Thursday Thirteen # 14: Highs of 2006



Thirteen Highlights of 2006

  1. 2006 greeted us with the loss of baby Trissi Gabriel.
  2. Hubby finally bought me a new computer as an early pre-valentine gift.
  3. This was followed by an overnight trip to Blue Mountain where I tried skiing for the very first time.
  4. Summer where spent at Canada's Wonderland, where we bought our first season pass. It was good timing, since we didn't know we will be moving out of Ontario later in the year.
    From Patricia's first to discovering she is as daring as me... and in trying more daring rides... and here's the picture to prove it... and of course, still daring at the water park.
  5. Our summer is also filled with out of town trips to New York City...
  6. An overnight trip to Tobermory, Ontario...
  7. and back to the USA for a family gathering/reunion.
  8. I joined and become part of the Thursday Thirteen group.
  9. And here's my entry about my problem with kids and TV and my new house rules is working perfectly! Now my kids are used to the idea of no TV. Since we moved, buying TV is at the back of our list and kids are not complaining at all.
  10. I held my first contest and the winner received a $20 GAP gift card. Sorry, nobody won my second contest.
  11. Of course, the biggest highs of all is our relocation... from Ontario to Alberta! Feels like we are migrating all over again!
  12. Our new car! [which I haven't blog about]
  13. December 24, we spent the day on a trip to Banff National Park and Lake Louise. Hubby visited Banff last September, here's what it looks like in the summer time.



Get your Thursday Thirteen code here

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!!!

On Returns and Exchanges

I wish to thank everyone who left me messages. Sorry I have been too sick to really respond to each and everyone of them. I am deeply touched by your well wishes! THANK YOU!

...oOo...

On Returns and Exchanges

The one thing I love about North America is the right of the costumer to return or exchange an item, as long as you have the receipt and its original packaging.

Before we left Toronto, we received 2 advance Christmas gifts, one is a digicam and the other is a portable DVD player for my kids.

I already notice that the digicam's audio is quite low compared to my old digicam. But since I have been busy with our relocation I decided to postpone going to the store to have it check. But I did ask my friend to give me the receipt, just in case.

The portable DVD player was a gift for my kids, they got it on our last day in Toronto. I also had to leave the packaging since I had no way of knowing that I will be requesting for an exchange. Once we got on the plane, I found out that it was defective. It can't read the disk. And I thought that was it! I don't have the packaging nor the receipt.

Once in Calgary, I decided to exchange my digicam. I didn't have all the packaging with me then [I left it at home], I was just at the store and decided to ask. Its a good thing I have the receipt with me. And the girl just willingly exchange the unit without any question. On top of that, I got a refund. You see, that model was on sale that day, $50 off! So when she did the exchange, she has to give me the difference in the amount. Yey! Of course, I'm returning the refund to my friend K.

This gave me an idea that maybe I can exchange the DVD player too, even without the packaging. So I have to ask my friend Junnie to mail me the receipt. The problem with this DVD player is that it is being phased out, so there are limited units available in Calgary. I have to go to 3 different stores before they finally got one. They willingly exchanged it, with no hassle! And they were quite amuse that my receipt was from Erin Mills, Mississauga, Ontario.

Now, this is what I call a good customer service!

3 more days to go...

and I have not bought any gifts for my kids! I've been sick this whole week with sore throat, cough and on and off fever and migrain. I've been sleeping a lot and drinking lots of liquid... still I feel like I am getting worst everyday!

I know what to get my daughter coz she just gave me her wish list... but my son was to lazy to make his wish list, so I don't really have an idea of what he wants. Maybe its about time I give him cash this Christmas, what do you think?

Thursday Thirteen #13: Christmas Season

A Canadian born made a comment: "I don't understand why some people, like my neighbor, would put up their Christmas light and decor as early as September. Are they crazy?"

I said: "They must be from the Philippines.
"

He said: "Yes! How did you know?"

I said: "Because I am from the Philippines and our Christmas celebration starts as soon as the 'ber' month arrived. Filipinos love the Christmas season."

He said: "I can't imagine putting up my Christmas tree and lights before Halloween... We always put up our tree a week before Christmas and take them out after boxing day [December 26]."



Thirteen things I miss about Christmas in the Philippines

  1. Celebrating the true meaning of Christmas, birth of Jesus [and not Santa Claus].
  2. Christmas songs playing in the mall as early as September.
  3. The overflowing of food during Noche Buena.
  4. The gathering of family and relatives during Noche Buena.
  5. The opening of gifts on Christmas eve.
  6. Simbang gabi and puto bumbong.
  7. Gift giving.
  8. The different sizes and colorful parols hanging along the streets and houses.
  9. The well decorated homes, malls and business district.
  10. Numerous Christmas parties to attend.
  11. Participating in the "Kris Kringle".
  12. Christmas carolers singing door to door.
  13. Going to carnivals [our yearly family tradition].
If you're not yet done with your Christmas shopping, here's a list of ideas for your friends, for FREE!

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all of you!!!

Thoughts #9: On Remittances

I hate my bank [HSBC] in the Philippines... first, they wanted to convert our existing PHP mortgage loan to USD since we are no longer living in the Philippines. So I have to faxed them copies of our valid Philippine passport just to let them know that we are still very much Filipino citizens. And of course I insisted that that loan has been approved when we were still in the Philippines.

Then, come the time when they wanted to tax my USD account, again because we are no longer living in the Philippines. So I closed my USD account and just decided to maintain my PHP account for the mortgage.

Recently, I've remitted money to our account in the Philippines. I used PNB-Toronto to remit, so that it will be easier. This is the second time I used PNB-Toronto and I have no problem with our first remittance. Now, they are "rejecting" my remittance, reason being "we are non-resident". Duh??? The money I'm remitting is being converted to PHP in Canada, so once it reached my account in Manila, it will be in PHP. This is fine since my account with them is in PHP.

I sent them 4 emails before I got an answer. I was finally informed me that they will only accept my remittance in foreign currency since I am a non-resident and not in PHP. My account is in PHP, it only seems reasonable to send money in PHP, right?

When I told PNB-Toronto about the reason they gave me, the lady told me that this is the first time they've encountered problem like mine. If this is a ruling of BSP [Bangko Sentral], as claim by my bank, then why is it that PNB have never heard of it? And none of my friends have ever encountered such a problem?

Have you ever encountered such problems?

Relocation Update #6: Schools and Homework

In a matter of speaking, they say that schools here are generally much much better than the schools in Ontario. I still have yet to find out since my kids just started school here last week, but so far, here's what I've discovered:

  1. There are 4 types of school available: regular Public school or Catholic school, and Public French Immersion school or Catholic French Immersion school.

    In Ontario, there are only 3 types of school. There is no Catholic French Immersion school. So my kids have to attend the Public French Immersion school.

  2. My kids now go to the Catholic French Immersion school and have religion subject. They say they have to pray 4 times in one day, and in French! They only have 1 hour of English class every day, irregardless of the grade level. The chances of them being able to converse in French are higher here.

    In Ontario, from Grade 1-3, about 90-100% are taught in French, but once the child enter grade 4 onwards, its 50-50 in English/French. I once talk to a father who speaks French and his daughter goes to the same school as my kids, her daughter is already in grade 6 then and he told me that she is not able to converse fluently in French.

  3. Schools here are not free! I have to pay for the school bus [$230/family/year], school fees [$70 each], buy them their own school supplies and even pay for lunch supervision [$150/family/year] since my kids will be having lunch at school. These are one-time fee I have to pay upfront.

    In Ontario, I never did pay for anything! There's a school fee of $20/child/year, plus I have to pay for extra-curricular activities like ice skating, skiing, swimming... etc... and field trips. These I have to pay staggared throughout the school year. But other than these, I didn't have to provide school supplies, lunch supervision nor pay for school bus. It was only when my son started grade 4 that I have to buy him 2 binders and lined papers. That's it!

  4. My daughter [grade 1] gets homework every Friday. My son [grade 4] have homework everyday [in French]! That is why I am thankful for online sites that translate French to English and vice versa. Without it, I'd be totally lost since I don't know the French Language.

    In Ontario, my kids hardly get any homework. Well, maybe one homework once a week or every other week and 1-2 project per school year.
I thought that FREE schooling is across Canada, I stand corrected. I'm sure there's still more differences, but this is it for now.

Thursday Thirteen #12: Amazing Race

I'm a die hard Amazing Race fan! And I can't wait for the 11th season -- an all-star cast edition which premier in February 2007.



Thirteen reasons why I should be in The Amazing Race

  1. I love to travel
  2. and I love to see the world
  3. I love to see/learn different culture.
  4. I'm willing to try anything [especially if it's free!] -- like bungee jumping, sky diving, parasailing [even though I can’t swim]
  5. I'm a good driver
  6. and I can drive stick shift and automatic cars, even SUVs [though I haven't tried driving a trailer or on the left side of the road, but that shouldn't be hard to do, right?]
  7. I would like to see how far I would go to win a million dollar. Do I dare shave off my hair like Joyce? [AR-7 Ep-8]
  8. Or do I dare eat a Korean delicacy like the live octopus? [AR-4 Ep-10]
  9. I am not afraid of heights, well, maybe a little, but its something I am willing to try, like the face-forward angel dive down the Olympic Tower in Helsinki [AR-10 Ep-10]
  10. I would love to meet Phil
  11. Maybe this will help me learn how to navigate
  12. Maybe this will help me overcome my fear of water like Wanda? [AR-9 Ep-3]
  13. And I would love to win a million dollars for my kids!
If hubby and I are in the Amazing Race, he will be eating delicacies and do everything water related while I do other daring stunts... He is the navigator while I am the driver... He will deal with taxi drivers while I deal with travel agencies...

Test Your Priorities: Interpretation

It seems that 5 out of 11 participants choose to attend to the baby first and 6 of the participants decided to turn off the water first...

Five things are happening at the same time in your house which need your attention. Rank them accordingly...

  1. the phone is ringing
  2. the baby is crying
  3. somebody is knocking at your door
  4. you hung your washed clothes to let it dry outside but it has started to rain
  5. you did not turn off the tap in the kitchen and the water is starting to overflow
The succession of numbers you have chosen here define the order of your priorities in life. You can see on the following list the definition of each point :
  1. Ringing phone: work
  2. Crying baby: family
  3. Knock on door: friends
  4. Washed clothes: money
  5. Overflowing water: sex

Mixed nuts #7

My Virtual Pinboard

I saw this at Rach's blog and decided to create my own virtual pinboard... Please take time to upload any pictures [nudity not allowed] that will describe who you are! And please don't forget to leave me a comment on the pinboard.

...oOo...

Test your priorities:

Five things are happening at the same time in your house which need your attention. Rank them accordingly...
  1. the phone is ringing
  2. the baby is crying
  3. somebody is knocking at your door
  4. you hung your washed clothes to let it dry outside but it has started to rain
  5. you did not turn off the tap in the kitchen and the water is starting to overflow
In what order will you solve these problems? Each point represents something in your life.

Interpretation of your answers will be posted in the next entry!

...oOo...

Fishy fishy so cutie! -- I've always been an admirer of body paintings, just don't want to post them as most of them involves nudity.

Reading for the day: The Scars of Life and the Caller ID.

Art Attack

[Title stolen from Leah's blog]

My daughter loves to draw, that is why my fridge is always full of her drawings! Even the walls in my bedroom and her bedroom. Then she took drawing classes in October and she started to draw more.

But with our move, I really have to dispose most of them! I can't be sentimental about it and bring it ALL with me. There were just too many of them!

In order for me to remember those drawings and to monitor how her drawing keeps on improving, I dated and scan each and everyone of them! Now, I have a paperless copy of all of her drawings, in my HD.



Thursday Thirteen #11: Our New Home



Thirteen things I love about our NEW [rented] HOME

  1. It's a 3 bedroom condo-townhouse
  2. with a big unfinished basement
  3. and a one-car garage
  4. All windows have blinds
  5. It is close to the airport [where hubby works]
  6. And close to the town center [mall - where I plan to work, hopefully, soon...]
  7. It comes with 5 appliances [Fridge, stove, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer] -- and all brand new!!!
  8. It has a built-in fireplace [not the traditional fireplace, so no mess]
  9. My kitchen has lots of built-in cabinets
  10. And I have a big kitchen counter too [yey]
  11. There's also a walk-out patio where we can have our BBQ in the summer
  12. Neighborhood is peaceful and very quiet
  13. Best of all, we don't have to shovel [the condo management will handle this]


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Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Relocation Update #5: Movers

I was surprised when the movers told me that the total weight of my stuff has reached 2020 pounds. And immediately I questioned it since based on my own estimate it should only be at 1600 pounds. So I insisted on having it re-weighted when it reached Calgary. The lady at the customer service told me that the re-weight is going to costs me additional $50, but if they indeed made a mistake, then I don't have to pay for the $50.

So on the day of the delivery, I have to meet the driver at the weighing scale at 7am to have it re-weight, and true enough, my total weight was only at 1780 pounds. This is more acceptable to me than 2020 pounds.

I am so glad I insisted on the re-weight, they must have weigh it [unintentionally] with the driver still in the truck.

Related posts:
Relocation update #1
Relocation update #3: In Boxes

2nd Blogniversary and more

My very first entry was in December 1, 2004 and its about the word "BLOG".

The entry that kick off this blog with newfound blogger friends was this entry in March 2005. Prior to this, only 2 of my friends read my blog, they are Junnie and Suze. And then Vangie, Tin, Melissa, Denden, Toni, Vanessa, Joey [Techguy] somehow finds their way into my blog... and my circle of bloggers just keep on growing as you can see in this '1st anniversary' entry... and my bloggings hours have grown as well.

In December 1, it will be this blog's 2nd blogniversary! Yey!

THANK YOU to all of you who frequently and consistently visited my blog! And for being my cyberspace friends.

...oOo...

Goodbye and Hello

Our flight leaves in 15 hours... yey! We're leaving Toronto with this sunny weather...


Enroute to a place we will now call "home"... with tons of snow...


...oOo...

Tag # 12: A-Z -- Got tag by Rach...

A - Available/single? Happily married for 11 years!
B - Best Friend? There's 5 of them!
C- Cake or pie? Chocolate shadowed cake
D - Drink of choice? Just the regular Coke.
E - Essential item you use everyday? My computer
F - Favorite color? Lavender
G - Gummy Bears or worms? None, but they are my kids' favorite!
H - Hometown? Manila
I - Indulgence? Digiscrapping and pictures
J - January or February? January, the birth month of my son.
K - Kids & their names? Patrick and Patricia [3 links]
L - Life is incomplete without? My family.
M - Marriage date? October 8
N - Number of siblings? 4
O - Oranges or apples? Apples
P - Phobias/fears? Dying of uneccesary death due to street violence or terrorist
Q - Favorite quote? "Live today like there's no tomorrow."
R - Reason to smile? Reuniting with hubby tomorrow after 2 months.
S - Season? Fall, love the changing of the colors.
T - Tag 3 people? Any takers for this meme?
U - Unknown fact about me? I missed a lot of sunday mass since hubby's been gone. I'm a bad Christian!
V - Vegetable you don’t like? I don't like ALL vegetables!
W - Worst habit? Still a coke addict
X - X-rays you’ve had? Chest, part of normal physical exam.
Y - Your Favorite Food? Shrimps and crabs
Z - Zodiac sign? Leo

...oOo...

Delurking Week!

I will be offline for the next couple days or I may be back online before you miss me. Let's make this my second delurking entry -- please let me feel your presence here... and if you have been a silent reader, please let me know something about yourself or leave a link to your blog so I can return the visit... Don't be shy now!

Relocation Update #4: Job hunting

This is a continuation of Relocation Update #2: Moving on.

The one good thing about hubby's job hunting in Calgary is that almost all of the job that he applied for, he got a call for them, either phone interview or a face-to-face interview.

There were 3 jobs that hubby applied for the night before and the next day he got a call from them already. They really act very fast! It's a sign that employers DO read resumes.

Unlike here in Toronto, you don't even know if they received it or not... nor if they even bothered to read it or not... out of 10-20 applications hubby sent out, if he is lucky, only 1 will call and do a phone interview.

Someone once ask hubby if he can recommend someone for a job like his, he claims that he put up an ad on the internet for 1 day and received 600 applications for it. He didn't want to go through the resumes, so he decided to ask hubby for referral.

Anyway, it still took hubby 10 weeks, turning down 2 job offers, before he found the job that he really likes. The job description fits him perfectly, with lots of project line up, and definitely a lot of room for career growth. It is a big corporation and supported by the government. Very stable indeed. So even though we didn't get any relocation package, the offer is good enough for us to consider relocating.

Hubby received his job offer on a wednesday and started working the next day! He is that excited about his new job. It's been 6 weeks since he started and he is still enjoying it. This is hubby's fourth job in Canada and hopefully its for keeps.

For those who are planning on migrating... do consider Calgary... even if your relatives are all in Toronto. If I had known about this sooner, I would have not hold hubby back before.

Related posts:
Movers: Relocation Update #1 and Relocation Update #3: In Boxes.

Relocation Update #3: In boxes



All of our stuff in boxes... and ready for the movers.


These 3 black bins contains all my precious photo albums!


51 boxes/bins/bags in all [including the kid's bunkbed].

The movers came to pick up my stuff yesterday and now my home is almost empty. Based on my estimate, these are approximately 1500 pounds. Now, I just have to wait for the actual weight and quotation. Hope it doesn't exceed my budget.

Thursday Thirteen #10: Did you know?

More revelation in this entry...



Thirteen Facts: Did you know that?

  1. Hubby and I have lived in 5 different places in our 11 years of married life [including our new home in Calgary]!
  2. And 3 of those [including our new home in Calgary] are 5-10 minutes away from the airport!
  3. My kids and I have been in 3 different countries in the year 2001... from Philippines to [migrating] Toronto, Canada back to Philippines [to settle other unfinished business and to celebrate my daughter's first birthday], then to Beijing, China [to visit their grandparents] and then back to Toronto, Canada [our new home]!
  4. And I was travelling alone with the 2 of them, my son was only 4 years old then and my daughter just turned 1. It wasn't easy but we had fun!
  5. In Beijing, we climb up the Great Wall at SiMaTai and TsinShaLing in one day! Can you beat that? We also went to the Badaling station, the most crowded of all 3. [I had help though since my father and brother-in-laws were with me at that time, hubby can't come since he was in school at that time].
  6. Both my kids were born via C-section [one due to pre-eclampsia and the other by personal choice].
  7. So I never really did experience labor pain nor contractions since both of them were born 2 weeks in advance.
  8. We don't have any relatives in Canada.
  9. None of my parents nor siblings nor nieces and nephews and cousins have ever been to Canada. [They just don't like to travel as much as I do].
  10. My daughter loves to sing... in the shower... and in French!
  11. Both my kids are in the public French Immersion school.
  12. This is the only plant that I am able to grow. I recieved this as a birthday gift from my friend, E, 3 years ago. It had 1 leaf then, look at it now. [Sad to say, I won't be able to bring this chinese bamboo tree with me. But it had definitely brought us goodluck!]
  13. This is the longest time that hubby and I have been separated. [He had been in Calgary for a total of 38 days (during his first trip) + 56 days (second trip as of today) and still 7 days to go before we reunite].

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Updates

I'm 95% done with my packing [except for Kitchen stuff that I am still using]. Movers are coming to pick up my stuff this Friday and this weekend will be our last weekend in Toronto.

I can relax a little more this week. So I am blogging my heart out!

...oOo...

Thoughts to ponder: Please take time to read this post @ Ka Uro's blog -- Blogging, Incivility and Negativity

...oOo...

Why do we wear our wedding ring on the fourth finger?

...oOo...

No one won my TT's True or False game! I would like to thank anyone who participated and especially those who spent time reading through my archives. ",) Here's the answers --
  1. Hubby is my 3rd boyfriend.
    FALSE - Hubby is my second BF.
  2. My first crush was a girl and not a boy.
    TRUE - They say you start to be a lady when you start to appreciate the beauty of another lady. I was in first year high school then and she was the cousin of my classmate who was a fourth year student. My friend told her I have a crush on her and she was pretty cool about it. She would always wave at me or say "hi" when we meet.
  3. I went to an all girl school back in College.
    FALSE.
  4. My first real job in Manila was also my last job in Manila.
    TRUE - This is actually 2 companies that merge together, hence it is still 1 employer for me. I worked there for 10 years and have to resigned when we migrated!
  5. I have 2 brothers, 2 sisters, 4 brother-in-laws and 3 sister-in-laws.
    TRUE.
  6. I took up Accounting in College.
    FALSE - I took up Lia-Com.
  7. I beat up a boy in grade school.
    TRUE! We girls were playing volleyball in the school yard, it had rain that day, so the ball was already wet with dirt. Then this boy started to bother us, and hit the ball directly to my eye. I ran after him and beat him up. Hahaha... And he never bothered us again. I was in grade 6 then.
  8. I had my first BF when I was 18.
    FALSE. I was 21... a late bloomer. It's a long distance relationship that didn't last very long.
  9. I never attended my prom.
    FALSE. I did attend my prom with my 2 bestfriends, we were without a date.
  10. I got married when I was 25.
    FALSE. I was 26.
  11. I'm a Cancer.
    FALSE. I'm a Leo.
  12. I have never been to Europe.
    TRUE. But I do wish I could go and see Europe soon.
  13. My maternal grandmother is still alive today.
    TRUE. And she lives in Cebu with my other cousins.
...oOo...

My new Digicam

I had dinner with some friends last saturday in downtown Toronto and my friend K bought me this --


Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W30

I love my new digicam! It is so slick and slim. I've been meaning to replace my old digicam for quite sometime but couldn't find the means to pay for it.

My old digicam only has a 128MB memory stick, and even though I am willing to buy a 512MB or 1GB memory stick, it is not capable of reading it. So I am always running out of space, especially if I have videos. Even the battery doesn't last very long and I have to buy a spare battery.

With my new digicam, I bought a 2GB memory stick this time. I think I will buy another spare battery for this one when my budget permits it.

THANKS K for my very first Christmas present!!! You're the best!!!

...oOo...

Can you please help me think of a "perfect gift" for the family who have "adopted"/accommodated hubby while he is in Calgary for almost 3 months?

Relocation Update #2: Moving on

We have been contemplating on relocating to another province as early as May/June... and yet we felt we couldn't really make the move with too much commitments and responsibilites... and the fear of being jobless longer than we anticipated... but life has to go on... we need to make the move, while we still can... Besides, opportunity knocks only once.

Final decision came the day of my birthday when a friend convince us to try our luck in Calgary... where --

  • Job opportunities are everywhere.
  • That salary rates are much higher because corporations don't want to risk having their employees pirated by another.
  • That small businesses are closing down because they can't afford to compete with the rate offered by the big corporations.
  • That employers don't really care whether you have Canadian experience or not! Equal opportunities for all! [Even if they don't want to admit it, employers in Ontario do look for Canadian experience.]
  • That "now hiring" signs and rates are continuously all over the streets.
  • That you can land a job, in your field of expertise, within a couple of days or in the span of 2 weeks, maximum.
  • But housing could be a real problem.
Next day, hubby tender his resignation, effective July 31... The timing was actually perfect since our car lease was almost up at that time and we have the option to just give up the car to keep our expenses to the minimum while hubby starts his job hunting.

Hubby wanted to resign for quite awhile now... he is no longer happy with his employer and work due to lack of career growth.

The next couple of days where spent getting a second [home] phone line and cellphone so we can get a Calgary phone number so he can start sending out his resume.

August 12... hubby flew to Calgary, Alberta in search for greener pasture [or should I say longer and colder winter days]... and the wait begins.

True enough, he got his first job offer at the end of his 2nd week in Calgary. But because the offer is almost the same as his salary here, we thought it wouldn't be wise to relocate just for that. So he decline the offer. The offer, the job description, stability/security of the job and opportunities for a career growth should be "worth" the move!

Second offer came on his third week, again he had to decline this as the job is 90% field work and that he will be on-call 24/7. Salary [though a little higher than the first offer] isn't as much as what he was expecting and the job isn't something that he will enjoy. And I personally don't like the idea of him being on-call 24/7.

Relocation update #1

To be continued . . .

Thursday Thirteen #9: True or False

I wanna try something different with this week's TT... let's make a game out of it coz I had fun the first time. UDPATE: The prize of Evi is on its way.

Listed below are 13 facts... Some are easy giveaways, that is, if you are reading my blog. If you are new to my blog, you may need to go through my archives to help you out. Please tell me which statements are true and which ones are false. The first person to answer this correctly will win a prize! Again, I am willing to ship it to any country.

So, game ka na ba???



Thirteen facts -- True or False?

  1. Hubby is my 3rd boyfriend.
  2. My first crush was a girl and not a boy.
  3. I went to an all girl school back in College.
  4. My first real job in Manila was also my last job in Manila.
  5. I have 2 brothers, 2 sisters, 4 brother-in-laws and 3 sister-in-laws.
  6. I took up Accounting in College.
  7. I beat up a boy in grade school.
  8. I had my first BF when I was 18.
  9. I never attended my prom.
  10. I got married when I was 25.
  11. I'm a Cancer.
  12. I have never been to Europe.
  13. My maternal grandmother is still alive today.
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

How time flies


Patricia and Tiffany in 2001
Tiffany is 3 months older and is much taller for age too.


Patrick and Keith in 2001

These are my kids first playmates in Canada... they live in the building next to ours, they migrated almost the same time as we did and they are in the same age range. Me and their mom just hit it off too.


Meet the Watts', they are from Pakistan.
They were 5 and 2-year olds then...

Above picture was taken at the Christmas party organized by the Westhill Community Center in 2002!

You might ask why they don't look like most people from Pakistan, well, it is because their mom is from Pakistan but their dad is European. And they both look like their dad.


Look at how much they've grown! This picture was taken last week when they came to visit and bid us "bon voyage."

I wanted to scraps these photos but just didn't have the time... I miss my scrapping!

On Finances and Budgeting

In Junnie's post about Moving up, cutting down he asked: "What are expenses you think you can cut this coming year to give in to something? A planned vacation vs. a new TV? eating out vs. child's college plan? What are they? "

I have been working even before I graduated from College. And it is a great feeling having your own money to spent. Even then, I am not a shop-a-holic. The most that I spent on is food, bowling nights and movies. Then I got married and have kids. But this didn't stop me from working either. Hubby and I each have our own "assigned" bills to pay and we each have our own different bank account. But I have always been in charge of budgeting. We never hold any joint account until we migrated to Canada.

At the time that we were still in the process of planning our migration, we both agreed that I will stay home with the kids. And it was hard for me initially because I have to rely on him on all money matters.

Since we migrated, we rarely eat out, we can't even afford to eat at McDonald's... we rarely go to the movie house... we don't have any subscription nor membership of any kind... I'm not a shop-a-holic [I do spent on scrap materials and pictures, my only hobby!]... and I don't buy toys for my kids unless its their birthday, Christmas and a very good report card... I don't even have to buy them clothes or shoes because their grandma sends them packages every now and then.

We are able to manage to stay debt free [except for our mortgage in Manila]... and so far, we have never been a revolver on our credit cards.

Our monthly expenses involves high-speed cable internet [a must to hubby], cable TV [for me and the kids], home phone [we switch from a regular phone line to VOIP because monthly fees is cut in half], hubby's cellphone [which is partly company paid] and my prepaid cellphone [for emergency]... other necessities are rent, amortization for our car, car/life insurance, gas and groceries.

You might ask about our constant travelling and out of town trips... well, most of our trip to the USA is free [thanks to my in-laws], we just spent on gas and tolls. For our out of town trips within Ontario, they are usually day trips and I always pack lunch/snacks/drinks. In our 5 years in Canada, we only did an overnight outing twice [that's our skiing @ Blue Mountain and Tobermory trip, these were a group outing. If its not a group outing, we might have made it into a day trip too]. The farthest we've driven on a day trip was the 4-hour drive [one-way] to Sudbury in celebration of our 10th Anniversary.

Going back to Junnie's question, what else can I cut down? We don't have any "savings"! What am I doing wrong? I blame it mainly because we have to live on a single income for the past 5.5 years. During the past 2 tax season that I was working, we are able to put aside 70% of my earnings. Not bad eh? Bottom line is I NEED TO FIND A JOB!!! Because as far as I know, there is nothing else to cut down on our expenses. Is there?

And the winner is

the pretty Mom who owns the Butterfly Journal!

CONGRATULATIONS Evi! We have not met in person, and yet you were able to single me out. You're really good! Please email me your mailing address. Any request for your prize? I still couldn't make up my mind yet, but you'll definitely get your prize before Christmas, promise!

I am thankful that Junnie and Lam didn't spoil this game for me. They both knew me personally and could easily single me out in this picture. Thanks guys!

I am the one in the very center on the 3rd row from the bottom.

And just because the picture is in black and white doesn't mean that I am "old", hehehe. My grade school class picture was actually in colored, but our batch just thought that a black and white class picture would be more nostalgic in the years to come. And it sure did. Defensive ba? Ok ok, this picture was taken 20 years ago to be exact! No, I don't think of myself as "old"... I am still very much young at heart!

To Ghee, Bugsy, Joy, Dangkin, Raquel, Rach, Ralph and Meeya: THANK YOU for joining! Better luck next time.

...oOo...


I just became Toni and Rach's new neighbor at Gerbera Street! As you can see, I am not an artist, but this is my home and my 2 kids are playing in the garden!




Click here to draw your own home


Based on the drawing and the 10 answers they gave this is a summary of their personality:

Your house tells the world that you ought to be a leader. You are good at making friends and when the joyful moment arrives, you make the most out of it. You are shy and reserved. If you've drawn a cross on each of windows, you always want to live alone. You are very tidy person. There's nothing wrong with that because you're pretty popular among friends.

You will avoid being alone and seek the company of others whenever possible. You love excitement and create it wherever you go. You see the world as it is, not as you believe it should be.

You added a flower into your drawing. The flower signifies that you long for love. It also safe to say that others don't see you as a flirt. You are self-confident and happy with your life.

Thursday Thirteen #8: To do list

GREETINGS!
Happy birthday to my papa and my favorite cousin J! Love you both and miss you much!

ANNOUNCEMENT:
To those who joined my contest, THANK YOU! We got a winner already! I will be making the announcement in my next post... I still have to think of the prize. I wonder what's on the wish list of the winner?

In the meantime, its Thursday once again, so here's my TT this week!


TT banner courtesy of Phoenix

13 things [and a lot more] to do before our big move

  1. I need to find a buyer for my Washer and Dryer and bunkbed!!!
  2. Clean up the apartment with unwanted stuff [this has been ongoing for the past 2 weeks already and I am still not done! I am such a pack rat!]
  3. Sort out things to bring and not to bring [I am almost half done with my packing, except for those that we still use everyday.]
  4. Update our new address with our credit cards, store cards, cell phones, bank accounts, insurance, loans, CCRA/CCTB/GSTC/OHIP/OSAP/MTO [all government offices].
  5. Sign up for the forwarding of mails with Canada Post that will be good for the next 6 months.
  6. Cancel existing tenant insurance policy, cable TV and internet services [done]. Also surrender our library cards.
  7. Drop off donation stuff to Goodwill on the 18th [I already made one trip to Goodwill last Saturday and I still have more stuff to get rid off.]
  8. Decide whether to pack my PC for the movers or carry it with me during the flight [if with movers, then I will not see my PC for at least 2-3 weeks, which also means no blogging for me for 2-3 weeks.]
  9. Make a complete inventory of everything for the movers and myself and weigh everything to make sure I don't go over budget. [2000 pounds will costs me around $2110+. Ouch!]
  10. Finish packing by the 23rd... Movers are picking up my stuff on the 24th [and it will take 2-3 weeks for delivery.]
  11. Find a French Immersion school for my kids.
  12. Start shopping online for furnitures/small appliances for our new home via Craigslist.org, Leon's and Ikea's website so that we would at least have a bed and a dining table before we get there.
  13. Arranged the pick up of my other stuff that 2 families have bought ahead of time on the 28th or 29th [these are the stuff that I am currently still using like the dining table, bed, microwave, vacuum, etc... that is why it has to be the last few days].
Did I forget anything else??? I know I still have tons of things to do and yet here I am, blogging! ",)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Guessing Time

Seeing Ghee's post on her grade school class picture makes me wanna share my high school class picture... can you guess which one am I?

Click here to view actual size


Whoever gets it right will win a prize! I don't know what the prize will be, I'll decide when I know the winner. And I am willing to ship them in any country.

This contest is open until Wednesday, November 15, 12mn EST.

Monday Madness #1


Instruction: Using the letters in your name (first, last, both, whatever), describe your life!

Got this from Rach... and thought I'd try it out.

Joy of Motherhood... ever since I was a child, I knew that I wanted to be a mother some day, and I hope that I could raise my kids like my mama raised me.

Overly protective mom... I feel that my kids will always be my babies, no matter how old they get, and I just have a hard time letting go of them. I know this should change because they are growing up right before my eyes.

Caring Mom, wife, daughter, sister, cousin and friend.

Energetic... I may not be athletic, but I always have the energy for outdoor activities/picnics and travelling with family and friends.

Love is what keeps our family together! Let us all embrace Life and Live it to the fullest!

Yearning for more romance... please don't get me wrong, there's no doubt in my mind that hubby loves me a lot, he is just not "romantic" enough ever since we had our kids and especially when we came to Canada! [wink] How could we afford to go on "romantic" dates with 2 kids in tow? Or even if we left the kids with friends, we just couldn't enjoy our time together without thinking of getting back to the kids the soonest possible time? I guess we will enjoy our "romantic" dates again when our kids are in college! The cycle of married life!

Nurturing in my own kind of way... my inlaws may not agree with me 100%, still it is my way of nurturing my kids.

Want to play along? Visit Monday Madness and join the fun.

The Birth Order of Children

Got this from my inbox. This is funny and sooooo true!!! It's a good thing I only have 2 kids... but you know what? I'm the fourth child in my family. So I was never pampered like my 3 older siblings.

I notice that during my first pregnancy, I never missed a single doctor's appointment and no matter how I hate it, I drink milk as much as I can... on my second pregnancy, I remember missing 2-3 appointments or delaying it for another week or two and I only drink milk if its chocolate milk. When my son was sick, even with fever only, I took him to the doctor immediately... but with my daughter, I monitored her for 2-3 days before taking her to the doctor.

Just thought I'd share this...

...oOo...

The Birth Order of Children

Your Clothes:
1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your OB/GYN confirms your pregnancy.
2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.
3rd baby: Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.

Preparing for the Birth:
1st baby: You practice your breathing religiously.
2nd baby: You don't bother because you remember that last time, breathing didn't do a thing.
3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your eighth month.

The Layette:
1st baby: You pre-wash newborn's clothes, color-coordinate them, and fold them neatly in the baby's little bureau.
2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes are clean and discard only the ones with the darkest stains.
3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, can't they?

Worries:
1st baby: At the first sign of distress-a whimper, a frown-you pick up the baby.
2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your firstborn.
3rd baby: You teach your three-year-old how to rewind the mechanical swing.

Pacifier:
1st baby: If the pacifier falls on the floor, you put it away until you can go home and wash and boil it.
2nd baby: When the pacifier falls on the floor, you squirt it off with some juice from the baby's bottle.
3rd baby: You wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in.

Diapering:
1st baby: You change your baby's diapers every hour, whether they need it or not.
2nd baby: You change their diaper every two to three hours, if needed.
3rd baby: You try to change their diaper before others start to complain about the smell or you see it sagging to the ir knees.

Activities:
1st baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics, Bab y Swing, and Baby Story Hour.
2nd baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics.
3rd baby: You take your infant to the supermarket and the dry cleaner.

Going Out:
1st baby: The first time you leave your baby with a sitter, you call home five times.
2nd baby: Just before you walk out the door, you remember to leave a number where you can be reached.
3rd baby: You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if she sees blood.

At Home:
1st baby: You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby.
2nd baby: You spend a bit of everyday watching to be sure your older child isn't squeezing, poking, or hitting the baby.
3rd baby: You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children.

Swallowing Coins (a favorite):
1st child: When first child swallows a coin, you rush the child to the hospital and demand x-rays.
2nd child: When second child swallows a coin, you carefully watch for the coin to pass.
3rd child: When third child swallows a coin you deduct it from his allowance!

GRANDCHILDREN:
God's reward for allowing your children to live.

Mixed nuts #6

Even with the cold weather last night, my kids still enjoyed their 45 minutes of Trick or Treating...



Meet Patricia the fairy Godmother and Patrick the wizard



Lots of goodies!!!

I should really buy my son a costume for next year... he was a wizard 3 times in a row!

...oOo...

I don't think I will be able to participate in Thursday Thirteen tomorrow... I am so busy packing and arranging for movers. Anybody out there who had a bad experience with KMS-Royal Movers (affiliated with Atlas Van Lines)? Please let me know. I would appreciate your feedback before I book them.

My target moving date is end of the month! Hubby should be able to get an apartment/townhouse for us in Calgary within this week. Wish us luck!

...oOo...

Today was my daughter's first ice skating lesson. It is part of their school's extra-curricular activity. By car, I would have been there in 15 minutes. Since I don't have a car, it took me 3 buses and a 15 minutes walk to get there. My total travel time is 1 hour and 20 minutes!

I have always been there for son's first ice skating lesson, swimming, skiing... and my daughter was always with me during those time. So when its her turn and I told her I couldn't watch her skate today, she look sad.


And this is how she looked like when I showed up. PRICELESS!

Ethnicity

I thought I'd share this when I read Evi's post regarding Ethnicity...

Ever since the issue of this family came up [in April 2006], I had second thoughts about packing rice for my son's lunch at school. He doesn't really eat in school anyway. Fingerfoods and sandwiches are much easier to prepare and to eat.

A friend's son started high school, and they started packing sandwiches for him too. But he is a growing kid, and when you are used to eating rice all the time, he feels like he is always hungry. A couple of weeks into school, he told his parents that he wants rice for his lunch! He said that he is positive that there is a Filipino in the lunch room because he eats rice with soup! Now he feels comfortable eating rice in school with his spoon and fork!

Tag #11: 5 Weird Things

Got tag again, this time by Faye.

The rules are:
> List 5 weird things about yourself or your pets.
> Tag 5 friends and list them.
> Those people need to write on their blogs about 5 weird things, and state the rules, and tag 5 more people.

Since I don't have a pets, I have to do my 5 weird eating habits.

  1. I love my hamburger plain, just the burger and the bun... no dressings, no lettuce, no ketchup, no mustard and no mayonnaise.
  2. The only seasoning I like is soy sauce on my fish and shrimp. No vinegar or fish sauce. I don't put ketchup on my chicken either.
  3. My friend K said that I don't really chew my food when I'm eating... I swallow them! [and my son is doing exactly the same]
  4. My hubby said that I am the only chinese he knows who doesn't drink tea. Is this weird?
  5. I can eat anything hot from the pan.
What's your weird eating habits?

For those interested, tag, you're it!

Thursday Thirteen #7: People and Things

Thursday Thirteen is now on its 64th week! And this is my 7th week with them! Don't know how long I can keep this going.

Anyway, for those of you who are planning to join the TT group, here's a list of ideas to get you started.


Thirteen people/things that completes me!

  1. My ever so patient, understanding, loving, faithful, a good provider, my best friend and better half, hubby.
  2. My super hyperactive, energetic, overly sensitive, smart, independent and outgoing son.
  3. My super adorable, loving, sweet, creative, witty and overly shy daughter.
  4. My parents for bringing me into this world and nurturing me to who I am today.
  5. My siblings for making my childhood a happy one.
  6. My in-laws, for accepting me with open arms into their family against all odds.
  7. My cousins, J and D, for their never ending support and love.
  8. My best friend and the godmothers of my kids, M, for always being there for me since our teens.
  9. My friends, who see me through thick and thin and who makes get-together fun and memorable.
  10. On the material side, my reliable computer.
  11. My precious digiscraps and photo albums [even though the movers is charging us approximately $1/pound, I still have to have them move my 155 pounds worth of albums!]
  12. My digital camera [my friend K told me that she is getting me a new one for Christmas…oooh… I can’t wait! She knows that this is at the top of my list, so she had to tell me ahead of time. I’ve been meaning to replace my digicam.]
  13. And of course, GOD, for His never ending blessings for our family and for keeping us safe and healthy!
GODSPEED!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Tag #10: Pop Quiz

I got tagged by Toni!

I started this tag last sunday evening... but just finished it today. ",)

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn on page 18 and find line 4.
Sorry, there's no book around my computer table.

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can.
What for?

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?
The Runaway Jury with John Cusack.

4.Without looking, guess what time it is?
11 PM (Sunday time)

5. Now look at the clock, what is the actual time?
11:37 PM (Sunday time)

6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?
TV - currently watching Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye.

7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?
SUNDAY, playing (glow in the dark) mini golf at Putting Edge with my kids courtesy of Junnie and Mitzi. Patrick scored 60 with a hole-in-one while Patricia scored 65!





8. Before you started this survey, what did you look at?
Bloglines.

9. What are you wearing?
Black shirt and jeans.

10. Did you dream last night?
I never remember most of the dreams that I had.

11. When did you last laugh?
Today.

12. What is on the walls of the room you are in?
Other than a wall mirror and my bags, the room is bare... no paintings or pictures. I used to have my kid's drawings on my wall, but since we are relocating, I have already remove these.

13. Seen anything weird lately?
My son having a white hair. huh?

14. What do you think of this quiz?
That I have a boring life? lol.

15. What is the last film you saw?
Return to me with David Duchovny and Minnie Driver... what a love story!!!

16. If you became a multimillionaire overnight, what would you buy?
A plane ticket for 4 to visit our family back home!

17. Tell me something about you that I dunno.
I am a prodigal daughter.

18. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?
I'll build another Noah's ark and keep all the good people safe inside and a flood that will kill all the corrupt people!

19. Do you like to dance?
Yup, love it!

20. George Bush
Who? [lol]

21. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her?
Patricia. [I've always love this name. I actually came up with this name during my first pregnancy, even before I knew the sex of the baby].

22. Imagine your first child is a boy, what do you call him?
Patrick. [Initially this should be Nathaniel or Nathan, but hubby doesn't like that name].

23. Would you ever consider living abroad?
Abroad outside of Canada? Not really. I am happy here! But I don't mind relocating to another province [which is happening in the next 2-3 months].

24. What do you want GOD to say to you when you reach the pearly gates?
"Welcome my child."

25. 4 people who must also do this meme in their journal.
I don't like tagging people a lot so I hope you girls wouldn't mind that I tag you this time.
Raquel [I think its been awhile since she did any tag on her blog]
Kai [She mentioned before that she wants me to tag her again]
Ann
Diana Joy

Questions

My kid's shampoo says its "tear-free" and "tangle-fighting". It is also a 2-in-1 shampoo and condition. Yet, my daughter's hair is always tangled up when she step out of the bath. Twice I used my conditioner on her hair, and it was tangle-free! Should I start using my shampoo and conditioner to my 6-year old?

My son on the other hand, started using the regular shampoo about 6 months ago. I notice that the smell on his scalp (from playing too much in the sun) is still there even after a bath. At first I thought he didn't know how to shampoo, but I guess he just needs a stronger shampoo.

My questions are:

  1. When do kids start using the regular shampoo?
  2. When do kids start using conditioner?

Thursday Thirteen #6: Thankful things

It has been one busy week for me... It's an open house moving sale everyday! I didn't even have the time to blog hop yesterday. My bloglines indicates that I have 32 unread feeds!


Thirteen things I'm thankful for this week!

  1. Kids are doing their house chores religiously. Thanks to the chore chart [which I started last week]! They just love to see all the check marks on each chore, and complain if I don't give them a check mark. They also feel bad when one have more check marks than the other. ",)
  2. Kids are able to keep their room clean every night. Yehey! No more toys scattered on the floor for me to step on when I check up on them every night. Definitely a less stressful week for me. Thanks again to the chore chart!
  3. No TV time during the weekday means less arguing as to what TV show to watch and less shouting in the house.
  4. And because of this, my kids are having a lot of playtime together. Definitely spending more bonding/quality time together!
  5. Antibiotics/medicines, for making my daughter feel better after being sick for 4 days. :-(
  6. Our library's collection of DVD which I can borrow for free! This is how I keep myself updated with the movies since I don't really go to the movie houses anymore.
  7. Deciding to enroll my daughter in a drawing class, which she is enjoying a lot! She is very talented! It's a pity that my son doesn't like to draw.
  8. A very successful "moving out sale"! Only 3 major items (washer/dryer and kid's bunk bed) are not yet sold, once these are sold, we are ready to move! I mean I have to start packing...
  9. Posting and selling my stuff via Craigslist's (free) classified ad. The outcome are not bad.
  10. The family who is accommodating/feeding hubby while he's in Calgary. We found a place we like though we haven't really applied for it yet. The good thing about this place is that 2 units are available for us and for our friend who are also relocating in November. This way we will still be neighbors and we can help each other out in terms of babysitting.
  11. The approval of hubby's car financing application in Calgary. ",)
  12. YM, E-mails and webcam to keep in touch with hubby in Calgary, and our family and friends back home.
  13. Blogging for keeping me sane!
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Relocation Update #1

I'm having a busy week. I have to dispose all of our stuff!!!

The movers are charging $0.75 to $1 per pound! I didn't realize that movers can be very expensive. At first I thought I'd just rent a truck and a driver, pay for the gas and that's it. Maybe $2500? But no, other than that, I still have to pay for the weight of my stuff. My friend's family is also relocating to Calgary by November. And the estimate of their move is around $5,000 to as much as $10,000!!! I might just as well buy new stuff with that much money. Not that I have that much, but if I do have that much money, I'd buy new stuff. Lucky for them, relocation expenses is part of the husband's package. My husband wasn't entitled to any relocation expenses!

The best thing is to SELL everything! And it ain't easy!

For those who live in Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton area, if you are interested to look at my stuff, please let me know. Thanks!

Thursday Thirteen #5: The past 13 weeks

Finally, here's my own version of Thursday Thirteen (TT) banner.

For those interested to use my banner, please leave your email address and I'll send it to you.



The Past Thirteen Weeks

week 1
  • One of my best friend since high school, K, arrived in Canada and temporarily stayed with us. I love having her around.

    week 2
  • I celebrated my Nth birthday party for the very first time in Canada. I don't usually celebrate my birthday, don't know why, I guess I'm just a bit lazy preparing dinner for my own party. hehehe...

    week 3
  • Hubby resigned from his job of 3 years. It's time for a change! And we're hoping it's for the best!
  • We gave up our car (whose lease is also up) to keep our expenses to a minimum. It's hard not to have a car especially when its grocery day. :-(

    week 4
  • My daughter celebrated her 6th birthday!
  • And later during the week, hubby left on a job-hunting trip in another province where people say that jobs are everywhere but housing can be difficult.

    week 5
  • A very sleepless week for me... Don’t ask me why.

    week 6
  • Another sleepless week for me... my friend K and I just watched TV all night long... a marathon of Project Runway season 1 and 2. Our normal sleeping time is between 2-3 am. It's a good thing I don't have to wake up early in the morning.

    week 7
  • I keep myself busy by helping K move to her first apartment in Canada.
  • And helping Junnie and Mitzi in painting their newly acquired home.

    week 8
  • Start of the school year. Yipeee! At last, some peace and quite time for me at home.
  • Time for some cleaning... and getting rid of unwanted stuff around the house. I have so much junk!
  • Started reading about CSS since Blogger in Beta is all about CSS.

    week 9
  • Our last trip to Canada's Wonderland for the season! And it's a whole day affair, from 10 am to 8pm. It was tiring, but at the same time, we had a blast!
  • I had my very first massage with facial at TCM Spa (in Canada) courtesy of Mitzi.
  • I started my new house rules.

    week 10
  • Hubby returns after 5 weeks, turning down 2 job offers. Maybe relocating is not for us. Well, at least we tried and there's no regret and no "what ifs."
  • I started my job hunting... which is not easy!
  • We attended Junnie's house warming party from 12 noon to 11 pm! My second time to eat lechon in Canada! Yummy!

    week 11
  • Hubby continues his job hunting...
  • And later that week, hubby went out of town for yet another job interview. This interview lasted for 2 hours! A good sign? hmmmmm....
  • Trish started her "drawing" class at the community center. And she is thrilled!

    week 12
  • Our 11th wedding anniversary... and our first time to be apart on this day.

    week 13 (this week)
  • My new house rules which started on week 9 is still working like miracle. Hurray! I wish I had done this sooner.
  • Hubby got a job offer (yesterday)! This is his dream job! No more sleepless nights for me.
  • And... oh... we're moving! [wink]

  • Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

    A Decade + 1

    Today is our 11th year anniversary... and it's the first time that hubby and I won't be celebrating it together since he is still out of town. :-(

    Anyway, here's the first 10 years of our lives together.



    Happy Thanksgiving to all!

    Pay it forward

    Did you see the movie of Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment's "Pay it Forward"? It was a really good movie... a simple gesture of when somebody help you, don't pay it back, but pay it forward by helping other people in need.

    When we first migrated, one of our problem is how to establish a credit history. How could one established credit history in a new country when no one is willing to get you started? Our application for credit cards and credit lines where constantly denied due to lack of credit history! This includes car financing.

    When we decided its time to get a car, our first intention was to buy a brand new one instead of leasing [which is quite common here]. But no financing company is willing to give us a loan, the fact that I am not working made it worst.

    The only option we have then was to lease the car. We submitted our application with our fingers crossed.

    A friend of ours, P, whom we used as a referece in our application, was contacted by the car dealer and they ask her if she will act as our guarantor! It's a good thing she said "yes" because if she didn't our application would have been denied. We didn't even know about it until P called me and ask me about our application and that she needs to go to the car dealer with us to sign papers too.

    We all know that if and when we missed one payment [which never happened], the financing company is going after her. She will be required to pay or her credit rating will be affected as well. Yet, she took this risk for us. Us, meaning the friends whom she never saw after college.

    I really owe a lot to P, not only did she act as our guarantor, but she was the one who picked up hubby at the airport when he first landed. [Me and the kids followed after 6 weeks]. And she offered him to stay with her in her condo while he look for an apartment.

    I really don't know how to repay P's kindness... she has everything she could ever wanted. So I just decided to pay it forward.

    When my friend K [from my previous post] needed a place to stay, I opened our home to her... when she needed to buy her leather sofa, I let her use my store card so she can pay it by installment. And there's no doubt in my mind that once she has settled down, she will have her chance to help someone in the future.

    ...oOo...

    It's another long weekend for us Canucks... it's our thanksgiving weekend. So Happy Thanksgiving to all!

    If you live in the 80's you're going to like this.

    Thursday Thirteen #4: 13 State in 13 years

    At first I thought that joining the TT group would be fun... It is fun! But coming up with TT list every week is not as easy as I thought it would be. I guess it is because my memory is a bit rusty.


    Banner courtesy of Mandy @ mandeesign.com


    Thirteen out of 50 State
    that I've visited in the USA in the span of 13 years!

    1. Grand Canyon, Arizona, 1993
      [The most amazing sight I've ever seen! I would love to take hubby and the kids there someday.]
    2. Las Vegas, Nevada, 1993
      [The city that comes alive at night... I also love the illuminating lights!]
    3. Portland, Maine, 1993
      [I was supposed to try my first hot air balloon ride here. I am willing to pay $150 (if I remember correctly) for this ride. But due to fog, we didn't take off... hmp! I haven't had a chance to try it again.]
    4. Stamford/Hartford/Fairfield, Connecticut, 1993 and 2006
      [I live in Stamford for 3 months while I was in the process of self-discovery. And I did find myself and the love of my life!]
    5. Baltimore, Maryland, 1993
      [My first attempt at long driving from Stamford, CT with a friend from high school.]
    6. Providence, Rhode Island, 1993
      [I don't have any pictures of this place, hence, I can't remember what I saw. Tsk tsk tsk!]
    7. Chicago, Illinois, 1999
      [Hubby and I visited a lot of museums (for free) here... not really what I wanted to do in Chicago, but its what hubby wants.]
    8. Boston, Massachusetts, 1999
      [Hubby and I met some old college friends here.]
    9. San Francisco/Los Angeles/San Diego, California, 1993 and 1999
      [I have so many wonderful memories in these cities.]
    10. Orlando and Tampa, Florida, 1999 and 2004
      [What can I say, we love theme parks and we love Mickey! Except for the heat, I wouldn't mind making this our vacation home.]
    11. Washington, District of Columbia, 1993 and 2006
      [A family get-together with my in-laws.]
    12. Atlantic City/Cape May/Wildwood, New Jersey, 1993 and 2006
      [Another family get-together with my in-laws.]

      lastly,

    13. New York City and Oakland Garden, New York
      [We drove to NY 1-3 times a year (for the past 5 years) since my SIL and her family lives there. The only family we have in North America.]



    create your own visited states map

    Busybee #4

    Today I had quite a busy day...

    I had some errands to do in downtown. I met my friend Liway at her office to ask her to bring home some stuff for my family. She's leaving on the 5th for a much awaited vacation... Her first trip home after more than 5 years in Canada!

    Later, I met K who is a new immigrant and has not established any credit history yet. So I took her to Leon's and applied for their store credit card in my name. I let her use my card to purchase her leather sofa in installment at 0% interest for 12 months, free delivery. A very good deal indeed! Now, K is happy! She has been bugging me to help her buy her sofa for weeks now. I just couldn't find the time to go see her because its (approx) 1.5 hours commute!

    We had our lunch at 2:30pm and then I have to hurry home for my kids. I was in the subway by 3pm. I should be home by 4:20pm just in time for the kid's arrival at 4:30pm. But everytime I am in a rush, something would happen. The subway experienced some techinical problems and I missed my bus connection by 5 minutes. So I have to wait for the next one and I got home at 4:45pm.

    Luckily my kid's bus stop is right in front of our apartment building... and I told them that if and when they got home and I am not at home, the should just wait for me by our apartment door. They are NOT allowed to go to any neighbor's house. They are NOT allowed to go elsewhere or hang around in the lobby. They are NOT allowed to talk to anybody. And they should always stay together!

    I was 15 minutes late for the very first time! I found them waiting for me outside our apartment door. And their face were glowing as soon as they saw me.

    My son ask, "mommy, where did you go? I thought you left us already!"

    Hubby is on a trip



    Calgary, Alberta

    Thursday Thirteen #3: Places we love in Ontario

    If you haven't figured it out by now, our family loves out of town trips... we love to explore nearby cities... we love the see different places during winter, spring, summer and fall... we love long driving (though my kids are not too keen about that)... we love to take the kids to different playgrounds and beaches... and we love just driving up north or going south or east and west... where ever our car takes us, we make sure we had a fun-filled day!

    This is another part of Thursday Thirteen.


    Banner courtesy of Chana @ scratchpad7.blogspot.com

    Thirteen Places We Love in Ontario


    1. Niagara Falls
      [we take all of our visitors here. My kids love seeing the rainbow over the falls. And we've been there during winter, spring, summer and fall.]
    2. Blue Mountain, Collingwood
      [Our first skiing trip. I had a blast eventhough my body ache the next few days.]
    3. Canada’s Wonderland, Vaughan
      [Need I say more?]
    4. Flower Pot Island, Tobermory and Lion’s head, Isthmus Bay
      [Another weekend getaway for paddling and canoeing.]
    5. Sauble Falls and Beach, Wiarton
      [The best sunset view along Lake Huron...]
    6. Lions Lookout, Huntsville
      [The best Fall view, my favorite season...]
    7. Inverhuron Provincial Park
      [The sandy beach along Lake Huron... this is a 3-hours drive, one way.]
    8. Science North, Sudbury
      [This is where we celebrated our 10th Anniversary with the kids... our farthest day trip so far, it took us 4 hours to drive one way.]
    9. African Lion Safari, Cambridge
      [We experience something different from the other zoos that we've visited before... this time, we are the one "cage" inside the car/bus while the animals roam around the reserves.]
    10. Forks of the Credit, Caledon
      [Welcoming spring time with some BBQ picnic.]
    11. Badlands, Caledon
      [We got here by accident, we were actually lost... and we just pulled over when we saw this place from the highway. Kids had so much fun jumping up and down the badlands.]
    12. Cobourg, Northumberland County
      [Our family loves the beach. We watched our first Canada Day's fireworks display here... this is along Lake Ontario.]
    13. Dunes beach, Sandbanks Provincial Park, Burgeo
      [Ending the summer with yet another BBQ picnic with friends along Lake Ontario.]
    To those who live in Ontario, can you suggest more places for us to visit?

    Tag #9: 7 Songs

    I've been tagged by Liz to list down my top 7 songs... [Liz, sorry for the delay]

    One of my earliest post was about the songs of my life... and they are still at the top of my list.

    1. My theme song -- I will survive by Gloria Taylor
    2. Dedicated to hubby -- Because you loved me by Celine Dion
    3. Our song -- Have I told you lately (that I love you) by Rod Stewart
    4. For our kids -- The Greatest Love of All by Whitney Houston
    5. Do I make you proud by Taylor Hicks
    6. How did you know by Gary V
    7. You are my song by Martin Nievera
    What are your top 7 songs?

    Kids and TV: new house rules

    Thank you all for your comments and inputs in my dilemna about my kids and TV. I hate it that they have to sit right in front of the TV all the time, and no matter how many times I told them to move back, they will find their way in front of the TV again and again.

    One of my son's teacher told me that her 2 children doesn't watch TV on weekdays and can only watch 2 hours on the weekends. When I first heard this I thought that is impossible to do. I myself is a TV addict. Even though I may not really be watching, I leave the TV on.

    And I don't think my kids can stay away from the TV when they are home. That's the first thing they do when they woke up and when they get home from school. Banning the TV is impossible. Nevertheless, I decided to give it a try... Here's my new house rules:

    • No TV from Monday to Thursday.
    • Friday/Saturday/Sunday - they are allowed to watch 2 hours of TV each day... if they don't agree on the show they want to watch, each of them will get an hour of TV time per day.
    • Saturday (max of 6 hours) is computer/nintendo/gameboy day. BUT only if they don't have homework and they clean up their room.
    • their TV time on weekends can get shorter or longer depending on where they are seated.
    Taking Tani's advice, I rearrange my living room. I move my center table to block the TV, its now on a slanting position. It doesn't look nice, but it will do for now. I told them that they have to sit behind the table or on the couch and that they will only get 1 warning to move back or no more TV for the rest of the day.

    So far so good. It works for the past 2 weeks already! You might wonder what my kids are doing monday to thursday after school. Well, they do their homework and they play with their toys/boardgames,they read books and play outdoor. And I am happy to say that they don't fight as much too [they fight a lot over the TV shows they want to watch and now that is out] and they are playing "together"!

    I've met a family here with 2 teenage kids. These kids are not used to watching TV eversince they were young. They've never subscribe to cable TV, even back in the Philippines. And in Canada, you only get 5 local channels (I think) without cable TV. So I think this will really work!

    Now, I just have to make sure hubby implement these rules especially when I'm not home.

    Conversation #17: "I don't do dare"

    Here's a proof of Patricia riding the Silver Streak (again)... a friend of mine took this picture. We're in the very front row! And she loved it!



    My friend E, her son Jericho and my son waited for about 30 minutes while I line up on this ride with Patricia and E's 2 daughters.

    While waiting for us, my friend E challenge Patrick:

    E: "Patrick, why don't you try that ride and then I will ride it after you."
    PATRICK: "No. You go ahead first."
    E: "I dare you to do it."
    PATRICK, firmly said: "NO. I don't do dare."

    I wanted to applaud my son for saying this. I hope he will grow up with this in mind all the time. I wouldn't want him to do things that he doesn't want to do. Nor be pressured by his peers to do "unthinkable" things.

    Thursday Thirteen #2: Words to Live by


    Banner courtesy of Kelly @ diaryofthenello.com

    Thirteen "3-word Phrases" To Live By


    When you say these phrases it has the power to build new friendships, strengthen the old ones and restore relationships that is in danger.

    1. I'll be there
    2. I miss you
    3. I respect you
    4. Maybe you're right
    5. Maybe I’m wrong
    6. Please forgive me
    7. I thank you
    8. Count on me
    9. Let me help
    10. I understand you
    11. Go for it
    12. I love you
    13. GOD BLESS YOU


    Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

    The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun!

    Care to join in?

    Conversation #16: Tooth Fairy

    My daughter has always been excited about losing a tooth so she can get some change from the Tooth Fairy like her brother.

    She lost her tooth last wednesday and silly me, I totally forgot about it... so the next morning:

    PATRICIA: [with a sad look on her face and in her voice] "Why didn't the Tooth Fairy come, mommy?"
    ME: "I don't know. Maybe a lot of kids lost their tooth and she didn't have enough time to drop by last night."
    PATRICIA: "ok"
    ME: [feeling sorry for her] "maybe she will come by tonight."

    That cheer her up... but her brother had to say something about it:

    PATRICK: "No, she won't come anymore, because she only come on the first day."
    PATRICIA: "Is that true, mommy?" [again the sad face]
    ME: "Don't worry, I'm sure she will stop by tonight." [silently reminding myself not to forget again]

    The next day, there was a smile on her face when she saw the $2 under her pillow.