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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Gender reveal for Baby #2


I had CVS again for baby #2 and one of the advantage of that is you get to know the gender right away. Usually you have to wait until your 20-week anatomy scan.

I had my CVS Dec 7 and got the results back on Dec 19. I didn't want to know the gender so I told the Genetic Counselor to call the hubby instead of me for the CVS result and the gender. Then I told the hubby that I want a surprise gender reveal on Christmas day as one of my Christmas gifts and surprise he did.

He had this big box wrapped in Christmas wrapper. I had my eyes closed because I was scared to look. Yeah, I'm weird like that, lol. So I peeled off the wrapper, opened the box, still with my eyes closed and when I felt a balloon brushed my skin that's when I opened my eyes.

I saw two balloons. One pink. One blue.

At first I was confused.

Am I having twins?
I don't think so. I had several ultrasounds already and there's just one baby inside.


That's when I realized my husband is on to something. I looked at the box and the inside is lined with blue and pink gift tissues too. At that point I got a little annoyed. Blame it on my hormones, lol. I looked at the balloons again and saw something taped on the ribbon. So I annoyingly pulled the balloon down towards me while giving the hubby "the look", lol. Hubby's too entertainment by my reaction and colorful words, lol (no, i didn't cursed). I looked at what looks like a business card taped on the balloon and when I went to inspect closer it was a scratch card. I never seen anything like that. So hubby gave me a coin and I scratched it. I was still very annoyed, lol. I was expecting to see just one balloon and wasn't expecting to be tricked like that. I should have known, hubby likes to do practical jokes, lol.




So I scratched the card and saw a pink image of something. My eyes grew big. I scratched more, vigorously this time, and saw more pink. I started smiling from ear to ear and my eyes and mouth started to open wide.

"really?". i asked.
"why, what does it say?". hubby just replied.

I didn't reply. I was still busy scratching. Then I saw "It's a Girl!". I was so happy and then I cried. I was worried the hubby is still pulling my leg.

"Are you messing with me?". He said "no".
"You are not messing with me?" *sniffs*
"No, why, what does it say?".
"I don't know". I'm not sure why I said that but I was happy and upset at the same time because I still can't believe it.
"What do you mean, you don't know? What does it say?", he asked again.
"It's a girl!" .

At that point i started crying. Tears, snot (sorry TMI) and all just came running down my face. It was tears of joy, ofcourse!

I grabbed my 1 year old and hugged him
"You're going to have a baby sister", I told my son. Who is not paying attention and just watching the balloons that came flying to the ceiling.



I really thought the hubby would suddenly say "just kidding! it's another boy!". I know he won't do that, specially since he knows I want a girl so bad (I want one of each!) and that would be a bad joke but I don't know, for some reason I just didn't believe him right away, lol.

So yeah, we're having a girl and we have a name already.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Our Favorite Baby Items

Just a list of items that we (hubby, lil one and I) love.

Bottle
My LO (lil one) had been very gassy and spits a lot until he turned 3 months.  I have tried all the anti-colic bottles (he's not colicky just really gassy) and the one that worked better for us is Dr. Brown. It never leaks and of all the other bottles we tried, that's the only bottle that gives our baby less spit-ups. If yours does leak, see this link.
Update: We also have the green ones (called Options). With the green ones you can remove the tube thing in the middle if you don't need it anymore. It's a good concept but we found out that if we did remove the tube thing the nipple keeps collapsing so we ended up still using the tube in the middle. So for us the blue or green doesn't make a difference.




Baby Monitor (non-wifi):
We love the Infant Optics  We love it so much that we even bought an add on camera. So now we have one for the nursery and one for the living room (nanny set-up). We also bought the wide-angled lens (and we highly recommend you do). What we do wish is that they display the time on the monitor.





Swaddlers:

We used the Swaddle Me Pod from 0-4 weeks

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Lil One's Birthday One.

As a first time parent, ofcourse I made sure my lil one's first birthday was well thought of and well prepared.

We decided it's going to be a safari theme birthday. We thought it makes sense since his nursery room is safari theme and his newborn photoshoot is also a safari theme.





First, there's the cake. I have been making cakes (pro bono) for my friends birthdays as a way to practice my decorating skills and to experiment on flavors. I decided to make a marble cake, that it's going to be 2 layers. That the color will be teal and green with some animals on the cake.

the marble cake

Baking the cake is the easy part, the hard part is the decorating. I like working with fondants so I mostly decorate my cake using fondants.

before kneading the fondant
what a workable fondant looks like


There are so many details that went on the cake and had to buy several molds, like the grass mold that I used to decorate the edges of the cake. It was a tedious process but well worth it in the end.
the not-so perfect grass
I wouldn't go to the nitty-gritty details anymore so here's the finished product. Everything in this cake is edible, except the candle and the white tray the cake is sitting on. Oh, and the giraffe patterned ribbon on the top cake. That was an after thought and I'm glad I added it.


proudly made by yours truly



I pride myself as someone that pays attention to details. So in the following pictures you will see a banner that has my son's monthly photos, from 1 month until the 12th month. You will also see the table decorations of animals with party hats and gifts. I made the party hats and the gifts for the animals to make them look more festive. I just used colorful papers and tiny pompoms and a baker's twill. 
the monthly photos on the left, party animals - literally and figuratively :P on the right


You'll also see the jar with jar lids that I spray painted myself. I also spray painted the animals that I glued on the jar lids as decoration. The jar contains animal crackers, it's our give-away for the party.








I also meticulously hand-picked all the other elements on the cake table like the trays, apothecary jars, etc. I also wrapped several foams with brown packing paper and added a green ribbon as accents. I used these foams for the mallow pops and cake pops that I made. The rectangular foam I used to elevate the cake. I also made cupcakes, both regular sized and minis. The animal cookies i just bought from etsy.com. The labels I made and printed myself. The banner I ordered from etsy.com and have it printed from Staples.com.

I was also very particular with the balloons I wanted to use. The big balloons are pearl types. I just like the way they look on photos (see the balloons on the cake table).

So there you go. I don't think I will do this every year as it is very tiring. The next will probably be when he turns 7.









Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Conception Anniversary

It has been a year since we found out that we were expecting.

I remember how jealous I was when a friend/ex-coworker who was sitting right next to me on Feburary 14, 2015, at a friends' wedding, told me she's pregnant. I was so happy for her but I was so sad for myself. We have been trying and I can no longer count the number of ovulation kits and pregnancy test kits that I have purchased.

After the wedding I wasn't feeling very good and I was blaming it on the egg I had that morning. I thought I had a bad one and it didn't help that my order of  "over well" was mistaken to a sunny side up.  I have stopped eating runny eggs for fear of Salmonella, but my fault, I ate it anyway. I was so enticed by my view of the Taal Volcano while having my breakfast that I just let it go and happily ate.

at 9 weeks


The next day, it was time to leave Tagaytay but I was still not feeling well. I was already not feeling well while on board Cathay Pacific from Newark airport to Manila, to begin with. I had colds. The day we left Tagaytay, I have colds, I have diarrhea, I was coughing and I was having an Asthma attack. I kept trying to tell myself I can't get sick because we still need to go to Singapore and Thailand and Bohol. So off I went to Mercury drug store and bought Decolgen, Biogesic and Ventolin tablets. "Kaya ko to!", I said to myself. Although it's more like, I was trying to convince myself na kaya ko nga 'to because I don't want to disappoint the hubby and I am really excited to go to Thailand.

From Tagaytay, we went straight to the airport so we could fly to Singapore. I was still not feeling well but alteast I haven't gotten worst. I even was able to meet with my college buddies in Singapore for late dinner the night we arrived.

an instagram post, capturing that night


I had to do my blood work and I was supposed to do it while in the Philippines but decided to just do it in Singapore. So the next day, Feb 16, 2015, Singapore time, very early in the morning, I   hopped on a train from Bayfront (we were staying at Marina Bay Sands) to go to Bugis for the Raffles Hospital (I didn't bother taking the hubby with me). I have my script with me with a "Stat" on it and instructions on how the hospital can send the results over to my doctor. Then I went back to the hotel, took a nap and then took hubby around (I've been in Singapore before, back in 2005). Then around 11am (still Feb 15, 11pm EST), I got a message from the hospital that they already sent my results to my doctor.

Come late dinner time, hubby and I decided to try this restaurant called Ku-de-ta (which is now called Ce-la-vi). I was still not feeling well. My taste buds are so off and I attributed it to being sick. I still have colds and was coughing. I was looking at the cocktails menu then decided to check my emails first. That was around 10pm, Singapore time or 10am EST. There I saw an email from my doctor. It was a secure email that I had to log on to an external site to see it, pain in the butt that is. So after trying to remember what my password was I was able to see my doctor's message. He said everything looks good and that by the way, I am pregnant. Then he gave me an instruction to do another blood test in 2 days. He wants to see if my hCG level doubles.

at 18 weeks


Two days later was when we leave for Thailand. Good thing our flight wasn't until the afternoon so I was able to go to Raffles hospital early in the morning again to do my blood work. Come evening of that day, I received a secure email again from my doctor telling me that my hcG is doubling, and, that yes, I am still very pregnant.

We were ecstatic and scared at the same time. I mean, who wouldn't be? It's a dream come true, yes, but having a kid is a lot of responsibility plus we are older couple so we're worried about genetic abnormalities, etc. But we decided to take things one step at a time. No need to worry about problems that is not yet.

We still went through with our trips but had to be more careful about what I eat and drink (gawd, that Thai coffee is really good, but I only took a sip). I still did ride the elephants. I still went snorkeling in Panglao (Balicasag). What I didn't get to do is massages. They don't want to massage a pregnant woman. Big bummer!

even though i know it already, i still bought a pregnancy kit while in
Thailand just to experience seeing those 
2 magical lines!


We didn't tell anyone I'm pregnant except for those who need to know. Like my manager and my Reformer Pilates instructor and the couple we're supposed to travel to Santorini with that year. Our plan is not to tell anyone until atleast I'm on my 2nd trimester. That's the rule of thumb, they say, because that's when you'll know the pregnancy is viable.

When I came back from our vacation the first thing I did was schedule a doctor's appointment. I want a sonogram. That's when they told me confirmed that I am high risk because of my age. This made me all the more cautious to tell anyone about my pregnancy since I wasn't even sure if the baby will "stick".

So we kept it a secret. I didn't even tell anyone back in the Philippines. I don't want to tell them the news only to tell later that I lost the baby. My thinking was, the less people who know, the less people I'll have to tell the bad news. I don't know. I was just so paranoid. Maybe because I still can't believe my dream is finally happening but there's a big question mark hanging over my head.

at 25 weeks


At 12 weeks we found out we're having a boy because we had to do CVS (chorionic-villus-sampling). My health insurance covers it because I was high-risk. We also did micro-array with our CVS because we want to cover as much genetic tests as possible. Why, you ask? It's for health, economic, psychological, and financial reasons. We are older couple. Our kid will out live us. If he/she has problems, who would take care of him/her if we're no longer in this world? Are we going to burden our other family members to take care of our special needs child? Even if they willingly take our kid, wouldn't that be selfish of us and unfair to give them that stress? We need to look at the bigger picture. We can't be selfish. We will need more complex planning, more complex preparations, lots of complex decision-making and we need to be mentally prepared if we have a special needs child, so we really want to know upfront, therefore those genetic testings.

Thankfully,  all the genetic testing results came out normal and again, that's how we found out we're having a boy






It was a semi-easy pregnancy for me. I didn't have to bond with the toilet bowl but I did have a lot of "almost there". I wasn't eating very well because everything is a gag trigger. Coffee smells like skunk. Some dishes smells like poop. It's like my nose turned against me. Food advertisements is a gag trigger. Seeing huge slab of meat is a gag trigger. The only thing that I can bring down my throat during my first semester are soup (non cream-base, otherwise it's a gag trigger) or  sour food.The first dish I made when I came back from our vacation in the Philippines is Sinigang.  Majority of the food I eat are sour food. If I can dip it in vinegar, I can eat it. Ice candy (or ice pops, as they call it here) are my life savers too. Come 3rd trimester my taste buds were back to normal but it's a different dilemma. This time it's like my whole anatomy is on strike. Everything was achy.

And here we are. February 16, 2016. Our baby boy is now almost 5 months old. Very talkative. Smiles and giggles on mundane and silly little things and is starting to know how to voice out his opinions.

God is good.



Friday, January 15, 2016

Thailand Adventures


On February 18, 2015, we flew from Singapore to Thailand and our plan was to stay there for 4 days -3 nights. We arrived in Thailand late at night because our flight got delayed and got re-routed to Vietnam instead of a straight flight from Singapore and because of that we really didn't get a chance to go anywhere.

We stayed at Novotel on Siam Square. We always have good experience with Novotel hotels plus Siam Square is a very good place to stay(it's walking distance to shopping areas, lol).


DAY 1.

The next day, our tour guide picked us up at our hotel to go a hundred and so miles away from the city. We want to see and ride the elephants and to experience the floating market.


Floating Market.
The first place our tour guide took us is at the Damnoen Saduak and was said to be the real floating market and dates back to 1866 when King Rama IV ordered that a canal 32 kilometres long be dug at Damnoen Saduak to connect the Mae Klong and Tacheen Rivers (his reason for doing so lies in the fact that the quality of the soil on the banks of the canal is excellent for growing many kinds of fruits and vegetables including Malacca grape, Chinese grapefruit, mangos, bananas, and coconuts). The Floating Market is an ideal place for tourists to see the old style and traditional way of selling and buying fruits, vegetables and other from small boats. Remember to bring your haggling skills!




a short video of the floating market experience



Bridge on the River Kwai.
Next stop is in Kanchanaburi province. Home to the famous Bridge on the River Kwai and the beginning of the Thai-Burma Death Railway. Both poignant reminders of the thousands of prisoner of wars (POWs) and forced laborers who lost their lives during World War II.
bridge on the River Kwai

I'm not much of a history buff  and to be honest, this really didn't piqued my interest. I was more interested on the floating restaurant we went to for buffet lunch.



Floating Resto for Thai Lunch buffet
and we have the view of the Bridge of Kwai


Elephant Ride.
After lunch we went to see the elephants!
Hubby is a big elephant fan (he even donates at an Elephant Sanctuary) so he is the most excited. We booked the one where you can bathe the elephants but we were in for a surprise because it was us who the elephants bathe! LOL.

The first part of the ride was just walking around the sanctuary with both the hubby and I plus the mahout on the elephant.


first part of the elephant ride

Then we had to wait to change elephant that would take us to the river. While waiting

Saturday, January 9, 2016

What's there to look forward to and beyond...

Ear worm.

That song has been playing in my brain cells for weeks now and have been trying to remember who the artist is (without googling, I like to torture challenge myself sometimes). Eventually I remembered and it's an OPM (Original Pilipino Music) and thought, maybe i could use that as a title for my first blog of the year. So here we are!

Hello 2016.

But before I say hello to 2016 I wan't to look back, savor and remember the things that have transpired in 2015 (you can skip this part and scroll all the way to the bottom).

2015 was a very important year for me.

February, we went home to visit the Philippines to enjoy the beaches and to attend a couple friends' wedding. More about it here. Then a few days later we went to meet my friends in Singapore and got to stay at Marina Bay Sands for 3 nights. Hubby is really stingy but when it comes to vacations, he doesn't skimp. We're opposite. I pride myself as someone who can go on vacations at the cheapest way possible, but I'm not complaining, lol. We always split the travelling bill but still.


early morning dip at marina bay sand's infinity pool


our view from our room




In February, we also got to visit Thailand for 3 nights to see the temples, to try the dinner river cruise on the chao praya river, to experience the floating market and got to ride with the elephants.



thailand's grand palace
one of the many temples we visited in thailand


Most importantly, February was when I found out I was pregnant. We were in Singapore that time.

at marina bay's ku-de-ta restaurant...
the night (day in the U.S.) i found out i was pregnant

The rest of the months just rolled by so fast. I was not feeling well most of the time but the rewards afterwards is more than I could ask for. I'm talking about being pregnant.

September 2015 was probably the happiest month of my life. A little tiny person, who looks like me, said "hello world". Well, figuratively speaking, that is. I have been praying to have a baby someday and it was a long wait but that doesn't matter. What matters is it's prayer granted, I am a mom now!


maternity photoshoot at 30 weeks
(it's either genes or i got lucky that i didn't have linea negra nor stretch marks)


So every time I look at my baby's face I will be reminded that 2015 was a very very special year. Because that's when I got to meet this special person whom I carried in my womb for 36 weeks and 2 days.

Then came November.
November was when I finally got my U.S. citizenship. When I applied I was contemplating on whether or not to use my hubby's citizenship or just use my greencard of 5 years. I chose the latter. Less requirements. So on November 30 of 2015 I did my oath taking and is officially a U.S. Citizen. No more applying for visas when I visit other countries!


...now i'm no longer
the only foreigner in my tiny household :P


So what's there to look forward to and beyond 2015? For me, it would be the many firsts. First crawl. First step. First birthday. First Mother's day. First Father's day. Just to name a few.

Here's wishing you all a lot of wonderful firsts for 2016. Or seconds. Or thirds. Doesn't matter. Just don't forget to appreciate each little things that makes you feel wonderful and alive. Remember what the past year had taught you, but don't linger too long. Prepare for the future but learn to let go of what is not yet too so you can enjoy the present.

Happy New Year!

HAPPY  2016 ! ! !
note: red bold fonts are clickable.