June 30, 2014

If I Have To Do It All Over Again...

Photo: bodysensestudio.co.nz

1. I will watch what I eat and drink.

I shudder now when I think of all the times (almost every day!) when I swing by the Convenience Store before I go to the office - to buy potato chips and a bottle of orange juice. Wah! I was such an unhealthy pregnant lady!

2. I will take care of my skin.

June 28, 2014

Benefits of the Montessori Approach

Follow me on Instagram: @maanlaxa

As usual, I find myself planning for Yuri's schooling again, which would hopefully begin by next year. While I really want to do homeschooling, I'm veering toward looking for a Montessori preschool. The reasons I might share with you next time when I'm surer. Actually, when I get to talk it over with Job na.

For now, what I'll share with you is a list of the benefits of giving a child early education using the Montessori-approach:

June 27, 2014

Love Doesn't Keep Record of Wrongs

Boy, did this line from the letter to Corinthians ever hit so close to home. Here's why.

Remember how I talked about having a misunderstanding with Job last Monday? We were finally able to sort things out just Wednesday night (I actually wrote this post after we made up).

My issue was that I felt he was giving more time to his work than to me. Quite selfish, I know. I'm willing to understand, but Monday was a special day for us, and I really felt he should've at least saved even just a few minutes to talk to me.

(We did talk, but not the kind of talk that I wanted. What can I do? I'm a girl!)

But in my defense, motherhood can be lonely. Staying at home every day can be even lonelier. And I tend to get fixated with the loneliness, so I collect stories along the week and look forward to sharing them Job. And when my "bonding" expectations aren't met... I guess you can guess what happens next.

(I also guess now you sort of understand why I blog: I have so many stories saved in my head!)

Yes, for what seems to be a petty issue, it took me 3 days to forgive.

To be fair, it was really hard to communicate. We still keep what we promised to only talk on Sundays, but this was an exception since we were having an issue. But since both of us are busy, the only time we get to talk is at night.

And if you must know Job, let's just say he's extremely protective of his bedtime. No one, I mean no one can get in his way if he wants to sleep.

That's aside from the fact that, as wonderful as he is, he can be dense sometimes. Men!

The bonus part is that he's been working harder these days so he's more tired. Tired = denser = earlier bedtime = not interested in long talks. So on Monday and Tuesday night, instead of being able to talk it over, he fell asleep before we ever reached closure. Instead of getting over the issue, I was getting more and more frustrated!

I was also getting more hurt because I felt that his actions only showed what I told him that he doesn't have time for me anymore.

You see, Job is a conflict-avoider. He prefers to just say "sorry" to prevent a fight. In other words, para hindi humaba ang usapan. He lives by this proverb:
Image from Pinterest

And I hate that because I feel that he doesn't take the time to really understanding my point and my feelings.

He was also frustrated because he couldn't understand why I couldn't forgive.

June 25, 2014

The Reveal: Kid Basix Safe Sporter Stainless Steel Bottle!

So on Monday, I told you about the 5 choices I've had for Yuri's first ever stainless steel bottle. Like what I pointed out, they didn't come cheap so I wanted to get the "right" one right away.

By the way, if you still aren't convinced to leave plastic and make the switch to glass and/or stainless steel, I hope this will change your mind:
The center shipped Juliette's plastic cup, along with 17 others purchased from Target, Walmart, and Babies R Us, to CertiChem, a lab in Austin, Texas. More than a quarter—including Juliette's—came back positive for estrogenic activity.

Estrogen plays a key role in everything from bone growth to ovulation to heart function. Too much or too little, particularly in utero or during early childhood, can alter brain and organ development, leading to disease later in life. Elevated estrogen levels generally increase a woman's risk of breast cancer.

- MotherJones.com
I really don't want to scare you, but I think this is a necessary fear to know to prevent unnecessary health problems down the road.

Okay, let's get back to the topic. So out of the 5 available choices, what did I finally buy?

*drum roll*

Oh yes, you knew it already from the title haha. Anyway, after the "research" I've done, I finally decided on buying a Safe Sporter bottle from Kid Basix! I understand that it doesn't have the cutest design in the bunch, but "cute" isn't the most important characteristic of a bottle, is it? I'm not that shallow! Hee hee.

It's not locally available in Davao City, so I ordered it online from Youjiandme.com. There are two sizes available: 16ml (P799) and 12ml (P759). Shipping fee is P100.

It was tempting to get the 16-ml bottle since it only costs P40 more than the smaller one. However, I think it was still too big for Yuri. Maybe next time. :-)

As you may see, the package says "4+," but if you read through this review, you'd realize that it's perfect for a younger toddler. Also, I wanted to get the lime one but thought it might not look that good after being used for a while, so I went with the safer blue. I placed the order last week and it finally arrived last Friday.
And you know what? I immediately loved it! The feel of the bottle is sturdy, and its sleek form makes it easy to hold - even for li'l hands! It also experienced its first fall last night. The report proudly states that zero damage was done.
The sleeve is surely a welcome addition. I sometimes put ice-cold water inside the bottle and it remains easy to hold.

June 24, 2014

Yesterday Was Not My Day

Disclaimer: I wrote this post last night when I was still feeling bad. I feel a lot better today, but I still think I should post this. :-)

I had a bad day yesterday. Well, it's not like something major bombed or failed. It was more of a nothing's-going-right kind of day, a series of little failures that piled on top of one another.

And I don't do so well with pileups. My temper is already short to begin with, so with each minor problem, my fuse gets shorter.

Despite feigning positiveness, the truth is I was really in a bad mood yesterday. I just couldn't wait for it to be over. However, the thing about me is that to cope with something negative, I need to share it with someone. I wasn't able to last night (see no. 5), so if you happen to be reading this, I apologize in advance for making you my shock-absorber.

1. I woke up late (read: 8:15am), and when my schedule messes up, I become a mess myself.

2. The internet connection was sooo slow. With the kind of work I do, this connection is virtually my lifeline. I wasn't able to do several things because of this. If only some people were mindful enough to not use the connection for Facebook while I'm working. Hay.

June 23, 2014

Battle of 5 Stainless Steel Kid Bottles

Okay, I'll begin with a disclaimer. I have already bought a stainless steel bottle for Yuri, which arrived last Friday afternoon. So this "battle" is not for me as much as it is for you, you who also want to do away with plastic.

Anyway, I'll keep my choice of bottle a secret (for now!) and focus on telling you what my options were. All I'll tell you is that Yuri immediately began using the bottle last Friday (after I washed it thoroughly, of course), and he loves it. I really love it, too!

I did a lot of "research" before finally buying that particular bottle, though. As I mentioned here, high-quality stainless steel bottles especially made for babies, toddlers, and kids do not come cheap. Knowing that I'm going to spend money anyway, I want to choose the right one right away. What were my choices? Please note that there are more options, but I only wrote about the ones that are readily available in the islands. After all, I'm not sure you would want to spend extra for shipping from abroad.

Here they are, along with my pros-and-cons evaluation:

1. Thermos Foogo/Funtainer

This was actually my first choice - and this actually gives you a clue that this was not what I ordered. I liked it because the design was too cute for words. I mean, a mini-thermos with a button to press for the straw? I was sold. However, when I did thorough research, I found out that it has many problems.
Image from eBay

  • Again, they look really cute, don't they? I think that out of all the brands available in the Philippines, they are the one that offers the widest variety of designs.
  • In order to get the straw out, you only need to press the button. Plus points for hygiene!
  • Double-walls insulate the drink and keep it cold or hot for hours.
  • However, they are a bit pricey. Most online sellers sell them for more than P1,000.
  • I also read reviews complaining about the button and how it easily cracks over time. Oops!
  • Unlike many stainless steel bottles, it has many parts, which still makes it an easy breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Also, having many parts makes it not very convenient to clean.
  • Many report of leaking after months of usage.

2. Klean Kanteen for Kids

I first heard of it from US-based blogs and haven't really read about it in Philippine-based ones, so I thought it wasn't available here. I only found out it was available locally when Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio featured it in her Instagram account.

Photo: http://www.hullabaloo.co.za

  • It comes from a very reputable brand. If I'm not mistaken, Klean Kanteen is one of the first manufacturers of stainless steel bottles.
  • Based on their website, they sell changeable valves to fit a child's changing needs.
  • They come in cute colors.
  • However, based on the website alone, not all of the colors are available locally.
  • The bottles lack insulation. Also, there is no holder that can help a child easily hold a too-cold bottle straight from the fridge.
  • I don't really like the physical form of the bottles. It's like not much thought was given to it. I don't think it's comfortable for little hands to hold.
  • They're also not that cheap! I think they're even more expensive than the Thermos.

June 21, 2014

Montessori Approach: Age-Appropriate Chores for Kids

Photo: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/

I don't remember the first time I saw this list; it was probably last year. However, I didn't pay too much attention to it probably because Yuri was still too young. I don't really remember.

This approach, I believe, is the Montessori way. I'll tell you the truth. I'm already interested in inquiring a Montessori school not-so-nearby because I want to Yuri to go there next year. Remind me to tell Job about that the next time we talk hehe.

Anyway, now that my interest in Montessori has been rekindled, though, I''m reading again about its approach, which led me to look for this photo again. I really love how it instills the value of independence on kids. It's very reminiscent of how my parents taught me when I was young, except for the memorization of numbers and alphabets. But that's not the point.

So reading the list above, even though I haven't fully incorporated the Montessori approach in our home yet, I can see that Yuri can already do many of the chores. Based on the list above, here they are:

  • Puts toys in his box
  • Places his dirty clothes in his own hamper
  • Throw trash away (Hands down, this is his most favorite chore ever! He'll be waiting for you to get done with something. After sensing that you're finished, for example, eating, he'll take the trash away from you and say "Pwede tapon?" Sometimes, he wants to throw things that are not meant to be thrown!)
  • Fetch diapers and wipes

As you may see, the things Yuri can accomplish are simple commands and those that he always sees us doing. I'm not so sure about carrying firewood and setting the table! I think that would look really hilarious!

What about you? How old are your kids and what chores are they now doing? Have a great weekend, by the way!

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June 20, 2014

Finance Friday: The Social Climber

Photo: http://www.andbethere.com

The social climber, for me, is someone who "needs" to have the latest and the current best. She feels the "need" to upgrade her lifestyle to keep up with what's new. Thus, while she earns more, she also spends more and saves less, a decision that only she and her family will suffer.

If you're looking for a blog post that badmouths a certain social climber (or, well, gold-digger), I'm sorry; you're in the wrong place.

It's not that I don't write about gossip (which is somehow true).

It's because the social climber can be easily you. And me.

Now that I have your attention (I hope), come to think of it. Since you started earning money, how many times you have received a raise? From that answer, how many times have you upgraded your lifestyle? Once? Twice? Each time your income increased?

Because let's face it:

Social-climbing is dangerously easy.

I'm confident to ask you these questions because I am on the same ground. Just recently, I realized that on good months, I am now earning almost 50% more of what I used to earn last year. As a freelancer, I technically don't receive a raise. However, as Yuri becomes more independent from me, I am also able to do more work in a day. Hence, more income.

And I'm not complaining at all! I'm praising God for this increase in His provision! The problem is that there is no increase in my savings. On the contrary, there is a big increase in my spending.

June 19, 2014

How I Finally Got Yuri to Brush his Teeth (Without Manhandling Him)

While many advice mothers to start brushing their children's teeth as early as 6 months old, I didn't start shopping for a toothbrush and a toothpaste until Yuri turned 1.

Well, because he got his first tooth a week before that.

He refused the finger-brush flatly and wouldn't open his mouth at all. It was a good thing I discovered this chew-brush from Tiny Buds because Yuri took a liking to it. It became a teether-slash-brush of some sort. I didn't care. It did the job.
Yuri was just 18 months old here

Until he finally outgrew the chew-brush.

It wasn't as if he didn't like it anymore. It also wasn't as if the chew-brush wasn't usable anymore. In fact, since it was entirely made up of silicon, it didn't "dull out" like a regular toothbrush does and I didn't see the need for a replacement.

It's just Yuri was getting his teeth too fast. From being a toothless baby for so long, he was now a toddler with an almost complete set of chompers. I think he was around 20 months then.

And so began the search for a "toddler-brush." I first got something like this:
Photo: www.coroflot.com

I made the mistake of sterilizing it (because I did the same with the chew-brush). The result? Its bristles became very brittle.

I didn't realize it at first, though, and tried to get Yuri to use it. He obediently did until he spat out what I think were three bristles. Poor kid!

I think that sparked his passionate hatred of tooth-brushing. After that, he began resisting the toothbrush.

June 17, 2014

My 2-Year Old Says No to Plastic!

I mean, can't you see the agitation in his face?!
That's not a yellow tooth; that's a piece of a pretzel. Okay?

Well, technically, it's not my toddler, Yuri, who said no to plastic. It's his mom. *meekly raises hands*

Okay, I've begun the switch to glass first when I asked for this Snapware Glass Bottle from one of my best friends, George, and second, when I ordered a couple of mason jars.
Spot the plastic Tupperware at the back
This photo made me miss summer!

So you see, I was happily drinking from glass bottles and glass jars - while my own little boy was drinking from his plastic cups. Well, you need to know that I was woefully uninformed; I thought that as long as the cup (or any utensil for that matter) was labeled BPA-free, it was okay.

However, after reading this article one night, I learned that BPA was not the only harmful chemical found in plastic ware. And it makes sense! After all, just how many chemicals are involved in the production of plastic? There's a lot of questions regarding the estrogenic materials found in many baby and toddler products, and that's doubly harmful because these chemicals can seriously wreak havoc in a little body.

Suffice to say, after reading and informing myself about the dangers of plastic, I couldn't sleep. It was just too scary. I know I had to replace Yuri's plastic feeding utensils ASAP!

June 16, 2014

Summer Can't End Just Yet! (An Unproductive Story)

I just spent my entire summer - wait for it - working!

Since I started working from home (which was about 2 years ago), I've always looked forward to summer. Not because of the outings. Not because of the sunshine. Not because school's out (which I am not affected by anyway).

It's because that's usually the time when I get to do stuff outside of work such as baking (or what looks like it), cleaning, organizing, playing with Yuri, and thinking of summer activities we can do together. This is because during this time (around May-ish), the essays on our queue start to decrease until they go down to zero. In other words, free time.

Our summer reading list - unread (and messy)

This year, though, the situation is different. Even when it's already mid-June (oh my, it is already?!), there are still so many essays on the queue. This means a lot of students are still submitting essays. And this is great! Because many essays = salary. I forgot to tell you that no work equates to no pay, too. However, I can't help but think of the things I planned to do for summer that I never got to do. Here they are:

1. The Moon Sand and Moon Dough Project

I've had the materials ready for quite some time now. I have a bag of cornstarch, flour, food coloring, and this:
Stolen borrowed sand

Yup, that's half a bucket of sand that we shamelessly stole got from Costa Marina. It was a good thing my cousins were there; they did the dirty job for me. Hahaha!

As I was saying, the materials are ready. The only thing missing is me actually mixing the stuff together. Ugh! I need to find time to make these before the weather starts becoming seriously rainy.

June 14, 2014

It's So Hard to Diet

I started watching what I eat back in February.

I was so vigilant then on eating only healthy and real foods - as much as possible, no processed ones.

Until March came. And we celebrated Yuri's birthday, my sister's graduation, and, generally, just enjoyed summer. Suffice to say, I was eating my heart out almost every day.

After I celebrated my birthday a week ago, I told myself that would be the last time I would eat, drink and be merry. After that, I will just be merry (and, of course, eat and drink healthy). However, my plan was thwarted when just this week, I saw these different dishes on the table on different days:

 Can you guess what it is?
 Mama's moist chocolate cake
 Oh noes

These are only some of the un-healthy foods I've eaten just this week. I wasn't able to take a photo of the pork sinigang and the lechon manok. And I can already feel it in my body! I didn't check my weight but I do feel more sluggish these days. Oh no!

Frankly, the only "relatively healthy" meals I've eaten these days are these:
Overnight oats in chocolate and peanut butter
And more mangoes (From my Instagram account, @maanlaxa)

But even if the last photos depict healthy stuff, they are still sweet and need to be regulated. So tell me. How on earth am I gonna start eating healthy? It's so hard!

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June 13, 2014

Things I Want to Buy for Yuri But Can't (Yet)

There are things we can afford and then there are things we can buy if we wanted to but choose not to (yet) because it's not a top priority.

I seriously hope I'm not the one who thinks like that. Otherwise, it would just confirm my suspicion that I'm inherently kuripot. Hahaha. Well, my mom's an ultimate kuripot, so I shouldn't wonder!

Now I really don't have any problems about buying anything for myself. I'm well-trained at delayed gratification. For example, mason jars are really cheap and I first got fascinated by them May of last year but actually bought them last April. What a long wait!

But for "Yuri Stuff" or things that Yuri doesn't really need but mama wants, I can't wait for too long. I hesitate to shop for my own clothes but would buy Yuri ones even if he doesn't need them just as long as it fits the budget!

Now I'm hoping that you're secretly agreeing with me all along. Most moms siguro do, right? If you don't have a secret no-occasion list for your kid, I'm pretty sure you'll get some ideas from mine below. I apologize in advance! Hee hee!

1. Stainless Steel Cup

This is more of a need than a want because Yuri's cups need to retire. However, I can't buy one yet because, frankly, they are not exactly cheap and I want to choose the best one.

His straw cup is icky (ew, that's what you get from buying cheap), while his 1 1/2 year old Avent is starting to leak. Also, I just found out that even BPA-free plastics are still dangerous. I will save the details for another post.
Image: http://www.zebebe.com

My options are CamelBak Stainless Steel (pictured), KidBasix Sporter Cup, and Thermos Foogo.

2. Milk jars

I'm not veering away from the drinnking cup topic just yet. The one above should address his on-the-go drinking needs but I also need a new non-plastic cup to use at home.
Image from Instagram account, kitchencountermnl

My first option was a Tramontina stainless steel cup - but it's too pricey! 600 for a small cup! No way, Jose. So maybe I'll buy small milk bottles and try to look for covers. I'll hope for the best.

EDIT: Just ordered a set of the milk bottles. Sorry.

June 11, 2014

Turning 24: A New Haircut, A New Bike, and Other Stories

Photo: http://omgeemag.com/

Ever since my 20th birthday, which was after my college graduation, which was spent drinking from night until morning with many of my fraternity brods and sorority sisses, I've learned to celebrate my birthday in a more subtle and God-glorifying manner.

To clarify, during that birthday of mine, I wasn't a Christian yet. That was the very last time I drank, though I still smoked a couple of weeks after that. A couple of weeks because after that, I finally encountered Jesus.

I don't want to post a photo of myself during that night because I'm sure you wouldn't recognize me. Also, it would taint my goody-two-shoes image. Hahaha!

Okay I'm so far from the point of this post so let's go back. Anyway, while I always consider my birthday special, I guess it's special on its own ordinary way. Here ate some of the "special ordinary" stories when I turned 24.

A New Haircut - After 2 Years

The last time I had a haircut was May 2012, a few months after Yuri was born. More than 2 years ago! I went from having mermaid hair to short, short, short (!) hair:
A couple of months after giving birth

It wasn't surprising since I always go through that route. Long then suddenly short. That hair was too short, though. I think the person who cut my hair was kinda deaf or something. But it's okay. I learned to love it. Job loved it, too!

2 years after, I finally made the time to have my hair cut. I couldn't afford to keep my hair long because it's too thick and the hair strands always get tangled. Here it is!

What do you think? I'm loving my hair now! The funny thing is that I can't comb it at all because my hair horrifyingly "flies away"! (I hope you understand what the slang means!)

June 10, 2014

Yaya Woes: Disrespectful, Ungrateful

I'm supposed to blog about my birthday today but couldn't because I'm in such a high negative emotional state.

Anyone with a yaya or a maid will understand the "woes" that come with their service. I have a fair share of these woes, but I don't usually air them out here on my blog because I want to keep it positive and God-glorifying.

Also, I'm generally a forgiving perso. I don't like to hold grudges. Offense now, forget later. That's what I do to avoid stress and to try to please God. But this time, it's different. The things and values that I so uphold are compromised.
Photo: http://meetville.com/

Before I rant and before you judge me as a really strict and inflexible employer, let me give you some background.

First, Yuri's yaya is not a "full-time" yaya. I'm the one who feeds Yuri all three meals. I'm the one who bathes him. I'm the one who makes him go potty and wash him after. Sometimes it's also me who washes his soiled undies. I'm also the one who gets him to take a nap in the afternoon and cleans him up at night.

His yaya only takes care of him from around 8:30am - 11:45am and 3pm - 5:30pm. You read it right. She's completely free from lunchtime to 3pm. And when Yuri has to go potty during her "shift," I take over.

Second, even if her absences are frequent, there never was a "bawas" in her sweldo. Heck, I don't even subtract from her salary what I lose in mine due to the absences.

I hope you see that she has a lighter workload than most yayas. I treat her sooo well. I couldn't understand why she doesn't reciprocate.

June 9, 2014

Lunch at Zabs Buffet

The original plan was to celebrate my birthday at Vikings. However, we had already tried it, and while we had a pleasant experience, I didn't get to enjoy it fully because I was busy running after Yuri. Vikings is big, and my toddler was all over the place!

So I decided to look for another restaurant that is a lot smaller. I am willing to sacrifice the amount of food to save my sanity. Hahaha!

Another thing: being the big eaters that we are, it needs to be a buffet.

We have already tried most known buffet restaurants and hotels in the city. We haven't tried Yakimix yet, but it's out of the question, since the folks are not fans of Japanese food. However, during my preggy and newborn-mom days, a buffet restaurant opened and was popular among students and yuppies. I didn't get to try it then, so we decided to try it now.

The place is not easy to miss. It's just along Roxas Avenue and very near Aldevinco in front of Ateneo. The signage is also big, in-your-face-ish.

Zabs Buffet is a small restaurant; thus, do not expect to see a large variety of food. You will see the usual: salads, rice cooked differently, savory dishes, soup, lechon kawali (my and dad's favorite haha), raw meat and fish that you can request to be cooked, and lots of dessert. In the center, near where we were seated, was the counter where food was cooked. There was a pizza station, crepe station, and takoyaki station (that's what I remember).

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June 6, 2014

Finance Friday: An Excerpt from 'Rich Dad, Poor Dad'

I wasn't able to prepare a full post for this week's Finance Friday mainly because I just discussed a "heavy" topic over the last couple of weeks: the emergency fund. 

Here are the two posts in case you missed it: Why You Need An Emergency Fund Right Now and The Emergency Fund: Tips on How to Build It.

Also, I've been stressing over our internet connection. It has been five days since the last day we had a connection. We've called PLDT twice already and still haven't seen any action. Hello, PLDT?

Anyway, last night, I was reading this very short e-book sent to me via email. It's called Managing Your Money, and it is written by Robert Kiyosaki. Yes, the Robert Kiyosaki who wrote Rich Dad, Poor Dad. 
Image from store.richdad.com

Unsurprisingly, it contained an anecdote from the latter, and I'd like to share it with you because it reminded me so much about our discussion on emergency funds. (I don't think it's illegal to do so since this is just a mini-book that is shared freely over the internet.) Here it is:
I remember asking my rich dad about the habits of the rich. Instead of answering me outright, he wanted me to learn through example, as usual.

“When does your dad pay his bills?” rich dad asked.

“The first of the month,” I said.

“Does he have anything left over?” he asked.

“Very little,” I said.

“That’s the main reason he struggles,” said rich dad. “He has bad habits. Your dad pays everyone else first. He pays himself last, but only if he has anything left over.”

“Which he usually doesn’t,” I said. “But he has to pay his bills, doesn’t he? You’re saying he shouldn’t pay his bills?”

“Of course not,” said rich dad. “I firmly believe in paying my bills on time. I just pay myself first. Before I pay even the government.”

“But what happens if you don’t have enough money?” I asked. “What do you do then?”

“The same,” said rich dad. “I still pay myself first. Even if I’m short of money. My asset column is far more important to me than the government.”

“But,” I said. “Don’t they come after you?”

“Yes, if you don’t pay,” said rich dad. “Look, I did not say not to pay. I just said I pay myself first, even if I’m short of money.”

“But,” I replied. “How do you do that?”

“It’s not how. The question is ‘Why?’” rich dad said.

“Okay, why?”

“Motivation,” said rich dad. “Who do you think will complain louder if I don’t pay them—me, or my creditors?”

“Your creditors will definitely scream louder than you,” I said, responding to the obvious. “You wouldn’t say anything if you didn’t pay yourself.”

“So you see, after paying myself, the pressure to pay my taxes and the other creditors is so great that it forces me to seek other forms of income. The pressure to pay becomes my motivation. I’ve worked extra jobs, started other companies, traded in the stock market, anything just to make sure those guys don’t start yelling at me. That pressure made me work harder, forced me to think, and all in all, made me smarter and more active when it comes to money. If I had paid myself last, I would have felt no pressure, but I’d be broke.”

“So it is the fear of the government or other people you owe money to that motivates you?”

“That’s right,” said rich dad. “You see, government bill collectors are big bullies. So are bill collectors in general. Most people give into these bullies. They pay them and never pay themselves. You know the story of the 98-pound weakling who gets sand kicked in his face?”

I nodded. “I see that ad for weightlifting and bodybuilding lessons in the comic books all the time.”

“Well, most people let the bullies kick sand in their faces. I decided to use the fear of the bully to make me stronger. Others get weaker. Forcing myself to think about how to make extra money is like going to the gym and working out with weights. The more I work my mental money muscles out, the stronger I get. Now I’m not afraid of those bullies.”

I liked what rich dad was saying. “So if I pay myself first, I get financially stronger, mentally and fiscally.”

Rich dad nodded.

“And if I pay myself last, or not at all, I get weaker. So people like bosses, managers, tax collectors, bill collectors, and landlords push me around all my life—just because I don’t have good money habits.”

Rich dad nodded. “Just like the 98-pound weakling.”

I haven't read Rich Dad, Poor Dad yet, but now I'm interested. What are your insights on the excerpt above? I'd love to hear them!

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June 5, 2014

Make a Dad in your Life Happy with Tagai Eyewear

Gee, wasn't it just yesterday when we celebrated Mother's Day? Time flies so fast. Now it's time to pay tribute to the most important men in our lives: our dads!

There are two dads in my life now - my Papa and Job - and I have to admit that these two men are the most difficult people to buy gifts for! I'm not kidding. I'm not gonna name names but one of them is too picky while the other one is a "kahit ano lang" kind of guy. Because of that, picking out the perfect gifts for them is always a struggle!

That was until I encountered Tagai Eyewear. It's a Japanese driving eyewear brand that was newly launched here in the Philippines. For me who doesn't know much about driving, this is something I've never heard of before. I'm sure, though, that it's really useful and the dads in your life would love to have one.

More importantly, it's something you would need to gift to an important man in your life for the sake of his safety while driving and your peace of mind. I mean, who wouldn't worry about our loved ones especially when they're driving at night? I don't like to worry, but I admit I wouldn't be able to breathe steadily until he's finally arrived. The good news is that Tagai Eyewear removes this worry from us by making driving perfectly safe!
Here's the company's press release for a comprehensive idea of what they offer:

Paris Miki Inc., Japan’s largest optical chain store with more than 800 stores established in Europe, Asia, Australia and the USA recently launched the newest top-of-the-line driving eyewear brand “TAGAI” here in the Philippines. This new brand is offering the best options in driving eyewear to the very meticulous consumers here in the country.

TAGAI comes from the Japanese character δΊ’ which means “unity.” In Japanese, TAG = fold and AI = love.

June 4, 2014

What I Want for my Birthday

I'm an old soul.

This Saturday, I'll be 24, but to tell you the truth, I feel much much older. Not physically (thank God!) but emotionally and mentally and, maybe, spiritually, too. And I attribute this not to motherhood.
My 2-year old made this "cake" for me. It was modeled after his own car-themed birthday cake. He said "Pi burtday to you!"

Let me tell you a secret: 

Ever since I started school, when I was around 5 or 6 years old, I already felt much older than my classmates. Ironically, I was always one year younger than all of my classmates all throughout my academic "career," but it didn't feel that way. Somehow, I just felt more mature than they were. And many can attest to that. In fact, when I was in first grade, I felt happier to be around with my friends' moms than with them.

I have the feeling that being an old soul was one of the things that helped me cope with motherhood so easily!

I am thankful, though, that to strike the balance, I also have a young heart. Win-win, right?

So this year, I'm turning 24. Still very young, but I love to think I am more mature than the rest of my peers. After all, I'm mothering a 2-year old! I guess this old soul of mine has also affected the things that I want to attain in my life.

I think I got into the phase of being materialistic for only a short while in my life - that was when I started being a working student back in college. Today, while material things give me temporary joy, I aim to have "higher" standards of happiness. For my 24th year, these are some of what I hope to achieve with God's grace and in his divine timing:

June 2, 2014

To Fall for the Second Time

Job and I talked over the phone last night.

If you have ever been in a long-distance relationship, you would understand how special those phone calls are.

And in a different kind of long-distance relationship like ours, where we both agreed to minimize communicating in order to grow in our personal relationships with the Lord first, these phone calls are almost like a piece of heaven on earth.

We do talk every week, but last night's talk left a different impression on me. I don't know.  We didn't talk about anything new or anything really "special." In fact, all we did was the usual: updated each other, listened to Yuri talk and sing, talk some more, laughed. But, I don't know. I felt like I was really contented to just keep quiet and listen to him drone on and on about mundane stuff.

And when we laughed together, I felt more than the usual longing that I feel every time we talk. That night, I almost felt my heart jump. For the first time (in forever?), I finally understood what heartstrings were and how they can be tugged by such a normal thing as laughter.

I felt I was falling in love with him for the second time.

And I wanted to tell him that because recently, he told me I wasn't being expressive anymore. At first, I took offense but later on realized that he was right. I wasn't thinking of the relationship anymore. It's probably because I felt secure in it, which is good, but security shouldn't mean being lax. So I've been making the effort to be more expressive.

But I discovered that saying "I love you" is much easier than saying "I'm falling in love with you" or "I'm falling in love with you again." For a person like me who is not, by nature, affectionate, while the former comes naturally (and, sometimes, automatically), the latter is actually quite scary.

But I did it. I told him that I could listen to him talk about church, his job, his start-up "mini-farm," what he read in the Bible, and what he loves about Yuri forever. I told him that just listening to him laugh got me all "kilig." Is there even an accurate translation for that? I don't think so hehe.

I told him I think I just fell in love with him again. It's not in my nature to do that, but I did, because he deserves to know that after all these years, he still has that effect on me.

The funny thing is that the night before that, I asked God for clearer guidance for our relationship. God put this thought in my head: Because you asked me to take control of your life, do not worry, for your thoughts and feelings are mine.

And God placed this feeling in my heart for Job for a reason. He even magnified it last night.
Photo: walkuponwaters.tumblr.com

I didn't think it was possible to keep on falling in love with the same person. I thought love was a process. You get interested in a person, you discover his personality, you fall in love, you get to know each other more, and you get comfortable with each other so that you feel as if you've known each other forever. And that's it, a linear process, not a circular one.

But what I just felt last night was wonderful. I felt that God placed the feeling of falling in love again in my heart so that, finally and ultimately, I will stop worrying and realize that this feeling is from Him and nothing is wrong with it.

To be completely honest, though I'm crazy about Job, last night's feeling was less about him and more about God. It was like He was telling me that He wouldn't place such an immense feeling in my heart if He didn't have great plans for the relationship.
Photo: typographicverses.com

What a wonderful promise.

How about you? Have you ever felt the same with the person you love? I'd love to hear your story!

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