zzzzs. What did the nanny do, you might ask? She washed the bottles, baby’s clothes, prepared the bath, fixed baby’s stuff. She didn’t do any household work since she had to be clean and alert all the time in case I needed her. In addition to that she would bring my food, and sometimes massage my back to relax me when I expressed milk. She hardly touched Buchi up until he turned two months old (I finally overcame my fear and let her carry him for the first time)

She was a relatively good nanny considering she was young and did not have kids of her own. She would watch over Buchi while my husband and I were at work (I arranged a schedule that allowed me to be home by 4pm so that I would only be gone for a short period of Buchi’s waking time — he usually woke up at 10am). When Buchi turned one, she said goodbye. Buchi hardly remembers her since he was still very young. Her replacement (her cousin) was trained for a month, mostly on preparing his food (I cooked baby food in batches and this needed to be thawed properly) and following the routine (Baby Whisperer).

The second yaya was very energetic and it was easy for me to teach her nursery rhymes and play activities she could do with Buchi when I was not around. She followed the 2-hour tv time (we’ve experienced a lot of yayas who would watch TV all day and I wouldn’t be able to supervise the shows/language the kid gets exposed to). She said good bye 2 weeks after Buchi turned three. We spent a month talking and explaining to Buchi that his yaya would leave him for good and that she had to take care of her little brother in the province.

The day she left, Buchi was at my parents’ house. He said his proper goodbyes to her, smiling and waving happily even as she walked out the door that morning. He was cheerful the whole day and did not look for her. Then when dinnertime came, he just suddenly burst into tears. He was trying so hard not to cry, even chuckling at times. I had to be somewhere at that time (I know, bad mother), and my mom called me up so that I could comfort the little guy. He said he was sad that he was a big boy and that he has no yaya anymore.

Everyone around him made him feel extra special that week. He was showered with more attention. I was scared that he would start crying again and look for her. A few weeks after yaya’s departure, I finally found the courage to ask him. Do you miss yaya? He said no. I said, it is okay to miss yaya, I miss her too (I don’t get a time-out from running after Buchi now). He said that yaya is taking care of her brother because Buchi is a big boy. I think it was his way of letting go and telling me that he understands the situation. I’m really proud of my brave independent boy. Sometimes kids are more understanding than adults.

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odd dream

Two nights ago, I had an odd dream. In my dream, I was brushing my teeth and when I smiled in the mirror I saw that my two upper teeth (not the front ones) were rotten. In my dream I just kept on brushing and brushing my teeth. I even told someone that I wanted to see the dentist because I was worried about my teeth. In my dream, I didn’t feel any pain or discomfort. I was just bothered by the fact that my smile was no longer nice since one could see tooth decay.

When I woke up, the first thing I did was search on the Internet for the meaning of this dream. Research led me to this and this.  It said that my health was probably in jeopardy and that I was having problems with my emotions and spirituality. Yikes. I got scared.

Yesterday I didn’t feel well. I felt so exhausted that I slept early and was practically lying down the whole day. My whole body felt heavy and I had sore muscles. Today I still feel a bit tired. I regularly take my vitamins, eat properly, drink fluids — wondered then what was wrong. I had the most terrible headache and back pains. Then I remembered my dream.

Eug says I need to eat and rest. I think it’s an early warning so that I pay attention to my health. And a reminder to also remain healthy spiritually and emotionally. Thank you Lord for that dream, I know that it was a

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Valentines day

It’s funny how people become mushy on this day of the year.

1. Giving flowers: Flowers are ridiculously expensive in February, especially on the 14th. A few days after, they’re wilted and unless you are my mom (who likes potpourri) you’ll have to throw these out. (there goes your money). My brother asked me to buy some flowers for his girlfriend, so I checked out the florists nearby. Php300 for one small close-to neon pink bud? Never mind. Send flowers the next month and you get to impress her with 2 dozens of roses.

2. Giving chocolates: Now this, I really like. Keep them coming. But really, you can give/receive chocolates anytime of the year sans the red ribbons and pink candy foil.

3. Dinner reservations: I’m a sucker for lovely dinner dates with good wine and dessert. But not when you have to call weeks before for reservation, go in circles until you finally find parking space, and squeeze your way to a designated table.

4. Matching outfits: Eug and I like wearing couple T-shirts. (cringe-worthy for some of our siblings and friends, but we have fun picking these out haha) We have several pairs and we don’t need to wait for Valentine’s day to wear these.

5. Public display of affection: Why do we need a special day to tell/show someone we love them?

It’s good to have a day to be cheesy and gooey, so I’ll join the bandwagon: Happy valentine’s day. I’m eating chocolates with the two sweetest guys in this planet. Gush.


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planning a wedding

A friend is getting married, and I’m gonna be part of the planning and preparations. I’m so excited.

Time to bookmark all those sites about tying the knot.

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Don’t you feel sometimes that you just want to lie down all day and just stare into blank space.

To get me going, I need sugar. I don’t drink coffee and not really a fan of soda. I read somewhere that sugar only temporarily provides you the energy you need to stay alert. A few hours after (or once your system digests it) you’ll feel sleepy. But what the heck, sugar is effective to get me out of bed during gloomy days.

As a result, Buchi and I feasted on chocolate cereal and milk. He really enjoyed it. He even asked me if it was okay to eat chocolate for snack everyday. I said, I only made an exemption today. Tomorrow it’s back to healthy snacks.

After dinner I think I ate about a dozen of Keebler Soft Batch choco-chip cookies. I felt good. I was able to do so much work.

yummy pick-me-upper
choco-chip cookies: yummy pick-me-upper

Now I’m feeling sleepy already.

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high moment in ESL teaching

I’ve been teaching an 8 year-old girl for a month now.There were times it became so frustrating because she would only say “yes” or “no”. I guess she had an extremely hard time to express herself in English. After two weeks she started showing me her toys and that’s about the only thing we talked about in class. I saw this as an improvement because at least she was trying to communicate with me.

Last night, she told me she had a gift for me. She made a card that was flower-shaped and she wrote the words: I love teacher Kim. It melted my heart. I wish I had taken a picture of it. It was the first time a student actually thanked me. =)

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Cleaning day

We spent almost the entire day cleaning. When I was younger, this was my most hated chore. I’ve always liked cooking, washing the dishes, or anything kitchen-related. I would fix my room once a year (my mom can attest to this fact) and this would only be because I was looking for something. Since I shared my room with my only sister (who is 9 years younger), that meant I was tasked to clean the bathroom. I have four siblings and we practically grew up without household help most of the time. This is not really common for a middle-class family in the Philippines, but we had to do our share of housework. Otherwise, my mom would go crazy (and you wouldn’t want that to happen).

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My years of avoiding the chore of dusting and organizing stuff are over. I married a cleaning-freak. So putting things in its proper place has become a habit. It is also a lot easier especially if you have a toddler who has to scatter his toys all over on a daily basis.

So today, everything is spic and span. I love the scent of newly changed bedsheets. I want to spend the whole Sunday lying down. Cleaning is so much fun while listening to music. Did I just say clean and fun in one sentence. I feel like a new person (haha)

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