Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Jumpy-Jumpy and Rogue One day

To celebrate Aloysius 15th birthday, we went to Trampoline Park - Aerosports in Brampton.  I got a good deal again from Groupon (it was buy one take one ticket) .  The kids had fun jumping and jumping until they ran out of energy.  It was a perfect opportunity to burn some calories from the Christmas feasts. I have a secret dream to be jumping in my own trampoline in the backyard but because it was expensive and not safe for kids if they play on their own, I just joined the kids in the jumping.  I call it a jumpy -jumpy day.
 
We also took advantage of my free movies perk from Scene visa to watch Rogue One, the Star wars movie this year. The kids have a good memory of the characters and the events from previous movies and I find myself asking lots of questions because I lost track of them. I also learned the difference between the Shadow Trooper and Storm Trooper and all the fighter planes. It's like an exam in school, lots to learn.  Fun Day with the family. love it.
 

Monday, 26 December 2016

I am Grateful for 2016





I do this every year. Here's my 15 for 2015 account and below is my 2016 list.  How time flies?  It's almost over but I wouldn't let the year pass without listing my top ten blessings for the year.


1.  First Travel on my own to be with my parents, my sister and family in Mississippi.
2.  Started a new diploma course in Lean Six Sigma at University of Toronto.
3.  Went on another solo trip to United Kingdom to represent my department in UK HQ.
4.  Bathroom and Kitchen renovation
5.  Aloysius received an Honor Roll Certificate for last year's performance
6. Celebrated Lito's Birthday with a Medieval Times Dinner, kids had a blast.
7. Watched NBA Toronto Raptors game from a private VIP box.
8. Reconnected with old friends and gained new friends (virtually and physically) at work and within my inner social circle.
9. First time to attend a Molson Christmas Party for adults. Nice to be dressed up.
10. Entertained guests from Nova Scotia, enjoyed precious time with friends.


I'm forever grateful.  Thank you Lord.







Sunday, 25 December 2016

So What's In It for me? - a glimpse of our 2016 family newsletter


So what’s in it for me?


It’s been our family tradition that every Christmas, we will come up with a newsletter—to highlight every wonderful milestone of the year. We are on our 6th year and I’m still proud to share God’s enormous and even the smallest blessing in our lives.  You probably might ask “So what’s in it for me?” Whether we like to    admit it or not, we live in a culture of comparison.  We are interested with someone’s latest tweet, Instagram or Facebook status update. Social media breeds instant comparison. We feel happy for the person or sometimes inadequate compared to others. I love what Jesus said when Peter asked about John’s future. Yes, he was comparing his future with John’s. “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” John 21:22. In other words, God is trying to say, “stop comparing.”

 

Acts 4:13 says “when they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” They had an AHA moment. They realized that Jesus was really with them and that explained everything. Yes, our newsletter,  Instagram, Facebook status updates are our way of telling the world that God is present in our lives, even the behind the scenes.  

Appearance, accomplishments , possessions, positions are only what you see, but behind the scenes are not. Just like normal people, we are faced with frustrations, worry and sadness, too. Some family members are sick, or jobless, some have financial issues, some experience professional jealousy, some are afraid of change and the future, and some feel they are not “right”. Yet in all these, God is still with us and we strongly believe that in our inadequacies, God will be there to fill them up. His grace is more than enough for us to continually praise, thank and boast about Him. As you read through our family’s updates or anyone’s, may you also realize what God has done in your life that merits His praise. May God touch you and let you experience Christmas season with abundance of joy, peace and love.

 

God bless you & your family.

 

Monday, 12 December 2016

Watching NBA Raptors game from a VIP Box

I consider this a Rewards and Recognition act. It is a fulfillment in the People Pillar assessment questionnaire. The Project Team will have a perk after a project is successfully implemented, it is not written but it happened.  I am proud to be part of the SAP -EAM team. Now before the team moves to the next Brewery, we had a blast celebrating the team's success at our private box watching the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks game.  It was an open bar with lots of beer, food and sweets to keep you full while enjoying the game. Of course, the Raptors win, but I also think I was a winner with all the other champions in our team.  Thank you for this privilege. Many would raise eyebrows about how I scored that perk, but I knew I deserved it.  That's the idea -  give a reward and recognize the efforts to celebrate the success and inspire others.




 

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Birthday Celebration at Medieval Times

Today is Lito's Birthday and our Wedding Anniversary. This year we wanted to try celebrating birthdays differently.  Or let's say, I got tired of preparing and cooking the food :) Anyway,  I got good deals from Black Friday Sales and was able to score the lowest priced dinner vouchers to Medieval Times.  Can you imagine the regular price for an adult is from $ 65.00 /person?  I will not disclose how much my deal was but it was not the same price :)   Anyway, since we ate at Mandarin for Sharyn's Birthday, and will play at Trampoline parks for Aloysius birthday,  I got to have a special dinner for my knight and it was a memorable event.

First, it was the first big snowfall day in Toronto so we were so excited to see the snow again. then we were one of the first to arrive.  With the deal voucher or not, the seats are on a first come, first served basis and we are so lucky to get the seats right after the VIP row, as in second row.


The kids got excited when the doors opened and a man in costume started to welcome guests and gave instructions. We were one of the firsts few in line, it was a breeze getting thru the ticket line because we had our tickets saved in the wallet of my iPhone and they just scan all the codes.  Then we were "crowned" with our own Medieval times paper crowns by the gorgeous servant ladies. :)  then we had our official photo taken with the princess before proceeding to the lobby where the goodies and shops are located.  There was an area where you can see the horses. we were asked to wait and we used that time to have our photos taken in the castle.

 
After our colors were called, we then proceeded to the arena and we were seated very close to the front.  Plates from the olden times were in front of us and Lex asked me why there are no forks and knives and I said, we are going to eat the same was as the olden times - by hand. The show started after the introduction of the King and the Princess and all the knight's joining the joust.  My kids were very excited joining the crowd cheering for our knight and I found myself doing the same.  The atmosphere got more excited as the different games came on and we were shouting loudest when our knight almost won the competition.  The photos show how great this night was and the knights were.


 




There were many knights but My knight in shining armor is of course the star of the night. Happy Birthday to my best friend and partner in life.



 






Monday, 5 December 2016

My First Molson Christmas Adult Party

I've been with Molson for 6 years now and this is my first time to attend the Adult Christmas Party. It was amazing to see how my co-workers looked like all dressed up and dancing and having fun. I've met some old friends and it was a good time to reconnect. Of course, it was an open bar and drinking is expected. I didn't get drunk but I enjoyed half of the Champagne bottle. The guys didn't know that we could request it. Some of my officemates were complaining asking, "how did you score a champagne?" and the bartender said I am the only one who asked for it and asked if I want to finish the whole bottle.  I enjoyed it but didn't want to be greedy :)  Here are some of the pictures taken from the party with gorgeous party people I know. 
Bawal ang pangit sa Molson!











Sunday, 4 December 2016

Skin Care is important (Tips for physical and inner beauty)


I wanted to look glamorous for the Molson party so even if I know how to apply make up on my own,  I had it professionally done by the experts - MAC.  My makeup artist noticed my clear skin and she also asked my age range in order to put the appropriate colors.  She was surprised (and another make up artist passing by) when they heard me say early 50's.  I am happy to hear that my daily skin care ritual pays off.


So for those who wanted to have clear skin and maintain it, here are my tips:
1. You have to be Asian (hahaha sorry, this is genetics we are talking about)
2.  Seriously, these steps are the only thing you need to remember - do the following - Clean - Moisturize - Block - Drink.


Clean
3. Always wash your hands before touching your face.  Do not touch your face if you can avoid it.
4. Wash your face before going to bed. Remove make up thoroughly, use eye cream in removing eye make up.  Use a gentle soap and massage your face upwards using the palmar surface (thenar and hypothenar parts near the wrist). Also, clean and sanitize your make up brushes regularly.
Moisturize
5. Use a moisturizer before going to bed and after washing your face in the morning.  There are different kinds, there is a specific one suited for your skin type. 
Block
6. Use a sunblock even if there is no sun.  The UV rays are baking our face so we need to protect it.
Drink and eat healthy
7. Drink lots of water.  If the requirement is 8 glasses a day, drink more than that especially when you are working out.  I usually don't count coffee and colored drinks in the 8 glasses requirement, it needs to be at least 8 glasses of WATER.  Lots of veggies and fruits on your diet too.


Here are my other tips:
8. Use only one brand of skin care or make up.  I use MAC, Yonka and Arbonne based on experience, they are gentle and effective on my skin.
9. Get a Facial regularly.  When someone massages and treats your face, it's a relaxing experience.  Not only do you get refreshing skin, you also get skin renewal if you get those microdermabrasion treatment.  Sometimes, I try and use the products that they put on my face in between facials like masks and serums.
10.  Put on a positive attitude.  Stress, worry and negative emotions don't contribute to a healthy skin.  Smile and let go of these bad energies.  Trust God and rely on His promises.



If all else fails, don't worry.  Outer Beauty is just a front, what's on the inside is more important.


Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.


1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

My boys are growing up fast

My first born Aloysius, also called Michael by his friends become a full grown man after we fulfilled God's law on circumcision this summer.  He is getting taller every minute and the last time I checked, I am only an inch taller than him. 


Kyle and Lex are also growing taller and bigger (Lex).  Gone are the days that I have the influence on their choice of clothes because they have started to have their own 'taste' and to prevent from hearing them say "Mom, that's for a young kid." "Nobody wears Osk Kosh brand in my class",  I just let them take the reigns in choosing their clothes.


Today Alexus turned 8 and he's got his own set of friends apart from their common friends like Lucas, Joseph and Julia.  We usually don't let them attend birthday parties if only one of them is invited so I was surprised that Alexus was able to extend his social circle.  He is setting up his own play date and we will be just be informed on the date and time that his friend will come over. Sometimes the friends would talk to Sharyn and convince her by showing where they live and tell her that their moms would call our house to talk to me. Talk about persuasion, eh?


Here are some anecdotes that I want to put in this blog:


When he was in Senior Kindergarten, I was called to Principal's office because of an issue with Alexus writing (or not writing). He is not fond of writing and just complains a lot when there are lots to write like homework or activities to be completed in their daily planner.  He missed one because he didn't write it. So I went and talk to the Principal, his teacher and assistant teacher.  Oh boy, it was like a meeting with the National team at 33.  Anyway, the Principal asked me why Alexus believes that he doesn't need to write anymore. Apparently, Alexus told the teacher that he doesn't need to learn how to write because nobody writes anymore.  He said "Mom doesn't write, my dad too, and sometimes the teacher just show Powerpoint on screen." He also articulated that he is good at typing and even knows the qwerty finger position (he started using a tablet and computer at 3), so he doesn't need to write.  Deep inside I was so proud of my 5-year old at that time to reason out like that, but of course I assured the Principal and the teacher that I will convince him to write and show him that Mom is still writing.  The Christmas of that year, we signed Christmas cards together.  Update from the parent-interview this year: I asked his teacher if he is writing now and she told me that although the fonts are still big (like from those kids still learning how to write), he is completing all the writing activities.  He still plays the computer and strikes the keyboard better and faster than his mom and dad. :)


They eat more now.  the Kids are pizza and burger fans.  We usually order one burger each but lately, one is not enough for them.  They also order cold desserts even in winter.  Lito thinking of ways to prevent McDonald's and Wendy's from earning more from us, came up with his own Dad's burger, and Dad's Oreo flurries etchetera etchetera and eat them at home.  We also prepare our own pizza, but because they're big eaters now, the usual one round pizza from Delissio or Party Pack is not enough, second or third slices are always expected.   The adults used to have leftovers to eat but lately, we have to put 2 or 3 in the oven because once the tray is put on the table, the pizzas are gone before they even turn cold.


 


This was Alexus at 2 years old.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Fall and inspiration for writing

Thanksgiving Day. I have lots to be thankful for including the time to update this blog.


I haven't been updating my blog lately and it makes me sad that I am not able to utilize my writing skills. I know there are other ways of updating the online friends like Instagram, Facebook, Tweets but I still feel like writing.  It's my passion and my dream to write a book of my own.  maybe I will turn this blog into a book before I decide to be offline. I don't know if I even have followers that read my stuff.  For now, I will strike the keyboards while looking at the window and admiring the beauty of the autumn weather outside.


I have lots of catching up to do so I'll start with sharing tips on skincare, reading with kids and recipes I tried and worked successfully.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Training the kids to be responsible (plus Change Management Tips)

 

This summer was challenging for us because I was not able to register the kids to their swimming lessons, so their day to day activities were not that full.  Sharyn went home to get married and since I was their adult supervisor during this time,  I used that opportunity to apply what I think is best to prepare them for the future - learn the household chores early and be responsible.




Because I worked in an environment where people needs to be trained right in order for them to successfully accomplish the tasks,  I have lived and breathed the principles of learning and what a waste if I will not apply them in my own household.


This summer we implemented a schedule for washing the dishes distributing the tasks and letting the kids take turns.  This was also a team building activity as each one need to look after what the other person is doing. So far, summer ended and there are zero broken glasses or plates from these activities.


The only permanent thing is CHANGE.




If there is one thing that I need to learn by heart that will always be required by everyone regardless of age, location, situation or stage in our life, that is CHANGE.  Since I am privileged to learn some principles in school and experienced hands-on implementation of change for continuous improvement (ISO and computer systems),  I want to share some tips to help with managing or even adapting to change.  Below is the change curve and it is interesting to find out the different phases (colored) we go through until we accept it.  The stages are what the change implementors provide in each phase. 




1. Stage 1 - Open your mind and your heart and close your mouth. When we are faced with a sudden different situation, we need to stop complaining or being angry or blame others and try to understand what's coming.  This is the time to contemplate and reflect on why this might be happening.  But do not analyze too much.  It's not only about you. We need to avoid questions like "what have I done wrong?" or "Is it me?"  There is a reason apart from you why there is change.  Maybe it's time to ask God for wisdom and let Him guide you through the process. Begin with the end in mind. Envision the future by thinking about you in the new set up. 


2. Stage 1 and 2 - Learn about the change and its benefits.  One thing we Change Implementors do is to provide information about the change. "What is the change? Why and What's In It for me?" are the questions you need to ask yourself or whoever is proposing the change before you start complaining or being negative about it.  A good change implementor has to provide the explanation on the benefits of the change in order for it to be successfully implemented. 


3. Stage 3 and 4 - Just Do it.  Training and hands-on experience is the best way to learn and to discover the benefits. You actually doing it is better than someone telling you that you will experience this and that. It's easier to adapt to change once you get your hands on the new gadget, or new app, or perform a new task.


Do you remember the time when computers first came or the ATM or mobile phones?  I am from the Gen X crowd and I knew a lot of Baby Boomers didn't want to even try these new electronic discoveries. Lots of new models, technologies were invented decades after they were first discovered and I am still amazed about the rapid change that came with it.  Those who adapted to it not only became the first persons to experience it but they also participated in improving the technologies.  Who would have imagined that a phone will have a camera and a music player at the time the first mobile phone was created? The changes you saw in the gadgets were from the clamour and "what if" questions of those who actually used the phone.  Now those who said they were better off with a wired, landline phone  because of radiation waited for it to fail but later watched at how the technologies evolved.  I see these grandmas and granddads now asking the younger generations to show them how to install an app in their new phone.


The thing is, whether you like it or not, whether you will adapt to it or not, Change is here and you cannot prevent it.  An inspirational frame hanging on my office wall when I was still in the Philippines says "CHANGE - if you cannot ride the wave of change you will find yourself beneath it. "


Now going back to my children and their doing the household chores - they are going to be in that stage anyway when they go to university, or get married or be on their own.  I believe that the parent's greatest gift they can give to their children is to teach them how to live by not only showing them but also letting them experience the true essence of life.  Life is not always easy and they are not entitled.  Even the bible said, you will work in order for you to eat.  As early as now I want to show them that it will not be easy, the change will come and go but we need to prepare them, to be tough, to be adaptable and learn from it all. 


I have seen, experience and can honestly testify that those who adapt to change easily have more potential to become successful than those who resist to change.


P.S.  I was a proud mom when I showed Kyle how to order on his own and he came back with the right change and with the right product from Wendy's.  I asked how was the experience and he said it was easy.  Well, other helicopter moms will not dare let their kids do that.








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Friday, 5 August 2016

Reunited in London - meeting long-time friends Day 6-7 (Lalaine)

This post is long overdue. The continuation of Reunited in London (Part 1)


My family remembers her as the "Chinita" (chinky-eyed) friend of mine - my dear Lalaine or Leny as how RAJGILC fondly calls her. At last, after 20 years, we are reunited and the 2 days that we were together were not enough to fill the gaps. Somehow, we managed to catch up in between sips of English tea and nibbling on delicious macarons and trips to The Stonehenge, the Roman Baths, The Windsor Castle, Cambridge and back to London.  Oh, I suddenly miss my friend.  I just want to recall our short-lived but wonderful moments together during this trip.  Thank you for the warm hospitality, the drive to all those famous places, for a moment there I felt like a princess because I was treated like one. Of course, my blog post will not be complete if I won't mention about the gorgeous pictures you took and the make up tips from your lovely daughter. I love them all. I am proud to post some of our pictures here. as you always say "Love you Bes!"















Do not forget the incident that took everyone at Bath by storm, hahaha. Here on these streets. Scene-stealer!



Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Love your Spouse challenge

I accepted a tag on my Facebook account and I was so excited to look for old photos to put in the 7-day challenge. Today is the 7th day and I was kinda sad that I will not be able to show off our photos after today. It is so amazing to see how we look like when we were younger. It made me realize that time flew so fast and we were not as cute as before LOL! I'm a bit nostalgic now making me feel that love your spouse fever more heartfelt. Lito and I have been together for 24 years and been married for 16 years. Like any other couple we have our ups and downs and we are thankful that we are still married until now.

Not all smiles.

Our pictures look good because we are smiling, we are on cam. But the day to day life is not all smiles. We also face similar problems married couples experience. Married life is a journey and it's not always a smooth ride. Last weekend, Lito and I had a Nicholas Sparks movie marathon. We watched The Longest Ride and Me Before You. Both movies were tear-jerkers but exposed real life situations and how relationships should be nurtured. Love means sacrifice, it means thinking more of the other person's welfare than yourself. The real joy comes from knowing that the other person is happy. Enjoying doing things together even one is not into it at first. Compromise? maybe, but it is clear that there is willingness to learn, to adapt, to change or accept.

Three cords are not easily broken.


We renewed our wedding vows last year in celebration of 15 blissful married years. The theme of the Minister's message was about The three cords not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12). The third cord of course is God. It is written in the bible that God ordained marriage starting with Adam and Eve. It is not just a ritual, not a ceremony or tradition. When we get into marriage, we are asking and letting God join in our relationship to fulfill his promises. "He will never leave us not forsake us" "whenever 2 or 3 are gathered in my name, I will be with them" "in everything you do, put God first and He will direct you and He will crown your efforts with success." Lito and I believe in all these and more. We believe in the Divine intervention, whenever there is trouble, we pray on our own or together and God will do something. That applies too when we have a fight or disagreement, it is always comforting to know that God works in our marriage. We entrusted our marriage to our Lord and He continually bless us and our family.

In one of my posts, a brother said that this is like a chain letter, And my reply was "it's okay if it's showing that marriage still works in these times. We still and will believe that God ordained man and woman to get into and enjoy marriage. It could be a rough ride but with God in it will be smooth.

The pictures I posted for the 7-day challenge are reflections of real joy from our togetherness, our wedding day, our renewal of vows, our travels, when we are dressed up or just lounging around. Our smiles are radiating from our hearts because we know that even if this 7-day challenge is over, we will show and express our "love your spouse" everyday. We Love because God first loved us 1 John 4:19.

Here are the pictures I posted. Keep the love alive, stay married and look up to God.










Thursday, 30 June 2016

Our newly renovated bathroom is environment-friendly

Even if the outcome of the finished bathroom project was not as I was expecting, I will try to be positive about it.  Well, we achieved our goal, we have a new bathroom to enjoy and the total cost was within the budget. I will enumerate what we did right and will focus on what is interesting for the readers. I am happy to say that we were able to get water-saving faucets and shower heads.  The Moen faucets and shower sets we purchased are in spot-resist brushed nickel finish.  That means it will not require too much cleaning thus saving water, soap, time and effort.  I also am able to install the auto-sensor attachment to our faucet on the main floor washroom. We used to spend hundreds of dollars for a months consumption of water and i hope with this installation, it will be lesser.  The water will only start flowing when the unit sense a hand under it.  So I hope to save water when we are brushing teeth, washing hands, face etc. Our share in saving water and being good to the environment.  Here is the video of the EZ Faucet after installation:


video

I was also able to get a good deal in Kijiji for an Umbra brushed nickel flip hook that complements the brushed nickel theme of the bathroom.  I met with someone who had the extra hook and sold it to me at half the price. The niche on the wall also saves some space and money for buying a shampoo and soap caddy.  It looked more organized and modern.  I know these pictures are not worthy to be in glossy home renovation magazines but I want to share how the bathroom looked like now.  You should find the "before" pictures disgusting so these pictures show a better "after the renovation" look.  To top it off, the kids are happily singing while taking a shower and they are helping with cleaning, organizing the drawers and using the squeegee on the glass doors after each shower.  To me, the ROI was already achieved because the real stakeholders are my kids and as long as i hear, "I like our new bathroom Mom" my issues are no longer important.