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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Online Malling, Anyone?

A few colleagues are currently in Sydney on business trip and as usual, I am browsing through various online shops in Australia so they can bring home the goodies I want from Down Under. I am particularly looking for baby products (those brands that are normally from the US but I don't have anyone coming from US soon) since the popular and good brands are not even available in Rustan's and even if they are, the prices are prohibitive.

My colleague had suggested I just send a list of what I want and he'll buy them for me but I prefer doing my own shopping, especially online. Almost everything can be purchased through the web now - diapers, make up, clothes, shoes, automobile accessories, cakes and even pets! Sooner or later I'd be able to buy even a cabbage online.
It's easy to get hooked with online shopping, especially if you are the type who both likes shopping and surfing the net. It gives you more time to browse and choose the products you want to buy without having a saleslady follow you around like you are about to secretly put the item in your bag.  You can spend hours window shopping online without suffering the consequences of an achy feet after, enduring traffic, paying for parking fees and tagging the kids along.

No wonder online shops have proliferated even in social networking sites. Multiply used to have a clause in their TOS (Terms of Service) that the site can't be used for selling goods or services but entrepreneurs are unstoppable and so are the buyers. Eventually, Multiply opened their doors to online business and has become the easiest tool to peddle products online. Now Facebook has Marketplace specifically for this purpose too.

Actually, I have an online shop too, for imported diapers. After I discovered an importer/distributor of imported (but cheaper) diapers, I figured since I am buying in bulk for my kids, I might as well make the trip every time I will get fresh stocks worthwhile buy selling too (at least to my sisters and friends at first). Then I decided to post pictures and prices online and after less than a month (to my delight), I started receiving orders from internet-savvy mothers as well. I've been doing it for 2 years and I must say there are highs and lows, especially that I am also working full time. Stocks availability (since they come from overseas) and consistency are always a problem but nevertheless, it's a thriving business. It also gave me a chance to meet other great mommies and I have actually become friends to many!

Being an online entrepreneur made me realize the popularity of online shopping actually works both ways - for buyers like me who prefers to shop anytime of the day without the hassle of going to the mall and for small entrepreneurs too who doesn't have enough capital to enable them to rent stalls. I've met a few moms who quit from the workforce and stayed home doing buy and sell through the internet. Some even availed of small business loans to beef up their inventory and enable them to expand. Amazing and inspiring, right?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Motherhood Becomes Me

A couple of years ago, my biggest fear was that I will never be able to bear a child. I was worried the absence of a child will make The Hubby and I's relationship turn sour - that at one point we'll be bored with being 'just You and I'. Aside from that, The Hubby is an only child and I know he wants kids (take note, plural). There was also a 'pressure to produce' being imposed, albeit quietly, by our parents and other relatives.

I took on the anxiety for years, prayed and at one point sought medical attention but to no avail. Then one day, the miracle came just when we have stopped expecting. And they say, 'When it rains, it pours? Yes, oh yes it does, because we have been blessed three amazing times!

So my journey to motherhood began and never did I imagine it will be this beautiful, challenging and life-changing. Suddenly, I became the person I never expected to be - a nurse, teacher, cook, driver, waitress, magician and who knows what else.

Motherhood led me to discover myself over and over again, and find a different yet better version of me each time. I didn't know I have a patience the length of San Juanico Bridge and that my kisses could suddenly heal scraped knees and wounds, soothe an ache and calm a tantrum. I never knew my arms can both be a pillow and a blanket and they won't get sore or numb no matter how long they are wrapped around my children; never realized I have become stronger, even mightier than any monsters and ghosts inside the closet.

I have always thought of myself a weakling; easily downed by fever and a simple cough usually could turn into a full blown asthma attack. But the great thing called Motherhood transformed me into a Super Mom like how swallowing a magic rock turns Ada into Zsazsa Zaturnnah (I could have elected Darna but ain't Zaturrnah more apt? LOL) . Less than twenty four hours after a c-section, I can force myself to walk so I can see my baby at the nursery. My mom, a worry-wart, asked me if I wasn't feeling any pain at all. Honestly, I feel pain - a lot of it, but the joy of being a mother overwhelms any discomfort of the surgery. Actually post-surgery is just the icing on the cake. The real 'discomfort' is during the delivery when total strangers will strip you naked, poke, probe, roll you like a dough and slice you open like a pig. To be able to endure that embarrassment is already an achievement!

But if my children are my strength, ironically they are also my kryptonite for it is also my being a mother that brings out my biggest fears - imaginary or otherwise. I now worry about almost everything - the rain, heat, earthquake, noise, water quality, mosquitoes, among many things I used to just ignore. I find myself checking my children every so often while they sleep, afraid a blanket has accidentally covered their face rendering them unable to breathe.

Motherhood has indeed changed me in many ways I never thought possible. It was a gift so many women begged to receive; some walk on their knees in prayer, dance in rituals, pay for expensive treatment in order to conceive. I am forever thankful to God to have been blessed with my children and I am doing everything I can every single day to deserve being called Mommy.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Eone Learns to Paint

While most couldn't even draw a straight line using Paint computer application, my daughter can create lovely drawings using it.

It's amazing how her little hand could control the mouse to create beautiful pictures of her favorite characters like Rapunzel (see picture below).

Not only can she draw, I love her eye for colors too. I love the way she'd customize her own set of colors before starting to draw as if she already has a picture in her mind of what to do.

At 5 years old, she's become so comfortable using Paint that she's now taking interest in Picassa photo editor (she watches me when I work with photos).

even her abstract work looks fab!

Aside from having another pair of hands to fight with time with the computer, we're happy she's got some artistic genes into her - something The Hubby and I didn't quite have. I barely passed my Drawing 101 back in Engineering! LOL

The only challenge we're having right now is how to quickly save her work before she starts a new one and close the window before saving. Ahh, I've got to teach her how to 'Save'.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


The Hubby and I both agreed to make home improvement our next project after I gave birth. The house is due for repainting (we do it every 2 years) as well as some minor renovations to keep tidy and decent looking in and out.

A small secret I have to share, our house have a name (as we treat our possessions like family, ergo, we name them). My mommy in law calls her Peachy because we have always had 'her' painted in various shades of peach. In fact, our house color is quite distinct and unique that it's so easy to give directions when we order for deliveries (well, aside from the little info that we are next door to the house of Toni Gonzaga). We just say 'It's the peach/pinkish house to the left' and hardly any delivery man miss it.

With 3 kids now at home, the activities are so robust that I wonder if the house could keep up. In fact, our white walls could tell the story of our first two children - what they've eaten by their tiny fingerprints and their favorite colors through left-over drawings we tried so hard to erase. Our fences still bear marks of various Christmas decorations and lights we have put up for the past 7 years and probably kept tab of the many occasions we have opened our gates to have additional garage space for parties and family gatherings. If our budget could still be stretched, I'd like to have our fences repainted to a different shade - it has always been Dark Red (Burnt Sienna?) and I wonder if painting it white could make a remarkable improvement on Peachy's color mix and match.

Peachy would be glad for sure that we are scheduling her beautification soon despite our recent surge of expenses like the 2nd birthday party we had for Enoe, the hospital bill when I gave birth to Eana and of course, Eone's school tuition fee this enrolment period. Well, the extent of work would have to be scheduled as it all depends on the health of our finances, but definitely the external paint job will have to be before December. We could start with the small details for now like window hinges, door locks, screen replacements, parquet floor repolishing among many others. (OMG, I didn't realize the list could go on and on and on hahaha!).

A house improvement is always worth the money, after all, Peachy will be providing shelter to another member of our family. Another pair of hands to 'decorate' her walls with colors and peanut-butter-smudged-fingerprints...

A New Princess In the House

Just when I thought I already have already everything I can ask for, God decided to send me another wonderful blessing.

More precious than diamonds, warmer than sunshine, colorful than the rainbow...

Someone to make our lives even happier than it already is.

Meet our new princess, Eana.

I already love you even before I saw you, my dearest bunso.

Welcome to the family.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Driving Drives Me Crazy

If  I am to name one stressful activity I do on a daily basis, driving will make it to the top of my list. Our traffic and road condition plus PUV drivers' inability to follow simple rules like 'NO Loading/Unloading', make driving a test of ones patience especially in the morning. Factor in the motorcycles that would appear out of nowhere from all directions and zigzag their way like snakes rushing for the next meal and we've got a perfect concoction for road rage. And oh, did I mention that traffic signs are more of just suggestions than rules?


I sometimes wonder why I go through it every single day especially with my current physical condition but conclude in the end that it may be safer to drive than to take a ride in a jeepney or bus driven by someone with a serious death wish.

A couple of years ago, a foreigner friend visited and the first thing he noticed (aside from our ugly airport that needs improvement) were the public utility vehicles that stopped at absolutely anywhere to load and unload passengers. He asked if these drivers went to any driving school and our licensing procedure. I laughed to hide my embarrassment.

But embarrassed doesn't mean I denied the truth. I was honest enough to tell him these drivers didn't take any formal driving lessons. In fact they may have learned how to drive from an old-former-driver-turned-drunkard/junkie using a dilapidated assembled jeepney. Of course I didn't thrust the knife deeper by saying some of these drivers couldn't even read much more comprehend a simple traffic sign.

For sure our license issuance process will be compared to that of other countries' much stringent and red tape free procedure - where one need to take seminars, formal lectures, written exams and actual driving tests. The closest one could get in cheating is by reviewing in advance a dmv driver manual for the written test.

This reminds me of the written test I took when I applied for my drivers' ID. I wanted to expedite the process so I paid 'under the table' for me to skip the driving test and automatically pass the written exams. Automatically pass the written test didn't mean not taking it at all but rather being given a test paper with the answers already marked. Now, that's cheating! (and don't get the wrong idea, I am not proud).

The written tests weren't actually difficult; I'd say people are just lazy to read the study resources and want to take the fast lane. I am just not sure if this is the same case for PUV drivers - as mentioned some of them couldn't even read. Or should I say refuse to follow what they read? Perhaps the latter is more applicable because even my 5 year-old daughter knows we should stop when the light turns red.

The government is now starting a program where women are being trained to drive buses and other PUVs. They reckon women are more concerned about safety and are likely to follow traffic rules. In a way it could be true but we'll find out when the program starts. Meanwhile, our best foot forward is to be more defensive on the road and here are a few tips:

1. Keep away from bad drivers
2. Keep away from bad drivers
3. Don't drive.

Well, they say if you can drive in Manila, you can drive anywhere in the world!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

My Most Valuable Earrings

Eone's bad habit of rummaging through my closet and drawers brought to her the discovery of an old Hello Kitty jewelry box which contains my most loved set of jewelry and whatnots. Being nosy and all, she took fancy of a pair of earrings - the only pair sitting on a special holder and not stashed in a small zip lock plastic.

If I were to choose a jewelry that I value most, I would select this pair instantly. No, they are not expensive at all but the sentimental value is immeasurable. They were The Hubby's first ever gift to me when we were still dating and I know the money he used to buy this pair of earrings were from his allowance.

These flower earrings are made by Monet, an American brand of fashion jewelry so these are not real gold, ergo, I couldn't pawn them (why would I? haha) at all. I've worn them only a couple of times since I am allergic to plated or metal adornment but I've kept them securely and lovingly for years in the hope that someday I will have a daughter who would want to wear them.

I guess that 'someday' has finally come although I would rather that she wears them later when she's a teenager so the risks of losing them is smaller.

Note: After two hours she asked me to remove the earrings from her complaining that she's itchy. Haha! She's allergic to fashion jewelry (fakes) too like Mommy.
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