0

I’m back!

Where do I begin?

I guess apologies are in order for abandoning this blog for the past year. To be totally candid, I just chose TV time over everything else (writing included). I found that I could binge watch shows again, so I dedicated all the (very little) spare time I have to catching up on my shows. Believe me, I wanted so bad to write. But like what I always say for everything, I just didn’t have the energy to do it. 

But that need to write has finally caught up with me. There’s just SO much that has happened in the past 10 months and most of it, mostly about how Elle has grown (literally and figuratively!), just needs to be jotted down.

For the interest of my friends here (I doubt that there are any, but I’m doing this anyway), let me catch you up on what went down since I stopped writing: Jan finally came home from military training (but not after 3 months as we all expected. It lasted 8 freakin’ months), I went to the States and left Elle for almost a month (the longest that I’ve been away from her), Elle now has a head full of hair (SO MUCH YAY!) that we can tie into a dainty ponytail and she now weighs 19 kilos and stands at 3’1” with still two months to go before she turns two.

Whew, now that I’ve said that out loud I realize that wasn’t much—at least for my life (I have a really boring life outside of my being a mom). But for Elle, it has been the most colorful 2016! Especially now that her dad is home (at least for the most part).

Anyway, if that wasn’t enough to make you realize how long I was gone, here’s a better idea.

The last time I posted an entry, Elle looked like this:

 

10274_10153822924518537_1476863219585754313_n

Elle at 1 year two months.

And 10 months after, she is now this:

14370153_10154513869583537_5718106412878063040_n

Elle at 1 year and 10 months.

Told you that was a long time! But I’m going to make up for it. I just don’t want another special moment in Elle’s life pass and not write about it.

 

 

2

The one who keeps me calm

TAG-MNL.


I landed in Manila with high hopes as the plane arrived from Bohol at 2:25 p.m., 20 minutes ahead of schedule. That quickly changed when it took me 2 hours to get out of Pasay alone, and another two to get home to Fairview. I paid a whopping P430 to get from the airport to Centris Quezon Avenue, which is normally about the same amount I pay from Fairview to the airport. I could’ve flown to Bohol and then back to Manila then back to Bohol again with all the time I spent on the road. Horrible would be a sore understatement to describe the Friday traffic.

On an ordinary day, I usually wouldn’t mind. It takes me three hours or more to get to work everyday so another hour to that is nothing I haven’t experienced before. But today was different, I hadn’t seen my daughter in three days and there was nothing else I wanted more than to catch her awake. I thought if could get home at around 5pm, I would probably catch her walking around outside. But when I was still on Edsa approaching Magallanes by 4:30 p.m, I started honestly wanting to punch somebody or break the damn windows. I bitched at pretty much everybody who tried to calm me down over the phone and started spewing expletives on social media. Later on, I had no choice but to break into tears because there was no other appropriate emotion I hadn’t used yet. All because of sheer frustration over wasted time could’ve been spending with Elle.

But when I got home and finally saw her, it was like all that pent up rage from an exhausting day had evaporated in a instant. I’m not even exaggerating. I know myself—piss me off in the morning and I’m no good for the rest of the day so I thought it would need a good night’s sleep just to get over this terrible “welcome back” moment. But it turns out, all it needed was Elle’s most charming smile. Ironic how Elle can drive me nuts then be the only person who can calm me down. (Now bookmark this page if you ever need to pacify me. Secrets revealed!)

 

Giving Elle a bear hug (which she hates).

Elle then showed off some new dance moves she learned while I was away and her steadier walk. I’m certain she gained a little more weight, judging by her huuuuuge tummy and chubby cheeks! Crazy how three days could seem like such a long time when you have a growing kid. We spent 30 minutes running around in the sala before she started whining, which meant we needed to go up.

Booty work

When it was time for bed, Elle wouldn’t close her eyes. As if the universe was trying to make amends for the disaster today, Elle even spent an extra hour and half past her bed time just lying down on my left arm while watching TV, giving me the chance to stroke her hair and tell her about my trip before I finally put her to bed.

12

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. 🙂

Continue reading

0

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.

***

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!

0

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.

Continue reading

0

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!

2

Celestine’s first Halloween 🍓

I don’t know when it happened, but apparently Halloween is a big deal. 

That I didn’t know because I can’t recall ever getting spruced up for Halloween as a kid. My best memory was when I dressed up as a “white lady,” smudged lipstick all over my face and went trick or treating around the village with friends sometime in the early 2000s. 

Determined to let Elle experience everything I didn’t growing up, I thought dressing her up for Halloween would be nice start. And talk about perfect timing—I had been wanting to take her to the office quite awhile now (and pretty much everyone I see in the building has asked me to) and what better time to introduce the superstar of my social accounts to everyone than the first-ever Trick or Treat event at INQUIRER.net. 

Juicy! Can I bite you boo? 🙂

Elle looked absolutely freakin’ adorable in red (and I’m not just saying that because she’s my daughter) as a juicy strawberry 🍓🍓🍓! I was lucky to find this costume in her size at Toy Kingdom for a price that didn’t make me cry.  I just had to get her some green tights from the department store to finish off the look.

Everyone at the office swooned (or so I think) over her. Too bad, Elle tends to keep quiet when she gets curious and when she’s in that zone, it’s hard to snap her out of it. So she didn’t get charm everyone’s socks off with the killer smile she’s known for, a usual attraction in all her photos.

She did show off her big baby girl skills by walking around in the office hand in hand with mommy and by being the bravest baby girl when most of the kids got spooked by the decorations in the third floor.  

Holding hands with my mom as we go around getting treats.

Waiting for the trick-or-treating to start!

We got so much treats! It’s funny because her pumpkin pail overflowed with chocolates, candies, jellies, gummies and other snacks (we had to get another container just to be able to bring the goodies home), but all she is really allowed to eat is a pack of boring Bread Sticks. Sorry, babe! Maybe next year when you’re not too young for sweets! (I’m gonna have to say sorry to my thighs too, because when I’m done with all these sweets, that’s where everything will go.)  

Baby long legs chomping on her loot.

Elle’s older cousin Rion, who went trick or treating with us at the office, also rocked that Lion costume! Everyone was gushing over him and people were stopping to take photos. Can you blame them? He’s got the full mane and all! 🦁

Cousins. ❤️

It was exhausting lugging all 11+ kilos of Elle around and having to walk flights of stairs to get to the offices amid all the chaos, but seeing her all so happy and excited for something she absolutely doesn’t understand, I’d be willing to do that again any day in a heartbeat. (That’s saying a lot considering that I hate walking up the stairs and my arms nearly fell off because Elle is heavy as heck.) I know what a happy Elle looks like, and the entire afternoon she really was. 

Now, Halloween is my new favorite holiday. I’m already thinking about what Elle is going wear next year! 

***

I can’t wait to tell Jan all about Elle’s first Halloween. I refused to let his immediate departure Thursday night put a damper on such a joyous afternoon, but after Elle had left for home and my adrenaline had crashed, that was when it hit me that this was just the first of the countless meaningful events Jan’s going to miss while he’s away for basic military training. Three months may seem such a short time, but not when you have a one year old. Any distance feels like eternity.