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.

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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.)

 

 

 

Us

“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”- Joshua 24:15

I got pregnant before Jay and I got married. This may be common nowadays, but for us, it was our downfall as children of Christ. We felt that we have betrayed God, our parents, our families and friend. And, I will not advise this course of action to other single, young adults, especially Christians. Please, strive to overcome the desires of the flesh and lust.

Allow me to refer to my pregnancy as “our pregnancy” because in reality, it was. I didn’t bear the burden of pregnancy alone, my husband stayed with me from the beginning to the end.

Our first trimester was very painful,stressful and toxic. We were afraid of everything and everyone. We felt that we are unworthy of God’s grace and love. We struggled and for many, many times, I hurt my husband – verbally and emotionally. As a child of God, it was unbecoming and not right. Instead of seeking His forgiveness and guidance, I started to be angry and bitter. Our relationship suffered. I pushed my husband (boyfriend,back then) away and hurt him in ways he doesn’t deserve.

But, God’s love and grace prevailed. When I felt like I can’t take it anymore, I opened up to my Mommy (she’s actually my mother’s sister-in-law) but I lived with them. And God bless them more, I never heard nor felt any anger, “sumbat” or whatsoever from their family. Mommy and Daddy accepted me and Jay, with their constant prayer and guidance.

Next came the part of telling our parents. Since Mama and Papa has long been pushing me to settle down and have a family, the thought of having their grandchild superseded the fact that I got pregnant outside of marriage. They trusted Jay and knew that he will own up and be responsible. Among the three boyfriends I have introduced to my family, he was the only one who received my father’s approval and blessing. Yes, they click together. And yes, my father adored him. Sometimes, I even wonder if he love his son-in-law more than his own daughter. In so many ways, Jay became the son my parents wished but never had.

From his side, I was welcomed with open arms. My parents-in-law allowed us to live with them while we are still on the process of preparing and building our own home. I am blessed with supportive siblings-in-law.

Our civil wedding was witnessed by a small group of family and friends. It was intimate, the way we wanted it to be. The most important message to us that day was “When you feel like giving up and leaving your marriage, remember why you get married in the first place. It is because you love each other and wanted to spend the rest of your life together. In tough times, remember the love that you share. Think of the smiles, the laughter and the giggles that you have together. Remember that God loves you.”

I was seven months when we got married but my pregnancy was not easy. I had the morning sickness until the day I delivered Cloud. It should not be called morning sickness because it last all day long. The hormonal change was also nerve wrecking. There were times when I wanted to took Jay’s head out for no valid reason at all. It was crazy like that.

It was on the 13th of December 2014 when I gave birth to Cloud Emmanuel via normal delivery. It was a fourteen hour long labor, I wanted to give up. But during those times, I simply closed my eyes and pray, seeking God’s grace and mercy for the sins that we had made. And when he came out, I knew that he is not a mistake. The way he was conceived was, but not him. He is God’s vessel of redemption to us.

Each time we hold our baby, we remembered the sins we made and how God has forgiven us. Each time we kiss him, we offer a silent prayer of thanksgiving for blessing we know we don’t deserve. And each time we hug him tight, God’s favor in our family is affirmed. For this little child of ours is a beautiful reminder that God will never forsake His beloved children

This is our family’s story. It is not perfect nor exemplary. But we know that there are lessons others can learn from us.

Me and my husband, Jay with our bundle of joy, Cloud Emmanuel.

Me and my husband, Jay with our bundle of joy, Cloud Emmanuel.

Silver Lining Success

You will never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.

Life was not easy for Maria Lourdes Alquiros, more popularly known in the cloth diapering community as “Mommy Din” of D’Snugglebunz. She’s one of the five children in the family and life had not been easy for them, yet their parents strived to provide everything they need. As most young people are, Mommy Dinz got giddy and exhilarated with the freedom that comes during adolescence. She admitted making decisions that she thought was wrong, but later on will actually steer the direction of her career to entrepreneurship.

She took up Bachelor of Science in Accountancy but was unable to take the board exam since she got married and pregnant with her first baby. At the age of twenty, Mommy Din became a Mom to her beautiful baby girl. But married life wasn’t easy for the couple. Since they were both young and unemployed, they became dependent to their parents for all their growing family’s needs.

Seven years after their marriage, the couple decided to go their separate ways for reasons Mommy Din decided to kept to herself. She knew that being a single mother will not be easy, but nothing can rattle a persevering, loving and faithful heart. She knew that she had to double her effort and her skills to provide for her kid’s needs.

After several years, she tried opening her heart again. This time, to a foreigner. She hoped and prayed that love will be sweeter for her this time. But alas! God has better plans for her. The relationship gave her a different love and heart. Her relationship with the foreigner didn’t prosper, but it’s single fruit was more than what Mommy Din could ask for – her second baby.

At the age of thirty six, she felt disappointment and lack of self value eating her system. That’s when she tried to take a leap of faith in sewing handmade fitted diapers. Initially, she was a reseller of china made nappies but her love of country (which is inherent to almost every Filipino, except the soulless politicians and businessmen of this country. Out of topic but I just need to say it.) pushed her to explore and enhance her talent in sewing hybrid fitted cloth diapers.

She knew it was a risk, given that her business, D’Snugglebunz is online, but it’s a risk she decided to take. Her first stocking last August 2015 was a big hit in the local cloth diapering community. Her workmanship and business professionalism is at par. Despite the initial success, she admitted that she is still on the process of improving and developing her craftsmanship, dependent mostly on the criticisms and feedbacks provided by her clients. This, coupled by her desire to have Hybrid Fitteds for her own baby, keeps her passionate on improving the products of D’Snugglebunz.

When it comes to dealing with clients, Mommy Din is more lenient, she allows flexibility on reservation and payment terms. I surely hope that buyers won’t take advantage of this since that would be so unfair to her.

As of the moment, her plans include coping up with the current demand of HF cloth diapers from the mommies who trusted her and preferably in the near future, more options for Snuggle mommies.

Mommy Din’s story is a beautiful reminder that life is a product of the choices that we made. We always have the choice, to move forward or remain stagnant. Success doesn’t really come to those who wait for it, success comes to those who make it happen. With every struggle, remember that the reward will always be bigger.

With every downfall, there is always the choice to stand up and move forward.

And when every failure, there is always the silver lining of success, beckoning to those who dare reach it.