Tuesday, March 25, 2014


When Vince and I finally moved out of an apartment to a house about a year-and-a-half ago, it was just the perfect time for us to buy our very first formal dining room set. We are the kind of people who love to entertain and have friends come over to our place for dinners and any sort of get-togethers, so it was important for us to have a nice set of formal dining room furniture that will sit at least 8 people or so. Since we were new in the area that time, we had to do several trips to a few local furniture stores back and forth and back and forth until we found one that we really liked and fit in our budget. It helped a lot too that our favorite local furniture store offers financing options such as 0% interest rate for 18 months, which then allowed us to buy not only a formal dining room set but as well as a living room set, an entertainment center, and a youth bed and mattress in one big purchase without us having to empty our pockets up to the single cent upfront. In that regard, I would like to put out this disclaimer that when buying anything, I believe that it is always in your best interest to buy in cash so as not to put yourselves in any sort of debt that you may not be able to pull yourselves out from, but nowadays in this day and time we're living in, credit, when used wisely, has advantages too in terms of managing your finances.

Anyhoo without any further ado, let me share pictures of our formal dining room set:

This dining table is supposedly a 10 to 12-seater.  We initially bought only six dining chairs because the house we were renting previously did not have enough space to accommodate more than that. When we moved to our own house in December 2013, we bought two more dining chairs to make it an 8-seater. More seats mean more guests can sit ;)

This furniture set is actually Vince's choice. My first bet was something similar to this set but has a more feminine look in terms of the details and shape. What I admire most is the classic and elegant look of this set especially the two-piece buffet/China cabinet. 

Every now and then, I put table cloths and linens mainly to protect the table and to dress it as well. Recently, we wanted to showcase the beauty of the dining table, so we left it pretty much bare other than the short table runner and candle holder centerpiece to accentuate it.

The formal dining area lacks a beautiful chandelier to match the furniture, so we purchased a sale from an online store, and we're getting it ready to be installed by an electrician. 
If you would remember, in a recent post, I shared pictures of our new bedroom furniture. I mentioned there that our dining room and bedroom set are from the same collection. If you want to read more about that, you can find that post HERE.

Also, about three or four weeks ago, we bought a casual dining room set (a different collection this time) for the breakfast nook, and a couple of floor lamps for the living room, at the same furniture store where we bought our previous furniture sets. We're awaiting for those to be delivered and once we got them all set up at home, I will blog and share pics of them here. Until then, I bid you good day and thanks for reading! ☺☻☺

Friday, March 21, 2014


This used to be work station is now but an empty desk
and a memory from my recent past. Hehe!
My son doesn't like staying within the confines
of his room, so I now work from wherever
I can have a good eyeball of Vonn Kaleb when
he's exploring the house and playing.
I'm at my third week of being back to work, and it has been a crazy roller coaster ride for me. Getting myself set up remotely, trying to go through more than 800 messages in my inbox (now down to 700ish, probably it will turn my hair all grey before I get to read all of them), keeping up with the workload, dealing with all that's "new" at work (technically they're not new - they came after I left for maternity leave, so they're new to me), and all the old stuff including putting in extra hours... oh my! It's no doubt that I still got my work mojo but with Vonn Kaleb now around, it's a whole new different ball game. 

I maybe over achieving here by trying so hard to be the hashtag-super-diva-stay-slash-work-from-home-mom-of-all-time (which I know I'm not even close to being one -- and wait, will that title even fit on a sash???) but what do I do? I love my son and I really love being a hands-on mom to him. Just the same, I hate to pass up the opportunity of a job I love doing especially that I get to do it from home. It sounds like a really win-win situation but then it's also a why can't I have my cake and eat it kind of deal.

I'm not going to deny that I am having a tough time doing double duty as a full-time SAHM and WAHM. So word to the wise: It is doable but helter skelter toxic. Days are shorter, nights are shorter, sleeps are shorter, temper gets shorter, and you can just forget about naps and sometimes even your bladder! There is just no rest for the weary. LOL.

And of course, I dare not forget my husband who has been an integral part of the equation. Without him, there'd be no me blogging right now. Nada. Nil. Vamos. I probably would have already been locked up in an assylum somewhere isolated and pulling my hairs. Hehe!

Anyway, I'm still sane and breathing, so I guess, I'm alright. Thank God for being my strength and for enabling me to do what I do. I pray for His guidance each day and for His wisdom and knowledge so that I can do what I need to do and what He wants me to do.  It's hard to predict how each of my days will go -- some days are way harder than others -- but thank God for His faithfulness, He always carries me through. At the end and beginning of each day, I get to praise God and say to the world, "I'm a survivor, so bring it on!" :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Third time's the charm, so Vonn Kaleb's nursery had a makeover yet again... for the third time.  The playpen that I had set up for him? He played in it for a few days and then after that, I noticed that he got bored and would like to spend time playing outside too.

More floor space outside the playpen
I used four play yard panels to barricade the TV
 I now have a very curious explorer. Vonn Kaleb's horizon is getting bigger and wider, and he is learning each day that the world is his oyster. His first conquest? Our sweet abode.  He loves to wander all over the house -- and when he wanders, he carries a bunch of toys and whatnots with him. Oh dear!

So yeah, that's the story of our life since Vonn Kaleb started walking and running (and throwing, dropping and kicking his toys everywhere, and opening and closing cabinets, and pretty much on a mission to desolate our house every day).  It is sooo exhausting to keep up with this energetic boy but no matter how hard it gets, Vince and I are always simply thankful to God for blessing us with a very active, healthy and physically able child whom we truly love to bits!

Thursday, March 13, 2014


The past week was challenging for us. We have had quite some stress but thank God that it is for His mercy and love that we are not consumed.

First off, my paternal grandmother in the Philippines died. A few days after she celebrated her 73rd birthday, she suffered a stroke, went into coma, and then passed away all too quickly. The last time I saw her was in 2011 when I went home for the first time in eight years since I left. She never had the chance to personally meet her second great grandchild, Vonn Kaleb. I thought of going home for her wake and burial but for many reasons, the idea was not plausible. It's sad that I wasn't around her during her last years but I take comfort in the blessed assurance that we'll meet again in heaven one day.

Mommy Heling's 73rd (and last) birthday celebration.
Second, after more than a year off, last Monday, I commenced work once again. Getting set up and settled in was a hurdle. There were a lot of times that I had to be on the phone with my manager and our office IT person. Most of those phone calls were done in sync with Vonn Kaleb's nap time. Needless to say, my baby boy who has always been a light sleeper (taking after his dad) woke up from his nap whenever I picked up the phone and whispered "Hello." It was heartbreaking because I know how precious those naps are both for him and me. We also had to change our daytime routine to line it up with my work hours. I have to be honest that on multitasking between work and mom duties, what's tougher is dealing with my emotions as a mom. I'd see my son playing beside me while I tinkered on my keyboard away, and then I'd feel afraid that I may not be giving him enough attention, and the guilt that I may be putting work before him. It's tormenting. There was one time he pressed on my keyboard and closed the document I was working on before I was able to save my changes. I screamed and pulled my hair literally in frustration when that happened! This caused my poor baby boy to scream in very much the same manner I did while bawling his eyes out. He did this a few times. Repeatedly. I felt terrible that time! I didn't really mean to scream at him and the way I reacted was unfair to him because after all he is but a child who knows nothing. I picked him up and cuddled him and prayed to God for patience, and much more patience. I cannot afford to just lose it so quick because I now have a very young child who is growing and learning and needs an affectionate and caring mother, not a screaming workaholic monster. I told myself that I have to remember what Cat tells Peg whenever she is totally freaking out, "Cat's right. I should count backwards from five... 5, 4, 3, 2, 1..." and similarly, Daniel Tiger's advice, "When you feel so mad that you wanna roar,  take a deep breath and count to four." Adults too can learn from PBS shows, I realized.

Third, my husband was not spared from work-related challenges too. It's really a blessing that his practice has gotten busy since one of his colleagues left. We're thankful for that even if that meant that he had to leave for work in the morning much earlier than before for him to be able to round on his patients. Sometimes he had to stay a while at work to finish his notes. We really don't mind that at all. What we're having reservations about is that he was handpicked by his employer to open another practice at a different county about half an hour away from where we live. He is not the type to pass on opportunities as such but accepting that means he will lose some family time over work. At this time, we're waiting how this issue is going to proceed.

Fourth, our utility bill gave me a shock. How on earth did two adults and an infant rack up $600+ utilities? Beats me! Fine, I have pretty much been using our dishwasher lately an average of three to four times a week, so I expect some increase in our bills, but not that much! That was simply absurd. So our family is now on a quest to make our house energy efficient as best as it can (we feel there's going to be a lot of work and expenses involved here). In the meantime, we are cutting back on household expenses. We began with temporarily discontinuing our pool maintenance service.  Good thing, we have a neighbor who was very helpful and kind to teach us how to clean and maintain the pool. So that's going to be a couple of hundred bucks less from our monthly expenses. I also went back to manually washing our dishes *booo!* Come on, we spent a few hundred bucks over that brand new dishwasher, and it saves me a lot of time by not doing the dishes. Is it really that expensive to run it? How sad :( *sobs*

Sigh. I guess, that's about it. Our family is still recovering from the exhaustion that the past week (and ensuing days up to now) has caused. We are looking for ways to cope up and move on from the daily stress we experience as a new family, and it's truly a blessing to wake up each day knowing that God is in control. I'm just thankful to God that we survived last week's hills and hurdles, and that another week has almost gone by. That being said -- it's TGIF (and payday too) tomorrow, yay!  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Last Friday, Vince and I babysat for our friends. Their family had babysat Vonn Kaleb a couple of times previously, so we happily returned them the favor. We babysat two of their girls, a 4-year-old and an 8-month-old.

The girls behaved very well. Vonn Kaleb kinda' behaved himself too. He was fussy in the beginning. As usual, he gets antsy when there are "other" people within touching distance around him. I'm telling you, he sees these girls twice a week at church and he's known them all his life, but still! Funny how when the girls started playing with his toys that he sort of tried to interrupt them to take his toys from them. At one point while I was in our bedroom, I heard Vince told one of the girls, "Sorry, Rosalind, Vonn Kaleb doesn't know how to share yet." 

I  felt nauseated all of a sudden while babysitting and we thought I had the flu bug, so I stayed away from the kids and kept myself in our room. I felt bad that Vince had to care for the three kids by himself and also take care of his big sick baby (moi) but he did great. He told me that Vonn Kaleb did okay with the girls. He didn't really play with them but he tolerated being around the girls without any fussing and acting out from him. 

Earlier that night, when our friends dropped off the girls to us, they gave us several homemade cheesecake squares. It was really good, I craved for more; so later that night after the girls went home, I cranked up the oven and baked some brownie cheesecake.

The recipe I followed to make this brownie cheesecake was delicious. The only tweak I will do next time I bake this is reduce the amount of sugar in the brownie fudge batter. It wasn't overly sweet but I find it to be a notch up than my preferred level of dessert sweetness. More than the yum of this brownie cheesecake, I was just happy that I was able to do something that I love doing -- baking! :)

Monday, March 3, 2014


The play yard that I bought for Vonn Kaleb turned out to be a big hit (at least for me). After setting up the first set, I knew right away that my active boy would need a bigger play area, hence, I bought a second set. I also knew that a bigger play area meant that we have to rearrange his nursery and put away some of his toys particularly the big ones like the Activity Center/Exersaucer (which he doesn't play with anymore anyway). Good thing is that our home has big bedrooms so space wasn't much of an issue.

When I initially set up all two play yard sets (16 panels), this is what I came up with:

My plan was to put a small table by the small window and set up my laptop there and use that as my work area. That way, I'm inside the play yard with Vonn Kaleb, and he wouldn't feel neglected or deserted, as this boy likes constant attention and reassurance. Well, Vince and I tried that last night and we found that to be not ergonomic (rather back straining) for me. My very much supportive husband took upon himself to move my computer desk from our room to the nursery and helped me set up my work station and Vonn Kaleb's fort (that's what we call his play yard now... hehe!)

So this is how the nursery looks like now:

Notice that instead of 16 panels, we only used 14 to create Vonn Kaleb's fort. The room is big enough to accommodate all 16 panels but it got too cramped when we did that. Vince wanted to make sure that we have a good space to walk within the room, especially at night when it's dark with all lights off that we might trip and fall because of the fort (and Vonn Kaleb's growing toy mine!)

My ever loyal computer desk. If I remember it right, I got this for only $35 in 2006. After eight years and six moves within Canada to US and within, it's still holding up and serving me. What a great buy!
I use two computers when I work. Since this side of the room was not hooked for modem connection, I retired my ancient HP desktop (Windows XP circa 2005 - does anybody still use that?) and I'm using Vince's laptop for my second computer.

From a different angle. We had to move the diaper pail over beside the TV to make room for Vonn Kaleb's fort.
In one of the captions above, I mentioned of Vonn Kaleb's toy mine -- you know, bunch of toys that when you step on them, you set them off (pretty much like a real mine), they make noises and they hurt you too. He has soooo much toys! Honestly, his toys overwhelm me. To think, we only bought him three to four toys at the most. How did he accumulate so much toys in this short time? Maybe it's just me who's over reacting but when I was a kid growing up, toys were one of the luxuries my frugal mom would not afford for her children to have. She thought they were a waste of money. She would rather buy us clothes and food than toys. Makes sense, right? So now that I'm a mom myself, I appreciate that a lot of people have been showering my son with love and giving him toys of all sorts and that he gets to experience one of the things I never experienced, but one thing for sure, Vince and I are determined not to spoil him rotten with toys and gadgets and stuff. He will have some and he's definitely not going to be deprived but he is going to have to learn and appreciate the value of things. To that, Vince and I bought him two toy hampers to keep his toys organized and his room clutter less, and also to spare us the ouch from stepping on them.

Vonn Kaleb's small toys will easily fill up these two hampers!
So that's the new look of Vonn Kaleb's nursery. I can't end this post without expressing my big THANK YOU to my husband who was very supportive of my decision of going back to work. He knows how stressful my job could get, and working and caring for our son might become too challenging and too much for me. He is all for me quitting my job, but still he supported me of my decision to return to work and give this stint a try. I appreciate his kindness so much and out of respect and love for him, he can be rest assured that I will uphold and prioritize our family all the time, and that even if I'm now back in the workforce, my role as a wife and mom still always comes first.


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