Thursday, January 30, 2014

Baby Shower for Khaleid

"Surrounded by friends who are more like family, I can see that you are already well-loved.." 

That's lifted from one of the messages of our friends to our second son Khaleid on the occasion of the baby shower they threw for us last Saturday. The message struck a chord - I was deeply touched by their gesture, and also very overwhelmed with the thought that my friends love my family like theirs.

Truth be told, I knew my friends were planning a baby shower for our second baby. It had been a sort of tradition amongst us, despite what I read somewhere that there should only be one baby shower in a mom's life. (Check out my post about the baby shower they threw when I was pregnant with Zohan - here and here - and when Boinks was pregnant with Kloud - here.) But despite the knowledge that they were brewing something for the Cristobals for the second time, I was still in awe because they never seem to run out of amazing party ideas.

The baby shower was held last Saturday at Sophie's Mom. (Our first time at Sophie's Mom here.) We were joined by our friends from lawschool and my good friends from my last lawfirm. 

Our first activity was to eat - haha! We were served with pasta and quiche (I had to google that!). 

My friends said the food was good but I wasn't really hungry at that time. Plus, I was excited for the rest of the activities, so I wasn't really paying attention to my food.

Then the girls played a game of drawing the most pretty buntis. The one drawing was blindfolded while the other team member did the coaching. Vanec and Kat emerged as winners. (Both got engaged recently, so congratulations!)

And my favorite - the gift giving part! You know what touched me the most? They knew it could be difficult to introduce a new baby to Kuya Zohan, so they also bought a little something for our panganay. Zohan was happy, of course! I guess he wasn't expecting it because the night before, I thoroughly explained to him that the gifts we would be receiving at the party would be for his baby brother. (Oo, assuming talaga ako na may gifts!) So the entire time, he happily played with his own gifts!
See? He couldn't be bothered!

Anyway, here are the photos of the gifts for baby Khaleid. 

Photo taken from my iphone. Not part of the official photos.
Thank you guys!!!! I loved them all and I'm sure Khaleid will love them, too. I will make sure all these items will be put to good use.

After the gift-giving, we were served with coffee and cupcakes. I particularly loved the red velvet cupcake; it goes very well with dark coffee. You should try it! 

Photo taken from my iphone. Not part of the official photos.

Then we had the final game - which was to write the most number of items in a given category. (For instance, name the items that could be found in mommy's hospital bag, or name the vaccines for babies.) Since most of my friends are still single, each group had a "mommy" to act as the leader. 

They also wrote a little note for Khaleid about what's in and what's happening around us at the moment he's about to be born. (i.e, Vhong Navarro was beaten up, Kat Rances got engaged, the weather was unusually cold, etc.) It would be an interesting read when he grows old.

They also prepared a little give-away which was themed "old candies". Remember Haw-haw? Ahh, the memories. (Zohan and I had been munching on them for several days after the party.)

Photo taken from my iphone. Not part of the official photos.
We then wrapped things up with a little speech from me and my husband. And of course, a good photo, as souvenir. 

My son - in full character!!

I am really grateful for having these crazy bunch as my friends. We've been friends for almost ten years now and I know my family can count on them for anything. They were there when Kristan and I became an item (much to their surprise!). They were there when we broke up; reconciled; gotten married; and had our first born. They're here now as we welcome a new addition to the family. Thank you for everything, dear friends. Sabi nga ni Kristan, "Sana wag kayong magsawa, kasi wala pa kaming anak na babae." #pataytayojan

*Sophie's Mom is located at Corner Santol and Aranga Streets in San Antonio Village, Makati City. It's a good place to host small and intimate affairs. You may contact the owner through their Facebook Page here.

*Our official photographer is Charades and Parades. They are very competent and affordable! Visit their Facebook Page here for details.

Monday, January 27, 2014

What's Inside my Hospital Bag

I am officially 38 weeks pregnant, which also marks the start of my maternity leave. I'm less than two weeks away from my expected date of delivery but if it were up to me, I prefer to pop my little boy out already! But my last check up showed that my baby is still in a high position; so I have no choice but to keep myself busy in the meantime. 

As a result, my husband and I have been nesting like crazy, buying this and that for the house. We finally had the time to attend to the making of my requested birthday gift - a simple custom-made cabinet in our bedroom! We commissioned a carpenter from Bulacan, who copied the designs I got from different websites. We're so happy with the results, and we've been nesting ever since!

Of course, the preparation of my hospital bag is on top of the things that keeps me occupied. This is my second pregnancy so packing my hospital bag is an easier task now. I have eliminated so many items from my old list (the one I used with Zohan) since now I know which items are essential and which are not.

Here's what's inside my hospital bag (maleta, to be exact!)

For Baby:

3 sleeveless tops
2 overalls
6 pajamas
3 short-sleeve tops
3 long-sleeve tops
2 receiving blankets
3 pairs of Mittens
3 pairs of Booties
3 Bonnets
Curity/burp cloths
Alcohol, wipes and cotton
Lactacyd (Blue)for taking a bath

I also prepared a bag which will be given to the nurse in the delivery room/operating room. It contains stuff which they will use to dress up my baby once he comes out:

1 small-sized overalls (if he turns out to be tiny)
1 large-sized overalls (if he turns out like his Kuya Zohan, who's a 9-pounder)
Receiving blanket
Swaddle blanket

(Make sure to label the bag with your name and your baby's name so that the nurses/hospital staff will know where to return the bag with the rest of the unused items.)

For the Mommy:

6 maternity pads (I anticipate that we will only stay in the hospital for a short time.)
One pack of disposable underwears (since I do not expect myself nor my husband to wash my underwear for the duration of our hospital stay. I got mine from Watson's. It's pretty cheap but I have yet to try it if it's comfortable enough.)
6 cotton underwears, in case the disposable ones won't work
Nursing cover (I hope to nurse the baby as soon as possible; so to keep my visitors from being distracted, I packed my old nursing cover.)
3 comfortable dresses with buttons down for easier access when nursing. 
3 pajamas when I get cold
3 pairs of socks
Headband - my bangs is the last thing I want to mind when I'm in the pain and agony of labor (fingers crossed!)
One transparent envelope which contains the following:
Government documents and other forms (forms for SSS, Maxicare and Philhealth, original copies and photocopies of the ff: marriage certificate, Kristan's birth certificate and my birth certificate)
Hospital documents (admitting order, mommy check-up book, lab results from day 1 of my pregnancy onwards, and the entire record of my pregnancy with Zohan - in case they need to check my history for VBAC purposes)
ID and cards (Philhealth ID, Maxicare ID, Mercury suki card, SSS-UMid)

For the Daddy:
Clothes and underwear for a 3-day stay
Pillow and blanket
Gadgets - tablet, kindle, headset, chargers

That's it. These are all packed in one maleta, so that we'll only be lugging around one bag. The maleta has been sitting in the trunk of our car for almost two weeks now. We put it there the day I reached my full term.

I also have my usual hand bag which contains my phone, wallet, cards, make-up kit, wet wipes, keys, etc.. It's just waiting to be picked up from the corner of our bedroom when the time comes.

Aside from these, we also have gifts for Zohan. I got the idea from Anna's blog - to buy a gift for the older brother, supposedly coming from the baby. We will give the gifts to Kuya Zohan when we come home from the hospital. We got him play doh and coloring books and a small car - his interests of late.

We are more than ready for the D-day, at least insofar as the bags are concerned. As to when and how - we are eagerly and also anxiously anticipating! But at almost 39 weeks, there are no signs yet - no loss of mucuous plug, no bloody show, no regular contractions. So please help me plead with my baby - come out, come out wherever you are!!!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The terrible but wonderful "Two"

A few months ago, I started a draft post about the inevitable - Zohan reaching the "terrible two" stage. I introduced the post by saying it was as if he magically sprouted thorns overnight to replace his otherwise sparkling halo. For some reason, I wasn't able to finish the draft. A few months later, I revisited the draft and I realized so many changes occured that the entire post needed an overhaul.

At the beginning of Zohan's "terrible two" stage, it was indeed what the literature said it would be. He wouldn't share his toys and food; he'd always get his playmates' toy; he'd hit on his playmates; he'd always resort to crying when he couldn't get his way - it was always an episode of a long and annoying meltdown. Zohan did it by the book, it was definitely TERRIBLE! And I was left clueless, doubtful of my ability to be a mother, and in a constant sour mood, to the point of having a meltdown myself.

So I read whatever I could get my hands on regarding any write up on dealing with the "terrible two" and I researched a lot on the internet. There were a lot of tips, sure. But I reckoned it was difficult to apply most of them. At the end of the day, I found myself handling the situation based solely on instinct and necessity.

Until something happened last December which took a turn in our otherwise chaotic household. I scheduled a long leave from work and my husband and I became stay-at-home parents. Our companions left for Christmas break, so it was just the three of us at home.

It was an opportunity for us to really know Zohan - his attitude at play, his preferences, his mood swings. I had to admit, on weekdays, Zohan spends more time with the yaya than with us. And a two-day weekend wasn't enough to really understand his daily quirks. I accepted the raw and painful truth - that no matter how hands-on of a mother I tried to be, it was quite impossible to really know my kid when I have an 8:00 to 5:00 job.

So our two-week vacation had been all about bonding and understanding our son better. I noticed that he was at the "exploratory" stage. He'd always prefer to join me in whatever I was doing, so I let him be. He'd help me handwash our clothes, prepare our meals, wash the dishes; then he'd turn to his Tatay and help him shine the furnitures, mop the floor, and fix whatever broken stuff they could find at home.

Of course, Zohan wasn't really helping. It took more time and effort to get things done when there were tiny little hands messing around. But it kept the little boy entertained. And this was what I learned - keeping him entertained keeps the tantrums at bay! 

When I say entertained, I wasn't referring to toys or tablet or the TV. He easily grew tired of them. What I did was to let him play outdoors and allow him to do everything he wanted to do at the playground. And once we were inside the house, I made sure to keep him "involved" in what we do. That meant more work for me and my husband- but I'd take late-night picking up of legos and mopping the floor (after I tucked the boy to bed) than a house that's spic and span but with a cranky baby in it.

Now, at almost 2 and a half years old, I noticed lot of changes in Zohan. He stopped hitting his playmates (he still retaliates, but that's another tricky issue). He'd ask permission from us before proceeding to do some actions and accept it when we say no. (There were times that he'd cry and take it badly, though.) He started sharing his toys and food again, but only after a very long and tedious explanation.

The bottomline is - there had been a huge improvement in his attitude compared to when he just turned two! And what was more interesting was how he suddenly turned into this very sweet little man who'd always make us smile with his quips. He would give us random hugs and kisses, he became very thoughtful in his words, and he would surprise us with his affection that wasn't taught or forced.

Not only that - we could already talk to him because he could respond intelligently to questions. At bedtime, he'd always ask us to tell him stories of random stuff. Not a very easy task because really, what interesting story could you make out of curtains or lights or walls? But it was amazing how he could remember our stories from several nights ago. So most nights, we'd rack our brains out to come up with truthful but interesting stories about the most mundane things that caught Zohan's attention.

And this is why my old post needed an overhaul - to include that while being at age two is indeed terrible, it is also a wonderful, incredible and heart-melting stage. 

I used to find myself contemplating on whether I should throw my son out the window whenever he would give me a meltdown. But now, that doesn't happen anymore (okay, maybe sometimes!) because I learned how to deviate away from an escalated level of tantrums. Now, I find myself often wanting to squeeze my son tight out of fondness and love and gratitude.

And if I may just share, here are what I learned so far with Zohan's terrible two stage:

1. Keeping him entertained helps keep the tantrums at a bare minimum.

2. In relation to item 1, I practice tolerant parenting. (Okay, I made that up!) "You want to mess with the clothes that I painstakingly folded for hours? Go ahead. You want to peel the garlic, sure!" As long as my son's life or other people's lives will not be put to risk, I tolerate pretty much everything at home.

3. The stages in the life of kids change very rapidly. The tantrums, the fake cries, the bad mood - they won't last for very long.  The next thing I know, the terrible part is over. They all come to pass. So I just bear with it, try to be more patient, and wait until the next interesting stage comes up. 

4. And as with most things about parenting, the ones that really matter is not up to my hands. I may decide whether it's okay to give him chocolates first thing in the morning. But if my kid will grow up to be a good person despite the daily, sometimes inconsequential rules of parenting - that's really up to him. So when everything else fails, I just lift it up to a Higher being.

I'm only halfway the age two, so what do I really know? These things seem to work for me; just take it with a grain of salt. These, and a piece of chocolate on a very bad day doesn't hurt.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I turned thirty!

So many things to document, so little time! Blame it on the Holiday season, the never-ending list of things to accomplish at the office, the preparation (the lack thereof is more apt!) for my delivery, and my half-month stint as a stay-at-home mom (with no help!), that I never had the time to sit down and blog. 

Now, that was very unfortunate because I turned thirty last December 22!!!! 

I wanted to have something to look back to many years from now that would remind me how our little family celebrated it, so I tried to squeeze this post in.

It was a very simple celebration - but it was the happiest! My husband booked an overnight stay for us at Taal Vista many months ago because he knew I just wanted to be with him and Zohan on my special day. 

We left Manila on the 21st, at around lunch time. After the smooth drive to the South, we made a quick stop at Gerry's in Tagaytay for a late lunch. 

Then off we went to Taal Vista! It was our first time there and I couldn't be more thrilled. I remembered passing by Taal Vista whenever I would go home to the province, and I would always glance at it dreamily, with the thought bubble, "One day.." Well, that day happened when I turned thirty - with no less than two of the most important persons in my life!

Upon arriving in our hotel room, we rested for a while and I basked in the happiness of it all. (Pardon the frivolity, I'm appreciative like that!)

I know! I looked like a whale here, in all my pregnant glory. But my husband - you could not trust him to take flattering photos. 

Look who was getting all comfortable!
Then I dragged my husband outside to take some photos, for posterity's sake.

We decided to celebrate on that day (the 21st), so we went to Bag of Beans for an early dinner. We've never been to that restaurant before. The place was surprisingly spacious and cozy on the inside. My food was great; I had their breakfast sampler which I shared with Zohan.The litte bugoy loved the pancakes. 

And as you could depict from the face of my poor husband, he wasn't satisfied with his food. Haha.

After dinner, we brought Zohan to Sky Ranch. I was ecstatic when I saw Thomas the Train, one of Zohan's favorite cartoons. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to made him try it. He was also fascinated with the horses, but he said he would just observe them because he was afraid to take a ride. 

We then went back to our room and relaxed the entire night. I had a loooong, warm, and uninterrupted bath while Zohan was busy watching TV, so there was no one banging my door every few minutes. (Try having  just one kid and you'd put uninterrupted bath on the top of the list entitled luxury.)

We woke up late the following day. I had a very stressful and busy week at work the days before my birthday; so that was a much deserved oversleep.

Then we had buffet breakfast (in our pantulog clothes, no less!). We took some photos again while Zohan played at the vast surrounding. 

AGAIN - not a very flattering photo of the buntis celebrant on the day of her 30th Birthday! But what the heck -- I was VERY HAPPY!!!!!
So, how did turning thirty make me feel? Genuinely happy. I had always considered thirty to be a great year - like life has begun for you but there's still so much marvelous things that have yet to unfold? That's exactly how I felt.

I had met the love of my life, married him, and now we're about to have two kids. I always knew I'd be married by thirty; I wanted to start my family life early because I wanted happiness to begin early.

My dream of becoming a lawyer came true before I turned thirty. And now, I'm trying to establish a career as an in-house lawyer in one of the biggest banking institutions in the country. That may come off a little surprising because I always sucked at math - but I do litigation anyway, and appearing in courts was what I always wanted. 

I had been teaching law students for more than four years now, which was never my dream but it was a very welcome achievement.

At thirty, I am heavily mortgaged but happily so. There is a silver lining at the end of the tunnel that we live in a place we can one day call our own. 

But of course, there are still things that I wasn't able to accomplish - like buy and drive my own car before turning thirty. (I always get pregnant whenever I plan to enroll in a driving school, what can I do?!) I also wasn't able make my mom stay in the Philippines for good, give her a new house or renovate the old one. And there were sad things that happened, too - like I lost my lolo, my lola got Alzheimer's and became bedridden. But who has the perfect life anyway? I am grateful to take the good with the bad and look at the glass half-full than half-empty.

Thirty is a good year. I feel so glad to be thirty - I'm more mature, more confident, and definitely happier than the younger version of myself. Maybe with more flabs, but flabs is good. It signifies that life has been awesome but there's still a lot to work out on. 

Happy Birthday to me! Thank you Mahal for a wonderful celebration. Thank you Zohan for making me smile. Thank you Lord for a wonderful life.
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