Sunday, November 30, 2008

Kiddie Christmas vs. Grown-up Christmas

The holiday season has officially begun. As children we look forward to this time of year when we have Christmas vacations, parties aplenty and gifts from Ninongs and Ninangs, not to mention the most anticipated gift of all from Santa Claus. But as we grow older and take on more responsibilities, the season of cheer takes on a different meaning. Expenses, expenses and did I say, even more expenses?

As adults we are now the gift-givers, not just the gift-recipients. Our shopping list seems to grow ever longer. You don’t just give gifts to your immediate family but also to your close friends, your neighbors, your work mates, your boss, probably your clients, your nieces and nephews, the list goes on. All this, on top of your regular monthly bills, can really burn a hole in your wallet. If you’re not careful and plan your purchases and watch your spending habits during this time of year, you might end up in debt. That’s not exactly the best way to end the year.

Fortunately, there are a number of reputable web-based lending institutions that can provide cash loans in half the time it would take you to go to the bank. Just make sure you do your research and get referrals, because like in all things there are shady companies out there. When you are armed with the necessary info then you can be assured of worry-free financial assistance.

Christmas doesn't have to be expensive to be enjoyable. Remember the real reason we are celebrating this special time and have yourself a peaceful and stress-free yuletide.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Full Day of Raine

Yesterday was a full day for our little family. First up was our regular visit to the dentist. I was anxious to get Raine to see the dentist because our initial try a few months ago was a disaster. She refused to open her mouth and the doctor only got a glimpse of her teeth for a few seconds as she was crying her eyes out. She is already two years old and has her complete set of teeth. She still drinks milk at night and I was concerned that she might develop cavities. I've heard of lots of toddlers who had rotten teeth at such an early age and had to undergo root canal and I didn't want Raine to go thru that. As usual, my little shadow didn't want me to leave her side. I had my check up first and while I got a professional teeth-cleaning, she stood beside the dentist's chair the whole time. I had closed my eyes but I could hear her tapping her hands on the chair, sometimes slapping her hand on it, hoping to get my attention probably. The dentist gave her a pack of mini-M n' Ms and that kept her busy as she tried to open it to no avail.

After I was done we asked her to sit with me on the chair and she quietly obliged. The friendly dentist showed her the little mirror she would use to look at her teeth and she willingly opened her mouth to let her examine them. I was so surprised! Raine and I have a daily "wrestling match" whenever I brush her teeth so this was a first for her to open her mouth to a stranger. The dentist said she had no cavities. Yipee for me! She then showed Raine the small electric toothbrush she wanted to use to clean her teeth. She tried it on her little fingers first so that Raine wouldn't be afraid of the whirling motion. Again, she opened her mouth and let the dentist brush her teeth! I was so proud of her I got a little teary-eyed.

Next, we visited the dermatologist for some minor skin problems. Raine enjoyed screaming at the top of her lungs as we waited for our turn. She was also at her best behavior at the derma's. She waved goodbye and kept greeting the other people waiting for their turn as we walked down the long corridor. She fell asleep as we ate our lunch in the mall. We were supposed to watch "Madagascar 2" as a prize for her good behavior but since she fell asleep, we watched "Twilight" instead. It's a good thing it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be because she woke up before the movie started and was a good girl throughout. Her power nap earlier must have fully charged her because later on as we browsed through the stores she kept running around and hiding from me. It was pretty tiring catching up to her while carrying my bag, her diaper bag and some shopping bags. The behaved little girl at the doctors' was now the energizer bunny gone wild. Whenever I would catch her and set her down on the floor she would run out again and hide behind the cashier's area, much to the amusement of the store's clerks.

My little girl's opposite behaviors fully manifested in just one day. Welcome to the world of the two-year old!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Spending time with my BFFs

Paris Hilton isn't the only one who loves to spend time with her BFF. I had a great time with two of my favorite BFFs yesterday. I got a new job as a freelance editor thanks to Tricia who told me about the opening. She was going to the office to process her maternity benefits documents and I was called in for contract signing. After all the forms and documents were filled up, we were famished and decided to grab a late lunch at the nearby SM mall. It was fun comparing notes on our little girls and life as stay-at-home and work-at-home mommies.

Tricia is my oldest friend, we've known each other since we were 8 years old! We were classmates in second grade and busmates all throughout grade school. Way before e-mail, we kept up a regular correspondence through the old fashioned way, snail mail when we transferred to different high schools. Every special occasion such as birthdays, Valentine's and Christmas, we would send each other cards and letters. This went on during college, until we both went to work and eventually got married. We were on each other's wedding entourages and she is one of my daughter's godmothers. With the advent of the mobile phone and the internet we are able to keep in touch more easily. She's now preggy with her second baby and counting the weeks to go.

After I dropped her off in her house I called up my other BFF, Hazel. I wanted to swing by ATC to go shopping for a cocktail dress and a gown my brother's upcoming wedding and thought it would be a good time to meet up. Luckily she was free and it turns out was also in need of a gown to wear to a friend's wedding. We had a blast trying on gowns and dresses. It felt like the quest for the holy grail. The dress would either be too tight or would realistically look better on a mannequin, read, someone with a model-thin figure. I ended up buying a fab black and red dress. Hazel was unsure about getting this sexy red piece because of the steep price so we looked at other shops but couldn't find any that measured up to the red number. We took so long that by the time we went back for the first gown she liked, the store was closed. Hazel said she would just go back for the dress another time and if it was still there then it was meant to be. I also tried on a light gray goddess style gown but was hesitant to get it because it showed off unflattering parts of my body, if you know what I mean.

We were tired after all the fittings and running around two different malls on our search for the perfect dress that we ended the day with a yummy pasta and salad dinner (ahem, gotta watch the figures!) Hazel is my BFF from high school and although we don't regularly keep in touch as much as Tricia and I, we always manage to pick up where we left off from our last conversation, no matter how many weeks or months ago that was.

It was fun hearing about my longtime friend, her love life and the corporate world for a change. We talked about our families and reminisced about the high school days.

I was out for a whole day and it was so nice to just relax and catch up on some girl talk and bond with some of my favorite people. I really cherish and relish moments like these especially now that I am married. Once you're married you sometimes tend to neglect your friends and get caught up with your new family and all the things that go with running a household, making a living and raising your kids. I look forward to my next date with my girl friends.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I don’t like politics much, when I read the papers I usually turn to the Entertainment or Lifestyle Section first. I find politics, whether in the country or anywhere else, too depressing what with all the corruption and deviousness going around. But this year I’ve been somewhat following the U.S. Presidential campaigns. We were in Marshall Islands for most of this year and due to the lack of interesting TV programs, we often turned to CNN and Fox News which covered the Obama and McCain activities pretty extensively.

While I am not a fan of Obama and oppose his views on abortion and gay marriage, his win is a great turning point not only for African-Americans but for all non-whites living in the United States. It is indeed a triumph for a people who have suffered great oppression for hundreds of years in the land of the free and the brave. For the first time they truly have a voice in the highest office in the land, not to mention the most powerful nation in the world. One popular comedienne even said, “Now we have no excuse to slack off.” Obama’s election will be an inspiration to Africans, Asians and Latinos all trying to better their lives in the white man’s world.

There has been a lot of crazy talk about Obama lately. Could Obama be the one the great prophet Nostradamus was referring to in his prophecy centuries ago?

The American people will let the new President have his “honeymoon” period for sure. But after the euphoria has died down, all eyes will be on Mr. Barack Obama as he buckles down to the grueling work ahead.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Halloween Overload

This past week Raine went to not one but three Halloween trick or treat events. Growing up, I didn't get to experience this holiday. It was only something I saw on American TV. Although I do remember going to a Halloween costume party in high school. I dressed up as a punk fairy and even had a wand made. Haha! These past few years, most upper-middle class subdivisions have come up with their own Halloween activities for kids to enjoy, so now trick or treating has become an "in" thing. Raine's 3-year old cousin, a Halloween "veteran", had lots of costumes from her early trick or treating days so I didn't have to buy . For her first outing, Raine was a purple fairy. By the afternoon, she was getting all itchy so we switched to a penguin costume. The penguin look was a hit with the neighbors. Her chubby-ness complemented the costume. I decided to use this costume for her next two Halloween events.

Her second "T or T" was at my former office. It was different from going house to house in a village. This time we went from floor to floor, visiting the different departments which were decorated with themes ranging from "Blues Clues", to "Care Bears", to "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Nightmare Before Christmas". My officemates loved Raine's getup. They kept calling her "Happy Feet" after the penguin cartoon. I think this overwhelmed the tot a bit because it was difficult to coax a smile out of her when my friends took pictures of her. She only warmed up when we stopped by the training room and she got to play with other kids who had taken a break from all the Halloween madness.

For her third and last Halloween activity, we mostly watched the shows in the village clubhouse. Raine and cousin Annika happily sat on their little monoblock chairs while munching on popcorn and cotton candy as they watched animal and magic shows on the stage. After the programme, we had some time to do the traditional door-to-door visits. It was drizzling a little so we had a car with us to drive the kids around the neighborhood. Penguin Raine and Peacock Annika had a blast going from house to house asking for candy. Annika's costume was an eyecatcher and she even won as one of the top ten best costumes.

Next year I think I will buy Raine her own costume, something comfortable yet still adorable. As for me, I'll make sure I'll be wearing comfortable shoes and charge my video camera to capture all those cute little moments.