Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Lucky. Blessed.

Some women gripe that they married good husbands but not good fathers. Others lament that they married good fathers but not good husbands. I truly got lucky in both departments. The Husband is a doting, loving and affectionate father to our little one. He is also a thoughtful, sweet and strong partner to me.

My parents provided me a good life. We were not, by any means, rich nor did I live a luxurious life. There were - there still are - times our finances were/are shaky, but we did own our modest home, my siblings and I went to good schools, and we ate good food. We grew up with house help, went on family vacations here and abroad, and we enjoyed things like hotel stays, fun birthday parties, chances to pursue special interests and nice dinners at posh restaurants.

My parents sacrificed a lot to provide for us. I see that sometimes, they are hard on themselves when we go through a financial pinch. I want to tell them that we are going to be okay, that we ARE okay, so long as we stick together. One great concern my mom had when I was about to get married was if The Husband could provide for me. Money does not make a good marriage but I guess we've ALL seen perfectly good relationships crumble because of the lack of it. My mom didn't want me going down that road. Plus, as the woman who gave birth to me, she knew how stubborn I was. Maybe she was scared that, if The Husband and I would struggle financially and have marital woes because of it, I wouldn't leave (and yes, being a bad provider is grounds for leaving a marriage). My mom is a devout Christian - a Catholic, at that - but when I got pregnant, she was very vocal about not wanting me to get married. She didn't want me to get married just because I was pregnant. She told The Husband's parents this. She told The Husband, "We can take care of Krst'll and her baby. That is no problem. You are not obligated to marry her." Yup, that's my mom for you. 

The Husband still asked for my hand in marriage, though, and in just seven years of being together, we have a home of our own, a fully paid car, we had a beautifully dreamy wedding we paid for with our own savings, our daughter goes to a good school... All in all, we live a pretty good life. 

I hope we are being good providers for our little girl. I pray that we are being good parents to her. I love that we have each other. I am very happy and content. I am grateful.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Oh, Baby

When I was expecting my little princess at age 21, I was mostly clueless. I didn't really know how to take care of a baby. I helped take care of my sister and younger brother when they were babies, so I knew how to prepare formula and change diapers. I even knew how to put them to sleep. Let me tell you that a rocking rocking chair helped tremendously. I also knew how to entertain them. My sister, when she was this little chub with hair that stood as if it had a life of its own, seemed to be really amused when I'd dance in front of her. I was seven years old when she was born, and she immensely enjoyed the entertainment I provided. The sight - and smell! - of poop and spit ups were also not new to me, but aside from these, I knew I wasn't very prepared.

I tried not to remain that way, though. I guess I was humble enough to admit that I didn't know everything anything, so I made genuine efforts to educate myself. babycenter.com was bookmarked on my computer, and I willingly listened to what my friends who were already moms would tell me. I got invaluable pieces of advice from my mom, my mom's friends and from my OB-GYN and our pediatrician.

When the baby arrived, my mom was there for me all the way. She raised four kids of her own - including me, so she was excellent at helping me taking care of my little girl. The Husband was with me every step of the way, too.

Now that our little one is seven years old, I'm still not an expert on taking care of a child but I've learned some very good stuff that I thought I could share:

1. Think your child is sick but you're not entirely sure? When a child feels under the weather, it's usually tricky because when they're infants, they cannot tell you what's making them feel bad or what part of their bodies don't feel okay. Even as toddlers, they find it hard to describe what they're feeling. Sometimes, they don't have a high temperature or they don't feel pain. Just remember S.A.W.D. If your kid is sick, chances are, there are changes in Sleep (interrupted sleep, cannot sleep, sleeps too much), Activity (weak, has no energy, feels too tired), Waste (cannot poop, doesn't pee enough, weird-looking poop) and Diet (has no appetite, cannot keep food down, tells you it's difficult to chew) Going through the S.A.W.D. checklist helps you answer medical questions better when you bring your child to the clinic or the ER. This helps doctors diagnose her better.

In the pink of health

2. Let her build up her immune system, but be vigilant. Let her run around in the park. Let her put her hands in her mouth. You don't have to disinfect and baby wipe everything. Allow them to explore. Let them go through their oral stage.

chewing on her Nikes; she didn't walk in them, don't worry so they never touched the ground

Use your common sense, though. Don't let her near obviously sick people, even if it's a relative or yikes, a grandparent (Honestly, good luck with that) Don't bring her to crowded places, most especially if they're too young. I hate those people who bring newborns to the malls and to churches. My own mom didn't allow us to bring our daughter out until she was five months old and had had her vital shots. She also rode an airplane for the first time at 6 months old.

about to board a plane to Manila for a reunion on my dad's side of the family

3. You don't need a lot of baby furniture and baby thingamajigs. And yes, it's okay to use hand-me-downs. We got our daughter a crib and a playpen in one when she was born but we three ended up with a co-sleeping arrangement. (There are pros and cons to this so do what you think will work for you) She cried when we placed her in the crib. Even when we put her to sleep, the moment she was laid down in her crib, she wailed. She liked sleeping on my chest more. Of course. Nearer to the food source! (I breastfed her exclusively for two months then I had to go back to work; It broke my heart because I had so much milk, I swear, I felt like a human milk geyser!) You don't really need that bouncer, that baby monitor, that high chair, that bottle warmer, that baby food processor thingy. We did buy our daughter a walker, a bath tub and a stroller. Someone lent us a baby carrier slash car seat but our daughter squirmed her way out of it all the time. In the US, you cannot travel with a baby without a car seat but we're in the third world, so we make do. My husband and I certainly did. For our daughter's introduction to solid food, we mashed a lot things or we'd put them in a blender. She really liked mashed squash and mashed mango.

4. Do buy those baby health and grooming kits. They're very handy and great for travel. They should contain a nasal aspirator, a nail cutter/clipper/file and a digital thermometer. You can also buy them separately. Just choose a good brand.

photo from hotfrog.com.au

5. Follow your instincts. My maternal instincts have never been wrong. At the end of the day, you get to decide what's good for you and your little one. Look at our not-so-little-one-anymore!

photo taken by my cousin, Erik, in Boracay - our little one's second time there - in December 2010

Random Memories Un

The Husband finds my memory amazing. I remember things so vividly and people tell me that's why I'm a really good storyteller. Here are some random stuff I just happened to recall today.

- We used to hang out at my friends' house in high school. We found out that their home phone number used to be a paper producing company's number. While hanging out, the phone would ring and the caller would, of course, ask, "Is this Star Paper?" There would be a lot of calls like this. We would then take turns telling these callers that no, this is NOT Star Paper.

- I got my ears pierced twice. The first attempt was unsuccessful. My uncle who is a pediatrician, pierced my ears the first time when I was six years old. I cried so hard. This happened in Iloilo during Christmas vacation. I came back to Cebu after and I was okay for a while. Then I got into an accident on the playground and for some strange reason, got my newly pierced ears infected. My mom had to take out the hypoallergenic stud earrings to treat the infection and let the wound heal. The piercings closed as a result because I didn't allow my mom to put the studs back. I got my ears pierced again in high school in Rustan's where my mom bought me new earrings.

- My older brother's high school senior class took a trip to Bohol after graduation. He was gone for a week. When he came back, he was so dark from being out in the sun so much, that I almost didn't recognize him.

- I collected Barbie dolls growing up. They're in storage now. I have to look for them in my parents' house. I had more than 30 dolls. I had Gymnast Barbie, Baywatch Barbie, and Superstar Barbie among others.

- My first phone was a Nokia 5110. I was 16 and off to college. I still remember my first mobile phone number but I will not write it here because yeah, it still works. I tried dialing it from my phone, and it rang. After that, I received an SMS that asked, "Who's this?" Ooops.

I'll post more Random Memories soon.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Happy Sunday

"Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it."
- Maya Angelou

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

College Daze

Someone once asked me what period in my life I would go back to and relive, if given the chance. I didn't even blink when I replied, "College."

Ah, those four amazing years of transitioning from an adolescent to a young adult, of experiencing independence, and best of all, of having that inexplicable feeling that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE - those years were the best for me. What I loved most about my life when I was in college was the fact that I really felt the world was at my feet. I was hopeful, and exuberant and I had so much zest for life. Believe me, I still do, but when I was in college, I really felt the idealism coursing through my veins.

hanging out with classmates before classes started

my college block - Block B6

photo op for the College of Arts and Letters Week

sponsoring a film showing at the UP Film Institute

Radio Lab days

Org parties

college graduation with two of my best-est friends

My college years were spent cramming studying, going to parties, cutting class to eat halo-halo (oh yeaaah, we were pretty risque), drinking, going on road trips, watching movies, sitting on the AS Steps, attending org meetings, reading poetry out loud in the Sunken Garden, eating sisig at Rodic's at the Shopping Center, learning our lines for the plays we staged, being homesick, writing and editing scripts, okay, okay, fine, cramming, going to the mall, shopping, watching plays, going to the library, riding the Ikot and Toki jeepneys, sleeping over at our friends', going on drives, and stalking our campus crushes.

I had big dreams and an even bigger heart. I loved recklessly and laughed wholeheartedly. I was fearless and fierce. I was impulsive but not belligerent. I hoped for the future but I lived in the moment. 

We had a blast. I had a blast. Thank goodness I have an awesome memory. I can relive the best years of my teenage life whenever I want to.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Smoke and Mirrors

You realize you have no control over how you're perceived. 
- Chuck Palahniuk

I am thirty years old, and if I knew then what I know now, I could have spared myself a lot of unnecessary worrying. In my teens, I worried endlessly about what others thought of me. I'd toss and turn at night thinking about this friend who suddenly stopped talking to me, or this classmate who always said hi to me in the hallways but happened not to that day when I was clearly in her line of sight. I felt bad when close friends shared secrets and I'd be the last to know. I also felt excluded because I was one of those who didn't get that much coveted invitation to someone's slumber party.

How petty.

I've realized, as I've uhm, matured, that you can't please everybody. You cannot even try. 

When I had my daughter, I evolved into someone who thought less and less about what 'everyone else' thinks and placed more importance, instead, on making myself happy and making those who truly mattered to me happy. As a result, I am happy with where I am emotionally, at this point in my life. My thirties are off to an awesome start.

photo taken by The Husband last week during lunch at Siam Thai Cuisine

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


My friend told me, "Y'know what, with the situation you're in, have you realized that even if it had come to this, you never actually cared, you do not care and, right now, it looks like you never will?"

photo from weheartit.com

I didn't reply. She was right.

I choose my battles now, see. I will STILL say something - in fact, I will say a lot - if you treat me like crap when I have been nothing but civil to you. Other than that, I will continue to be oblivious.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Home Is Where The Heart Is

I was born in Iloilo but I grew up in the Queen City of the South - Cebu. We, Cebuanos are very vocal about our love for our island so allow me this blog entry to tell you why I love living here.

1. the food's good

Seafood is fresh. Get them from sutukil places near Magellan's Shrine. You choose from the day's freshest catch and the staff will cook them for you in whatever way you want. That's what sutukil stands for - sugba (grill), tuwa (stew), kilaw (eat raw - like uhm, a ceviche?). There's squid, a wide variety of fish, crabs, prawns, shellfish like clams, scallops and oysters, and shrimps. The prices are pretty reasonable, too.

Cebu is also home to the best lechon, or roasted suckling pig. A Cebuano doesn't eat lechon with Sarsa ni Mang Tomas. The pig tastes good by itself, you won't need any condiment. You can get lechon from places like CnT or Alejo's. You can also get it from Zubuchon, which renowned chef, Anthony Bourdain hailed as the 'best pig ever.' Right now, spicy boneless lechon is all the rage. It's actually lechon belly with the bones removed, smothered in chili. To say that the Husband and I are obsessed is an understatement.

My island also has puso, ngohiong, Carcar chicharon and Harbour City Dimsum's steamed rice. Yummm.

photo from findcebu.blogspot.com

2. the local music scene is alive and kicking

Saturday nights with the Husband are spent scoping out gigs. The Husband used to be a drummer for a local reggae band. Yes, I started out as a closet groupie. Ha!

Cebu is home to great local musicians. My favorites are Cattski, Powerspoonz, The Line Divides, Who's Next?, Burnin' Culture, and Sheila and the Insects.

Of course, everyone knows that Cebu is where Urbandub and Franco are from.

my own photo of him during a gig in Cebu, aptly called Franco Comes Home

photo taken by the Husband; I'm sure this'll crack him up when he reads this entry

3. the beaches are pretty and you can island hop if one beach isn't enough for you

There's Moalboal, Pandanon, Malapascua, Bantayan, Sumilon, the beaches on Mactan Island, and many more.

photo from dumaguete-hotels.com

4. the mountains and the countryside are scenic drives away

Head on over to Tops in the evening if you want to see Cebu City lit up like the bustling metropolis it is.

photo from markmaranga.com

You can also drive to the south of Cebu to see the countryside. If our Honda wasn't such a gas guzzler, the Husband and I would do this every other weekend. A view like this is priceless. This is Boljoon, a town in Southern Cebu.

photo from flickr.com

5. the people are generally friendly and laid-back

Cebuanos are not frantic. We rarely rush. We like to put our feet up and relax. We believe that, bisan kinsa ka ug bisan asa ka gikan, sa tagay gihapon ta mag-abot. If you can understand that, give me a call. You deserve to come to my city.

photo from definitelyfilipino.com

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Loyalty, Required

Recent events in my life got me thinking about friends and friendships. I have realized that loyalty is an underrated quality in friendships. My friends have to be loyal. I need friends who are loyal. I don't mean the I-will-stand-by-you-whether-you're-right-or-wrong kind of steadfastness, but the I-will-be-there-to-listen-to-you-and-will-be-honest-with-you-and-will-not-judge-you-but-will-believe-in-the-best-of-you kind of allegiance.

Loyal friends are not pushovers. They're not doormats. I don't need that. I don't need friends who are blind to personal culpability. On the contrary, my truly loyal friends call me out in times when I need it, and they seek for the truth from me without talking about me maliciously behind my back. They are the friends who simply listen.

photo from weheartit.com

I am not as cynical as our friend, Kurt Cobain, above, but I certainly am already jaded. Can you blame me? Nevertheless, I am still grateful that I have true and loyal friends. There's not a lot of them. Yes, that's the truth, but I have come to the conclusion that quality always trumps quantity.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Last Saturday, the Husband and I had dinner and drinks with a few of our favorite people. It was a fun night of conversations about tennis, politics, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, vacations and childhood memories we may have already told each other but don't mind retelling. The best thing about that night was that we met up at 7 pm and we bid each other good night at 3 am, AND we talked about work for five minutes TOPS. Ah, bliss.

people the Husband and I work with but spend time with outside of work

Belle and me

Von and Belle

the Husband and me

Simply J's Banoffee

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It's These Little Things

Bedtime stories with my little princess.
Singing to 90s alternative rock songs in the car with the Husband.
DVD nights.
Karaoke nights with the gang.
Chunky peanut butter sandwiches with Chuckie.
Going to the beach.
Sunday drives.
My brothers and my sister.
Travels and adventures.
Random text messages from Maize.
My seven-year-old's letters and notes to me.
Crisp, fresh sheets.
My handful of true and loyal friends.
The UP Diliman campus.
My shoe, book and bikini collection.
A good gig.
A great book.
Having the time to read.
An awesome film.
My little one's hands. And feet. And cheeks. ♥
The Husband singing in my ear.
My mom and dad - the best parents a girl can ask for.
A breathtaking piece of jewelry.
Cheap but adorable trinkets.
Conversations with Belle, Hazel, Rosey, Graeco, Alveel and Arvy.
Leisurely walks.
Losing weight.
The Husband's hugs. My little girl's kisses.
Rainy nights.
Windy days with just enough sunshine.
Gelato. Oh, I said that already.
Wit and humor.
The ability to admit you're human. That you get hurt, too.
The capacity to see beyond the drama and pettiness.
The strength to stand by your ground and speak your mind when you feel you have been wronged.
The wisdom to choose your battles and to let go when it has becomes pointless.
The humility to accept that you have been hurtful and out of the line.
The courage to move on and just do better.

How about you?

What makes you smile?
                                    What keeps you inspired?
                                                                           What are you thankful for?

photo from weheartit.com