Happily Ever After... And Then Some.

Our Storybook, one page at a time.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

no longer a baby

my baby is no longer the cooing, smiling, peacefully-sitting, pee & poo machine that she used to be.

well she is still a pee & poo machine... only more messy and mobile. LOL.

nothing is safe from hurricane amori. papa's cell phone didn't even survive her exploring hands and mouth. poor papa now has no mobile phone - it's been added to amori's toy bin because the only functioning button left is the on/off button.

she loves switching the following things on and off: the tv, the dvd, the xbox, the cable box, and the floor lamps. if you didn't know that she was nearby, you'd think there was a ghost in our house, with all the on/off surges.

the newest thing on the list is climbing her old bouncy seat.

it used to be her favorite seat.

now it's her favorite stepstool.

she is extremely curious about everything around her - even the dehumidifier.

and wherever amori was, you know she's been there because she leaves a trail (of things for mama to pick up!). it's like a crime scene everyday.

but all in the spirit of learning and FUN.

welcome to toddlerhood.

a year of baby boys

for some strange cosmic reason, most of our married friends are expecting little ones this year - and 4 out of 5 are going to be pushing out little boys into the world.

josephine and marvin welcomed paolo andrei last feb. winky in ohio just delivered baby zachary thomas this week. duke in turkey is playing the waiting game, and is set to deliver anytime now. mara in virginia is due in the summer.

jenn and jm in bangkok are waiting for their baby girl. she will be the only girl so far this year! unless aids and ria's (in manila) little bundle is a girl too... haven't quite heard if they know if it's blue or pink onesies for them though.

now if only we were all in one country, then it would have been easy to pass around pregnancy and baby gear!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

in transition

this week is the official end of my (almost) year-long stint as a full-time mom.

taking amori out for a walk in august 2006

and what a year it has been.

another playdate at maya's house, may 2007

it's been a bumpy ride to say the least, but it's been great.

amori exploring the contents of the bedside table

we're in transition now as i prepare amori for the changes coming her way - a day-long babysitter for the month of june, and daycare in july. i feel lucky and blessed that everything fell into place at such a dizzying pace. the day after i got a call to say i got hired, i found a babysitter. and the day after that, one daycare called informing me that they have a slot for amori in july. thank God i placed her name in their waiting list a few months ago! (at least out of the 5 waiting lists amori is in, one had an open slot!)

i feel privileged to have a fair share of mommy experiences that i never knew i could have... i baked cookies from scratch, cooked amori's food (which is why she doesn't like jarred baby food), cooked dinner nearly everyday while tending to a baby, folded laundry in neat store-like piles, moved to a new place, made homemade stuff for aldo's bake sale at work, and pretty much was amori's servant 24/7. i know it's a norm to canadian moms but for this filipina princess, surviving DIY motherhood is the biggest achievement ever!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

mama's salon

i discovered that amori sits quite still when she's watching something new - thus a great opportunity to cut her hair! it was her first time to watch the Teletubbies so i quickly snipped the ends of her hair. i never got to the front part because by then, she had noticed i had scissors in one hand, and a ziploc bag of her hair in another.

at least i don't have to worry about detangling her hair because food/milk/snot get stuck in it! oh and it's a lot easier now to put a bib on her too!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

almost walking

amori has been cruising effortlessly for the past few weeks and i'm sure it's just a matter of days or weeks before she starts walking unassisted. as of now, she still holds on to furniture or anything that's near - like mama or papa - as she walks on by.

this was taken on mother's day.

we just got home, and i just took out her pigtails - that's why she looks like a porcupine!

anyway... she's not really leaning into the table/ottoman anymore, i think she has yet to realize that she can actually walk already.

oh and she can climb up a flight of stairs already... at my in-laws, she loves going up the stairs... thank God we don't have stairs in our place!

sniff, sniff... they do grow up lightning-fast.

Monday, May 14, 2007

my first official mother's day

aldo and amori gave me a great first mother's day.

i had a balloon (not quite sure if i still qualify as a new mom though LOL),

flowers, a card (that was soo cute - it said what they lack in tidiness, they make up for enthusiasm!), and a whole bag of chocolates!

although the day started cloudy, the sun came out in the afternoon so we went on a bike ride and stopped at the steveston playground where amori had her very first swing ride.

i think she got a bit overwhelmed at the swings, slides, and tons of gravel so she wasn't exactly laughing out loud.

chocolates, new bikes, sunshine - what a way to celebrate motherhood!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

happy mother's day!

to the mom readers of this blog: tin (seth's), monina (topher's), rosabel (zachy & cara's), sam (maya's), aggie (matthew & martha's), jannah (jamie & caitlyn's), cherrie (deanna's), josephine (polo's), kat, duke (a baby boy very soon), and all other moms who don't leave comments... cheers to all the hard work, love, patience, and wisdom!

(... horaay, am officially a part of a special holiday. )

and to my mom (that i wish were here today)...


Thursday, May 10, 2007

welcome to our house, Barney

i played amori's Barney video (thank you Tito Marvin and Tita Josephine!) for the very first time last week since she seems to be bored of the baby einstein stuff.

i watched amori be seriously mesmerized by Barney for a full 3 minutes - which is a feat nowadays because she gets bored easily, especially with videos!

what is it about that purple dinosaur that kids love??? oh no, i think i'll be singing "I love you, you love me..." in my dreams now.

hmm is Barney the new Big Bird?

customer relationship management

I’ve been in the business of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) since my first job, but have never really touched the databases til I started working here. The real estate agents I worked for had a huge database of clients that I had to update/manage/troubleshoot on a daily basis. Boy was that a tech challenge – the program they were using was so complicated that I constantly had to call the customer service line for help.

It’s great that technology is constantly updated and upgraded, even crm programs. It gets better and better every time, and hopefully when I go back to work sometime soon, the program I’ll be using will be less confusing and more user-friendly than the previous one I was using. After all, what kind of a co-worker will I be if I spend majority of the day trying to navigate my way thru one program that will supposedly make our daily tasks easier!


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

soon-to-be-trailblazing amori

summer is nearly here! it's been warm the past couple of days - 16 degrees during the day! last summer we were pretty much indoors because we had a newborn but now that amori's pretty much a toddler... it's time to join the families outdoors!

aldo's family summer project is to get bikes for all 3 of us - that way we can start doing other stuff besides go to the mall (it must be a part of our filipino genes). LOL. we got amori a chariot cougar so she can be a part of the action too... we tried it yesterday and it's great!

we still have to get her a proper helmet though - hopefully she won't get too annoyed with it being stuck to her head. hmm but if i know my daughter, she'll be pulling on the straps til she gets the helmet off her head!

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Monday, May 07, 2007

kaartehan na yan

i've been following kris aquino's birth experience on youtube (hey nothing like a little drama from home LOL)... fine, she had complications during the birth of her son and all but heck - ang arte! this is literally milking the whole birth experience for full-effect media pity! if she didn't give birth in manila, i'm sure doctors and nurses would have told her all the pain is normal (aka don't complain you wuss!).

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retail therapy

I've gotten the hang of shopping online ever since I got here in 2005. It's so much easier to just browse on stuff online, especially when since more often than not, it's soggy outside. At least there's no need to put on 2 layers of clothes, pack Amori into her stroller, put the rain cover, and run to the bus stop in time for the next bus. Plus I don't have to feel pressured to buy something everytime a sales associate asks me if I'm finding everything all right.

I swear - I've turned into a real mommy because I now use coupons on a daily basis. (And I used to wonder if there really were people clipping coupons!). Even when shopping online, there are really useful online coupons codes that I can use in Children's Place - free shipping on swimwear! That saves me $5 on shipping fees! I can't wait for summer... I'm getting Amori this.


a post-it for me

i've thought, agonized, and had sleepless nights thinking about returning to work or staying at home for what seems like an eternity. ok maybe not an eternity but more like 3 months at least.

and i think now i've come to terms with my decision.

i'm still stringing things and thoughts together in the hope that reminding myself everyday for the next 2 months about the decision i made will make me feel less guilty, angry, and confused. my mind is still incoherent, so this reminder will do for now.

who knew motherhood outside of a third world country would be this difficult.


our search for daycare

To say that Vancouver has a daycare problem is a big understatement. Almost all the big and established daycare centers are FULLY booked - for years in fact. I once called a popular daycare to place Amori in their waiting list and to my horror, the person I was speaking to said the current list has 300+ kids in line!

I’ve been looking for one since October last year and to this day – nothing. I've been depending on online resources since the child care referral agencies seem to be closing down one by one. I've come across daycare in Hamilton and tried my luck - lo and behold, I found a few places around here. At least I don’t have to literally roam the streets and knock on family daycare homes because they have great search features using postal codes and child age. It actually narrows down the number of people I have to call/beg/charm.

Wish me luck. I need lots of it.

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

dear duke

this has been saved in my drafts folder for 10 months... but since duke is asking... it's time i clicked on the publish button.


motherhood, epidurals, and dirty diapers are so different outside of the philippines. the once-universal truths we believed had to be shoved into the hospital waste bins the moment we were checked in. in retrospect, i've learned that:

...the childbirth experience is full of curveballs that you take one step at a time.

i thought i was going to have a predictable birthing experience... my vain worry was how i'd look while pushing, or if it would look funny if i wore colored socks. none of that ever happened. i never even had to put my feet up in the stirrups. the doctors did all induction methods but nothing worked. hmm... my reproductive organs must be as stubborn as the rest of me.

i thought i was physically strong enough to not have an epidural - but 4 hours after i was given oxytocin to speed up my labor, i was more than happy to see the epidural lady. LOL. but i wasn't prepared for the intensity of the epidural experience either... i thought it was just a jab in the spine... i didn't realize that it took quite an amount of concentration to stay perfectly still while my back was arched like a cooked shrimp, thru 3 strong contractions. the effects are worth it!

...the english language is not universal. somehow, describing pain and the consistency of discharge was quite difficult. i think it took me a lot of phone calls to different medical organizations - the BC nurse hotline, the hospital's maternity nurses, my doctor - before the people concerned actually acted on my complaints. in the end, i just went to my doctor and showed her my underwear. LOL.

...a c-section is really not that big a deal. sure you've got stitches and are drugged up to numb the pain but hey, nothing Tylenol 3 can't block. i couldn't believe it - in manila, moms get 6 f***ing hours in the recovery room after a c-sention. six. s-i-x. i spent 1 hour in recovery - and i almost wanted to cheat on the ice pack tests they did so that i could go back to my room and see amori!

...DIY is rewarding. just like Ikea furniture. rooming-in a newborn is a norm here so whether you can stand up or not after the birth is your problem. but there's nothing like first sleepless nights and meconium-laden nappy changes to make you realize you're a family now. it's a lot of hard work - not to mention i-want-to-strangle-dear-husband-for-snoring-too-loud moments - that will only make you better parents.

...the days in the hospital feel like a vacation compared to coming home. for one thing, meals are cooked for you! no dirty dishes, no pots and pans. plus all the hospital gowns, blankets, and sheets you use will be washed and folded by someone else! hmm for the laundry reason alone i don't think i'll be opting for a home birth in this lifetime!

...all first-time parents are confused. i cannot count the number of nurses we bugged for the most insane reasons - baby crying for a long time, black poop, bleeding nipples... which were, in fact, all a part of the newborn baby experience.

our birthing experience was great. tiring, sleepless, and painful... but great nonetheless. cliche as it may sound - all the bad stuff is wiped away by little smiles and giggles. i'm sure it would have been easier on me if i were back home - my family would have been there to help me out and let me recover properly. self-pity caused me gallons of tears from the day we went home from the hospital to 3 months after, but i wouldn't have had it any other way. after all, this kid is mine.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

by the book(s)

i was reviewing my library card's history the other day and couldn't help but shake my head in almost-disbelief. you can actually tell my state of mind by the books that i borrow and buy.

what's on the nightstand right now:

The Working Gal's Guide To Babyville
by Paige Hobey with Dr. Allison Nied
- an easy read, which is great when i only have 2 hours of me time in the evening. it has funny anecdotes about motherhood... more importantly, it made me feel that all moms start out confused about the work situation - with some inspiring stories about how other moms have done it.

The Milk Memos
Cate Colburn-Smith and Andrea Serrette
- i thought this was similar to the Babyville book but apparently it's more for moms who go back to work and have to deal with breastfeeding (ergo pumping regularly in washrooms - that must be quite difficult!).

Jamie's Dinners
by Jamie Oliver
- the best roast chicken recipe!

Parents Canada
- their maiden issue is all about moms who have made different choices - to go back to work or stay home? a good read for me since most friends back in manila can't relate to the dilemma i'm facing.

but a few weeks ago it was all about:

The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night
by Elizabeth Pantley
- another easy read. her tips helped me realize that an evening routine is what amori needed!

First Meals
Top 100 Baby Purees

by Annabel Karmel
- so steaming and pureeing baby food may not really need a book of its own but i did get great ideas for fruit/veggie combinations from her.

Real Simple
- i heart martha stewart magazines... they make home keeping look easy!

Real Simple Celebrations
- for that perfect dessert party. nice crafty ideas for people who have the time for it!

during my pregnancy i was still reading chicklit - only all of the characters were pregnant too:

The Yoga Mamas
by Katherine Stewart

Little Earthquakes
by Jennifer Weiner
- jennifer weiner is a funny chicklit writer but i still think Good In Bed is her best work.

now i wonder if InStyle will ever find its way back into my regular reading list.

so what are you reading right now? =)


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

new toys

mom's wallet and keys!

she complains whenever i try to get my wallet back. i wonder why she's fascinated with it... there isn't even money in it. LOL.

whenever i'm on the computer, i let her crawl around and play. the past few days she's been busy with the filing cabinet.

yummy mummy reality

i used to think that being a stay-at-home mom meant dressing up in white capris, pastel tops, and cute sandals. well at least in the philippines or during the summer here. i also thought it only meant being an active PTA president or having tea parties with my daughter and her friends. or teaching my young infant sign language to make her the next baby genius of her generation.

then i woke up to domestic-goddess-yummy-mummy reality.

being a SAHM means constantly preparing food, snacks, bottles, and diaper bags; picking up toys around the house at least every 6 hours; cooking dinner; cleaning and disinfecting toys and surfaces at least everyday; and walking several blocks to the library for baby playtime. no one-hour lunch breaks, 30-minute showers, or cute capris and sandals (not really good for walking 5 blocks!). in this new world i find myself in, throwing on whatever is clean and on top of the closet pile is the norm. if i'm lucky and amori is sleeping before we have to leave, i can actually eat like a normal person versus wolfing down everything in 5 minutes. or if i feel i look like a zombie, i squeeze in a minute or two to put on make-up. (make-up is another mommy discovery - i've never been one to wear make-up religiously but these days, there's a LOT of black circles to hide!).

don't get me wrong though... i'm not complaining about the chores - i love what i do for amori and aldo. nothing coffee, a little concealer and a good pair of shoes can't fix. =)

i'd like to think that if we were in manila, that wouldn't be the case. to begin with, hampers in manila are always magically emptied and clothes reappear in closets neatly pressed and folded. (i was so shocked and amused when our trusty old yaya even pressed amori's burp cloths and pants in manila - i've never pressed any of amori's things! LOL.)

which brings me to the point of this whole rant. i absolutely hate it when new moms in the philippines complain about how stupid their new maid or yaya is when they are "in training". or how some even whine about being tired when really, all they have to do is mind the baby or feed it once in a while. at least no cooking, cleaning, or folding laundry involved. i nearly choked on the piece of toast i was eating when one mom's concern on her impending delivery was if the bikini cut on a CS delivery would be visible if she wore superlow jeans later on. i mean come on, the reality is that you'll have a muffin top for the next year at least... or the next logical goal is to fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans and still look the same way. what she should be really concerned about is how to take care of a newborn... but i assume there's always a yaya or her mom to do that.

i guess it's because that's how we all grew up. princesses, albeit in a third world country, but royalty nonetheless.

i just had to say that out loud. no offense meant to anyone.

oh and if you're wondering... amori's taking a nap and i had time to sit down in front of the computer. hehehe.