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Friday, October 29, 2010

3 Day Separation

Last Wednesday, Jojo left for a three day work trip to Scottsdale. This is certainly not the first time Jojo and I have spent time apart. When I used to work for a consulting firm and then the bank, I travelled for work all the time. Likewise, Jojo had to take a few work related trips in the past. Then of course, when I would go home to Manila, Jojo and I would be apart too. And then the times I travelled around the US with my family and Jojo would either stay behind or just catch up a few days later. Those are days when we would be temporarily separated too. But the biggest difference about this 3-day “separation” is the fact that I am pregnant and for some reason my hormones are out of whack. This means, I have been dreading having my husband gone for three days and have been missing him a lot while he has been away.

There’s a Filipino belief called “paglilihi” which basically means a pregnant woman is craving something. Usually food. The most common is wanting to eat green mangoes and “bagoong” (shrimp paste). I guess this is quite similar to Western women craving pickles and ice cream when they are expecting a baby. But in the Filipino culture, “paglilihi” could go beyond just plain old food cravings. You could actually “lihi” towards something or someone. It could be really wanting to be around certain scents, certain things, certain people. In my case, one of my Filipino co-workers actually said she thought I was “naglilihi” with my husband. Which is kinda sorta true. While Jojo and I have a great relationship where we like to be together and do things with each other … these days I do notice that it is more true than usual. We spend our entire weekend together (hanging out at home, going out with family and friends, and even doing chores around the house together). On weekdays, we breakfast together, go to work, have lunch together, go back to work, then come home and make dinner together, before going for our evening strolls. We then watch tv together and say our prayers as a couple. It may be a little strange to be together so much but these days this “togetherness” is such a comfort to me.

So, anyway, with that said, I guess it’s understandable why I am a bit sadder than usual with Jojo leaving for 3 days. It definitely helps that my sister, Atsi Jenny, is staying with me. She and her husband Mark came over on Wed to spend the evening with me. Mark had to leave since he had work the next day. But Atsi stayed with me and kept me “distracted” from missing my hubby. It’s been nice having my sister over. It’s been like a slumber party where we’ve been shopping, eating, fixing stuff around the house, telling stories, staying up to watch tv and just having some sisterly bonding time. It’s a nice break for her to come out and stay with me for 3 days and a nice break for me too. This afternoon, Mark is coming back to pick Atsi up and by that time Jojo will be back from Scottsdale too.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Advanced Merry Xmas

I know that Christmas is still a few weeks away but last night I got bitten by the Christmas bug. All of a sudden, I got excited about the upcoming holiday season. I have always been open about my LOVE for CHRISTMAS and this year is no different - I cannot wait till the holidays are officially here. I started working on my Xmas list and even started shopping online. Jojo and I usually do our holiday shopping over the Thanksgiving weekend. For starters we have those days off from work plus we avail of the big, Black Friday sales. But this year, because of my pregnancy, I may have to resort to online shopping. Which to me is just as fun, if not a tad more convenient! =)

What makes this year even more special is we get to celebrate Xmas at our home. Every year (if we don’t fly home to Manila to be with my family), we celebrate the holiday season here with my in-laws. We each take a turn hosting one of the major “Ber” holidays at each of our homes. This year, by luck of the draw, we picked Xmas. So for the upcoming holiday season, our schedule is as follows: Halloween at Lee and Edel’s; Thanksgiving at Jojo and Tracy’s, Christmas at our place; and New Year’s at Roy and Marik’s.

I love the fact that Christmas Eve is at our place. I am so excited to start bringing out my boxes of Christmas decors. Last night, I actually wanted to hang our parol (Xmas lantern) on our porch already. Jojo convinced me though to at least wait till after Halloween so the neighborhood kids don’t get confused when they come over for Trick or Treating. The thing is not only do I love Xmas eve and day but I actually love the anticipation that comes with it. I love hearing Xmas carols on the radio and seeing Xmas decors up at the malls. I love picking presents and actually enjoy gift wrapping them. I absolutely enjoy seeing all those brightly colored packages under our tree. I love the cool weather that comes with the holidays and getting to bundle in thick sweaters and bulky coats. And then, there’s planning the Xmas Eve menu. At our family parties, the host usually provides the main dish and the rest bring side dishes – this year I am thinking of a Balsamic Roast Pork with roasted harvest veggies. I saw a recipe the other night from Good Housekeeping that doesn’t look too daunting. If all else fails, my mom also taught me a super easy roast pork recipe that I’ve made a number of times with roasted potatoes, that has been a real crowd pleaser. Or maybe I should do roast beef this year? Hmmm …

Anyway, I just wanted to get a jumpstart and wish everyone an Advanced MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Tribute To My Husband

Throughout my pregnancy (the last 17 weeks), I have discovered a new side to my husband. Of course, long before I became pregnant, I have already realized how lucky I am to have married such a wonderful guy. Jojo is truly the epitome of a wonderful husband – he is loving, supportive, kind, funny, generous and most of all he makes me a better person. But lately, well, he has exceeded being “just wonderful”. I don’t know if it’s my pregnancy hormones or the fact that today is such an overcast, rainy day leading to sentimental thoughts … but thinking about how wonderful Jojo is, is actually making me weepy. Weepy in a good way, of course.

These days Jojo is extra caring – he makes sure I get enough sleep, I eat well, I don’t over-exert myself and I get my regular exercise. There are nights when I know he is so tired from work but he will gladly put on his sweats to go walking with me (since he knows I hate walking by myself). He is over solicitous in taking over housework – often doing the laundry, cleaning, and even the cooking (which used to be solely my domain) so I can just relax on the couch. And whenever I do take over kitchen duties, he never complains about what I make even if it’s just turkey sandwiches for dinner. He does little things too just to surprise me – like filling my car with gas during the weekend saving me a trip to the gas station on Monday morning, or working on the bills since he knows I hate going over all the junk mail. Jojo has been trying his best to accommodate all my silly pregnancy cravings and whims. These days I get to pick where we eat and what we do on the weekends. I also get to indulge on these sometimes random cravings / ideas that pop into my head – like a visit to Souplantation in the middle of the week or wanting to go shopping for baby furniture all Saturday. And while I know Jojo would probably rather do other things, he gamely goes along with his crazy wife. My absolute favorite though is in the evenings when we lie in bed and watch tv, Jojo, without complaint, gives me back rubs and scratches my back until I fall asleep.

I am truly so lucky to have a husband who does not mind going on doctor’s visits, who is willing to sit through hours of baby classes, and who reads baby books with me. A husband who does not mind that we listen to Baby Einstein when we’re in the car, who gets roped into endless hours talking about plans on how the nursery will be decorated, and who can listen to all my gripes about gaining weight and the changes my body is going through. He makes me laugh when I am down and feeling sorry for myself. He reassures me when I start freaking about how painful labor will be. And he gently reminds me to tone it down when I get carried away and start going off, making plans that are way too elaborate. I also love how he talks to Jellybean every night before we go to bed and how he sometimes rubs my belly when we say our evening prayers. I truly believe I am so blessed to be having a baby and even more so that I can share this experience with Jojo. And if Jojo is such a great hubby to me, I can’t wait to see the kind of dad he will be.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Last Week's Highlights

The last couple of days have been somewhat busy. Of course there’s the usual – work, running the house, doctor visits, Jellybean updates, etc. – but aside from that we also had some guests over. My high school friend, Joann and her family (including her adorable 3-year old daughter, Andie) stayed with us for a week. It’s always nice catching up with long-time friends and making new ones. This time around we got to hang out with Joann’s sister and brother-in-law as well. My other high school friend, Pam, stayed with us for one night too. And it was nice finally meeting her husband, Michael.

Living in Torrance (which is 15 miles from LA) and about 8 miles from the airport, we get a steady stream of visitors year round. This could be a hassle for many people, but I actually kinda enjoy it. It helps that we live in a home with 3 extra bedrooms and 2 extra bathrooms – and so having people over isn’t too much trouble. Of course that’s going to change next year since we are converting one of the rooms into Jellybean’s nursery and my sister, Joy, might come live with us taking another room. That leaves 1 extra bedroom (which may become Jojo’s and my office). I guess guests will just have to bunk on the sofa then =)

Anyway, back to having guests … it isn’t really that much of a hassle since most of my guests are pretty self-sufficient. They usually rent their own cars and can get to the typical LA tourist spots on their own (Disneyland, Universal Studios, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, etc., etc.). Jojo and I usually just see them over breakfast, dinner and the weekend. Which is pretty cool since it works out for everyone involved.

While Joann and Pam were here, we had home-cooked spaghetti the first night, take-out Chinese food on the second, and margherita pizzas for the third. On Friday night we had dinner at Maggianos at the Grove, went to Santa Barbara and Camarillo on Saturday, relaxed on Sunday and had dinner at Ocean Star restaurant in Monterey Park. It was busy but in a non-hectic, non-tiring way. It helps that both Joann and I are expecting (she is on her 5th month while I am on my 4th month) so the pace was very relaxed. Being preggy with a friend is also another cool thing to be experiencing together.

Oh we did have a minor mishap on Saturday morning, though. We were convoying on our way to Santa Barbara when our car (Jojo was driving and I was on the passenger seat), rear-ended a Buick minivan. The minivan did a full stop right in the middle of the 110 freeway – Jojo hit the brakes, but even with all his driving skill, our car could not stop in time since we were going about 60 miles an hour and had about 40-50 feet between our car and the van. It was a bit surreal watching the minivan come closer and finally hitting it (like it was happening in slow motion – I actually had time to brace myself and put my hands over my belly to protect Jellybean - although of course in real time, it all happened in a matter of seconds). Luckily we were all ok. No one was hurt – except the minivan which had a very dented rear bumper. Our Venza, has proven to be a really safe family car since we escaped with very minor scratches. Jojo and I were extra concerned about Jellybean – but thank god, there was nothing to worry about. It seems Jellybean is one tough little baby! The accident was unfortunate but in the grand scheme of things – we were very lucky and are thankful that all is well.

Yesterday (Monday) my friends left for San Francisco and the house has become quiet again. I’m always a little sad when people leave … but I think that’s a good sign. That just means guests have not overstayed their welcome =) So that in a nutshell was the week that was. Here’s looking forward to other weeks just like it.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Third Check-Up

Today was my third doctor’s check up and it went very smoothly. I was in and out of there in less than 25 minutes (and that includes my 5-minute wait at the reception area when I arrived). One of the things I like best about my doctor is that he is a very no fuss person (but he never makes you feel rushed either) and it carries over to even his administrative staff. They set an appointment for you and if you come on time, everything is done rather effortlessly. Thank god for that since I took an hour off from work and was worried because the rain was pouring that I would be late. Luckily, I came in with 5 minutes to spare.

Today was just a routine check-up. As usual, we did a urine test (which is pretty standard). I also got my vitals checked (weight, blood pressure, heart rate, etc). Surprisingly, since my last visit (4 weeks ago), I had not gained a single ounce. What are the odds of that??? I thought for sure I would have gained some weight since my regular clothes kind of feel snug these days – I guess this extra girth is all Jellybean and not belly fat!

Dr. Chen came a few minutes later and we checked the baby’s heartbeat. This time, we had no trouble locating it. The sound was strong and very clear. Dr. Chen said this was an excellent sign. He then checked to make sure my uterus was in place and did some other routine examinations. He pronounced me as proceeding “perfectly” with my pregnancy and told me to keep up the good work. Then we had a brief Q&A session. As usual, I had a multitude of questions, such as:

1.) Is it normal to have so much falling hair (which I am experiencing)? He gave me a long, scientific explanation, but basically can be summed as as “Yes, it is normal”.
2.) What kind of medication can I take if I get a cold (I thought I was getting one last week)? He gave me a list of meds that are ok (such as Tylenol and Claritin).
3.) Can I start pre-natal aerobic classes (which I am planning to sign up for)? Basic answer is “yes, but don’t overdo it”.

After a few more questions, Dr. Chen told me the results of our genetic counseling blood tests were in and everything has come out negative. He told me I could now breathe a big sigh of relief and to go ahead and enjoy my second trimester. I do have another round of blood tests scheduled next week but so far, so good. YAY! I’m just so glad that everything is going well so far.