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Details: Celestine’s ‘Animal Friends’ party

I don’t know the first thing about planning a party, let alone a children’s party. But Elle’s first birthday was a good time as any to learn, since I’ve got at least a decade and half left of party planning to do until Elle decides she’d rather spend her birthdays with friends or out of the country. (Getting way ahead of myself but you know what I mean.)

We ruled out spending the party at some village clubhouse or events place, so that narrowed down our choices to restaurants. We wanted something hassle-free, since I won’t be able to attend to the little details with work in the way. Ultimately, we went with Papa John’s because it’s not as expensive as Shakey’s but not as basic as Jollibee, which strikes the balance that we were going for.

For everything else—like the cake, the loot bags and others— it needed some serious research and a bit of DIY from my end. (Fair warning, my handiwork is nothing Pinterest worthy.)

We didn’t spend a fortune, but it turned out to be a great party for Elle! Though to be fair, I say any party that serves pizza is a good one. Haha!

Anyway, it has been since a month since then, and it’s about time I write everything down. I’m going to try to rate and provide information on all the “suppliers” for other parents who need pointing to the right direction.

View everything after the jump. 🙂

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Getting through the sniffles, again and again

I wrote most of this entry while my daughter was slumped on my chest, snoozing loudly. I promised I’d blog at least a week on my days off, but I thought I won’t be able to given how needy Elle has been the past three nights. Good thing I got lucky enough to to get my two hands free at one point so I managed to squeeze this one in.

Elle is down with some nasty colds she got from me. I say nasty because I myself have been dealing with these pesky sniffles for more than week and I feel terrible so Elle must feel ever worse. (Sadly, by the looks of my stuffy nose this morning, my colds have no plans of going away soon.)

It had been tough weekend for the both of us. Since Sunday night, Elle hasn’t been able to get a good night’s sleep. Her nose is clogged, so she can’t feed properly at night or suck on her pacifier for long stretches. (She is heavily dependent on her binky when sleeping so you see how that’s a problem.) Though she can now blow her nose on command, she’d only do it when she thinks it’s funny so her nasal passages could get really backed up since she also often refuses to let me use the bulb syringe on her. In turn, she wakes up crying hysterically every two hours and it takes me everything but the kitchen sink to calm her down. She refuses to sleep anywhere but on me, so I try not to move as much . (This is the lone part I love about this, I love moonlighting as a bed for Elle!)

 

My sweet, clingy baby girl. 🙂

 

But it’s not like this is something we haven’t experienced before. Elle has had countless of colds in the past year and we’re kind of resigned to the fact that if one of us, at least between Jan and I, gets the sniffles then it would actually be a bigger surprise if she doesn’t get the virus as well. We’ve done everything short of not touching her while we’re sick — wear masks, bathe in alcohol and the like — but it had been for naught more often than not. (I read somewhere that babies may have eight colds in their first year of life so at least she’s up to par? Haha! Kidding.)

But ultimately, I’m not complaining.

I’m actually grateful that colds are all she has had to endure so far. She rarely gets fever and she’s never picked up anything that couldn’t be cured with at home within a few days. That’s a little victory, sleepless nights be damned.

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Here’s a tip: One thing that works for us is filling the room with pure Eucalyptus scent, and it helps in opening up the clogged nasal passages. You can actually dab a small amount on your kid’s shirt (not under the nose, please. It gets nasty when too concentrated and they may struggle to breath) so they can inhale it even while sleeping. Small bottles of Eucalyptus are available at Mercury Drug for like less than a hundred bucks. Handy!

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Army wife 

First, let me give you the backstory: Jan enlisted in the Army to play basketball. It was ideal not to mention an honor to be working for the Army, and I naturally had no complaints. But then came October 30 when they were told they were getting shipped to Basic Military Training, which would last at least three months, and they had to leave the same night. Three months (and now it could actually be six freakin months) is a long time to spend away from your one-year-old daughter, and it all happened so sudden! You can just imagine what a mess I was that night, and I honestly haven’t been able to adjust to everything even up to now.

So I saw my husband for the first time today in two weeks since the Army trainees were in Manila for the week-long APEC festivities.

Spending the last two weeks in Basic Military Camp, I really didn’t know what to expect. For sure, he would lose weight and get a little darker, but probably not anything drastic. But when I saw him, I actually almost didn’t recognize him. He is three shades darker and about two sizes smaller; it was like he got sick. He had lost six kilos in the first week alone. His naturally high hairline can be seen in its full glory since he has gone bald.

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Celestine is loved

I’m thankful to have been given countless reminders this week of how much my daughter Celestine is loved.

From closest friends and family to Facebook friends (some I haven’t even met in person, some I haven’t talked to in years), they all found a way to send their regards to Elle on her first birthday.

Most of the people I wanted to see at Elle’s party today showed up, too! That was amazing. I admit I had been dreading the party because when I imagined how Elle’s first birthday would go, Jan was in everything. It never crossed my mind that I’d be doing this without him, so this was tough on my part. But seeing a room filled with people who went out of their way to celebrate with us, dragging their asses out of their beds on a Sunday morning, I found a lot of reasons to smile.

It’s such a blessing that Elle is growing up surrounded by such thoughtful people. I know I am not the most generous person, but my friends have never failed to shower Elle with love. I could say the same for my family, especially Elle’s lola, who have always been there with us in every way she could, every step of the way—no matter how bitchy I got (which is more than half of the time).

I am overwhelmed. 🙂 My apologies, I’m never this sappy. Haha! But it had been an emotionally draining week dealing with Jan leaving even as trying to stay positive for Elle, today was a welcome happy moment.

So, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for making this week special!

Happy birthday, my love!

Happy birthday, my love!

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Celebrating Celestine’s special ‘daaay!’

Today was Celestine’s first birthday celebration here at home! Nothing fancy (not that we ever get fancy) since we have another party for her on Sunday. We just made sure there few dishes on table and of course, cake!

Naturally, “Happy Birthday” was sung a million times today, to which Elle always  chimed in with a loud “Daaaaay!” because that’s all she knows how to pronounce. (You have to hear her, it’s the most adorable thing.) “Happy Birthday” is actually one of those songs that would get her to stop crying no matter. It’s up there with “Twinkle Twinkle.”

Unfortunately, she was already too sleepy by the time we got to blow her candle, so there was no singing along. Although she was able to muster a smile. That smile!

Blowing her candle. Although mom really did the blowing. 🙂

She got her good mood back after a nap, so she was able to enjoy our birthday gift; a cute pink bike! Being a very transparent baby, it’s easy to figure out when Elle is enjoying or not, and I know for sure she loved that bike.  She even tries to mount it by herself.

We still need donbsp;to push her around because the pedal’s still too far for her to reach. But soon enough she’s going be zooming around on her own. (Yikes!)

Check out my new ride.

We just wanted to make sure that Elle felt as happy and loved as she could be on her special day. Special thanks to my mother, my siblings and other relatives for always giving their love to Elle. A phonecall from Jan would’ve been perfect, but we’re not complaining. I know he would’ve called if he could.

When everyone was busy tearing it up on the videoke downstairs, Elle and I retreated to our room and I put her to bed. Mommy sang and she dozed off. It was a perfect end to such memorable day in both of our lives.

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Fastest one year of my life

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One day old.

She came out of me weighing 3.5 kilos, now I’m lucky to be able to hold her for long even using both hands.

Dada and Elle.

Dada and Elle.

She used to look exactly like her dad—from the small eyes to her thin hair, now all most people see in her are her my features—from her long eyelashes to her killer smile.

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Chillin’ on mommy’s legs.

She used to just fit snuggly on my legs where she spent most of the time sitting and playing, now she’s already half as long as me.

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Favorite sleeping position.

She used to love me rocking her to sleep and she would always end up snoozing on my chest for hours on end, now all she needs is the bed and her favorite pillow and she’s all set.

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She used  to spend all night, even at 3 in the morning, just rolling around because that was all she could do, now she’s either on all fours or on her two feet all day.

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Grumpy one.

She used to be one grumpy baby and it was impossible to make her smile, now not a day goes by when we don’t hear her infectious laugh.

She had gone through a lot of changes in past year, and there’s stopping her from going through some more. But there’s one thing that’s never going change—she will always be mommy’s baby.

My baby girl <3

My baby girl ❤

Happy first birthday, my baby long legs, my Celestine! ❤️

(Don’t grow up too fast!)

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Daddy’s Girl

My love Celestine,

I know you haven’t noticed Daddy hasn’t been home for four days. He hasn’t called too. Maybe it’s a good thing that you don’t know, so you won’t have to feel sad like mommy. Here’s the thing, that’s going to last for a while. I’m sorry but we won’t have daddy for 14 Sundays. He won’t be there on your first birthday, maybe even on Christmas or New Year too. We don’t know if he can call to greet you or if he can go out so he can spend the holidays with us. Actually babe, I don’t know a lot of things about this trip, but I know for sure he’s doing this for you.

Remember what I told you yesterday, while we were watching TV and I was stroking your hair while you were lying down on my chest? I really miss dada, babe. I don’t know how to survive the next three months without him. I know I’m going get help from Lola. I know I can provide you your needs. I promise you won’t lack the love and attention while he’s away. But I don’t know how to enjoy our Sundays without him. I have never been away from your daddy for more than a week, and I never imagined he’d ever be far away from you for three months. How do we walk around the mall without him carrying you? Only dada is strong enough to do that. Who’s going to change your nappies at 5am when mommy is still too sleepy to do so? You’re going to finally stop being afraid of walking on your own soon, and by the time he gets back, you won’t need to hold his hands anymore when we go on our strolls.

Daddy and Elle.

Daddy and Elle.

Do you think is mommy overreacting, babe? Is three months not a long time? But you’re growing up way too fast and everyday you show us something new. All I can think about is you won’t recognize Jan when he gets back, that you won’t call him “dada” anymore when you see him.

I’m writing you this so when you see photos of your birthday or your second Christmas and you wonder where daddy is, you will know that daddy is out on a great adventure just  for you. He shaved his head bald (Daddy does not look good bald), he endured not seeing you for a long time so he can provide for you. I don’t think he ever saw himself being in the middle of a gruelling military training in his lifetime, but he was willing to do it for you in a heartbeat.

Please stay a Daddy’s girl, baby. Mommy and Daddy love you so much.

Love,

Mommy

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This morning, I showed Elle a photo of Jan on my phone. She grabbed my phone and started kissing the screen. I think she misses her dada too.