Video clip #1

Here's my daughter singing "sampung mga daliri."


February 6, 2003


Dancing to the tune of Asereje, a dance they've learned during their trip back home. Video taken at our first apartment in Canada.


February 7, 2003


Many many thanks to RAQUEL for teaching me how to do this video clip.

Happy Halloween to all!

English vs Tagalog

Friends would always ask me "do your kids understand what you just said?" I would say "yes, they can understand Tagalog, but they have a hard time speaking the language."

I usually speak Tagalog around the house. I know its hard for my kids to speak the language but I want them to at least understand it. And when I'm angry, I speak in Tagalog, it is easier for me to express my anger in Tagalog than in English.

My hubby would always tell me to speak in English because the tone of my voice, especially when I'm angry, is lower than when it is in Tagalog. More "pleasing" to the ears as he would always say. Does it really make a difference? My hubby believe so.

I'm beginning to think so too.

There are lots of blogs out there who uses our native language in their postings, and one thing that I notice is that I am able to "feel" and "understand" their anger, confusion, happiness, excitement, apprehensions, fear, being in love, loneliness, getting broken hearts... they are able to impart their emotions, perfectly.

And because we are so comfortable with Tagalog, postings can also cause friction, wrong interpretation of the message and emotions, misunderstanding and miscommunications. Hence, conflict arises.

I've been blogging for almost a year now and I've chosen to blog in English. That is probably the reason why I have a hard time writing down my feelings and emotions??? hmmmmm...

Of course, there are those who are able to convey their emotions perfectly in English (except me). No doubt about that!

My favorite answer when my friends ask me "do your kids understand what you just said (in Tagalog)?" -- "aba mahirap magalit sa ingles!"

Is it just me? Do I make sense at all? ^_^

Things aren't always what they seem

I had the unfortunate chance of meeting one blogger face to face. She was actually the second blogger I've met. The first blogger I've met became a family friend who I admired in the blogosphere and adored by my kids. This post is not about that friend. This post is about the second blogger.

Reading her posts, her portrayal of a demure, angelic and soft spoken lady turns out to be the total opposites of what I've seen in person. She made a mockery of my postings starting from this to this... etc... which I opted to disregard then because I am not here to please people, I am here to blog.

Not only that, she made a lot of mockery of other people's picture in their blog (people I don't even know), referring to one particular blogger (she had a bad encounter with) to even look like a katulong.

I caution myself from there on, I kept my distance. This isn't somebody I want to be friends with but at the same time I didn't want to judge her character based on one meeting.

She referred a couple of other blogs, which I am thankful for, cause I find them to be interesting, informative, very real and down to earth. And I find myself visiting these blogs rather than hers.

I was really surprised to learn that she was taking "credit" in being good at "promoting" other people's blog. Nobody asked her to do this. And she also said that because of her, I had a lot of "hits" in my own blog.

Is she right to take credits? Did you come here to read my blog because somebody told you to do so? Did you come here following her footsteps, everytime? She may have led some of you here, initially, but isn't it your CHOICE if you want to come back here or not? Or maybe you discovered my blog after I left a comment in your tagboard?

Yes, I admit that since I started visiting, not only her blog but some other blogs (in her circle of links), my hits had increased! Why? Because instead of just lurking and reading, I started leaving comments to let people know that I was there and that I have a blog too.

I'm not a good writer nor good at expressing myself, and my grammar is not perfect either. But what you see/read is the real ME. I am not pretending to be somebody else. I never leave "anonymous" comments. I am not exaggerating nor creating stories to get you hooked up nor take pity on my struggles with life.

This blog may not reveal the 100% ME, but it is still ME.

Reading for today: Things aren't always what they seem

Do you want a big family?

I only have 2 kids and I am already "complaining" how much work it is... don't get me wrong, I love my kids and I love being a mother. I love being pregnant, the feeling of a baby growing inside me, the excuse for eating without worrying about getting fat and breastfeeding... But its not an easy job and I am on-call 24/7.

I'm really glad that I had both my kids back home. I was telling hubby that if we migrated before my daughter was conceived, I may not have her anymore. Its just hard to raise kids here, with no help around, no family member to assists and daycare are very expensive. I know that 2 kids is too few. My mama have 9 brothers and sisters and my papa have 5. I have 4 siblings and hubby have 3. But at least (I hope and pray) I can 'guarantee' my kids with a good education and a good life.

Imagine my shock when I read about a couple who have 16 children and still wants more... "Little Rock, Arkansas (AP) -- Michelle Duggar just delivered her 16th child, and she's already thinking about doing it again... Michelle Duggar, 39, had her first child at age 21, four years after the couple married. Their children include two sets of twins, and each child has a name beginning with the letter "J": Joshua, 17; John David, 15; Janna, 15; Jill, 14; Jessa, 12; Jinger, 11; Joseph, 10; Josiah, 9; Joy-Anna, 8; Jeremiah, 6; Jedidiah, 6; Jason, 5; James, 4; Justin, 2; Jackson Levi, 1; and now Johannah."

A date with Martin

Hubby and I with Martin and Pops Finally, hubby and I are going out on a date tonight!

It's a concert date with Martin Nievera... am sooooo excited! I have been a huge fun of Martin since his 'Penthouse Live' days...

Hubby and I got the chance to meet Martin and Pops in Boracay, 1996. Martin was very friendly with the crowd!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Fall Colors

October 16. We went for a drive to see the fall colors. This is my favorite time of the year. I just love to see the leaves turn yellow, orange and especially red.

We drove 2.5 hours to Lions lookout in Huntsville...

click to enlarge click to enlarge

and another hour from Huntsville to the Fire Tower in Dorset...

click to enlarge click to enlarge

It was hard climbing up... but it was much harder going down the Fire Tower. I can ride any type of roller coaster, but I can feel my knees shaking on this one. I was actually scared going down, so I was able to take a picture of my family from the top.

Both towns are located in Muskoka, Ontario.


My favorite fall color is red! It was hard to find a nice red tree, most of them are along the highways... I got lucky on this one as we stop for dinner at McDonalds.

More pictures here

Decisions

Junnie asked this in his blog: "What's the hardest choice you recently made?"

Thank God I don't have to make any such decision right now. But let me share LV's present situation. LV's brother had been diagnosed with Cryptococcal Meningitis early this year and is in a terminal stage right now.

"Cryptococcal meningitis is a brain infection caused by a fungus called cryptococcus neoformans, which is found mainly in dirt and bird droppings."

His brother is in his early 30s with a wife and 2 kids (ages 11 and 6). To date, medical bills have reached approximately PHP1.5M (roughly CDN$ 34,000+ or USD$ 27,000+) and they are financially in debt.

The doctor presented them with this situation: to continue medication (which they can no longer afford) or to let him go peacefully. To my understanding, even if they continue the medication, it will not "cure" him, it will only prolong his life. As of today, he can no longer communicate with his love ones.

I remember engaging in a debate back in college about euthanasia. I am pro-life. But in situation such as this, is it practical to continue the medication even if its a financial burden already with no hope of any recovery? or should we continue fighting and hope that a miracle can happen? what about the future of his children? how can they get proper education if there's no money left? is it selfish to think of the future of the surviving spouse and children rather than the sick?

To me, if I am in a terminal illness and a financial burden, I would readily accept being let go. It's no use leaving my love ones in debt.

But I wouldn't know what to do if I were in LV's situation. It's a much harder decision to make. You are putting his life in your hands. What would you do? How would you deal with this situation?

I think it's important for everyone (irregardless of age) to have a signed Power of Attorney for Personal Care so that in situation such as this, with instructions and wishes in writing, we can relieve family members from having to make difficult decisions at a time of great stress.

My prayers goes to the family of LV. I know its a painful and hard decision. Please take time out to pray for LV and his family.

Should I be happy or not?

I remember when I was in grade school, I have to bring 7-10 books and 7-10 notebooks to school everyday. My bag was really heavy then. I remember that our maid had to walk me to school just to help me carry my bag.

My school starts at 7:15am and ends at 12noon for lunch break... then resume again at 1:15pm to 2:15pm for my english classes... then from 2:30pm to 4:30pm I have my chinese classes.

I remember that my mama had to buy books every year, even though I have older brothers/sister, I can't use the books that they used since the school is using a different edition every year. I also remember that I have homework almost every night...

Fast forward to present time in Canada, school here starts at 8:45am and ends at 3:15pm, with a total of 1 hour and 20 minutes break in between. My son's backpack consists of: pencil case, an agenda book, lunch box/water, and personal items like mittens, scrafs, hat (during winter months)... and that's it! No notebooks, no books!

All of his notebooks are provided by the school and left in school. All books are also school property. I don't really know what books they used and what they do at school. They don't even have long test to prepare for.

Right now, my son (in grade 3) is given homework every wednesday which is due the following tuesday.

It's a good thing that hubby started reading to the kids every night since they were young so my kids love reading before bedtime.

So should I be happy that my son doesn't get much homework? or don't have to study or cram for an exam? or spent the whole night finishing a project? or that he doesn't have to carry heavy books to school everyday? and that I don't have to buy his school books and uniforms?

Or should I be worried that compared to his old playmates back home, he might not be as good as them? or like most kids here, he might end up not going to college/university?

Back in college, I would hear some of my "average" classmate/s who migrated to the States or Canada graduated at the top of their class. And I find that hard to believe. But now, I understand why. Because the education system back home is still way much better than it is in this part of the world.

We were trained to study and study and study back home. Here, kids were trained to be independent and to socialize with other kids and adults.

They say that kids who grew up here are "street smart" and can easily talk to adults... while kids back home are "bookish"... This, I have yet to find out.

A friend of mine recently migrated to Vancouver. Her children, ages 10, 8 and 5 are saying that all they do in school is play. Way too different from their previous school.

My friends back home are wondering how come I have time to blog, update my family website, is now into online scrapping and also get to spent time chatting when they don't even have time to check their emails? We are all on the same boat - meaning full time stay-at-home moms with 2 kids, housechores and they even have maids to help them and I don't.

The only thing that's really different is that they spent 1-3 hours everyday helping their kids do their homework, while I spent only 15-30 minutes on school related activities once or twice a week.

All in all, migrating has been good for our family! The education system is the one thing that I don't like about Canada.

My Favorites from A to Z

A is for Amazing race and Autumn, my favorite season
B is for Beaches and BBQ picnic during summer time
C is for Cuddling, digital Camera and Coke
D is for Desperate housewives, my new fave TV series
E is for the story of Encouragement
F is for Family Fun
G is for Gifts (I love surprises) and Gospel tract (a must-read)
H is for Home sweet Home!
I is for Internet
J is for Jeannie, my fave cousin
K is for Kris Kringle
L is for Love, can't live without it!
M is for Mike, Mango Moose cake and Mickey Mouse (Disneyworld)
N is for my Nephew and Nieces whom I miss so much
O is for my other blog, One friend
P is for the 2 P's in my life, Patrick and Patricia
Q is for "Que sera sera" - my mama used to sing this song to me
R is for Red Lobsters, our fave family restaurant
S is for Scrapbooking, my fave hobby
T is my love for Travelling (budget permitting) and Tobogganing
U is for the magical Unicorn
V is for Visa card
W is for Wal-mart and my family Webpage
X is for XoXo
Y is for Yahoo messenger
Z is for Zzzzzzzzz... (sleeping)

Tag, you're it!

Our Anniversary Celebration

Ever since we migrated, we have to drag our kids where ever we go! Gone where the days when hubby and I used to go out on dates and leave the kids with yayas or lolos/lolas. Though we have friends who I know are willing to babysit for us, we just couldn't take advantage of that (unless its a really important event that we can't take the kids with us). So for our anniversary, we have to think of something the whole family will enjoy. And the one thing that hubby and I shared and enjoy immensely are road trips!

Last Saturday we left the house at 5:45am and after 396 km, we reached Science North in Sudbury at 10am.

Science North is "a world-renowned science centre and Northern Ontario's most popular tourist attraction".

It was an all day fun for the kids... roaming around... touching and playing with everything in sight... trying out and discovering different things... They even have a special event (Lego Exhibition) for that weekend only.

Please check out some our pictures from the Science North and Lego exhibition.

10 years from now, I'm sure my kids wouldn't like to be tagging along on family trips like this... so we might as well take advantage of our "family quality time" while they don't have a say yet.

Memory Lane - the past 10 years

Our 10th Anniversary

"I thank you for bringing out the best in me
I thank you for ignoring the worst in me
I thank you for loving me for what I am
And for that, I want you to know 'I love you, truly!'"



Life is full of challenges and hardship, full of decisions to make, many opportunities knocking on our doors... through it all, what really matters is the choices that we made in our lives... right or wrong, we live by the choices we made. And I stand by my choices with no regrets!

Our wedding was a mixture of Chinese-Filipino tradition. It wasn't hard to organized though since me and hubby made most of the major decisions! And hubby always give in to my request [wink]!

Going down the memory lane --

1995
As early as February, we were busy with our wedding preparations... June, we announced our wedding plans to our friends during Hubby's birthday party!

October, we tied the knot... and off we go to HongKong and Singapore for our honeymoon.

1996
We bought and moved into our first townhouse in March... a place we called our HOME! Then we decided that its baby time...

I went on my first trip to Boracay/Iloilo/Roxas with hubby and my in-laws. We even met Martin Nievera and Pops Fernandez in Boracay... and later on I found out that I was pregnant.

1997
January 8, Hubby just left that morning to go to La Union/Baguio City, I wasn't due in 2 more weeks, but I was up for a checkup that same day at 2pm... and the doctor said I had to confine myself to the maternity ward.

I checked myself into the hospital and got hold of hubby around 7pm, told him to come home the next day as I know I am not due yet... but he decided to drove back that same night (imagine he drove from Manila to La Union to Baguio City and back to Manila for 18 hours).

By January 10, my doctor had to do an emergency C section and at 2:22am, we welcome our son with open arms... the start of many sleepless nights... and the joy of parenthood...

He is the first grandchild in my hubby's side and the 5th grandchild on my side.

1998
Patrick's first plane trip to Cebu to visit great grandma and meet aunties and uncles and cousins on my side...

1999
Our second honeymoon was a trip to the USA (SFO, Chicago, NY/NJ, Connecticut, Boston, Orlando)...

Little did I know that hubby wants to check out the possibility of migrating and living in North America... and as soon as we got home, we started gathering the required documents and filled out the forms for Canada. We submitted our application forms within a span of 6 weeks... And the wait begins...

Later in the year, we went on our third "unplanned" honeymoon to Bangkok, courtesy of my MIL's free airline mileage.

2000
We received words from the Canadian Embassy to have our medical exams, since I was pregnant, I couldn't complete my x-ray until at least I was on my 7th month (this of course delayed the processing)...

In August, we welcome our daughter to the world... and my son was soooo happy to see his little sister! He even made a welcome sign for her.

She is the 3rd grandchild on my hubby's side and the 8th on my side. The youngest (so far) on both side.

2001
Marks the year we migrated to Canada... Hubby took up a 6-month full time course on Networking... And with lots of unfinished business in Manila, me and the kids went back home in time for my daughter's first birthday... and then we fly out to Beijing, China where my MIL was waiting. And finally back to Canada.

Yes, me and the kids (then 4.5 and 1 yr old) had been to 3 different countries in 1 year! It wasn't easy travelling with 2 young kids.

2002 to 2003
Courtesy of my MIL, we went home in December for a family reunion... Ahhhh.... There's no place like home! We maximize our trip by visiting Boracay, Roxas (to visit great grandma Payang) and Tagaytay Highlands.

And my son celebrated his 6th birthday with his old playmates. He remembers very little about the Philippines, so we took him around to see our old neighborhood and his old school.

2004
We went on a family trip to Orlando, Florida for 7 days and 6 nights with my in-laws (from Beijing, Manila and New York)... And on the day of our 9th year wedding anniversary, me and hubby celebrated it in MGM/Epcot/Magic Kingdom! Yes, 3 theme parks in 1 day! We met the whole family at Magic Kingdom later that night for Mickey's not-so-scary-halloween party!


It was a dream come true! We all love Mickey!

2005
Marks the year we became Canadian Citizens!

And our 10th-year wedding anniversary!


October 8, 1995
San Sebastian Basilica Church
The Peninsula Manila

...oOo...

By the way, its a long weekend for us in Canada... Happy Thanksgiving to all! I have really a lot of things to be thankful for, most especially for my family's good health and many blessings! Have a great weekend!

Parents Behaving Badly

Case #1: Toddler given whiskey

"...Rebecca Kern admits putting Jim Beam Whiskey in her son's bottle the day before a friend came to visit her..." Read the whole story here.

Case #2: Toddler given vodka

"...The nine-month-old had "somehow" been left in the care of a two-year-old, who obviously mistook the clear liquor for Pedialyte... a half-ounce would have been enough to push the baby over the legal limit - while slightly over two ounces could have killed him..." Read the whole story here.

Case #3: Mom wants to "de-flower" teenage daughter

"A woman pleaded guilty to second-degree rape for providing a hotel room and liquor so her 13-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old friend could have sex with two men they just met..." Read the whole story here.

Case #4: Toddler left in car because father forget

"...most parents do not "intend" to leave their children in a hot car. They just forget that they are there, which is the same for this case, and why the toddler's father may not be charged... No parent has been charged in Clark County yet for "forgetting" to leave their child in a car. One parent has only been charged when they intentionally left their child in a car. One child, 16-month-old Jozia Diaz, died earlier this summer after his father forgot him in the car..." Read the whole story here.

Case #5: Father killed infant girl because she won't stop crying

"...Panganiban admitted to police he was tired on the night of Aug. 13, 2001. His daughter would not stop crying, so he covered her mouth to keep her from crying, he told police. When that didn't work, Panganiban placed the back of his knee as many as 15 times over his daughter's face to stop her from crying. He later fell asleep and woke up to find his leg "suction-cupped" to his daughter's face..." Read the whole story here.

...oOo...

What's wrong with the world we live in??? Reading stories like this scares the hell out of me... If a parent could do these things to their own children, what more a babysitter or caretaker or strangers?

Reading for today: Mother's Path of life

ADHD checklist

On one of our regular visits to my son's Pediatrician (in Manila), the doctor mentioned that he is way too hyper and active for his age (he was 2 years old). And that she would like to continue on studying him if I would permit it. I said "yes" but never gave it another thought. The doctor didn't pursue it too.

When he was 3.5 years old, the doctor again noticed his inability to sit still and focus... but at that time, we were already planning on migrating, again, I didn't thought there was anything to it. I guess I just thought that he was normal and acts like any kid his age.

When he was in Kindergarten (in Canada), the teacher's would always comment about his inability to focus and his short attention span... and yet they all said that he's smart. I know he is a smart kid. But we (me and the teachers) couldn't see his full potential since he is easily distracted with his surroundings. When I ask our family doctor about this, she just said to wait and see, as it is way to early to say if it is ADHD or not.

When his grade 1 teacher told me that my son could be "ADHD" (again). I really couldn't believe it, or should I say I don't want to accept it. But it couldn't be just coincidental that so many people already noticed it... So I began my research and discover this ADHD checklist (which I have copied below).

BASIC RULES

  • a professional uses the symptoms checklist to make the diagnosis of ADHD
  • behavior has persisted for at least six months
  • to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level
  • must present with six or more of the following
HYPERACTIVITY
  • often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
  • often leaves seat in situations in which staying seated is expected
  • often runs about or climbs excessively in inappropriate situations
  • in adolescents or adults, may be limited to feelings of restlessness
  • often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
  • is often "on the go" or often acts as if "driven by a motor"
  • often talks excessively
IMPULSIVITY
  • often blurts out answers before questions have been completed
  • often has difficulty awaiting turn
  • often interrupts or intrudes on others (conversations, games)
INATTENTION
  • often fails to give close attention to details
  • often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
  • often makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
  • often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • often does not follow through on instructions
  • often fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace
  • not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions
  • often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
  • often avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental effort
  • often loses things necessary for tasks (assignments, pencils, books, etc.)
  • is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
  • is often forgetful in daily activities
Checklist Copyright © Centers for Disease Control

I did the checklist myself and was surprised at how many was applicable to my son. On HYPERACTIVITY its 6/7... on IMPULSIVITY its 3/3... on INATTENTION its 6/12! And I would say that he is on the extreme side. This cause me to panic! It was hard to accept that my son could have a "disability". But then, knowing the signs of an ADHD explains a lot of his "weird" behavior in the past.

Here's one incident: we were lining up for a roller coaster ride, when all of the sudden he would put his hand beside his head and waving it at the same time shaking his head and his whole body while shouting "waaaaaaah..." in front of a boy we didn't know. The boy with his mom just stared at my son. I apologize and hold him by the hand and look into his eyes and ask "what were you doing?" He looked at me, puzzled, "I don't know mommy. Why?"

I ask my hubby to do the checklist too and then we compared our answers. Next I gave the checklist to his teachers. And then I brought all the checklist to our family doctor who in turn referred us to a specialist.

And that is how it all started. Now the question is whether to medicate or not.