Thursday, December 27, 2012

Today we pack up the crib...

I am staying true to my resolution that I will update this blog more regularly, so unless somebody stop this mad woman, I am afraid I'll bore you with milestones that aren't really very interesting.

Like today, December 23, 2012, we packed up the little boy's crib. It wasn't really being put to use for a long while. And instead of accumulating dust and becoming a catch basin for all my bags, the husband and I agreed to pack it up.

It is kind of momentous for me because I feel like Zohan has graduated from a little child to an active little kid. He has been like that for a while now, and the packing sort of sealed it. And since the crib has already been folded and kept in obscurity, perhaps it's also a little symbolic that Zohan is no longer a baby - hence, time to have a new one?

Incidentally, (and this is TMI, sorry!) I also welcomed my monthly cycle two days ago - after two  years! I counted from the time that I had gotten pregnant until today. The delay in the return of the regular cycle is due to the fact that I am breastfeeding until now. I bet that's a new information for you, single ladies? It has something to do with the hormones, they said. So since I am back to regular woman programming, I think I am now physiologically and physically ready for a second child.

I have always been vocal about wanting to have many kids. Now that I have experienced having one, it has not changed my views about it. In fact, Zohan may have further strengthened it. Having many kids may mean we may have to work a little harder, earn a little more, have more patience, and in the process have lesser time for ourselves. But I guess I'm okay with that. I believe these sacrifices come with the territory - and one or a dozen kids make no difference at all. Once you become a parent, your capacity for  love and patience expands. You are never the same selfish person you once were. And when you have done it the first time, you can do it again. And again. And again, until your patience or your uterine wall finally grows thin, whichever comes first.

So there. Today, we packed up the crib. And a new season begins.


  

Monday, December 24, 2012

A lovely weekend and some thoughts on vanity

Two weekends ago, we went home to my province to visit my folks. Incidentally, one of my cousins employed abroad came home for the holidays, so the Cristobals trooped to their house for a hearty lunch. And when I said hearty, I meant this:

And there was really no better way to eat in the province, with the fresh air and shady trees and lots of inihaw, than this:



If you think Zohan is too young to join our fun, well, look who's a party camper!

I was a bit hesitant to post this picture because obviously, this isn't really a flattering image of myself. But Zohan is too cute here, looking like he really knows how to eat ala boodle fight, so, to hell with vanity. I think I may have thrown vanity out the door, trampled on and spit on it the moment I became a mother.

After lunch, Zohan spared some more tummy space for dessert. Here he is having some fresh watermelon.


When I was growing up, and even before I got married, I was always a frequent visitor in this family's house. My uncle had nine children, and my mom only had me, so you could already surmise the reason why I was always headed to their place. It's a long walk from our house, it would even require an uphill climb. But I really didn't mind because once there,  I would be embraced by serenity, luscious greenery, fresh air and of course, comfort food!

Now that we have Zohan, I wish he could also experience a happy childhood in the province like I had. That's why every chance I get, I make it a point to introduce him to his cousins and their happy way of life. They're really a happy bunch!



However, Zohan seemed a tad too little to fit in the games of his cousins. He was just always looking on to their merriment. But more than his cousins, I think he was more fascinated with the farm animals which he encountered that day. His cousin LJ was catching chickens for him, and the moment the chicken tried to escape, Zohan would shriek in delight. He wanted LJ to do it over and over again, but after a long while, LJ said, "Tita Khaye, pagod na po ako...". That left me laughing, and Zohan crying. Haha.



Looking at the photos above made me realize that forgetting vanity because of motherhood is such a lame excuse I made earlier. I know my family would agree that this is really how I look like at home on any given day, even when I was still single. If that was the case, then, what can you expect now that I am already a mother?

I used to scorn at mothers who used to be vain and pretty and dainty when they were still stingle, and then would turn out to be "losyang" (as we Filipinos prefer to call it) the minute they have kids. Now, I know better. Try spending a whole day with little kids, with no help, and you'll realize you're lucky if you could still squeeze in a few seconds to comb your hair. When I go out with Zohan, I always prefer that we go without our house-companions. So when you see me outside, looking every bit of a losyang, please be kind and spare me the judgment. I'm trying to evade karma here.

Obviously, I still have to learn the art of looking so well-kept and put together, even with a kid tagged along. I have seen other mothers who can rock it, sporting the calmness of Lucy Torres and sending me some very annoying signal that they know how to keep everything under control. Well, I hate them specie of mothers! How do you even do that?!

Anyway, enough about my quest for vanity. Going back to our lovely weekend, I remember now that there was this one game which Zohan enjoyed that he even selfishly refuse to return to other kids.

  
Yeah, his obsession is kind of creeping me out. But that's fine, as long as he's keeping himself entertained as I immerse in the much awaited chismis time with my cousins.

Hope you're all having a lovely Christmas eve, folks! Will try to document and blog about the first time we're spending Christmas at our place. Soon! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Party in our place

The busy Christmas season has definitely taken its toll on me as I’ve been slacking in updating this blog. I was okay with the occasional posting until I read Anna’s post and found myself with the same regret as hers. I also wanted this blog to be a documentation of Zohan’s (and our future kids’) milestones – something that we could conveniently look up to several years from now to remind us how we started as a family. Obviously, that is not happening here, with the lame excuse of not having the time and energy and all. So you could count on my regular updating of this blog as a resolution for 2013.

Meanwhile, here’s what we had been up to lately (far late, actually!):

Our condominium corporation organized a christmas party (which in reality was actually paid for by us from the skyrocketing condominium dues) and Zohan was in attendance. It was his second time to attend a condo-wide event like this – first was the Trick or Treat which this busy momma also failed to document. (Well, at least his costume had a separate post.)
Since he was still too young to join in the games, we were only able to participate in limited activities. We had our family picture taken at the photo booth, we stayed for dinner, and we watched the intermission numbers of the staff. I always enjoyed watching performances from the staff, they were always a welcome relief. I found it very refreshing to see them in a different light, happily enjoying themselves despite their sheepish smiles. 

After the different dance numbers, the little kids preferred to stay in the mock-up stage and wanted to dance to the delight of the proud parents. Zohan, that little silly boy, wanted to imitate the bigger kids. Unfortunately, his dance moves were not yet refined.  And later on, he discovered the joy of pulling the cords of the christmas lights. Que horror! Tatay had to fetch him back to our seat. But see his smile in this photo –


If it weren’t unsafe, I would have allowed him to do as he pleased if only to look at my kid’s happy face.

After a while, Tatay and I decided to call it a night and went upstairs. But not without a few photos. Here is Zohan inviting me to walk around as if it was still playtime. 




This was already past 9:00PM I think? After a few rounds, I had to carry him and head back to our unit.

This was the design of our lobby for Christmas. 


Zohan was happily staring at the gifts underneath the Christmas tree. 


He wanted to remove that shiny little ball and throw it up  in the air. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’d know this was one of his obsessions.

It was a fun Christmas Party for the Cristobals! Well, actually just for me. Zohan, in his very young mind, would not probably remember he attended something like this. Tatay, my very shy and introvert husband, only wanted to keep me happy so he obliged and agreed that we attend. And yes, me, the more social one, was glad we had something like this to add to our books.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Zohan was rushed to the hospital, and it was like a joke!

Dec. 07, 2012

We brought Zohan to Makati Medical Center today - his first time to be brought to a hospital for an illness. He was vomitting since 1AM - he'd vomit, then nurse, fall asleep, and wake up to vomit again! By 6AM, he'd thrown up seven times (I counted!), which prompted the husband and I to take the day off from work and rush the boy to the hospital.  

Growing up in the province with our home far from the hospital, I was trained to always pack-up with the possibility of confinement in mind. So even if MMC was just a sneeze away from our place, I had a full bag with me, which freaked out my poor husband. In my head though, I was thinking of all the many possibilities that could happen to Zohan. I had to force myself to stop because I was so near to freaking out as well.

We arrived in MMC in no time, and since Zohan lacked sleep, he was especially cranky and fussy. He gave the nurses a hard time taking his temperature, weight, pulse rate, the works. 




The doctor checked on Zohan and asked us if he was having fever or diarrhea - which he hadn't. She also asked if Zohan poo'ed that day, and I told her he hadn't since yesterday. The doctor then ordered an abdominal x-ray to check if the intestines were full of fecal matters which may probably induce his vomitting. She also ordered urinalysis to rule out UTI. 

When the results came out, husband and I couldn't decide if we should laugh or what. Well, we were both relieved, because as you can probably tell, it was just Zohan's intestines failing to keep up with his appetite. Apparently, since his bowel movement had not been regular, his intestines were already full, that any additional solid intake will have to be thrown up. In short, he was constipated. I know, my folks back home were probably shaking their heads. But of course, more than anything, I was so happy and relieved that Zohan's condition was nothing serious. 

So Zohan was given laxative, and soon enough, he relieved himself. Despite him feeling and looking better, we were still advised to wait for the result of the urinalysis, which took so long! Zohan, getting bored out of his wits, tugged me to roam around the hospital, to which I obliged.

I brought him to Mary Grace's little stall and he gladly pointed to the cakes. Look at his Oopps, it wasn't me face! He didn't look constipated to me at all! Hahaha!



I got him cheese roll and ensaymada. We went back to his Tatay who was waiting at the emergency room. The three of us devoured our breakfast in our little corner. Talk about camping in.


After an hour of waiting, we were given by the hospital staff the option to just call for the result of the urinalysis, so that we can already go home. (The result turned out negative, so it's just really the "biting off more than you can chew" that brought us to the hospital for the first time.)

After billing out, Tatay had to buy medicines, so Zohan and I waited stayed at Seattle's Best in the meantime. Again, he was fascinated by the sight of food. He wanted the colored drinks but I had to turn him down. I got him an oatmeal cookie instead, which made him happy in the car on our way home.




At home, it had been a rollercoaster ride - there were times he's okay, other times he's cranky again. But by bedtime, I was so glad he's already back to the happy camper that he was. He toyed with Tatay's player and danced to his rhythmic songs of choice. When I said dance, I only meant him doing the head bang. He still remembered Gotye's Somebody that I used to know - still his favorite. 

Last picture before he dozed off. 



 Goodnight little boy! That was a good one, what you pulled off today. Your Tatay and I were laughing off how utterly expensive it was na "maki-jebs sa Makati Med!" But as I said, I'd gladly take any of this silly little illness of yours any day, but don't let it get any serious than that. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My New Happiness This Christmas Season

Sunday, 6:00 A.M. 

I am sandwiched between  my two sleeping boys – to my left is little Zohan, who, thank God, slept through the night; and to my right is my husband, who is snoring in deep slumber. 
 
By force of habit, I reach for my Blackberry and check my Twitter timeline. I realize that it’s already December and people are posting a lot about Christmas—parties left and right, holiday shopping stress, the latest bazaars, gift-giving guides, the places they will go to for the Holidays and the menu on Christmas eve. Reading stuff like these on my timeline, I try to think of a Christmas gift for myself this season. I’m pretty sure the husband will ask the same thing, and until now, I have not identified any “craving” for anything that would make a good Christmas gift.

My apathy is perhaps because the past four days had been emotionally, mentally, and physically arduous for me and the husband and the Christmas spirit has yet to pick up my mood. 
 
Zohan had been experiencing teething pains since Wednesday – and when that happens- I tell you, that’s bad news. Alongside with teething, he had difficulty sleeping, if not downright refusal to sleep. He also had bouts of slight fever every now and then. Last Thursday, he did not eat anything AT ALL. When I arrived from work, he declined to breastfeed as well, which was alarming, because that was not the case in the past. Back then, when a new tooth would erupt he would refuse solid food but he would compensate by thriving on my breast milk. At least, I was relieved that he wouldn’t go on an empty stomach. But since Wednesday, he can hardly swallow anything including breast milk.

For working parents like us who co-sleep with the baby – it was undeniably physically exhausting. We were up almost the entire nights of Wednesday thru Friday. The following mornings, career life must go on – business as usual. Come Friday and Saturday, Zohan developed tiny blisters on his feet, and red spots started to appear all over his body. The discomfort he felt worsened because aside from teething pains, he was also irritable, perhaps due to itchiness. Adding insult to the injury was the pesky thought that he might be exhibiting symptoms of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. (Len, who blogs at The Mommist, wrote about her experience when his son was stricken by HFMD. You can read about it here.)

What was more difficult for me was to see the little boy being very cranky and sensitive, as opposed to him being his usual self.

You see, Zohan is a generally happy kid. At this early, he does crazy, silly stuff that catch the husband and I off-guard. He dances to the tunes of his favorite commercials on TV (by now, I have learned to sing the full spiel of Rub-ba-da-bango and Let’s.all.go-to.Shakeys!); he opens our office bags and puts on bits of trash inside its every cranny; and he mimics the things we do without us instructing him. The moment the husband and I arrive home from a very stressful day at work, we are usually greeted with his festive laughter. Zohan’s presence makes me feel as if I swallowed a pill of instant happiness. 
 
But for the past few days, his silliness was gone and replaced with a wailing and suffering baby. I miss the crack of his laughter, the lines beneath his eyes like a whisker of a cat that automatically surface when he smiles. I miss pretending to catch him as he tries to run away from me. I miss his Tatay throwing him up and suspending him high in the air, which Zohan immensely enjoys. I miss Zohan’s endless obsession with his basketball. I miss his mechanical raising of arms in the act of shooting an imaginary ball, when prodded with, “Shoot, anak. Shoot!”

I miss the cute little ball of happiness that is Zohan. And my heart breaks with him as I imagine the pain he’s going through. Aside from that, the lack of sleep is also slowly consuming me.

On Saturday afternoon, my parents-in-law and sisters-in-law went to the mall with Zohan. The husband and I were left alone and for the first time in what seemed like forever, we breathed like normal persons and laughed mad like we used to. When Zohan arrived after a few hours, he seemed happy and back to his usual self. For dinner, he ate his Jollibee spaghetti with gusto, and for a moment, that was the most palatable dining sight ever to grace my eyes.

Last night, Zohan slept through the night (except for his occasional whimpers that only require immediate breast-attention). We tucked in early and now, at 6:00 AM, Zohan is still soundly asleep. For the first time in four days, I wake up with great relief and no longer with a heavy heart. Now that we are finally out of the woods, it hit me that my happiness has taken a whole new meaning. Seeing Zohan happy and healthy immensely covers my heart with joy and pure bliss. That is now my happiness.
 
I know that what we had been through is nothing compared to families with kids distressed with serious afflictions. But when one becomes a mother and faced with challenges involving her son or daughter, there is only a very thin line between easy and difficult. Everything about their children automatically becomes consequential – perhaps in varying degree, but always consequential.

So this Christmas, I only wish for strength for all the mothers out there. For the different mamas of the world: those who are blessed with autistic children; those who are working like a horse to finance chemotherapy and other medication; those who are enduring the distance to send their kids to school; those who have to painfully give up their children for adoption to have a chance of a better life; those suffering for the loss of an unborn child; those who will be spending Christmas distantly looking at their babies in NICU, and those who, for one reason or another, cannot kiss and embrace their children this holidays… My prayers and wishes go out to all of you – that even though life is full of suffering – may you find courage to have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Basketball

My husband is definitely a fan of basketball. Given a choice, he would want to play in a professional league, but fate had other plans. Inasmuch as I love him to the nines, honesty has always been the rule and ego-pampering the exception in our relationship. Although he can play ball (even better when he was younger and uhm, well, thinner), he lacks the much-needed height to rule the game.

The “vertical challenge” notwithstanding, he loves the sport so much as a player and spectator. In fact, he is an avid watcher of games on TV to my ultimate detriment and annoyance. (Seriously, where is the fun in watching full-grown men fighting over a ball? Can somebody just give each player a ball and let them shoot as much as they want? How can there be so many conferences/seasons when the activity is all the same? What difference does it all make?)

But being the understanding wife that I am, I indulge my husband by sitting down with him in front of the tv during the last game of the PBA every conference. You can even hear me frantically yelling, “YOOOONN!!! CAGUIOA!!!!!!” Yeah, what a pretentious little bitch I am, because if you look at me close enough, you will notice that the hint of happiness in my eyes flows from knowing that the conference has just ended and I will hear not another buzzer again. 

But the happiness is doomed to end as I soon learn that with the end of PBA, the NBA season begins.

More than a year into the marriage and this has been practically a vicious cycle in our house. For the life of me, I just cannot learn how to appreciate basketball. I’d much rather switch the channel of the TV to Bloomberg and strain my eyes on the graphic movements of the stock market.

Then, Zohan happened to me – and he didn’t spare my feelings towards basketball from the things he planned on changing in my life.

He is actually nagtatampo in this photo. Pardon our slippers.
Looking at those images, you can already tell what he is into. But to give you a clearer picture of how much he adores basketball, try switching the channel to Basketball TV and boom! He will dance his head and motion his hands in the act of shooting a ball. How cute is that?

 Literally, basketball.


He couldn’t leave the darn ball even in his sleep.




Of course, this is no assurance that he will end up to be a good basketball player. (But I really wouldn’t mind if he does!) But with the way things are going, it seems that I will be the only bummer in the house who doesn’t get giddy every time PBA or NBA is showing. Do I want that? I don’t think so. So yes, sorry I have to go. Ginebra is on tonight.

Monday, November 5, 2012

An UPDATE! (plus some heavy thoughts)

Yep, I'm still here! I'm drowning in the sea of reflection and contemplation, but I'm glad I still managed to squeeze in two timely posts (for Halloween and for my anniversary with Kristan) after a very long hiatus. 

I've been through a rollercoaster of emotions and a series of events, hence the lack of post. I also contemplated on deleting this blog altogether, but I hung on to my mantra of late that "Nothing just happens". So okay, I started this blog for a reason - which may not be clear to me now, but it will have to unfold sooner or later. In the meantime, I just have to keep swimming (or in this case, writing). 

I also failed to keep you posted about what happened to my two golden weeks. Perhaps because aside from the lack of time, there was also a lack of face, so to speak. Obviously, things didn't pan out as planned. As said golden weeks drew near, I listed down the pre-employment requirements of my new work, my errands which had been archived in my To-Do List under "can wait", and some other personal stuff. I tried to narrow it down, but the list still filled up two pages!  

It turned out, in two weeks, I only managed to stay at home for three full days, which made me came up with this thought - that working mothers should be given an extra holiday and just call it "errand day". (Seriously, weekends are never enough to do all the errands because it's supposedly time for family! Now, if we could only find a kind-hearted sponsor in the Senate.)

Anyway, despite the long list that I had to tick off, I was still able to spend time with Zohan. We went home to my province and his Tatay's during the two weekends. 


at our home in the province
Here in Manila, I would whip up something in the kitchen every now and then:


pancakes (in the afternoon!) and Nanay's version of Jamba Juice's choco moo'd
Of course, we played (a lot!), I accompanied him to swim, we would sleep in the afternoon, I would read him books at night, I even tagged him along to do the groceries. I made sure that what I lacked in quantity, I made up for quality. 

Also, while I was on a break, I had the chance to distance myself a little from the chaos of the world. While I was at it, I finally did my husband a favor and bought myself the book The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck. 

There was a little background story about that purchase. I had been bugging him for as long as I can remember that I wanted to enroll in a yoga class. When he asked me what for, I gave a straight-from-the-gut response that I wanted to loose weight. Apparently, that was the wrong answer, as I was accused of stripping yoga of its true meaning. So the next chance I got, I said I wanted to do yoga to find my center. (clever, yes?) He said okay but not without a condition: I must first steep myself in "spiritual literature" so that I can do yoga with a proper frame of mind.  Well, what do you expect? I conceded and bought the darn book from a plethora of his suggested titles. 

The Road Less Travelled was about a new psychology of love, traditional values and spiritual growth. Kristan read it when he was in college. When we went home to his province, he eagerly looked for his copy and showed it to me. As I browsed through it, a certain page immediately caught my attention. I grabbed my own copy of the book and looked for the same page.


We both highlight our books when we read

Read several years apart, and we highlighted the exact same lines!
"To willingly confront a problem early, before we are forced to confront it by circumstances, means to put aside something pleasant or less painful for something more painful. It is choosing to suffer now in the hope of future gratification rather than choosing to continue present gratification in the hope that future suffering will not be necessary."
Still on the mantra that "Nothing Just Happens", I took it to mean that delaying gratification should help me cope with the pressing issues I had at the moment. Truth be told, I have not finished reading the book yet. I wanted to digest each and every letter of it, and then take it to heart. True enough, the book helped me put things back in perspective  and "find my center", in a manner of speaking. While I'm still a work in progress, I could fairly say that it has been a real sanity saver. 

So that's what my golden weeks had been about. Quite tedious in the beginning, but I was glad I found something to slow me down towards the end. How about you? What has been saving your sanity lately? :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

November 1

...is All Saints' day. I hate to steal the thunder from all these haloed beings, but, exactly six years today, I messaged Kristan telling him that I love and care for him too. (I knooooow, the cringe! But please indulge me.)

Totally unrelated. This was our "proposal" photo - 4 years after that November 1

Like most of our major life decisions, it was also an impulsive leap of faith - that text message. For one, we started exchanging text messages the morning of October 31, and stopped only the following day - the afternoon of November 1- without sleeping even for a minute! Even when I took my bath or ate my meals that day, my other hand still twiddled with my phone, anxious to send a reply - even if it was only a nonsense Hehehe with a lot of smileys in the end. So you can blame it on the lack of sleep that my emotions got the best of me. 

For another, and more importantly, I realized now that you don't really know you love a person just by two days of looking at him differently. True, at that time, it had just been two days (thereabouts) since he was promoted in my book from the friend zone to an "interesting person" category.  But then, he was interesting enough to reduce me to a mere instrument with no other thought than to reply with "I love you". And to me, that was the perfect thing to do right at that very moment.

That reply was empty words, or if it had meaning at all, still, it paled beside the true meaning of I love you and I care for you. That reply had no sense - just pure instinct, sparkling and undeniable interest, and perhaps a little kilig.

But that reply was indeed the perfect thing to do, because it gave us an opportunity to learn about unconditional love.

Now, 'I love you' makes more sense.   It speaks of our commitment to stay in love even if we turn out to be the most annoying person with the most unbearable attitude.  It is no longer instinctive, it has become a decision. A decision that took six years in the making, and will take the rest of our lives to stand by.


I love you Mahal :) To six years and beyond. 

P.S. Akin ang remote mamaya. Nag-sara na ang PBA.

(Tan: Start na ng NBA!)



Monday, October 29, 2012

Gandhi...or not?

One of my bestfriends, and also Zohan's Ninang, Jona, invited us to their house blessing which, incidentally, fell on their subdivision's annual Trick or Treat. It was Zohan's first ever Halloween party (mine,too!), so I just had to look for a cute outfit.

After I learned how utterly expensive ready-made costumes were, I decided to just create one for Zohan. So Kristan and I browsed through the internet to look for interesting ideas. After narrowing down our choices, we unanimously voted on this one:


Photo taken from Pinterest

At the back of my mind, I was ecstatic at the thought of Zohan (who is Zahir Mohandas in real life) sporting a true Gandhi fashion. I would have wanted a bald head and a plastic reading glass to go with the outfit, but I soon realized that to do so would be a little over the top.

Inspired to create a DIY outift, I went to Glorietta and bought a yard of maroon cloth (P150) and half a yard of yellow cloth (P62) for the outfit. I also added a wooden black bead necklace (at P70) which I saw at Landmark. Good thing Zohan had a Moses-type sandals at home which looked perfect for the outift. As opposed to P600 to P1000 price range of ready-to-wear halloween costumes, I spent only P282, and came out with this:



In my attempt to convince myself that I had done a wonderful job of bringing Mohandas Gandhi to life, I immediately sent a photo of Zohan in said outfit to two of his Ninangs, and after several exchanges:

Ninang Joyce: Mare, mukha syang from Nepal! or Tibet!

(But Gandhi was from India, right?)

Ninang KQ: Sino ang character nya mare?

(Wasn't he a give-away Gandhi?? I mean, do I really have to go for the faux glass or bald the poor boy's head?)

A sense of panic kicked in, so I sent the same picture to Kristan, and asked:

Me: Mahal, parang hindi agad na-gets nila Ninang yung costume nya :-( Hindi ba sya obvious na Gandhi?

And the unimaginable came in:

Kristan: Huh??! Anong Gandhi?? Hindi naman sya si Gandhi! Buddhist monk sya. Monk yung ginaya natin. Pag puti ang suot, yun si Gandhi.

*Toink*

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Bitten by the Jollibee Bug

So I thought parents made all that up - the Jollibee fascination of kids. Having a one year old got me convinced. Kids really do enjoy Jollibee parties, and for Zohan, he absolutely loved the spaghetti, too!

Zohan's first and only cousin TJ celebrated her first birthday in Jollibee. And I must say, I was a little surprised how Zohan seemed to enjoy the party even at his young age.

Look who's a happy camper
He delightfully finished almost an entire order of spaghetti. It was funny seeing him all messed up in his face. And he didn't want Nanay to be spoonfeeding him. He could not yet eat on his own so it took him forever to finish his food. And not without traces of spaghetti sauce all over his face and his clothes. Such a messy eater! 


Of course, he is still too young to join, or even understand, any of the games prepared for the kids. But it was just a delight seeing him clapping every so often whenever he saw the other kids clapping and laughing. It reaffirms what has not yet dawn to me - that we now have a little boy who will tag us along to possibly a lot of kiddie parties in the future. OMG we now have a little boy!


The kid who got cropped in the photo is Paul - Kristan's inaanak. He's Zohan's constant playmate whenever we go home to Kristan's hometown. Zohan was giving him the gigil face - so cute!


And he became attached to this balloon, which he never let go of until the party's over. He was playing with it on our way home, but I was afraid the darn stick might hurt his eyes so I forcibly took it away. There was a lot of crying involved, but I was used to that by now. 


I liked this photo very much. Looking at it felt like these angas boys were suddenly transformed into doting titos. These are the Cristobal boys who adore Zohan so much, as you can probably tell. They are all itching to teach him basketball, Tatay included. Right now, Zohan's favorite toy is his small basketball, so we'll see about their dreams.


These are the Cristobal girls - they are Kristan's pretty sisters and his loving Mama. The only guy up there is TJ's Dad.


And this is the only decent family photo that we have - and we were not even looking at the camera! Well, except for Zohan. 


This was the part where Jollibee the mascot showed up. While the rest of the older kids were frantically jumping and shouting in excitement, Zohan clung to me like a glue and wouldn't allow me to go anywhere near them. Haha! It was his first time to see a mascot. I hope he get over his fear of it sooner than later so that he could start truly enjoying the rest of the kiddie parties in our books.


Happy Birthday, TJ! Here's a birthday smack from your Kuya Zohan. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Photobook Project

Guess what just arrived today, straight from Malaysia!

It's our wedding photobook, which I have been raving about on twitter. If you have no idea about what a photobook is, well, welcome to the club! I didn't know about it either until I saw it being offered on a discount in one of the group buying sites. 

Here's how the system works:  You need to look for a photobook provider to print your photos in a coffee table book. Then, you have to download the provider's software (for free!) which will take just a few minutes. Easy Peasy. 

Next, you have to choose the photos and create your own lay-out. Yep, the labor is yours, as well as the style, designs, arrangements - all the not-fun stuff if you weren't born an artist like me! It took me several nights (which would start when the boy is finally asleep!) to finish the damn thing. It was the laying out (and selecting which ones to print from a thousand photos) which was the hardest for me. 

After you finish your lay-out, upload it, pay for it online, and wait for the confirmation of your order, then you can sit back and relax. It took seven days to arrive, and I didn't even know it came straight from Malaysia until I saw the package.

I chose to create one for our wedding photos, given that we actually didn't have a wedding album - just a couple of photos printed and a virtual album on Facebook. Such a shame. So before we totally forget what really happened that day or who celebrated with us, I decided to give this photobook a try. If things would  turn out well, I had planned to do another one for Zohan's first birthday party photos.

There were actually a lot of photobooking services out there in the market, but so far, it was Photobook Philippines which had good reviews. So I decided to try it out. I chose the Imagewrap style for the cover, Medium portrait size (it's 8x11 inches) with 40 pages. The pages were made of 170 gsm Premium Silk. It costs P3,500.00 (I know, it's expensive!), but I liked their Facebook Page and I was given 40% discount. I paid a total of P2,300, including the shipping fees.

Kristan and I were so thrilled when it arrived, but we became a little disappointed when the supposed front page, which was this:


 ..was interchanged with the supposed back page cover, which was this:

 

I was not really sure if it was their fault, or - knowing how computer illiterate I could get - I may have committed some error uploading it and accidentally had it interchanged. I did not bother reaching out for the USB in my bag to verify the saved copy of the photobook project -- spilled milk and all.

Anyway, there were a couple of pictures which made up for it, like these:




Now come to think of it, the aesthetics were products of my lay-out, while the quality of the photo could be attributed to our talented photographer back then, Joyce Ducut. Photobook just had them printed, so, I guess I should just commend their quality printing and the good paper. Oh, and their efficient service.

If you have important photos, which somehow did not land on a tangible photo album, you might want to give Photobook a try. If you are willing to take a certain level of risk to save a few bucks, there's a 75% discount offered by Groupon (from P3,570 down to P899), in collaboration with Photobook Philippines. I haven't tried Groupon yet, and Kristan recently had a very bad experience with a group buying site, so I'm wary of trying out new deal sites and risking hard-earned money again.

At any rate, I will still get Photobook Philippines to do another photobook project, this time for Zohan's first birhday party. But first, I need to catch up on my zleep.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Zohan sets his foot in UP


..and it was a hopeful premonition of sorts for me.

 
 
I came from a different school but I had always been fascinated with UP education and its products. To this day, I had not met a single person who came from UP whom I didn't like. Ok, that sounded non-sequitur, but I just happened to associate UP people with intellect, humility and simplicity. My husband and most of my closest friends were UP grads. They were all incredibly funny and sensible, with a good dose of humility.

The point of that rather verbose introduction was my dream for Zohan to be UP educated. So it was quite momentous for me that Zohan set his foot in UP for the first time.

Last Saturday, the husband had a work meeting in UP and we decided to tag along. Husband dropped us off at the Acad Oval, so the minute Zohan alighted from the car, he was greeted by the luscious greeneries and a breath of fresh air. Initially, he was quite apprehensive to roam around and explore his surroundings – perhaps a little overwhelmed by the enormous shift to a sprawling yard from his usual four-cornered space.
 
 
After a while, he became comfortable and started pulling me towards the kids who were playing soccer from afar. 
 
 
It was a humid mid-day, and with the scorching heat of the sun and with my growling tummy, there was no way I was caving in to the whim of that little mister. Politely, he settled into picking up trash, dried roots, leaves and God-knows-what from the ground.
 
 
 If he were a little older to understand and appreciate, I would have invited his attention to the Educ Building where his Tatay and I hung out on our first date. Too bad I forgot to take a photo of the building, for added drama to this story-telling. (If you have a photo of it, please, can I borrow?)  

On that first date, we spent the entire night sitting by those steps and talking about everything that came to our love-drunken minds. Everytime I look back at those times, I couldn't help but think of the movie Before Sunrise and Before Sunset – which I only came to know and watch recently. We were similar to those kids, we were drawn to each other by conversation from the intellectual to the mundane. The following day, after our first serious conversation, we weren't able to look at each other the way we did when we were just friends. And that started the happy chapters of our lives. Anyway, that's a story apt for a separate post.

After walking in the Sunken Garden for a while, Zohan grew tired, and his companions hungry. We decided to have lunch at Beachhouse, which I tried for the first time. It was not as cheap as I had expected, but they served one of the tastiest boneless bangus and barbeques, so I was sold out.

While waiting for our orders, at Beach House

After lunch, and in a true going-out-for-a-picnic fashion, we loitered under the shades of the gigantic trees by the Acad Oval while eating taho. Zohan liked it, which was a surprise, because he had refused to eat one before. Or, was he aware he was in UP?

I didn't notice how sweaty he was until I uploaded this photo. Poor boy!

















































































         



It didn't took long before his Tatay finished with his meeting and we had to go. I left with a hopeful heart that Zohan would call the place his second home in the years to come. 
 
 
Well, he seemed too close for comfort, because he left a stinky smell and a small non-biodegradable trash just before he left - if you know what I mean ;)
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