A Celebration of Life

We just had our first summer vacation for this year and where else but in the Philippines! The trip was planned early last year as the thought of celebrating my dad’s 70th birthday came to my mind. You know, reaching 70 in our country is already a milestone and considering my dad’s health condition, to celebrate his birthday is a way of thanksgiving. What else could be the perfect way to celebrate this special day? As usual, surprise dad like what we did two years ago. He had no idea that we’re coming home and he’ll get to celebrate his special day with his grandchildren.

We also took this opportunity to get my father-in-law to fly in from Indonesia. Although he just spent his Christmas holidays there, we requested for him to go back in time for our vacation. We rarely spend time with him since he’s been working abroad. The kids doesn’t even know him! So weeks before our departure, we decided to shoulder his tickets. However, problem came up while we were trying to book his flight. It seemed we were not allowed here to purchase a ticket for him using hubby’s credit card since the plane ticket holder will be different from the name of the ticket buyer. We’re glad brother-in-law came to the rescue. He’s a holder of one of the best credit cards in the Philippines. Buying the ticket online using his credit card was just easy peasy. Not that I haven’t realized yet how credit cards make things light to us consumers, but what happened made me reminisce my banker days. How agents call us, newly-hires and offer the best credit cards which perfectly match our profiles. In a few days, we were granted our first ever credit cards. What I liked in credit cards were the perks that come with it. Those points you’ll have to collect and eventually exchange for premium items. Or those miles which were converted to points if you are a frequent traveller. I would have used that credit card to buy our tickets to Manila. Sigh…

Anyway, back to reality… Although the celebration was just a simple lunch in Max’s, nothing can compare the joy I felt and saw in my dad as he was surprised by hugs of Zyc and Ryz.

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The tears that fell on Dad’s cheeks just melted my heart. By the way, the kids knew they’ll surprise their Lolo. I told them that our trip is a surprise for his birthday and that them being with him on his special day will be their gifts. I was glad the kids, too were happy doing this.

Together with my whole family, we filled a long table for 20 persons and feasted on the Filipino dishes I have missed tasting. I got to eat Kare-kare, Lumpiang Ubod and the famous Max’s fried chicken just to name a few.

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Hours were spent telling stories; hubby answering questions about the trip, me spending time with my side of the family and catching up.

Hehe… come payment time… Since we haven’t exchanged enough Euro to Peso currency, it’s one of those times I’m thankful I’m with someone (well, not just one but 4 of them) who has credit cards. Big brother offered to pay the bill so of course, the points will be his. 😛 Hmm.. I wonder how it is done now… I mean, it seems like having a credit card in the Philippines is easier nowadays. How do people apply for one? How much is the interest nowadays? Well, I wouldn’t wonder if googling “credit card Philippines” would lead me to a site where I could see and compare the best credit cards in the country.

I was glad for this simple celebration. Yes I know it’s incomparable from those grand parties of parents who reach such milestones but I think the physical closeness of each one of us brought more meaning to the occasion.

My Prize of Being a Mom

I know every mom has her own strategy on how to rear their child. I believe that we learn to become parents, of course from our parents themselves. We would remember our childhood days and how we were treated. When we became parents they would help us from the time our first-born comes out until the time they see that we could already do it on our own. They would guide us until they accept the fact that we can already stand on our own and should learn from our mistakes when we make them.

When I was younger I used to tell myself that when I become a mom I will not make the mistakes that my mom made on how she reared us and just emulate of course the good ones. Don’t get me wrong, my mom was a good mother. She cooked delicious food (which unluckily I never learned to do) and made sure we eat on time. She would meticulously wash our clothes so that we would look presentable. Being a teacher, she was more conscious on how we do at school and our grades. However, although these did something good on my character and how I am now I just know that we, as mother and daughter, lacked something. We didn’t have a “relationship”.  I could only count in one hand the times when we actually talked as “friends”.

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They cling too much! 😛

When I became a mom, I got a little conscious on how to act in front of my kids. I try very hard on being patient, hold back myself and try not to yell at them. I say every encouraging word I could think of to give them a push when there are times I see them losing confidence. I try to spend time with them; play with them, listen to their stories, make fun with them, make fun of them so they know how to laugh at themselves, and just simply touch and hug them. I believe these are some of the things I needed the most and what I am trying to give to my kids. I want to have a better relationship with them, one that my mom and I didn’t get to have.

With what I have done, here are just a few of my prizes:

Kids jockeying for position/racing to hug me 🙂

” Mommy, when I grow up and don’t have a house yet, I will stay with you so you don’t have to do everything on your own. I will help you. And you will teach me to cook.” – Ryz

“Mommy, my best buddy.” – Ryz

(while fixing their school things day before school opening)
Me: O, tomorrow your classmates might have new stuff for school. Is it okay with you that you didn’t buy new things?
Zyc: Of course! we don’t need to buy new ones.

Once I call out “huggy kuggy”, they will stop doing what they are doing and run to me and hug me.

I sometimes wonder am I really deserving of what I am having now? I thought, “I must be doing something really good to my kids!” or “I must be doing it right to deserve these!” I know I’m not perfect. I am faaaaar from perfect. No mom’s perfect and yet we can be perfect moms in our kids’ eyes.

New Looks

I’m just sooo… glad to have online friends who are really there to help. As you can see, this blog has a new look. I have done nothing on this except to put the tagline. Hahaha!

I have seen I think hundreds of themes and there are really super nice ones but my problem was I don’t have the technical know-how of changing mine. Yeah, I know how to edit widgets but when I need to use some applications to change the header image, the sliders and the likes, I couldn’t do it. I don’t have the expertise and the tools. I did the last theme I had on my own but that was a pre-made one. Although I liked it, some think it’s not appealing so I decided to change it. I like the simplicity of this theme. I don’t know but dark themes appeal to me that much. Actually I like highly-contrasted (if there’s such a term) ones, dark vs. light colors where the light tops the dark.

My two other blogs also had a makeover. Check them out!

Although I admire those sites which has intricate designs and all, I still prefer neat and clean themes. Easy to navigate and user-friendly. I dislike themes that are eyesores (in addition to grammatically incorrect posts, hahaha!) but I guess I have no choice since I get to encounter most of them through syndication and of course I have to read some topics that I find interesting. Oh well, different folks with different strokes they say… We have different tastes and styles. These themes may not be appealing for others, too right?

So, I would like to thank Gene of Corbitoness for the headers and of course Gizelle of Mirage for the themes and set-up. Thank you very much sisters! Mwah mwah!! 😀

International Fest

One of the most awaited fest here in our city is the annual Internationaler Fest or International Festival. People even from neighboring cities comes here to experience the fun. We had a perfect weather that day unlike last year’s celebration.

In this celebration, immigrants gather and organize to represent their country. They have their own stalls or kiosks and there they showcase their food specialties from their homeland. This is definitely the best chance to taste the various cuisines these countries are famous for.

The Turkish women making their pita bread.

The Tamils from India
Food from Japan and China. (I think they are just from restaurants who serve these kinds of food. 🙂
The Thais
From Sri Lanka
The Americans’ burger.

And of course, the Germans’ beer.

From Aalen’s brewery.

Those were just  few of the stores I’ve taken a shot of. There were really so many kiosks especially from the Turkish. This did not come as a surprise since among the immigrants, Turkish has the most number.

There were also presentations from various groups. We chanced upon the one from Turkey who performed their traditional dance. This was really well-applauded.

I also met other Filipinas thru my new-found friend. They were from Ellwangen which is around 25mins drive from Aalen.

With a little number of Filipinos here, we wonder when can we have our own kiosk for this International Fest…

Ingenuity or Laziness?

Rummaged again my digicam and found these shots I made months ago. (I really have to use some of the photos stored in my cam to free up the space. Hehe..) Hey, what’s the use of taking a picture if I don’t blog about them right? You might laugh if you see the name of the folder where I put these kinds of photos. It’s named “Unsorted”, hehe…

There’s a brand here named Tchibo. It is a chain of coffee shops and cafés and also offers a wide range of products. They have apparels, household items, electronics and electric appliances. Anyway, I saw two of their products which I found interesting.

This is called BH Waschkugel which literally means Bra Washing ball. BH stands for Büstenhalter. It is ideal for washing push up bras and those which has foams in the washing machine to prevent from deforming.

Another product is a banana slicer. This one just made me laugh and at the same time shake my head in amusement. Really? A banana slicer? I mean, I could easily do that using a knife! Well, I guess the one who thought of this product is thinking of the working moms out there who are always on the go or those who host big parties. This can be useful to make the banana look appetizing and presentable.

Ingenuity or laziness, admit it or not these products just could make our lives soooo easy.

Creams and Lotions for Seniors

Caring for seniors is not an easy task. I know because I have witnessed it when my Mom was bedridden for almost two years. I hadn’t done it firsthand because of my body frame but I’ve seen how my Dad changed my Mom’s diaper. In this situation I knew my mom needs protection from any effects of her inability to clean up especially with her hygiene.

Using a protective barrier hand cream allows the skin to be moisturized and at the same time breathe. Often people who are bedridden develops dry, flaky skin and are also susceptible to pressure sores or bedsores. With barrier creams, these problems are prevented and can give the patient’s skin needed moisture. These creams may be applied in any part of the body, may it be on the hands, face, neck, legs, arms and even on their sensitive areas.

There are also products that indirectly prevent skin cancer by creating a thin layer of protection between their skin and the harmful elements in the environment. Anti-fungal creams are also available which will be very helpful since seniors can no longer clean themselves thoroughly. These creams can be purchased online at Parentgiving.com. Aside from mentioned above, they also offer a wide range of skin care products and other things you need in caring for seniors.

A Game Console for the Family

Zyc loves to play the PSP. He likes games which involve car racing. I thought of changing this habit. I wanted him to play games which are more kid-friendly. Game consoles I think, have more kid-friendly games. Although I know PSP also has games appropriate for his age but its effect on his eyes is what I fear. He plays with the gadget too close to his eyes that I have to monitor him and remind him from time to time. The games I like with these consoles are the move games. They involve physical activities which could make my kids move and have fun at the same time. I could still remember my Dance Revolution Pad when we still have our Play Station. That was what I used when I wanted to exercise back then. Playing a game console can also be a bonding time for the whole family. Just thinking of the fun we could have, I’m now having this urge to buy a game console.

Play Station 3 is one of the game consoles we are considering of buying. Hubby is a Sony fan, hehe.. and I guess no one can argue that Sony is one of the best when it comes to quality. To buy ps3 game would be no problem either. We can buy from the appliance store, Mediamarkt here or through online stores.

Hubby will get this one, that’s for sure!

I read an article on PS3’s advantages over the other game consoles in the market and I might say it really is far better than the others. Although may be a little pricey but with its edge when it comes to its online features, I guess it’s all worth it. Hubby also loves to play video games and we also enjoy watching movies. With its technology, I know he’ll like PS3 the most.

High Hopes for Daddy

This came as a very sad news to me. My Dad seek for a second opinion on his condition due to persistent dizziness and the doctor said that he had a cerebellar stroke. A kind of stroke affecting the cerebellum which is the area of the brain that controls balance and movement. So that explains why my Dad can’t already walk on his own and has to be assisted.

I didn’t expect this to happen to Daddy. I thought his long walks and medicines can contain his health condition. We were just thankful that it was only a mild stroke and he was not hit at a popular part of the brain. We believe that he can still go back to his old condition. We are very positive about this knowing that my sister-in-law is monitoring his food. He’s now living with my brother since we can not let him go back to our home in Cubao. He lives there alone and no one will take care of him.

Daddy loves to move around. He always wants something to tinker on. But in his current state. he can’t do anything but sit or lay down. Big Bro gives him a massage and takes him for a walk when the weather condition’s good.

Haaay… I hope and pray Daddy gets well. We still have many plans for him. We still want to do things for him that we know he will be happy. We still want him to come here in Germany and see the country.

Hubby’s Home with the “Relief Goods”

Finally, hubby’s home safe and sound. The kids have been waiting for their Daddy since yesterday and kept on asking what time will he arrive, especially Zyc. I’m very excited especially all the things I requested for him to buy for me and the package that my friends sent for me are already here. Oh well, I also miss him. Haha!

Clockwise: All that were left from the grocery hubby bought from the supermarket. I was right, his baggage exceeded from the maximum weight for a passenger. Hubby chose not to pay for the excess baggage and what he did was sacrifice his clothes and items which I didn’t request just to bring the presents from my friends. Like the two bottles of homemade peanut butter. I requested this from my officemate, Harlene. She once brought one in the office and I just loved it! The hoodie was given by my brother-in-law who’s teaching in UP and at the same time taking up his Masters Degree. Hubby also has one. The skirt was also given by my former colleague, Jackie who has gained weight and thinks this won’t fit her anymore. The shorts and socks were given by the wife of a former colleague who has become a close online friend. Included in the grocery is a box of Goldilocks polvoron which I requested also from my officemate, Lizette.

These are just some of the items. I didn’t take a picture of all the shirts hubby bought for me but I really am so happy!

Remembering Mama

It should have been Mama’s 64th birthday today. If only she’s still here, there would be a simple celebration at home. I could still picture Mama blankly staring at us and maybe wondering what are we celebrating. We could have given her a simple gift or offer a mass of thanksgiving. But today, our gift to her is sending her to her final resting place. We’ve decided that her urn be placed inside our baby sister’s tomb. Yeah, I had a baby sister who was pre-maturely born. She only lived for 3 hours. She should have been 31 years old by now. Anyway, since her tomb is only small, we thought maybe we can just put Mama with her. Aside from thinking that at least they could be together, honestly we found columbaries very expensive. We really couldn’t afford one. I think it is better to use the money for Dad’s medicines.

Speaking of Daddy, he was confined in the hospital and just got out yesterday. His blood pressure and blood sugar are already stable, thank God! Although he’s still complaining of dizziness from time to time. And because of this he wasn’t able to join Big Bro and sis-in-law in bringing Mama to the cemetery. Also, according to them the weather is really bad so Dad has to stay home. Big Bro told me he cried while Mama’s urn is being placed inside the tomb. He thought of us, me and Daddy. We both were not around during that time. I then realized it is really sad when you don’t have a big family.