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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Milestone: First Holy Communion

If you are a Catholic, do you still remember your first holy communion experience?

I received my first holy communion as a Catholic when I was already 29 years old. I received 3 sacraments all in one day - baptism, holy communion and confirmation. It was a prerequisite for the next important sacrament that I was to receive - Matrimony.

Was it a memorable one? Well even if I was an adult, I don't think I have really accepted Jesus into my life then so it wasn't that memorable for me. I vividly remember getting free breakfast at McDonald's Tagaytay from my Tinong Jess right after the ceremony but that was all that was left of that day.

As much as I would want my little girl to chart her own experiences, for this particular one, I wished and prayed for it to be a lot more memorable for her than it was for me or her dad (who also barely remembered anything from his own FHC).

But how to make it memorable? Always, always a challenge.

Good thing, as I am not much of a planner, I had plenty of friends whose kids are also going to have their FHC. My good friend, Maqui, thought of getting letters from her son's godparents (with them sharing their FHC experiences). I love letters! I think what really spawned my love for writing was my love for letter writing.  And Maia also love reading letters. So it was perfect!

Next challenge, how to convince godparents to write. With such short notice. By short notice I mean 2 days prior to the FHC event.

But guess what, everyone was just so nice. They immediately sent it letters. All of the godparents I asked sent it a letter for Maia. Here are samples:

From Ninang Ching:

From Ninong Nono:

From Ninang Kleng, Ninang Manet, Ninong Ronald and Ninong Ren:

Ain't she lucky to have these wonderful people as her godparents?

Congratulations again for this milestone, Maia! We're really proud of how far you've come and how you are growing to be such an amazing child of God.

Keep the faith. Keep the spirit. Let God be your guide always.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Maia Recommends: Kite Flying In Luneta Park

One of our household's biggest struggle after a very sedentary summer was finding outdoor activities that the little miss can genuinely enjoy.

Weekend food trips to the city usually end up with her tugging us relentlessly to go home. 

"This is boring, Mommy." (translated to: I need to get hold of my gadgets before school starts on Monday)

Today, we braved the city traffic once again to try a new activity - kite-making. The NCCA has been holding several activities (all weekends of June) in Luneta Park and this weekend was the last leg of their Arts in Public Places in Luneta series. 

We left home at a little after 1pm hoping to get ahead of the traffic congestion but ended up getting stuck anyway. We arrived in Luneta a few minutes after 3. We searched for Burnham Green but after being dropped off right in front of Jose Rizal's monument, we couldn't find the venue of the event. I approached a park guard and we were pointed towards a cluster of tents across the road. 

Sadly, the event was not publicized well. At 3:30, we were the first to register. We waited a few more minutes before we started making the kites. Nevertheless, when we started flying the kites, people started noticing the activity and a few more kites joined ours in the air.

I do hope the NCCA will continue to organize events like this which parents like me highly appreciate. We get to pry our technology, gadget-loving kids away from the couch and remind them that spending time outdoors is still so much fun. 

Watch video!

I myself didn't realize how relaxing and delightful kite-flying was until I got hold of the string and started maneuvering the kite to stay up in the air. 

"It's fun to steer, Mommy!"

We will come back soon. Luneta Park as night is yet another thing that we are looking forward to experience.

The larong pinoy and kite-making event still runs until July 17th. Do drop by and join! Click here for the event page: Larong Pinoy & Kite-Making. Like the National Commission for Culture and the Arts page as well to get updates of other government sponsored art activities around the metro.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Brownie, Our Adopted Dog (And A Few Tips to Prevent Heat Stroke on Pets)

About 9 months ago, a frail, scrawny dog took refuge in our front steps. She was so thin and almost hairless, most people would feel too icky to come near her.

We were no exception. We wanted her captured. We didn't want her lingering around our property.

But she was persistent. She persevered to stay even if the village guards would chase her away day in and day out. She eventually recognized the sound of the guards motorcycles that even if they were still far away, we'd hear her growl like a tiger.

The guards and maintenance crew eventually gave up.

We couldn't just let her starve so we started feeding her. Once a day. Twice a day. And then before we even realized how far we're dragging ourselves into, it became a regular thing. A few weeks after, we started seeing her orange-y fur come out. In a month, she was far from the scrawny dog that she used to be. We saw how pretty a dog she is.

But we still weren't ready for a pet. So the husband befriended her and eventually tamed her enough to get a leash on her.  When we were about to hand her over to the guards, we asked where she'd be taken to and was told they will just throw her out of the village.

The hubs looked at me and I knew. That day was the day we officially became pet owners. My daughter immediately christened her "BROWNIE" and the rest was history.

Beginning that day, we arranged our schedules so we won't have to leave her alone for so long. Fortunately when we needed to go on long trips, we were very lucky to have family and friends volunteering to take her in temporarily. Come to think of it, her very gentle demeanor makes is very easy for people to grow fondness of her.

Soon we'll be celebrating our first year as dog owners. I never realized I'd get deeply attached with anyone else other than my little miss. But a few days ago, I lost myself in panic because I thought we were going to lose Brownie.

We were oblivious to the symptoms but it turns out she was already suffering from heat stroke. And early morning on Monday, I found her gasping for air almost breathing her last. For the first time, I was lost. I didn't know what to do. I was stroking her gently, hoping my touch would calm her down and take the pain away. But as I looked at her with tears streaming down my face, I felt her starting to close her eyes and giving in. I knew I couldn't just sit there and watch her die. I asked a neighbor if they can drive us to the vet clinic outside of our village and they did not hesitate. Unfortunately, the tricycle that we were taking wouldn't start.

I decided I will just try to carry her. I thought I had enough energy to carry her to the clinic but after about 100 meters of walking, my shoulders were already surrendering. The guards eventually decided to just use their motorcycle. The clinic was still closed when we arrived. I looked at my watch, 10 minutes to opening time. I knocked and called for help. But I guess I was too gentle, so the building guard approached and pounded on the rolled up door shouting "EMERGENCY!!!!". After a few seconds, the door opened and they let us in! "Thank you, Lord!"

They clinic assistant took Brownie's temp and shouted for the vet to come out. "Emergency doc!" They couldn't get a good reading of the temp because the 2 thermometers kept showing "E". Later I'd find out, her temp was just too high the digital thermometer couldn't display it anymore. They placed 3 ice bags on her and attached her to an IV bottle. They put her on whelping box and allowed her to rest. After about 30mins, oh boy, I was so happy to see her sit up and bark. Despite seeing her active after an hour, I was asked to leave her for the rest of the day to finish the fluid therapy. The doctor gave me some tips to prevent her from having another heat stroke:

1. Check her water regularly. Make sure it's clean and cold (as much as possible).
2. Spritz some water on her and her puppies several times in a day.. Even "aspins" need to be refreshed too.
3. Don't allow her to drink water immediately after a walk. It shocks their organs and that's not good. Let her rest for a few minutes then give her water.
4. For newly birthed dogs like Brownie, they're more likely to suffer from Hypocalcemia after 2-3 weeks of giving birth. So best to supplement in the meantime.

Brownie is doing good now. She kept us up for a few more days but I think she's recovering well already. Soon, her puppies will move to new homes. But for now, we enjoy having them around. Even the little miss is very eager to take on the responsibility of making sure the pups are well fed and well hydrated.
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