Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Here's wishing everyone a happy, peaceful and abundant 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Yesterday and today are general house-cleaning days for us. We couldn’t accomplish the task in one day because hubby and I were taking turns looking after our little one. (Note: Our all-around helper went home to the province last December 15 and promised to come back first week of January. In her latest text, she said it might take a while before she could return. So there, I’m actually looking for a new helper as I will resume work on January 5.)

Day 1: I dusted everything, swept and mopped the entire house and changed our bed sheet, pillow cases and curtains while I assigned hubby the task of tidying up our electric fans (we have two, but he cleaned only the one in our bedroom; the one in the living room, before New Year, maybe?). Justin was entertaining his dad the whole time by talking nonstop and asking never-ending questions.

Day 2: I scrubbed our toilet, bathroom floor and wall tiles, washed all the soiled rugs and shower curtain and decided to finish off what’s left in our laundry basket. Oh, did I mention my hands have not recuperated yet from the manual washing of clothes I did last Saturday?

Any tips on how to make house-cleaning fun and easy?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Justin received the following gifts this Christmas: (1) a jar of toy animals from Ninang Remie, (2) a police car from Ninang Charm, (3) a Texaco highway hauler from Ninong Resty, (4) cute mini photo frames from Ninang Belen, (5) a xylophone and battery-operated helicopter, Nemo, and giraffe (these last four toys were gifts given to Justin by his godparents/our friends at his previous birthdays which we’ve kept and given him only this Christmas), (6) an OshKosh B’Gosh T-shirt from Ninang/Tita Meann, and (7) a Baby Gap T-shirt from Mamita (Auntie Mameng).

Justin’s Christmas toy presents

T-shirts and mini picture frames

We did not buy Justin anymore toy presents for Christmas since he already has enough to keep him busy. For his clothes, we already bought him a few pairs of pants and shorts and several T-shirts in November. He didn’t seem to mind that mommy and daddy did not get him any Christmas gifts. He’s getting all the love and attention he can get, though.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tatay and Nanay and my family (me, Ed and Justin) decided to spend the night at my sister Meann’s house on December 25 to give all of us the much-needed rest before going home.

Except for Nanay and Tatay who are early-risers, we all woke up late. We still enjoyed our Christmas left-overs.

First, we had to drop off Nanay and Tatay at their house in Dasmarinas, Cavite. Hubby offered to treat all of us to lunch at Max’s Restaurant. We ordered family fried chicken (whole), beef kare-kare, fish fillet in black beans (I’m not too sure I remember this right), and chopsuey. Boy, did we enjoy that meal!

At Max's Restaurant while waiting for our orders

Next, we’re headed for our place in Ortigas, but we had another stop-over at Festival Supermall. Our little boy badly needed a train ride, so hubby, me and Justin rode the Junction Express. Tito Orlan and Justin then had a grand time maneuvering the “big cow” while mom and dad took a restroom break.

At the entrance of Junction Express

Waiting for our turn to board the train

Mommy, Justin and Daddy enjoying our train ride

Oops! Where is Daddy?

Justin with Tito Orlan riding the walking "big cow"

Yesterday was a fun, fun day!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Like last year, we celebrated Christmas Day at my sister Meann’s house in Laguna Bel-Air. It’s becoming quite a tradition to spend the holidays there because they (Orlan and Meann) have ample space in their house, making it convenient for everyone to move around and do all the necessary preparations.

The Gregorio clan isn’t complete this time around. There were only 14 of us present (Tatay and Nanay, Orlan and Meann, Ed, Tetcha and Justin, Ate Cristy with kids Tin-Tin, Ayie, Hazel and Ron, and Auntie Mameng and Ate Beng. My brother Dennis is in Dubai and his wife Meg who stays in Hagonoy, Bulacan weren’t able to make it to our family get-together. My older brother Buboy and my brother-in-law Kuya Jhun weren’t also around to grace the occasion. We still managed to make the celebration fun and exciting, though.

We all shared a hearty feast of pancit bihon, tuna menudo, Purefoods Fiesta Ham, fried chicken, vegeroni salad, buko pandan salad, and cassava cake. I think there were more presents given away this year, and the kids couldn’t have been happier. Yippee! Aside from giving our individual gifts, we also had our Christmas exchange gift.


Justin posing beside all the gifts

Justin with cousins Kuya Ron and Ate Hazel

Family picture minus Tito Orlan who was our photographer

Here’s looking forward to Christmas 2009!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I’m not sure I’ll be able to log in tomorrow, so I’m greeting everyone a very Merry Christmas in advance!

A blessed Christmas to all and here’s to a prosperous 2009!
“Mommy, pode (pwede) computer Justin?” (Mommy, can Justin use the computer?)

These were the first words my two-year-and-five-month-old son Justin uttered when he woke up from his afternoon nap today.

Since my work for December ended on the 20th, I spend less time on the computer these days. The only time I get to use the PC is when my son Justin is asleep.

My son now takes my place in front of the computer watching Thomas & Friends YouTube videos. This is because he only has a handful of Thomas & Friends DVDs (only three, in fact, but he accidentally broke one, leaving him with only two now). He usually spends three to four hours a day video-hopping.

I know, I know. He’s not supposed to be watching too much. But what’s a mom to do?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Yesterday was the first time since my son Justin was born that my family (me, my husband, and my son) was alone in the house. That’s because our all-around helper, Manang, left for the province for a much-needed break.

We had company the day she left, my niece Tin-Tin, but only until last Friday, December 19, because she got sick. I’m thinking that has to do with her taking care of my son while I worked. Hehe. So technically, we’re home alone, just the three of us starting yesterday, which felt kind of odd, really. What did we do all day?

We were at Makati Medical Center by 11am for my husband’s appointment with his doctor. Then, we went to the mall. Father and son headed to Tom’s World, my son’s favorite hangout these days, while I did my grocery shopping, which took almost an hour. We were home at around 4pm.

Father and son watched DVDs while snacking on whatever they were able to rummage at home. I decided to make chicken macaroni salad to my husband’s delight. We had a good helping of that salad for dinner, which went well with Purefoods Fiesta Ham. Yummy!

Everything’s looking great. The only downside was that I had lesser time to spend with my son. That’s because household chores were never-ending! The flip side of this was that father and son get to spend more time together. Hubby took care of my son while I saw to household work that needed to be done. I think that more than made up for what I thought I lost.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

One of the perks of working in an office compared with working at home, particularly during the Christmas season, is that you get to receive lots of gifts from colleagues and friends alike. This week, my husband has brought home quite a number of Christmas presents already, including a fruit cake, chocolates, crinkles, brownies, macaroons, a cell phone holder, a towel, liquid hand soap, and a basket of goodies.

This particular gift caught my attention. At first glance, they look like ordinary ceramic figurines.

In reality, they’re actually salt and pepper holders. And they actually look great when they hug each other.

This was actually a gift from my husband’s boss. Cute, aren’t they?

Friday, December 19, 2008

My son Justin is a certified Barney baby. Barney was the first kiddie VCD I made him watch. We got hooked the first time we laid eyes on Barney (with emphasis on “we”). Of course, mommy has to make sure Justin’s watching the right stuff. So what makes Barney an instant hit with kids?

Barney features fun and exciting characters top-billed by Barney himself with friends BJ and Baby Bop who all sing well and dance well. We also get to watch kids of different ages in the show that make watching Barney even more interesting.

I actually became an instant fan of Barney because of the easy-to-learn songs that are set in good music and some danceable tunes, too. I would often sing these songs to Justin, and he would sing with me and imitate the action that went with these songs. Justin even knows Barney’s theme song “I Love You, You Love Me” by heart.

Primarily, I think Barney was conceptualized to teach children a good number of things, such as the letters of the alphabet, numbers, shapes, colors, zoo animals, etc. The show also imparts good values, namely: loving one’s friends and treating them as family, sharing what one has with others, being considerate of others’ feelings, and accepting others for what they are, among others.

I think these are good enough reasons to convince parents to let their children watch Barney. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Whenever Justin’s dad is watching VCD/DVD, he’s always reminded of how much havoc his son has done on his 6-month-old DVD player. If he is lucky, he’ll be able to watch the movie without a hitch. More often that not, he will not be able to finish the entire film because it will stop in some parts or it will not play at all. That’s because Justin, with his ever-curious mind and busy toddler hands, had toyed with that DVD player so many times in the past months and still does to this day. This DVD player is not the only thing in our house that has experienced Justin’s “gentle” touch.

To date, he’s broken/destroyed the following:
1. A fan blade. He was having a grand time playing with our living room stand fan, and the whole thing actually fell. It was a good thing that it landed not directly on Justin, but on the other side. That’s why the fan blade was broken into bits.
2. Two whistling kettles, one ended up with a broken spout and the other with a broken handle.
3. A Xenon DVD player, our first DVD player, now dysfunctional.
4. Several of his toys: his miniature toy cars are now without windows; his toy guitar is left with only two strings; his microphone is now divided in half.
5. Mommy’s brown pair of shoes, newly purchased at the time Justin’s wide feet landed on them.
6. One of his Thomas & Friends DVD was split into two as he desperately struggled to lift it from its case.
7. Our dining table now has pockmarks because Justin pounded his plastic spoon and fork on it.
8. Our living room sofa bed has scratches on the side because Justin keeps bumping his “big” car against the poor thing.

We know this wrecking rampage is far from over. We’re just consoling ourselves with the thought that this, too, shall pass.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My husband noticed something amiss in my son’s navel last Saturday. It seemed moist and a bit inflamed. This prompted me to text Justin’s pediatrician and relay the problem. It’s a good thing she calways texts back. Dr. O. prescribed an antifungal/corticosteroid cream to be applied to the affected area 3x a day. It seems to be working, although we have to constantly remind Justin and see to it that he does not touch his navel.

This may seem an easy task, but not for someone who finds sticking his finger into his navel and playing with his navel quite relaxing. It’s his sleep-inducer ever since. So, how do we make a 2 year-and-a-five-month-old boy stop this habit?

Reminding him every so often worked, but only for a while. We then had to include a scare factor in our reminders, telling him that if he touches his navel, it will grow bigger along with his tummy. When we’re in bed and he’s about to sleep, I keep telling him to just hold mommy’s hands whenever he feels the urge to touch his navel. He does and he’s able to sleep quite soundly. Thank goodness!
Later today, Manang, Justin’s yaya (nanny) will be going home to the province to spend Christmas with her family and to undergo an operation. My work for December doesn’t end until the 20th, so for next week, I actually requested my 21-year-old niece Tin-tin to baby-sit my son while I work. From the 20th until the end of my Christmas vacation (January 4), the tasks of taking care of my son and manning the household will rest solely on my shoulders. My chores will include:

1. Taking care of my son
2. Cooking
3. Washing the dishes
4. Washing Justin’s clothes and other small stuff every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights
5. Cleaning the house every Saturdays
6. Ironing clothes every Sunday

Whew! I will need super powers to do all these. Will I survive? Hopefully. Well, I wouldn’t really be entirely without help as my husband will look after our son while I do the other chores. Plus, I will ask my sister (Meann) or nieces (Tin-tin and Ayie) to pay us a visit every so often to help lessen my load. Shrewd? You may say so.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hubby and I committed a mortal sin. We binged on food and drinks last night. But we’re not alone in our crime. We had nine co-conspirators, all friends and former officemates, and a special guest, Ana’s pretty teenage daughter Ynah.

We feasted on crossover buffet at Saisaki-Dads-Kamayan, filling our plates to the brim and drowning ourselves in bottomless iced tea. Well, we had to get our money’s worth. After all, we each had to pay Php720.00, tax included.

You think it’s way too much for just one meal? I think so, too. But this is no ordinary night. It was a gathering of friends, of people who has kept in touch with each other for years, people who make it a point to get together before Christmas to celebrate life and friendship. We’ve made it an annual event for three years now, and we don’t intend to break it.

So are we pigging out again next year? I think so, but I hope not. I think it’s about time we start eating healthier stuff. That would be a big change for sure, but definitely one for the better.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I was so tired last Tuesday not because I worked, but because I didn’t work. It turned out that Tuesday was the scheduled day for fogging/misting in our building. Kids are advised not to go outside while spraying is done. This is not a guarantee, however, that the insecticide won’t seep inside the rooms as there’s a tiny gap below each unit’s main door. Per Justin’s pediatrician, Justin should be out of the building for at least three hours, enough time for the fog/mist to subside.

Spraying is scheduled at 2pm. I actually still have time to work in the morning until after we leave our unit before 2pm, but I decided not to because ending my work before the appointed time would just ruin my momentum. To kill time, I read my e-mails, surfed the Net, and read other people’s blogs (Boy! I wish I have more time to do this).

Then off we went to the mall (Justin, Mommy, and Manang). We spent the first two hours at Tom’s World. Justin had a grand time bowling, playing basketball, and whatever games he could lay his hands on. For my part, I played Pharaoh’s Treasure and Jungle Jive. This cost us Php400.00.

Justin was already hungry by 4pm, so we went to the food court. We ordered Arrozcaldo Special and Goto Special with iced tea from Goto King. This totaled Php150.00. I then called Justin’s dad because we’re running out of things to do. He told me we could go to My Playroom Kids Care Center at the upper floor.

My Playroom is a place where your tiny tots could play, read, and sleep (if they want) for a fee. One hour costs Php90.00. Justin and Manang spent two hours at My Playroom, so that’s Php180.00, plus, we have to pay for Manang’s socks priced at Php25.00. Children and their companion/s are required to remove their shoes and wear only socks while inside the play area. Total expenses: Php205.00.

Finally, Justin’s dad, coming all the way from his office, met us at My Playroom’s reception area. It’s dinner time already, so the next best thing to do was to eat again. Ed and I had pork sisig, while Manang had fried fish fillet (I forgot what this was called) at Icebergs. We all had lemonade for our drinks.Our bill amounted to almost Php700.00.

All in all, it cost us approximately Php1,500.00 for having stayed in the mall for 5 hours, plus, I didn’t earn anything that day. And to think that we’ll have to repeat the process in two weeks’ time as fogging/misting in our building is done twice a month. Haay! Well, at least, Justin is safe from inhaling the toxic stuff. And yes, I was dead tired from all the playing, walking, eating, and spending that we had to do.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I overheard this conversation between my son Justin and his yaya (nanny) from inside the bedroom where I work.

Justin: (Doodling on his notebook) "Family." (He’s trying to draw a family. He now knows that a family consists of daddy, mommy, and baby.)

Manang: "Ano ang name ni Mommy?" (What is mommy’s name?)

Justin: "Teresa."

Manang: "Wow, galing!" (Wow, great!) "Eh, ano ang name ni Daddy?" (What is daddy’s name?)

Justin: "Eduardo."

Manang: "Wow! Very good! Ano naman ang name ni Justin?" (What is Justin’s name?)

Justin: "Justin Edward Figuerres." (His last name he pronounced as “Guerres” only.)

Manang: (Clapping her hands with glee) "Very good!"

Justin, now two years and 5 months old, knew how to say his name when he turned a little older than one, but our names (his dad’s and mine), I have only told him a couple of times. I never thought he’d remember. Should I tell him our telephone number next?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I head a small group of online English writing tutors, and I’m also a tutor myself. Teaching ESL (English as Second Language) students can be quite fulfilling, but because I do it everyday, it can become trite and unappealing, especially for someone who’s been doing the job for four years now, well, not exactly four years because the first two years I only performed the work on a part-time basis. I only assumed full-time position in April 2007.

I’m usually a passionate worker, but in the past months, I’ve been dragging myself to work. I think I’ve been bitten by the burnout bug. These past few days, however, I’ve found a renewed enthusiasm for my work, which I attribute to the following:

1. My bosses came up with an incentive scheme for tutors. If we go beyond our expected monthly quota, we are entitled to an incentive pay. This act is much appreciated, especially this holiday season and especially in these times of global economic crisis.

2. My bosses granted my request to release my 13th month pay early because I told them I need to give something to my son’s yaya (nanny) who’ll be undergoing an operation this December.

3. I realize I’m lucky that I have a job. There are many jobless Filipinos out there, and I’m one of those fortunate enough to have a regular source of income. I just hope there’ll be more jobs available in 2009 for everyone.

I guess there’s really no reason why I shouldn’t love my work.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The following are tell-tale signs that I’m quite busy these days:

1. I have 59 messages in my cell phone inbox and 71 messages in my outbox.
2. I haven’t started my Christmas shopping yet.
3. I haven’t plurked for two straight days (or was it three?).
4. I eat lunch in a hurry, spending only 15 minutes to devour my packed lunch.
5. I haven’t replied to my best friend who texted me 10 hours ago.
Justin loves calling his lolo and lola (grandfather and grandmother whom he fondly calls Tatay and Nanay) using my cell phone.

When he’s about to end the conversation, he would say the following repeatedly as his closing spiel: “Bye. Take care. Good night. I love you.”

After saying “I love you,” he would hug the cell phone he’s holding as if embracing the person he’s talking to.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

This is my agenda for December as far as my son Justin is concerned.

Potty training – We thought Justin's first time to sit on the toilet last November 9 was a good start. Our rejoicing over that accomplishment was short-lived, however, as he never repeated the act again. Yesterday, I started placing his potty in the living room so he is reminded to plop into it when he needs to.

Bottle weaning – We also started making Justin drink his milk from a cup. The only time we make him drink milk from a feeding bottle is when he’s about to take his nap or at bedtime.

Less TV watching – We’re also cutting back the number of hours Justin can watch TV. Before, the TV set in the living room is on almost the whole day. Now, we’re encouraging more play and less TV. We keep him busy with his toys, his coloring book and crayons, and his notebook and pencil. He goes to the playground, too, to be with other kids.
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