Celebrating Summer’s First Year

Just like any mother, we want to make our child’s first birthday really special. However, I perfectly know that Summer would absolutely not remember her first birthday. And it is most likely that 80% of the guests would be adults. For sure the kid won’t actually enjoy it.

Her birthday falls on a Holy Tuesday (April 15th). So naturally we would be celebrating it on Easter Sunday (April 20th). So I thought Easter could be my go signal to really throw a party in celebration of the Lord’s rising + Summer’s 1st! And what better way to do this but to share the blessings with the less fortunate.

My husband and I decided it’s going to be a Gawad Kalinga (GK) birthday party for Summer!

GK Kids

With our SFC friends, we invited the GK Kids – a community we used to serve in when we were still singles, to celebrate with no other than…. Jollibee!

Meron bang batang hindi nakakakila kay Jollibee?

10299504_10203794915302515_1898366933_nI knew it was going to be a blast for the kids!

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Here they are enjoying the “Langhap-sarap” Chicken Joy + Spaghetti meal!

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I think the host was under a bit of “happy” stress because 80% of my guests were kids!!

Kabog ang parlor games!

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At Jollibee Shell Macapagal, they had a nice set-up. I love the colorful roll of fabric hanging from the ceiling.

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We chose the Hello Kitty theme because of the pastel colored banner – just perfect for an Easter theme

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Jollibee parties are mom-convenient and stress-free. BUT – of course, I wanted to try my hands on a few DIY projects. Jollibee is understanding enough to give room for moms who want to add their own personal touch on their child’s party. Naiintindihan naman nila ang kaartehan ng mga nanay!

It started with the flower pom-poms…

photo…. that ended like a classic Pinterest disaster, hehehe!

It’s supposed to hang on top of the Hello Kitty banner – but it was too ugly to display. Even the crew (politely) agreed! I wanted to throw it away but daddy was creative enough to just use it as part of the cake table’s decor :)

photo 3Now here comes the best part. I love loot bags! Auntie Matel accompanied me one Saturday to visit Divisoria to pick up party supplies. That’s when I realized all those online-selling party suppliers are extremely upping their margins! Never believe that their party designs are hard to find – because these things abound in good, o’l Divisoria! From Chevron prints, to polkadots – name it! They’re all there! And they don’t look cheap at all – just their price tags. Go to 168 Mall – 1 floor down the food court and you’ll find this mom haven.

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In keeping up with the Easter-polka dot theme, I packed chocolate Nips candies, 8-piece crayon boxes, coloring books, pencils w/ fun erasers, mallow pops, and Easter chocolate eggs.

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I slowed down on the sweets because I wanted each bag to contain more of the activity/educational items.

For only P1,250 party fee that includes a Jollibee mascot, you have a choice whether you want to order loot bags from Jollibee (P60/each) or bring your own. I think my bags cost around P45/each. Total savings.

My mom bought the cake for Summer. I didn’t order one from Jollibee. I garnished it a bit with some chocolate Nips candies + Summer’s Easter egg toys :)

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For her age, Summer isn’t directly interacting with the kids.

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But I can tell she’s happy to see a lot of little ones all gathered in one place! I hope when she grows up, she’ll remember that she celebrated her first birthday with the GK kids. And that she’ll keep it in her heart the value of giving.

967731_10203794958383592_534964500_nOf course, this cannot end without the must-have family portrait with the Philippines’ most popular bubuyog :)

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Countdown to 1!

Summer is 11 months old

Summer is 11 months old

How time flies and my little miss is turning one year old this April! I can still remember that day when I delivered her into the world. It was the most life-changing event of my life. And how can I forget the many, many weeks when I lacked sleep – but still went through regular motherhood programming.

First time to smile with us for a shot! What a darling! 6-months old

First time to smile with us for a shot! What a darling! 6-months old

So true is the adage that the “days are long, but the years are short.” I can only be grateful to God who has provisioned us all through the difficult times. I used to pray for a full-time work from home job before Summer turns a year old – because I knew by that time she’ll be so needy of me. And God has fulfilled it with His impeccably perfect timing!

As parents, we always pray for our kid’s health and protection. So far, Summer has been spared from major sickness and disease (and I hope she’ll forever be so). Given that I couldn’t breastfeed her, she has turned out to be healthy and active – to the point of my exhaustion hehe. But I don’t mind :)

Lots of people say she’s a good girl. Summer can be left alone playing by herself. And she can now express herself more – so it gives everyone a clue what she wants without her throwing a big tantrum.

She eats almost everything! PG kung PG (as in Patay Gutom)! I hope I won’t ever get into feeding troubles with this kid. She eats her solids pretty well now.

Walking barefoot :)

Walking barefoot :)

Retrospecting, I can say that first-time motherhood is “survivable”. You don’t actually need to lose your sanity. I can only be thankful to all the people who helped us cope with it – our families, friends, brothers and sisters in our community.

A part of me cannot wait for Summer to grow up because I know she will be the kind of person God wants her to be. But at the same time, I am also left wanting for more… more time to spend with her… more time to enjoy her “babyhood” until I am ready for the next stage.

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WAHM Now

ImageNew title for me. After a long wait, I’ve finally landed a job that allows me to stay at home with the baby. The setup is perfect, but it is not without work and time challenges. I still report to a boss, and I still log my hours. Not to mention adjust to a culture different from the nice Aussie teams I’ve worked with :)

I can’t complain though. I knew in my heart I am always destined to thrive working in the home space.

God is really good. His timing is always on time.

My only wish (as in final na talaga, Lord!) that one day, maybe before the year ends… I can be my own Wahmeo.

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SONA of the Year: Happy 1st Year Wedding Anniversary to us!

So the past couple of months my brains and hands have been away from my blog (because apparently, some life-consuming job practically took over everything!), I am now back to blogging with a good reason – I cannot miss writing about my first year as a wife.

My dad has been waiting for me to do the SONA (State of the Nation Address, as we know it in the Philippines), but this time it will be something related to my first year of marriage.

So here we go..

Can I just say that I simply cannot relate to women in their first or early years of marriage who are still going head-over-heels-still-swooning-over-their-husbands. Nothing wrong with that though. In fact I think that’s the norm, sort of what they call the “honeymoon stage”. And so I wonder if I am the “odd woman out”. Because to be honest, my mind and heart have loooooooong been past that stage of rose-colored glasses. Don’t get me wrong though. I’m still very much in love with my husband. He is after all, the one I married and the love of my life. But it’s much more than that teen-age romantic feeling of honeymooners. What I believe is that our love has grown stronger, purer, and more honest than ever.

It is bare without the frills. It is real and present not because of, but in spite of. It feels a lot of things… but it sees more than it feels – and it accepts it as it is.

In my first year of marriage, I understood that it is a daily calling to be unconditional. Humans as we are, that is most challenging. How can you throw your expectations for a co-equal/co-partner out the window that easy? I once saw a scene in the movie Did You Hear About the Morgans, that you are supposed to expect EVERYTHING from your spouse! Why? Because you are lifetime partners forever. So I don’t believe in marriages that are always sunny or rosy. Marriages that are never threatened or challenged. Maybe there are no such unions, but to me reality has happened sooner than later.

We don’t really argue or get into conflicts often. In fact, I can only count the times when we really had fights. But our married life isn’t always of romance and the feel-good-one. I think it’s more of a roller-coaster-ride where there are days when the ride is pleasant and exciting… and some days when it’s just horrific.

I for one is not perfect (and so as my husband). I joke him by saying that you’ve married a wife who’s half goddess, and half monster! Haha! Obviously, I don’t subscribe to the time frame of honeymoon then disillusion. In my case, I think it’s a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly shift in climate. And that is perfectly fine with me.

Because early on, I have faced the reality of marital imperfections. And I’m thankful that there are more days that we as a husband and wife were able to overcome them.

I don’t believe in happy couple selfies. Because what we don’t see behind them is the reality of constant love-and-conflict that makes a marriage more real and enduring.

End of SONA. I hope I hear some applause :)

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My Baby is 6-months Old!

How time flies and my little one is now 6-months old!

Feels like it’s also some kind of an achievement for me because that means I am half-way through the year of being a mom. Mommyhood sounds like my favorite chapter of life as of present time. It has revealed my strengths (and weaknesses) unknown to me before. And it has also put my energies into some worthy direction, hehe!

Enough about that. I am blogging today to document some of little Summer’s photos. Thanks to my husband who has been an eager photographer lately :) Sorry for this image-overloaded post!

Summer’s Milestones at month #6:

Can sit with support
Enjoys eating her Cerelac groups 1,2,3
Grabs and holds toys – and puts them inside her mouth!
Makes squealing sounds to get attention – assertive, kid!
Recognizes familiar faces – especially mommy and daddy
Plays by herself with her playgym
Rolls over and can settle on her stomach
Sleeps less during the day, but sleeps through the night – Yes, God is merciful!
Likes being read to and loves holding/eating her books
Smiles and laughs at the silliest antics
Enjoys the outdoors – especially on weekends!


First time to smile with us for a shot! What a darling!
First time to smile with us for a shot! What a darling!

This has got to be my favorite photo to date. Melts my heart :)

Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life! – Albert Einstein

 

 

 

 

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How many days left before Christmas?

76 as of this date. And that has been my favorite question to ask these days. It encourages me to keep pushing, keep moving, keep my eyes on the prize. It’s a reminder that all these too, shall pass. That God never forgets His promises. I say that repeatedly everyday – when I wake up in the morning, type in my reports, and recently – whenever I get an annoying email from some corporate bully.

I feel like I’m too old for corporate politics, for link building (duh!), and for proving my salary’s worth (again and again). I know I deserve better at this point in my life. Eight years in the work space and I no longer flinch whenever someone tries to challenge and push me over. But I can’t help but think – is this ever worth it?

So back to my favorite question – How many days left before Christmas? Not only does it mean I can finally quit office and be free to create my own rhythm. More than anything, it means people will be kinder, more sensitive, and less asshole-like.

Screenshot from 2013-10-09 15:56:40

 

 

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What is your greatest struggle?

I can say that at this point in time I have somehow fully-accepted the fact that I am a working mother. Different from my original plan to be a WAHM (although I work from home once a week). I came across a post about a working mom who has struggled mostly because  her plans on how to live her life were otherwise re-written by God.

Her revelation resonates so much in me as I am just like her – a planner by nature. Most of us women have this built-in tendency to be 20 steps ahead, planning our next course of action, taking calculated steps toward the kind of life we idolize. But of course, life has a way of throwing us things we never planned to have. We struggle.  We suffer a bit because it is out of our plans. Plans are always within our comfort zones. But we change our minds all together in the end.

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I’d like to share an excerpt of her post here:

What is your greatest struggle?

I have spent too much of my life discontent because my life does not look like as I expected it to. I have struggled throughout my adult life to learn contentment and find joy in living the life I have.

I am a planner by nature, and this is a very useful skill in my career as an Executive Assistant and Project Officer and in my role as wife, mommy and even friend.  But I would by lying if I said that this has always served me well.  You see, beyond planning logistics, I have invested my heart in expectations of how my life would be.  I have made these plans an idol and sacrificed my own joy at their feet.

 I have spent over a decade planning and struggling, planning and struggling.

Of course, each one of these diversions from my plans has led me to meet people, have experiences and learn lessons that I would not have otherwise. There has been so much joy and so much beauty along the way, but there has also been grief.  I have had to grieve the loss of my own plans.  

When I read that part of her post I realize how many times I have deprived myself of my own joy and contentment simply because I have focused too much on my own agenda. There is nothing wrong in planning your own life. But if the blueprint is too hard to erase/re-write then we just fall into the trap of discontent.

I often tell people that motherhood has a way of pulling us in the right directions. Before I became a mom, I would have never thought of changing careers or even go for more intentional living. I have operated within a very limited life architecture I mapped out that going beyond my comfort zone is unimaginable, at least for me pre-mom stage. Now is different. I have been stretched further – so symbolic are the stretchmarks you get after giving birth. I assume it’s because mothers will always want to give their best to their children that’s why we become fearless in making hard decisions.

I have also learned a great deal about letting go of control. When I allow God to shape my life, trusting His lead – I become less afraid of the outcome of anything.

The writer ends with a note on the best advice she has received when fighting discontentment:

It doesn’t matter what “things” my heart is chasing after day by day (be it a deadline, or a goal or something my son is needing) seeking Jesus is always the “right” answer.  Seeking Him first always manages to take care of everything else.  It’s too simple, and often seems trite.  But it’s true.

How about you, what are you planning/struggling about?

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