Friday, December 19, 2008

What's New???

It has been a while since I last posted. We have been so busy since we moved to our new house. I have been so busy with the project that I am working on but I am so happy that things are a lot better now than when I took over the project. It wasn't easy to get to this stage. Senior management is happy and project resources are feeling a lot better.

At home, I haven't done a single project that I planned to do. My power tools are collecting dust in the garage. I bought the materials for my built in entertainment center but I just couldn't start it. But at least the rooms are not as messy anymore because we managed to unpack a lot of things. My project this weekend, if I can find the time, is to install the cabinets in our walk-in closet. Our clothes are just everywhere. We are also planning on painting the walls in the family room and putting up some curtains. Oh I have accomplished something. I managed to put up the curtain at the sliding doors to our backyard. At least our neighbors in the back can't see the inside of our house anymore.

Today is Cheryl's last day of school for the year. They have the Christmas break for 2 weeks. Abby's last day was yesterday and they did a presentation in the school chapel where they sing songs. I can't believe I don't have a baby anymore. She was just enjoying herself on stage singing and doing all the actions and waving at us. I can see that she loves performing.

There are so many other things that have happened but there won't be enough space in this blog.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I am back online ... in our new house

I am back online!! It has been almost a month since my last post and boy oh boy..what a month it has been.

Here's a quick recap.. after the paperwork was done, we waited for the funding to be released and it turned out that we had to sign more papers and some more required documentation. Then we did a house walkthrough on Oct 21, closed escrow and got the keys to the new house on Oct 23. We moved to the new house on Oct 25 and that whole week was very hectic. We had to keep going back to the house that we rented to clean it up, get rid of old stuff that we didn't want to bring to the new house, repaint the kids bedroom. This is on top of the activities that went on in the new house like alarm installations, furniture delivery, unpacking of boxes, appliance delivery and installations, landscaping, and so on. I actually got sick because of exhaustion during the move.

But you know what...it's all worth it!! We just love our new house!! Abby doesn't want to leave the house. Everytime we go out, she would insist on going back home. Cheryl is warming up to it, especially when the new furniture were delivered. At first she kept telling us that it doesn't feel like home because the place was empty. Weiwei is also warming up to the idea of being a homeowner. She just loves the kitchen, master bath and of course the walk-in closet.

As for me, I had all the reasons to finally purchase a whole set of power tools!!! And the best thing is, we have the place to keep them..the huge garage. I have so many projects already lined up to improve the house like crown moulding and window trim installations, entertainment center, fireplace mantel, blind installations, bedroom paint jobs, and to top it off...Christmas decorations!!!

I will post some before and after pictures of the different rooms in our new house. Hopefully the after pictures will be much better...well at least that's the goal...

To my friends, you are all welcome to drop by and visit us. We don't have any parking and space issues anymore!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Paperwork's done...now we wait....

We have done all the paperwork for our house loan and now we wait...we are so anxious to get the keys to the house. We have done some measurements of the windows so we can buy the blinds. That's one aspect of a property being on a corner lot that we have to deal with. The exposure is more compared to a property that is in between two properties.

We are looking forward to starting our traditions in our new house and the first one coming up is Thanksgiving and then our favortie time of the year - Christmas!!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Awesome News!!!

Today is a great day. I woke up feeling great and everything was going well at work. But everything went even better when I heard the news from Weiwei. Our offer on the house was accepted!!! I was so happy. But when I got out of work, I got an even better news. Our loan application has been approved!!! So, all we have to do now is to go through paperwork and we were told that we can probably close escrow in 2 weeks if we get it all done. We are all so happy and thankful...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

We Made an Offer!!!

The Salgado household is so excited!!! We just made an offer on a brand new house and we are praying that the offer will be accepted. We have been waiting and praying for so many, many years. We have somewhat given up owning a house because the prices were unbelievably unaffordable. But now, there are so many new and used houses in the market at unbelievably affordable prices. This abundance has forced some builders to offer crazy incentives to get rid of their inventory. And they are focusing their marketing to first time home buyers like us.

Now, we could have been easily sucked into the house buying frenzy at the time when the property prices were so high. If we have done so, we probably would have been included in the statistics on foreclosures. We have friends who managed to buy houses during that time and to be honest, I felt a tinge of envy. I kept thinking I must be doing something wrong because if they can afford it, why can't I. And I would do computations over and over and it just didn't make sense. And the more Weiwei and I would talked about it, the more it didn't make sense. Looking back now, there was really somebody else with us whenever we talk about buying a house. It was God voicing out His opinion in a subtle way and if I can paraphrase Him, He was probably telling us..."it's not time yet.. just hang in there... I already have the right place and time for you to match what you need...just remember that I will give you what you need and it may not be what you want but it will definitely be what you need...not only for the two of you but also for Cheryl and Abby... and you will feel so good and at peace when that time comes..".

And here we are now, in a period when it seems like a great time to buy. And feeling really good and at peace with the offer that we just made. So I am hoping that this is it! Here are some tidbits about the property we are interested in.

First of all, it is a brand new house that is already ready for move-in and with so many upgrades in place. WE LOVE THE UPGRADES!! We probably would have had a hard time figuring out what to upgrade if we have to start from nothing. Weiwei just couldn't contain herself when we first saw the place. She was like a kid in a candy store. Like I said, there is an abundance of properties and this puts us in a position to negotiate a price. So we offered something that is 40K less than the asking price plus some freebies like refrigerator and backyard landscaping. We felt comfortable with the offer. Some people might say, we could have been more aggresive. But we didn't want to get something by exploiting somebody else's situation. We wouldn't feel at peace with it. And I have to tell you...these properties were going as high as $600-$700K before. And now it has been cut to almost half of that. Another incentive was that the closing costs will be paid for if our loan is approved by the lender. So, it's really a great deal already from our point of view.





Secondly...LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!!!. This sweetens the pot even more!! The property is on a corner lot facing a playground so we didn't really need a big background because the kids can literally just cross the street and they're in the playground. It's like having a huge background and you don't have to pay for maintenance. And because it's on a corner lot and in front of a playground, we wouldn't have any problems with visitor parking. There's tons of parking all over the place so we can open up our house to visitors which we have been dying to do for a long time. We like having people over and we can't do that now because of the difficult parking situation in our current place. Another plus of having a corner lot is that the amount of natural light that comes in is just awesome. I don't know about you but I love sunshine and living in a house where you constantly need to have the lights on is not my cup of tea and it can be depressing sometimes. Another huge plus is the location of our community. It is right beside a huge commercial complex that is being developed which will house well-known retail stores (like Anne Klein, Victoria Secret and many more) and restaurants (like PF Changs). There is also a huge movie theater complex which is almost done. The estimated opening date for the whole complex is October-November of this year.

So we are really excited about it!!! And we are really really hoping that this is what God has planned for us. If this is not it... can you imagine how much more excited we would feel when we finally find what He has in store for us. Oh my goodness!!! God rocks man!!!

So stay tuned....and please, please, please pray for us...

Monday, September 22, 2008

WAY TO GO JOE!!!

I am so happy for my friend Joe Ellison. He finally graduated from UTI and he is now ready to embark on a new career.

WAY TO GO JOE!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Abby's First Day in School

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And just like that, our little princess has spread her wings to fly.... there's no turning back now for her..

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What have we been up to?

It has been almost a month since I have last posted something here. It has been a very busy month and I couldn't find the time to update my blog. But here's a summary of what has happened.

We went camping again but this time just for an overnight stay. We couldn't find an available campsite nearby for 2 nights over a weekend. We had a bit of problem eating because the bees and wasps were just everywhere. But in spite of this little setback, we had a wonderful time just spending time together, riding our bikes and scooter around the campsite and spending the night in a tent away from the hustle and bustle of civilization.

We went to see the Ringling Bros & Barnum Bailey Circus. The show was in Oakland Arena and we took our 2 beautiful daughters on a Saturday show. This is the first time for our youngest and I think the 3rd time for Cheryl and as usual, they had so much fun. Abby was scared of the clowns and it reminded us of how Cheryl was at the same age. Cheryl appreciates and enjoys the show better than before.

I celebrated my birthday and my wonderful wife and kids baked a cake for me. Cheryl gave me a new shirt for the office and Weiwei bought me a new sweater. Abby painted something as a gift for me. Actually I couldn't care less if they didn't give me anything at all. Just being blessed with a wonderful beautiful loving wife and 2 adorable daughters is already a gift that will last me a lifetime.

Lastly, we went to Disneyland for the long Labor day weekend. This trip has highlighted the age difference between our 2 kids. Because instead of all of us taking the same rides like before, we actually had to split so that Cheryl could try the more grown-up rides. One milestone in this trip is the rollercoaster ride with Abby. She tried the rollercoaster in Toontown and she just loved it. She kept riding it over and over. But of course, we still did the classic kid rides. After all, Cheryl is still a kid.

video

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Golden Gate Bridge ... Finally!!!

We finally managed to drive on the Golden Gate bridge. My wife and I have been in the US for 8 10 years and all that time has been in the bay area. So it is really amusing that this is the first time we have seen the Golden Gate bridge up close. But unfortunately, the fog was too thick so we really didn't see the whole bridge in all its splendor. All we could see was what's on our side and immediately in front. We couldn't even see the bridge towers. But at least we have a reason to come back for more.

Anyway, we actually went to the San Francisco Zoo first. We have been wanting to do that as well so we decided to do two things in one trip. The kids had a blast at the zoo but they didn't see any elephants and most of the animals are taking naps or not active at all. It got a bit boring for me but my kids attitude towards the trip changed my perspective. They were actually having a great time regardless of whether they see the animals moving or not. It was all about just being there with each other.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Crying...a great way to pray

I was listening to our pastor in church today pray and at one point, his voice started breaking because he was overcome by emotions and he struggled to say what he wanted to say because he started to cry a bit. After the prayer, he said that he wished he could cry and talk at the same time but the two really wouldn't work well together. Well, it got me thinking.....

If you have been following our blog, you know by now that I have lost my father last year and my oldest brother early this year. And my wife has lost both her parents in a span of less than a year. We were hurting and we still are. Through these times, when I start to pray about the situation, I would be overcome by emotions that it made it difficult to pray verbally what I wanted to say. Today, it suddenly dawned on me that I don't really have to say anything because our loving God already knows what I want to say. All I really have to do is just cry because that would be the best way of expressing your pain, hurt and anguish. No amount of words, no matter how articulate you are, can really express what and how you're feeling inside and that's the beauty of it. You don't have to. Just let your guard down, let the tears fall, open up your heart and cry like you've never done before because God understands what you are going through and he will be there for you.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Back from Lake Oroville

We are back from Lake Oroville. We had a lot of fun and we are so thankful for the Cihonskis for inviting us on this vacation. This was quite an experience for us. We have never done such a vacation before where you camp on a floating platform surrounded by water. It was quite an experience and we loved every minute of it. The kids couldn't stop talking about it. I have posted some picture in our blog slideshow. Have fun viewing the pictures!!!


Thanks Bryon, Sandy, Rachelle, Brent and Brittney for sharing this wonderful vacation with us! You guys rock!! And from now on, I need to get back on my work out regimen. I want to be like Mr Bryon Hercules so I can flex my muscles as well next time.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Camping on Water ...

We are going to Lake Oroville tomorrow to spend the weekend on a floating campsite. The Cihonskis' invited us and we have never been in one before so we are pretty excited about it specially the kids. I am a bit worried too because of the kids. The campsite is surrounded by water so we really have to pay extra attention to them. Unlike camping on land, they can run around. We'll see what happens....stay tuned

Monday, July 14, 2008

Quite A Scare

We had quite a scare this morning at 2am. We woke up with Abby coughing so bad and she started throwing up. After a while, we saw blood in the basin that and when we looked at her, blood was on her nose and mouth. We couldn't determine whether blood came out of her mouth first before her nose started bleeding or the other way around. We tried to stay calm but the blood just kept dripping out her nose.

We have dealt with the nose bleed situation before and so I tried to stop it but the bleeding just wouldn't stop. After a while, we decided to call 911 because we felt that she has already lost a lot of blood. While the paramedics were on their way, I kept praying that the bleeding will stop and after a while it did. People from the fire department arrived first at our place and shortly after the paramedics came. They saw the amount of blood that was in the toilet and they all said that she bled pretty bad and we need to take her to the hospital. The paramedics had the gurney ready but they told us that we can take Abby to the hospital ourselves because they don't want to aggravate her because if she starts crying, she might start coughing and the bleeding might start again.

So we took Abby to the emergency services at the hospital and they checked her out. They didn't find anything wrong that will explaing the coughing up of blood except that the blood might have come from her nasal passage and went down to her throat. That was quite a relief.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

New Worship Pastor in Church

Our new worship ministry pastor has finally started officially. His name is Eric Schumacher. I am excited to find out what's going to happen in this area of our church and really looking forward to collaborating with Eric.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Disneyland Trip

We just came back from Disneyland where we celebrated the 4th of July long weekend. We decided to take this trip to help Weiwei cope with her loss and keep her mind occupied. She came back from Singapore about a week ago and I wanted her to take time off from home life and spend it with our kids to ease her back into the groove of things in the US.

I must say that this trip was a very fruitful one. We managed to try the rides that we haven't tried before. I know...it's hard to believe if you know us..we have been traveling to Disneyland so many times for the past 8 years. But there is this new ride called Toy Story Mania in the California Adventure park. It's a 3D ride and you get to shoot stuff using a virutal canon like what you do in parlor games that you see in carnivals. The kids LOVED IT SO MUCH!! We managed to try the ride twice because it was late at night and the line was so short.

Weiwei also finally saw the new parade called the Disney Pixar parade which is a parade of the Pixar animation characters. In my opinion, it's a better parade than the previous one they have called Block Party parade. In Disneyland, we managed to try the Finding Nemo submarine voyage again. The kids had their fill of the differnt kiddie rides. Cheryl even dared to try the Haunted Mansion with me (of course, I had to explain to her all the time during the ride that none of the things she was seeing were real).

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Thanks for your Sympathies ...

We would like to say thank you to all of you who has prayed for us and has offered their words of sympathy, encouragement and hope to our family. It really helps to know that we have friends who are there for us in times of need.

We want to thank our friends in Singapore who paid their respects in person to my father-in-law during the wake and the funeral services. It really, really, really meant a lot.

We also like to thank our church friends for offering their help to take care of our kids while Weiwei is away and for praying for us.

I want to thank my good friend Bob and Weng for accomodating us at their place in Southern California when I took my kids out to keep them occupied while Weiwei is away.

Thank you all...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Family Camp

We just came back from a Christian family camping trip. It was a very rewarding and refreshing trip and to be honest one of the best vacations that I have ever had. My kids enjoyed it so much and it really helped us take our minds off the situation that we have in Singapore.

I was very hesitant to push through with this camping trip. With my father-in-law just passing away and my wife being away to attend to this matter in Singapore, I was pretty apprehensive to venture out on a camping trip as a single parent with 2 kids. Never done it before without my lovely wife. My mind is trying to wrap itself around losing a 4th family member and I didn't really know how to cope with being alone with 2 kids in a family camp and deal with meeting other people, making conversations and trying to get to know other people. I just wanted to be at home in my comfort zone where I have full control (at least that's what I think). But somehow, I felt a strong sense of going and it was pretty strong otherwise I could have easily just dismissed it and just stayed at home.

So off we went on Sunday, June22 to the Santa Clara mountains to a place called Mission Springs. As we get nearer and nearer to the place (based on my GPS directions), I was getting more anxious every minute. Weird thoughts kept going through my mind and the urge to turn back was getting stronger. But I stood firm and decided to continue on.

So we arrived at the place and it was just gorgeous... lots of big, tall redwood trees around and a sense of tranquility pervades the place. I felt at peace but I still wasn't comfortable being a single parent out of my comfort zone. We registered and we saw our church friends and got introduced to people from other churches and my kids just couldn't wait to run around and explore the place.

To summarize what happened during the week for me, I met a lot of people, made new friends, started new relationships (hopefully), shared the situation we have in Singapore and took a bit of that load of my chest, got prayed for by my small group, started each day singing praises and worship to the Lord, got blessed by tremendous teachings of Pastor Ron, enjoyed great healthy food (although I missed asian food and had to grab a bite at a chinese restaurant outside of camp), enjoyed the fellowship and tremendous testimonies of other Christian people, shared my testimony to other people, met a lot of new kids because my kids made tons of new friends, spent a lot of time resting because my kids were always out with their new friends, enjoyed wonderful shakes and coffee from the Camp Cafe, got to know our church friends who are attending the camping better, laughed quite a bit with all the funny stories, jokes and performances in the camp, and so forth and so on. As you can see, I really had a great time after a bumpy start the first night when Abby had a very bad case of diaper rash and she was just screaming when I cleaned her up.



But the most important thing of all is that at the end of the trip when we were driving home...I felt the love of God from this camping experience. He said..."cast your burdens upon me, those who are heavily laden, and I will give you rest". And indeed he does...

I am so happy that I got to spend this wonderful week with my kids in a very welcoming and safe environment. I felt bad at the end of it because I kept thinking if only Weiwei is here, she will feel so blessed as well. Now I can't speak for my kids but I know that this trip has a lasting effect on them. And I know that when they have their own family, this will be one of those stories that they will be telling their kids.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

...and yet another loss in the Family

We just got word from my sister-in-law in Singapore that my father-in-law has lost his battle with cancer. Weiwei is on her way to Singapore and she has no idea yet that her dad is gone because she's in transit. She will only find out about it when she arrives in Singapore.

Another sad time for our family. This is our 4th loss in a year. It's harder for Weiwei because she just lost her mom to cancer late last year. So the wound is still fresh. I am praying that she'll be able to cope with this recent event and that time will continue to heal our wounds.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Camping with the Sayson Family

We went camping over the weekend again. But this time around, we are with another family. I invited Andrew who is my friend and colleague at work. This was their first time camping and they actually did quite well for first timers with no prior experience at all. So we have Andrew and Lorraine and their 2 kids Aidan and Andie.


We arrived at the campsite Friday afternoon and it was so hot. But it cooled down quite fast. Andrew's family arrived about 30-45 minutes after us and our kids hit it off immediately. They were running around and playing while we are setting up camp.

First night was a rocky start for them because their air bed deflated quite a bit and this was a problem for Lorraine's back. I don't blame her. I had a problem with my back as well because my dear wife forgot our air pump so I was lying on a semi-inflated air bed as well. For all you hardcore campers out there you must be thinking, air bed??? That's not real camping. Well, say what you want but I love my air bed and we have to keep the kids comfortable otherwise they are going to be miserable without good sleep. And if they are miserable, then we will definitely be miserable.

video

The kids had so much fun riding their bikes, blowing bubbles, squirting each other with water guns, coloring books, and just being around each other. We also went to the lake for a swim and the kids were just enjoying the cool dip because it was hot that day. The beach was so crowded and there were a lot of people using the picnic tables in the park.

My oldest daughter was so amused with Aidan. He looked so cute when he runs around and tries to talk. He has so many cute words like "yabadaba" when he wants more food. He also kept saying my youngest daughter's name Abby but he actually meant to call my oldest daughter. He's such a bundle of joy.

It was so much fun watching Andie and Abby communicating and socializing with each other. With their limited vocabulary, it's amazing how they can actually talk to each other and understand what they are saying to each other. I am so happy to see Abby so eager to show Andie what camping is all about.

Here are some more pictures...


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Very 1st Solo Camping of the Salgado Family

We just got back from our very first solo camping as a family. It was a blast and I needed it to take my mind off what happened to my brother. A lot of preparations had to be done being the 1st solo camping and all. Stress level was high (at least for me), but we managed to pull it off.



It was very exciting and our kids absolutely enjoyed the experience. We have gone camping with other people as a group and it's different because the activities and the food had to cater to a bigger group and you really don't have that much control on what happens. This time around, we have full control of our time, what we want to do, and what we want to eat. There's so much freedom to enjoy the campsite and what it has to offer.


I am very proud of my lovely bride because she managed to survive and enjoy the experience as well. With freedom doing it solo came more workload because we had to do everything on our own like cooking, making sure the kids are occupied, making sure everybody is warm, cozy and safe.

Our kids had a blast. Abby kept saying over and over that she loves camping. She just kept running and playing and absolutely enjoying the outdoor life.




Cheryl learned how to ride her bike without any training wheels!!! It was amazing to watch. She was quite hesitant when I took the training wheels off of her bike. But when I pushed her bike and she managed to go a short distance without falling down, you could see pure excitement and joy from her eyes. It brought me back to the time that I learned how to ride the bike. I knew exactly the feeling.

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We were so exhausted at the end of the trip. But the funny thing is, we feel refreshed even though we were exhausted. I guess there's two kinds of exhaustion. The first kind is exhaustion from doing things that you don't really enjoy or see any value to it. The second one is exhaustion from doing something that gives you joy, pleasure and fulfillment. I'll take the second type of exhaustion any time.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Another Sad Day for my Family

My brother has finally said goodbye to us. He never recovered. I am going to miss him dearly. He was only 47 and he left three beautiful girls and a loving wife behind. He's like a second father to me and my siblings. And my mom has always relied on him for support specially when my father passed away about 9 months ago. My mom is really struggling right now. Losing a husband and a son within 9 months would be tough to deal with no matter who you are. So we are all trying our best to console her while at the same time deal with the loss on the personal level.

Please pray for me and my family especially my mom.

Friday, April 4, 2008

A Tough Week

This week has been tough for me and my wife.

First we found out that my father-in-law has kidney cancer. My mother-in-law just passed away November last year because of cancer and once again we come face to face with this disease.

Second, my oldest brother suffered a major heart attack on Wednesday and he's now in a coma. Last word I got from sister today is that he hasn't responded to any medication and the doctors have already said that very dreadful phrase "they've already done what they can". So we are now just waiting for a miracle that my brother will pull through. My mom is having a difficult time dealing with this recent event because my father just passed away last year. She's tormented because she's having a difficult time convincing herself to visit my brother at the hospital. She said that she can't bear to see my brother in the same situation as my dad but at the same time she wants to see him to say something to him. She's afraid that she might not be able to handle it. I can only imagine what she's going through. Losing my dad and now most likely losing our oldest brother. I have to stop here for now. I'm having difficulty dealing with it as well.

If you happen to come across my blog, please pray for me and my family.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Home Sweet Home

It feels good to be back home!! Back to my comfort zone. There really is nothing like it. Going away makes you appreciate who and what you have at home. I was in Vegas for 4 days where I attended a conference and right after getting back home, we traveled to Disneyland as a spring break treat to Cheryl.

Las Vegas, what a place. I have been to Vegas a couple of times before but both of those times were with my wife. This time around, it was just me with several colleagues from work. I am saying this because I just realized that I was seeing Vegas from a different point of view. I had the tendency to act like a single guy and I had to check my self once in a while because if you're not careful, you will get confused and lost in that place mentally and morally. So for all of you married people going there, please be very careful. You can still have fun but just be very careful. The commercial "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" can be so far from the truth. Because if you do something really stupid, it will not stay in Vegas. Worse, you will bear that in your conscience for the rest of your life.

Ok, having said all of that....I had lots of fun!!! I managed to reconnect with some ex-colleagues who are now working for other companies and also got to meet other people in the business which is good because it expands my network...really helpful when you get laid off or just want to move on. I managed to accomplish what I set out to do in the conference so it was fruitful work-wise. The last night of the conference was a blast. A special concert for the conference was held and the group that performed is The Bare Naked Ladies which is an awesome band. There was an open bar and we were invited by IBM as a V.I.P and we had access to an open bar and a special area of the concert hall. Food was also great.

At the end of it all, I couldn't wait to go home to see my wife and my kids. But, I am thankful that I work for a company that provides me an opportunity to stay in Vegas and have a great time.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ear Piercing

Cheryl had her ears pierced today. We were so surprised that she started talking about doing it just 2 days ago. I guess she got the idea from some of her friends in school. We took her to the mall and that's where she had the procedure. She was so proud that she didn't cry at all. And now she can't wait to show off her earrings to her friends in school.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I'll See You Later Joe...

I lost an hour of sleep today. It's Daylight Savings Time (DST) and we have to move our clock one hour ahead. I really don't mind because what this means is that sun will still be up when I get home from work which will allow me to spend more time outside with my kids.

I started Sunday the usual way, having breakfast with my family in Safeway. Weiwei, Cheryl and I share a panini sandwich for breakfast while Abby enjoys a doughnut. I have coffee with Weiwei and the 2 kids share a hot chocolate. Then after that they drop me off at church because I have rehearsals for the Sunday worship set.

The service started and we did the worship set. At the end of the set, I talked to Joe our interim worship leader and I found out that today is his last day as the worship leader. The church has found somebody who might be a good candidate as a full time worship and creative arts pastor.

I always feel a sense of sadness when someone leaves especially when it's someone that you have been working with for quite some time. Joe has been our interim worship leader for more than a year now and I really really enjoyed playing with him. I also got to know his wife Jenny and his 2 beautiful kids. I am going to miss them a lot. I know that God has something special for them outside of Fair Oaks Church and I will forever treasure the friendship that I have established with them.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Disney on Ice

We took our kids to watch Disney on Ice today. It's a reward for our oldest daughter who has been so diligent in her studies and her responsibilities at home. We make it a point to give her something every now and then to show her how much we appreciate her and the things that she does, big or small, to make our lives at home wonderful.

We didn't tell her until yesterday after school because we wanted to surprise her. She was so happy and excited last night.

The show was great for kids and Abby was screaming at the top of her lungs calling out the names of the different disney characters that appear on the stage. Cheryl had a wonderful time and they both loved the fireworks at the end of the show. Disney really puts on great shows and this is definitely one of them.

Cheryl bought a little mermaid necklace and some coloring books. She used money from her savings and it's wonderful to see that she just didn't buy it outright. She thought about it long and hard before making a decision. I am so happy that she now has this concept of spending money only after thinking things through and not just out of whim. I sure hope and pray that she continues to grow with this mindset.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My Kids' First Bike Ride of the Year

It's that time of the year in California where the days start getting longer and the temperature starts getting warmer. So we decided it's time to start the outdoor activities for our kids. We bought Abby a bike for Christmas and it was time to take it outside and get our money's worth. We dusted off Cheryl's bike and we headed to our church's parking lot. It is the safest place we can find because the gates to the parking lot are closed so our kids could ride their bikes on the pavement without fear of getting hit by cars while we sat under a big oak tree and watched them have fun. The had plenty of space to ride around because the parking lot is so huge.

Abby was so happy to be riding her bike outside for the first time. Cheryl was having fun because she can just take off and not worry about hitting people or car like in parks. I was watching my youngest and all the time thinking that what used to be a tiny very dependent being yesterday has suddenly grown up into this independent toddler today in the blink of an eye. Time really flies and if you don't make an effort to spend time with your kids, you are going to miss out on a lot.

I can't wait for spring and summer to come. We are planning several camping trips and visits to natural parks. We have decided that this year, we would cut down on going to theme parks and spend more time doing outdoor activities like going to lakes, swimming, hiking and camping.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Back to Normal

I finally completed my project implementation. It has been 2 weeks since we went "live" with the new system. It was a tiring two weeks with several sleepless nights and a very highly charged implementation atmosphere. Problems did happen but nothing that was unmanageable. I was so proud and happy with the way my project team handled our implementation. The dedication, perseverance and commitment that they exhibited these past 2 weeks were phenomenal. We got a lot of kudos from the executive management and for our project's magnitude, we really did well with minimal impact to the business.

On a sad note, while we were busy with our 2nd week of implementation, a very unfortunate situation happened in our company. We had a reduction in force and I felt the impact of it on a personal level because I know many of those who were let go and how their job meant a lot to them. It was a sad week for me because I've worked with several of them for the past 10 years that I have been with the company as a consultant and as an employee. I pray that they will be able to cope with it and I hope that they will find better opportunities.

Moving on to the brighter side, I am so happy that I get to exchange messages with my high school buddies through our high school batch yahoo group. I wrote earlier in one of my blogs that I am so proud that my memory still works but oh boy...I was dead wrong. I was getting welcome messages from people that I thought I would remember and I am embarassed to admit that it takes me some time to dig into the deep crevices of my brain. Man, I was struggling but what I like about the messages was they gave me some ideas on how we knew each other back then. That really helped A LOT!!!! Another good thing was a file which is a compilation of pictures of our high school batch mates. What's cool about it is that it shows individual before and after pictures. The "before" is a picture from class photos and the "after" shows how the person looks now. This is such a great idea and I have to say well done to the person who took the patience and time to do it. At least now I would know if I bump into somebody from my high school batch. One thing I must say is that a lot of my batch mates really blossomed and will give celebrities a run for their money. Anyway, it's very fulfilling to reconnect to my good pals and learn about what went on and what's going on with their lives. Two of my close guy buddies are now established doctors and I am so happy for them. Several of my girl buddies are living happily married lives with kids. What's amazing is that there's quite a lot of us in the US and they even had a reunion in Chicago which I wasn't able to go because I didn't know about it. They also had a big reunion in the Philippines and again, I wasn't able to go because I didn't know about it. Hopefully I can go to the next one.

In closing, I would say that "life is good with all its ups and downs". We just have to do our best all the time with whatever life throws at us. I am a Christian and my faith helps me deal with life and the curve balls that come with it. I have no control of it but I can stand firm in my faith in God that things happen for a reason.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Busy as a bee...

I have been so busy at work and time just flew by. I am in the midst of implementing a huge project at work and for the past week and a half, I come home dead tired. I even had to work late nights at home and sometimes up to the wee hours in the morning. This situation reminded me of my college days when I had to stay up late to finish a project. Although the dynamics is different because I have my family suffering from my late night work.

But, I am not complaining. Putting in extra time during final stages of project implementations is alright. It's not an everyday occurrence. I will be taking a break after the project implementation and spend time with my wife and kids. We don't have a solid plan yet on what to do but my wife is suggesting to go up the mountains and have fun in the snow. Or we can always do what we always do, go to Disneyland.

On another positive note, days are slowly getting longer which means it's going to be spring and summer soon. And that means vacation time and camping and barbecue and picnic and swimming and so many more things to look forward to...LIFE IS GREAT!!!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Reconnecting with Friends... In Progress...

I got a very pleasant surprise yesterday!! I got an email from a high school classmate. I was so excited to see it. It's really an answered prayer!!!

If you have been following my blog, I stated that one of the things that I want to do this year is to reconnect with old friends. I don't mean "old" literally although in some cases this might be true. Anyway, I have decided to put in an extra effort this year to find people that I haven't really stayed in touch with.

I have been thinking of ways to get this "new year resolution" going. I don't have any problems staying in touch with my college buddies because we have a yahoo group where I get to read what's going on with everybody and tell them what's going on with me. These friends of mine are all over the world like Singapore, New Zealand, US, Hongkong to name a few. And I also finally started contacting my friends in Canada.

But, I am having difficulty finding people that I know before my college days. So you can imagine how excited I got when I received this email. It was FANTASTIC!! I am a member of a networking group for professional called Linkedin. And this is where my high school friend managed to find me. She requested to be connected to me and that was it.

I was so happy that I started talking to my wife about things that went on during that stage in my life. My mind was instantly flooded with memories, both good and bad. At least I can say, I still have a good memory. One thing I struggle with though is trying to connect names with faces. It has been a long time since I last saw my high school friends and I have to admit that I can't remember their faces anymore. And they would probably look a lot different now after 23 years. Man!! TWENTY-THREE years!!! That is a LOOOONG TIME!! So I hope you can understand why this is such a big deal for me.

Anyway, I accepted her request and I asked her if she has contact information of our other friends. I am really hoping that she has stayed in touch with some of them if not all because that would be really great. I can't wait for her reply.

Oh ... just some info in case somebody from my past accidentally stumbles on this blog.
  • Graduated college batch '92 - UST in Manila, Philippines - BS Mathematics, major in Computer Science
  • Graduated high school batch '85 - FEU in Manila, Philippines
  • Graduated elementary batch '81 - FEU in Manila, Philippines

Friday, January 25, 2008

Back Home

It's great to be back home!! I cut my trip short by 1 day and I didn't tell my family about it. So they were very surprised when I rang the door bell. And my kids just went crazy. And...I finally managed to get a good night's sleep. I have trouble sleeping at night when I am on business trips. I miss having somebody beside me in bed and the sleeping rituals that I do with my 2 little angels.

Speaking of sleeping rituals for kids... experts say that one way of training kids to go to bed and sleep on their own is to perform a series of activities that will prepare them for bed. This routine has to be consistent and the thought behind it is that it sets the expectation for the kids and provides structure in their sleeping habits. This method has worked wonderfully for us so we don't really struggle with putting our kids to bed.

I just realized that I benefit from this routine as well. It has now become a part of my adult nightly routine which helps set the tone for my mind and body to slow down and prepare for bed. And not doing this nightly routines when I am on business trips probably contributes to my sleep problems.

So, here's what I am planning to do. I will try to do this nightly rituals as best as I can over the phone with my family and see if it will help me sleep better next time I am away from home.