We love summer!

25 Apr

The kids and kids-at-heart had a blast swimming in the pool yesterday, not minding the very hot and intense heat of the sun. Now we are all sporting the same sun-burnt look, faces and body red all over. We wore sunblock but I think these are useless when the kids just wouldn’t stop swimming as if there was no tomorrow. But I do strongly suspect that the sunblock I got from Mercury Drugstore while we were on our way was not good enough. Next time, I should stick with Coppertone, no other.

I almost had cramps when I just took to the water trying out once again what I learned about breaststroke swimming but after few stretches and the swimming spree went on!

We just love summer! =)

Six Years Ago

23 Apr

Dear Daniel,

Today, as I sit back and think about you on your birthday, I ended up thinking about the events exactly six years ago today when you came into this world.  While prior findings during my prenatal checks had me well-informed about your condition, I knew, from the time  I noticed my OB Gyne didn’t let me see you and hold you after you got out, that there was something terribly wrong.  My first visit to you after only a few hours of sleep confirmed my fears, seeing you strapped to a tube that suctions blood out of your intestines.  You were frail, pale, with your rib cage sticking out against your skin as you make shallow breathing with that tube in your mouth.  I remember that I wanted to hold you, but couldn’t because those tubes get in the way, and I was deathly afraid to cause  you more discomfort as you were trying hard to breathe.  The baby bottle next to you still had about 1 ounce of formula, the doctor said your condition could not let you take in milk.  Breastfeeding wouldn’t help either.  I remember how I stood there, looking down at you, crying silently, feeling the nurses’ quiet looks of sadness at us, feeling them keeping their distance to allow me some private time with you.  I would go back to my room, but then would feel restless and go back again to visit you, then spent time crying while looking at you.

The doctor said you needed to undergo a corrective surgery within the next 3 days, otherwise, you could not take in any liquid and food and would die.  Yes, you and your little pale, thin body of a 3-day old baby  needed to undergo surgery in order to live.  How painful could that be for a mother to hear something like that?  I asked the surgeon what are the risks involved, and the surgeon said that even with such condition you appear to remain strong and he was optimistic that you would go through it with positive results.  And he was right, but you had to stay for several weeks at the hospital to let you adjust with taking in food, clear out infections, and have you strong enough to be able to take in milk and get your internal organs working normally.

I remembered refusing to take a rest despite having just given birth to you, disregarding  any little pain I felt while traveling to and from the hospital just to be able to visit you every day at the hospital because I didn’t want you to feel left out and alone in that big hospital in the city, when you were supposed to be home all snug and comfortable, sleeping soundly in the baby crib we bought for you.  I remember your daddy, going to the hospital every evening sleeping in the car while parked in the hospital grounds   because we could not afford to get a room in the hospital anymore as the medical and hospital bills piled up at outrageous amounts daily , enduring the humid nights of April summer and mosquitoes just to have one of us near  you so you won’t feel all alone in that hospital.  He would then be going home in the afternoon the next day and every single day for more than four weeks.  By the time we got you out, your daddy had become a permanent fixture in that hospital and became friends with some of the guards and staff who would sometimes let him sleep in that sofa at the corridor outside the NICU.

I remember being rushed to another hospital for postpartum hemorrhage most likely caused by all the stress of travel and lack of sleep after having given birth to you. I was in pain and stayed at the hospital for almost a week.  I wanted out of that hospital so bad because I didn’t want to miss a day without seeing you, but then I realized I needed to get better and stronger  just to be able to do so.

I remember you  suddenly became sick again because infection had already penetrated your  blood. I remember me and your daddy desperately seeking blood donors, going  to every blood centers, to find fresh and healthy blood that would match  that of, and safe for a newborn baby.  Due to the lack of available blood, we even had to make a public “panawagan” on a local radio for blood donors, through which we eventually found a kind-hearted soul, a complete stranger named Victor, who called in and volunteered to donate blood as soon as he heard it on the radio, and who eventually became one of your godparents in your baptism.  Tests showed that his blood perfectly matched yours and we are forever thankful for his kindness and unselfishness.

I remembered our old folks advising us and making arrangements for a priest to pray over you, as your condition deteriorated.  I remember almost going through the stage of acceptance but going to church every day to ask that you be given a chance at life.

And I could not forget that day when in the midst of it all,  I went to the market to buy something.  There’s this group of people going store to store handing out a white-colored softbound book.  One of them, a lady, approached me and gave me one too.  It turned out to be the Visayan version of  the book “My Angel Daniel”, a compilation of God’s messages claimed to have been received by Vassula Ryden.  As soon as I saw the title, tears welled up my eyes.  You, our baby in the hospital, we named you Daniel and this moment I took as a sign from God saying that He is with us and that you are safe.

That was 6 years ago today.

I have seen you have grown up to be a bright and healthy boy.  From the first time you learned how to walk to the time you walked up stages in school to either perform a dance or get an award for good grades, or both in almost all occasions, you continue to amaze us and fill us with much love and happiness.  You and your siblings, we love you in the same way and in different ways, at the same time.  But I must admit that there is something in you that makes you different, special, and unique. You and I shared an experience of pain and hardship, and also grace, kindness, and love.

You are still too young to understand some things, but I hope that at least, whenever you see us and your daddy emotional and/or crying while we watch you perform or get an award onstage, you know that these are tears of joy and overwhelming love for you.

It will be another 6 or more years from now but I hope that by the time you have grown up and read and fully understood this message, you can remember everything about the first six wonderful, loving and blessed years of your life, and feel that it hasn’t changed since.

Mommy Maying and Daddy Ronan love you with our whole life, Daniel.

My very own Angel Daniel, I love you very much.


Mommy Maying

Intruder Alert

19 Mar

Around 8 p.m. earlier tonight, I was armed with a gun going around inside the house while waiting for hubby to come home after I texted him someone was just right outside our main door knocking, and then went knocking from the outside also at the window of our bedroom.   Only me, the 2 yayas, and the kids were at home, hubby was in a meeting.  Hubby quickly got home and already made the rounds and saw nothing or no one.  Our neighbor told him that a few meters from our house at the corner street somebody has just been robbed of his cellphone at knifepoint.  I had the feeling it was the same person/s who swooped down on a victim at random after the failed attempt at our house.

This wasn’t the first time we encountered an intruder.  Because of this incident, hubby gave me a crash course on how to hold, load, cock, and fire a gun…all under 5 minutes.

I really do not like guns and I’ve always been against my husband’s keeping a gun inside the house.  It has alway been a topic of discussion between us and I only relented after a previous attempted break-in in the house we previously rented.  After tonight’s incident, I think I would have to agree with hubby.

I’ve never been as afraid as I was earlier tonight.  I am beginning to think this place is not safe enough for my family.

Tsunami of Emotions

27 Feb

I live in one of the cities around the Davao Gulf area and by now everyone who either lives within the area or simply cares enough listen or read the news would know that the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) has issued a tsunami warning in the Pacific area, some locations in the Philippines included.

From http://zhenmei.blogspot.com/2010/02/tsunami-warning-alert-in-rp-estimated.html

In Davao, a tsunami is estimated to arrive at 1:27 pm local time (0527 UCT / GMT time) at coordinate points 6.8N 125.7E, in the Davao Gulf near Samal island.

I checked with hubby who said that the nearest coastline from where I live is about 1 kilometer away.  And areas around the Davao  Gulf area do not actually face the Pacific Ocean as there’s the large Samal Island that sits right in the midst of the gulf.   So, I guess I shouldn’t really be in a state of alarm yet.  But we’re watching CNN for their hourly updates, thank goodness for CNN.

In the meantime, I am experiencing my own tsunami of emotions.  I really do not want to write about it,  but it basically involves drastic moves for the next 2-3 months.  I will just pray for God’s enlightenment.

Happy Faces In The Dark

25 Feb

While I join other adults in complaining about the heat, power interruptions, and the fact that nothing seemed to have been done about those problems, my kids don’t seem to mind at all.

In fact, as soon as the entire house got dark due to sudden power outages for the past 2 nights, they are all the more fired up and found it really exciting to run in the dark, laugh at their shadows and stare at the candles.

I am not sure how I can cope with this unpredictable brownouts, but from the looks of it, I am pretty sure my kids will fare better than me.

Cats Don’t Talk

24 Feb

I love cats.  My sisters and I grew up with cats around the house. I guess, we took after our father who would have his pet cat sleep on him (as in literally on his tummy) when he was a kid.  We played with them, cared for them, groomed them, fed them….the works.

I still love them but since I got married and had kids, the over-protective mother in me has the “no pets allowed”  policy inside the house.

Dogs? I don’t hate them but I stay away from them.  For unknown reasons, I’ve always had this fear of dogs since I was a kid.  Whenever it’s my first time to visit somebody’s house, I would always ask if they have dogs.

There is a cat that regularly comes to the house with her little yellow daughter kitty cat, to stake out our garbage or to be fed with left-overs by our helper.  But they remain outside, just within the premises.  At night, my two boys would force themselves to sleep when thy hear the twocats howling just right outside the window.  Giving them a little scare by telling them that the cats are howling for them to sleep is our last option to keep them still on the bed.  I know it’s bad to scare kids to sleep, but you know desperate times call for some desperate measure. =)

So,  imagine how my four kids would react when the kitty cat makes a surprise visit INSIDE the house.  Somebody left the kitchen screen door open last night and the kitten found her way inside the house, and  inside the helpers’ room.  She might have stayed there for more than an hour.  We knew of her presence when I suddenly heard a commotion with my kids shrieking and running around in the kitchen.

My 1-year old daughter Deanna saw it first in the kitchen and everything went crazy from that point.  While the boys were shouting and running around in all directions AWAY from the kitten, the girls    (including Deanna) were chasing AFTER it, wanting to get a hold of it!  The poor kitten was scurrying here and there, scared and howling for her mommy cat.  While I was scared she might get clawed by the kitten who was literally throwing a hissy fit, it was really funny watching Deanna with her two outstretched hands, eyes wide open with excitement, innocently chasing after her just like she does when she chases her ball.

I grabbed my camera and just before she was let out of the kitchen door, I took shots of the kitty cat.  The light of the camera flash reflecting in her eyes wide open all the more emphasized the fear she must have felt at that time.

And so, after the kitten was let out, I seized the opportunity to “teach” my kids a little lesson.  I made up a little story, telling  them that while they were chasing the kitten, I could hear the mother cat wailing for her small one and yelling for my kids to sleep or else she would be out to get

them.   I was about to turn the fear factor up a little bit when I sensed that my boys fell silent, but then I heard 6-year old Denise snicker.  I turned to her and saw her suppressing her laugh and then went on to say ”Cats don’t talk” with that are-you-kidding-me look on her face.  Aside from the fact that she said it in straight English, I was floored by the fact that she wasn’t buying my story.

I guess, kids are different nowadays.

Turning Life into Scraps

2 Feb

No…no…it’s not what you’re thinking.

For the past 4 weeks, I have spent most of my free time slaving over my daughter’s scrapbook project for her preschool.  While I did attempt to make  a scrapbook 5 years ago, it fell victim to procrastination and eventually abandoned.

I was not really up to it, but the mother in me says that this is something that I have to do otherwise my daughter would end up having the worst scrapbook in her class.  My daughter did help out with cutting out shapes, gluing embellishments, and identifying names of her friends and classmates for the captions.

I ended up loving every minute of it, even making a promise to make my 3 other kids’ their own scrapbooks.

Here’s the finished product….taaddaaaa!!!!! =)

And Here I am Writing Again

1 Feb

Without much ado and explanation on my long hiatus from this blog, I am letting anyone who cares enough to read this blog that I am launching my own Project365.  Well, technically it should be called Project335 (if my Math is correct) because I will start at February 1, 2010. For those who have no idea about it, Project365 is a year-round photoblogging project wherein you document your life by taking a photo and posting it online every single day of the year.

While it would be most ideal to start this project on the first day of the year, which is January 1 and end it on the last day of the year, you can actually start it on any day of the year and end it after 365 days.

So now, here’s my post for today, February 1, 2010.

I was riding a jeepney after running errands at the mall.  It was getting dark and I was anxious to catch the next bus to our place.   This is the view from the back of the jeepney.  This scene struck me because it made me realize that aside from me, everyone is in a hurry to get home or anywhere else.   It makes me want to ask, “Where to?”

Farewell to the greatest performer of my lifetime.

27 Jun

I am a child of the 80’s.

I belong to Madonna and Michael Jackson’s music generation. So since I learned about his death in an online forum I was really devastated.

Not that I cried my eyes out, or downed my sorrows on a bottle of beer, none of that sort. Instead, I kept my sadness to myself, completely forgot about my work for an entire day to read every news updates on TMZ or CNN, and deeply immersed myself in searching online for and viewing videos of MJ’s performances. Thank goodness for YouTube, I found myself zapped back to memories of watching with much admiration and intensity MJ’s iconic performances on TV.

The Death of the King of Pop. Immensely saddening. It feels like mourning the death of a childhood friend. The odds of me meeting him in person was once in a billion, but like others who are affected by the news of his death, I found consolation in his music and his dance. Watching again the videos of his concerts held in different parts of the world such as Germany, Malaysia, Russia and even Japan gave me an awesome realization that while many popular artists came after him, no one can ever take his place as the King of Pop. As someone who loves to dance I totally admire younger dance and song artists of today like Britney, Justin, T., and Usher. But I must say that none of them comes close to MJ’s trailblazing performances. From that Motown 25 performance where he introduced his signature dance “moonwalk” to the world in 1983, to his perpetually sold-out world tour concerts for his album History, the power of his voice and the electrifying energy of his dance steps would simply leave you in awe. I don’t know if it was just me, but reading and uttering the phrase “King of Pop” after his death takes on a more revered tone. I truly believe that he belongs up there with Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.

The Music. Ahhh, who would ever forget Thriller, the album that not only sold millions of copies around the world, but also paved the way for the MTV era and shaped pop music culture as we know it today. My personal favorites are I Just Can’t Stop Loving You, You Are Not Alone, She’s Out of My Life, and Gone Too Soon. I was one of those billions of people around the world who would dance at the sound of Black and White, Remember The Time, and Smooth Criminal. Too bad, he didn’t make it to his much anticipated comeback next month in a series of sold-out concerts in London.

Here’s one of my favorite MJ performances.

His Legacy. My father worked as a a radio “announcer” (similar to today’s radio DJ’s) when I was a child and I remember how he would often play every Sunday his favorite Elvis Presley songs that were then in long playing albums or 45 vinyl records, along with the songs of great oldies such as Frank Sinatra, Connie Francis, and many others. My sisters and I would complain at the marathon of albums played one after another, but it was only when I was in my late 20’s and wondered why I had such affinity for oldies music that I realized that it was my father’s way of sharing with us the legacy of these singing legends of his time. In fact, after my father’s death, one of the first things that I looked for was his collection of old music albums which he lovingly bought, collected and shared with us throughout his years of working in the radio industry. But since I didn’t have a turntable to play it with, I chose to take some of this music CD collections of oldies music. Now that the music legend of my lifetime has died, it’s now my turn to see to it that my children would come to know about the music and the moves of MJ.

The controversies. Not that I chose to be indifferent because I am such a huge fan, but as a mother of 4 kids I chose not to dwell on this anymore. One question I would like to ask aloud though is that why would the parents of the alleged victims succumb to alleged pressures to settle out of court? Of course, I am not in a position to question or even speculate on the reasons behind another parents’ decision, but I am in a position to believe that once you’ve set out to seek justice for any wrongdoing against your child it should be a fight to the finish. These questions could go on and on and I think his death would revive motives to milk whatever is left to a pulp, but I would rather remember the man through his awesome music and dance moves. And judging on news accounts of people mourning all over the world, it’s exactly how millions of others would like to remember him.  Maybe this is the kind of comeback that he needed, a final act where people selectively wipe out the bad, and opt to remember only the good things.

Setting New Blockbuster Hits. On a side note, it’s amazing to read news  accounts of sudden burst of renewed interest on anything about Michael Jackson, offline or online. There are news reports of people flocking to record stores to grab CD or DVD’s of Michael’s albums and concerts. And the same is happening online. Michael Jackson dominating iTunes, Amazon and YouTube, MJ’s death roils Wikipedia, Google thought MJ traffic was an attack and set a record on Yahoo for unique visitors in a single day with 16.4 million visitors, and news sites swamped following Michael Jackson’s death.

MJ is a blockbuster phenomenon even in his death.

In an interview Michael was asked a question about death and he said that he would like to live forever. I am speaking for myself but I am sure that I speak for many others, yes MJ, your music will forever live in our hearts.

Last Year (2008), I Learned…

5 Jan

So many things, and they came to me in full throttle during the last month of the year.  What a memorable December.

1.  Do not rely so much on househelps.  We are renting a 3-bedroom house (well one is used as a home-office so it’s really just 2 bedrooms), and there are 4 househelps to assist us, a family of 6.  Well, okay, 5 househelps including Manang Labandera.  Yes, I am serious and I am writing this not because I wanted to let the whole world know that we are a bunch of lazy creatures, but things are so chaotic around the house that having all 5 of them around keeps the home in order (sort of…)

Until 2 of them went home after they decided to quit working, and the other 2 went home on December 24 to celebrate the holidays with their families. Which really made things worse when my husband was rushed to the hospital in the early morning of Christmas day and stayed there for 2 days because he suffered chest pains.

I was alone in the house with the kids, my husband was picked up by his parents to rush him to the emergency room.  With 4 children all under the age of 6, it was pure chaos.  Thank goodness my mother-in-law was there to help me watch the kids while I was doing chores around the house.  She also let one of her helpers sleep with us for a night.

Not having any of our helpers around was not just the problem, it was more of the difficulty in getting household chores done and taking care of my little kids because I relied too much on our helpers.   I would like to be honest and say that I don’t even cook for my family.  Cooking is  not my cup of tea, and as I always say, I would rather clean the entire house and do all the dirty laundry, just don’t make me cook.  My sisters and I grew up with my mom or a helper doing all the cooking, and I just realized now that my mom wasn’t the type to force us to learn how to cook like all other “good girls” do.

2.  Take care of your health.

It was my husband’s first time to be admitted to the hospital.  I remembered joking that I, too, has never been hospitalized since I was a kid and that the only times I was admitted to the hospital was when I gave birth to my kids.

We later learned that he experienced the early symptoms of a mild stroke.  Further test revealed that his heart is still in top shape, but his blood sugar, blood pressure, weight, and bad cholesterol levels are all bursting beyond normal levels.

All is well now, except that my husband keeps bitchin’ around when he realized that he could no longer enjoy eating whatever he pleases.  There’s now a different twist to “eating to his heart’s content”.

My realization is that I couldn’t keep “postponing” my plans to learn how to cook, even simple meals.  There had been and there would always be situations when helpers are not around and there’s no one else who could cook for the family except me.  Even my 5-year old keeps bugging me with her innocent remarks that I should be cooking for her, that she wanted me to be like those moms in TV ads who cook nice meals for their kids.  So, I am taking this further and in fact, this afternoon I was googling for simple Pinoy veggie meals and I think I have found my first recipe.  Will keep you updated on this.

3.  Do not take in too much work if your schedule is bursting at the seams.

During the last days of the year I got a client who wanted me to customize his WordPress-based real estate website.  I have been doing that with previous clients and it was my previous work for a Sydney Travel site that got him interested in getting me do the job for him.  The problem with me was that my workload for the remaining 2 weeks of the year was already a choke, and I still said yes to the client.

Turned out that I could only spend a total of 3 hours to work on his blog, and I could not meet the client’s deadline.  The client ended the assignment and sought out other providers.

There are other realizations that made me think in retrospect, and how I would address this in this new year of 2009.

While I do have these realizations, I really am not sure if I can do something about it, positive or otherwise.

Nevertheless, I am glad to have given this much thought now because I’m afraid I’ll forget everything about it until I remember it next year.