Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009!

Yes, I am glad to say goodbye to the year that was.

It was a sad year for me and my family. But on the brighter side, I think it was in 2009 that shaped me to become a better mother, sister and daughter. It was a rough ride. There were some events that I wished never transpired but nevertheless, I am glad I (and my family) survived the heavy blows and we're still fighting my battle together.

The best thing that this year probably has taught me was that tragedies are inevitable but when you are together as a family the tragedies would sometimes pass through as if they were just ordinary problems.

 

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fourteen on the 18th

She turns 14 months today.


And yes, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of saying this - time flies sooooo fast.

There are still moments when I couldn’t believe we have a little walking doll (sometimes running) around the house. I don't think I'll ever lose that sense of disbelief.

Fourteen is a forgettable number but what makes this day significant is the fact that this also marks the anniversary of the day I learned I was ‘nurturing’ a very large tumor on my left breast. I was flooded with sadness recollecting that but I immediately shifted my gaze to the bubbly toddler beside me and all that sadness just felt like a soap bubble popping on thin air. I wish I can take her anywhere. She’s the only thing that makes me forget I have problems to face and issues to resolve.

There will never be words to express how thankful I am to God for sending me this little bundle of joy. December was always a difficult month for me. And this was also a tough year to face but having her around made it a whole lot easier for me and her dad to get through all those challenges we encountered.

I pray that she will never, ever get tired of eating her fruits and veggies. I also pray that she’d be kept away from harm as she continues to explore the great, wide world around her. She’s such a curious toddler and she really enjoys discovering new things. I also hope that we parents would be more educated on how to better preserve this wonderful gift of nature that God has sent us so this little lady could also enjoy them in her lifetime.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bone Mets

What Is Bone Metastasis? Metastatic cancer Metastatic cancer is cancer that has spread from the part of the body where it started (called its primary site) to other parts of the body. When cells break away from a cancerous tumor, they can travel to other areas of the body through the bloodstream or through the lymph system. Most often, cancer cells that break off enter the bloodstream. From there they can end up in any organ or tissue. Cancer cells can also travel through the lymph system. This system includes lymph nodes and lymph vessels. The lymph vessels are much like blood vessels, except they carry a clear fluid called lymph back to the heart. Cancer cells that travel through the lymph system often end up in the lymph nodes, but they can also spread to other organs. Many of the cancer cells that break off from the original tumor die without causing any problems. Some, however, settle in a new area. There, they begin to grow and form new tumors. This spread of cancer to a new part of the body is called metastasis. When cancer spreads, we say that it metastasizes. If there is only a single tumor, it is called a metastasis or a metastatic tumor. When there are 2 or more metastatic tumors, we call them metastases. Even when cancer has spread from one part of the body to another, it is still named after the part of the body where it started. For example, if prostate cancer spreads to the bones, it is still called prostate cancer, not bone cancer. If breast cancer spreads to the lungs it is still breast cancer, not lung cancer. A person with breast cancer that has spread to 2 or more bones is said to have "breast cancer with bone metastases." Sometimes metastatic tumors are found by tests that are done when the primary cancer is first diagnosed. In other cases, the metastasis is found first, causing the doctor to look for the place that the cancer started. Usually the primary tumor is found, but sometimes even though a cancer that has spread widely throughout the body, doctors are unable to find where it started. When doctors can't figure out where the primary cancer site is, it is called cancer of unknown primary. This is discussed further in a separate American Cancer Society document called Cancer of Unknown Primary. Sometimes, no metastases are seen when the cancer is first found. Instead, they are found later, after the patient has been treated and was thought to be cancer free. When a cancer has come back after treatment, it is called recurrence. When it comes back as metastases, it is called a distant recurrence. In order for a cancer to recur as metastatic disease, some cancer cells had to have broken off from the primary tumor before treatment was complete. These cells traveled through the body, and started growing in new places. Different cancers tend to spread to different sites, but the most common sites of distant recurrence include the bones, the liver, and the lungs. What does it mean when you have bone metastases? Cancer cells that break off from a primary tumor and enter the bloodstream can reach nearly all tissues of the body. Bones are a common place for these cancer cells to settle in and start growing. Cancers that start in the bone are called primary bone cancers. Bone metastasis and primary bone cancers are very different. Primary bone cancer is much rarer than bone metastasis. If you would like information on primary bone cancers, see our documents Bone Cancer, Osteosarcoma, Multiple Myeloma, and Ewing Family of Tumors. Bone metastasis is one of the most frequent causes of pain in people with cancer. When a cancer spreads to the bone, it can make the bones weaker and even cause them to break. As the cancer cells damage the bones, calcium is released. This can lead to problems from high blood calcium levels. Bone metastasis also causes other problems that can limit your ability to keep up your usual activities and lifestyle. Bone metastases will develop in many people with cancer at some point in the course of their disease. Bones are often a site for metastases for certain common tumors, such as breast and prostate cancers. Metastases can occur in any bone in the body, but are most often found in bones near the center of the body. The spine is the most common site of bone metastasis. Other common sites are the pelvis (hip), upper leg bone (femur), upper arm bone (humerus), ribs, and the skull. Bone metastasis can only develop if you already have cancer somewhere else. Once cancer has spread to several sites in the body it is rarely able to be cured, but often it can still be treated. Even if cure is no longer possible, treating the cancer may be able to help you live longer and feel better. Other types of treatment can help prevent or manage cancer symptoms. (See the section, "How are bone metastases treated?")

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bittersweet Thoughts (hehe)

Stumbling into pictures like this always make my heart flutter.

She's looking really healthy. And all grown up. It makes me think where all the months have gone.

Watching your baby grow each day is bittersweet.

It's heaven seeing one milestone to another but at the same time, it's sad to think that they are slowly starting to be independent and the time will come they won't be as needy of you as they were before.

It has not been a month yet since we celebrated her 1st birthday but we're really starting to feel like the baby's gone now. She now moves around the house like she has business of her own. Oh dear, dear Maia...don't grow up so fast okay? Mommy and Daddy still love to carry you once in a while. Even if you weigh a ton heavier than before. Hehe. And we still love to hele you to sleep.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

i WALKed today.

I've never actually participated in an event where I personally connected with. Not till today.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's Signing Time with Maia



My nephew, Gogol, spoke late. So my sister taught him how to sign. This helped them get through his toddler years. Baby signing was an activity that Gogol really enjoyed.

Since baby signing was really useful with her and Gogol, my sister encouraged me to do the same with Maia. When Maia was just 6 months, she would send me video files of baby signing that she downloaded from you tube.

I tried to teach Maia when she started showing signs of being sociable at around her 9th month but I admit, baby signing really takes a lot of patience and hardwork. We've taught her the signs for milk, water, book and sleep but we never took off after these. At the back of my mind though, I still really want to keep on teaching her more until she starts talking. After all, any form of communication other than screaming or wailing is always good for our household.

This morning while browsing through Baby Center, I stumbled into a baby signing article. They listed a couple of basic signs that I think we can still apply with Maia. So starting today, I vowed to introduce 2 signs per week. Until she shows some signs of mastery on them.

Here's the list that I found in Baby Center:

• 'food' -- put your finger tips to your lips

• 'all gone' -- move your hand, palm up, backwards and forwards

• 'scared' -- tap your chest again and again

• 'hot' -- put your hand out and withdraw it quickly

• 'where?' -- shrug your shoulders, with your palms held out

• 'rabbit' -- wrinkling up your nose or hold up two fingers

• 'car' -- steer an imaginary wheel

• 'book' -- holding hands flat with palms up

I'll add more signs to this list as I learn them. I do hope Maia and I will succeed in this attempt just as Gogol and her Nanay did. Wish us luck!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Maia Goes Trick or Treating for the First Time

TRICK OR TREATING GOODIES

Last year, when our village held the Halloween party I had just given birth and Tibs was still apprehensive to let us join the party. So we passed on that one. This year since Maia's a lot older, we are happy to finally be able to participate.


Midway thru the program however, she started sneezing non-stop. Fearing another trip to the hospital, we decided to cut the party mood short and bring her home. 

We were hoping that she could still join her friends at trick or treating after the party but the program finished late and she was already asleep when kids came knocking our doors to ask for treats. Oh well, better luck next year then. At least the costume was not wasted (had we waited for a few more days though, it would have been extra difficult to get her into it already).



TRYING OUT HER COSTUME

LITTLE FAIRY GOES TRICK OR TREATING WITH MOM AND DAD

Baby Signing with Maia



My nephew, Gogol, spoke late. So my sister taught him how to sign. This helped them get through his toddler years. Baby signing was an activity that Gogol really enjoyed.

Since baby signing was really useful with her and Gogol, my sister encouraged me to do the same with Maia. When Maia was just 6 months, she would send me video files of baby signing that she downloaded from you tube.

I tried to teach Maia when she started showing signs of being sociable at around her 9th month but I admit, baby signing really takes a lot of patience and hardwork. We've taught her the signs for milk, water, book and sleep but we never took off after these. At the back of my mind though, I still really want to keep on teaching her more until she starts talking. After all, any form of communication other than screaming or wailing is always good for our household.

This morning while browsing through Baby Center, I stumbled into a baby signing article. They listed a couple of basic signs that I think we can still apply with Maia. So starting today, I vowed to introduce 2 signs per week. Until she shows some signs of mastery on them.

Here's the list that I found in Baby Center:

• 'food' -- put your finger tips to your lips

• 'all gone' -- move your hand, palm up, backwards and forwards

• 'scared' -- tap your chest again and again

• 'hot' -- put your hand out and withdraw it quickly

• 'where?' -- shrug your shoulders, with your palms held out

• 'rabbit' -- wrinkling up your nose or hold up two fingers

• 'car' -- steer an imaginary wheel

• 'book' -- holding hands flat with palms up

I'll add more signs to this list as I learn them. I do hope Maia and I will succeed in this attempt just as Gogol and her Nanay did. Wish us luck!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rakentur Puppetshow @ Maia Isobel Paras' First Birthday Party

Link

Sharing from Rakentur's multiply site. Glad they were able to capture part of the show on video.

Thanks again Rizchelle to you and your team!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Styes and other eye problems

Maia has this stye thing most probably. The corner of her left eye seemed reddish when she woke up this morning and it has now spread on the base of the whole eye.

I was a little bit panicky when I saw that the swelling was progressing/spreading but this article sort of calmed me. I hope it doesn't get worse tomorrow. Otherwise I might be forced to bring her to her nearest pedia again...which I'm really not keen on doing because we're planning to bring her back to Dra. Chen this weekend for her well-baby check up. Yay we're one year old!

She's been very cheery the whole day so I'm glad that swelling didn't bother her a bit. Meanwhile, we just continue with the hot compresses. We had a couple of walking practice this afternoon. I guess she's trying to impress Mommy.

Please pray for this little makulit but super charming and sweet baby of ours. She's just too curious of the world out there. We do not want another trip to the doctor to stop her from her daily adventures.

------------------------
update: as I've been seeing some traffic pointing to this specific topic, let me just list some helpful links here on Styes and some home remedies for it. I would suggest though to take your kid to the pedia once the swelling progresses because it might be some sort of infection that needs some professional medical attention. My kid's stye only lasted for 2 days and the swelling let up on the 3rd day

- What is a Stye?

Maia's Birthday Supplier Ratings

1 - Exceeded Expectations
2 - Met Expectations
3 - Probably Won't Get Them Again
 
Venue: Avida Sta Cecilia Clubhouse
Rating: 2
Peso Value: P2,000
Inclusions: venue rental (homeowner rate)

this was the first thing on our list most probably. we didn't bother to look anywhere else because this was the place that maia is most familiar with so we won't have any issues with her getting scared at an unfamiliar place. and we were right, she never threw a tantrum all through out the party.

Caterer: Majesto Catering
http://majestocatering.multiply.com
Rating: 2 - food; 2 - service
Peso Value: P190/adult and P145/kid, no service charge

Inclusions: pasta, beef, pork, chicken, fish, rice, 2 desserts and red iced tea (for the adults)
                 : pasta, mini-burger, hotdog, fried chicken and orange juice (for the kids)
                 : free choco fountain and free use of bubble machine

Party Supplier 1: Balloons/Other Party Supplies - Myrna's Balloons

Rating: 3

Party Supplier 2: Rakentur - Puppet Show/Hosting/Games

Rating: 1

Birthday Cake: Cupcakes by Majesto

http://cupcakesbymajesto.multiply.com
Peso Value: P2,500 (plus P200 delivery charge)
Dimensions: 9" cake on a column placed on top of a 16" cake
Rating: 2


Photographer: Jeff Lopez

http://shootandscrap.blogspot.com

Peso Value: P4,000
Inclusions: Service for 4 hours, DVD copies of all pics, 3x3 mini album
Rating: 2       

Other items:

Guestbook - National bookstore, Kodak + Mommy's labor of love

      I initially had a different plan.


Invitations and Thank you tags - design by a friend; printing by Netopia - Rating: 2 nice print quality, affordable price
adult souvenirs, kiddie lootbags and game prizes - c/o parents shopping spree in Divisoria Mall - P3,500 for 40 lootbags with various winnie the pooh items and 120 pieces of nice Pooh pocket-sized notebooks for the adults and 60 bags of assorted game prizes


Sunday, October 18, 2009

A great journey

It's been one great journey.

This thing they call motherhood.

Today I celebrate a milestone ...along with my dearest treasure in this whole wide world - my dear little Maia.

It's been a year of ups and downs. I learned so much in just one year. I've became a totally different person in just one year.

And now a look forward to more learnings to come.

Motherhood is such a wonderful journey I am oftentimes rendered speechless and spellbounded.

Happiness. Pure bliss. I guess that's the best description I have for it at the moment.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Time to shake off the disbelief

She turns 1 in a couple of days.
And I still would often stare at her in disbelief.
Sometimes, I admit I would still pinch myself.
Just to make sure I wasn't dreaming.
This might not be a role that I've dreamt of having
Nor a job that I've always planned to have
Or an event that I've OC'd down to its simplest details
But I want you to know that you will always be one of the best things (if not the best) that ever happened to me, baby.
YOU MADE ME A MOM and made me realize that LIFE is indeed worth living.
I love you, Maia.
Thank you for giving me back my life.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Will that day ever come?

Maia ran out of milk this morning.

Well, that was not intentional of course. It's just that she was supposed to graduate to toddler formula now and we're trying out 2 different brands. She liked the first one. She finished the sampler pack fast. But the second one, she obviously did not. The baby bottled suffered the blow as she threw it immediately after tasting the milk. Poor bottle.

Anyways, so I had to head off to the nearest Mercury drug store outlet to get her milk supply before I head off to work. To save myself a trip back home, she and yaya Inday had to come with me to the store. She had fun, we could tell.

After we've paid for our purchases I took them back to the jeepney terminal and send her and ate Inday home. She was cheery though. Probably because she really enjoys jeepney rides and the sights outside of the house.

I was a different story though. I almost cried while saying bye-bye. I was standing there waiting for the jeepney to leave...still waving my hand saying bye-bye baby. My heart's being torn into pieces. This was not the first time...but it felt like it was.

I wonder if I'll ever get past days and moments like this. Or if the day that I'll never have to say bye-bye to her on a weekday will ever come. I am fervently praying for the latter.

As I head to the direction of my office, I kept saying in my head "Just one more year, baby."

I hope God gives me the wisdom to make the right decision when that time comes.

For now, I have the mortgage to think of. And a lot of other projects lined up for next year. Just one year.

Right now though. That seems like eternity.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Tips in giving relief to disaster victims from INQUIRER.net

Link

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Prayers will see us through

Prayers do not only give us hope, it gives us strength in times of dire need. I can personally attest to that. So as another typhoon (a super typhoon even) approaches this badly beaten country of ours over the weekend, let's all keep praying for everybody's safety.

I am sharing this prayer that was passed on to me via SMS. Please share to encourage people to pray.

------------------------------------------

Dear Lord, we fervently pray for your intercession so that our nation will be spared from another threatening typhoon.

Our suffering people have not yet recovered from Ondoy's wrath.

Please prevent Pepeng from hitting any of our islands. Save us from further calamities by embracing our country with your protective grace and merciful blessings. AMEN.

October

October is supposed to be a good month for me.

This month I will celebrate the most important milestones of my lifetime. Me being a wife and me being a mom. The former is marked at 2 and the latter at 1.

Watching the news on TV is just so heartbreaking I lost all the excitement of preparing for Maia's first bday. I just feel like it's so inappropriate for us to be celebrating when a lot of our brothers and sisters are suffering.

I am torn. But I also feel that Maia deserves this. And that I need to make the effort of making it special. Haaay. Dear Lord, I need your help on this. Please give me the strength to finish everything in 2 weeks.

And by the way, October is breast cancer awareness month too. This was really supposed to be a good month for me. Please. Please Dear God...pagbigyan mo na ako. Damay na din mga kababayan ko if ever.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

One Saturday Morning

You woke up early as usual. 5am. Mommy looked out the window and felt sad, they won't be able to jog again. Her and daddy had been missing their daily jogs lately. The rain hasn't stopped for the last 2 days.

You were supposed to be at Doc Armendi's clinic by 8am for your IPD shot. Mommy was determined to brave the rain. But Daddy insisted we all stay indoors. At around 11am, news started pouring in. Nightmare has started for some of our brothers and sisters. Mommy could not stop the tears from falling. Shots of people begging for help on top of their rooftops, rooftops awashed by floodwater with people begging for rescue on top of it (and hearing later on that only one survived among them), kids rendered homeless due to flooding, people stranded on the streets for almost a day, handicapped people braving flooded streets just to escape drowning, and a lot more other pictures that are just so heartbreaking to see.

The day after is even worse. People grieving for properties lost and even worse people grieving for loved ones dead or missing.

What caused this sudden flooding? Can we prevent this from happening again?

12 months past and now comes the first birthday planning

I am a big fan of Baby Center. I guess it was mainly because I was doing this parenting thing on my own and only had the internet to turn to (most of the time) in times when I needed help in dealing with Maia's development.

A few months before Maia's birthday, I already started scouring thru the internet for party ideas. I initially wanted a really big party. With food carts, bubble shows, face painting, the works. But then again, the hubby begged me to think things over and my practical side won over yet again.

It was a good thing it did. Otherwise I would have felt really guilty holding a grand party when the rest of the Philippines is still mourning for lives and properties lost due to the recent tragedies brought about by Ondoy and Pepeng.

Anyways, here are a couple of tips that I got from Baby Center to help other new mommies out there plan for their little ones BIG DAY.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Struggles at the Work-front?

I am not one to really put too much thoughts on work. I used to. But since I got married, I stopped making my career a priority. So with this in mind, you can easily conclude that office politics never really bothered me. Not till the last few months.

I would really have preferred to sleep on this. But then it's been an on and off thing, I thought the best thing to do was to vent it out (to nowhere basta just vent). Since I am also not good at verbally communicating my emotions I thought I'd better just write it since like cooking, writing to me is therapy.

Okay there. So I've established where the following rant is coming from. Haha.

As I've said earlier, my career took a back seat already about 2 years ago. Up till now, its still sitting out there in the back. A couple of college friends have been telling me to explore 'greener' options since they are sure I can do better than this. But then again, I think this is the best place for me for now. I'll think about it when Maia turns one (hahaha. which is going to be next month already...helllooooo, Faye?).

I had my PA discussion recently. Before that, I've had a couple of 'accidents' at work. By accident I mean to say I had to write an apology to my bosses copying the company VP's as well. But that is no big issue. It was an easy thing to do. Because really, I was partially to blame.

So anyways, going back to my PA discussion. It actually went well. I was told not to think too much about my previous mishaps and just move on. Just KEEP YOUR FOCUS on the job was the suggestion. My supervisor also suggested she'll just delegate some of my responsibilities to the other team members since indeed I was already overloaded.

I NEVER complained for the past 2 years. NEVER. But I guess, some people at work mistook this as me saying it's okay to dump everything on me while they stay on 'PE-TIKS' mode the whole day. Imagine, no invoices came for 2 weeks and what did she do on those days???? Facebook for the whole day???? C'mon, nakakasawa din yun ah! Hindi ba???

I used to think I was lucky to belong to a team of people who were friends first before embracing the idea of being co-workers. But then again, I guess a good team will only shine when it has a good team leader to guide them. This post is not intended to malign my team leader.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Maia's Pasta in Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Description:
I've been collecting some recipes lately and I thought it's easier for me to share them if I'd post them online so here's the first of them...

This pasta recipe is one of the most requested among my co-workers. I'd often cook this during bday celebrations at the office.

This isn't really original. What I'd do is I'd usually search up a recipe for something and just tweak it a bit to fit my taste. This particular recipe is for an alfredo sauce but my co-workers would usually refer to this as my carbonara recipe. Well to avoid arguments, I'll call it a cream sauce instead.

Ingredients:
1 500g pack Farfalle/Linguine/Fettucine/Penne pasta, cooked per package instructions
1 can Nestle heavy cream
1 pack Knorr cream of mushroom soup, dilute in 1 cup water
1 med white onion, chopped
1 can button mushroom, drain and chop
1 slab unsalted butter (mga 1/2 inch thick)
1 200g cooked ham, chopped
1 200g King Sue bacon cubes, chopped
1 cup water, to dilute white sauce
2 tsps olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. cook bacon in pan without oil to render the fat.
2. once bacon turns crispy, take out from pan.
3. saute mushroom in bacon fat. when almost done put butter and saute for one 1 minute. add mushroom soup. boil until soup is cooked then add cream. mix and simmer for 2 minutes. set aside.
4. in separate pan, pour oil and saute white onion. add chopped ham. when ham is cooked pour the white sauce and mix. if sauce is very thick, slowly dilute with water and simmer for another minute.
5. mix with pasta.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

11 months and little steps

To our dearest Maia-powkoo,

Here we are again - Mommy attempting to recall everything that took place during your journey to your 11th month. I am writing this with you singing in the background. It would really be great if you'd grow up with a good singing voice. Mom and Dad will surely enjoy listening to you!

The last few weeks was a very rough ride for us. We were back at the hospital again. A day (Tuesday) before our admission, you were just diagnosed of having swollen tonsils and was sent home with a mild antibiotic prescription. Mommy's nerves were calmed a bit by that diagnosis. But come Wednesday morning you vomitted. Not just once but 3 times. Mommy was hesitant to bring you to the ER at first but you were growing weaker and weaker by the minute you really left me with no choice. For the nth time my mother's instinct turned out correct, you were indeed already dehydrated and the nurses had to hook you again on IV to put back the lost fluids in your body. The insertion process was again another torturous moment (and they had to reinsert it 4 times and leave you with 10 puncture marks) I'd rather not go through the details anymore. Starting that day, I had been lobbying with Dear Jesus not to let you go thru that again.  I hope He heard us. :) Just to be sure though, you are now taking probiotic supplements to boost your immune system. I hope it really works. You need the hospital break baby. We all do.

But moving on to the fascinating stories. This month you started taking your little steps. You can now stand on your own as long as you not aware that you are that is. As soon as you realize what's happening you lose your balance. But no worries baby, you take your time with the practice steps. Mom and Dad are just as eager to hold your hand while you take those tiny steps towards your independence. Independence is sometimes a scary word. But to us baby, whatever is best we'll always be there to support.

Reading, Singing and Dancing are some of your favorite activities these days. Apart from of course your daily tour of our village, you always love to hear Mom or Ate Inday read you something. You'd clap your hands or wave frantically as a sign of excitement. We would always catch you humming a tune (of something that we really could not put a title yet) whether you're playing or leafing thru the pages of your board book. And just a few days ago, Mommy caught you jumping each time a catchy tune is played on TV. You are really one fascinating baby.

As of this writing here's a rundown of your top faves:

Food - Brown rice and Mashed Squash (the ultimate fave, I guess since you never get tired of it)

Snack - Ponzdrop cookies from Iloilo. Now Lola Joyce is going to hoard boxes when she comes back to visit. She doesn't want you to run out of these.

Fruit - Red grapes (painstakingly skinned by Mom one-by-one)

Toy - Eddy the bear

Book - (still) Puppy Dog

Activity - Reading (and eating off the book leaves)

Bedtime Song - Heal the World (by MJ)

You now consume about 4-5 diapers a day and take at least 9 ounces of milk in one sitting. However you seem to be sleeping less and less, currently you take just 2 naps during the day (averaging an hour each) and still 7pm-5am at night. But the good thing is -- you are now able to sleep through the night. Although there are days when you'd suddenly wake up at night and jump on the bed as if its morning playtime already. Of course Mom or Dad would happily oblige with your playtime request, with sleepy grins on their faces.

You also learned a part of the body this month - the NOSE! And you also now give in to Mom or Dad's request for a kiss. Most days though, your sweet gesture is defined by a forehead bump. When you want to make lambing with Mom or Dad, you would bump our foreheads repeatedly. Then laugh your heart out after. Hahaha. We'd all end up laughing.

Lastly, you now chase after Mommy when she bades goobye. One of these days baby, maybe Mom can stay home with you a lot longer. For now, just stay happy ha? And healthy, of course. And we'll all be fine. Doc said you were born a fighter...keep it that way baby. Sometimes, the only thing that keeps Mommy going is that smiling toothy face of yours. Seeing those 4 teeth of yours when you smile definitely takes all the blues away.

Love you Maia.

~Mommy (and Daddy too)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mom's letter on your 10th

dearest maia,

mommy is writing this with a big grin on her face. she can't help but recall your lengthy talking stint late last night. you have turned into a really really naughty talkative baby, but in a really really cute way.

mommy went home really late last night and missed our prayer session. this was the first time in ages and she felt guilty she was not able to spend those precious few minutes with you before you're finally tucked to sleep. but i guess you can sense when mommy's feeling really bad, you woke up around midnight and played with her and daddy. i forgot all the problems i encountered during the day. you always never fail put a smile to mommy's heavy heart.

when you were just a few days old, mommy vowed to write to you and recount your milestones every month. but what mommy thought to be a such a mundane thing to do turned out to be something she could only squeeze in on lazy days or crappy days like this one. but it's a good thing baby, that means that recounting your milestones is one of the best therapy mommy could ever have.

so how's our journey so far? in the past weeks, you have mastered the art of 'cruise control'. you easily maneuver your way around our house as long as there's furniture to hold on to. crawling has become second-nature to you and you easily crawl your way through our tiny house. sometimes your leave daddy stricken with awe especially when you'd crawl your way to the door to greet him when he arrives from work. you do that for just a few seconds! 

these days your favorite is our pantry. you like to pull out the groceries and utensils that the cabinet houses. after you pulled something out and realized you did something wrong, you'd laugh as if to melt our hearts first before we get to assess the actual damage. you are such a sweet but mischievous baby. mommy sometimes wonder where you got that from.

one time when mommy  was desperately trying to put you to sleep your attention was moved by a sound from outside the house. guess what you did? you moved aside the curtain that mommy used to cover the window to prevent you from seeing the streetlights. you seem to grow smarter and smarter everyday all of these changes seem overwhelming at times.

you now recognize what the word 'NO' means. especially when it's coming from daddy. you would move your head from side to side each time daddy utters 'NO! Maia' we'd end up laughing!

you also like to play hide and seek. your most fave hiding spot is our bedroom curtain. and you love it when mommy hides under the sheets. you would frantically pull them to find mommy under. and when you find mommy, you'd laugh heartily. hay baby, your laughter and voice fills our house with soooo much happiness.

your fave food right now is still mashed kalabasa and chunky mashed potato flavored with raspberry or banana yoghurt. you also started eating spinach which is a good thing. you started with egg yolks and you seem to love that as well. but despite all this solid intake, you still love love love to drink your milk. from just 4-5 6oz bottles before you now down about 7 bottles max in a day. you appetite is appalling. yet you don't really grow fat. probably it's your metabolism since you're such a wriggly squirmy baby.

finally, the greatest milestone for this month is your two tiny pearls finally saying "hello!" to us. mommy was so thrilled to see them erupt. now, if only mommy can take a snapshot of them two...that would top everything off! :)

so there baby...those are the things that mommy can recall for now. i'm sure i missed to write down a lot of them. forgive mommy, it's probably due to aging. hehe.

happy 10th month, maia. mom and daddy loves you very very much!

 

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Quiet Sunday, finally!

I had been wanting to wake up later than usual

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Unexpected Farewells

I hate receiving notices like this:

"Hello - I am no longer with ON Semiconductor beginning on August 7th, 2009.

Please contact Aaron Coykendall -- if you have any questions about whom is now responsible for my previous areas of responsibilities.

Thank you and best regards.

David Allen"

For one, David was one of the few people who was so friendly to us when we trained in Phoenix. He would drop by our work stations to handover bags and bags of candies. He probably thought the candies would at least help us rid off the homesickness. Today, I feel bad I wasn't even able to bid him goodbye and thank him for all the help he extended to me while I was still groping my way through this new job.

Since this regression

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Farewell Ollie

While we were mourning for the loss of Tita Cory, our dear beloved camera decided to do a major sacrifice and volunteered to be of service to Tita Cory up in heaven.

I was overwhelmed by sadness. I was not ready for this. The sentimental hormones are acting up. I cried when I heard the news on Tita Cory but cried harder when I my camera gave up on me.

Aside from our laptop, our camera was one of the first few possessions we had as a married couple. Sad to say, we never thought of naming it before its demise. Bad, bad camera owners we were.

But seriously, I just felt very sad because this camera was with us all through out the joys and trials that our family encountered. It travelled with usand shared so many unforgettable experiences with us. But I guess, it's high time it took it much needed rest.

Today before we finally bury Ollie (at least we thought of a name before we say our final goodbyes) - I'd like to think of the wonderful memories we've shared with her. She left me with wonderful pictures to remember my travels to Phoenix, the Grand Canyon and LA. She went with us to our

She was with us from day 1 of my pregnancy up to Maia's birth. I think it was probably the overzealous Mommy in me that drove her to her demise. I'd take about 500 or more pictures of Maia every week. It was probably too much to handle for her and I did not even notice. Bad, bad owner.

 

 

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Nine!

Improvised cake and art direction c/o Daddy T
We welcomed her 9th month at the hospital. A bit sad but we're nevertheless very thankful we got a signal from her doctor to go home on the same day. We celebrated the day by cooking our favorite sopas (sakto for the rainy day) and had Maia blow her traditional monthly cake (hehe...we had to improvise). 


Current favorites - mashed squash with malunggay and The Greatest Gift of All

Aside from the 1am trip to the ER and our 4-day stay at the hospital, Maia's journey towards her 9th month was filled with so many milestones. 


She's probably itching to leave the hospital already. She never liked being confined for long.

She's now learned to climb up and down our sofa (still struggling to climb up our bed though), learned to balance herself and stand with out support for a few exciting seconds, has been eating more and more solids, and most importantly called Dah-deeee for the first time (albeit indiscriminately) at the height of a crying fit at the ER. Tibs ears were flapping with glee despite of the situation at hand. I was green with envy but couldn't stop myself from grinning.


Hospital bracelet managed to stay on her wrist for about 3 hours. Found it under the bed after that.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The week that was...

I thought my surgery was going to be the last trip we'll make to the hospital this year. It turns out, I thought wrong again.

Tuesday morning, at 130am, we had to rush to the ER because Maia's fever spiked to 40.1. I was frantic in my head but I know, between the hubby and I, I had to stay collected. But I guess as a first time mom, the panic should be normal. I could see my hand shaking while I was packing Maia's stuff but I surprisingly finished in a matter of seconds. In no time, we were heading to the ER.

All throughout the raucous, Maia was not really a sight of a sick baby except of course for the really high fever she's still responsive and would sometimes even grin when we make faces. I guess, she also knows she has to be strong for Mommy and Daddy.

At the ER though, all they did was take blood samples, give Maia a paracetamol suppository and observe the fever go down (of course it will, dammit). I always dread going to the ER because we're always bound to witness a bloody patient or even somebody fighting for dear life inside it. As it is, in about 20 mins after we got there, we were ushered to the waiting room for the ER team's fear that the sight might traumatized Maia. Good thing she was already asleep by then. Too tired from the crying fits she threw while the MedTech was drawing her blood.

After an hour, we had the CBC results back and it confirmed that Maia has bacterial infection. They just could not pin point the source yet. We were prescribed some meds for her to take initially and advised to see her pedia in the morning. Then we were sent home. At 4-freakin-am. No choice of course. I'd rather stay at home than witness another bloody patient being wheeled in anyways.

When we saw Maia's pedia that same morning, we were advised to have Maia admitted for further tests and observation since it's not very good for babies her age to reach a 40-something fever reading. I readily obliged. I'd definitely be more calm when she's in the hands of the doctors rather than at home.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bye-byes and Flying Kisses

Dear Maia,



I was looking at the sole picture the nurse took of us at the recovery room of LPDH a few hours after I delivered you and could not belief that was only 8 months ago. You're now far from that tiny wrinkly baby that I once held in that hospital room.

Today for example, I was hurriedly leaving for work and tried to pick you up from your crawling space and hand you over to Ate Jo when you suddenly clung to my legs like you're clinging to dear life. Mommy could not help but laugh. It's the first time that you clung that hard and truth be told, Mommy's heart leaped. You were missing Mommy after all. She's sorry she has to leave but was happy to know you really wanted her to stay. Someday baby, maybe Daddy can afford to have Mommy stay with you for good. Let's keep praying for that. But today Mommy has to go to work. Thank you for not crying and for not making it harder for me to go to work today. You bid bye-bye and blew me a kiss. That was enough fuel for my day :) I love you, Maia.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Surprises! Surprises!

Read this at Baby Center and could not agree more!

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No matter how much you prepare for it, parenting will blow your mind.

Your kids will challenge you, bring you to tears, crack you up, and make you forget what you urgently had to do. They'll shatter the life you knew into a million pieces. Then they'll put it back together, like a stained-glass window, into something infinitely more complicated and beautiful.

Surprise #1: Your relationship with your partner will change
Surprise #2: You'll have no idea where the time goes
Surprise #3: You may look different
Surprise #4: You'll join an exclusive worldwide club
Surprise #5: You'll be stronger than you ever imagined
Surprise #6: You'll make "mistakes" you never anticipated
Surprise #7: Your friendships will change
Surprise #8: There'll be times when you hate parenting
Surprise #9: You'll be overwhelmed by love (and other emotions)
Surprise #10: You'll have to let go sooner than you think

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Here are my thoughts:

On Surprise #1:


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Birthday Musings...

I was trying to write down my 31 wishes and thanksgiving but could not find time to finish it due to quarterly closing activities. <Hmpf> I'd probably get to finish it tomorrow. Good luck.

I still do not want to miss posting something on this wonderful day.

Yesterday, my office friends threw a party for me and my co-celebrant (well technically it was his party since his bday falls on the 2nd), and it felt good knowing I had friends who cared enough to prepare something for us despite our busy quarter end schedule. One of them had to waste 3 freakin' hours at the mall just to find me a gift. These people have played my instant counselors on times I needed somebody to vent out my frustrations and disappointments. On top of the material trappings this world offers, I am always thankful I am surrounded by people and family who never fail to cheer me up, push me to my limit (for the better ha), and cry with me if the need arises.

Having this in mind, I chose to put this on my facebook status this morning:  Thank you God for ALL the blessings. I thank you for surrounding me with so much LOVE. I pray for more wisdom and healthier years to come. :)

After I found out that I had malignant PT, my idea of blessings has totally taken a different perspective. Today,

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Failure and Imagination

This is just a repost of JK Rowling's speech that I read from this blog (which I am now starting to love). I enjoyed reading it and is very inspiring. I thought I'd share it with you.

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“The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination” by JK Rowling ( Commencement Address, at the Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association)

 

President Faust, members of the Harvard Corporation and the Board of Overseers, members of the faculty, proud parents, and, above all, graduates.

The first thing I would like to say is ‘thank you.’ Not only has Harvard given me an extraordinary honour, but the weeks of fear and nausea I’ve experienced at the thought of giving this commencement address have made me lose weight. A win-win situation! Now all I have to do is take deep breaths, squint at the red banners and fool myself into believing I am at the world’s best-educated Harry Potter convention.

Delivering a commencement address is a great responsibility; or so I thought until I cast my mind back to my own graduation. The commencement speaker that day was the distinguished British philosopher Baroness Mary Warnock. Reflecting on her speech has helped me enormously in writing this one, because it turns out that I can’t remember a single word she said. This liberating discovery enables me to proceed without any fear that I might inadvertently influence you to abandon promising careers in business, law or politics for the giddy delights of becoming a gay wizard.

You see? If all you remember in years to come is the ‘gay wizard’ joke, I’ve still come out ahead of Baroness Mary Warnock. Achievable goals: the first step towards personal improvement.

Actually, I have wracked my mind and heart for what I ought to say to you today. I have asked myself what I wish I had known at my own graduation, and what important lessons I have learned in the 21 years that has expired between that day and this.

I have come up with two answers. On this wonderful day when we are gathered together to celebrate your academic success, I have decided to talk to you about the benefits of failure. And as you stand on the threshold of what is sometimes called ‘real life’, I want to extol the crucial importance of imagination.

These might seem quixotic or paradoxical choices, but please bear with me.

Looking back at the 21-year-old that I was at graduation, is a slightly uncomfortable experience for the 42-year-old that she has become. Half my lifetime ago, I was striking an uneasy balance between the ambition I had for myself, and what those closest to me expected of me.

I was convinced that the only thing I wanted to do, ever, was to write novels. However, my parents, both of whom came from impoverished backgrounds and neither of whom had been to college, took the view that my overactive imagination was an amusing personal quirk that could never pay a mortgage, or secure a pension.

They had hoped that I would take a vocational degree; I wanted to study English Literature. A compromise was reached that in retrospect satisfied nobody, and I went up to study Modern Languages. Hardly had my parents’ car rounded the corner at the end of the road than I ditched German and scuttled off down the Classics corridor.

I cannot remember telling my parents that I was studying Classics; they might well have found out for the first time on graduation day. Of all subjects on this planet, I think they would have been hard put to name one less useful than Greek mythology when it came to securing the keys to an executive bathroom.

I would like to make it clear, in parenthesis, that I do not blame my parents for their point of view. There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you. What is more, I cannot criticise my parents for hoping that I would never experience poverty. They had been poor themselves, and I have since been poor, and I quite agree with them that it is not an ennobling experience. Poverty entails fear, and stress, and sometimes depression; it means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts, that is indeed something on which to pride yourself, but poverty itself is romanticised only by fools.

What I feared most for myself at your age was not poverty, but failure.

At your age, in spite of a distinct lack of motivation at university, where I had spent far too long in the coffee bar writing stories, and far too little time at lectures, I had a knack for passing examinations, and that, for years, had been the measure of success in my life and that of my peers.

I am not dull enough to suppose that because you are young, gifted and well-educated, you have never known hardship or heartbreak. Talent and intelligence never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the Fates, and I do not for a moment suppose that everyone here has enjoyed an existence of unruffled privilege and contentment.

However, the fact that you are graduating from Harvard suggests that you are not very well-acquainted with failure. You might be driven by a fear of failure quite as much as a desire for success. Indeed, your conception of failure might not be too far from the average person’s idea of success, so high have you already flown academically.

Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. So I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.

Now, I am not going to stand here and tell you that failure is fun. That period of my life was a dark one, and I had no idea that there was going to be what the press has since represented as a kind of fairy tale resolution. I had no idea how far the tunnel extended, and for a long time, any light at the end of it was a hope rather than a reality.

So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all–in which case, you fail by default.

Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above rubies.

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more to me than any qualification I ever earned.

Given a time machine or a Time Turner, I would tell my 21-year-old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a check-list of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.

You might think that I chose my second theme, the importance of imagination, because of the part it played in rebuilding my life, but that is not wholly so. Though I will defend the value of bedtime stories to my last gasp, I have learned to value imagination in a much broader sense. Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared.

One of the greatest formative experiences of my life preceded Harry Potter, though it informed much of what I subsequently wrote in those books. This revelation came in the form of one of my earliest day jobs. Though I was sloping off to write stories during my lunch hours, I paid the rent in my early 20s by working in the research department at Amnesty International’s headquarters in London.

There in my little office I read hastily scribbled letters smuggled out of totalitarian regimes by men and women who were risking imprisonment to inform the outside world of what was happening to them. I saw photographs of those who had disappeared without trace, sent to Amnesty by their desperate families and friends. I read the testimony of torture victims and saw pictures of their injuries. I opened handwritten, eye-witness accounts of summary trials and executions, of kidnappings and rapes.

Many of my co-workers were ex-political prisoners, people who had been displaced from their homes, or fled into exile, because they had the temerity to think independently of their government. Visitors to our office included those who had come to give information, or to try and find out what had happened to those they had been forced to leave behind.

I shall never forget the African torture victim, a young man no older than I was at the time, who had become mentally ill after all he had endured in his homeland. He trembled uncontrollably as he spoke into a video camera about the brutality inflicted upon him. He was a foot taller than I was, and seemed as fragile as a child. I was given the job of escorting him to the Underground Station afterwards, and this man whose life had been shattered by cruelty took my hand with exquisite courtesy, and wished me future happiness.

And as long as I live I shall remember walking along an empty corridor and suddenly hearing, from behind a closed door, a scream of pain and horror such as I have never heard since. The door opened, and the researcher poked out her head and told me to run and make a hot drink for the young man sitting with her. She had just given him the news that in retaliation for his own outspokenness against his country’s regime, his mother had been seized and executed.

Every day of my working week in my early 20s I was reminded how incredibly fortunate I was, to live in a country with a democratically elected government, where legal representation and a public trial were the rights of everyone.

Every day, I saw more evidence about the evils humankind will inflict on their fellow humans, to gain or maintain power. I began to have nightmares, literal nightmares, about some of the things I saw, heard and read.

And yet I also learned more about human goodness at Amnesty International than I had ever known before.

Amnesty mobilises thousands of people who have never been tortured or imprisoned for their beliefs to act on behalf of those who have. The power of human empathy, leading to collective action, saves lives, and frees prisoners. Ordinary people, whose personal well-being and security are assured, join together in huge numbers to save people they do not know, and will never meet. My small participation in that process was one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences of my life.

Unlike any other creature on this planet, humans can learn and understand, without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people’s minds, imagine themselves into other people’s places.

Of course, this is a power, like my brand of fictional magic, that is morally neutral. One might use such an ability to manipulate, or control, just as much as to understand or sympathise.

And many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or to peer inside cages; they can close their minds and hearts to any suffering that does not touch them personally; they can refuse to know.

I might be tempted to envy people who can live that way, except that I do not think they have any fewer nightmares than I do. Choosing to live in narrow spaces can lead to a form of mental agoraphobia, and that brings its own terrors. I think the wilfully unimaginative see more monsters. They are often more afraid.

What is more, those who choose not to empathise may enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it, through our own apathy.

One of the many things I learned at the end of that Classics corridor down which I ventured at the age of 18, in search of something I could not then define, was this, written by the Greek author Plutarch: What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.

That is an astonishing statement and yet proven a thousand times every day of our lives. It expresses, in part, our inescapable connection with the outside world, the fact that we touch other people’s lives simply by existing.

But how much more are you, Harvard graduates of 2008, likely to touch other people’s lives? Your intelligence, your capacity for hard work, the education you have earned and received, give you unique status, and unique responsibilities. Even your nationality sets you apart. The great majority of you belong to the world’s only remaining superpower. The way you vote, the way you live, the way you protest, the pressure you bring to bear on your government, has an impact way beyond your borders. That is your privilege, and your burden.

If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped transform for the better. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.

I am nearly finished. I have one last hope for you, which is something that I already had at 21. The friends with whom I sat on graduation day have been my friends for life. They are my children’s godparents, the people to whom I’ve been able to turn in times of trouble, friends who have been kind enough not to sue me when I’ve used their names for Death Eaters. At our graduation we were bound by enormous affection, by our shared experience of a time that could never come again, and, of course, by the knowledge that we held certain photographic evidence that would be exceptionally valuable if any of us ran for Prime Minister.

So today, I can wish you nothing better than similar friendships. And tomorrow, I hope that even if you remember not a single word of mine, you remember those of Seneca, another of those old Romans I met when I fled down the Classics corridor, in retreat from career ladders, in search of ancient wisdom:
As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.
I wish you all very good lives.
Thank you very much.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Separation Anxiety Attacks...Me!

I've been religiously missing the morning pick ups of our company shuttle for the past few months. Read: Months already. To be more precise, past 5 months and 22 days. Haha. That goes back to the time I got back to work after my 2-month long maternity leave.

On the last week of March of this year, we started coming in at 9am. My busmates told me that won't leave me anymore excuses for missing the pick up since I now have 30 extra minutes to prep up. But hell no. I came in a lot more later after we've shifted to the new work schedule. It sucks. Who likes being late for work?? But then, each day that I try to leave home early my daughter's magnetic smile just seem to pull me back in for a few more minutes of cuddling and giggling. I don't know. I always feel that a few extra minutes with her will never compare to a comfortable seat in the shuttle.

l've recently read in Baby Center that this month one of the milestones that we might experience is separation anxiety. The article's right I AM now experiencing chronic Separation Anxiety Attacks...each and every morning that I leave the house. Sigh. Is there a cure available for this illness?????

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Grocery Trip

Today marks the first time Maia went to mass in a mall. We were not very excited for this trip though. However, we were left with no choice but to bring her along since the yaya was not back yet. We had to make this trip because we were also scheduled to pick up our wedding album from Maia's Ninang Lala.

She wore the dress that Ninang Ching sent to her all the way from New York when she was still 5 months old. Now it fit her really well. She just had to grow a bit taller pa. But she looked really pretty, didn't she?



This was very tiring for me as I had to carry her all through out the duration of the mass. She went to sleep a few minutes after the mass started. And it seemed the atmosphere was very conducive for her since she slept up until we were done with our grocery shopping.

When she woke up however, she was giggling. Giggling at every person we meet on our way out of the grocery. She even squirmed a bit when she saw kids riding inside grocery carts. She wanted to join in! Haha. My little Maia is one curious cat.

If not for the AH1N1 scare I would have loved to stay with Maia there a little bit longer. I just love it when she has this amazed look painted on her face. It makes me feel like the experience is teaching her a lot.

Despite the look of enjoyment from this little lady, Mommy and Daddy is still determined to get her away from the mall environment not until she's old enough to understand that the mall is not a playground. Ha ha. Kill joy parents ano?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

80% less plastic

Today is market day for me. Our helper takes her days off on Saturdays and since today we were up early to take Maia for a walk, I decided to do the marketing after our morning stroll.

It was the first time I made a conscious effort to take a cloth bag with me to the market. I knew I still couldn't place the wet stuff on it but I'm sure I can still save our trash a couple of plastic bags so I grabbed this souvenir bag that I recently got from Mom Expo and left for the nearby public market.  Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.


When I got there I wanted to insist to have the fish and meat that I purchased placed in my cloth bag but I felt like I'm really, really going to look foolish dragging a cloth bag dripping with fish blood around so I halfheartedly accepted my first purchases in plastic bags.

I was excited to head to the veggies section though. I felt good placing my first purchases inside the cloth bag and hearing the lady I purchased my fresh veggies from say, “Ayaw mo nang dumami pa basura ano?” I felt like I somehow made them think of the advantages of using cloth bags. I know people are already aware that plastic is really destroying our environment but I guess seeing somebody point it out first hand makes a lot of difference.

Reaching home, I was thrilled to report my achievement to the hubby. I’m just really happy of what I did this morning. 80% less plastic is a start. I’ll impose this practice on our household from this day on. I know this is really mundane-thinking. But allow me to enjoy my little happy moment. Today, I just felt like I did something BIG to make the world a better place for Maia.

 

 

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Effective Way to Make Babies Nap


Sleep is vital for babies and young children, whose brains and bodies are developing at an extraordinary rate — but nighttime rest isn't enough. Regular naps help them get the sleep they need.Do your best to encourage your baby to nap consistently. But keep in mind that his temperament and natural bodily rhythms will help determine how and when he naps. Some babies nap for long stretches every day right from the start and settle easily into a pattern. Others do just fine taking shorter naps or napping at less regular times. How many naps a day should my baby take? As a newborn, your baby will sleep for two to four hours at a time, day and night. At this stage, you shouldn't expect any sort of napping pattern. Just let your baby sleep as much as he needs to.When your baby's 6 to 8 weeks old, he's likely to start consolidating his sleep — he'll sleep less often and for longer stretches at a time. He'll probably need two to four naps a day, and perhaps even more.At 3 to 4 months of age, many babies begin to follow a more predictable pattern of daytime sleep. This is a good time to start developing a nap schedule (see our tips, below).By 6 months, your baby will probably be taking two or three naps a day: one in the morning, one in the early afternoon, and another later in the afternoon.At 9 to 12 months, most babies are down to a solid two naps a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. And by 18 months, most children give up their morning nap altogether but continue to snooze in the afternoon. They'll continue with this pattern until they're 3 or 4 years old.These are typical patterns, but not all babies follow them. Every baby has his own unique sleep habits. For more information, check out our sample baby sleep schedules.  Scheduling your baby's naps When your baby's 3 to 4 months old, you can work on developing a nap schedule that's compatible with his natural sleep cycles.Read the signsPay attention to your baby's sleep signals. Does he begin to rub his eyes and get fussy midmorning or right after lunch? Does he often fall asleep in the car in the early afternoon? Do you notice a difference in his alertness and overall mood when he sleeps for longer or shorter periods?You might want to keep a record of your baby's sleep signals and naps for a week or two. This will help you see your baby's patterns so you can anticipate naps.For example, if your baby gets cranky and ready to nap by 10 o'clock every morning, you can ease him into it before he gets overtired. Start 15 to 20 minutes before you expect his sleep signals to show up — feed, change, and rock him quietly, keeping your voice low. That way he's already on the road to sleep when that tired feeling overtakes him.Stick to a scheduleConsistency is the goal: Try to schedule your baby's naps for roughly the same time every day. If you put your baby down for his afternoon nap at 3 o'clock one day and right after lunch the next, for example, your child will have more trouble developing a regular sleep pattern.Try to avoid activities that conflict with your baby's nap schedule. If an older sibling needs to be picked up at school during naptime, for example, see if you can come up with an alternative arrangement.If your baby is in daycare during the week and has a regular nap schedule when he's there, follow a similar schedule on the weekends when he's at home with you. Get more tips on establishing a successful baby schedule.Don't stress over interruptionsYou won't be able to arrange it so your entire household revolves around your baby's nap schedule — especially if you have other children. Life events will interrupt your schedule, and if naps are skipped or delayed from time to time, it isn't a disaster. If you have a solid, regular structure that you can rely on, it'll be easier to get back on track after the inevitable disruptions.Figuring out the best nap schedule for your baby will take some trial and error, and it will likely change as your child reaches new developmental milestones. You'll need to assess your baby's sleep needs and habits regularly and alter the schedule accordingly. Developing a nap ritual A naptime ritual is a good idea, for the same reason it's recommended at night: It helps your child wind down and signals that the sleep period is approaching, so your baby is prepared to rest.Your naptime ritual can be shorter and less elaborate than the bedtime ritual: a story, a song, and a cuddle, for example. Once you've developed a routine that works for you and that you both enjoy, stick to it as closely as possible. More practical tips for naps •  Pajamas aren't necessary, but make sure your child is dressed in comfortable clothing that's neither too light nor too heavy.•  Playtime in the period before your baby's nap should be quiet. Avoid loud noise and stimulating play that could make it hard for you child to settle down and go to sleep.•  When you can, put your child down for his nap in the same place he sleeps at night, which he'll associate with going to sleep.•  If you're going on a trip or you know you'll be away from home at naptime, be sure to pack the books and anything else your child has come to associate with sleeping. This will help you maintain your baby's nap and bedtime routine wherever you are.•  Don't wait until your child is overly tired before beginning your going-to-sleep routine. If you do, your child may be too wound up to sleep well — or even to sleep at all. If your child isn't much of a napper, don't blame yourself or your parenting skills — even if your best friend reports that her child is taking three-hour naps every day. All you can do is offer your child the opportunity to sleep by preparing him and putting him down on a consistent schedule.Your baby may be a natural catnapper, consistently napping for less than an hour at a time. As long as he doesn't seem too tired, fussy, or difficult during waking hours, he's getting the sleep he needs.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

There's No Stopping Her

One milestone after another...from one amazing trick to another...there's really no stopping this little lady from growing up! Last Sunday, we caught her pulling herself up during our playtime.

There's just so much changes going on, I'm missing a lot from her infancy days already! For one, I miss the smell...she hardly sweated before she really smelled like a newborn baby all day long. But now...well...she smells like a toddler already a few minutes after we bathe her. :(

The only thing that has not changed though is that gummy, yummy smile she so generously offers to greet Mommy and Daddy when they get home from work.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Ma-Da-Ba

Today we discovered that Maia has started talking already. Of course, still the gibberish talk. But as most parents would react, hearing the two syllable words (or in this case multiple syllables) were like music to our ears.

She was munching on a toy this morning (or was it her hairbrush? couldn't remember now...) when she started saying...Ma-Da-Ababababababa. We were dumbfounded - her dad and me...but her reaction was to just look up and giggle at us. It was then that her yaya shared that she's been talking for the past couple of days already. We just didn't notice because when we reach home our playtime would usually just consists of giggles...giggles and more giggles. Which is actually fine with us since her giggles still qualify as the best stressbuster for us.

I caught some of the talking moments again on video later today when the 3 of us are preparing for our afternoon siesta. I am still hoping for a replay of this morning though. I will post the video as soon as Maia grants me my wish. :)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dealing with Loss

I was browsing through my e-group this morning and I chance upon a sister sharing her grief on losing her husband just 8 months after their marriage.

I cannot imagine how painful this experience could be for her considering that at this point in their lives they're just probably starting to build dreams together and planning on how to make them all come true.

I remember the time when Tibs and I were considering the what ifs after learning that my rare disease is the malignant one. He was very hesitant to start the conversations regarding the future and how we're going to cope with the situation on hand. He was hesitant because he is afraid he will breakdown once the topic sets off. I know how hard he's trying to show his strenght at that time. But I did not want him to contain all those emotions. I was on the other hand scared that he might breakdown one day and that would be a lot more difficult for us - with my recent surgery, the baby, and ALL.

Eventually with my kakulitan, I finally got him to talk. And he cried. He just cried his heart out. He said his only fear is he does not know how to start his life again in case he loses me this early. But he knows he will eventually learn to accept everything that happened. He just isn't sure how he will react on the first few days. I was not at all happy seeing him cry his heart out. But I was glad he was able to release all those bad thoughts. And I was glad to know that inspite everything he remains optimistic that we will recover regardless of all the tragedies we face or will face.

I guess each of us will always have to go through a certain tragedy in our lifetime. If you look at it positively, those tragedies will probably become the turning points of our lives. It would all depend on how we chose to deal with them.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Am I A Bad Mommy?

I never expected to get this emotional after months of enjoying my new role as a mother. Yes after everything that I went through from day one of my pregnancy up until now I immensely enjoyed the journey. I never dreamt of all this so up to this day it amazes me how natural this all felt.

The past seven months were never a breeze though. For first time moms like me who live far from their immediate family, most of the decisions would be based on trial and error. I did try my very best to compensate this lack of immediate help by educating myself through reading and taking notes but as most mommies would later on realize, at the end of the day, you will still rely entirely on your mommy instincts. The books can only help as much.

Anyways, as I was saying it was never easy for us - being first time parents. At first we thought that we've already hurdled the most difficult stage of all this. Receiving the news of me having phyllodes tumor when I was still struggling to breastfeed Maia at two months was quite a blow. But my instincts guided me to take the decision that would be most beneficial for our family. I was bent on breastfeeding Maia for a much longer time but then I knew that only radical mastectomy will buy us the most essential thing that she needs - TIME with her Mom. Learning later on that the tumor was malignant was even more difficult to take but by God's grace getting clear scans soon after was such a relief. We thought we survived the first 3 months, all else should be easy breezy by now.

But alas...how wrong can we get? It seems that the difficult part is just starting to unfold.

Later this afternoon, I called home to check on how Maia was doing. Imagine my horror upon receiving news that she got locked inside our house ALONE for almost 30 minutes earlier today! What's even worst was she was left on the floor and not inside her crib. I almost dropped the phone if not for the repeated assurance from her yaya that Maia is okay and is now back in her usual giggly self. I still wanted to go home that instant though. Good thing, it was raining really hard I still had time to collect myself together and calm myself up.

Thirty minutes later, while I was on my way home, I could not help but replay the scene (as described by the yaya) in my head and I could not help but think of the what ifs. I suddenly felt like I failed my Motherhood test today. I felt like I am not doing my best to keep Maia away from harm's way.

Today, I felt like I was a really, really bad Mommy. Sigh. Am I Maia?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Trouble Sleeping?

 ...well Maia is. And since we co-sleep...us too.

I used to be paranoid back way before we had Maia. But since Maia's birth -- I'm now became MORE paranoid than ever. Since my only reference to track Maia's development are books and the internet, I would worry if Maia is a bit off-track. I know, i know...the baby websites ALWAYS reiterate that each baby is an individual so it highly possible that he/she might not always undergo the development markers that I would read. But I really can't help but drown myself in pointless anxiety sometimes.

Actually my problem usually just evolves on whether Maia is taking in enough milk and sleep. Those two - I ALWAYS, ALWAYS monitor with the Yaya...because these two is usually what contributes to her Physical Development. Maia is fine with ALL other development markers. On most of them especially the motor skills, Maia is even ahead at her age. But to me physical development is first and foremost! Especially since I desperately want Maia to grow bigger and TALLER than me. (HAHAHA...so now you know where all this FRETTING is coming from...)

So anyways, since I was a kid, I was told that the reason I did not grow any taller than I am now is because I abhor sleep when I was still a kid. Yes. You read it right. I was never fond of sleep. It wasnt until I became a mom that I learned to appreciate the BEAUTY of SLEEP. Even when I was pregnant with Maia, I'd be all tired but I would still prefer the waking hours than the sleeping hours. I guess, I am to blame for Maia's growing hate on sleep.

But is she really NOT getting enough zzzz's?

Well according to Baby Center:

By age 6 months, most babies sleep a total of 11 1/2 to 15 hours of sleep a day (between nighttime sleep and naps) and are capable of sleeping for long stretches at a time.

Between the ages of 6 and 9 months, many babies consolidate their daytime sleep into two naps, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Don't be concerned, though, if your baby continues to take three naps a day. Keeping consistent times for bedtime and naps will help regulate his sleep patterns.

If your baby hasn't yet settled into a sleep pattern that fits your family life, now might be a good time to try some type of sleep training. Sleep training methods can help your baby go to sleep more easily, sleep for longer periods at night, and keep more regular hours. Sleeping through the night If your baby now sleeps for nine or ten hours at night, it means he's figured out how to settle back to sleep — a sign that you're raising a good sleeper. If your baby isn't yet sleeping at least five or six hours straight, you're not alone. Many babies still wake up at night for feedings in the 6- to 9-month stage — though most are ready for night weaning, if that's what you choose. But babies this age don't necessarily wake up because they're hungry. We all wake up several times every night for brief periods of time. And as adults, we put ourselves back to sleep each time — so quickly we don't even remember it in the morning. If your baby hasn't mastered this skill, he'll wake up and cry during the night even if he's not hungry. Waking up again Babies who were great sleepers may suddenly start waking up at night or have difficulty falling asleep between 6 and 12 months of age. Why? Sleep disturbances often go hand-in-hand with reaching major milestones in cognitive and motor development and with separation anxiety. At 6 to 9 months, your baby may be learning to sit up, crawl, or possibly even cruise or walk — quite a list of achievements! Not surprisingly, he may not want to stop practicing his new skills at bedtime and may get so excited that he'll wake up to try sitting up just one more time. Separation anxiety could also be the cause of your baby's wake-up calls. Waking up and finding you not there may cause some distress. But he'll probably calm down as soon as you enter the room and greet him. How you can establish healthy sleep habits Here are some tips for helping your baby sleep well at this age: Develop and follow a bedtime routine. If you haven't already established some sort of bedtime ritual, start now. A bedtime routine should help your child wind down and get ready for sleep, and at this stage your child will really begin to participate. Whether your routine includes giving your baby a bath, playing a quiet game, getting your child ready for bed, reading a bedtime story or two, or singing a lullaby, make sure you do it in the same order and at the same time every night. Babies like having routines and schedules they can count on. Keep your child on a consistent schedule. You'll both benefit from having a daily schedule that includes set times for bed and naps. That doesn't mean your baby has to eat lunch at exactly 12:15 every day, but it does mean you should try to stick to a fairly predictable schedule. If your baby naps, eats, plays, and gets ready for bed at about the same time every day, he'll be much more likely to fall asleep easily. Encourage your child to fall asleep on his own. To nap well and sleep through the night at this age, your baby has to learn to fall asleep on his own. Try putting him down before he nods off, so he can practice. If he cries, the next move is up to you. Do wait at least a few minutes to see if he's really upset or just fussing a little before settling down. Try putting him to bed earlier. If your baby's used to going to sleep after 8:30 p.m. and suddenly begins to wake up during the night, try making his bedtime a half-hour earlier. Surprisingly, you may find he's much more likely to sleep through the night. Practice getting "unstuck." Children who are learning to sit or stand up may practice their new skills at night in their crib and get stuck in an upright position once they're sitting or standing up. If this is happening to your baby, you'll need to teach him how to lie back down. Take a week or two to help him practice getting "unstuck," not necessarily in his crib but wherever you're spending time together. Make it a game — sit him up and then lay him down. Do the same with standing, helping your baby sit down at first and then encouraging him to do it on his own.

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