Monday, December 28, 2009
As first time parents, my husband and I didn't know the first thing about buying items and equipment for our baby save for what our friends and family told us and what we read on the internet. We tried to be practical in our choices but since Andrea was born, the reality of her wants and needs keeps challenging what we consider practical. Our way is probably not the most practical way but from the perspective of 2 working parents who are trying very hard to balance family, work and personal life (with no nanny to help us still, waaaah!)... this way works.
1. The crib
Our playpen/crib has vibrate function, lights, music and nature sounds... features that I was not really looking for and didn't think we needed, but are turning out to be really helpful. I am discovering that Andrea is not one for music, it does very little for her. So we never really got to use the music feature which plays Mozart's pieces. The nature sounds however, was very useful to us. When Andrea was about 2 weeks old, I found out that Andrea likes falling asleep to the sound of running water and splashing waves. It gave me about 30 minutes extra sleep time because I didn't have to lull her to sleep (when you're sleep deprived, trust me, any extra sleep time is a blessing!). I just put her in her crib and turn the nature sounds on. The vibrate function we were able to use when she was a little older, about a month and a half until now. It can calm her and put her to sleep when she's fussy or is having difficulty sleeping.
2. The infant car seat.
In other countries, this piece of equipment is mandatory whenever baby needs to ride in a car... but in this country, not so much. Baby car seats, after all, are not cheap. Our car seat converts to a baby carrier and is part of a travel system (stroller with carrier/car seat). I never really thought we needed the car seat. Then again we never really expected that Andrea will need to travel every weekday with just her daddy and her in the car... she was supposed to have a nanny with her as well. Having a car seat proved to be a life saver for us since I can't go with them on these trips. And even when I am in the car with them, my arms doesn't have to hurt from carrying Andrea the entire trip. It's really convenient.
As an added bonus, Andrea really likes it in her car seat/carrier. When used as a carrier, the bottom is rounded so it rocks back and forth. Andrea sleeps longer whenever we let her sleep there during the day.
3. Swaddle Blanket
Swaddling - is the practice of wrapping infants snugly in blankets to limit the movement of their arms and legs. According to several baby books I've read, it makes them feel more secure.
This item saved my sanity.
We saw this at the mall when we were shopping for baby items before Andrea was born but didn't get one because it was pricey compared to receiving blankets that you can use to swaddle a baby anyway. However, as babies grow fast, Andrea can manage to break out of her swaddle when she was about 3 weeks old and would wake up often in the middle of the night when the movement of her arms and legs startle her. More sleepless nights for me. She was about a month old when we finally decided to try this and lo! Andrea was able to sleep for 4 straight hours the first time she used it which allowed me to get a decent night's sleep for the first time since she was born. As of this writing, Andrea is 10 weeks old and has better control of her arms and legs but she still likes sleeping tightly swaddled.
This is available from Kiddopotamus (and available in the infant section of some local malls). I'm not sure if other brands have this.
4. BPA-free, Colic-free bottles
We will never know the effect of using BPA-free bottles until the babies this generation reach maturity and show a decrease in the occurence of the diseases that BPA is supposed to cause. So I won't go into that discussion. It's a good option though and I chose BPA-free bottles for Andrea.
Colic-free bottles are those that are angled to make sure that the nipple is always full of milk when baby is feeding to reduce air intake. Personally, I preferred the Playtex Ventaire system. Again, they are pricier than the regular feeding bottle (good thing ours was given to us as a gift :) but I have read some great reviews about these particular bottles and now, based on personal experience, Andrea does take in less air and sometimes does not even require burping after feeding when she uses these bottles as opposed to her other bottles. Less air means less possibility of crying due to tummy ache and less stress for me :)
Bouncers are infant chairs that move or "bounce" when a baby moves or when you flip a switch. this is one piece of equipment we regret not buying sooner. We can buy it now but since Andrea is already 2 and half months old and will only be able to use it for probably 2 more months, I don't think it's worth the price anymore. If we're having another baby in the future, I will definitely get one. Again, this can soothe or entertain a fussy baby and can reduce the time you have to carry your baby (as your baby gets heavier, carrying her for long periods gets to be very very tiring).
All my suggestions are prompted by a single formula: Less crying time for Andrea = happier mommy and daddy ;) Each baby is unique and what works for us might not work for you (especially if you have plenty of help around, you may not need most of these items). Sometimes you need to get to know your baby first to figure out what the best options for you are.
My status had been updated from single to married (which required a marriage certificate as supporting document)
My dependent had been updated from my mom to my husband (which also required a marriage certificate as a supporting document)
But my name... it's still my maiden name!!!
Why? Why? Why???? X(
Monday, December 21, 2009
If you're worried about gaining weight with all the holiday eating you are sure you won't be able to resist, do what I do: schedule your wisdom tooth extraction, root canal and other painful dental work during the holidays. You won't be able to eat much because you can't. It will be too painful ;)
2. No surprises.
Have you ever received a gift from someone and find yourself with nothing to give back in return because you weren't planning to give anything to that person? Keep a stash of generic gifts handy. Every time I see small items at the mall or bazaars that I like but I know I won't be able to use, I buy them anyway. My "little" stash has saved me from failing in my social responsibilities several times already.
Sadly, I have no tips on saving money, cooking and other things because 1) I don't know how to save money during the holidays... it seems impossible to me. Temptations are just everywhere... EVERYWHERE!!! And 2) I can't cook. 3) I don't know what else people do during the holidays except buy gifts and eat anyway :)
Merry Christmas to all!
Janelle, MG and Andrea
Monday, December 14, 2009
That was until I was about to take my maternity leave and was submitting forms and preparing requirements for my maternity claims from SSS and Philhealth and I finally did the unthinkable... I looked at my deductions. After 6.5 years of working, I finally felt SSS working for me. I received my regular salary during the time I was on maternity leave (I opted for continuous salary instead of the one-time payment of P30k for normal delivery I think). Philhealth on the other hand...
While I was preparing my claim forms, a co-worker suggested that I ask our Human Resources department for a certificate of my Philhealth payments in case the hospital asks for it. So I did. When I finally received that piece of paper, I was surprised. So that's how much I was paying for for Philhealth. And yet, what am I supposed to receive in return? Based on information I received from our human resources, the maximum I can receive from Philhealth for a maternity claim was P4500. That's the maximum. Actual amount approved for me was only P2000 (amount deducted from my hospital bill due to my Philhealth claim). That was after 6.5 years of continuous payments. I'm feeling a bit resentful.
Friday, December 11, 2009
My husband told me about this site that generates ambigrams:
I tried to generate an ambigram for my name:
Turn the image upside down and it still reads "Janelle":
Cool huh? :)
I also tried it for Andrea:
Upside down, it reads "Calista":
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Our housekeeper/yaya left last Friday after 7 months of being with us. She was our first housekeeper She told me last Thursday that her father was ill and was rushed to the hospital and that if it's ok with me, she's leaving on Friday. Her timing couldn't have been more perfect. I was scheduled to go back to work today, Monday! Good thing my husband's parents are visiting and will still be with us for another week, they volunteered to watch Andrea while we are at work. As it is with every employer, I don't think we have the right to refuse any employee who wishes to leave. My house, after all, is not a prison. So I thanked her, gave her her last pay with the Christmas bonus she deserved anyway for giving us good service during her stay, and let her go.
So since last Friday, I've been taking care of Andrea AND cleaning the house AND doing the laundry and ironing (thanks to my mother-in-law, I don't have to do the cooking as well... life's little blessings). One thing I realized was that keeping my house clean is a lot easier now than it was before, because my housekeeper kept it clean before she left. Before she arrived, there were nooks and crannies in the house that I wasn't willing to clean myself so I left them be to get dirtier and dirtier. My housekeeper cleaned them for me. And for that, I thank her and wish her well.
Now I hope we find a new yaya for Andrea soon.
Monday, November 23, 2009
No matter how much effort and grace you put into it, the baby will vomit and pee on you... wherever, whenever. She will poop into her bath water during bath time. She will cry and scream during the most inopportune moments.
I have often wondered about moms whose lives revolve around their babies. They talk of nothing else and they don't have time for anything else. I find it annoying but I think I am beginning to understand. During the first few weeks and months after birth, that's all you have. Day in and day out, it's just you and your baby. You can't go out, you cease to have personal time and sleep becomes a myth. Your life becomes a neverending cycle of changing diapers, feeding, and giving baths to squirming little people (good thing they actually look cute whatever they do). There is no room for 4-inch heels when you have a baby on one arm and doing everything else with the other.
I am also beginning to understand postpartum depression. How can you not be depressed? You can't go out, you cease to have personal time and sleep becomes a myth. You have strech marks, you need to lose weight, and most of your clothes and shoes don't fit anymore (and you get this nagging feeling they probably never will again... ever!).
What I don't understand is how some women don't go through it. They probably don't have much of a life to begin with (kidding! Forgive me, I'm cranky, I haven't had any sleep yet).
Last October, this became my life.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Come Monday and I was ready to go to work. I didn't have an excuse not to go... my house was not affected and I won't be passing any flooded area. When I got home yesterday afternoon, I decided that we can't survive with the dwindling supplies we have at home so I went to the grocery store with my housekeeper.
There were no available baskets or carts!
I was surprised... even during the Christmas season, that grocery store NEVER ran out of carts. I noticed the long lines at the check out counter and most of the people had huge boxes of biscuits, noodles, canned goods and their carts were literally overflowing. As I was standing there staring, a grocery attendant wheeled a small kiddie cart and asked me if I wanted it. Oh... might as well. At least we won't have to carry our purchases on our arms.
To my further surprise... the chicken counter was empty... EMPTY! There were literally no cans of sardines left. There was no Spam. The vegetables left on the shelves looks wilted (I needed to buy celery). The noodle section was half empty and emptying quickly as I watched. The fish section was also empty. The meat section was not really empty but it was obvious that the best cuts were no longer available. In other words, there was nothing much to buy.
Looking at the people around me, I was wondering if I should go on panic-buying mode and just grab anything I could. But these weren't clothes or shoes... so I wasn't really that enthusiastic. We were used to buying certain brands of food when we get our groceries because we know we like them. I didn't want to just get anything and then later find out that no one at home wants them. I knew there was the possibility of another typhoon coming on Thursday. Maybe that's why people are stocking up (or maybe they are donating to relief operations). I ended up buying cookies, junk food, 2 packs of noodles that I was willing to try, a coupled of canned goods (literally a couple... meaning 2 cans), juice and ingredients for Lumpiang Shanghai (that was all I could find that I knew I can eat)... in other words, nothing much.
Worried that the same thing might happen again if the storm does hit, my husband kept nagging me. So tonight, we are going to try a bigger grocery store. I'm hoping to get 2 gallons of water at least (oh, the grocery I went to last night was out of bottled as well).
Monday, September 28, 2009
While my husband and I were watching TV, there was a car parked near our house whose alarm went off. We weren't sure who owned that car but whoever it was was either not home, or deaf. He/she won't turn the alarm off.
My husband went out on his bike to check the situation in our area for a few minutes and while he was out, I went to our bedroom and realized that the car alarm was very loud because the car was parked on the side where our windows are and there was no way we could sleep that night until someone turns it off. I sent my husband a message to ask for help from one of the police patrol cars usually stationed near our house.
When he got home, he told me he didn't see any patrol cars so I should just try calling 117 because he noticed that the car looks abandoned... there wasn't anyone inside or nearby, but the car windows were half open.
So I tried calling the emergency number, 117.
Some emergency number... it took several tries but I was unsuccessful. I was able to connect once because I saw my cellphone counter starting but all I got was dead air. I was charged for that call. My husband tried calling as well and all he got was a recording that says "For emergency calls, please dial 1-1-7." Hello??? We were dialing 117!
My husband finally decided to just go out and go to the police station himself to report the car but as he passed it, he saw some people pushing the car towards the end of our street (the owners? car thieves??). That ended our car alarm problem but I was still annoyed at 117.
What if it really were a life-threatening emergency?
Unlike many others, I won't have a memorable story to tell. Last Saturday was like any other Saturday in my household. We stayed at home all day. It was raining, but not that hard, and there was hardly any wind. I was wondering if there was a storm but had too much on my mind to think of turning on the television to check the news. See, I was planning to pack my hospital bag last weekend to get ready for the big day. But I also had some last minute things I needed to get done for the baby's nursery so I wanted to put everything in place to see what else I need.
My energy not being it's usual levels, I was exhausted come noontime. While we were having lunch, I told my husband maybe we should start decorating for Christmas the following week while I can still move around. He told me why wait until next week when there was no time like the present. I felt like I was working towards a deadline and my attention was entirely focused on all the things I was doing at once.
Too tired to do more, I settled down around 6PM and joined my husband in the living room to watch television. Imagine our surprise when they showed footage of Katipunan under water with newscasters saying water was neck deep in some parts. We were stunned and thought the media was exagerrating. My husband went outside the house to check but can see no sign of the devastation that was hitting Metro Manila. We were very fortunate. Our street was not affected but apparently, all roads leading out of there was underwater.
(So to my friends who expressed their concern, thank you so much! We were safe the entire time. Our area in Katipunan was not affected.)
They started showing footage of other places where the flood waters reached rooftops of 2-storey houses and people were camped out on their roofs with their families as rain continue to fall, waiting for rescuers which we all know now won't reach them for hours. I felt terrible... and somehow, a little guilty. While people were fighting for their lives... I was thinking of Christmas trees in September. And then they started announcing the general areas that were experiencing heavy flooding and to my horror, the area where my mom's house and my grandmother's house are was in the list. I checked my cellphone and noticed for the first time that I had no signal. I started running around the house looking for a place where I can get a signal. I was finally able to get my phone working and called my mom. They were ok and their area was not suffering either. The worst thing that happened to my family with regard to this typhoon was that my sister was forced to walk in flood waters up to her waist from the train station to our house. It took her a few hours to get home but she was already safely at home when I called.
We continued to watch the news in disbelief all night. It was obvious that the country was not ready for a disaster of this magnitude. Sad thought. It took hours to mobilize boats for rescue operations and the best that this guy with the National Disaster Coordination Council can do is to tell people to try to understand that they are having a hard time reaching them and that the best they can do at the moment is to stay calm and "...pairalin ang self-rescue or self-preservation". That annoying phrase was being repeated by the news anchors several times. Tell that to the family on the roof, scared sh*tless as they watch the flood waters continue to rage and rise around them, who are calling for help. "Pairalin nyo na lang po muna ang self preservation nyo."
Come Sunday and we see a lot of people organizing relief operations. My husband and his friends attempted to reach one of their friends in a heavily affected area to extend their help and spent the entire day there. And then we see the military being deployed... and you can't help but wonder, where were they yesterday?
Friday, September 25, 2009
I decided to check out what "despot" means from http://www.onelook.com and this is what I got:
That's... um... funny, hehe :)
Find out what your own birthday means? Check out
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thank you so much! I really like everything I got :D
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
More research yielded more information. To make sure you are buying BPA-free plastic products:
1. Check the recycle number. Avoid getting anything with recycle numbers 3, 6 or 7. Items with recycle numbers 1, 2, 4 and 5 are said to be safer.
Recycle numbers can be found inside the recycle symbol (3 arrows in the shape of a triangle) usually molded at the bottom of plastic bottles. They look like this:
For more technical information on the meaning of recycle numbers, you can check out this site that I found: http://www.earthodyssey.com/symbols.html
2. Check the label. Most BPA-free products indicate they are BPA-free in the labels.
I've been checking recycle numbers of the plastics at home and though I have 5's... most are 6's and 7's. The Starbucks water bottle I've been using for a couple of years has recycle number 7. Good thing I don't really put anything hot in it, just cold water.
Latest issue: BPA-free anything.
BPA, or Bisphenol-A first entered my vocabulary a few months ago during a conversation with one of my officemates who asked me if I was getting BPA-free bottles for my baby. She told me she had to order online to get these bottles abroad because at the time, they were hard to find in our part of the world. I did a little research on BPA and found out the harmful effects that some experts are attributing to BPA exposure on babies.
So what is BPA?
"Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical used to make a hard, clear plastic known as polycarbonate, which is used in many consumer products, including reusable water bottles and baby bottles. "
Though some studies have shown that BPA has little effect on adults and children, exposure of babies up to 18 months shows increase risk of cancer and diabetes later in life, early onset of puberty, negative effects on the reproductive system, etc. Canada is working on banning baby bottles that contain BPA while several big establishments in the US (like Walmart and Toys 'R Us) will be removing them from their shelves by the end of the year, I think.
Given this information, I was still not totally convinced due to the price tag of BPA-free bottles. Until I saw these:
Sometimes, you just have to see something you really, really like to convince you! They looked so pretty and classy! Trust me, the picture does not do these bottles justice. These really are pretty but they were a bit pricey (mall price for these here are almost double the price listed online) so my husband was dead set against it. He told me that the BPA issue is just a marketing campaign being used by manufacturers to charge high prices for their products. He told me that we were raised using the same bottles they are now banning and we turned out fine (I didn't want to raise the point that most of the people I know have complications during pregnancy). I decided to settle for these instead:
These come at a lower price tag but with the same great user ratings, and still he said no. The "are-you-telling-me-she's-not-worth-it?" card doesn't seem to sway him this time. I planned to buy these anyway when he's not with me and let him deal with it when he sees it at home. Good thing my friend, El, said she's going to give me a set as a gift (thanks El!). I plan to buy a few other BPA-free bottles (from another brand maybe) to supplement this starter set.
Since then, I made an effort to buy baby items that are BPA-free, with my husband rolling his eyes, pouting and giving me dirty looks everytime he sees me at the check-out counter. I have learned to ignore him when I go shopping.
Last Friday was different. Friday night saw me at the babies section of the department store yet again, looking for a few items we still needed (and a few others we don't but I still wanted anyway). My husband wandered off for a while looking at other stuff and when we met up at the check-out counter, I saw that he was reading a brochure. When we got home, I saw that the brochure was from Babisil, discussing the effects of BPA. He showed it to me and asked "Hey, what if we buy this?"
So that was the shelf he was looking at. I just stared at him for a while, resisting my "I-told-you-so" urges.
"Did you check how much those are?", I asked because I know they cost around the same, or more, than Playtex VentAire Crystal Clear.
"I like them, the look nice... and they're anti-colic, see?" (oh, so now he knows what anti-colic means... another concept I've been trying to explain to him for months!)
Sometimes, you really do just have to see something you like.
Monday, September 14, 2009
What the hell was that? And how did he manage to go on stage unauthorized anyway? I thought security and program management was strict at events like those. Poor Taylor... Good thing Beyonce was gracious enough to give her her well-deserved moment.
Here's what I managed to accomplish so far:
I also replaced the black metal bed with an extended single brass bed (my old bed from my mom's house, you can see the posts in the window area photo), but I will post photos of that after I finish the entire room and put the finishing touches.
For the window area, I put in a sheer swag curtain in pastel pink, yellow and green, and used wall stickers to create my night sky theme (yeah, yeah, there are 2 moons with one sun mingling with stars... not exactly astronomically accurate but that's what the pack came with!). I don't have the energy to do stenciling as I initially planned :( I'm going to add a couple of frames on both sides of the windows like this:
The pink frame that will go on the left is the 12-months photo frame where you put photos of your baby each month, while the green frame that will go on the left side is a family tree photo frame where you put photos of both grandmas and grandpas and mommy and daddy and baby. I just haven't gotten around to telling my husband to drill the holes so I can hang them. Maybe next week.
The closet area, I'm not yet so happy with. I also used wall stickers to create a garden theme but I am not yet sure about the positioning. My husband said I should put them at that level so you can see them when you're lying on the bed... I want to place them a bit lower... Hmmm... good things those stickers are removable. Anyway, I also created a sunny sky theme for the wall above the closet.
This is it for now. I plan to buy the set of drawers I want this week. Then I still need to get the table cover (which will match the garden theme on the closet) made. And I need to buy sheets for the bed that will match the overall theme (good luck to me!). I should be done in 2 weeks.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Every time I look at them now, they're all puffy.
... my shoes.
I don't fit into any of my shoes anymore. I've been stuck to the 1-3 pairs that will fit my puffy feet for a few months now. I was looking for a pair of shoes this morning and I looked at my shoe organizer and realized I miss wearing my shoes and appreciating how nice my feet used to look in them. I hope they still fit me after all this. If not... well, perfect excuse to start buying new ones >:)
... my wedding ring.
I've gotten so used to it. But I only stopped wearing if for a couple of weeks. Hopefully, I'll be back to wearing it again soon.
... being able to walk gracefully.
Walking nowadays, aside from being a pain, consists of lifting your entire right side... then your left... and hope that you are moving forward in the process.
... a peaceful and uninterrupted night's sleep.
... being able to sleep on your back without anything hurting.
... being able to sleep without anything hurting... period.
... my clothes.
Maternity jeans suck. Maternity clothes suck.
... my artificially straight hair.
It's back to being all thick and wavy and difficult to keep neat.
... stepping into a weighing scale without wanting to cry.
... Diet Coke, beer, coffee.
Friday, August 28, 2009
You can count using one hand the number of months I've been debt-free since I got my credit card. I wonder how long before I start charging again?
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I wonder, will I ever make it to that list? :D
To access the complete list, click here.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
1. I knew I wouldn't finish it. The design was elaborate, and I don't have enough time.
2. I knew I don't have some of the materials I'd need and I knew I would get frustrated if I get stuck due to lack of materials.
3. I don't have a workroom anymore (hello nursery!) so I put away all of my jewelry-making supplies and taking them out will mean a day's work of lifting and moving heavy boxes.
I tried to suppress the feeling by thinking of other things, but the desire lingered. And before the night was over... there were 2 designs fighting for attention inside my head. It was hard for me to sleep that night because in my head, I was already revamping my dormant (or dead, if I want to be completely honest) jewelry business.
Come Monday and though I woke up really, really early, I spent the entire morning in bed, debating with myself if I want to go to work or give in to my burning necklace obsession. I was so tempted to walk the dusty roads and brave the crowds to visit my suppliers, but practicality and the concerns of adulthood won and I eventually managed to get out of bed and off to work (arriving late!). And there is nothing like the cold office environment to kill every creative bone in your body.
Tuesday came and while surfing through the blogs I was following, a blog post by my friend Nicquee, led me to Amore Vintage's site.
Darn it! Inspiration is persistent! X(
Friday, August 14, 2009
It's been weeks of stressing since my husband and I both decided on a playpen we both liked. It was a bit beyond our budget if we are to buy it here (as opposed to buying overseas) so we spent a lot of time exploring other buying options. I finally got tired after weeks of chasing leads so I told my husband that either we're buying it here, or we'll just get a different one. Then holding up baby girl's ultrasound photo, "...if you don't think she's worth it."
There are ways of getting what you want ;)
We made plans to go the main office of Chicco's local dealer this weekend to place our order because that's the only place where we can get the model and the color we wanted. But last night, we went to the mall to get a gift for a friend's baby. While I was shopping, my husband wandered off. When I finally caught up with him, I saw him playing with one of the Graco playpens displayed. I already had a nagging feeling we'd be going home with that playpen so I tried to get him to snap out of it. I told him we will compare so we left the playpen and went to the Chicco store where they have a display of the model we initially agreed on. He fidgeted with the playpen for a while then told me that he liked the Graco one better.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
When we got to the mall, we went straight to the ultrasound clinic. I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed at the experience. I mean I was excited at first when the image first came into view and I immediately thought "That looks like Helaena!" (my niece). But then, we started to realize that the images were not as clear as those displayed at the lobby, on the brochures and on the website. The session was supposed to last anywhere between 20-30 minutes but I got tired of it after only a few minutes... maybe becausee of the image quality. I really wasn't seeing anything new. Good thing we opted to get the cheaper package with photos only, no video. Though we can see the baby moving, I don't think we'd be able to appreciate it much given the quality of the images.
Anyway, we're having a baby girl and here she is:
We did make it to the shopping part (yey for me!!). She already has a bottle sterilizer, 2 sets of beddings and a bath tub. That was all we could carry since the comforters were bulky.
Monday, August 3, 2009
I parked this hobby for a long time and was only able to try again last week when I was trying to rebuild my archive of downloaded patterns (since I lost everything when our hard drive crashed). I was able to complete these 5. I still need to improve my coloring technique since it is nowhere near those I see online (those I see online are great!).
I linked up to the following link parties:
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
When we returned to the office, I immediately searched online and found this:
It had forecasts from the year 2006 - 2010 (though it seems to be skipping 2008. Anyway, so I checked my wedding date and...
My wedding date fell under an inauspicious day... a day to avoid at all costs!
Feng shui doesn't seem to favor my husband and me.
- We fall under conflicting signs: Ox and Sheep.
- We didn't get married on a year that matches either of our signs, signs of our Trinity Friends, or signs of our Secret Friends.
- Apparently, we got married on an inauspicious date.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Pretty huh? I find myself being partial to blue and yellow lately (our bedroom is painted blue and white, and my living room motiff is yellow and blue).
My nursery space is a bit smaller and will only contain the built-in closet, a single bed (I don't think the baby will really sleep there... the room is only for his/her stuff), a table and a small shelf but I plan to get design elements from the photo above. The ceiling painted to look like a cloudy sky, for example (I'm still trying to get my husband to do the painting). And then, I will get this light from IKEA (I hope it's still available at the local distributor.)
And since we are not re-painting the walls, I can do some stenciling!! :) (If it turns out badly, then maybe we will decide to repaint, hehe).
Anyway, after moping and simmering in silence at home since Monday night, my husband sent me an IM last Wednesday announcing that he "thinks" he was able to retrieve 90% of my pictures.
He loves me :D
Remember I mentioned in my previous post that he backed up all our data in his hard drive at work before he reformatted my now-busted external hard drive? He deleted the files from his hard drive after he transferred everything back to the external hard drive. He tried to recover those deleted files. When I got home, I checked the files he recovered. Most of the pictures from before 2007 are backed up in CD's. Most of the pictures from 2008 up to present have copies in my brother's PC at my mom's house. And other pictures I still have at my PC at the office. So my husband was right, we will be able to rebuild about 90-95% of our archives.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
(sudden wave of panic)
I used to back up my digital photos in CD's and DVD's. However, starting 2008, when I discovered that one of the CD's can not be played by our laptop anymore, I started backing up my files in an external hard drive. Going down one more notch on the stupidity meter, I don't even keep recent photos in the laptop anymore. Everything goes straight to the external hard drive with no other back-up.
And since we're talking about stupidity here, let me add something more. Most of my old photos from the late 90's and early 2000 used to be stored in Yahoo! Photos, which were later migrated to Flickr. Since I didn't like Flickr, I downloaded everything and... you guessed it, I saved everything in that external hard drive AND deleted everything from Flickr.
I still have the CD back-ups of everything up to December 2007 (except for the old photos from Flickr). Now, I'm missing all of 2008 - 1H of 2009, all photos related to my business (Designs by Janelle), my entire music collection... and I can't bear to think of what else is in there.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I heard on the news last night that courting KC is just a ploy cooked up by Piolo. I don't think they mentioned to what end. Promotion gimmick maybe? They also mentioned that Piolo might be quitting showbiz for good. They didn't say why either, so I'm guessing he probably wants to run for Congress in 2010.
Anyway, speaking of Piolo and KC reminded me of a showbiz news item last weekend, I think (or 2 weeks ago?). It says that Piolo brought KC 5 years supply of her favorite perfume from his trip to Europe. While that may sound like a very gallant gesture, I was thinking... 5 years? Did he get her a gift certificate or something? Because if he got her one big bottle, or even several small bottles... would they really last 5 years and still smell the same? Because from my experience, perfumes (even the more expensive ones) start to smell funny after 2 years.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Can you name 3 things you had to let go of in the past that was most difficult for you? (Let's stick with material things ok, it's a given that people are always hard to let go).
1. Old letters - I was introduced to the concept of long term correspondence at an early age. My yaya since I was a baby decided she didn't want to move to the province with us and left us when I was 6 years old. I cried and screamed when I learned about it and cried, screamed and clawed at everyone who tried to restrain me the day she left (nothing really changed over the years huh?). I made her promise to write me and well... she did :) And then my childhood friend and her family migrated to the US when I was about 7 years old and we promised to write to each other. I have been exchanging handwritten letters with both of them until I was in high school.
And then we moved back to the city when I was in college after my parents separated and I had limited space. I needed to let go of some stuff and well... back then, my backpack containing the old letters were my mom's prime candidate for disposal. I didn't want to, but I can see my mom's point about space. I wanted to sort through them, to keep at least some, but there were too many and I was struggling with school. So I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and put the entire lot in the trash.
Did I regret it? Of course I did. I still do whenever I think about it. With the rising popularity of emails, almost no one bothers to write real letters anymore. And it would have been interesting to go back and see what I was thinking back when I was 6 or 7 years old.
2. Gifts from friends - especially those I received since I started going to school. I'm not sure how it is with boys, but between girls and their girlfriends, a lot of small items are exchanged through the years between kindergarten and high school: stuffed animals, ceramic display figures, and a lot of odds and ends in candy pink or purple. Would you believe I kept most (if not all) of them? I can't get rid of something especially if I can remember when it was given to me and by whom. And then I started working and small tokens from co-workers every holiday added to my growing pile. After I got married and moved in with my husband, I decided to sort through everything and let go of most of them. I was able to reduce the pile to around half? But some I just couldn't let go of, not yet.
3. Books - ok this is what triggered this line of thought in the first place. I was sitting on the stairs this morning while putting on shoes and my eyes wandered to our very full bookshelf. And in my mind's eye flashed a picture of our very full bookshelf and the very full closet in our guest room upstairs. At this point in our lives, I think my husband and I will still be buying more books in the future. So it's either get a bigger house (bwahahaha!!) or downsize our collection. I dread the day when I have to tell my husband we have to sort through the books again. We nearly got into a fight the last time we did it. He doesn't want to get rid of anything. I don't either but I know we needed to do it.
I was an 80's kid and I discovered Francine Pascal's Sweet Valley books when I was in the 1st grade. I've been collecting them since until I reached high school. When we moved back to Manila, I parked my books in a bookshelf in the library at my grandparent's house where we lived for a couple of years. When we moved to our new house, I was assigned a space in the small bookshelf in the living room. It was not enough so again, my mom urged me to sort through my books and get rid of those I haven't read in the past 5 years. That's pretty much all my childhood fairy tale books and the Sweet Valley collection. I held out for as long as I could, enduring barrage after barrage of nagging to get rid of them. I don't know why I even cared. It was true that I haven't read them in years, nor was I planning to read them again. I guess what people say is true, that books are like friends and it's hard to let them go. But I did eventually.
Nowadays, I don't get attached to material things that much anymore. I don't think twice about replacing something that needs replacing and throwing out stuff I don't use. I guess the longer you hold on to something, the harder it is to let go. One tip I can offer when you have to throw something away, is to just close your eyes and do it. Clean break. And don't think about it much. If it's something you really haven't used or seen or thought about in 3 years or more, then it's not really necessary to keep it (unless you have a big house with lots of storage, in which case, hoard, hoard away!).
In love? It's not enough to keep a marriage, study finds
SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) – Living happily ever after needn't only be for fairy tales. Australian researchers have identified what it takes to keep a couple together, and it's a lot more than just being in love.
A couple's age, previous relationships and even whether they smoke or not are factors that influence whether their marriage is going to last, according to a study by researchers from the.
The study, entitled "What's Love Got to Do With It," tracked nearly 2,500 couples -- married or living together -- from 2001 to 2007 to identify factors associated with those who remained together compared with those who divorced or separated.
It found that a husband who is nine or more years older than his wife is twice as likely to get divorced, as are husbands who get married before they turn 25.
Children also influence the longevity of a marriage or relationship, with one-fifth of couples who have kids before marriage -- either from a previous relationship or in the same relationship -- having separated compared to just nine percent of couples without children born before marriage.
Women who want children much more than their partners are also more likely to get a divorce.
A couple's parents also have a role to play in their own relationship, with the study showing some 16 percent of men and women whose parents ever separated or divorced experienced marital separation themselves compared to 10 percent for those whose parents did not separate.
Also, partners who are on their second or third marriage are 90 percent more likely to separate than spouses who are both in their first marriage.
Not surprisingly, money also plays a role, with up to 16 percent of respondents who indicated they were poor or where the husband -- not the wife -- was unemployed saying they had separated, compared with only nine percent of couples with healthy finances.
And couples where one partner, and not the other, smokes are also more likely to have a relationship that ends in failure.
Factors found to not significantly affect separation risk included the number and age of children born to a married couple, the wife's employment status and the number of years the couple had been employed.
The study was jointly written by Dr Rebecca Kippen and Professor Bruce Chapman from The Australian National University, and Dr Peng Yu from the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I don't deal well with disappointment. I usually simmer, simmer, and simmer some more and when I can't simmer anymore, I... well, it's not pretty.
I tried ordering it online and have it shipped here. Unfortunately, the first store I ordered from only ships within the US. I found a store that ships internationally but as I was checking out, the shipping cost amounted to almost $350! More than 2x the price of the item. I contacted the seller clarifying the shipping cost and still haven't received a response from them.
My husband and I tried looking for the item here. We found a local brand store and they have the model but not in the color I want. This playpen is about to be the centerpiece of my living room for about a year and no way am I getting something that won't match my current color scheme since I've been working so hard to get it to look the way I want. I asked the sales person if any of their other branches carries the model in the color I want but he told me no. They only carry the ones selected and imported by the merchandiser and for the model I want, they only carry 2 color options. (Well, tell your merchandiser he/she has bad taste! Hmph!) I looked at the sales person and decided I don't believe him so my husband and I are checking out another branch this weekend. I hope we find one (though local price for this item is double the price online) but until I'm sure I can get it, the disappointment lingers.
I feel the world conspiring against me and my playpen. I've been looking at it online all day and the more I see it, the more I want it and the more I feel disappointed when I think that I might not be able to get it (aaarrrrrgggghhh!!!).
There is also a sub-plot to all this. I stupidly told my mom and my sister about asking my dad to bring this here. I know! I know! I should have kept my mouth shut. But at the time, I was on a shopping high, I was happy, I was chatty. Not being very big fans of my dad (understatement!), they both told me to forget about it. I stand alone in keeping the peace between 2 clashing sides and if my mom asks about it again and that playpen does not materialize in my house within the next few months (whichever way, she won't have to know how, I can just tell her what I think is the best answer), it's like giving her live ammo.
None of my options are a sure negative yet. It's just that at this point, I don't have an alternative that I'm sure about. And that bugs me. For all I know, on the extreme positive end, all my options might actually work out. In which case, I'll be all giddy and happy. But if none does...
...I'm flying out there to get it myself!!! X(
Thursday, July 9, 2009
So far, I haven't really been feeling anything about this whole baby thing. Everything about this pregnancy has been about discomfort, pain and hospitals. I guess that's why I never talk about it much. Until now, the baby is still like an abstract entity... I know it's coming, I feel it moving... but you don't really feel it.
The past few months, I've been prey to sales people in the baby section of almost every mall I've visited. I must've seen every product catalogue and demo there is for all major baby products. The fact that I tell them am not planning on buying anything yet doesn't seem to deter them. Last night was no different. They seem to know the moment my eyes wandered towards the cribs and strollers area because suddenly, there they were. But last night, I actually saw something I really, really liked. I never really thought we'd get it because it was not within the price range I set for myself for this particular equipment but I asked to see the demo anyway.
- Stroller comes with carrier/car seat, check
- Neutral color, check
- Classy, check (of course this is important to me! I'd be the one pushing it)
- Reputable brand, check (shallow I know, but first baby so let me be)
- Lightweight, check (again, I get the feeling I'd be the one pushing and carrying it)
- Removable front tray, check
- Within my price range... not really... but...
- Carrier also functions as a rocker (like Helaena's), a plus!
- Wheels has suspension for bumpy surfaces, another plus!
So in spite of people telling us it's still too early to buy baby stuff, we went home with a stroller and a carrier anyway... and with a more concrete sense of reality of our baby that is about to arrive in a few months (since there is now something in the house that actually belongs to him/her). And with me on a shopping high! I guess my husband was feeling more excited too since he was sending me links on playards all morning. We both agreed (I think... I told him I like this one and I don't really remember what he said afterward...) to get this one:
We haven't seen it in any mall around here yet but I hope my dad agrees to lug it back here when he gets back from his trip (I really, really hope he says yes!).
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
I went on an earlier shift yesterday to accommodate a meeting scheduled very early in the morning. This means that I can leave the office earlier, and that the public transport I use to go home is not yet available (they usually start their routes by around 6PM). I took a cab.
The ride was quiet and peaceful until we reached the flyover approaching Ateneo where traffic was almost at a stand still. I heard the driver grumbling but as long as he doesn't say anything, I'm fine. It was a slow but steady crawl the rest of the way and I was surprised when the cab took the lane that was supposed to take the u-turn near Rustan's. I told the cab I didn't ask him to take the u-turn. The cab driver looked irritated.
DRIVER: Akala ko sabi mo Katipunan? (I thought you said Katipunan?)
(wow... I never realized Katipunan for him ends with Ateneo Gate 3!)
ME: Oo nga po pero di ba hanggang dun pa sa dulo yung Katipunan? Sinabi ko bang mag-u-turn ka? Dapat diretso ka lang until sabihan kita kung san liliko. (Yes but doesn't Katipunan stretch out until over there. Did I ask you to take the u-turn? You were supposed to go straight until I tell you where to turn.)
DRIVER: Hindi ka naman nagsasabi (You weren't saying anything).
(Huh? What the hell was I supposed to say at that area? The turn he was supposed to take wasn't for another 3 blocks. Am I expected to say "go straight" every 5 seconds or something???)
At that point, he tried getting out of the lane but it was too late since we were too close to the u-turn. An MMDA officer hailed him and that's when things started to get worse.
MMDA OFFICER: Sir, lisensya po. (Sir, your license please.)
And guess what? The driver tried to get out of it by blaming me!!! He opened his window and tried to reason with the officer.
DRIVER: Boss, pasensya na po. Ito po kasing pasahero ko e, ang gulo kausap! (Officer, I'm really sorry. It's my passenger's fault, I couldn't understand her.)
Suffice to say, I was surprised.
ME: What??? Wala akong sinasabi sa yo na mag-u-turn ka. Nagulat na lang ako bigla kong napansin na liliko na pala tayo. (I never asked you to turn her. I was even surprised when I noticed you taking the turn).
He should have quit at that point but then he turned to face me and started shouting at me!
DRIVER: Wala kang sinasabi! Ang gulo mo kasi kausap. Hindi mo naman sinabing hindi tayo liliko dito! (You didn't say anything! You are difficult to understand. You should have said we weren't supposed to turn here!)
What the... ? How the hell am I supposed to anticipate that he was going to take the turn when I never gave him instructions to take the turn in the first place? At this point, the MMDA Officer interrupted us.
MMDA OFFICER: Sir, lisensya po. Kayo po ang nagmamaneho, hindi si ma'am. (Sir, may I see you license please? You were the one driving and not your passenger).
No way was I going to stay in the cab and let that driver take me home and find out where I live but we were in the middle of the u-turn so I asked the MMDA Officer if I could get off there. He motioned for the cab to move to the side of the road and told me I could get off then.
I still paid the driver... with 10% tip. Stupid me! I already had the money in my hand before the incident happened so I just gave the driver the money before storming off. I forgot about the tip. And grateful cad that he was... he was still shouting at me as I was getting off. A**HOLE!
I walked the rest of the way home.
(It wasn't that far, about 3-4 blocks I think. Before I got pregnant I never thought twice about walking from Rustan's to my house but things are different lately when every small exertion of effort from me results to bleeding and hospitalization. But walked I did (a bumpy trike ride was not a better alternative) and I made it home without incident. Or so I thought at the time.)
Monday, July 6, 2009
You get dressed thinking that going to work is a waste of clean and nice clothes.
You linger over breakfast while watching re-runs of old Disney cartoons thinking to yourself that there is nothing better you'd rather do.
You consider going past every u-turn on your way to work as a milestone, congratulating yourself at the strength of your conviction by not asking the cab driver to turn around and take you back home.
You manage to make it to work but you're late and you don't care.
You spend the first hour of your working day willing yourself to start something... anything. You suddenly think of errands you don't really have to do but feel like you suddenly HAVE TO do them.
You make it back to your workstation and manage to start working your way through the emails in your inbox.
You reply only to the people you like working with (and you thank God everyday for still giving you people like them). It doesn't matter how urgent other people's emails are.
You lie to get yourself out of having lunch with other people.
The afternoon doesn't get much better. You work but end up not finishing what you started.
You slouch in your seat while staring blankly at your monitor.
You check the clock every minute, counting down to the time you can leave... on the dot.
In spite of the many logical reasons why you know it will never happen, becoming a housewife is becoming an attractive option.
You make it home and it makes you want to cry thinking of tomorrow.
Monday, June 22, 2009
I hope it's not to early for an epilogue but...
I'm free! I'm free! I'M FREE!!! :D
I was supposed to write a couple more entries for June 18 and 19 but whatever it was I wanted to write about sure pales in comparison to the news I received last Saturday.
Ok, so maybe my regular OB was out that day and it was only her reliever that saw me to interpret my test results... and you know, maybe I took a liiiiiiittle advantage of that. But point is, I have a doctor's go ahead to go back to work. And back to work I am.
I had an ultrasound last weekend which showed what my OB suspected all along that was causing my bleeding. Thing is, there is nothing we can do about it except continue my medication and wait for baby, the uterus and the placenta to move upwards a bit more. According to the reliever OB that I saw last weekend, as long as I avoid anything strenuous, I should be fine. And if bleeding recurs, I am going back to bed rest. I can handle that and would do it willingly... as long as I get a few days of freedom. A few days away from my house is all I ask.
I was almost dancing with happiness while I was walking away from my house this morning on my way to work.
So did I achieve my quest to become the most boring person within my zip code in less than 32 days? I really don't know, but I sure felt like it.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
June 17, 2009 (Wednesday)
I had a meeting scheduled this morning with my boss via phone conference. He set the meeting up last Monday because according to him, they were making an announcement regarding our team's re-organization this Wednesday and he wanted to discuss it first with the people to be affected directly (i.e. those whose direct reporting lines will change) before the big announcement. I had a good idea how the change will affect me and I was trying to get out of the meeting for the following reasons:
1. Whatever it is they decided to do, I'm sure there is nothing I could do about it anyway. I figured I'd just deal with whatever it is when I get back (if ever I'm going to be allowed to go back at all);
2. Whatever it is, I'm sure my friends at the office will tell me about it after their meeting. And in a way, I'd rather hear it from them (I'm sure they can make it sound more interesting anyway :) What difference does it make if I hear the news a few minutes late? (My 1:1 meeting was scheduled at 9:00 AM and the big team meeting is at 10:30 AM).
3. Whatever it is, I'm sure it's important when you're thinking about work. But right now, I have other more important things to think about. I am scaring myself enough with what's happening to me. I'd rather not add to that.
I couldn't get out of the meeting so meet we did and I was right about how I thought the change will affect me. I had a lot of questions and I can't say I was satisfied with the answers but as I said, I really don't want to think about these things today.
I spent the entire early afternoon texting my friends at the office discussing how we all felt about the changes. Darn! I wish I could have gone online today so we can discuss this more thoroughly via chat. Texting can be so limiting! And then when my husband arrived home from work, I spend the entire early evening yakking about everything I heard. I'm not sure he was listening but it didn't matter. It felt good to hear about something other than what's going on at the latest hottest prime time soap opera or how the government is messing up again (i.e. news).
June 16, 2009 (Tuesday)
I woke up early to go the hospital laboratory early. If the procedure is to last hours, I'd like it done as early as possible so I can eat already. I always wake up hungry.
I decided not to wake my husband to take me to the hospital. Due to our electric mishap yesterday, he has to take the day off from work to look for that circuit breaker and get an electrician to get it fixed. I left a note for him to take our housekeeper to my mom's house and ask her to take all the contents of our refrigerator so we can store them at my mom's until we get our electricity back on.
I arrived at the hospital before 8:00 AM and I was out by 12:00 NN. My left arm was sore. My first 2 shots were delivered by a med tech who couldn't find a vein on my right arm so he jabbed the needle twice in the same place to draw blood. Ouch! The last 2 were delivered by a different med tech and I deliberately offered her my right arm so we could give my left a break.
I was planning to have my husband drive me to a McDonald's before dropping me off at my mom's house when he picked me up. I miss fastfood!! I havenn't gone this long without fastfood since I was in high school I think. Unfortunately, when I called my husband after my lab test, he was driving around Ortigas looking for a hardware with the electrician. They've been looking for that darned circuit breaker all morning and couldn't find one in the big hardware stores. I had to take a cab and McDonald's is out.
Cabs... my personal kryptonite. I was hoping to go through this entire month without ever discussing cabs but I guess that was not to be. The cab I took took me to inner roads near San Francisco Del Monte "para iwas tayo sa traffic" (to avoid traffic). I was familiar with the area so I didn't mind at first but the inner roads were bumpy (which was making me nervouse because I felt a cramp after every hard bump) and I noticed we were going around in circles. I knew the general direction we were supposed to take to reach the main road but I noticed we were just turning and turning... probably to prolong the ride. I was hungry, my arm hurts, and the bumpy roads was making me cramp. I snapped. I told the driver to take the cab out to the main road now. I told him I was pregnant and bleeding that's why I was at the freakin hospital and that if I miscarry, I'll make sure he is found and shot! I was ready to grab his head and slam it to the window if he so much as makes a stupid remark. I was that worked up and he probably noticed it. He gave me a guilty look, quickly averted his gaze and just said "Ay...", made a turn and guess what? I was right, we were near the exit the main road for while... and there was no freaking traffic.
I'm not sure if it was the dehydration due to lack of liquid intake during the lab procedure, the strain on my body due to the stupid bumps on the inner roads that the stupid cab took, or the stress due to the stupid cab... but I was spotting again when I got to my mom's house.
My husband came for a me after a few hours after they were able to get the electricity up and running again on our house.