Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Happenings

Allow me to post a few pictures of our Christmas Happenings.

As mentioned, we agreed on having an "Asian" theme for our Christmas dinner. Here is the sushi platter I prepared. It was my first time to make sushi ~ahem~ thanks to my cousin who helped me roll the sushi.

Here is a picture of our complete feast! We had Tuna and Salmon Sashimi, Thai Chicken Basil, Fried Tofu with Sweet Chili Sauce, Beef Brocolli with Chinese Noodles and Lettuce Wrap with Ground Beef and Hoisin Sauce. Gluttony must be the word I have been looking for.

I'm sorry I just had to post this. This is our First ever Family Picture! It may look and seem korny to some of you but I got the shirts of my boys during our trip down to Manila. Same design (green lanterns logo) only in XXS, S and XL sizes teehee.

I added 2 new members to the snowman clan (big huge smile on my face). Next year will be spent looking for more snowmen. I can't wait for next Christmas -- I'm pretty sure I will have more of these!

The Christmas That Was

I'm back!!! Pictures to be posted after this post.

I can't believe that Christmas is over. I love Christmas. I sooo love Christmas. I look at this holiday as a time to spend with family --eating, lazing around, going places --just being together! Also, it was Dash's first Christmas.

There were A LOT of happenings this year.

I went on leave December 20th and went down to Manila. It was actually quite an unplanned trip. A week before I went on leave, my cousin called with good news. She said that she had just bought herself a car. Although it was a second hand car, it was a car that she waited for 3 years for. Finally, she found the model and brand at a very good price. Catch was -- she couldn't drive it up to Baguio by herself. So she requested that hubby go down to Manila so that he could drive up her 2001 Suzuki Vitara - woohoo. Suddenly, I felt the uhhm, ahh "need" to go down to Manila too. All of the good malls are there for cryin out loud. I "needed" to do my Christmas shopping there. So off to Manila we went - me Jet and Josh -- on December 20. We left Baguio on the 1am trip and arrived a little before 6am. We proceeded to my cousins apartment and lazed around for a couple of hours since the malls opened at 10. We went to the newest and biggest mall -- Mall of Asia. Oh yeah my feet ached after all that walking --but the shopping was sure worth all the pain! We then brought Josh to Greenhills to see the puppet show ( which even hubby and I used to watch when we were young-er). We left for Baguio the following day since the 22nd was going to be Dash's dedication. As soon as we arrived in Bsguio, I went staright to the chucrh to fix the decorations for Dash's dedication the next day.


Like almost all Filipino occasions, Dash's dedication started a bit late --which quite irritated me because the godparents only started to arrive at exactly 10:30 (the invitation indicated that the ceremony would start at 10:00). Dash was pretty well behaved the whole time. After the ceremony, we served lunch. Food was good.


I suddenly missed my Mom and Dad morning of the 24th when everyone was busy with last minute shopping, gift wrapping,etc. I just suddenly felt their not being present. Aftyernoon of the 24th, I cooked up 3 dishes for our Christmas dinner -- thai chicken basil, tofu with chili garlic dipping and a sushi platter. Ok sushi isn't cooked -- prepared that is.


Dash started to have fever afternoon of the 24th. We gave him paracetamol but his fever still did not go away. That night Dash did not sleep well -- so did I. He kept getting up during the night probably because he felt warm and all. The next day, he was a litlle cooler although he still had a slight fever. We went to hubby's relatives for Christmas lunch. Josh had a blast with his cousins. They were laughing and screaming and running all over the place! Dash was quite fretful as he still wasn't feeling well. We decided to bring home the kids a little after lunch. After taking the kids home, hubby and I met up with his sisters and cousins for coffee, ice cream and pizza.

Boy that was a tiring day.


Yesterday Dash still had the feverm we decided to bring him to his peed. No significant findings although she wanted to double check weather or not Dash may have gotten UTI. So she made us collect Dssh's pee and bring it to the lab for testing. Nope --negative (than God). Good thing the whole day yesterday, Dash's fever was a no-show.


Today is my Dad's birthday! ~~ Happy Birthday Dad ~~

In Loving Memory

Daniel Stephen M. Hamada

December 27, 1948 - April 7, 2004

Missing you Much Dad.


Today I am back to work.Trying to convince myself about the importance of my work. Arrghhh.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Vacation, Anyone?

So we have 7 days left before Christmas. I will be gone for those 7 days =) I took an early leave starting tomorrow (wooohoooo!) and will report back to work on the 27th.

Happy Holidays Everyone! May You All Enjoy The Christmas Hustle and Bustle.


I am sure I will be back with tons of stories...and pictures.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Weekend That Was, Sleepless Nights and Other Things

The Weekend That Was...Pretty Much Uneventful.
The Weekend passed without much happenings around the house. Saturday was spent cleaning the house, arranging and rearranging the living room as our Christmas Tree made its debut only yesterday -- I know we only have 7 days left before Christmas. Anyway, Josh was picked up by my mother in law as he was to spend the weekend at my in-laws place. The little one stayed with us. Boy the house sure was a lot quieter without Josh around. Hubby suddenly had the urge to grill fish and steak for dinner. Yummy yum yum. On Sunday, we went to Sunday worship and then ate lunch out -- just me, hubby and Dash. After luch we went home had a quick nap and then lazed around the rest of the afternoon. Mom-in-law brought Josh home around 4pm. We then had leftovers for dinner.
Today, it's back to the usual hectic Monday we all are aquainted with.


Came across the blog of Gerah (read this: I-LOVE-HER-BLOG) and read her newest entry about sleepless nights with baby! I have heard and read a lot of stories of babies who at only 3-4 months already sleep thru the night!!!! And yes I do get envious. How do they do it!?!?? How come my babies don't?! With my eldest, I would have to get up at least 2x every night to give him a bottle. And now, even with my little one (who is turning 7 months in a week), I still have to wake up 2x a night to feed him. Am I doing it wrong? Am I not doing something right?


7 more days left before Christmas. I have mixed feelings. Of course I am excited especially since it will be Dash's first Christmas, although I am pretty sure he will have no idea what all the hustle and bustle is about. Excited also because there is nothing more adorable to see than your excited 4 1/2 year old son in awe of all the Christmas goodies given to him. But also sad since Mom and Dad won't be around anymore to share the fun, food and merry making. Every Christmas, my cousin and I agree on a certain food theme for our Christmas dinner. This year we decided on an "Asian" theme. yum. So far, I have decided on the following recipes: Thai Chicken Basil, Beef with Chinese Broccoli, Fried Tofu with Sweet & Sour Dipping and Sashimi. Splendid.


Dash's dedication will be on the 22nd. It also happens to be our 3rd year anniversary with hubby. Hmmm...another reason for me tp smile =)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Long Overdue Yipee Yahoo

Ok...I have been promoted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Actually, I was oficially promoted 2 weeks ago. I just wanted to absorb it first before allowing the rest of the world to absorb it. This IS a BIG deal to me...forgive me for loathing but yes, this is a goal I have reached. After 2 1/2 years in this company, I have finally made an accomplishment for myself and the company too.When I started with the company.When I started with the company, I did recruitment and staffing tasks and then prior to my promotion, I used to be in charge of the Compensation and Benefits department. Now I am the Labor Relations Officer...oh yeah lotsa reading to do. Gotta familiarize myself with the labor laws. But what the heck I love learning. This is going to be a new exciting experience for me and I can't wait to share with you my frustrations, triumphs and tears =)


Back to my boys, it is Josh's last day of school today and then he will officially be on Christmas break! I have noticed lately how hard headed he has become. Arghh. I do not know if this is his way of coping with Dash who is starting to assert himself at home too. I use the "face-the-wall" method with Josh (spanked him only a few times) which USED TO work when his little brother wasn't around yet. I still use it now, but after making him do it, count a couple of days and then he is bound to do the same "offense" again. There are times when my fuse box just blows up and I end up raising my voice at him. God I hope this is just a phase.

Dash still has a bad cough.I can still hear the gurgling in his chest especially when he laughs but I know that the anti biotics and medicines are working in him. He has slowly regained his appetite and is back to his normal babbling, drooling, milk monstery self.


Christmas is around the corner. Just 10 days to go. Suddenly getting sentimental again. This will be my second Christmas as an orphan.

Missing Mom and Dad

Yoohoo =)

Hey you guys =) People who read my blog =) I'd love to hear from you... comments on my entries would be warmly welcomed ...or drop me an e-mail =)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Shattered Lives

So as mentioned yesterday, we went to visit the Lingap Center yesterday. It is a government institution which houses orphaned, abused, molested, unwanted children. Upon entering the center, I saw familiar faces of children who were already there when our company did the "Reverse Caroling" last year. The children in this institution have a more tragic background (if I may use that term) than the children at Hope House. One of the children there, a 7-year old boy who happens to be autistic was the result of rape (grandfather raped his grandaughter). One other kid, about a year old had cigarette burns all over his back. Apparently, the father of the kid is a drug addict and would make the kid his ashtray, mom of kid didn't want to leave the dad despite his crazy, sick actions and so left the kid at the center. There was also a 9-month old little girl who absolutely looked like an angel. Her mom ( who had a family already) left for abroad and then got herself pregnant by an American. The mom couldn't let her family know that she had an affair which resulted with having a child so she brought the little girl there and left her there. At this point, I still wanted to know more about these children but I also didn't want to anymore. How sad it is to know that in reality, things as such still exist. All of these kids here are up for adoption or are going to be up for adoption once they're papers are finalized. I hope and I pray that these children will find families who will love them and take care of them unconditionally.


On the home front, I brought the 2 boys to the pedia yesterday to have them checked. Josh was prescribed a mucolytic and was advised to continue nebulizing.Josh by the way had intermittent asthma (diagnosed whn he was 3 years old). He gets his attack during very cold weather or when exposed to a viral upper respiratoy track infection (a.k.a. the cough) and then has an attack. Dash on the other hand was given antibiotics (arghhhh) and was advised to continue with the nubulization too. Unlike the other night when both boys had such a restless night because of the congestion, both boys slept like angels last night ( you should see my smile right now). Dash even slept in until 7am!!!!! Yipee-yahoo! I am praying that both boys get well soon as hubby, Josh and I will be going to Manila next week and Dash will be having his Dedication on the 22nd (which also happens to be our 3rd year anniversay with hubby).

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Off To Experience Another Life Changing Experience

So our company is off to another orphanage this afternoon to do our "Reverse Caroling." Wish me and my tears all the luck in the world as this orphanage we are going to vivist houses molested, abused children.

Also, both boys are please be praying with me for them =)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Such Adorable Cute Things!

Saw these cute clips. They are sooooo cute! And I am sure that they will look soooooooo cute on any little girl. Nah...gave up on wishing on having a little mini-me of my own.
Check out their website at

It's Starting To Look A Lot Like Christmas ... And I'm Loving It!

Last Saturday, I started decorating our house. The Christmas tree is yet to make its big appearance this coming weekend as I was too tired to start assembling it last Saturday. Also, for the past month, I had been thinking of starting a collection ( Christmas and house decor collection). So during a bazaar that I went to last Saturday, I found a bunch of super cutie snowmen. I got a good deal on them, 5 cute snowmen for 500 pesos (picture below). And I came to thinking that next year, I would want to start a collection of African safari animals (giraffes, lions, tigers, gazelles, zebras and uh yeah maybe wildebeasts hehe).

This is a picture of my new Snowman Collection which I put in our dining area. (Painting above is a portrait of my dad done by one of his close artist friends. Dad was a veteran journalist in our city and an artist).

A closer view of my new cuties. Just lovin them =)

Reindeer by the fire place.

Welcome to our HOME =)

Friday, December 8, 2006

A Reason To Smile and Be Thankful For What I Have

So yes, I couldn't stand NOT posting. Decided on NOT reading anything cancer related in the meantime.
Moving forward...I had another life changing experience yesterday. For the past 2 Decembers, our company has been doing a program called " Reverse Caroling" wherein we visit orphanages / shelters for street children and sing carols for them. Traditionally, when someone goes caroling, it is to solicit help from the home / institution where you go caroling right? But since ours is called Reverse Caroling, what we do is we sing for the kids and we bring them food, canned milk, diapers, toys and clothes.
Yesterday, we went to the institution called HOPE HOUSE. It is a Christian based private orphanage which at the moment houses 21 children 7 of which are below the age of 1. Each child a unique being but with a common denominator: their story. I got to chat with one of the volunteers there and asked about how these kids were brought to their care. She said that some were abandoned, some were brought there by their mother out of sheer poverty, some were unwanted pregnancies. There was a 3 week old baby girl there who according to the volunteer was never wanted by her mother the day she was concieved. So when the mother found out that she was pregnant, she went to Hope House and informed them that she would be giving her baby to them the moment her baby was born. I asked about the stories of the other new born babies, volunteer said that their social worker would be going out next week to search for their mothers and get the stories. I was like "what the..." These kids do not even have any identity! Some of the babies were even named by the volunteers because their mothers couldn't even care less. By the way, naming a baby is a big deal to me. I believe that the name of a child will pretty much dictate who he / she will be when he / she grows up.
Found myself in tears. Suddenly missed my kids. Wanted to rush home and hug my two little superheroes.
During the merry making, one of the kids approached my officemate and asked " After this, are you taking me home?" My officemate turned to me and all I could do was bite my lip.
One of the kids there, a 2 year old boy was already officially adopted. Meaning, papers had been processed and approved. Family in Philadelphia sent him a family photo album. And he was just waiting for his ticket. Blessed kid. What about the other 20 kids who will be left behind?
This experience got me to think of all the blessing I have been showered with.
Lord thank you for my family.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Just Hating It...

I HATE CANCER. It chooses no one. Kills anyone. Threatens everybody.
I may choose not to post for a few days because I have noticed lately that I have become too attatched to the topic of Cancer which is making me a bit bitter about everything.

I will be back.

My Cuties

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

The One When She Found Out

Mom was a smoker for 41 years of her life. But she excercised also most of her life. When she was in her early 30's, she got into aerobics, working out almost everyday and then later on transitioned into taebo. There were times when I would try working out with her and boy did she surprise me when I would have to take a water break and she didn't have to.
Come mid February of 2005, during one of their planning session seminars in one of the seminaries here in Baguio, Mom noticed that she had a very hard time walking up a very steep hill. She tried not to pay attention to this. But the week after, while walking in the mall, she had to stop several times to catch her breath. I'm sure Mom knew that something was wrong but she tried to ignore it. But that same day, during one of her stops to catch her breath, she bumped into one of her former students who happened to be a pulmonologist. Dr. S asked Mom what was wrong and she explained to him what she was feeling. Hearing this, Dr. S advised Mom to have an x-ray ultrasound of her lungs. Although reluctant, Mom went. Results were not good. Half of her left lung was almost not visible since it was filled with fluid and her right lung wasn't visible at all anymore. Dr. S scheduled Mom to be confined so that she could be aspirated.
Mom checked in the next day and the procedure went well. Dr. S was able to aspirate around 2 1/2 litres of fluid from Mom's lungs. Fluid was very yellow. Biopsy results would be out in 7 days.
Mom checked out the next day, according to her she was already feeling much better. Also, by this time Mom was already 48 hours smoke free -- nicotine free.
Later during that week, I had to go down to Manila to attend a meeting at our main office headquarters. Hubby accopmanied me. I got a call from Mom saying that they will have to do another aspiration to try and remove the remaining fluids. I asked her when she was going to check in and she said that she was going to wait for me. I got home after 2 days and was surprised that my Aunt met us at the gate saying that Josh was sleeping with her downsatirs because our househelp was with Mom in the hospital. I wasn't sure what was happening anymore.
I rushed inside the house and called Mom on her cellphone. I wanted to know why she checked in and why she didn't tell me. And then she said it -- "Lou, It's cancer."
SHIT now Im crying.
What?! Lou it's cancer. I have lung cancer. Stage IIIb. That night I cried myself to sleep.
The next day, I know I had to go to the hospital, but I was scared to see Mom. I called up my Aunts (sisters of my Mom) and cried to them. I cried out to the Lord and demanded from Him why He was doing this to us.
I went to the office and told my boss. I cried.
Fianlly, I went to the hospital. When I saw Mom, I ran to her and burried my head in her arms. I cried. She cried.
A tube was inserted to her lungs to drain the remaining fluid. She was to undergo chemotherapy. 6 cycles.
I got to talk to her oncologist, let me call her Dr. Nonsense. I asked her what the prognosis was. And she asnwered me by saying : " With chemo, she'll live for 6 months, without chemo, in 3 months she'll be dead." Pain turned into anger. Is this the doctor we are going to entrust my Mom's remaining days with? NO WAY.
I called up my Aunt in Manila. I said I want to bring Mom down to Manila for treatment in the best hospital only by the best doctor. My Aunt said she'd call me back with the final arrangements. She said that I made the right decision. I went back to see Mom and I told her that we were bringing her down. She said it would be too expensive. I said I didn't care. I told her to relax, to just let me fix all the necessary last minute arrangements and to trust that the Lord would carry us through. Later that afternoon, my Aunt called, all was ready at St.Luke's hospital and that she also founf a Christian oncologist who was more than willing to take care of Mom all I needed to do now was to make arrangements with the ambulance. I informed the nurses that we would be checking Mom out at 6am the next day because we would be bringing her down to Manila.
6am, the amulatory staff nurses came to pick Mom up. I was ready by 5. I sat in front, Mom was laying down at the back. I had my Bible and a slice of banana bread. I couldn't eat. My last meal was 2 days ago.
We arrived in Manila and went straight to the ER before Mom was admitted. My Aunt and cousin were there to meet us. Finally, after about an hour, Mom was finally wheeled in to her room. Then my Aunts from the States called up. We all broke down and hugged each other.
But I felt safe. I knew my Mom was in good hands.

17 Years and Counting

Last night, I got a text from Jo, one of my friends of 17 years and she asked me when our Christmas party would be.
Backtrack a bit... I had classmates (14 of them) in first grade who have become my lifetime friends. We were all classmates until 6th grade and then we went to different highschools and eventually different colleges -- but despite the distance, we all remained very close friends. Some of them are now working in cities hours away from our hometown but we have our regular get together's and mini informal reunions whenever there is a holiday allowing them to come home.
So Jo texted me and I came to thinking about how excited I am about seeing my friends again. They were the bunch of nuts we were with when we went on that vacation to Boracay hehe. Together we spend hours and hours chit chatting, talking about life, our heartaches, our hopless romantic sentiments. We can spend hours and hours laughing or reminiscing about the past. Together we've seen friends go through pregnancies, baptisms and dedications and a wedding. I say A wedding because I am the only one married among them! Although a couple of us have kids already.
I am so thankful for friends like them. They are a big part of the reason why I say that life still gives me a reason to smile.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Tuesday's with me

I'm back..been 4 days again...quite a long time again. Had a non-working holiday last December 1 so I took advantage of spending time with the kids. God we need more holidays in the Philippines (hah!).
Been into reading blogs about cancer patients , cancer survivors and caregivers of cancer patients and it made me realize how precious our health is indeed. Mom's battle with cancer must have been really hard and painful. Will write more about mom's battle when Im up to it.
Back to the homefront...
Dash has been a real voracious eater. I started giving him cereals and then transitioned to bottled baby foods with a little more texture. But I figured that natural food is still the best. So as soon as he finished his last bottled food, I will start with natural veggies and fruits. Boy am I excited. He is such an easy baby to feed. Just keeps opening his mouth, spoon after spoon delighted by the feeling that something is in his mouth. I also started him on juice, those gerber baby juices. Actually, as mentioned in my previous posts, Josh never really liked juice and food in general (when he was a kid, that is) so my experience with Dash now is something so new and exciting for me. Anyway, back to the juice thing, Dash absolutely enjoyed his first taste of apple-carrot juice. I try to give him at least 2oz of juice everyday. I tried giving him one of those Gerber Biter Biscuits. Dash immediately grasped it and put it in his mouth. I was watching him suck on it, amazed at how that biscuit made Dash keep still, satisfied that my baby looked too satisfied. And then the biscuit became too soft allowing my toothless baby to bite a chunk into his mouth. God I panicked. Was I supposed to panic? Anyway, I did. I put my finger in his mouth and reached in for the chunk of biscuit. Dash started to cry. I took away the biscuit from him, too scared that he could not handle whole chunks of food yet. He went wild.
It's Josh's last 2 weeks of school before they go on Christmas break. I am excited about their Christmas program. Let me tell you, there is nothing more amazing to see than your 4 year old kindergarten student performing on stage, even if you can barely get the tune of the song or the step medley of the dance.