Thursday, December 4, 2014

Who Wants to be a Mama? (Preparing for Pregnancy)

     So... who wants to be a Mama??? :D I know a whole lot of women who do! (and a very very small part of the population who don't - or don't anymore because they already have three bundles of joy and that is enough for their lifetime haha!). 
    But going back to those that do... we moms all know motherhood is no walk in the park. And it all starts with pregnancy. There are some of us who have it pretty easy - with barely there nausea (or none at all), no complications and hardly any back pain. But there are some of us (probably most of us) that experience what they call "morning sickness" which actually translates to "all day sickness", nausea, vomiting, back pains, heartburn, etc. All in the name of the precious little one that we've prayed for in our hearts! So we endure it all with blissful expectation until we see our prize! :)

     If you're planning a pregnancy, the following tips below might prove to be helpful to you (and I sure hope they will be!). And I wish you a wonderful journey into motherhood because it sure is an extra special experience that you won't forget ;)

Before Getting Pregnant

    Good preparation always yields good results. And this is true for pregnancy as well. A lot of things can change about our bodies during pregnancy, and it would be wise to get ready beforehand because you never know how it's going to be for you.
  
1. Eat Healthy - Although this advice has been tossed to everyone a gazillion million times whether pregnant or not, it's always good advice. I cannot stress how good eating habits before pregnancy helps a mom-to-be. Eating nutritious foods helps a mom stock up on the good and important stuff needed to nourish a baby in her tummy. We can take all the iron, calcium or folic acid supplements that we want but our body still absorbs these nutrients better through food intake. So go get those dark leafy vegetables, fruits and good quality meats (preferably grass-fed and organic!) into your system so you can have enough vitamins and minerals stored up especially during the first trimester where most of us barely have an appetite and some of us just want to throw up.

2. Exercise - Not enough time for exercise? Wait till your baby comes out!! haha! Then you'll have an even harder time to fit in this very important activity into your schedule (or you'll have to stretch out your creative muscles to do so - i.e. Use your baby as weights hehe). Preparing our bodies to carry the extra weight, have the stamina for childbirth and go back to pre-pregnancy form usually depends on how fit we were before the pregnancy. 

    Although I have to admit, my first pregnancy caught me off guard. I was exercising about 3-4x a week before getting pregnant with Audrey but was placed on bedrest for weeks due to spotting and premature contractions during my first and last trimester. And I wasn't really able to exercise much during my first pregnancy except for a bit in the second trimester and during full term. Nevertheless, I believe that all of the exercising I did years before pregnancy helped me endure labor prior to childbirth (I labored for 33 hours before ending up with a C-section) and helped me get back into shape without as much effort. (But let me tell you, a second baby will change the whole ball game haha! Especially if the gap is a bit close! So exercising to tone up again is definitely a good idea).

3. Consult your doctor - It's always wise to consult a professional before undertaking a major project. And in this case, the project is your baby and your pregnancy. Really major if you ask me! First and foremost, it's best to have yourself checked to see how your reproductive health is doing. 

     I remember having this checkup done weeks before my wedding, just to make sure I am healthy and have no underlying health issues, particularly in the reproductive department. And a couple of months before finally planning for a baby, I also had MMR shots which my doctor friends and own practitioner recommended to protect me from getting measles, mumps and rubella (German measles) during pregnancy. If you get rubella especially during your first trimester, there is a high chance for the fetus to have defects - and I didn't want to risk it, and you shouldn't either. I first had to do an immunity screening for rubella to see if the antibodies were still present from childhood vaccines - but my test showed I was negative so I went ahead and got the shot. Just note that you can't get pregnant until after 3 months from getting the vaccine so this definitely needs to be planned.
     Your doctor will also most likely recommend you to take folic acid supplements, which I also did but again, healthy eating is still the best way to go. 

4. Give up bad habits - This sounds like a tough order - and it is. If you are a smoker and/or drink alcohol, now is the best time to quit. We all know the ill effects of these habits on an unborn child so it's best to start focusing on healthier alternatives. And for us coffee drinkers (yup that's me), this is also a time to re-evaluate your caffeine intake. Too much of anything isn't good, especially during pregnancy. I personally had to give up coffee during pregnancy and it is possible! hehe.

5. See your dentist - Good oral hygiene leads to good health. A lot of diseases actually stem from unhealthy teeth and gum conditions, so it's wise to deal with any of these issues before pregnancy. Some oral procedures can't even be done while pregnant so it's best to be prepared beforehand and do any necessary treatments to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy. Just imagine, anything you swallow goes inside your body, so if there's disease-causing bacteria in your mouth, it will have easy access to you and your baby.


    And in case you're already on the way and expecting your little one, I also have a post just for that ;) Coming soon!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Free In My Skin by Physiogel


Natalie's photo by Catilo Photography

      If there's one product that I would recommend to moms for their newborns and young ones, it would be Physiogel. To be honest with you, I only discovered Physiogel for the first time when I saw them use it on newborn Audrey at Asian Hospital. It was during our "How to Give Your Baby a Bath Lesson" at the Huggery! (At around 5am too! Couldn't forget that haha!). Needless to say, that early morning "bathing" lesson was very useful (I actually remembered the proper steps when it came time to give Audrey a bath at home). I was also glad that they sent us the rest of the leftover Physiogel Cleanser when we checked out so of course it was what we used from then on.
     I was really happy with it especially because it was very gentle, preservative-free and had no fragrance. It was perfect for newborns. I ended up buying more of the cleanser which came with a pump so it was easier and more convenient to use. When Natalie was born in the same hospital, they used Physiogel again and this time we were ready with our stash once it ran out. We got them in bulk from S&R, but they are also available in drug stores.


      But the cleanser isn't just what we use for both girls. My pediatrician actually recommended the Physiogel Cream when we noticed that Audrey had some eczema-like dry spots on some parts of her body. The cream moisturized and relieved her skin from itching. We then topped off the cream with the Physiogel lotion so her skin would be protected from more dryness until it eventually healed. If your skin is excessively dry, try their AI Lotion (anti-irritant) and Intensive Cream - which is really good especially when you're traveling and visiting a place with cold and dry weather. 
      What's good about Physiogel is that it's gentle enough for babies and kids, but also effective for adults. I use the cleanser for my face, as well as the cream (it doesn't clog your pores!) and the lotion too after bathing to lock in moisture. My husband also likes using the cleanser. So it's basically a product that you can use for the whole family :)


Audrey and her Physiogel cream! ;)


Thank you to my sister-in-law Patty for nominating me as one of
her Mom-spirations and sending me my own Physiogel package! :)



Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving


Image from www.etsy.com

       I recently discovered that the verse above actually appears in the bible not just once, but at least 6 times - mostly in the book of Psalms. Psalm 118 even begins and ends with the same verse. And there are several other verses of giving thanks all throughout the bible - as it should be - because our God is indeed a good and loving God.
      So whether it's Thanksgiving Day in other parts of the world or not - it would be nice to start each day with a prayer of thanks, counting our many blessings and acknowledging the goodness of God in every circumstance. 

Just Yoh Milk


        The video posted here is actually related to my story about Natalie a few days ago (previous post). If you have time to spare, it's barely 30 seconds long. 

video

         Maybe she's already programmed herself to say "I love you Mama" after teasing me 4 times! (and with different types of emotions) haha! I think I'll check again tomorrow... :D

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Little Jokester

     


     Natalie, oh Natalie. This little one is quite a jokester. Unlike Audrey, this toddler likes to pull pranks on us by running away sans diapers and clothes right after we give her a bath and place her on a towel on top of the bed. As soon as we put her down, she gets up and runs around the bed and the room in her birthday suit! Starting off a chase.
    This goes on more often than not. And that's not all. This one likes to surprise us with funny comments. She likes to pull daddy's leg hairs or armpit hairs (haha!) and says, "Eeww hair!" and then laughs out loud.
    And today, as I usually do, I asked her this question again, "Do you love Mama?". She puts on her smiley face (that looks like she's up to no good) and says, "Just yoh milk!" and breaks into a laugh. She expects her breastfeeding mama to protest - and I do, and she laughs even more. She actually enjoys teasing me! And when I put on a sad face after the so-called protest, she would laugh once again.
     After five attempts with the same question, she surprised me with her fifth response. It was what I was hoping for. She then says, "I love you Mama" with a smile. Then she plants a kiss on my lips and puts her arms around my neck to give me a tight squeeze. At last, the jokester takes a break and I'm one happy mom :)




Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Arkitektura Magazine

   


      Although I don't write about work regularly on this blog, I thought it would be nice to share something about my profession - next to that of a mother. I've been a licensed architect for more than 12 years now and Arkitektura Magazine recently featured me as one of their architects on their September 2014 issue. Their magazines come out quarterly so this issue is still available in bookstores and home depots in case you'd like to get a copy :)
      For this feature, I had to submit photos and renderings of my works, both completed and ongoing projects, to be included in the article that Arch. Justin Basco wrote. During the interview, I remembered why I chose architecture over medicine. There's just something about design and architecture that fascinates me. I knew I was born to design and create structures ever since I was a young girl. 
       Below are the layouts found inside the pages of the magazine. I couldn't think of a more appropriate title and write up to describe my personal style, interests and how I have found a way to balance both being an architect and hands-on mother :) 
      



The residential projects shown above are two of my favorite projects. Both houses helped me land more projects afterwards. And a fun fact about the houses I design is that each one has a corresponding country or continent 
that I visit :) House number one brought me to Australia and house number two to New Zealand ;)


Flow House Manila and Seasons Mall
The project featured here is the biggest one I've done to date. It's a sprawling mall development along Molino Blvd, Cavite which is about 15-25 minutes away from the Alabang area depending on the traffic. What I'm excited about in this project is the Flow House - which is the first installment of the franchise here in Manila. It features the Flowrider - a ride which mimics a fast moving wave. It will take you on a fun ride while on a flow board (which is shorter than a surf board) and it can get quite addicting! :D Flow House will be having its grand opening soon and will give updates about it here too :)



And finally, here are some of my current residential projects. 
These houses are due to be completed by this year and next :)


The back cover
Do get a copy of this magazine if you can ;)



Friday, November 14, 2014

Natalie's Safari

     My youngest one just turned two last September. And though she's officially a toddler (and really has been for a while haha!), I still call her my baby :) 
    This year, our theme for her birthday was a Safari! Natalie loves animals and specializes in copying their sounds! She's our resident baby lion! She makes a roaring sound each and every time we ask her to scare our friends hahaha! (they do get scared by the way, but will break into a smile after. Mission accomplished hehe).
     Here are some photos of her birthday and our small celebration with family and the neighborhood kids :)
     
Upon waking up, my husband showed Natalie the backdrop that I prepared for her party.
I love her smile and funny reactions! She was giggling with her dad upon seeing the
paper lion and monkey!

Labor of Love + Stress Therapy
For some reason, doing arts and crafts just helps me relax and forget about
life's stresses. I made leaf cutouts in two shades of green for a jungle feel and
printed out Natalie's Safari on paper! (there are some things that are
better printed than drawn haha! I was out of time so I just designed the
labels and printed them on my trusty ink jet printer)
And thank you to Mommy Bing of Carnival Party Supplies for pumping air into 

the animal print balloons! She saved me from blowing air into them myself hahaha!

The Fun DIY Crafts
These animals are my babies hehe! I just cut out pieces of colored
construction paper (which we always have stocks of for arts and crafts)
put the shapes together, and hoped they looked like safari animals!
I chose Natalie's favorites - the Lion (of course), the Monkey,
the Elephant and the Zebra!

The Dessert and Snacks Table
I love putting together dessert buffet tables! In keeping with the theme, I just
used small plants that we already had at home as part of the decor, fresh fruits and a collection of books that were animal or safari-related. The colorful book covers
brought the table to life! Not bad for a DIY and no budget backdrop hehe!

Cake Pops and Rice Krispies
Our little party wouldn't be complete without a bit of sweet treats! hehe!
I had Michelle of Coco Cakes make us some animal cake pops and animal print 

rice krispies and they were yummy! :9

The Cake
We ordered this oh so scrumptious Coffee Crunch Cake from Shortcrust along
Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes ParaƱaque and had them place random sugar confetti
and Natalie's name in front (which slowly slid down as it got warmer!).
We opted to get this cake because it was our (Mama's and Dada's and now the girls' too) 

favorite!!! I tell you - it is super duper delicious and comes with the crunchy sugar thingy  
(I can't remember what they call it really, but it's so perfect with the cake)
It goes so well with coffee (as expected haha) and I got the safari animal sugar
toppers from Shortcrust as well. Natalie loved them! ;)

The birthday celebrant in her safari explorer inspired outfit!

Monkey-ing Around
Audrey and Natalie gamely posed for pictures and started goofing around too :D

The family with Natalie ;)

Pin the Tail on the Monkey
We actually had room for games! I made a bigger monkey craft and cut out
different colored monkey tails for the kids to stick. They had so much fun haha!
The kiddos during the game ;)

And finally, the blowing of the birthday candles! :)
Happy Birthday Sweetie! 
J

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Have a Life!


    I recently met with a new client who was well past Senior Citizen minimum age, had a humongous house needing renovation, several staff who were mostly invisible, and a life well lived. She was a pleasant lady who was also very outspoken and direct.

    While we were discussing the project over merienda together with my colleagues, we got to know our client more through her stories, which revealed her personality, humor and frustrations. And while she got to know more about our personal lives, I told her that I was a mother of two children - 2 and 4 and with no yaya. To which she looked bewildered and said, “Please have a life!”.

    I laughed and felt no need to explain myself at that moment. I found it rather funny more than offensive. If I’m being honest, this was really the life I chose. I chose to be a hands-on parent – doing everything for my kids one hundred percent of the time – through the fun and the dirty work. If you’ve been following this blog you already know that I take care of both girls, give them baths, clean after dirty diapers and poop, cook their meals, read them books, take Audrey to school... I could go on.

    I think this remark was brought about by a different set of values. She prefers convenience, I prefer experience. I also do not have the luxury to hire a staff of almost 10 - and even if I did I would still choose to be my childrens’ primary caregiver (crazy but true! I would hire mostly cleaning staff plus a personal chef haha!). It is easier to consider hiring an extra set of hands to take care of your children if you prefer a comfortable and stress-free life. But if you are willing to take on the challenge, then by all means go for it.

    I also think that this lady had regrets of being a full time mother because her children didn’t turn out the way that she wanted them to (please take note that 'full time' is different from 'hands-on' in this context, at least for this lady). They made a lot of wrong decisions as adults. This was evident in her story and in her tone. I, on the other hand believe that I will regret it more if I don’t pour out my time and efforts on my children, despite what their decisions in life may be. If they turn out to become wise women, which is really my goal, then well and good. However, if they choose a path less desired, I will still be there for them and will continue to try my best to lead them to the right way again. If we have a good relationship from the very beginning of their lives, I know it will be easier to connect with them as grown ups.

     And if you’re curious about the reasons why I refuse to get my girls yayas to look after them so I can work in peace, get more sleep and have a life (haha!), here they are: (now if you do prefer and find it easier to have yayas, please don’t feel bad – we are merely different and what works for me might not work for you):

1. I want to make the most out of the time that we have - different ages and stages pass by so quickly and I don't want to miss out on anything.

2. I know I can give them the best care that they can get. There's no one more capable and fit to care for children than their own parents.

3. I want to invest in their lives and teach them discipline, obedience, respect, responsibility, diligence, gratefulness, and love - even at a very young age. This is the best time to start and I cannot do this consistently if I am not the one looking after them 24/7.

And as this verse goes:
Train up a child in the way he should go
and when he is old he will not depart from it.
                                      - Proverbs 22:6  (KJV)

4. I want them to get to know God in a personal way and use our time together to teach them how to pray and know the goodness of God. I intend to sow seeds of faith now while they are young because the heart of a child is fertile ground.

5. I am learning from my children. My patience, perseverance, discipline and character has never been tested as much as it has before I became a mother of two. I know I am becoming a better person just because I have chosen to be a 100% hands-on mother.


     Oh and by the way, my client called me the day after and apologized for this particular comment. She said she was in no place to make such a remark as we are living in different dimensions and at her age she is less careful of filtering her words. It was nice of her to do this, but since I was also confident of my own choices as a mother, it did not bother me as much as it should have.

       And yes, I do have a life! ;) A not so easy life but definitely a good one! J


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pic Stitch Photos in 3 Words

    Ever since I switched phones, I've been using and enjoying this app called Pic Stitch quite tremendously :) During times when I want to share photos and can't decide which one to post, this app solves my problem by allowing me to make a collage so I can put the pics all together in one layout.

    Here is a collection of my photos with descriptions in three words - there's quite a lot (and more that I didn't post!). I just want to be able to look back at these and laugh or smile! :) (and if I can't help it, will just have to comment under the photos below hehehe).


The Spaghetti Slurper

Apple Sandwich Monster
  
         As you can see, I like taking photos of the girls while they eat! This is 
    because I get a lot of happy and funny faces when they're chomping away! :9

Nighttime Baby Acrobatics

          My toddler is in that stage - of fighting sleep and trying to stay awake 
even when she is already actually sleepy! This is just one of the many antics 
that she pulls while she's trying her best not to sleep!

Giggling Over Lunch

Fun at School

The Waiting Game

Natalie and I always bring and pick up Audrey from school. It's a good thing 
there's a big garden and playground there so waiting can be more fun!

Rainy Night Outfit

It's fun to dress up girls and even more fun when they want to be matching with mom! hehe! We actually had 
a pair of brown suede boots for Natalie which she wore for a couple of minutes before she kicked them off her 
feet and asked for her rubber shoes hahaha! Well at least she didn't ask us to take out her star leggings! ;)


Family Circus Act

The girls had so much fun goofing around with their dad! This went on for a while in the restaurant we 
were in (I was getting take out!) and they actually had a few amused spectators (besides moi!) ;P

Oopsie Badoopsie Natalie

This little girl always has a lot of laughing pictures! I just keep shooting 
away that's why I end up with many of these collages! :)

I knew I wouldn't be able to resist commenting under the photos... so much for just 3 words haha!