Monday, December 31, 2007

Looking Forward to the New Year

Then, we'll look back at this time when we were virtually living in the house of lamentations and be very thankful that that's finally over and my sister is back to normal. Please continue praying for her and I hope you all have a blessed year ahead.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Belated Birthday Greetings...

to my sister (26), my lovely Kiwi friend, Jemma (26), and my sister-in-law Christine (27).
How wonderful are the people in my church? The youth group came over to celebrate my sister's birthday on the 26th. Chip wasn't supposed to have a party this year, considering, but she ended up having one. It was really fun, a chaos of hulahoops, flowers, giant cards, stuffed toys, baby squeals, whoopee cushions, just really loud general merriment, but I think the kids made my sister remember how loved she really is.
Chip's best friend from high school came over straight from work (and he was to go back to work straight from our house - the life of a segment producer it seems) and they spent a lot of time together talking. I suppose they did talk about what Chip is going through, but when I had the chance to eavesdrop, this was how the conversation was going...
Chip: The initials were LL.
Cris: Ha? I don't know that one. What did they say?
Chip: Da who...
Chip was quizzing him on showbiz blind items. A light moment in the middle of this difficult time.:)
Please continue to pray for my sister, not only for her health, but also for her emotional and mental state. This sickness has been very demoralizing for her.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

'Tis the Season for Photos...


Here are some from the batch of the official holiday pic we're sending out... We ended up choosing the test shot because that was the only one that had all the key elements in place. And where Marguerite wasn't doing anything crazy with her face.

Here are some from the church party. Aw! Mother-and-daughter dresses! What's with the cheong sams? You'd think Husband just got back from Hongkong... Just some information that will never be useful to you: my great-great-grandfather was Portuguese-Chinese from Macau.

Here are some from the very last-minute shopping we did on Christmas Eve Day. Please. No eating inside the supermarket. And no taking pictures.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Eleven Years and Going Roaring Strong

Husband and I have been together for eleven years now. We don't have any other anniversary. We became a couple on Dec. 21, 1996; he proposed on Dec. 21, 2003; and we got married on Dec. 21, 2004. This should be a major day since it's pretty "consolidated", but things have been so crazy around here that we'll have to postpone celebrating until, well, until it's less crazy. I did get banoffee pie again. :)
I have not done any Christmas shopping, so unless I get it all done tomorrow, my loved ones will get their gifts after Christmas. I had planned to give all homemade stuff this year, but forget it. I have not even had time to make candy canes because I have to go the store to get flavoring (There isn't one in the nearby supermarket). Hopefully, I can make the candy, gingerbread cookies (the plan was an actual house for this year. Who knows? Maybe it's not yet too late), and figgy pudding before the holidays are over. Man, I just remembered all the other things I have to do. Pretty overwhelming. Anyway, I'm pretty disappointed in how the holidays are turning out - especially after the half-botched 1st party for Marguerite - for us and I have to keep on reminding myself that as a Christian, I should know what the true meaning of Christmas is and remember that all I'm moping about are pretty superficial. What's more important is that Chip gets better really soon.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Quick One

My sister's back in the hospital. The day before yesterday, she started experiencing a shooting pain up and down her legs and very bad heartburn and this is besides the actual pain and discomfort she was already in. Yesterday, I hied off for a quick trip to the bank and when I got back my mother was cradling my sister in her arms, very much a la Pieta, so I panicked and rushed to them. Chip was having difficulty breathing, so to make the long story short, we rushed her back to the hospital and an ECG showed that she had shrinking veins thus the shortness of breath. What on earth is happening to my sister? Please read previous posts, most of them under the health label, if you have the time and see if you've encountered anything similar because even the doctors are confused. Prayer requests again, also for Ethan Powell. Pls click the link in the right margin as I cannot bother to embed link here. I really hope all this is over before Christmas. Chip's birthday is the day after and I really pray she's regained her health by then. Gotta git. TIA.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Baby Miko Turns One

Yesterday, we went to Cabanatuan to attend my bestfriend's youngest's first birthday party. We arrived late since the place is over three hours away (bad roads and road system... ideally, the place must be just an hour away) but we still enjoyed ourselves. There was a magic show and the food was really good. The party at the venue ended shortly after we got there, but we extended the party at their house and didn't make for home until hours later. It was a lovely day. Bestfriend and I hardly ever get to see each other owing to the distance and the business of everyday living (she has three kids, plus there's work, of course, and now she's also taking her Masters... don't worry, she's a great multi-tasker), but when we do, we always have a fabulous time. Anyway, Miko is her miracle baby, a true blessing to all of us. Bestfriend went into labor at six months and had the baby three months early. It was a difficult couple of months for them at first, but now Miko is active and healthy. He and Marguerite screamed baby talk at each other most of the afternoon.
Then, on our way home, we mostly followed this truck. It's right up there with another truck grafitto favorite: Destansya, Amego (Distancia, Amigo). Those truckers really know how to have fun with language, English or Spanish.
"Long vihecle make's wide turn!!!" In case you didn't know.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Seussical End to a Week

I had a meeting in Makati last Friday and since I was already there, I decided to see the 3pm showing of Seussical the Musical in Glorietta. That day, Nikki Gil was being the Cat in the Hat. The entire show was lipsynched, but I still really liked it. I love theatre singing and I love musicals (I'm absolutely gaga over Les Misérables). I would love for Marguerite to see it, but she wouldn't have sat through the entire thing. Anyway, since I had to wait for Husband to get off from work, I saw the 6pm showing as well. It was a double treat because I bumped into my friend Nikka there and that was the first time I saw her since leaving Subic almost two years ago.
Yesterday was our church's annual Yard Sale and Fun Day. I had to (wo)man my sister's booth a couple of times because she still got tired easily and had to lie down in the office every now and then. Marguerite and her friend Toni talked baby talk. They also got meet Kiwi the shih tzu. After that, we moved on to my sister-in-law's bazaar in La Vista for dinner. Husband the ultimate carnivore (must have steak!) had a monster burger.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Another Homeschooling List

Hi, all. It's an entertaining read even if you can't relate to every item.:) I got it from my unschooling egroup.

The Bitter Homeschooler' s Wish List From Secular Homeschooling Magazine, Issue #11

1. Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is — andit is —it's insulting to imply that we're criminals.And if we were criminals, would we admit it?
2 Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.
3 Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class,field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.
4 Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.
5 If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.
6 Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.
7 We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.
8 Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.
9 Stop assuming that if we're religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.
10 We didn't go through all the reading, learning,thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.
11 Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn't have to complete acourse in catering to successfully cook dinner for myfamily; I don't need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school.
12 If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.
13 Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool, " we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it's crowded and icky.
14 Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we're into the "school" side of education — and many of us prefer a more organic approach — we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don't have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.
15 Stop asking, "But what about the Prom?" Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don't get to go to the Prom. For all you know, I'm one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.
16 Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.
17 Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more.
18 If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.
19 Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child's teacher as well as her parent. I don't see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.
20 Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.
21 Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she's homeschooled.
22 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids.
23 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids.
24 Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get because they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.
25 Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about homeschooling, shut up!

Homeschoolers' 12 Days of Christmas (+2 More Days)

Got this from my local homeschooling egroup. Author not identified, so if you know it, please inform me and I'll add it ;)
The 12 Days of Homeschooling
On the first day of homeschool my neighbor said to me,"Can you homeschool legally?"
On the second day of homeschool my neighbor said tome, "Are they socialized, can you homeschool legally?"
On the third day of homeschool my neighbor said to me,"Do you give them tests, are they socialized, can you homeschool legally?"
On the fourth day of homeschool my neighbor said tome, "What about P.E., do you give them tests, are theysocialized, can you homeschool legally?"
On the fifth day of homeschool my neighbor said to me,"YOU ARE SO STRANGE! What about P.E., do you give themtests, are they socialized, can you homeschool legally?"
On the sixth day of homeschool my neighbor said to me,"How long will you homeschool, YOU ARE S0 STRANGE, what about P.E. , do you give them tests, are theysocialized, can you homeschool legally?"
On the seventh day of homeschool my neighbor said tome, "Look at what they're missing, how long will youhomeschool, YOU ARE SO STRANGE!, what about P.E., do you give themtests, are they socialized, do you homeschoollegally?"
On the eighth day of homeschool my neighbor said tome, "Why do you do this, look at what they're missing, howlong will you homeschool, YOU ARE SO STRANGE, what about P.E. do you give them tests, are they socialized, do you homeschool legally?"
On the ninth day of homeschool my neighbor said to me,"They'll miss the prom, why do you do this, look atwhat they're missing, how long will you homeschool, YOU ARESO STRANGE!, what about P.E. do you give them tests, are theysocialized, do you homeschool legally?"
On the tenth day of homeschool my neighbor said to me,"What about graduation, they'll miss the prom, why doyou do this, look at what they're missing, how long willyou homeschool, YOU ARE SO STRANGE!, what about P.E., do you give themtests, are they socialized, can you homeschool legally?"
On the eleventh day of homeschool my neighbor said tome, "I could never do that, what about graduation, they'llmiss the prom, why do you do this, look at what they'remissing, how long will you homeschool, YOU ARE SO STRANGE, what about P.E., do you give them tests, are theysocialized, can you homeschool legally?"
On the twelfth day of homeschool my neighbor said tome, "Can they go to college, I could never do that, whatabout graduation, they'll miss the prom, why do you do this, look atwhat they're missing, how long will you homeschool, YOU ARE SO STRANGE, Whatabout P.E., do you give them tests, are they socialized, can youhomeschool legally?"
On the thirteenth day of homeschool I thoughtfullyreplied: "They Can go to college, yes you can do this, they canhave graduation, we don't like the prom, we do it cuz welike it, they are missing nothing, we'll homeschool forever, WEARE NOT STRANGE!, We give them P.E., and we give them tests, they aresocialized, AND WE HOMESCHOOL LEGALLY!
On the fourteenth day of homeschool my neighbor saidto me, "How can I get started, why didn't you tell me, wheredo I buy curriculum, when is the next conference, WILL PEOPLETHINK WE'RE STRANGE? I think we can do this, if you will help us, can wejoin P.E. and we'll homeschool legally."
***I LOVE IT!***

Update on My Sister

Chip's home now and is getting better everyday. We still don't understand what her disease had been as the doctors are confused themselves. What we are positive about is that our God healed her. Her illness may have stumped science, but, here, we're reminded that God is bigger than everything.
As usual, our church family has been wonderful. I finally got to visit Chip at the hospital last Sunday (had to wait for Husband to get home from Hongkong) and the entire youth group was there. They were eating, taking pictures, chatting, laughing boisterously... and my sister loved all of it. Normally she would have been the noisiest and most raucous of the bunch - or is that always Jeff? Anyway, it wasn't very good hospital decorum, lol, but they certainly cheered my sister up.
I haven't had time to blog much as things have been pretty toxic around here. It all boils down to the fact that Husband and I are considering hiring a helper. Not a nanny. A helper. I still get to take care of Marguerite, but at least I don't have to worry about the other details. Maybe I'll have time to finish one of my many projects (update: the shopping cart cover is finished, dress is hemmed... added a new one: flannel wipes).
News: Our church's annual Yard Sale and Fun Day on Saturday, Dec. 15, morning til afternoon (100 Rodriguez Ave, Marikina City). See you there!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Testing Faith

It's pretty easy to trust God to help you out of a jam, to get rid of a little ache, to grant a small request. When you go through something of life and death magnitude, you get to see just how real your faith is. Are you able to sleep? Can you remain steady and calm, having lifted all of your worries up to God? Does your mind still comprehend the fact that God's presence is with you, that He only gives you what you can bear, that He is in absolute control?
Going through this storm in our lives, there have been moments when I faltered, but God has always picked me up and given me a little shake, so much so that I am overcome with shame each time. When has God's goodness ever not been present in my life? Even when I drifted away, I still experienced His blessings and safekeeping, thanks to my parents who have been praying for me from the moment I was conceived. How many of my prayers have been answered through the years? Being my Dad's daughter, I've lived a life that testifies how powerful prayer is.
We still don't know what's really wrong with my Sister. They're still doing tests. We can be thankful that Guillain-Barré Syndrome has been ruled out. That was the initial diagnosis and my parents were told that it could prove to be fatal, but we're glad that they advised us to move her to a bigger hospital with the proper facilities for neurological treatment because then, after numerous testings, they've determined that it wasn't GBS after all. Now that they've seen that Chip's muscles and bigger nerves are fine, they're going to test the smaller nerves and her spinal cord. They do have the impression that the problem is with the spinal cord, but we'll see. In the meantime, I keep in mind that God is in control. Thanks to those who have expressed concern for my Sister and please keep on praying for her.
Side note: Naturally, I've had moments of tears lately, but whenever she'd see me crying, Marguerite would give me a hug or pat me on the arm. It's wonderful how a toddler could give me so much comfort. Now, if that isn't a blessing right there...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Please Pray for My Sister

My hands are shaking as I type this. My Sister has been diagnosed with ascending paralysis. They have to act fast because the disease spreads fast. If it reaches her respiratory system, she could die. Now, remember, prayer works. Pray right along with us for her complete healing and recovery. May God's comfort, peace, and strength be with us during this troubled time. I believe Chip will be dancing and singing in church again soon.

Ethan Powell Is One Year Old

That, in itself, is a great blessing and miracle. We continue to pray for complete healing and we look forward to his next birthday.
Speaking of healing, my Sister is now confined in a hospital. We have no idea what's going on with her. What started out as a seemingly run-off-the-mill allergic reaction has progressed into what appears to be a pretty serious nerve condition. I appeal to you for prayers. If you know my sister, how boisterous and crazy she is, you'll realize how sad it is for us to see her practically paralyzed with pain. Every little movement hurts. It really breaks my heart to see her suffering. I hope that the doctors pinpoint the very root of this problem so that my sister can be properly treated.
Marguerite has been a bit clingy lately. I usually rock her to sleep (oh please, ferberizers, I'll gladly go on rocking her to sleep until we're both old and gray... if she'll let me) and while I can usually place her down when she has fallen asleep, nothing doing these days. She starts whimpering whenever I try to lay her down on the bed and clutches at my arms. So I lie down on the bed myself with her still in my arms and we stay that way until she rolls away. I really can't blame her. So many people are missing. Her Daddy's in Hongkong, her Nana and Aunt Chip are at the hospital. It's mostly just the two of us here lately. She's not used to that.
On a lighter note, here are some Marguerite anecdotes for her minions:
- The morning after Husband's flight, somebody must have brushed against his car so it squawked out an alarm, which sounded pretty much like the autolock. When she heard that, Marguerite exclaimed "Dada!"
- I was about to give her some banana chunks, when my Mom pointed out that there were peaches in the fridge. Marguerite heard her and wailed, "(some unintelligible syllable)NANA!" which we translated to "I want a banana!"
- Some mornings she's so cheerful, she wakes up blowing kisses to everybody.
There are more, but our subject is stirring. Please pray for Ethan Powell and my sister. TIA.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Name Game

For the parents out there, do you remember what it was like to think of the perfect name for your unborn child? I was still teaching at the time I was pregnant with Marguerite and my students reserved a portion of my whiteboard for name suggestions. Most of them offered their own names, of course. At that time, I really wasn't sure yet which way I wanted to go, except for the fact that I wanted something from nature, like my own name (um, Ivy, if you didn't know). When I finally picked (Husband trusted me to have great taste, which could indicate conceit on his part) Marguerite, a lot of people said it was very me, that it was just the kind of name I would choose. Well, then, good for me. Marguerite is a beautiful name if I may say so myself and I guess it does say something about me: I consider myself to have an affinity with nature and I like French names. If you do a deeper probe, it could also mean that I have a tendency to be romantic (not mushy romance, more of the artistic, literary type of romance) and that I like whimsical things (marguerites aren't your token snobby, expensive, exotic flowers - well, that is, not to me - they bring visions of summer fields and late afternoon sunshine). I do know of parents who wait for their children to be born before deciding on a name. They prefer to hold and look at their kids and then name them based on inspiration.
Yesterday, I got the chance to name another "baby". My friend Tricia is introducing a new cupcake flavor and via YM, we managed to come up with a name that she liked for it. Tricia said it's chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. She likes to envision her creations as people, so, in this case we thought of a brown-skinned blonde. That made me think of surfer girls, so she asked me about the famous female surfers (we opted to make this one a girl since her chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting is a boy) I know of. I mentioned a few and she picked Megan (Megan Abubo, I forgot to mention that Megan's a brunette though. I don't think Tricia would have cared anway. She just wanted a pretty name.). We had to add a "last name" that would indicate the flavor and after a few tries, I came up with Van Choc, so maybe she's of Dutch descent, lol) That was really fun. Anyway, I'm "godmother" to this cupcake, so go to Little Cakes Factory and order a dozen now.

Monday, December 3, 2007

As A WAHM...

...I have to find ways to earn money without leaving the house. Otherwise, I wouldn't strictly be a work-at-home-mom, right? My daughter is only a year old and this setup is great. I get to take care of her myself and help augment the family income as well. I have no wish to change things.
A couple of months ago, I decided to look into blogging for money. Besides the usual ads on the margin, I also came across the paid posts concept. After a little research, I was able to gather a list of the more popular sites that offer this opportunity. Payperpost happens to be one of them. I decided to sign up for an account there because I got the impression that it was one of the most established systems in the field. I also learned from other bloggers that there was always a deluge of opportunities up for grabs. When my application was approved I saw for myself that opportunities could run up to 250 at a given time. And there's diversity indeed, from the amount you could earn (most paid post sites wouldn't offer more than $15 a post) to the product or site you have to write about to the different ways for your blog to keep on earning money. I like that. They do have a rule that you precede and succeed paid posts with regular posts, but that shouldn't be a deterrent in earning money with them. If you plan to take blogging for money seriously, an account with Payperpost would be very profitable.

When Sleeping During the Sermon Is Preferred

It is in Marguerite's case. Happy or upset, she's chatty. She has a babble for everything and don't think she does it in soft undertones too. She has a great pair of lungs, a great big voice, a collection of new words, and she's not shy about using all of them. If I want to hear the sermon in peace, the solution is to encourage her to sleep. Now, our church is very tolerant of children running amok inside. My Dad always says that he would prefer that they be running up and down the aisle or screaming the place down than to have them grow up outside the church. But just because the pastor has said that, it doesn't mean that I would let my child run up and down the aisle or scream until the ceiling caves in. So, the moment Marguerite starts to fuss, or sing (not during praise and worship), or talk to the people around us, I scoop her up and hotfoot it to the back. If she doesn't stop, I bring her outside until her noisy spell is over. So this just means that instead of a child running up and down the aisle, an adult, I, end up running up and down the side passage. That's for now, of course. When Marguerite becomes steadier on her feet, she wouldn't want to be restrained, so we'll have to be even more creative at finding engaging toddler entertainment.
Anyway, I haven't been updating lately since things have been rather toxic around here. It was Cousin Luigi's birthday on Friday (11 now... he used to be the baby around here, then came Yohann, then Marguerite). Saturday and Sunday were spent running around to prepare for Husband's trip to Hongkong. Sister is still sick (Allergies are evil... and this particular manifestation is just plain weird. First, she had horrible itching, then her muscles started acting up - like there was pressure from inside, making her limbs achy and restless - then the itching went away, but now she's very weak, her joints and muscles are sore - like a flu - but her temperature is normal and her skin never broke out into hives or anything. She has been taking a whole legion of drugs, so I tend to think that some of what she's feeling could be a side effect of the medication. If you have an idea what is going on here, please contact me at [email protected]. She has been to three different doctors and is also consulting a doctor cousin of ours over the phone - shameless relatives, hee! - but the ailment doesn't seem to be going anywhere, so if you think you could help, pls leave a comment or email me. Prayers for her are also welcome. TIA!)...
Husband left yesterday and won't be back until Sunday. I'm curious to see how Marguerite's going to react to the absence.