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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

On tape

When we were newly married, my husband insisted on buying a new camcorder. I have argued with him over this, but he won the argument. I have since realized the wisdom of having one. We've recorded our children's births, their birthdays, my son's school activities, and so forth.

What we haven't figured out is how to transfer the contents from the miniDV to a DVD. It's not simple and we have simply just let the contents stay in the miniDV. We just buy new ones when we anticipate an occasion.

But lately, there are already portable camcorders which use hard drives instead of tapes. We are thinking of buying one in the near future. There are still a lot of growing up for my kids to do, and every milestone deserves to be recorded for posterity's sake!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Getting ready for the rainy (and typhoon) season

It's that time of year again, when the rains and storms start coming. We've been traumatized the past few years, with Milenyo and Frank, Ondoy and Pepeng to mention a few. Basyang just visited and wreaked havoc, not to mention caused a power outage that affected Metro Manila and a large part of Luzon.

We have to be prepared for a typhoon. There's no telling when another might strike and how much damage it would cost. Good thing we already have a comprehensive insurance on my car which now includes a clause for acts of God. I'm thinking if we should also have window visors installed on our cars in case of strong winds. How about protection in case the car goes under water? I've heard of horror stories of people drowning inside their cars during Ondoy. Or maybe in cases like these, it's best just to leave the cars and hope they are still salvageable when you come back for them. Your priority to save lives, your own, your family's and anybody else's. Strictly speaking, a car is simply a material possession.

Other preparations that we have: We also have rechargeable lamps on standby. I'm thinking of having rechargeable fans too. We also know where the ice plant is, so that in case of a prolonged power outage, we could buy ice for my refrigerated breast milk.

Hmm, what else? Maybe we should stock up on ready to eat foods like canned goods and instant noodles, and maybe some bottled water, just to be sure.

And whenever we go out, probably we should bring an emergency kit -- food, bottled water, change of clothes, extra money...so that no matter where we end up, we could still have the basic necessities.

Disaster -- it's not avoidable. But we can at least be prepared and hopefully suffer minimal damage.

Here's hoping that there won't be too many disasters looming.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Traditional Chinese Medicine

I grew up with both mainstream Western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine remedies. While I am now mainly a practitioner of Western medicine (usually called conventional medicine), I do not totally shun TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) because I have personally experienced its benefits.

The TCM practitioners do not practice medicine the same way as conventional practitioners. The idea for TCM is by maintaining a fine balance-- between yin and yang, between "hotness" and "coldness". That's why TCM doctors don't really give multiple vitamins, but instead choose foods and herbs that are supposed to "bring back the balance", so to speak. If the patient suffers from a problem that is supposed to be due to "too much heatiness", food which are considered "cool" are recommended and herbs thought to bring down the "heatiness" are being given.

It's interesting, really. And, with a rich history of medicine, Chinese medicine is really nothing to scoff at. It is a pity that I cannot really recommend any practice or any herb because I am not formally trained in such. Maybe I should consider having additional education in such.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bienvenida-despedida

Yesterday evening, we had yet another dinner at my grandma's house, since my cousin M happened to be in town. Another visitor, my aunt V's mom, also came to the Philippines. My other cousin Z also happened to be leaving early this morning with her husband and baby. So, it was a mixed bienvenida-despedida party.

Most of us were able to make it this time. The past 2 gatherings, my husband and I were not able to attend because of various circumstances. It's a good thing that the power already came back on in our village. It would have been less enjoyable if we had to grope around in the dark, not to mention that it was quite humid after the winds and the rains that came with typhoon Basyang.

My sister-in-law couldn't make it though. Her obstetrician ordered her to be on total best rest since Saturday because she suffered some spotting. She's ok so far with no further incident but she wanted to make sure everything's ok and wouldn't dare defy her OB's orders. Everybody understood. After all, an expectant mom would do everything to ensure that her baby's ok, take the best prenatal vitamins possible, do periodic check ups with the obstetrician, and yes, lie down all the time if that's the way to ensure the baby's well being.

Every baby is a new blessing, and I would like to believe that our family is now blessed with the coming of babies, almost one after the other. Can't wait for my kids to finally have playmates other than each other within the family.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Earning opportunity?

Raising two growing children in the Philippines is expensive, especially if you're after more than the basics. Food is plentiful, but you have to spend for better quality foods that would ensure that they have all the right nutrients. Public helath services are available but not that easy to avail of. If you want to have better medical services, you will have to spend for it too. Education is available in public schools, but in most cases, private schools (which cost a lot of money) gives a better quality education.

That's why my husband and I are continuously looking out for income opportunities. For our practice, we've tried to maximize our clinic time while at the same time leaving some time for our kids -- to send our eldest to and from school, both of them to the pediatrician when needed, to help our eldest with his homework, and of course to simply spend some quality time with them. We really need additional sources of income that would not take up too much man hours from either of us, simply because we've almost maximized them.

That's why we also have a small online store in which we sell things like diapers. We have to think of something else, though. Something else unique that other people don't have. There are already many other diaper sellers. And I don't think I'm ready to take on the challenge of importing diapers, even if I do have some grasp of the business already.

With so many people in business online, I wonder if a business whose purpose is to sell merchant accounts would be profitable? I found an online site which offers reseller packages. I will do more research on it, but it certainly sounds interesting.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Babies

I think every family "renews" itself once every so often. We've lost some loved ones during the past decade, but this time, we've seen that our generation has gotten married and given birth to another whole new generation.

Now we're getting more babies this year. I have 2 sisters-in-law who are pregnant right now, from both my side and my husband's side. That means we'll be seeing new babies soon!

Understandably, the new moms-to-be are (and should be) more careful with whatever they take in. This is certainly not the time to diet. I would believe no diet supplement review would state that this could be taken during pregnancy. I always tell them to avoid getting sick, because it's more difficult for them as there are a limited number of medications that they can take while they are pregnant.

This makes me long for another baby. Problem is, I really do not know if we should still aim for another one, or if we should be satisfied with the two kids that we have. We love them to bits, and another one would surely add to our joy, but we don't know if we have the capacity to raise them the way we want to.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Aging with grace

One of the great things that happened because of Ama's birthday celebration was that it brought the family closer together. My relatives from US and Canada all came over. It was a rare chance for a family pictorial, because we don't really get a lot of these moments when all the family is together.

You can see that my grandmother was positively delighted that all her four surviving children and 5 children-in-law are present, as well as most of her grandchildren (sadly 3 of the 15 were not able to make it). 4 of her 5 great grandchildren (which include my E and R) were also there. It was a sea of red (clothes).

My grandmother looked beautiful, she didn't look like a 90 year old but looks 20-30 years younger, more so that evening that's done especially to honor her. I don't know if she uses any anti aging face face creams but I know she still walks and does tai chi for exercise. Sadly, her eyesight is not good anymore because of age related macular degeneration but otherwise she's pretty healthy. She typifies the image I have in mind of growing old gracefully.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Slimming down -- yey!

I haven't weighed myself in a long while but I'm getting a lot of compliments about being slimmer nowadays. People also ask me what my secret is, whether I'm on a specific diet or exercise program or I'm taking in natural slimming pills or something.

I don't do any of those. I've been too busy to find time for an exercise program (as with any parent who's doing a juggling act of career and family), I'm almost always too hungry to diet (and food is one of the things I'm enjoying and I'm not ready to give that up yet), and I'm wary of supplements especially since I breastfeed.

So how did I lose weight? I would say breastfeeding. And stress. The past few months have been very stressful. But I'm really not that happy yet with my shape. I still look pregnant -- which shows how out of shape I really am. I guess I do need to hit the gym -- if I get the time.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ama's 90th

We just had Grandma's grand 90th celebration. I still have to blog about the whole experience. Give me some time. June has been so full of happenings that I had hardly found time to put down everything that went on.

Grandma wanted the affair to be nice. With the right touch of elegance but not too much that people are stiff and formal. Hence, the invitation states "come as you are" instead of "formal", "semi formal" or some other strict dress code. Of course, the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren all dressed in red (which made a striking contrast against Ama's bright blue dress). Other relatives also came in red even if they were not required to, as a sign of respect for our family matriarch. However, if you are on the guest list, you can come in whatever you are comfortable in, no need to dress all out.

And since Ama is 90 and is at the age of leaving a legacy rather than receiving gifts (to be truthful, it's pretty difficult to find gifts for men and women at that age, don't you think?) There is a notation on the invitation saying "Please dispense with gift". I think most people appreciate that, but some people just want to give something, so there were still a few gifts.

More details later. On the whole, I think Ama enjoyed her day. :)