Monday, May 31, 2010

Mondays for Marion- 7 months old!

Marion turned 7 months old last Friday, 28 May 2010.
It was the first rainy day after a long, hot summer.

I took Marion to Dr. Cricket for a well-baby visit. Her new clinic at St. Luke's is pretty! I forgot to take photos. Next time.

Marion's weight: 9.25 kilos (which is around the 95th percentile) She's still tabachingching! But it looks like she's going on a diet on her own. She doesn't eat too much solids and is drinking less milk also. So far she's tried homemade brown rice cereal, Earth's Best Organic Whole Grain Rice cereal, squash, beets, carrots, avocado and her favorite, camote, the musical fruit! Proot!

Marion's length: 69 cm.
Marion's head circumference: 45 cm.

New foods to try soon: broccoli, cauliflower, monggo, malunggay, lentils, green peas, chick peas, white beans, oats, barley, quinoa, tofu and natural yogurt. I might even add a little bit of flaxseed oil to boost brain development. :-)

Although she can sit alone, she can't pull herself up to a sitting position yet.
Although she can do the crawling stance, she can't propel herself forward yet.
I think it must be frustrating to be a baby. I would whine and wail too if I got "stuck" as she sometimes does when she rolls herself into a corner, or plops on fluffy pillows. :D

Last Wednesday her new yaya, Me-ann, came.

Last Saturday her old yaya, Salve, left. (We'll miss her.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday I'm in Love- Boston!

I have many happy memories from my three years of college in Boston. When nostalgia hits me it is usually for those carefree days when everything was an adventure, those days of being a wide-eyed tourist but at the same time feeling quite at home in Boston. I remember my professors and how many of them inspired me and how blessed I felt to have so many different classes to choose from (& registration hassle-free, very much unlike the way it's done here ;p). I remember the lazy days in coffee shops and bookstores and museums. And every season bringing something new. It was an amazing time. :-)

Tomorrow will be ten years to the exact day of my college graduation from Boston College. 

That also means I haven't been back in Boston for ten years!! (I left Boston the day after grad.) That's a loooong time!

Most of my photos are in storage, I got these off my friendster (!) account.

     With the girls on Newbury St.

I don't know whose apartment this was, probably the boys'. And I don't know what we were doing, probably drinking and picking on Martin.

Ski trips to Maine & Vermont.
Playing mahjong in Martha's Vineyard.

***** ***** *****
I took a look at what's going on in BC through the webcams. Haha. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mondays for Marion- Pierced ears!

Three days ago (May 14, 2010) I brought Marion to Dr. Pia to have her ears pierced.

We placed Emla Cream on her ear lobes (at the top and under). Yaya and I applied the cream sparingly until Dr. Pia's assistant showed us how to apply it correctly and reapplied the cream on Marion's lobes generously.

Marion played on the weighing scale while waiting for her turn.

Here's a closer look at her ear with the Emla Cream. 

Dr. Pia marked her lobes with a pen.


We checked to see if it looked just right. And then, one ear was pierced.

Marion didn't cry but started to squirm around and got curious about all the fuss with her ears. So we distracted her with the pacifier and toys and light.

Here's a photo of Dr. Pia piercing her other ear.

All done!! :-)

***** ***** *****

While at Dr. Pia's, we bumped into Sookie and her girls again.

I played with Ava who took this photo of me.

Ava's much cuter.

Here's a photo of Sookie and Riley taken by Ava. Riley was getting her ears pierced that day, too. :-)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Shopping for Baby: Directory

Richwell Trading
No. 25 Quezon Avenue
Tel. No.:  (02) 732 5141 to 47
* Distributor of Chicco, Pigeon, Safety First, etc.; Will give discount for ordering many items.

Baby Clothes
48 Zodiac Street
Bel Air Makati
* Affordable layette, etc.

Pipabay for christening gowns
Patty Roa
0927 873 2887
* Beautiful, comfortable gowns!

Luxacraft/Casa Batibot for Cribs
14 Ortigas Avenue
Tel. No. 724 1171
* Supplies Rustans, SM, Babyland 
* For almost everything ;-)
* To ship almost everything from the US to your house. Great service and rates! I recommend inquiring with them for over-sized items. 

List: Essentials for a new mom and baby

     One of the advantages of having an older sister, especially one as organized as mine, is having someone cut down my guesswork or trial and error. While I was preparing for Marion's arrival, I came across different lists of baby essentials (from books, websites, baby registries, etc.). The one I used and trusted the most was Achi Ting's, of course. :-)

     Then I consulted with other young moms like my cousins and cousins-in-law and other friends.

     Then Rocky and I did our own research. :-)

     This is a list of things that my family and I have found useful. I left out most of the consumable items (lanolin, cotton balls, shampoo, lotion, etc.)

I. For Mom
     A. While Pregnant
          1. bra extenders-- get them right after you get a positive on that pregnancy stick :)
          2. underwear-- try the seamless ones or whatever kind that's not gonna dig into your expanding hips ;p
          3. body pillow-- (not your husband.) :D

     B. Post Delivery
          1. Nursing bras-- I'd gotten some in HK, but the one I like the most is the Lydia Fabulous Mom Nursing Bra. And to sleep in, the Blissful Babes Bandeau. Nothing frilly (or sexy :p) about these two bras, but I'm willing to get rid of all my other bras to make room for more of these two. :D
          2. Abdominal Binder-- It's not the most comfortable thing, but please Mommy, wear it. ;D There are breathable ones available. Make sure you get it way before your due date.
          3. Breast pump-- Ridiculously priced here, get it abroad.
          4. Breast pads-- Sew your own, if not just make sure you get some. Trust me, you'll need 'em.

III. For Baby
     A. Gear
          1. Car seat-- Most of us grew up without one and Marion's sat on our lap in the car as often as we've strapped her on to her car seat. I'm nervous when she's not on her carseat. We got her a Graco and a stroller frame to go with it.
          2. Stroller-- I got similar from advice from *everyone*: Forget the bulky strollers. Rocky and I looked for a lightweight stroller that was easy to handle. We chose a Peg Perego.
          3. Portable Playpen-- When I saw my cousin's Graco Travel Lite Crib, I knew that that was exactly what we needed. It is 20% smaller than the usual Graco Pack n Play Playards, easy to lug around and perfect for our bedroom where Marion still sleeps. (Note: Although I think this mini co-sleeper bassinet might have been better for us.)
          4. High Chair-- I've seen the Chicco Polly High Chair take a lot of abuse from my brother Joseph and from my nephew Dean (who uses Joseph's chair when he's in Cebu). I think it's a great chair. We decided to get one from Fisher Price though.
          5. Baby Carrier-- I love the Babybjorn. Marion loves it, too. I have a pouch, but Marion prefer's the Bjorn. I have a sling, but I'm still clumsy with it.

     B. Activity
          1. Bouncers, stationary entertainers, playmats, etc.-- Borrow!!!
          2. Rattles
          3. Teethers
          4. Crib mirror
          5. Books

     C. Diapering
          1. Cloth diapers (gauze and bird's eye)-- I got lots and lots of these. Too bad I only saw the bird's eye tela being sold by the yard at Metro Market Market after I'd bought some from Enfant. Sayang. My mom said she used to buy it by the yard also and just have it cut by a mananahi. I wish I'd done the same.
          2. Diaper covers-- Thirsties are great!
          3. Diaper pins/clips-- We use snappies but diaper "clamps"/clips sold in the department stores work as well. Just don't get the small ones, it's impossible to use them.
          4. Disposable diapers-- We only used to let Marion wear disposables at night. She wears them more often now that she's started solids (6months old). Since I feel guilty about adding to the nonbiodegradables in our landfills, we mostly use biodegradeable diapers. Admittedly, we get a lot of leaks with it so we use the regular diapers for outings.
          5. Diaper bag-- So many pretty, expensive ones out there. It took a lot of self-control not to go overboard.

     D. Layette
          1. Kimonos/Shirts (side snap/tie; short sleeves & long sleeves)-- The easiest to put on a newborn. But I hated the pants/bottoms that went with it. Too much hassle when changing diapers. I regret buying the pants.
          2. Bodysuits (with snaps at the crotch or legs)-- My absolute favorite clothing for Marion. Most convenient when changing diapers.
          3. Footed overalls-- What Marion wears to sleep.
          4. Outfits for going out-- My sister made a note "no. of pieces: depends on lifestyle".
          5. Receiving blankets-- I feel like we outgrew the need for these pretty fast. The one that was most useful and still useful are the swaddling blankets from Aden Anais. These were a splurge but so worth it. I haven't found similar but cheaper blankets and I don't understand why no one's really offering this.
          6. Absorbent bibs-- I sewed bibs for Marion.
          7. Booties/socks--
          8. Hats/bonnets
          9. Mittens-- I was told not to get the ones with the garter since those break easily. Get the ones you need to tie.

     E. Nursery
          1. Crib-- Buy directly from the supplier. Consider getting one that's convertible into a toddler bed.
          2. Foam crib mattress-- Must be firm.
          3. Waterproof mattress covering
          4. Crib bumper-- I really don't like the bulky ones sold here so I held off getting one until recently when Marion learned to roll around. If I didn't need it *right now*, I'd have ordered the breathable crib bumper as my Achi did.
          5. Fitted crib sheets-- I really like the ones from Mothercare.
          6. Head pillow & pillow case-- But we rarely use this.
          7. Bolster pillows & pillow cases
          8. Crib mobile-- make sure it is something you can attach to your baby's bed (it can get tricky if you're using a playpen)
          9. Lamp-- preferably one with a dimmer
          10. Air purifier/cleaner
          11. CD player-- or whatever you wish to use

     F. Baby Care
          1. Hair brush and comb
          2. First Aid Supplies
          3. Teeth/gum cleaner-- gauze
          4. Nail clippers with magnifying glass
          5. Digital thermometer-- My sister gave me an ear thermometer. It's the best! My cousin also recommended one that reads the temperature from the baby's forehead.
          6. Nasal aspirator

     G. Feeding
          1. Bottles-- Cheaper to get it abroad also.
          2. Extra nipples--
         3. Bottle warmer-- I tried to train Marion to take her drink/food without really warming it, but she figured out on her own that she wanted it all warmed up.
          4. Bottle sterilizer--
          5. Sterilizer tongs
          6. Bottle brush and nipple brush
          7. Formula dispenser
          8. Breastmilk storage bags

     H. Bathing
          1. Baby tub
          2. Bath toys
          3. Wash basin and tabo
          4. Wash cloths, soft natural sponge
          5. Towels-- Hooded, but not necessarily so.

***** ***** *****

Hey, Mommys!

As a new parent, what were the things you and your baby found most useful? :-)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday I'm in Love

Yuken Teruya's Notice- Forest Series

From the artist's website:

     I cut out one side of disposable paper bags. Then I assemble a tree from the cut-out-part, stand each tree in the same bag that it came from. When you see it under the natural light, the delicate tree shows inside a paper bag, shows us the strength and the proof of existence of living tree.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pre-natal Classes

These were the classes I signed up for while I was pregnant.

1.) Prepared Childbirth Classes
There are a lot of books soon-to-be parents could read to know exactly what they've gotten themselves into (haha.). And there's the internet. And there's the obstetrician who if you're lucky to have one like mine could guide you along the 40 weeks (less for me, age of gestation was 38 weeks and 2 days) quite well. So maybe you could forgo joining a birthing class, but it worked out quite well for me and Rocky. Daddy-to-be gets a better idea of what's happening to their wives, what's going to happen and how to deal. Plus, it's a great place to meet other soon-to-be-parents. :-)
Contact: Rome Kanapi 0917 541 5114 or 436 1757

2) Prenatal Yoga Class
I liked the classes because yoga really does relax the mind and the body. It was an excuse to ohm and snooze   (which I usually did towards the end of the class). One of the most important things I got out of my yoga classes was to pay attention to my posture. Most especially to make sure that my tail bone was pointing down, not out. As my baby bump got bigger, I had to make a more conscious effort to do so because if I didn't I'd suffer the consequence of a backache. 
Contact: Linda Naulty of Yoga Manila 0918 438 0537 (Unit 506 Greenbelt Mansion, Perea St., Legaspi Village)

3) Free Breastfeeding Seminar by LATCH
Again, there's tons of information from books and the web on breastfeeding but it helps to actually get to talk about it with other moms. Breastfeeding is so natural, but its not easy. It's something mothers and fathers need to prepare for. I feel so lucky that a friend is a peer counselor with LATCH. I just text or email her when I have any issues with breastfeeding Marion.
Contact: LATCH or Jenny Ong

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Things to Learn

     Ever since Tito Bob talked about the Turducken, I couldn't get it out of my mind. Chicken stuffed in a duck stuffed in a turkey-- I'm salivating just thinking about all that meat and stuffing.

     Cooking one is labor (and skill ;p) intensive. I imagine it to be something Marketman would set out to do or someone from Our Awesome Planet's Ultimate Taste Test would serve. For a brief moment (and because of the heat), I harbored the illusion that I could cook one. Geez, ambisyosa. The only cooking I've done in around a year is to steam Marion's first solids.

So. I'll start small. My goal is to learn how to bone a chicken. By end of August. (Or, end of the year? Haha.) I'll need to get over my fear of knives. And I suppose while I'm at it learn how to cook rellenong manok.

***** ***** *****
I'm trying to check when the next special occasion is-- so I have an excuse to order that turkey from Cebu my mom sent last New Year. It was SO good and traveled well. If not that turkey, perhaps that stuffed chicken which was one of Mama's favorites.

I'm hungry!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Friday I'm in Love

I was walking around the mall with Nikka & Ria one afternoon when we saw this:

The Ethan Allen Rosette Quilt.

We had to walk in, run our fingers over it, admire the rosettes. I wanted to faint when we asked for the price. Somewhere around USD750. Or more. Okay. Walk away.

The rosettes remind me of the circular fabric (I recently learned called yo yo's.) sewing projects my grand out Tia Lols used to make. The Ethan Allen rosettes looked like a blend of the yo yo sewing technique and origami. Really, really pretty.

Next time I'm in Cebu, I'll take photos of Tia Lol's yoyo projects (I think she must have a bed cover made of yoyo's as well.). I made my first yo yo last week.

If I could come up with a yo yo line, I'd call it Dolores (after my grand aunt, Tia Loleng.)

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Have you lost your fangs?

Once upon a time vampires were not glamorous Hollywood stars. They were the horrifying undead.

But vampires have always been creatures we fell in love with and may be are close to or live with.

When I first read about Emotional Vampires a few years ago it was instant recognition. I was shocked and relieved that there was a name for something (someone?) so awful and familiar.

Emotional Vampires suck you dry emotionally. There are different kinds:
1) The Anti-Social vampires who are "heedless of normal social rules".
2) The Histrionic vampires... probably the ones we see from Hollywood? Haha.
3) The Narcissistic vampires... ones I imagine simply can't put themselves in other peoples' shoes.
4) The Obsessive Compulsive vampires- the perfectionists
5) The Paranoid vampires "see things others can't", are sure of themselves and distrust everything else.

[Click on the links if you wanna go through the checklist for each vampire. ;-)]

The most useful information I got though was how to protect myself from Emotional Vampires.
1. Know them, know their history and know your goal.- Yes, I'm getting to know my vampire.
2. Get outside verification.- I never trust what what my vampire says, I verify with others.
3. Do what they don't.- I try to be calm and patient.
4. Pay attention to action not words.- Yeah, most of what my vampire says is a crock of s***. 
5. Identify hypnotic strategy.- I'm learning. I don't want to get sucked in.
6. Pick your battles.- I'm learning to ignore.
7.Let contingencies do the work.- I will not enable this vampire.
8. Choose your words as carefully as you pick your battles.- I try to keep my wits most of the time.
9. Ignore tantrums.- As I said already, I'm learning to ignore.
10. Know your own limits.- There are some vampires I can't get away from, but luckily can take a vacation from. And, I have to mention, I have a patient and loving support group when I need to rant about my vampire.

I used to be a vampire. Used to be. Or so I say. Hah. (Fine, I'm working on it ;D)

Prayer: Dear Lord, Thank you for the loving people around me. Please help me to be life-giving, to be a source of joy and love and comfort. Please help me not to be a vampire. Also, please cure the vampires around me. Amen.

I like this song from the Juno soundtrack: Enjoy! :D

Monday, May 03, 2010

Mondays for Marion

Today's the fifth day she's been "eating" rice. She still needs a bit more practice... :-)

I'm really doing my best to get her off to a healthy start. Rocky thinks I'm over reacting when I freak out about Marion being offered wafer crumbs. I freak out because I have no control over the quality of air she breathes, the very least I can do is fight for a healthy diet for her.

So here we are. Organic stuff.

I ground organic, gmo-free rice myself.

Cooking the "rice cereal".

Steaming: (1) beets, (2) Squash, camote, carrots


Store to freeze.

After a day, I transfered the frozen veggie cubes to zip lock.

Marion's pediatricians are my primary source of information regarding what to feed her (and how to prepare/serve it). But I also browse websites on homemade baby food as well as read these books:

Top 100 Baby Purees by Annabel Karmel: I like it because it's handy and with easy do-able recipes.

Baby & Toddler Healthy Eating Planner by Amanda Grant: A more comprehensive book with charts and sample meal plans and recipes.