Archive for December, 2006

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Rockstar Baby’s First Christmas It didn’t snow, t…

29 December 2006

Rockstar Baby’s First Christmas

It didn’t snow, the weather was a warm 55+ degrees in December, and Christmas 2006 went well as it usually does. I sent out our usual Christmas cards and packages on time (I usually aim to mail them out between December 12-15th so they don’t get there too early or too late). Bought and wrapped presents for people early (usually just for our families and a few friends), and avoided crowded shopping malls. Each year, I try to take the stress out of the holidays by not making it a big ‘to-do’ and as they say, just keeping it real. Natch. So even though I want to be that person who bakes Christmas cookies and makes homemade cards, I realize my limits. We also bought a smaller tree –a 3 foot tabletop one so that rockstar baby won’t be able to get his hands on it. But other than the tree, lights, and a few stockings, we didn’t decorate our house that much.

Rockstar baby’s first Christmas was enjoyable and I think he had a lot of fun even though he didn’t quite understand the concept of the whole thing yet.

We spent Christmas Eve with my side of the family, and then Christmas Day with the hubs’ side of the family. Of course, there was a lot of eating going on, a lot of presents, and good company. Rockstar baby definitely got the most presents –including a little red piano, a rocking horse, a cool walker, a play tent, and tons of other stuff! He also had the most fun ripping wrapping paper and playing with the empty boxes. He definitely enjoyed the small stuff =).

Highlights of Christmas 2006
Christmas Mosaic 2006!
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Letter to Santa Dear Santa, I’ve been a (mostly) …

21 December 2006

Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

I’ve been a (mostly) good person this year (if you don’t count the road rage!). For Christmas, I would love it…

  • If rockstar baby started eating more. His cough is just killing his appetite and I’m very worried!
  • If rockstar baby gained 5 pounds. I want him to be a butterball!
  • If someone got me a box of Jer’s Handmade Incrediballs –no, it’s not something sleazy. They’re actually chocolate covered peanut-butter balls with rice krispies all mixed in.
  • If I someone gave me a Bloomingdale’s gift certificate or a Starbucks gift certificate. It would really come in handy.
  • If I had thicker hair.
  • If people stopped making up words like conversate and truthability. Also, it would be great if people started to spell words properly and not use ‘your’ when they really mean ‘you’re’ or ‘they’re’ when really mean ‘their.’ And while we’re at it, can people stop using “quotation marks” improperly?! It’s “annoying” =P
  • If I actually stuck to my plan of eating healthy and working out on a regular basis
  • If people actually took the time to write a little note on their Christmas cards instead of just sending it out generically (sometimes without even putting your name!) Okay, I’m asking too much. Yes, I realize people are too busy. Scratch that, Santa.
  • If the hubs took me out to dinner and a movie. I’m dying to see a movie in the big screen. Like The Good Shepard or Eragon or The Pursuit of Happyness. And.I.Can’t.Wait. for the TRANSFORMERS movie! I am such a geek.
  • If my cholesterol level decreased a bit. Yes, I know I have to be more responsible in terms of eating –I guess this goes with the willpower, huh?
  • If I got to see my cousins more. I realize that as family, we don’t necessarily have to be friends, but it would be great if they could take the initiative and make time to hang out once in a while and be interested in my life as I am with theirs.
  • If I got my old car back! I miss you my beautiful, speedy X5! Not that I don’t appreciate my new car… it’s just not the same. =(
  • If I became passionate about my job again. I love the fact that what I’m doing is serving the community and I love being in public service. It’s just that I sometimes feel I deserve more pay and am envious that other people make tons more than I do.
  • If I stopped comparing myself to others! I am thankful, really I am, but who doesn’t have a pity-party once in a blue moon, right?
  • If I got out of debt once and for all (well, not counting the new car debt I just incurred).
  • If I had more time to spend with rockstar baby. Period. Oh, and the hubs too.
  • If I had the time to bake cookies and put together gift baskets for friends each Christmas.
  • If I could give my parents a wonderful gift like a trip to Europe to show them how much I appreciate all they do for me.
  • If I could pay back the hubs and my parents for always “spotting me” whenever I am broke. I would love to do the same.
  • If I could financially support our family single-handedly just because I can.
  • If I could go snowboarding sometime this season.
  • If the hubs and I can go on holiday with rockstar baby to somewhere really cool –like Greece!
  • If people become a little less self-centered (yes, including me) and realize Christmas for what it really is (and that it’s not about shopping).

And lastly, Santa, I would love it if:

  • If everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a joyous New Year!

rockstar baby's first christmas

rockstar baby's first christmas

have a rocking christmas

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Happy 10-Month Birthday to my Rockstar Baby! Rock…

18 December 2006

Happy 10-Month Birthday to my Rockstar Baby!

Rockstar baby turned 10 months old yesterday! He has officially entered the double-digits stage and I can’t believe how much he’s grown. I haven’t really been good at chronicling all his milestones, but I do remember in my head some of the cool things he’s done:

  • Around September, at about 8 months old, rockstar baby learned to creep around (aka doing this awkward one-arm scooting thing). I dubbed him Gollum (of LOTR fame) because you get that picture when you see him crawling around on his belly, using his arms (of course rockstar baby is definitely way cuter than Gollum). He also discovered the art of clapping and pretty much clapped like there was no tomorrow. He also discovered gravity and realized that his toys fall when he drops them from his high chair. By the end of his 8th month, he began to stand alone and balance himself for a minute here-and-there. He also did a lot of babbling –mostly da-da-da’s, ba-ba-ba’s, and the occasional ‘ma-ma-mumm.’

  • By his 9th month, he learned to go into a sitting position all by himself (without us propping him into a sitting position). He also began to pull himself up to a standing position. He mastered that pretty quickly and now he can also pull himself up to standing position with ease and sit himself back down (although he forgets to bend his knees sometimes and just takes a flying face-plant onto the floor). He does all this with a quickness and can stand up by just using my knee, a box, a toy –or any object he can hang onto and stand for several minutes by himself. It’s quite cool to watch him do it. But it’s positively heart-attack inducing whenever he falls and I’m not there quick enough to catch him. He also began to forgo the Gollum creep and has been crawling for the last couple of weeks. He’s also started to string together his syllables and babble out ‘da-ba-pa’ and ‘na-na-ba.’

  • Now at 10 months, he crawls with speed and just a few days ago, started to “cruise” and take a few steps by himself while hanging onto furniture! He successfully maneuvered himself from his favorite hangout (which is the TiVo stand), to our chaise lounge which was about 4 feet away. He also has four teeth (two on the bottom, and two big bunny ones on top), and is starting to eat adult foods.

He’s beginning to become more and more of an actual person each and every day. He can voice his frustrations and anger (“BAAaaaa!”) and knows his likes and dislikes (likes banging the TV screen with a golf ball, dislikes it when we take the golf ball away), and interacts with us in so many ways. It’s just the coolest thing! I’m expecting him to start walking before his 1st birthday; I just feel that he’s growing way too fast already! Wah!

Unfortunately, though, rockstar baby has been quite sick. He’s been suffering from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) aka bronchiolitis – a respiratory virus, as well as an ear infection (brought on by bronchiolitis –the 2nd ear infection he’s gotten). He’s a very easy-going baby, but these past 2 days have taken a toll on him. Yesterday, he was super-cranky and didn’t want to play by himself as he normally does. He’s also feeding very poorly on account that he has coughing fits every 2 minutes which means he will lose some weight (and he’s already a skinny baby). The pediatrician says this virus usually takes about 3 weeks to run its course. So rockstar baby will be sick during his first Christmas. My poor, poor, bear!

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So I Bought a Car! After much deliberation, resea…

12 December 2006

So I Bought a Car!

After much deliberation, research, and pulling of hair, I finally buckled down and bought me my first car! Yehey! The hubs and I went to the dealer this past Saturday, and four hours later, I drove home with a brand new 2007 Toyota Highlander in Bluestone Metallic:

Check out the new hotness:
highlander

Up until the last minute, I was still considering the both the Rav4 and the Highlander. The Rav4 was definitely more fun to drive and a lot faster (more horsepower), but the Highlander to me felt a lot more substantial. Plus I figured I drive fast enough as it is (my mom says I’m a kaskasera); I knew that with the Rav4, I’d just be tempted to fly. The Highlander felt much more stable, smoother, and was a quieter ride. It also didn’t hurt that they were offering a $1K rebate!

I bought the car for about $5K less than MSRP Price with the options. I got the car for under $30K even though the sticker price was close to $35K, and the price I got was hardly $1K over invoice price so I think I got a darn good deal considering all the options I got with it. We’re talking 4WD with a V6 engine, heated leather seats, premium JBL 6-CD stereo with 8 speakers, power driver’s seat, a third row, etc… I pretty much got a Limited Highlander for the price of a base model.

Let me just say though, signing all those papers was like signing my life away. It’s pretty much signing on for a 5-year debt (the financing term I picked out). It’s quite disconcerting, which is why I can’t fully celebrate the whole new car thing. The whole ordeal was exhausting. We were there from 1:30 to about 4:30 pm! Poor rockstar baby was there and was bored out of his mind. Who can blame him? I don’t know why buying a car has to take such a big chunk of your life away. Thank goodness I already had my price (care of Carsdirect); all I asked was can you meet this price and if the dealer had said no, I would’ve walked.

I still haven’t taken my car out for a full drive yet since I’m a bit scared to drive it. When I drove it home though, I could already tell that a Toyota just isn’t the same as a BMW. Then again, you can’t compare apples and oranges, right? Maybe one day, I’ll get to buy a pre-owned BMW…one day.

But here’s some more news: Dumb-ass me already put a scratch on the back bumper! ARGHHHH!! I came home today and parked my old car behind the new car; I was inching forward a bit and gauged the distance incorrectly and BAM! Hit the new car. I.Am.Officially.An.Idiot. *hits-self-on-head*

Just a little update: The scratch is miniscule, really. You can hardly see it unless I point it out to you. But it’s still there! Do’h!

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Schmoozing, Kalamansi Martinis and a Celeb-Sightin…

7 December 2006

Schmoozing, Kalamansi Martinis and a Celeb-Sighting

I went to a Filipino Lawyer’s gathering last night at the behest of my pops. It was held at Cendrillon –a Pan-Asian/Filipino/Fusion restaurant in Soho. I actually thought it was a cocktail reception type of thing but it turned out to be an actual dinner with a number of Filipino lawyers. My dad was the ‘most seasoned’ one there I believe, and all the rest were about twenty and thirty-somethings. I haven’t been to any networking, cultural-based shindig/meeting in a long time. The last I’ve ever done is be part of the Asian American Law Students’ Association back in law school. So it was very interesting to be part of that whole thing all over again.

I’ve been to Cendrillon a few years back, and the food was still good. They also had buko and kalamansi martinis which were very soothing and refreshing. The entrees were enjoyable and cleverly prepared, but not down-home Filipino cooking (so don’t expect that if you do go). Like I said, this is more of a Pan-Asian type of place. Cendrillon is owned by one of my dad’s old frat buddies (whom I’ve never met), but unfortunately he wasn’t there last night.

But who was there? Ms. Claire Danes of “This place smells like cockroaches” fame. A few years back, she caused a bit of controversy when she uttered that phrase (or something to that effect) about the Philippines when she was there to film Brokedown Palace. So a bunch of us whispered what she was doing in the restaurant! Hee-hee. Well I do like her as an actress even after that statement, but I no longer think of her as a refined or intelligent person. (What’s weird is I’ve actually seen her in person before in Los Angeles –they filmed an episode of her show “My So-Called Life” at my school. I didn’t see Jared Leto though! He was my crush at the time).

Schmoozing and networking is not my thing, and it’s even more uncomfortable with my dad next to me. I dunno why, but I felt I had to “mind” him for lack of a better word. He held his own though, despite the fact that he mentioned a few people he knew from back in the day that we younger folks wouldn’t have a clue about. I had a good time and met a few young attorneys I would actually like to hang out with on a normal basis. Like this guy Justin who was hilarious. There was also this guy there who apparently is my dad’s adversary in a pending case. I said out loud “is that the guy you don’t like?” Hahahah… well I only said that because my dad complained about the fact that he failed to show up in court a couple of times. I saw them talking to each other and I think they’re on cordial terms.

All in all, I had a good time and would enjoy meeting up the group again. I just wish it was more of a cocktail setting rather than an actual 3-hour dinner!

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So I’m Buying a Car (aka I Finally Feel Like a Gro…

1 December 2006
So I’m Buying a Car (aka I Finally Feel Like a Grown-Up)

Though I’m 30 years old, I still feel pretty much like a young’in. I still act like a petulant teen at times, do impulsive things, still dream about what I want to be when I grow up, and pretty much act the same way that I did when I was in my late teens/early 20’s (sans the boy drama and love woes). And even though I’ve accomplished personal goals and done “grown-up” things like buy a house, give birth to a baby, have a real career, become a mother, and all that jazz, I think that nothing makes you feel more grown-up than buying a car.

I’ve never owned my own car. To this point, I’ve only driven cars owned (or leased) by my parents. The current car I drive is a very nice 2004 BMW X5 which my dad leased for me (yes, my parents are very generous creatures). Well, the lease is up this month (the day after Christmas to be exact) and I thought that it was high-time to buy and be responsible for my very own car. So I’m doing all this research to see what vehicle is right for me and my family. (Of course, money is the big factor. As much as I feel that another BMW x5 would be tops, I certainly can’t afford the monthly payments!)

Here’s my top 2 choices thus far: the 2007 Toyota Rav4 Limited (4×4/v6 engine) or a 2007 Toyota Highlander (4×4/v6).

2007 Toyota Rav4 and the 2007 Toyota Highlander (respectively)
(photos courtesy of ToyotaUSA.com)

rav4 highlander

I think Toyota is a great company, and I figure you can’t really go wrong and with choosing any of their models. The Rav4 is more to my budget, and it’s a great deal. A fully-loaded Limited Rav4 is less than a base model Highlander. But I really liked how the Highlander handled on the road, and I like that it’s a bit roomier (after all, we are a growing family). So far, I’m sticking with these 2 cars as my top choices. UPDATE: check out Carsdirect –you can get a car online with no hassle and guaranteed low price. I got a quote for a Highlander (with the options I want) for the same price as a fully-loaded Rav4!
I did, however, consider other brands like Honda and Jeep (for a hot minute because the hubs had a company discount). I also had to decide whether to lease or buy. I was initially going to lease, but I thought it was high time to buy something for myself and start paying a monthly fee for something I will actually own in the end. (And too bad that unlike a house, a car isn’t an investment that will make you money).
Let me just say that doing research is exhausting! Learning all the differences between MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) vs. factory invoice price vs. dealer cost can give you a headache. A lot of my time is spent on the internet learning the ropes and comparing prices. I’m also filling out spreadsheets to figure out what I should offer the dealer. Check out www.carbuyingtips.com for amazing tips, free resources, etc. According to them, your offer to the dealer should be about 5% over dealer’s actual cost. Edmunds is also another wonderful resource.
I feel so adult doing all this crap, and it’s kinda a cool feeling. It’s also freaking scary because I’ll be responsible for everything –the haggling, the acquiring, the maintenance, etc! So if I enter a bad deal, then I have no one to blame but myself (of course, if the dealer was shady, that’s a different story).
Wish me luck folks!