Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rounding Up April

Getting the questions to the Round Up from Katie the Scrapbook Lady:

Round Up: April

What books and/or magazines did I read this month?
I read ONE book this month, Kathleen McGowan's The Book of Love. A continuation of her previous hit, The Expected One. The books tell of Jesus' possible life of marriage and the story of his descendants and where and what they preached. Pretty explosive stuff, if she had published it as non-fiction. But hey, I'm pretty open to new ideas and this one has potential! :) I got this book just before we left for Singapore so needless to say I did get a LOT of reading done, almost finishing the book during our stay there.

Magazines, just Time. Trying to be intellectual here and keeping up with current news and trends, hehehe. This one came with an extra issue on Global Warming and its effects on our environment and, ultimately, the world. Interesting ---and scary!--- stuff.

What movies and/or tv shows did I watch this month?
We saw 17 Again starring Zac Efron. Cute movie. But I can't believe this is the ONLY movie we saw this month! Hahahaha! I guess we were too busy with swim meets and traveling!

What special days did I celebrate and how?
Raegan's 11th Birthday

Japa's 40th Birthday

What gifts did I give and/or receive?

Raegan got a Guitar Hero game for her DS from us. No gift for Japa as of now. There hasn't been a whole lot of time to think of what to give him, eek!

The kids got their prizes for swimming well at Toys R Us. Rogan got an early birthday gift --- that hideously expensive Lego Star Wars--- early, which was added to his swimming prize.
What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
Taking special care of my back, what with all the sitting down I've been doing for all the swim meets this month! Food input has been extremely plentiful this month, too, LOL, so I'm promising to cut back AND to exercise more next month! (keeping my fingers crossed!)
What fun things did I do with my friends and/or family?
The swim meets were pretty major events this month. It was fun to have some time alone with Raegan during our trip to Singapore. It was equally fun to have the 3 older kids plus Coach Jana for a day in Hong Kong, too.

We spent some quality time in Hong Kong, especially during the trip to the HK Science Museum and the loooooong walk to it, hehehe.
What new foods, recipes or restaurants did I try this month?
Definitely that HK restaurant where we spent most of our meals, Yun Nan Restaurant. And the local Park N Shop supermarket, where we had el cheapo but filling meals! Yeah!
What special or unusual purchases did I make?
Toys R Us stuff, hehehehe. I guess picking up that laser tube for the engraving machine while in Hong Kong counts as a highly unusual purchase :)
What were my scrapping accomplishments this month?
Another 22 pages scrapped this month, including my pages for Proj 365.
Anything else noteworthy to record?
Just a quick note to say that I never knew swimming could get soooo expensive! With all the trips we've been doing this month, it's breaking the bank! But it's worth it, too, since we get to spend so much quality time with the kids. Nothing like sports and all it teaches, eh?

Nothing exciting happening today.....just a family board meeting. Teleconferencing with the twins who are in the States.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Last Day in Hong Kong

I stayed up late to pack our bags. I woke up early today to pack our bags. :) We let the kids sleep in, since we got home late for the first time during our entire stay in Hong Kong.

Breakfast was McDonald's, as usual. Only this was, Japa didn't check the bags and we ALL got Egg McMuffins which we did NOT want!!! Grrrrrr!

We had lunch at our "regular" restaurant for the last time.....and finally took a photo just so we would remember the name. I mean, we had been eating most of our meals here for the past 6 days, lunch or dinner. And none of us knew the name of the place, hehehehe. So, for posterity's sake:

With all our bags packed, we stopped by the Concierge to pick up the laser tubes that were ordered by the Columbarium. And we were surprised by the size! At least it was light! So....we figured that it was best if Japa would take all the bags to the airport via taxi. When all the bags and the crate were loaded, I noticed some space in the middle of the back seat. I told Rogan to squeeze in there, heheehhe. That's at least one boy who would NOT be a liability on the MTR (I'm talking about having to constantly keep in him in my sights just so he wouldn't get into trouble or some other such thing).

We finally got to the airport. The kids rode FREE on the Airport Express train, so we saved some money there :) Japa was first in line in the Business Class line, flashing the Premier Elite card. Whew! Thank goodness for that one. The lady was verrrrry nice, helping Japa check in the crate at the oversized package section AND giving us ALL seats in the upper deck!!! Which meant that we got Business Class seating! Whoohoohooo!!!!

Here are a few pics of us enjoying our seats before take off:

Uneventful flight, with Ranger nodding off in his uber comfy seat before take off. Raine didn't throw up, and we were one of the first ones off the plane. We claimed our bags, paid a minor amount for the laser tube in the crate and went off.

We dropped off Raine and Raegan in LaVista because they were going to sleep with Zhar; Rod had left for the States yesterday.

And finally, finally, FINALLY. We got home. Ahhhhhh. Nothing like your OWN bed!!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Girls' Time and Boys' Time

After having breakfast at McDonald's, we went our separate ways:


We went to Mongkok so that the girls could see what Hong Kong shopping was like. That it wasn't all department stores and fixed prices. Of course, the first store we went to, Bossini, was where the girls had fun shopping, hehehehe. They picked out shirts and jackets and were happy.

Mongkok showed them the stalls and stalls lined up on the streets. And the bargaining! Coach Jana taught them that they could chop off as much as 60% off the asking price of the vendors! Even *I* was surprised that we could go that low; I guess I was so used to shopping with Mom, who'd go only so low with her bargaining skills :) Apparently, prices were dropping because most of the goods were coming from China.

After shopping for a few more things, we passed by Park N Shop to get lunch. At 3 pm. Hehehehe. Yup, the girls got a chance to "live" the life of a Hong Kong shopper: going without lunch because there were still so many stalls to go to. :)

After a lovely lunch of char siu pork and roasted duck and rice that left us fully satisfied, we rested a bit before hitting the pool. Yeah right. It was *still* freezing water in the darn pool, despite the warmer temperatures outside! Sheesh! The ONLY reason why I ventured into the water was because the girls were playing with their new camera that could take UNDERWATER shots! Look how COOL this is:

All I did here was to hit Auto Levels in Photoshop and our skin tones were highlighted a bit. Otherwise, the pic was clear as day! Is that cool or what!

After the cold pool, the steam room was a WELCOME treat! We stayed in the steam room for probably close to an hour. Japa said that he heard us all the way to the gym, we were laughing and chatting up a storm! Hahahaha!


When we left McDonald's, the boys went back to the hotel. And Rogan literally pooped up a storm. Our toilet overflowed and Japa had to call Housekeeping in a major way! Hehehehe. Ugh. Thank goodness us girls weren't there to witness the grossness of it all! Ewww.

The boys took a short dip in the cold pool as well; they couldn't stay that long since Ranger's lips were turning purple. They also had a much-needed stay in the steam room, long enough for Ranger's body to heat up.


We found out that there was a Toys R Us by the Tsuen Wan station. So we walked aaaaaaalllll the way there. It took us about 15 minutes of straight walking and by the time we got to the Discovery Park Mall, we were hungry! After a short stop at the toy store that didn't yield a Star Wars Lego set, we proceeded to the food court.

And oh my goodness, was it totally authentically CHINESE! Everything was in Chinese, with the exception of McDonald's and KFC! After settling the kids onto tables and chairs, we bravely lined up for our food. Thank goodness the cashier could understand what we wanted. Sort of. Hehehehe. Obviously, we stuck to the "safe" staples of pork char siu, roasted duck and chicken. Everything with rice, of course.

And were we FULL by the time we were done! I regret not taking a pic of our food though, since everyone dug in when the food was set on the table. We were that famished! :)


After dinner, I hurried everyone home because I needed to do 2-weeks' worth of layouts to qualify for the incentive over at Weeds and Wildflowers Designs. And I made the deadline, barely!

TTFN! I still need to pack! We're finally going home tomorrow!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Squeezing in Some Educational Time

What's a trip to Hong Kong without a trip to.....the HK Science Museum? :) It opened at 1 pm, so in the morning, we all trooped to Ocean Terminal to Toys R Us to get some prizes for the kids for swimming well.

Apparently, Raegan seems to be getting too old for toys; she couldn't for the life of her figure out what she wanted to get. She finally settled on some huge bubble thing. I have a feeling she just grabbed it just for the heck of getting something. At least it wasn't expensive; Raegan knew she was in for some clothes shopping this trip.

Raine picked out a dancing mat thingy, the one that you hook up to your TV and has some songs that you dance to while stepping on arrows on the mat. Ranger was content with a small Lego Star Wars toy. Not that he'd assemble it himself, but he's been Star Wars-crazed recently!

Rogan, on the other hand, had a huuuuuuuuuge problem: he couldn't figure out what Star Wars toy to get! And of COURSE he was looking at the huge expensive ones! Sigh! He really really REALLY wanted the AT-TE Walker, it was the second most expensive one of the bunch! Aaargh!

We told him this was going to be partly a prize and a birthday gift (his birthday's coming up in June) to which he quickly agreed to. Boy, let me tell you, he could NOT wait to get his hands on this thing! :)

Ranger freaked out when he realized we had to leave all the toys at the store just so we wouldn't have to carry everything around when we went to the HK Science Museum. It took some major convincing to do, but he grudgingly agreed to let go of his "prize". Hehehehe.

And so we walked and walked and walked. And walked some more. Apparently, I had told Japa the WRONG information. I totally thought the Science Museum was the Planetarium...which was why we took our sweet time over lunch since we thought that the museum was next to Ocean Terminal.

Was I majorly wrong! We were on the OTHER side!!! And so, after walking for a little bit over an HOUR through the HK Theater of the Arts and the Avenue of the Stars (which, by the way, looks very very clean and new, with this awesome glass encased deck with a whole view of the Harbor!!!) and a playground where the kids spent some 15 minutes playing, we arrived at the HK Science Museum.


This dinosaur skeleton (a Lufengosaur) greeted us at the museum lobby. It was pretty big; skinny, but big. Very cool. I asked Japa to take lots of photos because I have a few dinosaur kits that I can use, hehehehe.

When we got there, we were a bit dismayed to see lines and lines of school kids outside the museum! Ack! We thought we'd have a quiet and pleasant stay inside the museum!

So we started at the lowest floor since most of the school kids rushed to go up to the topmost floor. Good thing, too! At the bottom floor, we enjoyed solving some puzzles. Rogan even refused to move to another station until he had at least tried to do the puzzle! :) I know we spent a LOT of time in that puzzle area!

Then it was off to the World of Mirrors where we had so much fun laughing at ourselves as we went in front of mirrors that changed our shapes and heights. There were some freaky mirrors too, that seemed to cut off our bodies!

There was this cool capsule room that proved that people's perception of time differ when placed in the dark. Even Ranger had a try at it, he wasn't scared of the dark!

With so many things to do in the museum, I could probably fill a whole album with photos! By the time we were done (taking our sweet time doing all the different things), about 4 hours or so had passed. Now THAT was money truly well spent! :)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mantas Swim Meet Day 2

Last day of swimming races!

The girls had 4 events each, while Rogan had 2:
200m free - 2:46.58, 4th in heat (personal best) [splits: 0:36.82 - 0:42.73 - 0:45.02 - 0:41.82]
100m breast - 1:41.09, 6th in heat
50m fly - , 3rd in heat
50m free - , 5th in heat

200m free - 3:01.54, 4th in heat (PB!!!)
50m free - 0:37.96, 7th in heat

100m breast - 1:51.19 (PB) - DQ'd because she jumped too early :(
50m fly - 0:48.34, 4th in heat (PB)
100m back - 1:43.21, 5th in heat (PB)
50 free - 0:40.87, 6th in heat
And that's it! The Mantas Swim Meet 2009 is over. Overall, a pretty good showing, I thought, for everyone. For Raegan, for swimming well in a higher age group, placing in the upper middle of the pack. For Raine, for all those ribbons. Her DQ, by the way, is the EXACT event that she DQ'd in last year, hehehehe. Maybe she got TOO excited for the 100m breast?

And Rogan! Check out his time in the 200 free. His previous time was 3:24; he chopped off 23 seconds!!! The impetus? We told him that he'd earn double points towards a "real" Star Wars lightsaber if he could get his time down to a sub-3. And the wonder boy really swam his heart out. He didn't let up at all. When he finished, he automatically looked up at the time board, saw his 3:01, looked at us up in the stands and screamed in frustration (with a smile, sort of). Awwww. I told Japa that he really did swim all out, and we couldn't fault him for that. He swam very well. I guess all he needed was the proper, push. :)

With swimming over, time to think of more training, upcoming school, parlor time for hair, nails and the best acne treatment. Time to take Raegan (and maybe Raine) to the dermatologist to have some major cleaning done on all our faces. Walking in Hong Kong's busy streets (even if it is in provincial Tsuen Wan) isn't all that great for the skin!

Here's Raine with all her ribbons:

And last, but definitely not the least, a huge shout out to Japa:

HAPPY 40th BIRTHDAY, Japa!!!

I know, not exactly the 40th birth year celebration we envisioned, cheering on the kiddos at a swim meet, but I promise I'll make it up to you. How? No idea, hehehehehehehe. Suggestions are welcome! :)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mantas Swim Meet Day 1

Here's the entire contingent of the Ayala Harpoons to the meet:

All 3 of Coach Jana. Hehehehehe. Such a laaaaarge group, eh? The kids were a bit embarrassed to be parading in front of everyone with just the 3 of them, but they couldn't NOT go around the pool right? Hahaahaha!

The kids had 3 events each:
100m free - 1:16.32, 3rd in heat (personal best)
50m breast - 0:47.95, 4th in heat
200m IM - 3:05.78, 4th in heat (personal best)
[splits: fly - 0:40.54; back - 0:48.99; breast - 0:54.39; free - 0:42.00]

100m free - 1:27.13, 4th in heat (personal best)
50m breast - 0:53.60, 4th in heat (personal best)
50m back - 0:47.66, 4th in heat (personal best)

100m free - 1:28.49, 1st in heat!!! (personal best)
50m breast - , 4th in heat (personal best)
50m back - 0:48.98 (didn't beat her personal best)
It was a good day for everyone. If the truth be told though, I was expecting a medal from Raine, considering it's her last year in the 8 and under age group. But she was thwarted again and again by her nemesis, Mary Rose, who did get a few medals. Oh well. A lesson for her in terms of doing better in training and not taking training for granted.

Coach was happy that everyone did swim their PBs in most of their events. I can't remember if Raegan got PBs in the first 2 events, since Singapore. She did well in her "first official meet" in the 11-12 age group. She placed in the top 10th to the 16th in all her events, so that was a good showing.

Raine, as expected did well, getting ribbons in all her events for the day. She showed some poise during the start AND towards the end of her swims. In the past, she'd just about died in the last half of the race. Today though, she was pretty consistent in her speed, so that was good.

Rogan, though, was a big surprise. Last year, he was always towards the bottom of the pack in the overall ranking. For today, he was 4th in all his heats, which weren't even the slowest heats! His placed somewhere in the middle of the pack, which was awesome for him! :)

It was a little bit confusing following the events because apparently, the team from Thailand entered the event 4 days ago, AFTER the programmes had been printed! Aaargh! I wasn't about to buy a newly printed programme for HK$40 when the kids had a free copy of the old programme, WHICH the organizers put on sale btw, for HK$20.

After the races of the day, the kids took showers and we all trooped back to the hotel to rest up a bit. Not even an hour later, we were downstairs for dinner so that the kids could go to bed early and be ready for another day of swimming tomorrow.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm A Swimming Momma

A swimming mom. One who follows her kids to the pool and back.

And that's what I pretty much did today. I didn't want the kids to be too tired from too much walking this close to the competition, so I got breakfast for them and coach at the nearby McDonald's. Besides, the kiddos were tired from yesterday, what with having to wake up so early and the flight.

After a leisurely morning, the kids' stomachs decided that they were ready for lunch. So off we went outside to walk in search of food. We vainly tried to look for this hole in the wall place that we ate at last year, with Lai and Reese, but couldn't find it. The kids were complaining that they were hungry and by this time, we had been walking for a good 15 minutes or so.

Fine. The kids pretty much bullied me into going back to the hotel where KFC was. Yup. That KFC. Hehehehe. Where we had dinner last night. Oh well. I guess athletes would rather eat something they know for sure than risk some new food that could ruin their tummies.

Mid-afternoon, the kids got ready for swimming. I wised up since last year when I had all their stuff in ONE bag that *I carried most of the way from the hotel to the pool. This year, each kid had his/her own backpack and packed their OWN things. If they forgot something, well too bad. Mama wasn't about to go on a 10-minute trek back to the hotel for that forgotten item.

I know, so un-swimming-momma like, but hey, I'm teaching responsibility, right? Hehehehe.

So we walk to the Shing Mun Valley Swimming Pool, a few minutes' walk from the hotel via long footbridges. Made it easier, not having to walk on the sidewalks as cars whizzed past the kids. Every mom's nightmare, I'm sure.

And as the kids trained for the better part of an hour or an hour and a half, this swimming momma took our her current copy of Newsweek and tried to catch up on world issues. :) Ahhhh.....the Swimming Momma life :)

For dinner, we waited for Papa and Ranger to arrive. We went across the street for dinner at this restaurant where they served HUGE bowls of noodles and soup! Rogan of course went the safe way and ordered some chicken in creamy sauce and rice.

Our entrees came with a drink, but since most were teas, the kids wisely declined. So Japa and I split the drinks and mine were all juice-based:

From the left, that's kumquat tea, almond with lychee tea, and peach tea. All oh-so-yummy and refreshing! :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pulling Suitcases

What a day. It started at 4 am, when we got up to get ready for our 8 am flight. We met Coach Jana at the airport and lined up for what seemed like hours just to get through immigration! Sheesh! I have NO idea what the hold up was, but that line was looooong!

We got through and I must admit I sort of dumped Rogan and Raine on Coach; I was so hungry I couldn't wait to get inside the lounge where I could eat! I left some money with the kids so that they could have some juice with their sausage and rice, and so that Coach could get some breakfast as well. Raegan and I went to the lounge; it was her turn this trip since on the last trip through NAIA, Raine was the lucky person to go with me to the lounge.

I hurriedly ate some arroz caldo so that we could sit with the kids and Coach before we were called to board. Told you I felt guilty! But hey, at least I was full, hehehe. We boarded the plane and although we had bulkhead seats, we were waaaaaay over at the back of the plane. Not good if you have a daughter like Raine who has a tendency to barf due to motion sickness. Uh huh.

How far back you ask? If the plane was up to row 115, maybe less, we were at 85. So of COURSE I had Raine drink her Bonamine to prevent her from feeling dizzy! Luckily, she was able to control herself and didn't even feel dizzy. And this was at the BACK of the plane! I was so proud of her! hehehehe.

We landed, got our bags and went on the train to get to our hotel. Luckily, the Airport Express has a promo until May where the kids travel for FREE!!! Yay! Gotta love that word! We went down at Tsing Yi, crossed to the Yellow Line, and after 3 stops, crossed to the Red Line, heading to Tsuen Wan.

We got off at Tai Wo Hau and proceeded to lug our suitcases all over the streets. Yup, the streets. We started to walk from the station to the hotel (a few blocks away). Then we got to the bottom of a footbridge that wound itself all the way up and across the streets. Ooookay. At least there was a RAMP that allowed us to pull our suitcases up the footbridge!!! And thank goodness for the person who invented the 4-wheeler suitcases; although it wasn't exactly a cinch to use up the ramp, it made life sooo much easier! Poor Rogan had to contend with a suitcase while the girls each had a roller. I had the other suitcase and the humongo duffle bag that had all their swimming stuff in it. Sigh!

Our rooms weren't ready so we left everything at the concierge and went to search for lunch. Across the hotel, on the ground floor of a building, was this obscure place with noodles and rice dishes. We were SO there! We remembered this place from last November when we were here for Mantas as well.

And boy, were we all hungry! The act of pulling those suitcases was reason enough, I think! These pics are evidence enough:

And no, the pictures aren't ruined. That's STEAM from the food that you see rising from the dishes!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Part 2

Today is Earth Day the DAY. :) The kids started to freak out when I mentioned that we were celebrating Earth Day today. I meant "we" in the collective, globewide "we". They thought that we were going to "celebrate" by not using any electricity for one whole day (as opposed to Earth Hour when it was just one HOUR). LOL.

I went over to the Earth Day Network, to use the Footprint Calculator, and see how many planets are needed to sustain my lifestyle. The results:

Sheesh! It would take NINE planet Earths to sustain MY kind of lifestyle IF everyone on Earth lived like me! And I thought I was pretty ok, trying to do my part to save Mother Earth! I guess I have a penchant for relying too much on convenience and technology.

I spent a couple of hours running all over the place buying last minute stuff that we need for our trip to Hong Kong. Thank goodness I decided against going to the office. It practically took me the ENTIRE day to pack everything! Two suitcases and a duffle bag. No rush, no panicking. Just a slow, systematic way of putting everything in the proper place. :) Yes, call me OC.

I was able to:
1. buy my hanger-thingy for my undies
2. get the R4 cartridge for one of the kids' DS
3. buy Krispy Kreme for the kiddos :)
4. shop for vienna sausage for food on the plane (yes, the kids WILL eat that no matter what)
5. withdraw some much needed money for food and incidentals
All the above in the space of a couple of hours. Not bad, I say!

Ok, continuing to pack.....

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Earth Day

Not Earth Day the DAY, but Earth Day, the KIT, by Jacque Larsen. :) Designed at the last minute for Earth Day on April 22nd, Jacque brought out this kit for The Lily Pad's Tadpole Tuesday:

I didn't have the photos we had of the Earth Hour last month on hand, so I thought out of the box and came up with this:

hehehehe. I liked how it turned out, with a touch of whimsy. Sort of. And that quote is just PERFECT, don't you think?
* * *

When I left the office today, the staff were asking me why I wasn't joining them for Office Aerobics anymore. Well, it HAS been quite a busy month, what with the Singapore trip and the upcoming Hong Kong meet to go to! Whew! Definitely a whirlwind few weeks! I *do* miss exercising (gasp, is that me???), especially the aerobics sessions at the office!

I have announced that I was going to be serious on the exercise front starting May. For sure. I've asked the kids to help me out on this and, with a promise from me that Papa wasn't going to be in our exercise sessions, they willing agreed. We've lined up swimming, running and walking so far. It has yet to be scheduled, but hey, planning's a start right? Then there's Office Aerobics every Tuesday and Thursday. I can pencil in yoga at home in the mornings if I don't get to do anything with the kids. I also want to try Kettlebells. Looks interesting AND fun at the same time! Making a note to self to do some more research on these funny looking dumbbells!

So yes, I am SERIOUS about starting to exercise a tad bit more than usual! :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Girls Out at the Parlor

The nail parlor, that is. It was time to go to Le Charmant since the nail in my middle finger snapped. It was irritating me so much that I cut and filed the edge of my finger bed. Yuck! So because it was an unsightly thing to behold, a trip to the nail salon had to be made.

I had Raegan come along to try out the nail wrap for her bitten-nails. I was thinking that the wrap would help her grow her nails and help her avoid biting them. Besides, the nail wrap makes your nails hard, it'll be difficult to nibble at them, hehehehe.

Raine's eyes lit up when she heard we were going to the parlor (didn't matter what kind of parlor it was, just as long as it was a kikay thing), and she practically begged to come with us.

So, with both girls in tow, we got to Le Charmant. Pictures are worth a thousand words, so:

The pic above shows Raegan's hands, nicely wrapped and french-tipped. With nail art, to boot, since her manicurist had so much fun doing her nails! Hehehehe.

I have yet to take a photo of Raine's lavender nails. They came out really nice and girly. Trust me, that was the best option since she wanted PURPLE, i.e., eggplant (!!!) colored nails! I told her to choose an age-appropriate color or go colorless; her manicurist I guess felt a little bit sorry for Raine, so she brought out the lavender colored nail polish :)'

Before they dropped me off at the office, I told the girls not to be too conscious of the nail polish on their hands, especially during swimming! God forbid that they wouldn't touch the wall hard enough because they might ruin their nails, hahahahaha!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Scrap Happy Post

It was a hot hot HOT Sunday! Sheesh! Blistering hot! It just HURT to step outside! Ugh!

We all woke up late, so scratch the plans to go to mass in the morning. We did have a late breakfast, at around 10, which was nice since we were all present at the table. Chit chatting, we almost lost track of the time and had to scramble to get showered and dressed for lunch at Ayala.

Now Japa and I know the trick to having the kids avoid huge lunches at his house on Sundays: late breakfasts! LOL! All of us were surprised that the kids ate just a little bit for lunch. Some rice, a little bit of steak, and that was it! Whoa! It's never happened in the history of all their meals at Ayala! Bwahaahahahha!

The kids with Japa took up yaya badminton in the front yard. Don't know how they did it, but like I said, it was sweltering outside! Blech!

Like our homemade "net"? Hahahahaha! A nylon rope, for pete's sake! Oh well. Anything to keep them active and having fun during this seemingly loooooong (and hot!) summer!

At 4 pm, we attended mass. And yes, it was hot hot HOT in church! Man oh man! And good thing I was listening attentively to the homily because the priest mentioned that it was Divine Intervention Sunday today. Note to myself: look up Sister Faustina and read up on her.

Anyway, the priest said that those who say confession today and attend mass (or was it receive Holy Communion?) will receive an indulgence. That sat me up straight and I quickly whispered to Raegan that we had to attend confession since we missed Easter Sunday mass last week. Raine of course, trailed us and went to confession too. I should have told Rogan to go with us too, darn it! Oh well. Next time. :) As it was, the girls and I stayed well after mass since the line for confession was soooo long! And did I mention that it was hot? Hehehehe.

Ok, talking about scraps, I was quite the productive scrapper today:




Can you tell I've on yet another album? Hehehehe.

Providing More Jobs

With the worldwide recession reaching all corners of the planet, having an opportunity to provide more jobs is always a rewarding thing to do. Enter the world of the Medical Assistant. Basically, a health assistant, or a medical executive assistant, this job entails being able to run a medical office or a physician's clinic smoothly. Yes, it includes filing, billing, and coordinating appointments, but the job also involves basic medical stuff like drawing blood and taking vital signs and doing urinalysis.

Sounds like a normal job, one that will be needed no matter what. I mean, there are always new doctors graduating each year, and they'll be opening their clinics right? There are a growing number of Medical Assistant Schools out there now and it's imperative that you choose the right one. And hey, if you're busy now, the best path to take would be getting a license online.

Enter the St. Augustine School of Medical Assistants. In a mere 6 to 8 weeks of online studying, you get to have your medical assistant certificate! Now that's pretty fast. And efficient. Good luck in job hunting!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Take on Straw Hair

We went to Monte Vista for the 1st birthday party of Yana. Although it was hot, at least it didn't rain, nor was the sun blazing hot on that day. And with 4 kids, plus the 4 kids of Lai, we had some MAJOR presence at the party, especially during the games! Hahahahaha! Story of our least, until the kids are too old and/or when they figure out that they're too old for birthday parties of toddlers!

The funniest game during the party had the kids make straw hair. Partnered up, one kid had to put as much straw (literally, DRINKING straws) into the hair of his/her partner. At the end of the timed event, the group with the most straw strands would win. Here are the hilarious pics of the kids, and you'll know what I mean when I say that I was lauging my head off during the game:

That's straw hair, literally! Hahahaha!

At the party, I had some delish dessert - mango sago in cream. Yes, very yummy, especially since it was very cold, but as soon as I finished a bowl of it, I regretted it, lol. I could FEEL the cream running through my veins, clogging up arteries. Blech! And it filled me up so much that I could barely enjoy the rest of the food! :( That will teach me to eat dessert first, hehehe.

Sigh. It's time to really start a diet in a major way. The problem is that there aren't any diet plans here. I want to be able to try the Nutrisystem plan (I think Roc has done this and has lost a of weight while she was on it, right Roc?), or even better, the Nutrisystem Diabetic meal plan, to control sugar intake.

The plan looks pretty yummy; of COURSE I checked out the food for each meal. And hey, they have snacks! Hehehe. Everything looks good, but I'm just a bit concerned on the sodium intake. I've read somewhere that low sugar foods sometimes have their sodium levels upped to make up for the lack of taste that less sugar gives the food. I think it would help if there was a breakdown of food components for each meal or entree, just like the ones we see on food labels.

I love the fact that you don't have to count calories. The system counts it for you. The danger though, could lie in the fact we can add grocery items. They suggest some items, but what if the dieter decides to substitute chocolate or some other high-calorie alternative? It'll be a waste of money, food and time obviously, but still. I DO like the fact that we can add to their food with salads and yogurt and cottage cheese and stuff, which gives me a feeling of being more in control.

Ok. Now to find if such a system exists here at home so I can really start my diet. And yes, Japs. With exercise :)

Oh, I uploaded one page today.



Friday, April 17, 2009



Sigh. Reporting for site duty today. Again. But I did have a driver this time, hehehehe. Lola's driver, Mandi, was volunteered by dear mother today. At least I did have time to read my latest copy of Time Magazine during the drive...and had a catnap, to boot! Ahhh......the advantages of being driven around. :)


With the traffic here, I probably read half the magazine going to the site! Sheesh! It was a very interesting read, and I picked this mag specifically because of the kids' blog project (take a look on the right side of my blog for a link). I figured they'd love to scan through the magazine to look at the increasing number of endangered animals on our planet....and that they can make a difference somehow.

I'm still planning on them adding to their website. They can do at least a drawing or two of an endangered or about-to-be-endangered animal, add a bit of research, and I can upload. At the very least, they'll be learning something and hopefully, in the process, they can figure out something that can help save this "new age of extinction" from coming about.

Scary thought that even *we* as a species can become extinct. The bad part is, *we* would have brought it upon ourselves because we are destroying our home, our planet. There's a lot of people out there who are either uneducated or misinformed, or worse, they just don't care about the trash they contribute to Mother Earth!

The kids have been fantastic about recycling, not using styrofoam, and conserving water and gas, among other things. That's the school-and-home-partnership at work :)

{MOTHER'S DAY} fast approaching. May 10. Yikes! That is just a few weeks away, and I haven't thought of ANYTHING yet for gifts! Oh the stress! Hehehe. I did come across this site for cookie wedding favors. And no, I do NOT cook or bake willingly, hahahahhaa! But Raine does seem to enjoy doing it, so maybe the kids and I can do something like this? They bake and I package. LOL.

Yes, the best of plans will most likely be put on the side. But just looking at the site makes my mouth water! Not just because of the chocolate chips and other goodies, but take a look at the cutest packaging for an edible wedding favor! Can anyone say scrapbook-inspiration? Lots of eye candy here, literally! My fave has got to be that polka-dotted pair of pink and brown and blue and brown. (yes, sisters dear, the PINK one!)

Come to think of it, this wedding candy favor treats don't have to be limited to just weddings, right? I DID think of them for mother's day....and with the option of making your own logo, heck, these can come in handy for corporate giveaways and Christmas gifts! Hmmmmm......can you hear my brain cogs whirring yet? :)

Anyway, my mind will be searching for other gift possibilites for Mother's Day. Gotta have a lot of options before actually doing something right?

{17 AGAIN}

Yup, the movie. I took Raegan, Rogan, Raine and Reese to see it. Opening day today, I think, but luckily, not a whole lot of people at the mall at 145 pm. For summer, it was surprising.

Summary: A middle-aged father wakes up to find he's seventeen again. So, he enrolls in the same high school as his children to be close to them.

What would you do if you got a second shot at life? Class of 1989, Mike O'Donnell is a star on his high school basketball court with a college scout in the stands and a bright future in his grasp. But instead, he decides to throw it all away to share his life with his girlfriend Scarlett and the baby he just learned they are expecting. Almost 20 years later, Mike's glory days are decidedly behind him. His marriage to Scarlett has fallen apart, he has been passed over for a promotion at work, his teenage kids think he is a loser, and he has been reduced to crashing with his high school nerd-turned-techno-billionaire best friend Ned. But Mike is given another chance when he is miraculously transformed back to the age of 17. Unfortunately, Mike may look 17 again, but his thirtysomething outlook is totally uncool in the class of 2009. And in trying to recapture his best years, Mike could lose the best things that ever happened to him.

Overall, *I* enjoyed it, although it was expectedly predictable. For me, at least. The kids ---ALL of them--- thoroughly enjoyed the movie. They were laughing and smiling all the time, so I knew they were getting their kick. Read that as "kilig to death" hahahaha! And simultaneously, all 4 of them brought their hands to their eyes during the kissing scene/s. Too funny! Of course, there were some times in the movie that I would literally guffaw because of some outlandish outfit of Ned (Zac Efrons best friend in the movie who plays his dad when Zac is 17 again and tries to win over the principal). The kids would look at me like I was crazy and....if there were more people in the theater, they probably would have melted in their seats if they could. Bwahahahaha!

Totally funny, totally cute movie. If your daughter goes gaga over Zac, or even if she doesn't, she will after seeing him in 17 Again! :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mom Was in a Snit Today

Sort of. She found out I drove myself to the Site. Using the suburban, to boot! Hehehehe. Well, Randy didn't report to work since he had some swelling of some arthritic whatever. He didn't look well a day or so ago, so I'm pretty sure it was a valid excuse.

Japa had taken the Everest to work since he had several meetings. So I was left with Rex, the big boy. And I left home at a non-peak hour just so there wouldn't be that much traffic. I got to the site in 45 minutes, which wasn't too bad.

The issue with my dear mother is that I drove when there were other drivers at home who weren't doing anything. I also drove in a not-so-low-profile vehicle, which isn't always a good thing. And I drove to the site, which was quite a drive, as opposed to just to the office at the Galleria.

Okay. Well, I told mom that I was perfectly capable of driving myself, I was a strong woman, and that I would be going home early enough so that the kids could have the car for swimming. Our driver was in some government office in the morning, which was why I had to drive in the first place. She was probably wary of the fact that I may sideswipe some bozo driver (which this country has too many of) and have to face motorcycle accident attorneys, among others. Hmp. This, from a woman who steps on the accelerator while driving downhill; just ask Elizza. Bwahahaahahha!

So yes, I was at the office, still with NO internet and barely any signal. But there was so much stuff to do, the time flew by! And that's a fact. Too soon, it was 230 pm, my targeted departure time.

All I can say is, thank goodness for SUMMER. There was barely any traffic on Katipunan since school was out! Whoohoo! So it was smooth riding all the way home.

I uploaded more Proj 365 layouts:

And that is half the month of April done! See why I'm loving this project? :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

No Internet and No Signal

Grrrr! It was soooo frustrating today! I was at the site and there was barely any signal in our office! Which meant it was sooooo hard to communicate via cellphone! And in a country where texting is such a big thing, you can understand my frustration.

To top things off, there was NO internet as well! Aaaaargh! The gods are conspiring against me! I couldn't access email (among other things); and there were some things that I needed from my email account for work! Blast it!

Anyhoo, I did manage to get some things done...despite the lack of technology!

No wonder I sort of scrapped in a frenzy when I got home. There was internet, my cellphone was getting its messages, and I had a couple of hours before the kids got home.

I continued scrapping for my Proj 365:

I am LOVING doing these!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

Or at least, trying to. Woke up reeeeaaaalllly late. Like 1030 late! That's not normal for me. I did wake up around 630 am; I downloaded some scrapping stuff and ended up going back to bed. For a few more hours, hehehe.

After a few hours at work, I went home to enjoy some peace and quiet before the kids got home. I gave the boys their Lego Star Wars and they crammed themselves into a corner of the room to work on it. Rather, Rogan crammed himself into a corner and quickly got lost in his own world of spaceships and droids. Ranger kept going up to his Kuya and asking, "Is it done yet?" Bwahahahahaha!

To quiet his brother, Rogan shoved a few pieces of legos into Ranger's hands and told him to work on it. Here's what the little boy came up with:

Yup, he did that all by himself! I didn't know that these droids had to be put together. I assumed they were all in once piece, lol. I guess not. Since when did Lego toys get so complicated? Sheesh!

Raine was busy finishing her Little Women book, so that she could start on The Wizard of Oz, the book that we brought home for her. It came in this pretty hard bound cover, and had some illustrations in it.

I am SOOOOO happy that the kids are finally getting into reading. Slowly, but surely. I hope. Crossing my fingers that the trend continues. The trick is, I think, not to force them into it, obviously, but to have them CHOOSE what books they want to read.

Raegan was busy with her still-new Guitar Hero on the DS.

Yup, getting into the swing of normal things. :) It's good to be home!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Super Duper Early Flight

Like 5:55 am. That's in the EARLY morning!!!

And that meant getting up at 3 am or so to take a shower, stuff our nighties in our suitcase, zip up and grab a taxi. We left the hotel at 4 am and even at that hour, we weren't the early risers at the airport! LOL! There was a line waiting to check in! Whoa! Good thing I had paid extra to get us those front seats! Row 2, not 1. I was going to pay an extra $4 each for a row 2 seat but NOT an extra $20 for the bulkhead! Hehehe.

And pretty much everyone nodded off to sleep during the 3 1/2 hour flight back home. I had a cat nap of sorts, waking up because my neck was soooo stiff! Ugh! We landed at Clark, grabbed our bags and were out of the terminal by 10 am.

On the drive back to Manila, we passed by McDonald's for some much needed food. I know, not the greatest food of all, but it was fast...and via the drive thru.

I had promised Raegan a shopping trip when we got home, so we got dropped off at Trinoma and she shopped for some shorts and shirts. The poor child wasn't feeling well at all (she had vomitted before we left the hotel) and I had her sleep the rest of the day while the others went swimming.

Yup, I slept too. And I finished my book:

Part 2 of the Magdalene Line, it further delved into the possibility that Jesus was married, had kids and other descendants. More importantly, author Kathleen McGowan relates that Jesus and Mary Magdalene wrote a gospel called the Book of Love.

Lots of intriguing tales and definitely has realms of possibilities. I love this book and its predecessor, the Expected One, too. Easy reading, making me want to go and research stuff. Yes, including history books. Although of course, I'd want those history books to read like fiction, lol!

Ok, off to a meeting. Yes, my dear husband scheduled a meeting for tonight, the day I arrive from Singapore, with a super duper early flight! Aaargh!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Last Day of the Meet

It was a lonely taxi ride in the early morning. It was just Raegan and me in the taxi, and we were at the Sports School by 635 am. It was DARK when we got to the pool, and were definitely the FIRST ones there!

And so at 645 am, we had set up the team's place by the pool:

Perfect eh?

Two events for Raegan today, completing her EIGHT events in the meet.

The 100m breaststroke is one of Raegan's favorite events. She says she can skip the 50m, but she rules the 100m, lol!

She was first in her heat and 11th overall (out of 28). Pretty good numbers I'd say!

The second event was the 50m freestyle. This event across ALL age groups had TONS of entries....because it was the 50m freestyle! We had to wait forever for each of the kids' age group to be called!

Raegan's 2nd place finish in her heat gave her the 16th overall spot, out of 33. Still the fastest swimmer from the Philippines in her age group! Whoohoo!!!

And that wraps up the 7th Asean Inter-Club Age Group Swimming Championships.

Oh wait. In all competitions, there will be laughter.......

and tears.......

Reese was pissed and sad that she didn't beat her time of 0:33 at the 50m freestyle.

Danelle was crying in this pic because Reese was crying. In another photo, Leny was crying because Danelle was crying! Hehehehe.

And how was YOUR weekend?

Happy Easter!!!