Friday, April 2, 2010

Hans Strikes Kumon Gold

If you are a Mathematically-challenged person all your life. Chances are, when you have little kids of your own, you will do everything that you can to prevent them from developing the same handicap. It’s a personal wisdom gained from my own experience.

I vowed that no kids of my own will ever fear Math nor even have the slightest inferiority towards numbers. That is why, even before hans had weaned from his bottle, he’s already enrolled in Kumon Math – trekking 3x weekly to their kapasigan branch.

Kumon is a Japanese style of learning math, developed by an old Japanese guru for this son, who has difficulty in Math. The concept is doing math equations every day, in such a way, that the child masters Mathematical disciplines, whether due to constant memorization, exposure and persistence until he understands --- all under time pressure.

Sounds punishing? Not really. Afterall, he’s done 3 years of crunching his numbers and hasn’t committed Harakiri yet. As a matter of fact, on his 2nd year, I blogged that he was awarded Bronze level.

Just recently, when we moved residences, he also moved to a new kumon school, near our new home. He recently got the Gold medal, and it also states that he’s 137 of o total of 1,917 students doing Kumon, the same level as he is. Ted says, it's pretty impressive, since it's about the 10th percentile ranking.

I don't know about ranking stuff. All i know is, the boy can add, subtract, multiply and divide even before he's in Grade one. Whereas, I learned multiplication table when I was grade 4 already. So, that, in itlsef, is already a personal fulfillment for me.


Monday, March 29, 2010

simplest things that make me happy

Sabi nga, "The best things in life are Free." In this day and age, when too much is focused on material things, of acquiring, of competing, of achieving, of getting ahead... I like to list down, and remind myself, of the simplest things that bring me really bring me real joy without the stress and the pricetag.. things such as ...

1.) the smell of my sons' hair after a bath
2.) waking up to the smell of native longganisa being cooked, and coffee brewing
3.) a sip of iced calamansi juice with honey on a hot, summer day
4.) crunchy turon..and surprise, there's langka sandwiched between the ripe bananas
5.) my hubby's warm body, cuddling me, when the aircon goes full-blast
6.) that fresh, clean feeling, after 15minutes doing body scrub
7.) ahh.. conditioner, after shampoo.. untangling hair
8.) finishing a song on karaoke, and out-scoring my partner by 20pts.
9.) my eldest solving a math problem (a relief, that he's not math-averse like me!)
10.) dark, dark chocolate, melting in my mouth, justifying in my mind, that it's antioxidant.
11.) perfectly applied eyeliner... whew!
12.) deleting all 300 sent messages in my cellphone.
13.) updating my blog, and getting a nice comment from someone i don't know
14.) helping resolve someone else's dilemma, at yahoo answers
15.) getting latest update from a good friend, who live far away
16.) cooking a dish, with the barest ingredient (ginisang gulay) and the whole family finishing it all
17.) conniving w. kids to do a secret project for Daddy
18.) not missing a novena day
19.) fun, gayspeak, conversations
20.) updated showbiz tidbits
21.) my body sweating it out in the hot sauna
22.) listening to my favorite love songs, in the cold dark night while I write my journal

what's your simplest pleasures?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Rania's a Christian!

March 27 was a beautiful sunny saturday morning when we had Rania baptized at the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish (twin hearts) in West Triangle, Quezon City. Though we lived quite far from QC, we decided to have her christening there because Hans & Ivan were also baptised there. Also, we fell-in love, with their beautiful air-conditioned christening room which makes the event intimate and memorable.

We normally have about four sets of each sponsor. But on this day and age, when most of our good friends and loved-ones are out of the country. Two of each, who can grace the event with their presence are good enough. Aissa and Mean are my colleagues from Nu Skin while Joey and Leodie are Ted's asssociates from San Miguel.

Rania wore a white dress with a requisite hat. The dress was a hand-me down gift from my friend Divine, whose daughter was baptised a year ago. It doesn't make sense that I should buy her a new long christening gown, when it will only be worn once, and for only a few minutes, since most christening cloth are very itchy. We are not the type naman to make a legacy out of it.

The priest was a jolly fellow who made a loving homily about our responsibilities of raising a Catholic child, how the sponsors should lend a helping hand, as well. Don't you just love christenings, whether it's your kids' or not? It's always refreshing to, sort-of, renew the vows we made to the Lord & and the church, of raising God-fearing kids.

We had lunch reservations at Mario's along Tomas Morato. I love Mario's, the ambience is like a piano bar, but food is comforting. My choices were a mix-match of my all-time favorites -- greens & kangkong fritters for appetizers. Main dishes were melts-in-your-mouth Beef Rendang, fresh fish fillet in oriental sauce, Chicken cooked Thai-style in coconut milk with just the right kick, sauted seasoned-vegies, spaghetti puttanesca and yummy Paella with lots of chorizo de bilbao. Desserts were fluffy Canonigo (Mario's bestseller) and fudge brownies.

I bought wine from outside because Mario's wine list were too over-the-top! Ten bottles of Red and White table wines from Carlo Rossi's at 12.3% proof. Plus, two bottles of non-alcoholic Chamdor for the oldies. We paid corkage, but it was worth it.

Cakes were ordered at nearby Estrelle's. It's a small specialty neighborhood cakeshop that grew out of mother's hobby. Since 1946, they haven't really expanded. I think because they are well-off, they didn't see the reason for additional stress, in exchange for commercial value. They just love to bake, period. Their specialty was lemon custard cake.

I initially didn't want any souvenirs na. Normally, the stuff we get become dust-gatherers at home. But Ted was adamant we should have one. So, to settle the issue. I chose something practical at may silbi. Bookmarks, with a lovely image of Rania and a funny wording, "Cute is an Understatement." and for lack to time, I ordered online some tealight candleholders from a shop at Makati Shangrila. My friends says, tamang-tama, it was Earth Hour that night (830-930pm) the candles will come in handy!

It was a memorable day, with excellent food, pleasant company, lots of laughter and wishes, teasings and lasted till about 230pm lingering over coffee.

My wishes for you, my dear daughter...

"Your Christening is just one of our attempts of becoming good parents to you. You and your brothers came to our lives without any working manual. The way we will raise you, are basically handed-down methodologies we got from our parents. We, your parents turned-out ok, so those methods must be working fine.

As our only daughter, you truly are a blessing we have asked from the Lord, given most lovingly. I don't wish you to be a mini-me, just because we are the only ladies in the famiy. Although, if my style and manners will rub-off on you, please forgive me. Genes and consistent exposure are to blame. You are a unique individual, and I look forward in discovering your developing person, in each and everyday.


If i have it my way, he would have been Grade one already by age 6. However, these big schools have age requirements, he had to be age 7 to enroll in grade 1. So Hans had taken up Prep again. I was concerned that he might graduate high school too old, Lourdes School has grade 7. The same way I did in my elementary days.
But when I saw him with the rest of his classmates on their recent graduation, my concerns were unfounded. There were several boys looking much bigger than he is, and they're all Kinder.

I was expecting a usual graduation ceremony with names being called one by one, and parents are enjoined to pin the ribbons or medals, in case the kid, has an honor or something.

But hans' graduation was different. There was none of those dressed-up toga, go up the stage, shake hands. It was a fun, light, entertaining dance program prepared by the kids to entertain the parents. It basically showcases how matured, behaved, obedient, prayerful -- what they have become since we enrolled them 10 months ago, and shelled-out 70K. Bwahahahaha

When it was my son's class turn to dance, I was so proud of him. He dances so well. He was not shy, he had the groove. Whenever I see him dance, at home or in parties, I cannot fully comprehend where he got his talent. i was a klutz in high school. My husband was a nerd. I was more involved in essay-writing contests, quiz shows, extemporaneous speeches rather than the more graceful dance programs. Weird. I must have been listening to too much pop music while I was pregnant with him. :)

Congratulations, my son. This is just a start of your journey ahead. Too many things to learn, skills to develop, talents to be unlocked. I do not aspire for you to be the best in class, or to be the best in your school. It can be frustrating often trying to measure up to others' standards. My dream is for you, to be the BEST of what YOU can be.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

vanity hurts

Rania had her usual doctor's visit this morning. The difference is, aside from the usual vaccinations, we had her ears pierced. It was an exciting day for my 3 boys. Baby girl rituals are new for them. Well, for me, too. Everything is a new experience.

My boys were giddy with excitement. The receptionist told us that Dr. Regalado does not accept ear piercing on weekends, only weekdays. It was a saturday, but Ted wouldn't be dissuaded. When we got in, nagparinig agad ke doc. "Doc, sayang, hindi daw kayo nagbubutas ng tenga ng weekend. excited pa naman kami magka-earings si rania." "OO nga po, kasi he looks like a boy." Paano mo ba naman matatanggihan ang sumamo ng 3 boys? So, pinagbigyan kami.

Poor rania, she was crying like a banshee. Hans and Ivan were covering their ears with the throwpillows. They don't like to hear her crying. After sometime, ok na.
She looked so cute with her new emerald-green colored earings.I think she loves it.

Now, the next question is, what do buy that would go lovely with her new earings?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

disney on ice

I initially didn't have any plans at all for Christmas Day, except laze around the house in my house dress. But Ted was telling me that Christmas is not for me, but for the kids. So, we should be thinking of activities for the kids.

I mentioned last time that we've been to almost all the places in Metro Manila, and there seems to be really nowhere new to visit. Good thing that every now and then, something new happens.

The latest visitors in town is Disney's Holiday on Ice, at the Araneta Center running from December 25 till about the first week of January. I have caught Disney on Ice about 2x in my life. One, when I was a kid, and Second, when Ted and I were new parents to Hans (who was then about 2 years old) and we were all excited to show him everything, which expectedly, Hans can't remember anything now. (I will wring his neck, if he will not be able to remember our US Trip when he was 4 year old)

Anyway, the latest Disney installment is a bit lackluster for me, or has it always been that way? Is it just my taste and standard that has improved? I guess, if you're watching the show in the eye of a 6yo (Hans) and a 3yo (Ivan) I'll looking at it in awe, excitement and delight. Squeal Superflagilisticexpealidaceous!

I didn't get the lower box seats, it's a bit above our budget. I'm starting to feel the weight of having more than 1 kid. You have to budget!! Imagine if we need to buy tickets for all three kids, and then the 2 of us. That's x5 for every cost.
So, Upper box seats this time.

Every generation has it's own Disney Star character. In my generation, except of course, for the classics like Mickey/Minnie, Donald/Daisy, Goofy/ Pluto, the biggies were Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. In Hans' time (that's only about 3 years ago), the favorites were Ariel & Flounder (Little Mermaid), Simba & Mufasa (Lion King). Today, all of them have their appearances, but the stars of the show, who gets longer time in the limelight were The Incredibles, Stitch, even the prostitutes of the Pirates of the Carribean, wearing fabulous versions of the corset had equal airtime.

Here are some photos of the event. We had a new SLR camera but my hubby is still grappling how to use it, that should explain the quality of the shots.

Will not be complete without souvenirs toys right? (mahal na madaling masira)

Till 2020 again, disney on ice, please!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

cosmic christmas eve

Enchanted Kingdom, Starcity, Fun Ranch, Avilon Zoo, Ark Avilon, Manila Zoo, Luneta Park, Marikina Science Centrum, Museo Pambata, UP Campus, Serendra, the Fort, watch shows at Araneta Center, shop at major malls (megamall, glorietta, trinoma, shangrila) If you have been to all of these places, chances are, you will think, Metro Manila is so limiting! Where else can we go? Where else can we take the kids?

I chance upon Cosmic Kidz, in one of my favorite the blogs, and we decided to bring the kids there last December 24. We don't have big family gatherings on Christmas Eve, anyway, so i didn't plan on cooking up a storm. Besides, one of the househelps asked for a day-off. So, it makes sense of just go out, and take the kids somewhere.

It's better pala to go out on christmas eve on these kind of establishments. Since most will be at their respective homes, there were very few people. Hans and Ivan almost had the plaground for themselves.

Cosmic Kidz is inside a section at the Mall of Asia called Kids Universe. Kids Universe, on the side of MOA SMX Convention Center, is a wing devoted to kids stuff like toy stores, botiques, ice cream parlor etc. It's a 4storey playground where kids can play with new, and safe play equipment.

The entrance fee is 250 Php per one hour of play. There's an option for half an hour. You can leave the kids on their own while you go shopping. Kids under 3, like Ivan, must have a companion. The fee for adult companion is 120 Php. Socks is compulsary. They sell cheap socks for 30 Php if the kids or the yaya needs one.

At the start, Ted went in the kids to take their photos, after a few minutes he swapped with the yaya. It's allowed naman, since Ted and I had to go shopping pa for Rania's new stroller.

Here are some more photos of the place: