Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Random Thoughts of a New Mom

So, I am a mom now...
   ...and I have already forgotten what an 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep feels like.
or 5... or 3... or 2... or 30 minutes

So, I am a mom now...
   ... and I can no longer shower in peace (if i even get the chance to do it), because my baby knows exactly when to cry. Yep, when mommy's in the middle of shampooing her hair
   ... oh, and don't get me started on when I'm in the middle of pooping.

So, I am a mom now...
   ... and now I say goodbye to spontaneous trip because a trip now involves 10,000 more things to pack and 15,000 more things to consider because you know, i have a tiny pooping machine, err, i mean tiny human company.

So, I am a mom now...
  ... and I can no longer hastily make decisions.
  Like, you know that eggnog cocktail I've been craving for with extra shot of rum? I can't have it because baby's breastfeeding in 30 minutes.

So, I am a mom now...
   ... and that new gadget I so want to buy? not happening.
   Because now I have to think of daycare expenses and 529 Plans.

So, I am a mom now...
   ...and that unfinished sandwich with a single bite sitting for hours on the dining table was mine... because baby decided to poop (and is now screaming bloody murder) around the same time mommy is taking a bite of her breakfast, lunch, dinner or midnight snack.

So, I am a mom now...
   ... i used to wear my perfume is my son's pee..
i have a bellagio fountain right in front of our changing table...wanna see?

So, I am a mom now...
   ... and in spite of all these, i am not looking forward to my maternity leave ending... i'm already having separation anxiety just thinking about going back to work... i  don't think i can even last 5 minutes.

Monday, September 7, 2015

i'm having twins

...not really

but i feel like that sometimes. that or i'm having an octopus for a baby (the way he moves sometimes feels like he has 2 sets of legs).

maternity photoshoot at 30 weeks


i'm loving every one of his movements though. even if his jabs and kicks startle me. i cannot count anymore the number of times i have yelped and jumped on my seat because my little one had punched my bladder, either with his hand or with his head.

but i will not have it any other way. that is my assurance that he's doing well inside. i had to count his movements now and if it's below what is expected, i have to go to the hospital ASAP. so his jabs and kicks are good affirmations.

even though i complain a lot and i'm so ready to give birth, i'm still enjoying this experience because i might not have this experience again. it always fills me with amazement that there are two beating hearts inside me. his and mine. that there is a a tiny human being living inside me that has half my DNA. that this little one inside me would soon be filling our house with smile and laughters and smell of stinky poop, lol.

like any other first time parents i'm worried about a lot of things. would i do a good job? am i built for this kind of responsibility? will i be a good mom? a tiger mom? will i live long enough to see him get married and have kids?

so many scary stuff but i know negativity won't get me anywhere and would just make my anxiety worst. so i have to choose. either choose to think about all these negative thoughts and create problems in my head that is not yet or just enjoy the moment and take it one step at a time.

i chose the latter. 

one baby step at a time.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Pinas in 2015

just some collection of photos and videos during our recent trip to the Philippines.
here you would see and read about our experiences while visiting Tagaytay, Bohol and Boracay.

Day 0.

(Feb 11). Our trip started with a very pleasant surprise, from Premium Economy, we got upgraded to Business class for free.  It's funny how that turned out, because the hubby was trying to do their bid thing from Cathay Pacific where Business Class seats are up for bidding. He bid for $1,000 per person (one way only) and didn't win so just imagine our surprise when they told us we got upgraded. Yep, that means bed, baby! For a 16-hr straight flight. We also got upgraded to Business Class from Hong Kong to Manila and we're hoping it would be the same deal coming back to the U.S *wishful thinking*.

champagne welcome drink


Day 1. Isdaan

(Feb 12) We arrived in Hong Kong at 5:30 am and left Hong Kong for Manila at 8:36am. We were at Manila Terminal 3 (which looks very nice, by the way) at 10:38 am and didn't leave the building until 11:18am. From there we went straight to Isdaan floating restaurant. We rented a van and I instructed the van to pick-up my family first so we could go straight to Isdaan from the airport. It was a good hour and 10 minutes drive. We had our lunch there and ordered some favorites and a few intriguing dish. There were 6 adults and 2 kids and we still ended up with left overs to take home.

sangbalde at isdaan


I have been to Isdaan before but the one in Tarlac, which I believe is the original one, and it's amusing to see that the one in Laguna is

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

29 weeks

i'm feeling the baby's kicks get stronger. i also noticed that he has now a pattern. like he's awake in the morning, starting 7am. then at some point he'll stop kicking late morning. then will start kicking again in the afternoon, around 2pm til about 5pm. then quiet. then kicks again at night around 8pm til midnight. not sure if he's awake during the wee hours but i did feel him kick from 1am til 4am one time when i can't sleep. hopefully he won't be like that when he's born. i'd love for him to be sleeping from 12am - 7am. ok, he can wake up once for feeding and to change diapers.

29th week is 3rd trimester, and like any pregnant women at this stage i'm feeling more aches and pains. my back hurts all the time. my hips hurts. my pubic area starts to feel heavy and i'm feeling some pain there too. OB said, the pain on the pubic area is because baby's head is probably sitting there now.

the back pain i sorta, kinda can fix by sitting on a yoga ball and rocking myself forward and back, with my feet planted firmly on the floor, so that it's only my hips that's moving. i also learned this stretching tip i learned during my child birth class where you lean your back flat on the wall and you slowly slide down into a squat and stay there for as long as you can. that gives me relief from back pain every time i do that. i try to add 1 - 2 seconds every other day when i do that. nurse also say it helps exercise my pelvic area when i do that.

i bought a pregnancy pillow from leachco and i love it! it's called back 'n belly chic. i bought a boppy pillow a few months back but it really didn't have much support and was too soft. i was trying to save money (back n' belly is $90 and snoogle is around $50) but i ended up spending more because i have both.

it's still hard to eat in the sense that i get full easily, and when i get full, my tummy feels extra heavy and i am miserable going in to bed. i try not to eat after 6pm just so my food had been digested before i go to bed at 10 (or 11). it's hard to stand now too. it makes me dizzy and it feels like my legs are giving in. walking can be daunting too sometimes, because my legs feel heavy. i'm wondering if they are just tight. i feel that way when i run and i don't stretch properly.

i guess that's it for now.

now for a baby bump pic.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Outer Banks Lighthouse Hopping

I am very attached to North Carolina. I'm thinking maybe because that's the first place I have lived outside the Philippines. I haven't really lived there for a long time. I was only assigned in North Carolina for an offshore assignment in Raleigh twice (2005 and 2006), for a few months each, by a Philippines-based employer and that's just about it. But I like that state very much and I did enjoy my stay there (except the fact that everything seems to close early) and going there to visit always feel like I'm visiting my hometown. Yeah, I know, weird feeling. It's like claiming something that's not mine. But what can I say, I just have a strong connection to this place.

at Chimney Rock, year 2005

I've lived in Raleigh while in North Carolina but have been to Asheville, Outer Banks and Wilmington, to name a few. I have revisited Asheville last December of 2013 to celebrate New Year's eve with the hubby at Biltmore Estate and that was a lovely visit. We even drove to Tennessee from Biltmore for a quick day trip to see the Parthenon replica in Nashville. I would love to celebrate Christmas or New Year's at Biltmore again. I'd love to see what it looks like when it's filled with snow.

Biltmore Estate during the Chrismas Holidays, 2013/2014

We went back this year for the July 4th long weekend. I wanted to do some lighthouse hopping tour for the calendar project I have in mind. For this trip, we have visited 7 lighthouses total.

Cape Lookout.

The trip started on Thursday night, 7/2. We drove 5 hours to Virginia, to cut the driving time in half, stayed there for the night (at Motel 6 Virginia) and started driving to Harker's Island Visitor Center the next day. There we took the ferry that would take us to Cape Lookout. It was a 4 to 4.5 hours drive from Virginia to Harker's Island Visitor Center and then a 15 to 20 minute ferry ride to Cape Lookout. Our plan is go to the farthest lighthouse in our itinerary and then work our way back up North.

The ferry price is $15/person roundtrip. You can do walk-in or you can book your ticket online thru (we booked the Harkers Island Ferry Gateway to Cape Lookout Lighthouse). It's isolated but the water doesn't look like flood waters. Water is actually inviting. You would see lots of sandbars on your way to Cape Lookout and you can stop to this other island where you can see wild horses. I saw passengers bringing all their coolers and chairs on the ferry, which for me is too daunting. I wish they'll have a bigger boat that can transport cars.

We only stayed there for 2 hours, walked around, sat on the beach then hopped on a ferry to take us back to the visitor center and back to our car. There's no hotel close by the visitor center so our hotel was still some 47 minutes away. We stayed at Sherwood Motel because it's the cheapest I could find. It's not a bad location though and we discovered this one restaurant called Smithsfield's. We ordered their Large BBQ Platter. I like their BBQ pulled pork but if you don't like your BBQ with a tinge of sourness then you might not like Smithsfield's. Their hushpuppies are good, it tastes like corn bread.


The next day, we woke up really early to catch the 7am ferry to
 Ocracoke. It's an hour drive from our hotel to Cedar Ferry Terminal.  Cedar Ferry Terminal is where you'll take the ferry to Ocracoke. We paid $15 for the ferry and that includes our car and 2 passengers. Yes, you can take your car to the ferry. The ferry ride was 2 hours. It was a nice ferry ride being it still early in the morning and it wasn't too hot yet.

ocracoke lighthouse

Ocracoke is a nice quaint little town. We like it! It's like a miniature version of Cape May. We won't mind coming back and stay for a few days next time. When you visit Ocracoke, make sure to stop by Ocracoke Coffee and Co. There's always a long line, but it's worth the wait. And sit outside if it isn't too hot.

mocha freeze and cinnaYUM buns


We spent half a day in Ocracoke then hopped on a ferry again but this time to Hatteras. Ferry from Ocracoke to Hatteras is free! You can also bring your car with you in the ferry. Ocracoke to Hatteras is 55min to 1 hr ferry ride. From Hatteras ferry terminal to the Hatteras lighthouse is about 23 to 30 minutes drive.

We left Hatteras around 3:30 PM and went to Rodanthe. I used to be a Nicholas Sparks fan and I used to have all of his books. Coincidentally, the settings in his books, if not all, are in North Carolina and there is this one book I've read (I've seen the movie version as well) titled "Nights in Rodanthe". So as part of our itinerary, I made sure we get to see the inn on that movie.

But before that we had to grab some lunch and we found this place called Lisa's Pizzeria. It had good ratings from FourSquare so we decided to give it a shot. The hubby had spaghetti supreme (which is very good) and I had polynesian pizza (which is good too) and I rinsed it off with their pink lemonade which, after a long hot day, really hit the spot.

We don't know how to find the inn from the movie so we asked someone from Lisa's and we were surprised to find out that it was actually really close by (you can actually just walk).

Inn at Rodanthe
This inn was used in the movie and was considered a public nuisance and condemned until someone bought it and rescued it. More of the story here.

Bodie Lighthouse.

Bodie lighthouse is not really part of our itinerary for that day (Day2) but since it was still a little early and Bodie lighthouse is on our way to our hotel, we decided to stop by that day too.

my 2nd time. first time was 2006 and that
time i don't remember seeing this walkway

It started to rain on our way to Bodie Island but luckily it stopped for a good 30 minutes that we were able to walk past the lighthouse and into this walkway and was able to take some photos before the rain started pouring again.

after almost a decade ago
And then it's time to rest. We didn't get to our hotel until 5:27 but still enough time to enjoy the beach. We were skimping on hotels during the past 3 nights, but since we are staying at Kitty Hawk the longest, we decided to get a better room and near the ocean and so we booked a suite at Days Inn. We stayed there until it's time to go home.

Currituck Lighthouse.

The next day, we went to the next lighthouse on our list. Since we already saw Bodie, we only need to see one lighthouse that day and that is the Currituck lighthouse. I have been to Currituck before (year 2006) but wanted to see it again because I lost some of my Currituck photos because of a hard disk failure.

2nd time here, 1st time was back in 2006

We got back to our hotel early and we're able to enjoy more Outer Banks' beach time.

enjoying the Outer Banks with a good book on Day 3.

Then, just like that, it's time to go home. We did saw 2 extra lighthouses, but it's in Virginia. Can you guess what they are (without googling)?

Friday, June 12, 2015

the herculean task of growing a human being

as i feel the baby inside me punch and kick and do somersaults, i can't help but be very amazed about what has been going on inside my body. it still amuses me that i'm "cooking" a human being inside me. 

when i look at images of fetus' stages of development inside the womb i'm  always filled with awe.  such a miracle. 

imagine, from a tiny blastocyst, no bigger than a poppy seed, to something that looks like an alien, with a tail, and then eventually to a fetus. it's just amazing!


and the most amazing part is how the heck did i help in making that happen?! the task of developing a placenta is no walk in the park. i have never felt so tired in my life and it peaked at 9 weeks. i always feel like i'm having a fever and i'm nauseous and feeling weird my entire first trimester. 

our little one at 18 weeks

those random cramps caused by stretching ligaments are no joke too. and i never would have thought i have to watch out whenever i laugh, sneeze or cough because it sure will be an emergency trip to the ladies room (i really need to get serious about that kegel thing).

supplying nutrients to a growing baby while enduring my internal organs being squished and displaced is no easy task too. i find it harder and harder to eat because i always feel like i ate a whole cow or have inhaled the whole golden corral buffet.

yeah, so many things happening both inside and outside my body but after all these i'm still scratching my head wondering how all those collection of symptoms and out of whack hormones contributed to growing a life. makes me even more proud of being a woman.

watch the link below to see how a woman's intestines get's squished/displaced

and then ofcourse, when it's time, women have to endure the painful pangs of child birth, which to be honest is making me really really really (did i say really) scared but with God's grace and my hubby's support, i'm sure i'll get through it.

it's hard work but i'm still thankful for this blessing. very thankful. i just pray that our little one completes his full term and that he's healthy and with no abnormalities.

now for some pregnancy pic:

no stretch marks and linea negra, so far..

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Car Payment Done!

This might sound shallow but this is a biggie for me because I don't like loans.

When I moved here in the U.S. I didn't decide to get a car right away. My first job was in center city Philadelphia. I used to live in Plainsboro, NJ but the commute is just too exhausting. 2 hours one way. So I decided to find an apartment in PA. Problem is, the cost of apartments in the city are up the roof so I went to look for apartments out in the suburbs instead but strategically chose an apartment that is close to a bus station or train station so it would make my public commute easier. I also made sure that my apartment is walking distance to a supermarket. I ended up getting an apartment in Northeast Philadelphia (Korman Communities). I have to take a bus and a train (blue line) to get to work but I'm fine with that. I'm just glad that I am walking distance to the bus stop, a shopping mall, a supermarket, a taco bell and a burger king, hah! So yeah, I don't see a need for a car.

Then I found a new job. A permanent, full time job outside the "city" (where I met the hubby). I tried to do public transportation for a few weeks but it took me almost 2 hours to get to work. If I have a car, it will just take me 30 minutes. Still, I didn't buy a car. I'm just too cheap and scared to drive (people here drive fast! <- my lame excuse). What I did instead is to move to a new apartment that will make my travel time shorter and found this cute apartment at Towers of Wyncote, located at, guess where, in the city of  Wyncote (still suburbs though).

my current ride since 2010
RAV 4 2005

Friday, May 8, 2015

2nd trimester

yeah. i'm pregnant. found out about it since i was in singapore (feb 16). we were keeping it quiet and was just telling it to a few friends and on as needed basis (ie: bosses, pilates teacher, etc) because i'm high risk and wasn't sure how long i will be pregnant. but since i'm in my 2nd trimester now, maybe i can start talking about it?

at ku-de-ta resto at marina bay sands singapore
- the day we found out i'm pregnant


i decided to officially mark my week every friday (based on baby size) instead of wednesday (based on LMP-last menstrual period).

so every friday, since my doctor's appointment is very far apart (every 4 weeks), i treat myself with listening to the baby's heartbeat. like i did this morning. 

i sometimes have the urge to listen everyday but i feel like i'm annoying the baby with the sound from the doppler or with the doppler poking him so i figured once a week should be enough. it's enough for me to know that he's still alive and kicking (literally! he kicks the doppler sometimes).

as usual, he's such a wiggly worm. he moves around a lot. i can only hear his heartbeat for a few seconds then it disappears only to find him in a different spot. can you tell it's a boy? lol

 while using a home fetal doppler

update: i stopped using my home doppler since i started feeling the kicks.

on another news, i'm feeling normal and it scares me sometimes. being the paranoid FTM (first time mom) that i am, i'm always perpetually scared of missed miscarriage where you don't have cramps and bleeding but the baby's heart just stops beating and you won't know about it until your next doctor's appointment. but! they did say 2nd trimester is the honeymoon of pregnancy so i should enjoy this while it lasts because come 3rd trimester, i know would be miserable again.

the other nice thing about 2nd trimester is i have my energy back and my OCD side is back in full gear cleaning and organizing the house most of the time, if i'm not busy eating, lol. 

oh and yes! my appetite is back. i still can't stand looking at huge slab of beef but with a whole piece of chicken i'm fine. i've been having some hankering on cheetos and would indulge but i try not to overeat because i'm watching my weight. according to, i should gain 1lb per week and that's what i've been obsessively watching. oh, and i've been eating a lot of watermelons too.

what i'm looking forward to is to feel the baby move. i think about it so much that  i've been dreaming about it lately. i am feeling some movements but i wasn't sure if it's just gas or muscle spasm, but they did say that you might start feeling the baby move on the 16th week so i'll keep an eye (err, hand?)  on that.

2 more weeks and i can see the baby again! i'm actually internally debating if i should move my ultrasound to my 20th, the magic number when every pregnant women does their anatomy scan but my OB says 18th week is fine. my OB also said i still have the option to move it on my 20th week if i want to know the gender but i already know the gender (since week 12). so i might just keep my 18-week ultrasound schedule and just book a 3d/4d ultrasound at week 24 at this place i discovered. i do want to see that tiny thing in the middle of his legs that makes him a boy (i just thought it would be cute to see), so hopefully at my 18th week i get to see that still.

schedule is : 5/21

now for some 2nd trimester preggy pic.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Applying for "The Wave"

Does that photo looks familiar?

Yep, that's one of Windows Desktop backgrounds (under Landscapes category) and it's taken at a place called Coyote Buttes North, also known as "The Wave", in Arizona.

I discovered The Wave not because of Microsoft's Windows but while I was at some gift shop in Page, Arizona looking at calendars souvenirs and post cards. It was right after I saw the Lower Antelope for the first time, around Thanksgiving of 2010, and I was with my friends from Chicago and Canada. That time I didn't know it as The Wave yet, I only knew it as Vermilion Cliffs. So armed with this new information, I set out a goal to know more about it. Where is it, what is it, how to get there, etc. That's how I learned that one doesn't just go there, there are procedures and not an easy one at that.

Fast forward, two dear friends of mine have moved to Arizona year 2013 and we planned to travel together to see the Antelope Canyons. I wanted to go back because I was too mesmerized by that place and I want to show it to the hubby. I started planning that trip but I have some other agenda in mind, I really wanted to see The Wave. So I went to apply for the Wave permit, online. This was 3 months before our scheduled Arizona trip. If you want to know how that works click me.

Coyote Buttes North, aka, The Wave is an internationally renowned hiking destination. In order to make it fair for everyone who wishes to visit, a lottery system has been put in place. Easy enough? 


To preserve the place, they only give 20 available slots per day. 10 they give online and another 10 for walk-ins. I applied for a permit online, twice, and didn't get lucky. That didn't discourage me though. I had a plan B. 

My friends in Arizona, the hubby and I still pushed through with the Arizona trip. The plan was go see Antelope Canyons (lower and upper). Go see the Horseshoe Bend (haven't been there) and then go to Utah. 

The plan B was we will attempt to apply for lottery personally. yes, walk-in, but we want to have a back-up of the back-up plan (did that makes sense?).

The Wave walk-in permit lottery drawing

When you apply for the walk-in permit, it is only valid forthe next day, not on the day you applied. So if for example you applied today, Monday, and you won, the permit is valid for Tuesday, the next day. With this, I had to make an itinerary around that situation. Below is how it looked like (for the complete itinerary and logistics click me):

Sunday, January 11, 2015

2014 - Love it or Hate it?

I haven't done my 2014 recap yet so this is an attempt to do just that.

I hear a lot of people complaining they didn't have a good 2014 and they'll be fine not having it but in my case it wasn't so bad. I'll start with the good part first. The not-so-good part will come later in this post. Now, before I start, this is not to brag. I am just counting my blessings and you should too.

We did a lot of travelling in 2014 but mostly just in the U.S. The only international trip we had was when we celebrated our 2nd year wedding anniversary in Paris and a side trip to London to try the Eurostar and to watch Miss Saigon.

(Note photo starting the one below would all be vanity shots. To skip, scroll all the way to the middle for the photography shots without my face, lol)

aboard the eurostar from london and back to paris

after watching Miss Saigon in London

berthillon of paris

trash-the-wedding-dress photoshoot in Paris

Another highlight of our 2014 is doing a lot of hiking with our favorite travel buddies Rex and Chona. I am tired most of the time after the hike but it was worth every molecule of sweat because we visited a lot of cool places.

bryce canyon in Utah

the internationally renowned hiking destination...
the  wave (coyote buttes north)

discovered another quaint city called Newport in Rhode Island

went to chicago to take my friends' prenuptial photos