Monthly Archives

June 2017

Kindergarten School

6 Reasons Why I’m Loving Yuri’s Big School

It’s no secret that Yuri’s current school now was not our top choice when we were initially school-hunting. I didn’t really not like this school — it’s just that I wanted to try something new because almost ten years of my life was spent inside this very campus.

Then again, life rarely goes according to plan, and we found ourselves enrolling in the very school that I voted against! We had to consider the logistics and the practicality of doing so — it’s just the most ideal choice at the moment considering those factors. Buuut after a couple of weeks of going to school and parent orientations, one being the first PTA meeting for this school year, I think I’m realising the merits of the decision.

Going to my first PTA meeting, wet uncombed hair and all

1. No heavy bags for the kids

I recently read in Mommy Fleur‘s blog how her daughter has to deal with a heavy school bag every day. I remember doing the same as a child; all my books (an average of 5-7) stuffed into my backpack together with my notebooks (8-10), pencil case, and other school stuff. And we haven’t included the baon yet.

I was pleased to find out that I didn’t need to buy Yuri a huge bag for school. The young children at school, from preschool/kindergarten to 2nd grade, all have lockers where they keep their books and notebooks. I’m not sure about the graders, but for senior kinder, they also have cubbies inside the classroom where all their stuff — art materials, toiletries, extra clothes — are hidden.

We’re only required to bring home the kids’ books and notebooks every weekend, so for the rest of the week, they don’t have to bring anything save for pencils, some supplies, and their baon. 

Yuri’s bag just holds his handbook, pencil case, a supply case (crayons, glue, etc.), wipes, towel, and a sanitizer. It looks big but it’s actually super light. 

(In fact, during the PTA meeting last Saturday, the teachers reminded the parents not to let their kids use huge stroller bags anymore because they didn’t need to!)

2. Little homework (so far…)

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Personal

Yuri’s Asthma Scare

Almost a month ago, I rushed Yuri to the hospital because he was having difficulty breathing.

I was supposed to write about this, well, almost a month ago, but school-related stuff piled up, my birthday came up — a lot of things happened. Also, I didn’t dwell on this issue anymore because Yuri already got better, not to mention I don’t really talk about our hospital visits here in my blog.

However, as I was looking through my phone gallery, I saw the pictures again and remembered the entire ordeal. I thought I should write about it because it can help a reader who might encounter these symptoms someday.

Yuri’s health scare started early morning of May 24th. It was still dark when I woke up to Yuri making gasping noises. I initially dismissed it for stuffy nose because he was also having a cold.

But it didn’t sound right. He was literally gasping for air. I adjusted his position so that his head rested higher on his pillow and then he seemed to recover. I went back to sleep because I think it was still around 4 am. When the sun rose, he started gasping again for air, and I started to worry because his face was already looking like this:

He was still trying to sleep, poor baby

He was sobbing and I assumed it was because of the stuffy nose (again!). That he was actually unable to breathe didn’t immediately cross my mind. There’s no one in the family who is asthmatic so I wasn’t familiar with the symptoms. I tried to relieve what Yuri was feeling by applying  Eukybear ointment, changing his position from time to time, letting him breathe in some steam — because I kept thinking it must be his cold. It was after he vomited when I finally listened to my gut feeling and took him to the hospital.

Even though I didn’t know what illness he was having, I remembered counting Yuri’s breathing because it was so rapid. I remembered counting up to 60-75/minute at one time — the normal respiratory rate for a 5-year old is just 20-30/minute.

When Yuri’s pediatrician saw him and saw his rapid respiratory rate, she immediately ordered for him to be nebulized for an hour with breaks in between. According to doc, if he doesn’t get better after nebulization, then it’s hospital confinement for him. She didn’t mention, but when I asked if it could be pneumonia, Yuri’s doctor couldn’t confirm nor deny. At that point, she couldn’t confirm, too, if Yuri was asthmatic or not. It all depended on whether Yuri gets better after nebulization.

It was my very first time to see a nebulizer. Like what I said, there’s no one in the family who was asthmatic, so I was experiencing nebulization for the first time. Immediately after the first dose, Yuri started getting better. After 40 minutes of nebulization, he was able to eat for the first time that day. Thank you Lord! More than an hour and four vials of medicine later, Yuri’s respiratory rate was down to 35/minute and was feeling a lot better.

Honestly, I shudder to think about what could have happened if I didn’t bring Yuri to the hospital. It was only after getting nebulized that he was able to breathe, so Yuri would have suffered a lot if we stayed at home and let him “rest.”

We went back to Yuri’s doctor’s office (when we arrived at the hospital earlier, I had to carry him because he was too weak to walk; by this time, he was already fine walking on his own) to hear the diagnosis. The doctor saw Yuri’s improvement so there was no need for him to be confined. However, he was still under observation for 5 days. If his breathing became rapid again, we were to go immediately to the ER. But after 5 days of religiously taking medicine, it never happened again. Praise God!

To be honest, I am still unsure whether Yuri is asthmatic or not. According to his doctor, there were too many factors to consider. It could have been an asthma attack, or it could have been his cold. It could have been a viral infection (bronchiolitis), or it could have been caused by smoke inhalation or exposure to harsh weather (we went out-of-town about a week before this event). Neither I nor Job has history of asthma, but there’s still a possibility since I have allergic rhinitis.

Even though it’s been a month, I am still observing Yuri. This time, I will be more vigilant and I will listen to my gut feeling right away. Mother’s instinct is real!

Here are the things I learned that might come in handy for you someday:

  • Take note of children’s normal respiratory rate. It varies per age, but it can be easily Googled. If your child’s breathing exceeds this without reason, please see the doctor.
  • Without counting breaths per minute, you can easily spot a child who is breathing rapidly. Look out for flared nostrils, high-pitched breathing sounds, and retraction: “the skin sucking in (indrawing) in the chest below the rib cage, above the collarbone, between the ribs or in the neck” (About Kids Health).
  • Rapid breathing coupled with vomiting is never a good combination.
  • Even if asthma doesn’t run in your family, a child might still get it.
  • If you suspect pneumonia, go to the ER right away.
  • If you suspect asthma and you don’t have a nebulizer at home, go to the ER right away.
  • Listen to your gut feeling. It’s better to hear your doctor assure you that nothing is wrong than stay at home and let the child suffer because you think there is nothing wrong.
Kindergarten School

Yuri and the First Week of Kindergarten School

I feel so exhausted! It’s just been one week (actually, four days!) that Yuri was at school, yet I feel like I’ve used up all of my humanly powers. In that short period of time, I realised, I’m not Wonder Woman! And it pains me so much to say that, lololol!

Seriously though, it’s been a really full week. Even if I had two days off (Monday was a holiday and I took a leave Tuesday because it was Yuri’s first day of school), it doesn’t feel anything like it. If anything, it feels as if I just came from an 80-hour work week. Having a student is not easy pala! 

I usually wake up at 5:30 (yes, even in the summer), but before school started, this meant spending time in a devotional, trying to work out, and preparing for the day. This time, it means preparing Yuri’s things, uniform, and baon. He doesn’t have to go to school until lunch time — we enrolled him in the afternoon session because of reasons — but since I have work, as much as possible, I need to get everything done within the first hour of the day.

Later in the week, I would find out that it’s a hundred times more better to prepare everything the night before. Hey, I’m still learning! 😀

I spent Monday and Tuesday doing school-mum stuff. I laundered all his uniform, school underwear (just white socks, white sandos, and white briefs), PE uniform, proceeded to iron them, washed his lunch boxes, water bottles, accessories, prepared his things and requirements, went to the mall to buy the last items still un-ticked on his requirement checklist, and did grocery shopping for baon. The works. I still had time to meet up with my best friend George for dinner, so I’m gonna give myself a pat on the back for that haha.

Well, I also learned that preparing for school a day before it starts and preparing on the first day of school itself were two completely different things. I can’t say I was frazzled because I still managed to have fun, but I think I did use all of my major muscle groups. I did manage to get these snapshots!

Weapon of choice: my trusty Instax 210 + film of course

Yuri’s first day baon: Tuna sandwich, cheese shapes, pizza shapes, and Keebler wafers

On the way to school! I brought him to the barbershop earlier that day so his hair was just freshly cut and styled

Hello, school! Let’s do this!

Welcome to kindergarten, noob mama! I swear, there is nothing more intimidating than a group of confident veteran school-mums when you’re melting into a puddle of nerves.

Hello, classroom! This was a really old classroom, a lot older than I am. The elementary building is, I think, the oldest building in the campus.

It’s good to know, though, that the inside was maintained nicely: clean and spacious and well-lit. A/C units look fairly new and it has an overhead projector na lol!

The adjacent classroom was converted into a playroom just for the K2 pupils. It’s also airconditioned and the place is really clean. Yuri’s one of the early birds so he had the place to himself. His favourite things are the bahay-kubo slide (behind Yuri) and the ball pit (right)!

Segue about the playroom: There was no separation anxiety or any drama among the kids, like at all. This was because they were all put inside the playroom to interact with their classmates, teacher, and titas (teacher aides). Yuri didn’t even look at me once he was inside.

The only “drama” that happened came from a boy classmate who arrived late. By the time he arrived, play time was already over and they were back in the classroom. It did not sit well with the child, obviously, and he cried. It does serve as a good lesson about punctuality for Yuri (and maybe his other classmates too).

Second day baon! Peanut butter sandwich, Keebler wafers, ham & cheese shapes, and a banana

I love PE uniform days because they’re easier to iron bahaha!

I really like the lady guard (the one sweeping the floor). She never fails to smile and she talks to the students, especially the smaller ones, in a motherly way. Also, she allowed me to go inside when I was wearing shorts. In my defence, I did not know the dress code was already being implemented during the orientation week! Oops!

A cut-out star can absolutely make a 5-year old’s day 😀

He didn’t even notice me when I was right there. Hi Yuri! 😀 (Also, he wasn’t wearing his PE uniform because a new schedule was given the day before, the day when he was wearing his PE uniform haha)

It was a fun first week. Right after the first day, my nervousness disappeared, and it’s hugely because Yuri was having so much fun at school. He loves his teacher, the titas, his classmates… the play room! LOL! In fact, for him, Monday can’t arrive quickly enough! As for me, I’m going to enjoy my weekend (I just finished washing his clothes ~again~ and wrapping his notebooks in plastic cover) because next week will be a new adventure!

General Information Money Matters

Adulting 101: My Sunlife Variable Universal Life Insurance (VUL)

Sun Life VUL

There’s just something so “adulty” about the word insurance, don’t you agree?

A VUL is a variable universal life insurance. According to Investopedia, a VUL is a form of cash-value life insurance that offers both a death benefit and an investment feature.

This post is actually 6 months late because I got my very first life insurance policy way back in December last year. I had a draft started, but I never got around to actually writing it. But I remembered it a couple of days ago because my payment was already due lol. Also, a couple of my previous officemates were asking about the VUL. Why did I get Sun Life’s VUL? This is not a sponsored post; I just want to tell you about it.

I never planned to get an insurance policy. Job and I, we decided to start investing in a mutual fund, so that’s what I looked for. After doing some research and comparison, I decided to go pay the local Sun Life office a visit.

Sun Life Davao

(Trivia: During the Expo Mom bazaar in Abreeza last year, one of the booths I visited was Sun Life’s. I got in touch with an agent and even left my details and contact number with her. But she never got back to me, so I just went ahead, visited the main office, and got another agent.)

I met my financial adviser, Paul Chavez, there. I inquired about mutual funds since it was my original purpose, but upon interviewing and assessing me, Paul suggested I get a VUL instead. There were three main reasons that convinced me:

  • First, I have a son who is dependent on me, and he will surely benefit from his parents’ life insurance.
  • Second, we have nothing else (yet) in our portfolio. Because this was our first investment, it’s more prudent to prioritise protection over plain growing of money.
  • Third, it’s not like the money won’t be growing. The projected returns is quite high and we’re getting protection, so yes they’re right – it is like getting the best of both worlds.

Aside from that, there are more benefits outlined here including the VUL’s liquidity (you can withdraw your money if you need it, and it’s called “withdrawal,” not a “loan) and the flexibility of premiums (I treat my VUL as a bank and put in more money if I have extra). Because you can just Google the benefits of getting a VUL, and since I already described a few, I won’t be focusing on that anymore. Let’s talk about my personal experience and impressions.

Why I’m Happy With My Sun Life VUL

1. Because Sun Life is the biggest insurance company in the country and even outside, I feel safe that I am investing my money with the right company. You can do your own research about it and see for yourself the past performance of Sun Life.

2. I have a great agent and I’m very satisfied with the service. Paul is very diligent in reminding me about my due dates, and if I cannot go to the office myself to pay, he adjusts and personally visits me to get my payment. Unfortunately, not all agents are built the same, so please be wise in choosing the right person.

3. There are no penalties for late payments. While I always pay my bills on time, there are circumstances beyond our control (just like what happened to BPI recently).

4. The payment scheme is very flexible. When I first got my policy, I was paying monthly. However, it has gotten more taxing since my schedule is tight, so they changed my mode of payment to quarterly. Just like that!

Sun MaxiLink Prime

5. It’s surprisingly affordable. One of the reasons why I delayed getting an insurance is the cost. Upon inquiring, I was pleasantly surprised to know that it’s not only affordable, it’s also flexible. I have the Sun MaxiLink Prime, and to give you an idea of how much my monthly payment is, let’s just say it’s even cheaper than our Davao City electric bill.

6. Unlike mutual funds and other investment vehicles, a VUL withdrawal is not taxable.

7. Unlike regular insurances, a VUL doesn’t need to fulfil a single, specific need e.g. education. With a VUL, you can decide how you want to use your money, whether you want to use it to fund your child’s college education or build your retirement fund.

I can think of other benefits, but I’m sure a Sun Life financial advisor will be able to better explain it to you. If you think you can benefit from a VUL, try consulting with an advisor. It’s free anyway. In my experience, they didn’t try to upsell me; they looked at my monthly income and my expenses and came up with something that will not be too burdensome for me. All I can say is if you want to protect your loved ones, you need to look into this.

If you’re from Davao and want to consult a Sun Life financial advisor (not all agents are made the same — there are inactive/lazy/unknowledgeable ones who just want to make a sale), send me a message or leave a comment and I’ll give you my advisor’s number.

Personal

Turning 27 and Getting Schooled by Life

The last time I blogged, which was one day before my birthday, I was in a pretty melancholic mood. Things did turn around for the better, as expected, but at that time, I just didn’t have the energy or the motivation to feel upbeat. All I wanted to do was accept that I was being miserable because nothing was going my way.

But as I said, things did turn up for the better. I’m feeling a lot happier right now despite things not being 100% awesome. My smile is back.

Job and I eventually made up — he broke the ice and sent me a message first, but I admit I would’ve sent him the first message if he didn’t already. Knowing him, though, I know hindi niya ako kayang tiisin charot. He also doesn’t have any choice because it’s my birthday, just kidding 😛 In my defense, I really didn’t do anything wrong and was unfairly accused.

My best friend George and I also made up. We didn’t really fight but like some of you pointed out, I was really nagtatampo because of our cancelled birthday date. I wasn’t really mad but was just feeling frustrated, and now I’m totally over it.

Things are finally going my way… NOT!

It was my birthday yesterday, and I had a simple celebration. Why is it that the older you get, the less grand your birthday needs to be? Or is it just me? I just made cheesecake, bought some food, and celebrated at home and at the hotel. You see, early last year, I chanced upon a promo for Go Hotels Davao, which was not yet open at that time. They had an P88/night promo for their opening (which is this year), and I quickly availed. Nothing to lose!

I’m glad to report that my stay at the hotel is uneventful so far (except for the fact that the hotel internet is down right now).

So what is not going my way?

1. The bank fiasco

Guess who’s celebrating her birthday penniless? Me! Imagine my shock, waking up on my birthday, and finding out that BPI has basically shut down operations. My salary is in my BPI account and I haven’t had time to withdraw it. On top of that, I haven’t paid the bills yet and my Sun Life VUL. Gaaah BPI!

(I was able to pay my Sun Life VUL earlier using some of the savings I have with me. Whew.)

Lesson:

Always be ready and always have a backup plan.

2. When the tables are turned

Also, I have another date with another friend, Yankee, this weekend. And due to some unforeseen events, it needs to be cancelled, too. This time, it’s me who needs to cancel! Oh, the irony!

This was a really humbling experience for me. When it was me who had to experience getting “left at the altar” (exagg), I felt very disappointed and hurt. I did not talk to my best friend for a day because of that. However, now that it was my turn to cancel a date which I knew Yankee really looked forward to (and needed!), she felt hurt and sad but she forgave me right away. She also needed to move appointments to accommodate me, but she didn’t blame me for it. I wish I did the same.

Lesson:

Always forgive. 

3. Saying goodbye to a friend

And on a more serious note, I found out that one of my dearest friends from my office-girl days, Kristine, passed away earlier today. Just a day after my birthday. We were almost the same age, so to say I was shocked is a sore understatement. I knew she was ill, but I thought she was coping well. I never imagined that she would die so young. 🙁

I always think of her from time to time because I admire her strength. She had a chronic illness which attacked her internal organs, and she had to miss work regularly to get long treatments at the hospital. But not once did I hear her complain. In fact, she’s a very lovely, brave, caring girl who didn’t want special treatment just because of her condition. In fact, only a few of us knew about her illness.

Kristine is wearing bold yellow stripes, me on her left

There was a time when I randomly sent her a message because I just happened to think of her. Actually, I read an article about her illness, which made me admire her even more. The last time we chatted was when I was in Manila. We weren’t able to meet up because I didn’t know she was in BGC when we went to BGC, so we just ended up chatting. How I wish we were able to meet for the last time.

Lesson:

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.

Personal

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay Sometimes

I’m your poster cheerful girl. I pride myself on always looking at the bright side of any situation. I have a permanent laugh line embedded into my cheeks.

Of course there are not-so-happy moments, like health scares and relationship conflicts, financial troubles and work-related stress, but I don’t really like dwelling on them. I get affected by them easily, but just as quickly as I get affected, I like moving on right away. I tend to dismiss them and just focus on the positive. Always focusing on the positive is a good thing, I was told. After all, we don’t like feeling sad — at least, don’t! I like feeling bright and happy and healthy and sunshiny.

Well, most of the time.

This week is an anomaly. Ironically, it’s my birth-week, too, but somehow, everything is just going wrong. Not really everything, but you know what I mean. It sounds terribly shallow because I know I have it a lot better than so many people in the planet. But there’s just something so miserable about a supposedly happy week gone awry.

First, I missed my own birthday outing. My family and our neighbours and I were supposed to go out of town, but it got cancelled because of the Martial Law. So they decided to go somewhere nearer instead, just so we could celebrate my and one of our neighbours’ late husband’s birthdays. Unfortunately, we couldn’t decide on a date. They wanted to have it this Saturday, 10th, but I vetoed because I already had a prior commitment with my friends on that day.

So they moved it to last Sunday, 4th. It was okay for me, but another date popped up, that with my fraternity/ sorority brods and sis (yes, just one lol). I prioritised the latter because it’s been 7+ years since I last saw them. In short, I had to miss my own birthday outing lol. I don’t regret it, however, because I had so much fun with my brods and sis. During that day, I realised just how much I missed them. Then again, it would have been doubly better if I was able to attend both,

Second, Job and I haven’t been speaking for *counts fingers* three days now, going on our fourth day tomorrow. I don’t want to give details about our fight, because our fights — if you could even call them that — are usually petty, but not this one. To make the long story short, I told him I’m not talking to him because I need time to process the issue. After a couple of days of sending me messages and not receiving a response, he gave up and now he’s the one not talking to me. LDR is hard, people.

Third, my friends cancelled out on me for our date on Friday-Saturday, the exact reason why I requested to re-schedule our outing (see item 1). In short, I missed out on my birthday celebration with my family and neighbours, for absolutely no reason at all… I know it’s not their fault, but I can’t help but feel bad because it’s just so so frustrating. Also, I admit, it stings a bit to be the one who has to adjust, especially when it’s my own birthday celebration.

On top of that, the cheesecake I was just making earlier is not the right consistency. *gives up*

Like I said, usually, I would choose to not dwell the bad things and focus on the bright side instead. But this time, I decided to just admit that I am sad, that I am not okay. There’s no use trying to feign positivity if it’s not even remotely genuine. I know things will turn out for the better soon, but currently, it’s my birthday week and it’s not looking good. And yeah, maybe that’s fine. I will still look out for the blessings and reasons to be grateful because I know there are a lot, but right now, I just don’t feel 100% happy… and I think it’s okay.