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Traveling with Baby

Monday, December 21, 2009

We will be going to Bangkok after Christmas. The first time P and I traveled together was in December 2007 also to Bangkok. That time we just thought of going at the spur of the moment. We bought our tickets on December 23 and left on December 27 with no hotel booking on a peak season and one small bag of clothes. It was my first time to travel like that. It turned out alright and was actually fun.

This time though, we will be traveling with Via along. P said we should have a hotel booking before leaving and not take a budget airline since we need more legroom. Having a 12 month old along while traveling will probably challenge our traveling light but I plan on taking along the barest minimum. One thing I hope P will agree to bring along though is the umbrella stroller. Via has gotten really heavy this past few weeks. She's now 10 kilos and I don't look forward to carrying her through the airport.

My checklist for air travel with a 12-month old (5 days):

Formula and 3 bottles
6 change of clothes
21 pcs of diapers
Baby wipes
Sippy cup
3 all purpose cloth
instant oatmeal
2 toys
mosquito repellant
drapolene (rash creme)
nasal saline
nivea top to toe wash
duct tape (for child proofing the room)


The Toddler Years

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I've been dreading what they call the "toddler years." Mostly, I worry about striking the right balance between discipline and allowing Via to explore and learn by herself. But, since she's only turned 12 months last week, I thought I have a few months to decide on how best to manage my goal.

Just seeing how fast her development has been, I realize I don't have much time. She started walking confidently and unaided at 11 months. Now at 12 months, she's climbing tables, her crib, sliding off our bed by herself. This week her new thing is standing on her rocker and balancing while it's rocking. She gets into all the nooks and crannies of our home. Last week, as she was going through the shoe cabinet, she found dumb bells. These are 2 pounds each.

Still, I want her to keep exploring, try everything, and learning on her own without the word NO, NO, NO, echoing in her ear all the time. So I told her caregiver to just say no when she's in danger. If it's just tearing magazines, breaking problem......let her (as her Daddy says). Just watch her closely always so she doesn't hurt herself.


Happy First Birthday!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Baby's First Word

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Via always wakes up at 6 a.m. without fail that she serves as Daddy's alarm clock. We put her to sleep in her crib but winds up with us in bed when she wakes up because when she asks for milk in the middle of the night, I just lay her down beside us so I don't have to wait up for her to finish her milk.
As soon as she wakes, she points at toys or books that she wants to play with while we doze off again. That morning last week, she wanted the black binder with printouts I made of fruits. Some of them were already torn but she still loves going through them. She was busy looking at the pictures of fruits "talking" in her baby language while I tried to go back to sleep when I heard her say, "nana." I looked at the picture she had in her hand when she said it and it was a picture of a Banana! Before this of course, she's been saying mama and dada along with brrr brrrr, tssss tssss and gibberish. So we weren't sure when she said mama and dada that she was referring to us, mommy and daddy. This time though it's clear she identified the fruit and said it!

I'm so amazed at how fast her development has been. She's not even a year old yet. I keep reminding myself now to be careful about everything I do and say as she's very quick to imitate what she hears and sees.


Facebook Connection Update

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I wrote last month that I have been unable to connect to Facebook for almost a month. I thought at first it was a problem with the internet connection. After checking with PLDT though, there was nothing wrong with the connection. Maybe it was a virus! I downloaded Norton antivirus, 30-day free trial. No virus was detected.

I really suspected P blocked facebook to keep me from playing facebook games. He wanted me to play with Via instead. Well, one day last week, my friends Pearl and Becky had lunch at my place. Pearl tinkered with the computer while Becky and I played with Via. Eventually she found that facebook was indeed blocked! My suspicion was confirmed! P did block facebook. There was no one else!

When I told him later that I could connect to facebook again, he had that same blank look on his face. He wouldn't admit it. He was right though. I should spend more time with Via instead of sitting in front of the computer. So now I'm careful to limit playing FB games. I guess P's happy. His ploy worked!


Smash for a Cause

Monday, November 9, 2009

This group we play with in Greenhills organized a small badminton tournament to help with the hospital expenses of a brother of a group member. They lacked players for the mixed doubles so we joined at the last minute. We haven't played for about a month and we were placed in the Level 1 group. Well, we didn't win a single match. We enjoyed the matches though as the scores were close even if we lost.

It's really so hard to get back in shape once you've stopped being physically active . Before my pregnancy, we were in really good shape. Then we stopped playing for about 6 months (I played until I was 5 months pregnant). It's hard to get back though especially when you're sleep deprived.


The Biggest Loser Challenge

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Four friends from work and myself decided to have our version of the biggest loser. It was actually instigated by me. I was afraid it would be difficult to lose all the weight I gained from my pregnancy. I gained 42 lbs! Two weeks after giving birth though, I lost 28 lbs but I still had 14 lbs to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight of 130 lbs. So on with the challenge.
We began on January 2, 2009. The challenge was to run for 6 months, ending on June 30. Each of us would give P1,000 to the pot so the winner will get P5,000. We would weigh ourselves every end of the month to check our progress using the weighing scale at the gym in the office. It was up to us how we would lose the weight. Whether to go on a diet, work out in the gym or take up a sport. Taking slimming tea, herbal drinks and the like was also okay. Anything invasive though was not allowed (for example: liposuction).

On June 30 though, the biggest weight lost was only 5 lbs and 3 challengers actually gained weight! So we decided to extend the challenge to September 30. The result was the same though. Most challengers gained weight. The winner lost 7.5 lbs. Me! :)

Because we considered the challenge a failure, we decided to have another one. This time though the prize will only be lunch at the restaurant of the winner's choice. We began on the first week of October and will end on January 31, 2010.

Who will win this time?


Afternoon at the Park

Monday, November 2, 2009

Last Sunday, November 1 was All Saint's Day. It's a day when Filipinos remember their dead. Although I don't know why it's done on that day because November 2 is All Soul's Day. I don't really observe it anyway. I just said a prayer for my Mom and Dad.

We were cooped up all day at home and I felt the urge to go out. I decided to bring Via to Ortigas Park nearby. P was studying for prelims this coming week. Living in a building, I need to put in extra effort to bring her outdoors to nature. I love Sundays and holidays because Ortigas Center is deserted. It's so peaceful. I put Via in her stroller and went.....stopping along the way to let her touch a tree, leaves of a plant, point out the large guard dogs at Oakwood....

At the park, I took off Via's shoes and let her walk in the grass. At first she didn't like it. It probably felt prickly to her and ticklish. But later on she had fun crawling and rolling around the grass.


Taxi Tale

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

ast Monday, P was dying to play badminton. I was exhausted from work. My deal was we go if we can get a taxi. After a few minutes one came along and I flagged it down. As usual, since it was rush hour, the cab driver was choosing passengers. This was an EMP taxi. I usually take taxis owned by companies because they weren't choosy. Apparently, this one is. He rolled down the window and asked where we were going. I said Pasong Tamo in Makati. Without saying anything he just drove off. How rude! Aaaaarrrgghhhh!!! I hate taxi drivers! P said it's not worth it. Let's just have dinner in Robinson's. We'll play some other time.


Megamall's Three Day Sale Saga (Oct 16-18 2009)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I hate going to three-day sales in malls. These usually begin on Friday until Sunday. There are just too many people and shopping is not relaxed. I end up buying stuff I will never wear just because they're on sale. I've learned my lesson. Sales never entice me to go shopping. I shop when I need to.

I also hadn't planned on going the Mega Mall's 3-day sale this month. But going back to my office, there was someone in the elevator who had this BIG Our Tribe shopping bag which attracted everyone's attention in the elevator. They asked her if she bought it on sale, etc. etc. I've always loved Our Tribe shoes and bags. I love the smell of the leather! And I wanted to buy a new bag. So I thought this is a good time to take advantage of the sale. But it was too late that day. Lunch time was over. I decided to go the next day Saturday real early there wouldn't be that many people yet. So instead of doing my grocery shopping in Robinson's Galleria which is nearer my place, I did it also in Mega Mall.

We (Via and I and Yaya) went around 11AM. There were already a lot of people though not that crowded yet. We went straight to the Our Tribe store. Those on 50% off were in the center. There were others on sale at 20% and 30% off but I told myself to buy only at 50% off. Luckily I found one I liked.

Then we got 2 rectagular plastic storage boxes from the home section of SM department store. After that we proceeded to the grocery. All these done in about 30 minutes! I asked yaya to leave the plastic boxes at the baggage counter while we shopped. The guy manning that counter refused. It was too big he said. What?! I told him, you expect us to carry it all over the grocery while we did our shopping?? He said it will fit in the cart. What?! I though again. We will have to take 2 carts?? One for the plastic boxes and one for our grocery?? Who will push the other cart. I was carrying Via. I said let's do our grocery shopping in Robinson's instead and walk off in a huff!

I didn't want to keep on arguing with that guy. These counters were there to make our shopping easier weren't they?? We bought those boxes IN SM and buying our groceries IN SM and they can't make our shopping easier because the boxes were too big! I told myself it wasn't worth it and felt better.


Homestyle Indonesian Chicken Soup with Vegetables

Monday, October 26, 2009

from Periplus Mini Cookbooks by William W. Wongso and Hayatinufus A.L. Tobing

½ Chicken cut into pieces
6 cups water
1teaspoon peppercorns
4-6 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium carrot, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons dried woodear mushrooms coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons dried lily buds, hard stems removed
½ cup cabbage
½ cup snow peas
2 spring onions, cut in 1 cm lengths
2 stalks chinese celery cut in lengths
8-10 hard boiled quail eggs
100 g glass noodles
1 tablespoon sweet Indonesian soy sauce
2 tablespoons crispy fried shallots

Place the chicken, water and salt in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat and simmer until the chicken is tender, about 35 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, grind the peppercorns in a spice grinder until fine. Add the garlic and process to a coarse paste. Heat the oil in a small saucepan, add the spice paste and stir fry over medium heat until golden brown. Add to the soup.

When the chicken is tender, remove and cool slightly, then cut the meat into 1 cm cubes and set aside.

Add the carrot to the soup, return to the boil, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, lily buds, cabbage, snow peas, spring onion and chinese celery. Simmer for 5 minutes until the vegetables are cooked. Add the reserved chicken, quail eggs, noodles and sweet soy sauce to the soup. Heat through, then serve garnished with crispy fried shallots.

I tried this recipe over the weekend. I didn't put all the veggies in though. Just carrots and cabbage and I forgot the sweet soy sauce :) Still P said it tasted good.


Baby Vaccines

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Via is now nearing 11 months old and we're almost done with vaccines for the first year. Only the chicken pox vaccine is left when she turns one in December. These vaccines really cost a lot. Luckily, some of them were available free or discounted from my office. She didn't get all the vaccines recommended by her Pedia because P just wanted her to have those that are required, not the optional vaccines. She's a little behind schedule but no big deal according to her Pedia. Here's what she got, when and how much:

December 2008 Hepa B
January 2009 Hepa B P750
February 2009 BCG and 5-in-1 Free
April 2009 Pneumococcal (Prevenar) P3,330.30 (discounted)
May 2009 5-in-1 Free
June 2009 Pneumococcal (Prevenar) P3,330.30 (discounted)
July 2009 Hepa B Free
August 2009 5-in-1 Free
September 2009 Pneumococcal (Prevenar) P3,330.30 (discounted)
October 2009 Measles P1,000
December 2009 Chicken Pox

Note: 5-in-1 includes diptheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and Hib.

We skipped the rotarix vaccine. Even with the freebies and discounts, the vaccines still cost a lot when totaled. But it's protection for babies so we need to give it to them to keep them in good health.


At Wits End - Part 2

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It's been 3 months since I wrote part 1 and a lot can happen in 3 months. Like changing my mind about my difficult new boss D. Nothing has changed-he still repeats his instructions over and over all the while looking at me with a look that says "does she understand what I'm saying?", he is still the most OC person I've come to know, he still has sharp tongue, etc. etc. BUT I decided to give him a chance. Nothing was happening with my applications for transfer to other departments. If I cannot leave him then I have to deal with it. I decided to just do everything he said and ignore those I did not agree with.

Ignored: entering his meetings 3x in his calendar so that it sounds an alarm 3x (every 15 minutes and hour before the meeting). Once is enough!

Ignored: the out of office report (quarterly surveying the leave, training/seminar, and mission schedule of every staff in our department); we already have a whiteboard for that.

Ignored: printing out his 2-week schedule everyday (he already has this in his lotus notes calendar, in his diary, and a post it of the day's meetings on his desk)

Guess what? It worked! And now I decided he's not so bad after all. He's thoughtful and very appreciative of the work that I do. And he sounds very sincere when he says thank you.

Thoughtfulness: gave me half of his chocolate bar during overtime; got me a milo when he got coffee for himself; got my favorite flavor ice cream after doing personal stuff for him (mint chocolate chip from tillamook..yummy!)

And when he says thank you, it really sounds sincere.


Failed to Connect to Facebook

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Yet again! I haven't been able to connect to facebook at home for more than two weeks now. Only facebook. Sometimes I get a page load error to other sites but I just refresh and it connects. But never facebook. I thought it might be a virus but I ran the cleaner a few times and came up with nothing.

So I was thinking that maybe P blocked facebook. Could he do that? He's always been nagging me about playing facebook games like Mafia Wars, Farmtown, Restaurant City, etc. instead of spending time with Via. I guess he's right. But...back to the topic. I searched online how to fix the problem (since P doesn't want to help me....he insists nothing's wrong and I'm better off without FB) but couldn't find a solution that works. Help!


Back to Short Hair

I've been wearing my hair short for years but once in a while I get the urge to grow it out. And that's what I did after giving birth last December. My hair is wavy/curly and it's awful when it's in that awkward growing out stage. I endured it and had my hair relaxed in June when it was about chin length. I used L'oreal Elseve Smooth Intense shampoo, conditioner and anti-frizz serum. It really tamed my hair. It's now October and I can put my hair up in a ponytail. But I cannot stand it anymore! It's heavy, takes longer to dry and sticks to my nape. And long hair is a nono around babies. The li'l twerp likes to pull strands of my hair....hard! It hurts!

Today I had it in a ponytail again and got a headache. It was too tight. Enough of this when I don't really know how to style long hair nor do I have the patience for it. So I went to Jesi Mendez in Robinson's Galleria after work and had it cut short. What a relief!

The stylist was trying to get me to color my hair too. I told her I had never had my hair colored. So she showed my different shades and how it would look. I wasn't convinced just yet. Maybe next time.


Learning to Walk

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

While waiting for our turn at the pediatrician's, Via is learning to walk.


Not Quite Lucky After All

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

When typhoon ondoy was pouring it's rains down on Metro Manila that Saturday, we were holed up in our building enjoying the cool weather. We did have a little problem though. We had no water! At first we thought it was because we were late paying the association dues :) I learned the night before though that apparently, the contractor of the building being built beside our building hit the water tank. So that morning, I decided to go to the office to take a bath and bring Via with me. When we got to the lobby about to go out, the rain was really pouring and it was flooded up to mid calf. In Ortigas Center! After waiting a few minutes I realized the rain will not stop so we waded in the flood to go to my office across the street. I bathed Via in the wash basin then took my shower. When we went home it was still raining although not as hard and the flood had gone down a bit.

The next day, Via and I took our baths at my office again still without an inkling of the devastation Ondoy was wreaking. It was only on Monday hearing my officemates' stories that I learned the extent of the devastation. One of my coworkers had her house completely submerged as it was a bungalow. Some of the staff in my office took temporary refuge in our office building. I was tempted to join them. We were beginning to feel how difficult it is to live without water.

You might wonder why we had no idea of what was happening outside our building. We hardly watch TV anymore. When Via was born, the TV was moved out of our bedroom to make room for her crib. And P doesn't want Via to watch any TV until she's at least 2. So we were clueless.

Now almost three weeks after typhoon ondoy, we still don't have water. Some say it might take another week. Hopefully! Meanwhile, I continue to take baths at the office before going home. Via's yaya continues to get water from the upper basement late at night. We are all sleep deprived because of it.

One good thing out of this is that I learned to appreciate the importance of water and not waste it.


Crispy Fragrant Chicken

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I've been trying to learn how to cook Indonesian dishes with little success. I find it difficult because I'm not familiar with most of the ingredients and the proportions and how they should taste. I don't usually follow cookbooks to the letter. I try to add spices or change the proportions. So far I've tried Ikan Bilis, Nasi Goreng Ayam, Pecel with Peanut Sauce a few times. Something's always wrong with them. Today I decided to try Crispy Fragrant Chicken.


1 whole chicken cut into serving portions
2 salam leaves (optional)
1 stalk lemongrass, tender inner part of bottom third only, bruised and cut in 3 pieces
Oil for deep frying

Spice Paste:
5 candlenuts or macadamia nuts
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
5 cm (2in) fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt

To make the spice paste, dry fry the candlenuts or macadamia nuts, coriander and cumin seeds in a skillet or wok over low heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Grind them in a blender or food processor until fine, add the galangal, turmeric powder, garlic and salt and grind to form a smooth paste. Add a little water if needed to keep the mixture turning.

Put the spice paste in a wok or frying pan with a lid. Add the chicken pieces and stir fry over medium heat to coat with the spice paste, then add the salam leaves, if using, and lemongrass. Cover the pan and simmer slowly over low heat, turning the chicken peices from time to time, until all the moisture is absorbed and the chicken pieces are tender, 30-35 minutes. Remove and discard the lemongrass and salam leaves.

Heat the oil in a wok until very hot. Add several chicken pieces, with the spices still coating the outside, then deep-fry over high heat until golden brown about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and keep warm while frying the remaining chicken peices.

I basically followed everything except for the salam leaves and the lenmograss which I forgot. I used almonds instead of candlenuts and coriander and cumin powder instead of seeds. Also I added juice of 2 calamansi, 5 pieces chilli and a little Knorr original seasoning.

Finally, P said it was good. Finally!


Any Day Now

My baby girl is now 10 months. She has six teeth, four upper teeth and two below. She's raring to walk. She has already taken 1 step by herself. It won't be long now. She has met all the milestones at just the right time.

When she was born all my friends said she looked like her Daddy. Daddy has sharp and strong features and very dark. I was more concerned about her being dark since she's a girl. Everybody said not to worry. Babies change their appearances several times before they're a year old. Now at 10 months though, she's showing no signs of changing her looks. She solidly looks like her Daddy. Even her ears look exactly like Daddy's.

We were going down the elevator of our building one day. Daddy was carrying baby. This man told him, she's your lookalike. You look exactly alike! Daddy smiled at the man. Baby also turned her head towards the man and smiled. Side by side they did look exactly alike, both smiling wide with dimples below their eyes.

Her coloring is lightening though. I'm not sure if it's because of the Johnson's Milk Bath that she uses. So when we ran out of the milk bath last week, I bought Nivea's head to toe wash. If she turns dark again, then the milk bath lightened her skin.

Now though I am not that concerned about her skin color anymore. My friends say she has a very nice skin color. It's dark but reddish and she has rosy cheeks. They say her skin color shows her Daddy is of a different nationality. Whatever! It took me a while but I so adore my baby girl now.


At Wits End!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My beloved boss, an Indian national, recently retired. His successor is also Indian but...... big big BUT...a far cry from him. Beloved boss was an action man who used his "street smarts" to get work done. Don't get me wrong. He's also a very smart man. He's laid back and a procrastinator BUT he always got the job done and much more. New boss on the other had is at the other end of the pole. He insists on following the rules and always from step 1. He's obsessive-compulsive. He has a sharp tongue and does not care much for chit chat. He repeats his instructions about 3 times everytime. I could go on and on and on....

Ours is a small division of less that 20 staff. More than half have started applying to other departments since he joined our division. At first my co-workers couldn't understand why I suddenly submitted one application after another to other departments. Then one by one they told I understand why.

I looked at his birth year and saw he has 9 years to go before retirement. A long time to wait. I hope he gets promoted after a couple of years if I am unable to leave this division. For now, I'll just have to stick it out and hope I land a transfer somewhere.


2009 Philippine Open

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It was a disappointment in terms of participating players. This tournament which has been held twice (2006 and 2007) has not really drawn the badminton stars. Maybe because it's new. Maybe because it's only a grand prix tournament. Nevertheless, it was still interesting to watch. But this year, because of the swine flu, many other players withdrew. I was really disappointednot to see Lee Wan Wah play again.

We bought tickets only a week before the tournament began so our seats were not front and center. Doesn't matter. Once you're inside (ringside that is) you can move around and change seats. Correct seating only mattered on the day of the finals. Despite the weak draw, some of the matches were interesting. One of the best was mixed doubles Trikus Harjanto/Minarti Timur v.s. chinese youngsters in the quarterfinals. Trikus who's now in his early forties along with Minarti, put on weight with a big belly but could still give the youngsters a run for their money. Imagine the match going to three games with the deciding match ending at 21-17. The second game was a heartbreaker. They almost won it but lost out in the end 25-23. Not bad at all. His racket skills were still awesome. Tricky Trikus P christened him. Minarti though was no help at all. Some nice pushes in front when the shuttle is right in front of her. As P said, that was all she could do. P said Trikus was like these old old people back home who could give the kids the runaround in the court. Old old people like 40, 45. Errrr, did you forget my age?

I was also sorry to see Yippy lose her match, also 3 games, to another young chinese player. The chinese only sent the backup to the backup to the backup but still managed to win 4 of the five titles. Incredible!

Hopefully, next year's Philippine Open will have star power.

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