Love At First Felt

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Our dearest Cloud Emmanuel,

 

You came into our life unplanned, yes that is true. We were not prepared for the responsibility but we stick with what we believe is the proper thing to do. Your Dad and I love each other anyway, and we know that eventually, you will happen. You just happened a bit earlier than planned.

We must admit that we were initially afraid. Mostly because we didn’t know how to tell your Lolos and Lolas, even though we knew that they were expecting it somehow. We were also afraid of what other people will say. Many said we got committed too young. But then, the fear was replaced by excitement and joy when you started kicking and tumbling and making all those chaotic (and painful) moves inside my tummy. You were an active fetus! 🙂

Daddy looks forward in feeling you “kick” and move inside Mommy’s tummy. We didn’t mind even if your hyperactivity sometimes caused me to wake up in the middle of the night or in the wee hours of the morning.

Daddy and I had made plenty of mistakes in our life, but you are the one thing that we did right. When you came out of Mommy’s tummy, you were the tiniest but most beautiful being that we were able to hold in our arms. We loved you when you were inside me, yet we loved you even more that you are now with us.

Time flies so fast, our baby Cloud. The little baby before that is totally dependent to Mommy and Daddy now walks alone and wants to eat his food by himself. Good thing that we are breastfeeding, we still have our bonding time each time you want to feed.

If there was a thing such as love at first sight, our family have a love at first felt. Your existence binds Mommy and Daddy together.

I pray that God will continue to sustain us, financially, emotionally and physically so that we can continue taking care and providing for you.

And please, don’t grow up too fast our baby love!

Love,

Mommy & Daddy

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Growing Better through Marriage

After my marriage, I got so focused on giving my full attention to my husband and son, I almost forgot about myself. The first four months post partum, my entire attention, and life in general, revolved around ensuring that my husband is properly attended to and my son well taken care of. I was in zombie mode as I work from Monday – Friday then on weekends, I maximized my time by taking care of Cloud when he’s awake and doing stuff for Jay when Cloud is asleep. Stuff includes doing the laundry, ironing clothes, sorting out our dresser, disinfecting the bedroom and trying to watch TV series with him.

I was perfectly fine with the set up until I came upon a book which has quote that I believed God used to remind me of who really am I and what I should do. I forgot the book’s title but I fully remember it’s main message : “To take care of everyone else, you have to take care of yourself.” That was a good wake up call for me. Yes, I am a wife and a mother. But above all that, I am also me. My marriage was not supposed to stun my growth as an individual. It should be an instrument to make me a better version of myself.

I must admit, my bout with borderline post partum depression was not easy. Doing stuff for my husband and son almost drove me crazy. I was not used to serving others. I hated sleeping late and waking too early. But I adjusted because I knew that it is part of my journey as a mother.

My life took on a different path. I started reading and blogging again. I started communicating with God again, and renewed my vows with Him. I also severed ties with people in my life whom I realized were just burden for my individual growth. My social life got smaller and quieter, but it also got better.

One of the most frequent praise I got after my marriage is “You look better now compared when you were single” and “You seemed to have matured”. Praise God and my husband for that. I always pray that I become a reflection of my partner and our relationship. So, as we strive to strengthen our marriage, I am also striving to be a good reflection of it. I firmly believe that how a wife looks like is a mirror of the status of their marriage.

My husband is also very supportive of my pursuit for self development. When I decided to become a self proclaimed advocate of millenial parenting (breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering) he tried his best to learn the “language” also. He is my number one fan but he is also my budget officer, reminding me to stop/pause from hoarding cloth diapers and baby carriers. He would patiently review my blog posts and would criticize if there are points that needs improvement or statements that seems to be off tangent.

My pursuit for physical development was also strengthened after marriage. As I previously stated, I wanted to be a reflection of our relationship. Our relationship is strong, healthy, thriving and blooming. And so should I be. I must admit, prior to our marriage, I am not really conscious about my “looks” and I do not have any skin care regime or fitness routine. But I knew that the Lord wants me to look good inside and out. (This is clearly stated in the Book of Psalms and Proverbs). So I started developing a fitness routine. Just the basic sit ups and planks, and occasionally, running. I also started researching about skin care regime. I felt like a nursery (clueless) kid in the world of sun blocks, moisturizers, lip stains and creams. Again, many thanks for my husband. He acted as my “instructor”, coaching me how to do the routines properly ( hindi porke’t five minutes routine ang nadownload mo, five minutes ka lang din mag exercise, ulitin mo), choosing the right clothes for the right ocassion (overdress ka na naman. malaswa yan. ano ba yang suot mo) and the proper make up (ano ba yang nguso mo, mukha kang aswang, buo-buo pa yung foundation mo and my favorite “tingnan mo sa salamin, hindi pantay”). 

Many would say that marriage seemed to be the end of individuality. I beg to disagree. Marriage is a tool for growth, individually and as a couple. It should not stop us from harnessing our skills and pursuing our passion.

 

 

 

 

In Your Anger, Do Not SIN

All couples go through tough times. Some more often than others. Jay and I rarely fight, but when we do, it goes big time. Not big that is loud but big in the sense that the silence is so BIG and LOOMING, it is almost deafening.

Last week, I was under a lot of stress. Cloud had caught some viral infection, with his fever going on and off and several trips to the pulmonologist, I am starting to have a migraine. All I really wanted was to just close my eyes, turn off the tv and the light and went into a deep slumber. But I can’t because I have to watch the clock for his medicine. And Jay thought it was the perfect time to go out with his friends and have some good time. I asked him not to go so he could watch after Cloud while I wait for the migraine to subside. But he still went. According to him, he will only be gone for a short while, he just have to get the reef magnet and chocolates.

His decision offended and angered me. My initial emotion felt like I was chosen over a piece of reef magnet, his friends over our marriage and a lot of anger, all towards my husband. My emotion got the upper hand and I said ugly things to him through Facebook messenger. I am the type of wife who lets my husband have his “fun time” because I understand that his friends (now our friends) is a part of his life that I have to accept. I never complained even if he sometimes go home way past midnight or even if he spend some time with women friends because I trust him that much. Except last Sunday night. I was not at my best condition and I felt like I am about to scream my head off. And he decided to have his “fun time”. Angry and hurt was an understatement to how I felt.

He went home early that night but I didn’t talk to him. I was still seething and fuming. At that moment, I hated his friends too. And the sight of the reef magnet in our fridge annoyed me, I wanted to throw it to the trash bin. The next day, we have to bring back Cloud to the pulmonologist. Our communication was minimal and dismal, it’s as if the sight of each other is a sore.

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Jay and I during our civil wedding last September 13, 2014.

I knew that we were both wrong and that what we are doing is against Lord. It is very unpleasing to his eyes. Then I was rebuked by the verbs in Proverbs, “Guard your heart, for from it springs the evil in our mouth.” and “In your anger, do not sin.”

Jay may have been wrong for not being sensitive enough but I was also wrong for wallowing in my anger far too long. We finally kiss and make up last night. It felt a lot better, lifting everything to the Lord in my prayer and asking for His grace. We knew that it is only by His grace and mercy that our marriage can be strong. We regret being angry, for we know that our anger paved a way for the devil to have a place in our marriage.

Anger doesn’t bring any goodness in relationship and in self. It is like a double edged sword. It hurts not on only the person you are angry with, it also destroys you.

Happy Breastfeeding Birthday

A mother’s breast is made to nurture her child. This is what I kept in mind when I decided to breastfed. The decision was made prior to Cloud’s arrival in our life. Even when I was still single, I made a promise to myself that I will breastfeed when I have a child.

Cloud turned one year old last December 13, 2015. It also marked one adventurous, meaningful and love-filled breastfeeding journey for me.

I initially thought it was easy. I thought it would be just putting my nipples into my babe’s mouth. Boy, I was wrong! The one year of breastfeeding had taught me lot of lessons and experiences that I will carry in my next breastfeeding journey. (By the way, I am still breastfeeding Cloud and intend to continue until he decides to stop).

Two hours after giving birth and still groggy from lack of sleep and the exhaustion that comes with labor, I was told by the nurse that it is time to feed my child. The hospital that I gave birth was not very compliant with the Breastfeeding Act which mandates the prohibition of formula and bottles. I was told by the nurse that I have to feed my baby because my husband refuses to buy formula milk. To qoute her “Ma’am, gising na po kayo,feeding time na po ni baby. Yung mister niyo po kasi ayaw bumili ng gatas.” I wanted to hug and kiss my husband at that moment. I knew that he is very supportive of our breastfeeding journey as a family.

So the nurse gave Cloud to me. Boy, he was such a small baby and looks so fragile. It’s as if the slightest touch would break him. Little that he was, his voice is the exact opposite. He loved crying (screaming) his lungs out. So I put him in my chest and guided my breasts to him. I thought that’s it! But no, wait, he is still crying. I wanted to grab a bottle and ask my husband to buy formula. Then I remembered my promise to breastfeed. So, I changed position, transferred Cloud from one breast to another and made him latch again.

Like all the experiences of breastfeeding mothers, the first few weeks was a struggle. Since milk was not that abundant yet, we were tempted to introduce formula milk to Cloud. But thanks to Breastfeeding Pinays and my husband who is very supportive, they provided continuous advice and suggestions. My husband would use my facebook account to check on BFP regarding tips and guidance.

It was not easy. Especially for a working mom like me. My work includes lots of travels across the country. One of my most unforgettable experience was pumping inside our service vehicle from Davao City to Sultan Kudarat in Mindanao. It was a five hour trip and I strictly follow the every three hour pumping session rule. So, inside the vehicle, on the way to Sultan Kudarat, I pumped. I didn’t care if the sound of my pump bothered my boss and colleagues. All I was thinking is that my baby needs his milk. Thus,my workmate would often tease me as the “padede mom/breastfeeding mother”.

One year and one month, and our breastfeeding journey is still going strong. There had been instances when we were tempted to switch to formula milk. When I thought of all those “barkada nights” that I have to skip because my son needs me, those “quiet time” with my husband that has to be cut short because the baby need the boobies, part of me feels sad. But then I look at my son and cannot help but feel proud. I feel proud that I am able to nourish him from my own. I know that my husband feels the same.

A few things that breastfeeding had taught me, it is 90% determination, 5% audience participation (moral support) and 5% milk supply. Never ever thought of stopping breastfeeding. There are no acceptable barriers. Work, school, errands. All of these things can be addressed by storage, expression and/or pumping. Also, never let other people’s opinion hinder your breastfeeding journey. When people tell you a myth about breastfeeding, don’t get angry or laugh. Take time to share the right information. Remember that one myth that we correct at a time can lead to a more informed and empowered breastfeeding community/support group. Also, when it comes to decisions for your child/children, be firm and put yourself down. I have been told several times that because I am thin and frail, my milk is not enough and healthy for my baby. I was judged that I cannot exclusively breastfeed. But, by the grace of the Lord, here we are as a breastfeeding family, still going strong.

Breastfeeding is a special bond between mother and child, they say. I, on the other hand, disagrees. Breastfeeding is a tie that bonds the mother, father and their child. That’s one of the essentials of breastfeeding – make your husband your number one ally and supporter. Make him part of the journey.

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Photo taken during Cloud’s 1st Birthday Celebration. The clowns were our party host and that handsome guy in white is my ever supportive, God-given husband. Certified “padede dad!”

Wrap Review : Care RingSling

Aesthetics

The wrap looks and feel beautiful and soft. When it arrived to me, it was already washed by Admin Maureen (Babywearing Philippines), thus ready to be used. The brocade feel of the wrap, with its main peach color and edge trimmings of black and white makes it an elegant baby carrier. Its color way makes it perfect and stunning for corporate and formal events. I was supposed to use it for a wedding but since I am not fully confident yet to use a wrap on a very formal event, I backed out, but the wrap was fully utilized on morning walks and strolls.

The wrap is produced by Care RingSling from Malaysia. I initially thought that it bears resemblance to my grandmother’s curtain, but when worn, it looks pretty and sophisticated at the same time.

Manageability and Support

I was initially afraid to try the wrap since it veers away from my usual kind of wrap. I am used to wraps with horizontal prints, which makes it easier for me to check which part needs straightening, tightening and loosening. But when I tried the Care RingSling, I find it easy to manage and very supportive. I have a one-year old kid that weighs almost twelve kilos. We strolled around the village for one good hour and I find it very comfortable. Our Cloud might have liked it to, because he stayed put and relaxed while being “up” in the carrier. The wrap is also 100% cotton, which makes it comfortable to use.

After few more uses, the wrap was broken in and is now more softer and a lot easier to manage. My initial thought that it looks like my grandmother’s curtain was replaced with how beautiful it would look when used during formal occasion.

Verdict

If I could keep this wrap, I definitely would. But since it is just for test and review, I will have to wait until it is available commercially. Again, I would recommend this wrap to experienced and wrap parents with heavy little ones and definitely toddler worthy.

Cloth Diaper Review : Skippity Boo

This post is a product review for Skippity Boo! Hybrid Fitted (HF) Diaper

Name of Owner : Consuelo Llanah

Type of Diaper : Hybrid Fitted Cloth Diaper

Hybrid Fitted cloth diaper is a fitted diaper that has a hidden body layer of poly fleece, sandwiched between the outer print and the inner velour. This hidden layer aims to help the diaper be more absorbent.

How it works?

Liquid hits the fleece layer and is deflected back into the absorbent inner, soaking up into the rest of the soaker pad and inner velour instead of just saturating the middle and immediately needing a change. The hybrid fitted is still a “fitted” diaper, meaning it is breathable and it isn’t totally waterproof. It would require the use of a cover to be considered waterproof. (Source: http://allaboutclothdiapers.com/what-is-a-hybrid-fitted-cloth-diaper/)

We have been exclusively diapering since Cloud was born but we have been using pocket type (detailed discussion on a separate post)  but several breastfeeding/cloth diapering/babywearing friends encouraged me to try hybrid fitted diapers, as they said that it is more breathable.

I was initially hesitant to shift to HF because I thought it was impractical. The price of one HF is equivalent to at least two or three pocket types. But since I have enabler friends (Jasmer, Juhaina and Angelica), I decided to try and took a slot in Skippity Boo!’s latest stocking last November 2o15. I only bought one, just to try and besides, I still need to convince my husband to support this newest “thing” of mine.

I ordered Blue Arrows Hybrid Fitted. It costs Php 650.00 and its outer is made of cotton woven with cotton knit tabs, its hidden layer is polyfleece while the inner is cream cotton velour. Its soaker is snake style and is composed of cotton-bamboo fleece topped with velour and comes with a bamboo fleece soaker.

Upon delivery, as the proper way to do it (even if its against my feelings) I had it washed first. Upon drying (believe me, you need substantial EQ to control the urge to use the diaper immediately), I had it fitted by our baby. And ta-da! It fits awesomely! Since my baby is average size but with chunky thighs, we use the medium settings in the waist tabs and fourth row of button on the legs. I did not use covers and additional booster since I want to test how long will it last before it gets fully soaked and I believe that using cover defeats the purpose of using HFs. (This is a personal opinion, so please don’t hate me.) For the first use, it took three hours before it gets fully soaked. Take note, soaked not leaked. Meaning I can feel the wetness in the outer layer, not in the thighs or waist.

Overall, Skippity Boo!’s HF ranked 10/10 for me. Why? Because it fits all my requirements : affordability, absorbency, fitting and print. After more frequent uses, its absorbency increased that we are now using it for overnight (10 P.M. – 06:00 A.M.) and going out (10:00 A.M. – 03:00 P.M.).

And the most important part of this post and a lesson well learned for me: The price of HF is reasonable because you are not just paying for the diaper. Your payment includes, but can never compensate, for the effort, love and skills used by the work-at-home moms that made these nappies with love.

 

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Photo from the Skippity Boo! Stocking 2.o Album. This is my Blue Arrow HF.

My Heart, All is Well

Many of us is familiar with the popular Bollywood movie, Three Idiots, with the favorite line “All is well.” I often use this mantra too, when things seems to be tough and bumpy.

As a part of our ongoing feature of mommy entrepreneur, I am happy to share with you the story of Miss Joy, the lady behind Oliswle by Orzales. A shop that prepares and produces mommy and baby products like nursing covers, bibs/droolies and footsies. It is also happy to note that in contrary to our previous mommies, Miss Joy is a working mom. Personally, her story is inspiring for me as I am also a working mom.

The shop name “Oliswle by Orzales” is actually a play of letters from the movie “Three Idiots”. Being a crafty person, this shop has served as Miss Joy’s outlet for her creative ideas. It helps relieve her from the grind of office work.

The business was launched in 2013. Back then,it focused on producing personalized key chains, pouches, hair accessories and finger puppets. Miss Joy is blessed to have a supportive husband. While she does all the hand sewing, her hubby is the master cutter and tracer. Business has been good and graceful to their family. By then, Baby Number 1 started praying for Baby Number 2. After a while, their prayers were answered and Oliswle had to go into hiatus.

Of course, we all know that nothing can stop an artist from pursuin her dreams and fulfilling her passion. By June 2015, Baby Number 2 is not as demanding anymore and Miss Joy had regained work-life balance, the shop was relaunched in June 2015. But now, it is more focused on producing products that mirrors the advocacy of their family.

Oliswle now focuses on machine sewn products such as dribblies, footies, washable face masks, nursing scarves (standard and infinity) and droolies. They also produces cloth diaper giveaways which was a solid hit for cloth diapering parents.

It is also heartwarming to know that their family is entrepreneuring for a cause. Part of the shop’s profit is used to provide washable face masks to cancer patients and the buyer even have the option to buy additional face masks that can be given directly to the patients. (Example, you buy five (5) face masks and you can donate one (1) directly).

When ask what she can advise to fellow entrepreneurs, Miss Joy shared that as a supplier, you should always ask for a downpayment. It was a lesson well learned for her because a client once demanded a lot and so much only to end up not paying for the supplies. (Really, if I had been Miss Joy, I would have gone crazy angry!)

She also has this reminder, “Always put yourself in your costumer’s shoes.”  She knew the value of hard earned money. Thus, she gave extra effort in searching for materials that can be sold at a reasonable cost without sacrificing the quality and durability. Also, she knew that for baby stuff, it will be easily outgrew, so she ensures that Oliswle’s product are worth it without spending too much.

Oliswle’s story is an inspiration and a challenge to all parents. Their advocacy and effort to help cancer patients is an exemplary behaviour. It should remind us to be compassionate and empathic, not just today because it is the Christmas season, but every day of our lives. We are all blessed, others just need a simple reminder of their blessedness. Let us all be channels of blessing and instruments to remind our fellow of blessedness. One small deed of kindness can create a multitude of effect.

All is well when we strive to help each other.

 

(P.S. Don’t forget to check out Oliswle’s page https://www.facebook.com/oliswle/?fref=ts and order a washable face mask for their beneficiaries.)