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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Christmas List

This year's Christmas List was fairly easy to shop for. I was proud of myself for actually finishing my shopping early (and for getting all my gifts, wrapped, tagged and delivered on time. For all this, I would like to personally thank the World Wide Web!!! The Internet has made shopping, shipping and sharing presents hassle-free, convenient and actually efficient!

This year I had several categories for gifts:

First, was for my baby girl: Jamie got a V-Tech Toy/Walker from mom and dad. And books and clothes from Santa.

Second, was for my hubby: Jojo got Nike Shocks shoes from me.

Third, was for my sisters and brothers-in-law: gifts that I personally thought of knowing what they needed or would enjoy. Gift cards for Joy and Marc to their favorite stores and an indoor grill and a set of towels for Atsi and Mark.

Fourth, was for my in-laws: this year I made kits for each couple. I wrapped up a Pasta Boat (the instant pasta cooker which allows you to make perfect al dente pasta right from your microwave!), a box of whole wheat penne pasta, and a jar of organic pasta sauce. Viola ... a ready-to-use pasta kit!

Fifth, for my nieces and nephews: I got them all matching track / jogging suits.

Sixth, for our neighbors, doctors, family friends, dentists, etc: I made cookie baskets (wrapped up a variety of cookies in different containers, clustered them in baskets and wrapped them in cellophane and ribbons).

Seventh, for far-away friends and family: we sent edible fruit arrangements.

And of course, we sent lots of Xmas cards and online greetings.

Next year, we'll have to start shopping for our family and friends in Manila cause we're hoping to celebrate the holidays back home =) Now that might be a challenge!

Xmas 2011

This year our Christmas celebration can only be described as subdued. We had grand plans ... after all, it was Jamie's first every Yuletide holiday. But grand plans always have a way of changing ... sometimes when you least expect it. This year was the perfect example. We intended to celebrate Xmas eve with Jojo's family. It would be the traditional Ordinario gathering, where everyone congregates for a night of games, presents and eating. This year we were celebrating at my brother-in-law, Jay's new place.

The next day (Xmas day), would be a celebration with my side of the family (or at least with my two sisters and their husbands). This time it would be at our place and we were all looking forward to a home-cooked potluck that would make my mom truly proud. We also planned cozying up in the living room, watching Xmas movies and sipping warm cocoa while Jamie opened up her Xmas presents. All in all, Xmas weekend was looking good!

Instead, on Saturday (the 24th), my sister, Jenny, and I chatted via sorenson and she tells me her husband, Mark, is down with a horrible case of the flu. It was so bad that they had to rush to the emergency room at 5:00 AM that morning because his sinuses were so clogged. He was slightly better but still had a bad cold. They would have to cancel their dinner with friends on Xmas eve and could not make it to our place on Xmas day.

After that, Jojo received a text from his sisters (Tracy and Marik) were down with the flu as well. Turns out, Jojo's brother-in-law, Jesse, also had the sniffles. We had to bail out of going to Xmas dinner because we could not risk Jamie getting sick. She was due for her 2nd round of flu vaccinations on Wed (the 28th). She needed to get her shot on the 28th since we had already postponed twice (due to her getting sick as well).

There goes our Xmas plans. I was horribly disappointed. It was the 24th already and we had nothing planned for that evening or for the next day. I actually started feeling depressed thinking that my daughter's first Xmas was ruined! Luckily my sister, Joy and her hubby, Marc were with us. They got me psyched again when they said we could have a mini-celebration together. It would be fun they convinced me. So I pulled myself together and we made last minute plans.

Here is what we did for our last-minute, impromptu Xmas weekend.

On the 24th, we bundled Jamie up and walked around our neighborhood to give Xmas presents to our neighbors. It was really nice catching up with them and coming into their homes for a quick chat. Of course, it was super thoughtful how they all had a little something for our little girl. Then we dressed up and had dinner out. Not a lot of places were open on Xmas eve - and we ended up in Black Angus (surprisingly their rib-eye dinners were really good!). Then we headed home and just watched movies till midnight.

On the 25th, we woke up early and had a yummy sausage and waffle breakfast. Then clad in our robes and pajamas, we opened our Xmas presents. It was heaven for Jamie who had a mountain of presents just for her. Not surprisingly she enjoyed the gift wrappers and boxes more than the actual presents. It was priceless seeing her face as we did the oohing and aahing for her. We then went to Xmas mass and had a super yummy lunch at our new favorite place (The Boiling Point). Then we went home and just chilled - watched movies, played games and called friends and family. Soon we started cooking Xmas day dinner. It was a feast (once again) - garlic rice, salpicao, garlic shrimps, asparagus, grilled chicken pasta, and a fresh veggie and drip tray.

All in all, it wasn't quite the Xmas I had imagined. But in the end, it turned out to be pretty special after all.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Q&A

One of the bloggers I follow posted this on her blog ... it's a random list of questions she answered ... and I thought it would be fun to do so too.

1. What do you order at Starbucks?
I hardly ever go to Starbucks but if I do I order basic iced or hot coffee (depending on the weather!). I never ever order any frou-frou drink that costs more than it should and adds more calories than it should!

2. What's one thing in your closet that you cannot live without?
It's hard to pick just one. I love my classics ... my South Sea pearl studs and strands, my red wool coat, my dressy black slacks, and shift dresses that I can wear anywhere. Oh and my almost-grungy but super-comfy pajamas (that my mom has been begging me to throw out).

3. What's one thing that most people probably wouldn't know about you?
I honestly can't think of anything .... it's either that I am horribly transparent and obvious or that I can't think of anything worth mentioning.

4. Name one thing that you want to do before you die.
Travel to Europe with Jojo.

5. What's one food that you cannot live without?
Rice - I could eat it breakfast, lunch and dinner (what can I say, I'm an Asian at heart!?).

6. What quote/phrase do you live your life by?
Laughter is the best medicine.

7. What do you like and dislike about yourself?
Like: I'm pretty low maintenance, it doesn't take much to make me happy. I am secure in myself and am comfortable in my own skin. I am basically a good person and live by what my parents taught me.
Dislike: I wish I were more organized and had more of a system. I wish I were more patient. And I should also probably work on becoming healthier (now that I am getting older).

8. Who is the literary/movie character you are most like?
Probably Lizzie Bennet - cause I was the most "different" of my mom's daughters and didn't really conform, the way I was suppose to conform. And also I was opinionated and independent. I also think I'm a bit like Josephine March - a bit "rough around the edges" and by no means a girlie-girl, a writer, a dreamer and someone who wants to do something good with her life.

9. What kind of style would you define yourself as having?
I'd like to say "classic" but often times I go more for comfort and practicality. Like I said, I'm not much of a girlie-girl! =)

10. Favorite number.
Eight

11. Favorite scent.
Perfume: Elizabeth Arden's Green Tea
Everything else: I love the smell of books/paper, freshly sharpened pencils, the earth right after it rains, and newly roasted coffee.

12: Two pet peeves:
Filipinos who live abroad and "forget" to speak Tagalog (even though their accents and wrong grammar say otherwise!).
People who talk on their cellphones when they aren't supposed to.

13: Guilty pleasures:
Eating junkfood, watching Lifetime channel movies and reading in bed ... when I should probably be doing housework!

14. If I won a million dollars in the lottery, I would:
Pay off our mortgage, treat my entire family to a month-long vacation, start a college fund for my daughter, maximize our retirement fund, and give the rest to charity.

15. Wish I could ...
Go back home to Manila for the holidays.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Eight is Great!

Dear Jamie,

It's 12 days since your 8th month birthday. I hope you don't take it against your well-meaning mother that these posts are coming in later and later every month. The days just seem to get shorter and in direct proportion my to-do list just keeps getting longer. But, trust me when I say, my time with you is never ever compromised. I still make it a point (no matter how hectic or stressful the day is) to find time to be with you. Of course, it goes without saying that I feed you, change you, dress you, pick you up when you are fussy and soothe you when you cry. But I also find time to play with you, read to you, laugh with you, and have quiet times when I rock you to sleep or hold you in my arms before you drift off to lala land.

You have grown so tremendously over the last few weeks / months. When your daddy and I compare your newborn pictures to how you look today, we marvel at the miracle of your development. What a beautiful experience it is for us to watch you grow. In the last month, you have not only learned to stand on your own, you have started becoming much more mobile. You can crawl really fast but more than that, you can inch your way around your crib (while standing and holding on to the rails). It's pretty funny (and scary) how you can pull yourself up from a sitting position to a standing position - but then you look down and get this confused glint in your eyes. It's as if you are wondering "Well, now that I'm up, how do I get back down again?". And then without warning you just let go of the rails and plop back down. Most times you fall unscathed but there are times when you fall on the railing or hit the corner of the crib. My heart literally stops and I rush off to catch you (if I can ) or soothe you (if I get there too late).

What a fearless little girl you are! I hope you never lose that sense of wonder wherein you curiously explore the world and jump in to try new experiences. I only pray that you do so with your eyes open (Look before you leap!) and considering the consequences. I will always do my best to be there to catch you when you fall - but there will be times when I won't be there. As your mom, I want to teach you that after every fall, you can get up, brush yourself off, and keep going!

During your 8th month, you started eating your pureed foods. I was worried for a while because you seemed to dislike solids and just wanted to drink milk all the time. I tried making homemade food but it turns out you like the store-bought variety better. I've been buying you Earth's Best organic foods and you love it! Your favorites this month include: carrots, winter squash, sweet potato, peas, apples, bananas and pears. You have turned into quite the eater (which makes me glad and confirms you are truly my child - not that there was every any doubt!).

The latter part of your 8th month, mommy had the flu, which was caught by daddy, and then finally, you. It makes me sad to see you sick (with your nose all congested). But I am glad that through it all you are very good natured, don't lose your appetite, and still sleep through the night.

Jamie, my beautiful and happy baby, happy 8th month birthday. I am so blessed to be your mom and I cherish every moment we share together.

Love,
mommy

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lucky Seven

Dear Jamie-Badooshie,

This letter is very, very overdue. Your 7th month birthday was 11 days ago. I am SO sorry that this is coming so late. All I can say is, I hope the extra playtime we've shared make up for the lateness of this post =)

Your 7th month was certainly eventful. There were lots of good and not-so-good highlights. When I say "not-so-good", I don't mean anything terrible. For example, you got your second bout with the nasty cold this month, you also had low-fade fever for about a day or two after your vaccinations, and this month, your beloved grandmothers (both mommy lola and guama) went back to the Philippines.

But the good things certainly outweighed the not so good ones. This month you started eating solids! I was so excited to give you your first taste of rice cereal. The first feeding, guama held you up while I fed you tiny spoonfuls. You absolutely loved it. You ate every bite and looked like you were really relishing the taste. I was so happy that I proudly posted the accomplishment of facebook (right after your first meal). I guess that was a very premature thing to do because after that, you refused to eat rice cereal afterwards. We tried every trick in the book but you proved to be wise beyond your years because you knew exactly what we were up too. I whipped out the Baby Bullet and made you homemade sweet potatoes (hoping that the "sweetness" would entice you to eat). So far, it's been more misses than hits - but I have every faith that we'll get there!

This month, you also experienced your very first Halloween. I, being the overly excited stage mother than I am, bought you a cute piglet costume around 2-3 months ago. I thought it would be fun for your dad, you and I to dress as "The 3 Little Pigs". But two days before your Tito Lee's Halloween party, we could not find adult pig costumes and your costume was still too big for you to wear. So one day before the party, we head off to Party City to hunt for costumes. At first, I wanted you and me to dress up as angels and daddy would dress as the devil. But the baby angel costume was not in stock. Our next option was for daddy and me to dress as bacon and eggs while you would be a baby hotdog in a bun. We scrapped the idea too after we saw how hard it would be to get you in the bun! My last ingenious idea was for us to dress as a family of ladybugs. Now, your daddy put his foot down. He agreed to be a pig, he was okay with being the devil and he was fine with being bacon. But he just was not okay with being a ladybug (even if I told him we would refer to him as a man-bug). So in the end, you and I were ladybugs and daddy came as The Phantom of the Opera. You were a darling ladybug, Jamie! Even if you desperately tried to remove your ladybug antennas all night!

This month, daddy also started a new job. His job entails him working from 2:30 to 11:00 PM. So he takes you to daycare in the morning, and I pick you up at night. Usually I come get you around 6 PM and you and I are together till Auntie Joy comes homes around 8 and when daddy gets home past 11. I'll be honest, Jamie, it has been a little hard trying to cook dinner and do chores around the house - when the whole time you refuse to be put down in the crib and want to be carried all the time. Most nights, I just toast bread and eat it standing up while carrying you in my arms. Some nights, I have to put you down in the crib and make a mad dash to go pee or brush my teeth. Then I have to rush back when you start to cry. I also never get to blog or check my Facebook because I don't like leaving you in bed alone (when you do fall asleep) because you have started to roll much faster!). But even if it has been challenging, I love our time together! I enjoy having you all to myself. My favorite is when we are both done with dinner, changing and doing what needs to be done - and we cuddle on the big bed together. Usually we read a story, watch a little tv, then we lie next to each other and I make up silly words and silly songs to make you laugh. You make a really good audience - as you laugh, giggle and pat my face. After that we say our prayers and you fall asleep in my arms. Daddy often comes home to us sleeping together.

This month has gone by so quickly and this next one (already underway) will undoubtably whiz by just as fast. But I don't want to get sad about that. I want to enjoy every moment with you and eagerly await the next one. I also take great pride in watching you grow and spread your wings. I love you so much, Jamie. I hope you never forget that my little lady/babybug!

Love,
Mommy

Friday, September 30, 2011

Half a Year!

Happy half-year birthday to our dearest Jamie!
You are 6-months old today. I am so amazed at how much has happened lately. In the last 4 weeks since my last post, your personality has really started to show. You have become so much more “mild-mannered” and patient. In the past, you would cry at every time we put you down (and I mean EVERY SINGLE TIME!). These days, you have started to become more independent. You have learned how to amuse yourself and play quietly in your crib or bassinette. Of course, we don’t ever leave you for very long – but it is nice to see you doing your own thing once in a while. It might be because you have now been attending daycare fulltime for a month – and have learned how to be more patient and how to share other peoples’ time. But also, I think it’s because you are growing up and learning how to just sit and be quiet and how to just play by yourself.
This month, guammy and Uncle Jim have come to stay with us too. And you have responded beautifully to having more people in the house. During the weekends when we have a full house (with Uncle Marc, Auntie Jenny and Uncle Mark staying with us), you absolutely thrive on all the attention you get. I love seeing you interact with others. It seems to me that you are not shy at all and will laugh and play with just about anyone. I love that about you and hope that you always maintain such a happy, friendly and carefree spirit.
This month, you have also started attending daycare fulltime. I was really worried about how you would adapt to going every day, for the entire day. But just with all things, you amaze and make me proud. You adapted so seamlessly to daycare – and from what I hear from your caretakers, you are a very easy baby to take care of. You smile a lot, sleep a lot, play a lot and are content when carried around. There are days when you do cry and are extra fussy – but luckily those seem to be few and far between. M I am so glad that you seem to enjoy your time at daycare. These days you are kept separate from the other toddlers and stay mostly by yourself in the infant room with your caretaker all to yourself. This October though, I am told there will be another baby coming to join you. I am hoping this will be good for you and allow you to socialize and interact more.
This month, we’ve started taking you out more and you behave beautifully for the most part. I am so glad that you are adapting well to different social situations – whether it is attending mass, going to the mall, taking quiet walks in the neighborhood, attending parties, or just dinners out at restaurants. On a side note, everywhere we go we always get complimented on what a beautiful and adorable baby we have. I hope you know that makes mommy and daddy very proud – but that is definitely not the only reason why we love you. I want you to grow up knowing that while being cute and pretty is important – it is not what defines who you are and whether you will be happy. But for now, it’s ok to enjoy all the attention you are getting because you truly are a beautiful baby girl.
This month, we have started singing songs to you, reading more books, working with flashcards, and using the alphabet board more. I won’t say you are a genius baby who has adapted to all these learning methods excellently. But I will say, you definitely are smart and seem to pick up new ideas well. Your Auntie Marik was amazed when she saw you hold a book the right way at 5 months old. I was so proud of that too. You possess a very curious mind – always looking around and watching intently. Many times, when you are with us you seem to be listening very carefully to the conversations going on around you. It’s kind of amazing how you seem to understand what is being said. I also love how you now coo and make sounds – almost like you are speaking. I just know that when you finally get to talk you will have lots of very interesting things to say.
Jamie, I want you to know that daddy and I love you very much. Every single day, I tell you that and try to find ways to show you too. I want you to grow up confidently knowing that although there are many new changes happening, one thing will always remain constant – and that is mommy and daddy are here for you, no matter what. So go ahead, explore the world, learn new things, try new experiences – I want you to do, see, hear, feel and try as many things as you can and as you want. But remember that when you get tired, scared, angry or frustrated – we’ve got your back.
Happy 6 months, Badoosh! Love, love, love you.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dear Jamie (this month you have earned the following nicknames: JiDoo - the baby ninja (because of your awesome kicks!), Baby Trucker (because you can belch and fart like the best of them!), and Bee-joo (because you are just bee-joo-ti-ful to me!),

HAPPY 5TH MONTH!!!

To our beautiful little angel, I can not believe that you are now 5 months old. It is just so unbelievably incredible to me that day-by-day we watch you grow and blossom. It is literally a miracle unfolding before our very eyes.

This last month, you have discovered the joy of turning from your back to your tummy - and back again. This has resulted in endless rolling around your crib and on mommy and daddy's big bed! This has also resulted in mommy and daddy becoming paranoid that you will hit your head on your crib rails or fall off our bed! We have since then become extra vigilant! (yes, more so than before!).

This month, you have discovered the joy of bathing in your whale tub. You squeal in delight when we let you play in the water. You kick and splash a LOT - resulting in getting our bed wet and most times giving your parents a bath too!

This month, you have discovered the joy of making pasyal. How you enjoy taking walks around the neighborhood in the afternoons. Some days you are even content to just walk around our tiny backyard.

This month, you have discovered the joy of books! I love how well you have responded to our storytime every night. How you seem to listen when we go over your alphabet board. And how you occasionally respond to your learning flashcards (most times you end up eating the cards - but maybe that's a good thing - at least you care enough to give them your attention!).

This month, you have discovered daycare. I can't really tell if you love it there - but so far, you seem to enjoy the 4 hours a day you spend there. It was hard for us to leave you there at first. But these days, I've come to accept that it is for the best - for you and for us too.

Sadly, this month, you also caught your first cold. Well, it's not really a "cold" just a runny nose and a slight cough. You see,ed to handle it well though. No extra fussiness or crankiness. You were a very amiable baby even when you weren't feeling all that well. I'm so glad it wasn't anything worse like a fever or ear infection. But we did take you to Dr. Chung yesterday just to make sure. She said you were a-okay! =)

Jamie, the days just keep going and there's no way for mommy to slow things down and keep you my baby forever. But I know that it doesn't matter how big you become or how independent you turn out to be ... in my heart, you will always be my beautiful baby!

Love you so, so much!!!
Mommy

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Fourth Month

Dearest Jamie, (nicknames this month include: Chimichuri, Jamie-churi, Gabriellei, Ellie, Ling Dumpling and Bibi-girl).

It's been a month since my last blog entry ... I won't go into the usual litany of excuses about how busy I've been and have had no time to blog. In truth, the days have gone by fast and I've been preoccupied, but sadly the reason is more than that. In truth, the idea of blogging has not even entered my mind. I am actually "forcing" myself to post this entry just so I can commemorate another milestone event ... your fourth month celebration!

FOUR MONTHS! WOOT-WOOT! HOORAY! You are growing up so fast. This past month has been filled with so many significant moments. This is the month you have started laughing out loud, started sitting up (with support, of course) and started rolling onto your tummy and then back again in a lying position. It is amazing to see you set out and try something new. And we marvel at how well you adapt to doing it over and over again. You are truly a miracle!

This month, we've increased your milk consumption twice - hoping you would go on longer stretches between meals during the day. This has not happened though. You still eat every three or so hours - I guess you are drinking extra milk because you are growing so fast! We are glad though that you are able to sleep on average about 4-5 hour stretches at night - some nights as long as 8 straight hours. (That does not mean your daddy and I sleep 8 hours straight though - we are constantly checking on you and making sure you don't accidentally roll on your tummy and sleep with your face pressed on the bed).

You had a couple of playdates here at home and attended several birthday parties this month. We notice though that you do well with small groups of people. However, you do get a bit overwhelmed with larger and noisier groups. Many of your titas, titos and cousins are amazed at how quickly and how loudly you can cry! We've had to leave a few parties early because you seem to get overly anxious at some of them. In time, I am sure you will get used to having lots of people around you too. There will be lots of opportunities for that, I promise!

You've also taken an interest in playing by yourself, which is great. You enjoy playing with Mr. Seahorse, Raffy Giraffy, Bunny, Miss Penny Pig, and your froggy blanket. But for some reason you are annoyed with Ellie (Elephant) and your Singing Snail. You spend very little time on your motorized playmat and even less time on your electric swing. For some reason you seem to enjoy your "low-tech" rocker (the one we manually have to rock) rather than your other more "high-tech" toys! This aversion to technology is obviously something you inherited from me =)

The one thing I also discovered about you (which I absolutely find endearing) is you seem to "look" for me. You could be in the middle of one of your banshee meltdowns. But as soon as I have you in my arms, you settle down and seem to be calmer. Of course this does not happen all the time but often enough for me to thank the heavens for this little miracle. Also, you still sleep in your bassinet (beside mommy's side of the bed) and are able to fall asleep if I extend my hand and hold yours. Many nights we fall asleep holding hands (or until I get a crick in my arm and I have to retract my hand from your grip!). Sometimes, though, you still get restless in your bed so daddy carries you to sleep in ours. You immediately roll over, nestle in my arms and often fall asleep almost right away. I just love that - even if it means less sleep for me because I am on alert in case I accidentally roll over you!

But daddy does not feel too left out. You guys have special bonding times too. I can never make you squeal with laughter the way your daddy does when he tickles you. I can never make you smile as quickly when he makes his funny faces. And I can never hold your attention long enough the way he does when he invents new games for you to play together. You also take long afternoon walks with daddy around our neighborhood. I don't know who enjoys these strolls more - you (as you open your eyes wide with wonder) or your dad (as he proudly shows you off to the neighbors). The funny thing is you don't like being in your stroller but instead prefer to be carried around in your daddy's arms! This month, we've started using our baby carrier (daddy says you are getting too heavy to carry for very long). Luckily you seem to be enjoying being "snug as a bug" next to daddy's chest!

Mommy lola still takes care of you and you also enjoy being with her. We notice how you enjoy your "pasyal-pasyal" time with her as you sit on the front porch and watch the cars go by. You enjoy listening to her sing you to sleep in the afternoon and you giggle a lot when she plays with you. I am sad that she will be going to Manila soon and that we'll have to place you in daycare. But I am convinced that it will be good for you too. It will be a chance for you to interact with other people and socialize with other kids. Your daddy and I took extra care in choosing a good daycare for you and we are hopeful that you will like it there too.

Jamie, you are growing up so fast. In my heart, I wish the days would slow down so I can keep you as my baby forever. But in my mind, I wish the days would fly by faster, so I can continually see you grow into a beautiful person. You continue to amaze and make me proud.

I love you my beautiful baby angel - now and always!

Always,
Mommy

Friday, July 01, 2011

Third Month

Yesterday was Jamie's third month. I don't know where the time went. before this post, my last blog entry was Jamie's second month recap. How could a whole month have already passed!? It's truly amazing how each day seems to drag on but how a whole month just whizzes by.

This third month has been an interesting one. For starters, we have gotten to see a side of Jamie that is totally new to us. We've been used to a passive baby that only does three things: eat, sleep and poop. Now, we are getting to know a baby that likes to talk to us, that listens intently (as if she gets what we are saying) when we talk to her, that actually wants to have people play with her! Gone is the passive Jamie and in her place we have the cooing, laughing, and smiley Jamie. It is truly delightful to just sit in bed with Jamie and have her giggle and interact with you.

This month my mother-in-law has been a huge help - coming over almost every day to take care of Jamie while I get things done around the house and run errands. It was nice too that I got time off to spend with my friends, Jogs and Les, who spent part of their honeymoon in LA. But what I like most about having mommy lola take care of Jamie, is the fact that it allows me to have quality time with my daughter. I think it does both me and my baby a lot of good!

Jamie has been growing well. Her appetite is good and although she has not increased her milk intake too much, she seems to be retaining more milk these days (pooping has decreased considerably). Also, sleep habits are somewhat improved. There have been nights where Jojo and I snuck in 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep! But ... those are few and far between ... mostly we get 4-5 hour stretches (for which we are already very grateful).

Apart from dry skin, which has led us to using Cortizone to minimize itch and Aquaphore to hydrate skin - Jamie's third month has been pretty smooth sailing. She has developed some unusual habits - not only does she thumb-suck, Jamie actually puts 3-4 fingers in her mouth at the same time (thus triggering a gag reflex!). She also likes to scratch herself (sometimes inflicting little scars on her face and scalp!). I've started cutting and filing her nails every other day. Jojo has started using mittens on her hands (which she removes) so we've resorted to using long socks on her hands (they stay on just a wee bit longer!). Also, our baby has developed an aversion to using her pacifier and to being swaddled at night (two things she used to seem to like!).

Lots more to recap but fr the most part, it's been a tiring yet fulfilling third month. Jamie continues to be amazing and wonderful! It just seems to continually get better =)

Dear Jamie (this month's nicknames include: Bibing, Shepepeng, Bing-ti-di-bing and Baby-Jamie-Jamie-Baby),

Another month has passed by and you continue to grow into a beautiful (both inside and out) person. Your personality is starting to show and I can not stress enough how excited I am to continually discover more about who you are. You seem to have a mind of your own (even at such a young age) and I am so happy about that (hopefully I won't have to eat my words!). You are incredibly determined when you are learning or discovering something new (like lifting your head during tummy time sessions). You continue to amaze me and make me proud.

Thank you, Little One. Thank you for trusting me and sharing your smiles with me. Thank you for allowing me to make mistakes as I learn to be a better mom. I am truly humbled to be your mom and to share this journey of growth and development with you. I am looking forward to the next month and to being part of your life!

Your daddy and I love you to bits - now and always!

Monday, June 13, 2011

2 Months and 2 Weeks

Jamie is 2 months and 2 weeks old today. Amazingly there have been so many little milestones she has reached. For starters, she is so much interactive these days. She literally smiles up at us when we sing her silly songs and when we call her silly names. She can coo back at us when we talk to her, making us believe she truly understands what we are saying. She even bats her eyes and laughs out loud when we play with her. It's such a joy that such a little person can be so wonderful.

What makes Jamie so interesting is all the little mannerisms she has that make her truly unique. I love how she always has her hands clasped (like she's praying or holding them demurely together like a proper little lady). She also has a way of curling her toes and arching her feet when she's drinking her milk. Like she's super excited to be eating! Jamie also has a very cute way of puckering her lips while yawning. It's almost as if she's fighting off the yawn by making her mouth smaller. But my favorites has got to be how she twists her head from left to right (ala Stevie Wonder) as she breaks into one of her stretches (complete with arms thrown up high). She absolutely looks so relaxed as she does this. So totally cute!!!

I could go on and on about Jamie and all her wonderfulness - but I probably should stop before I bore any of my readers. Suffice it to say this little girl is a true blessing to us and she continues to make me a believer that miracles still come true every single day!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Jamie's Second Month

Today is actually the day before Jamie's second month ... but I thought I'd get a head start on writing this post to commemorate the event. It's sort of hard to believe that another month has flown by ... I find myself waking up each day, going about our little routines and it sometimes seems like time goes by so slowly. And then, I look at the calendar and it's already time to celebrate another monthsary. It boggles the mind!

In just 2 months (that's 8+ weeks or 60+ days), our little baby girl has grown so much. When I look at Jamie's pictures, taken when she was still at the hospital or when she just got home, it's amazing how bigger and fuller she is now! I am so amazed at how much our little angel has changed in such a short amount of time.

I still love how our baby looks when she is sleeping peacefully, how her whole face scrunches up when she wakes up from sleep and stretches, how she opens her eyes wide when she looks up at me, how she makes small contented sighs when she's drinking her formula or when she yawns. And now, this 2nd month, there are even more things I am discovering about her that I love.

This second month:

+ Jamie definitely has a personality and she's not afraid to show it. When she's hungry - she makes sure we know she wants her milk and we better make it as fast as we can! When she wants to play (instead of sleep), there's no amount of begging on our end that will get her to close her eyes. And when she wants to be carried, there is no trick we have not tried that has worked to keep her in her crib! Such a strong-willed little force to be reckoned with!

+ Jamie has two sets of families that love, love, love her - it will be a true test of our parenting skills to keep her from getting spoiled. My mom was here the first part of this month and would go on walks with Jamie every morning, would carry her and rock her to sleep at night, would coo and cuddle with her when she got fussy. Jojo's mom was with us the second part of the month and she would tirelessly carry Jamie all afternoon just to get her to sleep, she sings endless lullabys to get Jamie to settle down, and is on hand to feed and change this little baby. My sisters, Jojo's sisters, my in-laws and Jojo's in-laws are on-hand to ooh and aah over this beautiful baby. I can't get over how much of a star she is whenever we have get-togethers!

+ Jamie has been steadily gaining weight and getting bigger. I am so glad every time we go for weigh ins at Healthlinks. I used to fret about her small stature - but these days I am assured she is a healthy baby girl =)

+ I am worrying a lot though about vaccines. This Wed Jamie is getting her first round of shots and I am so scared ... I've been talking to everyone and anyone who cares to listen. I've done a lot of research. I've read everything I can get my hands on regarding vaccines. I know the positives outweigh the negatives by leaps and bounds ... but my heart aches thinking of the pain it may cause Jamie and the possible negative effects there may be after she gets her shots. Oh the pains of being a parent! I have never appreciated my own parents more than I do now!

+ We've had little milestones - such as Jamie's first time to go to mass (and she behaved beautifully all throughout!), Jamie attending her first party (her cousins' first communion celebration - she was a hit because everyone wanted to hold her!), Jamie starting to interact more with Jojo and myself (I love how we can play little games with her and she coos back at us and flashes toothless grins). Also, Jamie has now transitioned (flawlessly) to sleeping on the big bed (with us) to sleeping on her bassinet (beside us). Biggest perk is we now enjoy 4-5 hour stretches of uninterrupted sleep - some rare nights we even have a 6-hour run! Such a blessing =) It is amazing what a precious gift this baby girl truly is to us.

To my dearest darling Jamie (we still call you all those nicknames from when you were born to a few new ones we've added this month : Toothless, Haymee-hames, Scarface, Baby Banshee, Pretty-pretty, and Sweetie),

You are the light of your dad's and my life. Thank you for giving us a reason to wake up each morning and making us smile every day. We are so glad that we have you to make our family complete.

Happy second month, Jamie!

Monday, May 23, 2011

May 21: Doomsday (NOT)

There has been a lot of talk about May 21st being the supposed end of the world. It has become such a hot topic that it was even discussed in yesterday's mass. (Now, I know it's pretty serious when Fr. Treadue talks about it during the homily!). Well, May 21st has come and gone - and since we are all still alive and breathing - it just goes to show that no one knows when exactly the end of the world will happen. You would think that by now, people would wise up and stop believing these "rumors" and supposed prophets should stop trying to make "predictions". We should just go on with our lives and if the end of the world comes during our lifetime - then we deal with it then and there (after all, if it does happen, there really isn't much we can do about it anyway!).

Despite my skepticism about the prediction that May 21st will be the day the world ends, I did stop and think about how I would have lived that day any differently. Of course, if I had a choice I would like to be surrounded by my family and doing the things I love to do. Come to think of it, that's pretty much how we spent last Saturday anyway. We were at home (Jojo, Jamie and I). We watched tv, read books, cooked meals, napped and did chores (all the things I like to do - well, except the did chores part!). I would have loved to have my mom, brothers and sisters close by (but I know they were all doing what made them happy on a Saturday too). I know mom went to watch a play with her friend, Jules had a dinner party at home, Jim was in Boracay with friends, Joy was at the movies with classmates, and Atsi was spending the day with Mark. So even if we were not all together physically, everyone was happy where they were. But more importantly, I got to spend it with Jojo and Jamie - safe and sound at home.

So, if the world did end last May 21st - I guess I would have been pretty content with where I was and with whom I was with - and honestly, I would have been ok with the life I have had so far - because honestly ... it has been pretty awesome =)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

To Breastfeed or Not To Breastfeed?

I want to start out by saying I believe 100% that breastfeeding is best for baby. It is also beneficial for mommy. This post is by no means detracting from all the good things that come from breastfeeding one's baby.

However, I want to write about the fact that I did not have a very good experience with breastfeeding. I don't really know who to blame for that - so I'm chalking it up to circumstance (basically, it's just how things turned out). When I delivered, I was so gung ho on breastfeed exclusively. I told myself that Jamie would be purely breastfed for at least the first 3-6 months. To prove that, I did not buy a single bottle, nipple or can of formula. Jojo and I were committed to making it work and we attended not only breastfeeding classes, but also breastfeeding clinics and sessions with lactation consultants.

The first few days after I delivered, we diligently tried to breastfeed round the clock. Every 3 hours, we would put Jamie to breast (morning, noon and night). We even woke her up when she slept through feedings. We did the usual 15-20 minutes per breast. It was really hard because I had to feed every 3 hours and each feeding took almost an hour. I had to feed Jamie and take care of her 24/7 all while recovering from a C-section! I was so tired and in a lot of pain - but I had to do it since this was the only food source for Jamie. I repeatedly declined the nursing staff's offer to give Jamie a bottle of formula. This is what I learned from lactation consultants and Jamie's pediatrician.

We noticed though I had no milk at that time. I was reassured that the baby had enough "extra food" in her body to get through my dry spell. I was also told that colostrum (concentrated milk) was coming out even if I could not see it. Jamie lost weight every day for the first 3 days which worried me, but I was told that babies lose weight during the first week anyway. So we kept trying even if it was already starting to get discouraging. By the 5th day (day before we checked out), we were alarmed when the pedia on call announced our baby lost 12% of her weight and he was ordering her to be put on formula immediately. You can imagine how devastating it was for me as a new mom. I found out my baby was hungry all 5 days and that she was losing too much weight. I had no milk even if we were doing everything we were taught and told. I was a wreck, blaming myself and feeling terrible that all my efforts were in vain. It did not help my recovery from the C-section had complications as well. I was still bleeding, bloated from all the excess water, and really physically tired and in pain.

When we left the hospital, I was still determined to breastfeed. We rented a hospital grade breast pump to help me extract milk. I did this round the clock too. I would put Jamie to my breast every 3 hours (or whenever she cried) and pump in between. My breasts were sore but we did not get a whole lot of milk. I was frustrated every time. We tried this for a week. Jamie was feeding about 8 times a day. We had her drink breastmilk from a bottle for 6 feedings, supplemented with formula for 2 feedings, and latch on to the breast in between. It was really physically hard. I was still tired from my operation, was still taking painkillers for the pain, and did not get enough sleep cause Jamie was extra fussy especially at night. I was cranky and depressed most of the time. I actually broke down and cried several times - all in one week!

The second and third week got a little worse. Jamie progressively needed more milk and I was producing the same amount or even less. Sometimes I would pump and get 30 ml of milk, while Jamie needed to eat 60-90 ml per feeding. I would have to pump twice (every 3 hours) to feed her once. This resulted in using formula more and more. Every time I used formula, I had feelings of guilt and self-doubt. It was such a frustrating cycle. My mom was making me all kinds of soupy dishes and healthy food - all in the effort to increase my milk production. I was on the web researching all sorts of ways to increase breastmilk - from fenugreek, to milk thistle, to blessed milk thistle. Nothing helped!

By the fourth week, we were down to 50% breastmilk and 50% formula (and then less and less each day). I was really physically, mentally and emotionally tired from breastfeeding. Jamie was also getting increasingly frustrated every time she latched. (By the way, her latch was ok - as per the lactation specialists we met with - I think it was more because she wasn't getting enough as compared to the bottle). Increasingly, I was under so much pressure that it was affecting the way I treated my baby, my hubby, and everyone else around me. It was then I decided to let it go. I would breastfeed as much as I could but I refused to let it continue to consume me. My rationalization was that I wanted to be a good mother and breastfeeding was not the only way I could do that.

By the 5th week, my milk supply was at an all time low. Sometimes I was down to 20 ml per pumping session and Jamie was already at 90-100 ml per feeding. I then decided that pumping was not helping so I decided to forego the pump and just have the baby latch on when she wanted to. By then, we were about 80-90% dependent on formula already. During this time, with the support I got from my mom, husband, sister, family and friends, I started to let go of all the insecurities I had about not being able to breastfeed. I started hearing of so many others who had the same frustrations, concerns and issues that I did - and it gave me some sense of relief.

By the 6th week, we were on 100% formula and breastfeeding just on occasion (sometimes just to pacify Jamie or to get her through the next feeding). Did I feel any guilt over this? I guess somewhat ... but I also felt that I was being a better mom to my baby because I could focus on doing other things for her rather than being consumed by just breastfeeding. I also felt it was better for me too (I had overcome the onset of a post-partum depression primarily brought about by my breastfeeding anxieties). And lastly, I was a better person to live with as I am sure my hubby, mom and sister can attest to!

Today (Jamie is at 7 weeks), I have stopped breastfeeding altogether. My baby no longer looks for it and I no longer offer it. I'm not proud of this but neither am I racked with guilt. It is what it is. I have finally come to grips with the whole breastfeeding issue. I still believe in its benefits and still admire women who are able to do it. I do realize though that even with the best of intentions sometimes it just does not work out the way we want it to. There are times when it is beyond our control. I refuse, though, to let my inability to do it define who I am or the kind of mom I can be. I still want to be the best mom I can be and I know there will be other opportunities and instances wherein I can prove that to my daughter.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

My First Mother's Day

My very first mother's day celebration is a bittersweet event. On the one hand, it is a happy occasion now that I have Jamie with me and I can stare into her beautiful baby eyes. On the other hand, it is also somewhat sad because, last night, my own mom left for Manila.

Rather than focus on my own experience of being a mom (which is all of 37 days and counting), I'd rather spend this post and talk about my own mom. After all, I owe her so much and I want her to know how special she is to me.

My mom has always been the ideal mother. When we were growing up, she was the quintessential homemaker who believed the family should eat a home-cooked dinner together every night. She baked cookies and was active in parent teacher activities in all of our schools. She welcomed all of our family and friends into our home (we had dinner guests almost every night!). She held the family together by making sure she was a loving wife and a doting mother. Many times, we were teased by our friends for having the perfect "Brady Bunch" family - and largely it was because of my mom. I will forever be grateful to my mom for giving us such a happy and well-balanced childhood.

Fast forward to today, I am now 36 years old and despite of my age I still rely on my mom for so many things. I've lived away from home for 10 years but still value my mom's advice, her tips and techniques for keeping a home running in order, her insight on my personal and professional life, and her encouragement whenever I feel down. She has never failed me even though she is so busy taking care of so many things.

Recently, my mom came over to the States to help my sister, Joy, get settled for school. She also came to help me during my last stage of pregnancy and as I started life as a new mom. I can not stress enough how invaluable her presence was for all of us. I am grateful not only because of all the meals she prepared, the housekeeping she did, and the shopping trips she went on for us. (Of course, those are much appreciated too!).

But I am more grateful for her quiet presence in the house. She has helped me retain my sanity especially the first few days after I delivered Jamie. I truly believe she is the main reason I got over the onset of my post-partum depression. Her encouragement helped make me stronger. Her calm manner helped put things in perspective. Her support helped me see that I could manage being a new mom even when I thought I could not. Her reassurance helped make me lessen my doubts and fears. I owe a lot to my mom for helping me adjust to motherhood. I do not think I could have done it without her. So please allow me to THANK her from the bottom of my heart.

I guess the message I posted on mom's Facebook page today sums it up best:
We all believe we have the best mom in the world. I believe God intended it that way when he chose which moms & which kids go together. Today, I wish Judy L. Lim, the best mom for me, a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY. Mom, you truly are God's blessing to me. I can't tell you enough how grateful I am for all that you do & how much you mean to me. If I could be half as good a mom as you are, Jamie would be so lucky! I LOVE YOU SO VERY MUCH.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Jamie's First Month

Jamie turned a month old last April 30. I wanted to post this sooner but there just wasn't enough time. Here are some highlights of the last month:

+ The first week we spent at the hospital (we were there 5 and a half days). Those kind of went by in a blur since I was recovering from a C-section and Jojo was just becoming used to daddy-hood. We did experience some parental anxiety early on though cause Jamie lost a lot of weight (12% of her birth weight) since my breast milk was not flowing as much as we'd like. We started a formula supplement by the time we left the hospital.

+ Life at home took some getting used to. Jamie was pretty fussy the first night (as was expected) - this continued for maybe the first 2 weeks (also expected). It was a real crash course in parenthood for Jojo and myself. We had to learn - FAST! Sleepless nights became the norm and life revolved around our little angel.

+ By the 2nd week, Jamie gained the weight she needed to gain. It was such a relief for me! I was actually able to breathe a little bit better then. Life sort of settled into a routine (eating, burping, sleeping, peeing, pooping, tummy time and crying time).

+ A miracle happened when Jojo suggested we start sleeping in our room again (prior to that we were rooming in the nursery so we could be close to Jamie). By the 3rd week, we moved to our room and tried co-sleeping (Jamie in between us on our bed). It was a success. She slept soundly only waking for her feedings and then falling asleep again after burping and diaper changes. I thought it may only be a good night ... but so far we've had a week of good nights already so I am going to tempt the fates by saying "our baby has gotten the hang of sleeping at nights!" (hope this does not jinx things!)

+ Lots of little firsts too. Too many to mention but all of which I hold dearly in my heart. Jamie has grown in the last month and I marvel at how this little precious baby can already assert herself so clearly. She has a temper and is not afraid to show it (especially when mommy and daddy are slow at getting her formula ready!). When she is quiet, Jamie looks at us with her almond-shaped eyes and you can almost imagine that she understands what we are saying. Her lips break into a gassy smile when she is content and happy and they pucker up when she's hungry or angry.

+ This first month was a true test for Jojo and myself - we discovered a lot about ourselves and what it truly means to be a parent. It's only been 30 days and yet I already feel humbled and in awe of all the parents out there who selflessly devote their time and effort for their kids. This is especially true of my own mom who is here with us helping us through this transition. She has been AMAZING both as a mom to us (making our meals, cleaning up after us, making sure we have what we need, and just providing a shoulder for me to cry on and an ear for me to vent my frustrations to). She's been an excellent guammy to Jamie too (taking her for morning walks to get sun, rocking her to sleep, and calming her down when she's fussy - for some reason Jamie takes to her really, really well!). If I could only be half the mom my mom is - Jamie would be a really lucky baby!

To our darling daughter, Jamie (also known as "Honeybee, Hummingbird, Baby Angel, Jamie G, Jamie Mayer, Beanie, Beanster, Pangga, Baby Girl, and Puchoy):

Thank you for being patient with your dad and mom - as we learn how to be good parents. Thank you for being the beautiful, sweet and charming baby that you are. Thank you for making us so happy this last month. And thank you in advance for the many adventures we will still be sharing together.

We love you so much!

From, mommy and daddy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

4 Weeks

Jamie is 4 weeks old today. It's hard to sum up how the last 4 weeks have gone ... in a way, it just went by so fast. In other ways, it has been achingly slow.

Four weeks seem like forever when you are up at 2:00 AM, desperately trying to soothe a crying newborn. Four weeks seem like forever when you are changing the eighth dirty diaper and is not even noon yet. Four weeks seem like forever when you have to drag yourself out of bed at 5:30 AM to breastfeed. Four weeks seem like forever when you have to sterilize bottles and prepare formula while balancing a fussy baby on one arm. Four weeks seem like forever when you are worried about your baby eating, sleeping and pooping habits. Four weeks seem like forever when you sleep with one eye open making sure you don't miss a feeding or fail to hear your baby whimper in her sleep.

Four weeks went by in a blink every time I watch Jamie smile in her sleep. Four weeks went by in a blink every time I rest Jamie's head on my shoulder and we end up cheek-to-cheek. Four weeks went by in a blink every time I see my baby watch me with trusting eyes as I feed her my milk. Four weeks went by in a blink every time Jamie makes her funny faces and cute sighs. Four weeks went by in a blink every time Jamie poses prettily for the camera. Four weeks went by in a blink every time Jojo and I stop to marvel at our beautiful little angel.

But no matter how I look at it, I can say the last 4 weeks have been a humbling and rewarding experience. Jamie has completely changed my life for the better. I know there will still be many ups and downs - and that I am still in for a crazy ride. But, in my heart, I know it will be worth it.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Quick Prayer

Lord,

Thank you for giving us a little baby girl. Jamie is truly a baby angel and we are humbled to be given the chance to take care of her and welcome her into our family. We know how truly blessed we are to have this little miracle with us.

On the same note, Lord, I pray for PATIENCE and STRENGTH to be a good mom. These last 3 weeks have been truly an eye-opening experience for me. It has been challenging to say the least. But I know in my heart that all good things are worth the effort - and Jamie is definitely worth all the sacrifice.

Please bless my husband too. He has been a wonderful support and a huge help to me. He has also demonstrated in such a short time how good a father he is to our baby. Give Jojo the endurance for our all-nighters ... as well as the strength to continue studying for his certification and eventually as he looks for a job.

Please bless my mom. She has been invaluable during this time and while I will miss her when she goes home, I know that she is always there for us. Help me be strong when she leaves. And help mom be reassured that we will be well cause I know she worries about us too. Please bless everyone else who has offered me encouragement and support during this time. Everyone's support, no matter how small, has helped me move forward.

Thank you again, Lord, for blessing us with Jamie. Please help us to be worthy of this special gift.

Papa, I know you can read this and you can hear me ... please intercede for us and help us take care of your baby granddaughter ...

This I ask during this Easter season ... AMEN.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lucky Seven

Yesterday was a great day. After last week's visit to the pediatrician, we found out Jamie had gained 5 ounces (she was at 6.5 pounds). This in itself was good news as my baby was finally on the road to recovering the weight she had lost during her first week. However, Dr. Chung was hoping she would gain 7 ounces (1 ounce per day).

Our next pedia appointment is not till the 27th (two weeks later). But me, being the anxious mother that I am, can not wait 2 weeks - so yesterday (being the 1 week mark), I asked Jojo to take us to Healthlinks where we could use their scale and weigh Jamie. I was hoping she would be up to 6.12 (gaining 7 ounces in the last 7 days). But we were very pleasantly surprised to find that Jamie was an even 7 pounds (gaining about 10 ounces - give or take a few). I called Dr. Chung and she was happy about the news too.

Finally, I am able to breathe a little sigh of relief. The all-nighters and round the clock feedings are working. The progress in Jamie's weight shows that she is getting enough nutrients and nourishment. My paranoia is abated somewhat - at least in terms of her feeding. Of course, we still have lots to do but for now, I am just so happy to know she is ok.

Other milestones:

Yesterday, Jamie enjoyed her first manicure (which I had to do ever so carefully and while she was asleep). She started Enfamil powdered formula (and liked it). We are now up to 2 ounces per feeding - and may increase to 3 ounces by the end of the week.
She is now using her new Avent bottles / nipples - and had no problem adapting to them. We are still on a breastmilk and formula supplemented diet - and it seems to be working well for Jamie.

Today, is her third week. Our baby is 21 ... days old!

Thank you, God for these little milestones!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Realizations

A few realizations I've come to chance upon the last few days:

1.) I'm the kind of person who likes to be prepared, organized and know what I am up against. Whether in my personal life or professional career. Motherhood has stripped me of that. With being a mom, there is no way I can be prepared for everything, no way I can be completely organized about things, and no way to predict and know everything that comes up. This is what scares me about motherhood.

2.) Now that I have come to realize that I can not be as prepared and organized as I'd like to be - I have to focus on what I can do about it. I will take it one day at a time. I will do the best I can. I will not take minor setbacks personally. I will try to prepare as much as I can but also accept that some things are just beyond my control. I need to help myself through this.

3.) My husband, mom and sister are my core support group. They are with me 24/7 and have been 100% there for Jamie and me. I am so lucky and blessed to have them.

4.) Soon, my sister is going to be busy with school, my husband will have to go back to work, my mom will be leaving for home. I have to realize it is NOT the end of the world. It is just a shift in how things are. I still have their support - but it's also time for me to "stand on my own" and be a "mom" to my baby.

5.) Life will never throw up challenges we can not handle. I know that - now I've got to "live" it.

P.S. THANK YOU to my friends and family who have read my blog and have written me emails to show support. You guys are all angels helping me through this. THANK YOU again!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New Mommy Fears

While the euphoria of having Jamie with us is still very much in the air, these days I also find myself worrying constantly and stressing over the littlest matters. I think this is what they call "new mommy fears" and unfortunately I've got it pretty bad! I'm normally a calm and rational person. But lately I find that my emotions have the tendency to run haywire!

For starters, I get so rattled when Jamie cries and I don't know why. After the usual diaper check, feeding check, and finding out she is ok, I get so frustrated when she cries and I can't calm her down. I don't know why I seem to take it somewhat personally! Also, in the evenings when we get ready to sleep, I find I am so restless and sleep so lightly that every time Jamie stirs in her sleep, I get up and check on her. It drives me crazy that I am so obsessive about making sure she is alright.

Not only that - but I am also so paranoid about other things too. My mom is leaving for Manila in three weeks. And soon Jojo will be taking his CCENT exam and will be going back to work. As early as now, I am starting to worry about being left alone with Jamie and whether I can manage to take care of her properly. Is this weird? I am usually so sure of myself and so confident I can take on new things - but these days I feel so unsure of myself. Is this postpartum? Is this normal "new mommy fears"? Is this me losing my mind?

Friday, April 08, 2011

Baby Girl ... Rock My World (Part 2)

As I type this post, I am watching my ten-day old daughter asleep beside me. It's still a bit surreal to me to have Jamie here. After waiting so long, sometimes I still can not believe I have been blessed with this miracle and that she is finally here in the flesh - living and breathing next to me. I don't want to take a single moment for granted and want to make sure I do the very best I can for her. I have been a mother for only ten days and so far the experience has been a rollercoaster of emotions.

For starters, let me tell you that being a mother is no easy task. I have some new found respect for mothers everywhere - including and most especially my own! The last 10 days have totally turned our world upside down. Jojo and I have been totally focused on Jamie's every need - whether she is awake or asleep. Feedings are every 2-3 hours. Jojo can prepare formula in a heartbeat while I can get into breastfeeding position in record time. Changing diapers has become routine and we can practically do it with our eyes closed - which is great for those midnight and early morning changes. We have learned to sleep lightly (almost with one eye open to watch out for Jamie). We've learned to eat in shifts and to multitask to get everything done.

Gone are the days when our lives were just ours. These days our lives are ruled by a beautiful 6 pound, 19-inch tall angel. We are totally at her beck and call. And I would not have it any other way. Nevermind the long nights spent cradling her in my arms so she can fall asleep. Nevermind the missed tv shows and movies we were planning to see which are now spent preparing for Jamie's needs. Nevermind not being able to go out with friends and family since we mostly spend time just rocking her bassinette to lull her to sleep. Nevermind not having time to do household chores and run errands, I'd rather just hold her in my arms and make sure she's ok. Nevermind not having time for myself when I have this beautiful baby by my side.

Jojo and I make a pretty good team. Coupled with incredible support from my mom and sister, Joy, the last few days have been filled with so many learning experiences and revelations. I am tired physically and I am still healing from my c-section - but at the same time my heart is bursting with joy every time I see this angelic face with her gorgeous eyes looking up at me. I think this is what every mom says is what makes motherhood (despite its difficulties) worth everything.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Baby Girl ... Rock My World (Part 1)

She's here. She's finally here. I am still in shocked awe that our precious baby girl is with us. Every time I look into her face, I get all humbled by just how beautiful and precious she really is. Beautiful baby face, gorgeous almond eyes, fair skin with pink cheeks, and that baby smell (you'd make millions if you could bottle that scent!). Jojo and I quietly marvel at the little miracle we have been blessed with - it's still a bit surreal and astonishing to me (even though it's already been a week).

Let me back track a bit. Jamie was born on March 30th at 8:58 am. I underwent a C-section because the baby was in distress and her heartbeat would decline after each contraction. My doctor was worried she would not survive the rigors a of a natural delivery. So at 8:00 am, Jojo and I consented to a C-section and 20 minutes later I was wheeled into the operating room.

I was scared and really anxious. Jojo was supportive but I could see he was concerned too. To be honest though, after almost 12 hours of labor prior to that, the 20-minute operation was not a bad ordeal. I barely felt what was happening but was conscious the whole time. My best memory is when the doctor said "Here she comes" and I heard two loud gusty cries. The nurse took her to a side table to wipe her down. Just seeing her for the first time brought tears to my eyes. She was so perfect and I was so overwhelmed with emotion. Minutes later, she was laid on my chest so we could bond, skin to skin. I will never ever forget that moment when I first looked into her face, first held her little body, first felt her next to me. I will never forget the first time I inhaled her scent and felt her move on top of me. It is a moment I can only describe as pure joy. We got to spend the golden hour together as a family. JOjo and I talked in hushed tones about our precious little Jamie. It is no doubt one of the best moments of my life.

THANK YOU GOD for this beautiful blessing!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tenth Letter

Dearest Jamie,

I think the time if finally here ...

This morning, I woke up to a slight pain in my belly and saw that I had started to leak a bit of blood and mucus (I know it sounds gross but it's a good sign). We went to the hospital for my scheduled NST (fetal monitoring) and it showed that you were very active but there were little to no contractions yet. My nurse, Diane, thought it would be a good idea to have me go for an ultrasound just to make sure. During the ultrasound, it showed I had a huge decrease in fluids in my belly. My last fluid check was at 11 (I don't know the unit of measurement) but today I was at 5.1. They notified my doctor who asked me to go home and rest (it was around 11:30 AM). We were asked to return at 7 PM and they would begin to induce my labor.

Jojo and I drove home. We were both excited (to see you) and a bit scared (about what to expect). We were in good spirits though and texted the rest of the family to share the news. When we got home, we decided to invite Auntie Joy and Grandma Judy for lunch. It will be some time before I can go out to eat ... I couldn't really decide what to eat. They kept asking what I wanted for my "last meal" before you arrive and I totally drew a blank. We finally decided to go to Island Burgers. This will be a new family tradition. When Grandma Judy was pregnant with me, she also went to the hospital the morning she thought I was coming. Turns out she was also sent home to wait a few more hours. To kill time, my mom went out to lunch and treated herself to a meal of hamburgers! So that's what I wanted to do today too.

After a delish meal of Mushroom burgers, we headed home where I tried to rest and nap. Woke up around 5 PM to mild contractions. At first, I thought it was just a stomachache. But it came and went - maybe every 20-25 minutes and lasted maybe 10-15 seconds. Nothing earth shattering but I could definitely feel each one. It's kinda sorta like strong tummy cramps. I was a bit scared but mom and my mom-in-law assured me it's all good that I am contracting on my own. Maybe it means my induction tonight won't be as long or as intense as we fear. Either way, it's good to know you are on your way!

My dear, Jamie, the long wait is almost over. Hopefully at this time tomorrow (give or take a few hours), you will be with us and we will be holding you in our arms. I am so happy, excited and just giddy with anticipation!

I pray for both of us (and your dad too). I think we have a long night and day ahead of us - it may get painful and scary and intense at times. But I know it will be worth it in the end.

Love you, Beanie. Looking forward to that first hour after birth when our little family of three will be given our "Golden Hour" together.

See you soon, Little Angel.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

False Alarm

Yesterday, at around 4:20 in the afternoon, Jojo told me he had a backache (he had spent a good part of the day reviewing for his CCENT exam and studying while hunched over a computer does nothing for his back). I told Jojo to lie down and take a quick catnap (he also didn't get to sleep much the night before). I was contemplating on going to the salon for a quick hair trim. Jojo didn't want me to go by myself and was insisting he would drop me off when he woke up. I told him he was being silly and that I was perfectly capable of making the trip myself. I was on my way to the phone to call the salon to see if they could squeeze me in for a trim. That was when I felt a trickle of water down my legs. I was very calm at that time. It didn't even register that perhaps it was my water breaking. I just wiped it off and went back to the phone. Then, it happened again. This time, I looked and saw a very clear (water-like liquid) down my legs. No color, no smell, but definitely continuous streaming down my legs.

I walked into our room and calmly announced "Ni, I think my water broke". Jojo was just about to drift off into sleep but despite his groggy state and despite his backache, my heroic hubby sprang into action. No words can describe how fast he got up and was raring to go. In less than 5 minutes, he had changed into his "Lucky shirt" (which he had planned to wear to the hospital). He grabbed our hospital bag and my pillows and loaded them into the car. He ran back to take an Aleve for his backache. Stopped by the office to get our phone chargers and Ipod. Ran to answer the phone (it was ringing). And hurriedly got everything else we needed. He was literally working on super speed!

I, on the other hand, was surfing the internet trying to google "How to Know if Your Water has Broken". I was really calm and was reading articles to see if I was truly going into labor. Jojo told me we should just head over to Torrance Memorial (which is what we were taught in our childbirth class). I was hesitating because there didn't seem to be a lot of water that came out (not the gush I was expecting) and by this time, it seemed to have stopped. But Jojo was insistent. So we loaded up and headed to the hospital.

We got to Labor and Deliver at 4:55 and I was in bed by 5:05 - strapped to a machine which monitored my contractions and my baby's heartbeat. It did show I was majorly contracting but honestly it must have been very mild because I felt nothing (just very mild flutters). Jamie's heartbeat was great and she was moving all around (another good sign). I was hooked up till 7 pm then my nurse came in and did a urine test (to see if I had an infection) and a litmus test (to see if my water did break). She also did a pelvic exam to see if I was dilated at all. The pelvic exam showed I was not yet ready to deliver (dilation was still 1-1.5 cm only) and the baby was still "high" and now yet "low enough" for labor. We had to wait an hour and a half for the two lab tests (urine and litmus tests). Had my litmus test come out positive (meaning my water did break, they would keep me for observation and would probably induce me if it didn't happen naturally).

Jojo and I settled in to wait. We watched tv, played Word Mole, and talked. We had some sandwiches and juice from the labor family nourishment center. At about 9 pm, the nurse came in with good and not so good news. Good news is I had no infections. Not so good news, my water had not broken. (I still don't know what that "water" streaming down my legs was!). We had to wait another hour for my doctor to sign off on my release. Before leaving, they did another pelvic test which showed I had not increased dilation. After filling out some forms and getting my release papers, we finally left at 10:30 PM. 5 and a half hours at the hospital only to find out it was a false alarm.

The three things I am glad about though was:
1.) We had a great dry run for what to do on the "Big Day".
2.) The nurses and staff at Torrance Memorial are really great at their jobs (even with minor delays that caused us to have to wait, they were very thorough and I felt well taken care of).
3.) An amazing husband who is extremely level-headed and very efficient when it comes to emergencies. He is truly my hero!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Still Nothing ...

Last Tuesday, during my non-stress test at Torrance Memorial, I had very mild but very far apart contractions. Yesterday, during my routine check-up with Dr. Chen, I was already 1.5 cm dilated. But, so far ... still ... nothing ...

Lately, I've been dealing with a bit more aches and pains. Nothing major. And maybe somewhat psychological. But it seems my wrists and knuckles are a bit tender (completely normal as per Dr. Chen). Also, my feet and fingers are puffier (a.k.a. "manas"). Nothing too noticeable - but I can tell cause my shoes are tighter and I can barely get my wedding band on and off these days.

My belly is carrying low (as per some folks) but not yet "low enough" (as per others). I am tired more easily as my belly is really heavy. It's an effort getting in and out of bed (which is ironic since I now have to pee every so often). Jamie's diapers are getting mighty tempting to use! =)

I haven't really gone through the "nesting stage" wherein I'm suppose to like fixing things and doing housework. I guess my personality of not liking to do housework has overridden this supposed maternal instinct. Thank god my mom and sisters have more than made up for my lack of domesticated abilities.

My hormones are sort of out of whack (nothing new here). My mom and Joy went to spend a few days at Atsi's place. They will be gone exactly 5 days and already I felt so sad when they left. Good thing Jojo has been my Rock of Gibraltar (such a solid support!). Don't know how I could manage all this without him.

My sleeping pattern is still good (I still get much needed sleep). But I do wake up a lot more at night (not just to pee but also to find a comfortable position). It's hard with a belly as massive as mine!

Trying to get in my 2-3 hours of walking a day. Yesterday, was not a good day though since we lazed the morning away, planning to walk in the afternoon. Then it rained and we were stuck at home. I tried to walk around the living and family room - but it's hard to walk for 2-3 hours in such a small amount of space. Today, we will do much better as we plan to combine our errands with my exercise.

I'm getting sort of anxious - not so much because of the thought of labor - but rather just anxious as we wait for THE BIG MOMENT when Jamie is ready to come out!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Any Day Now

Any day now. Any day now. That's my mantra =) It's both very exciting and somewhat nerve-wracking too. This morning we went for another non-stress test and Jamie was showing off her acrobatic skills. She was uber active which all the nurses said was an excellent sign. The only thing is I was not showing any significant signs of contracting yet. I had two minor contractions in the last hour and both were insignificant enough that I did not even feel them. It seems Baby Jamie is doing just fine but is not quite ready yet to leave her snug little home in my belly.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with Dr. Chen and he will be doing a cervical exam just to see if I'm dilated at all. Hopefully there will be some progress since I don't relish the thought of having to be induced. The thought of labor is already freaky enough ... the thought of being induced for labor just adds a whole other dimension to freaky! =)

Also, my nurse (Laura) was saying that first time moms usually go into labor the longest ... with inducing the baby (that makes the process even longer). The chances of having a C-section also increase. Hopefully we won't have to go that route and things just happen on time and naturally. I'm staying positive =) It helps that I have so much positive affirmation from everyone and that I'm rather calm throughout this whole process.

I can't believe the wait is almost over. Any day now. Any day now. =)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ninth Letter

Dear Jamie G,

This week is your 38th week. It's literally any day now. Everyone who sees me says I am now "carrying low" which means you are in position to make that grand entrance ... we could not be any more excited!!!

Your Auntie Joy and Grandma Judy arrived last week. So did your Auntie Jenny. Between your three "fairy godmothers", there has been so much hustle and bustle as we prepare for your arrival. Your room is spotless (and I mean spotless!). You could probably eat off the floor if you wanted to - it is THAT clean. Your closets and drawers are sparkling (Auntie Jenny has done wonders making sure they are pristine). Auntie Joy had wiped down your crib and bassinette. I know that we'll spend many times burping on them, spilling things and changing dirty diapers on them - but for now, it would be hard to find a single germ on any of your room's immaculate surfaces. Grandma Judy has brought you so many nice things from Manila. My favorite is a paper mache mobile she got from Bangkok. It is a beautiful hanging decor with lots of little bunnies (to celebrate the fact that you will be born in the Year of the Rabbit). You also got so many wonderful presents from family and friends from back home. I wish you could see all your beautiful things =)

As if that were not enough, today we went shopping for some more items to complete your wardrobe. We got the essentials, of course. But aside from that list, your Grandma Judy insisted on getting you an additional 24 (yes, you read that right - TWENTY-FOUR) brand new outfits. Honestly, I don't know when and where you will wear all of them! Most of your clothes are for 0-3 month olds and we don't want to keep bringing you out till you are at least 2 months old. So I guess we'll just have to do fashion shoots and pictorials at home to make the most of your beautiful new clothes! You sure are a lucky, lucky and soon-to-be very fashionable little baby.

Yesterday was my last day at work. It was bittersweet. While I am happy to get time off (it's been harder to walk around and actually work 8-hour days), I was also sad since everyone has been extra nice to me lately and it sure felt like I was leaving my family and close friends. My team took me out for shabu-shabu and when we came back they threw me a mini baby shower with all my other co-workers in the staff lounge. I was a bit emotional (as usual) and promised everyone I would come back to visit with you (since everyone is so excited to get to meet you). I am scheduled to go back to work in September (that gives us plenty of time to be together, my dear baby girl, before I head back to work).

Auntie Joy is planning her wedding for next year and we have already been talking about your flower girl dress for that special day. I am so sure you will be the world's cutest and most adorable flower girl!!! I am already being teased for being such a stage mother =) Hopefully by then, you will already be able to walk down the aisle on your own and your daddy and I will proudly watch from the sidelines. If you are not yet ready, no worries, your daddy and I will take your hands and walk along with you. Just as in any other time in your life, my dear Beanie, you can trust that we will either be close by and cheering you on ... unless you need us to hold your hand and walk beside you.

Be well, my darling Jamie G. We love you.

Friday, March 04, 2011

meltdown

I had a bit of a minor meltdown the other night. Jojo kindly turned a blind eye to what can only be referred to as my pregnancy hormones going on a rampage. But it doesn’t excuse the fact that I really went through a “feeling sorry for myself” state. I guess it was because of … well, everything that has been going on lately. For starters, work has been busy (not stressful, not hard, and not overwhelming). Just BUSY. Then there are so many classes we are taking and so many doctor’s visits and lab appointments. Can you imagine I had two separate doctor visits, went to the hospital twice for fetal monitoring and two baby classes just in the last 5 days! Added to that, I am under pressure by my OB-GYN to walk at least 2 hours a day. TWO FREAKING HOURS! I don’t even have two hours to sit much less walk around! Then there are a gazillion little things we need to do around the house. Jojo has been truly amazing with picking up more than his fair share of housework. But there is always so much to do. Not to mention, my sister and mom are coming on Monday and we have been preparing for their arrival too. Fixing rooms, packing stuff, moving furniture, buying things they’ll need. The list is endless. Of course there’s preparing Jamie’s baby stuff too. Not to mention the fact that I am now as big as a hippo. I now waddle instead of walk. I now have to go pee every hour on the hour. I now get tired so easily. And I have all sorts of little aches and pains. All normal according to my OB, but definitely slows me down!

Anyway, yesterday, started as a typical day. I had an early day starting with a doctor’s appointment at 8:00. Worked an 8-hour day. Came home pretty exhausted. It was raining so Jojo and I had to skip the walk. Instead I tried to walk around the house and do some light housework (picking up stuff, light dusting, and rearranging a cabinet). I made dinner (turkey, lettuce and tomato sandwiches). Then I did the dishes. After that, Jojo and I decided to tackle a Jamie project – we tried to put her bassinette / play yard / changing table together. We worked on it for an hour and a half (so frustrating!). I swear the instructions were no help – unless its purpose was to start a major argument between my husband and I! It was close to 10 PM when I finally gave up and decided to prepare the ingredients for beef nilaga for lunch the next day. While chopping cabbage, I dropped the knife on the kitchen floor (under our butcher block). I couldn’t reach it because of my humongous belly and so I sat down on a stepstool trying to angle my body around. Now at almost eye-level to the floor, I noticed how the floor had not been mopped in almost a week. That’s when I started feeling sorry for myself. Jojo was in the other room still working on Jamie’s bassinette when I started going off on how there was no time to do anything and how busy I was and how huge I was getting and how upset I was over every little thing. Jojo would nod and say “uh-hmm” every few minutes but kept on working on the bassinette – which for some insane reason made me even more mad. So I stalked off to our room and sulked in bed. By the time Jojo came in about 15 minutes later, I was already deep into the “feeling sorry for myself” state. Jojo, God bless him, tried to talk me out of my mood … but let me tell you that reasoning with a pregnant lady, in the state I was in, is a lost battle. It is comparable to trying to reason with an angry grizzly bear, after you just woke from him hibernation, after accidentally setting fire to his cave.

Luckily, Jojo knows me very well. He knows when to just keep quiet and let me vent. He gave me a back massage while I gave in to a good cry. I fell asleep shortly after that. The next day, we woke up and Jojo tentatively asked if I was ok. Of course by then, I don’t even remember half the things I said the night before. And I was pretty much as good as new.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Eighth Letter

Dear Jamie,

You are officially 9 months already, my darling baby girl! Your dad and I are on pins and needles knowing that any day now, you could make your grand appearance into this world. I cannot begin to express how happy, excited and emotional that makes me feel. Just thinking about you in my arms helps calm fears I have about going into labor or helps ease the little day-to-day stresses that I experience. Just knowing we will have your beautiful smile to look forward to makes me a wee bit more confident that we will learn to cope with the new challenges of first-time parents. Bear with us, Jamie, as we will all be learning together and adjusting to life as a family. I know it won’t be easy but if we do it with an open mind, trust and acceptance, and a whole lot of love – well, we will surely, by hook or by crook, get it right!

These days work has been incredibly hectic. Last week we had an on-campus career fair and an open house which were two events that took a lot of time and energy. And this week, our entire campus is packing as we prepare to move to a new office location (two miles down). So to say we are “busy” is an understatement. Plus, this is my second to the last week at work before I go on maternity leave, which means that aside from my day-to-day activities, I am also preparing turnover reports and training the person who will be taking my place. Whew! Every evening, your dad and I go on long walks because Dr. Chen has now ordered that I walk one to two miles every day (if I want a normal delivery, which I do). And when we get home, we have so many projects around the house as we prepare for your, Auntie Joy and Grandma Judy’s arrival. Lots of cleaning, organizing, packing and moving things around.

This week we also have a lot of doctors appointments and prep classes to attend. On Monday, we met with Dr. Chen. Today (Tuesday), I had to do a non-stress test and ultrasound at Torrance Memorial (we now have to do this twice a week till I deliver). On Wednesday, I have an appointment with Dr. Cheung, my endocrinologist. On Thursday evening, we have our first Infant/Newborn Care class. On Friday, I have my routine non-stress test at the hospital. On Saturday, I am meeting with the lactation specialist at Healthlinks in order to prepare me for breastfeeding. On Sunday, Luisa is coming over to help clean the house (especially your nursery).

I also have some good news to share, Beanie. Last week, your dad’s youngest brother, Tito Jay, and his wife, Tita Cha, invited the whole family to dinner. We thought it was because Tito Jay got a promotion at work. But towards the end of the meal, they shared with us that they are also expecting a baby! Such wonderful news =) Another cousin for you to grow up with. Not that you don’t have enough – on your dad’s side you already have 12 cousins – but I’ve always wanted one to be closer to your age. And now you do, with Tito Jay’s and Tita Cha’s baby on the way (which will be due later this year). Both of you will be born in the Year of the Bunny =)

We have so much to be grateful for, Jamie. This morning, during the ultrasound, the technician mentioned she may have seen you smile … and that made me glad … because whenever I think of you, I also break into a smile. I can’t wait for the first time we will be able to smile at each other, face-to-face. See you soon, Jamie.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fears

Now that labor and delivery is just around the corner, I have to admit that I am happy and excited but very much scared and anxious as well. Jojo and I have been attending childbirth classes. I’ve been reading baby books and browsing pregnancy websites. I’ve joined mommy support groups, and, of course, have been getting so much advice from family, friends and colleagues that have gone through childbirth. Sometimes all this knowledge is great and I feel completely empowered knowing what I know. But there are also times when all this information is overwhelming and quite frankly just a little bit daunting.

My childbirth instructor, Pat, told me that if I have any worries or fears about childbirth, I should write them down. Sometimes verbalizing a fear means recognizing it and is the first step in letting it go. Pat encouraged me to write about my fears – journal-style, acknowledge my fears, and “let them go”. I’m pretty sure I can do part of that – writing my fears and acknowledging them is pretty easy. I’m not so sure about the “letting them go” part. But it’s worth a try …

Here are my fears … in no particular order:
1.) Making sure I deliver a normal, healthy baby. I keep thinking about my last 9 months of pregnancy and am paranoid that I did something that hurt Jamie’s development or may make her ill. Like maybe I didn’t take as much vitamins or eat as healthy as I should. I worry about those nights when I slept on my back or found myself waking up asleep on my belly (did I squish her?). Or how I stubbornly wore shoes with heels till my 9th month when everyone was telling me I shouldn’t. The list goes on …
2.) Wanting a natural delivery rather than a C-section. I’ve been hearing horror stories about C-sections and how recovering from one is an ordeal. I’ve never been hospitalized for anything in my life so I don’t know what my recovery rate for any major type of operation will be. But I want to be sure I’m strong enough to take care of my baby after I deliver.
3.) The pain associated with a natural childbirth. I keep hearing stats about how delivering a first baby is usually 16-20 hours of labor. I like to think I have a relatively high tolerance for pain. But then again, I haven’t had much “pain” in my life to really have a good idea about my tolerance level. I’m so scared that I won’t be able to handle it.
4.) I will ask for pain medication. I don’t think I could do without it. But this is how deep set my paranoia is … I’m scared that even with the meds, the pain will still be bad. I’ve heard that happening.
5.) I’m afraid that even with a natural delivery I may tear and still need sutures. Enough said about that.

Okay … I’ve now verbalized and acknowledged my fears … how do I start letting them go?!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Seventh Letter

Dear Jamie,

Today is your 35th week. In just 7 more days, we will mark the 9th month of my pregnancy. It seems like the 9 months just flew by although in other ways, it also seems like it took forever to get here. These days, your dad and I are finding that there is still so much to do. Every day we have little projects and items to cross off our "Things To Do before Jamie Arrives" list.

Last week, your dad and I met with several prospective pediatricians. We want to make sure that you have a wonderful doctor to take care of you. One who is knowledgeable, and caring, and positive, and happy to be around children. After several interviews and recommendations, we have settled on a doctor named Winnie Chung. Both your dad and I agreed that Dr. Chung and her staff seem like very capable, very supportive, and very trustworthy people to help us care for you. I am hoping that when you meet Dr. Chung you will like her too.

Also last week, your dad and I started attending a series of classes to help us prepare for your arrival. We attended our first (of three) breastfeeding classes, and our whole day childbirth class. Both sessions were extremely informative. I can honestly say, that even if I have been reading baby books and am on every imaginable baby website on the internet, I have learned so much in these sessions. Your dad's response to the classes have been extremely positive too. AT first, I was worried that he would not find them useful and would get bored, but he is actually enjoying them and is very participative in all the class discussions. He always stays to chat with other first-time dads and even with the instructors too. I've started calling him "TP" which is short for "teacher's pet" because he has been so vocal in classes that teachers actually know him by name. I am just so glad that he is taking such an active role in all this. It helps reassure me that we are both so committed to welcoming you to our family.

Today (was President's Day so I got the day off from work) your dad and I worked on little projects around the house. Your dad replaced the filter screens in your room and bathroom (to make sure they are clean). He also cleaned your windows and the windowsill in your bedroom. I've arranged your clothes and things in your very own bureau. I've also started making a list of other essentials we need to get in the next few days. Today, your dad and I also packed the little suitcase we will need when we rush off to the hospital (when you are ready to make your appearance). We took a long walk this afternoon (as per doctor's orders) and most of the time talked about how life will be different but interesting when you arrive.

In about 3 weeks your Auntie Joy and Grandma Judy will be here. I am so excited. You will absolutely love having them here - I am so sure of that. Auntie Joy is coming here since she's attending classes. I am sure you two will have lots of bonding sessions about fashion and how to look for the best shopping bargains! Grandma Judy will be the one to pamper you with lots of TLC - the way she did for us when we were growing up. I am so grateful my mom is coming to help take care of all of us during this very special time in our lives. I know this will mean more to me knowing she is going to be here.

I'm a little nervous, Jamie. I am told you can come as early as March 15 and as late as April 15. Hopefully you come earlier and not so late. You have a ton of guests wanting to come visit you too and I want to be strong enough to welcome them to our home. So, maybe you can help your mom out by coming just a wee bit early? =)

My dear little baby girl, I hope that you are getting ready for your grand entrance into this world. Know that you are eagerly anticipated and already dearly loved.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cravings

I’m pregnant and I’m allowed to have cravings … I don’t know if it’s my pregnancy hormones, or today’s rainy day weather, or the fact that it’s such a slow work day that I’m sitting at my work desk with nothing to do … but I have some pretty strong cravings (from vacations, to books, to stuff, to food, etc).

VACATION CRAVING:
1.) I want a weekend in Napa Valley – good food, awesome views, nice weather, and just a relaxing time away from it all. Unfortunately now that I am 8 and a half months preggy, it is not advisable for us to travel.
BOOK CRAVINGS:
1.) A good fiction novel – believe it or not, I haven’t had a good read in a really long time. Lately all I’ve been reading are baby and parenting books (which is informative but also has the tendency to make me a little paranoid about how unprepared I am). So enough baby books! I need fiction! I haven’t been to Barnes & Noble, Borders or even Amazon in a long time – I haven’t even updated my book wish list in almost 6 months!
2.) Baby Sign Language: Find Out What’s on Your Baby’s Mind (by Karine Rosenberg). Okay, I have room for one more baby book on my shelf and this one I really want to teach Jamie to do as soon as possible.
3.) The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (by Steig Larsson). I actually already read the book and watched the Swedish film version. I just want a copy of the book so I can have a complete set of the trilogy for my library. So far, only the hardcover copy is available and it doesn’t match the copies I already have of the first two books.
STUFF CRAVINGS:
1.) Super comfy flats that I can wear to work. Sort of like Tory Burch flats but not as “flat”. I need flats with a bit of a stacked heel all around. These days I’ve almost given up on wearing heels but I need dressy shoes that I can wear to work. They have to be comfy enough without looking matronly or looking like school shoes. Jojo and I were shoe shopping on Sunday and my theory is that when you are looking for a particular type of shoe, it is just impossible to find.
2.) Dwell Studios' Dots Chocolate Weekender Bag. I love Dwell Studios patterns. I wanted to decorate Beanie’s nursery in their stuff but they only come in sheets and window treatments – and it would have been impossible to find coordinating stuff. Anyway, when I got my instructions to start preparing my overnight bag to bring to the hospital for when I deliver, I immediately wished I had a Dwell Studio bag.
3.) An antique writing desk. I still like my oversized work desk in my home office but I’ve always wanted an antique writing desk with a hutch. I like the Victorian styles with intricate carvings. Having a romantic desk like that, I can almost imagine myself writing the next great American novel … or at the very least make bill paying a little bit more classy!
4.) A stainless steel fridge. Our current fridge is still working (which is why I feel guilty about buying a new fridge) – the only problem is our current fridge has a white fa├žade which no longer matches our stove and microwave (which we upgraded to stainless steel). Actually more than just the fridge, I’d really like a kitchen make-over!
FOOD CRAVINGS:
1.) Gloria Maris hotpot! The other day, Jojo took me to lunch at Shin Sen Gumi (where they serve Japanese shabu-shabu). It wasn’t the same – Shin Sen Gumi had such healthy food (very lean cuts of meat, lots of leafy veggies, tofu and clear soup). I need Gloria Maris’ version – with a variety of fat-filled dumplings and spicy sate soup! I also like the way I make my own dipping sauce (with lots of fresh garlic and chili).
2.) Casa Armas’ conchinillo. I have my best friend, Les, to blame for this … she took Jojo and me for dinner there during our last visit to Manila. And since then, Jojo and I have been dreaming non-stop of that succulently, roasted baby pig. Melt in your mouth goodness. We still talk about it all the time.
3.) Philippe’s French dipped pork sandwiches with spicy mustard. So, so yummy! Why does Philippe’s have to be located in downtown LA where traffic and parking is horrible? Why couldn’t they be located in Torrance where it would be so much more accessible (to me)?
4.) My mom’s home-made, fresh Chinese lumpia. If you’ve tasted my mom’s lumpia … then you know why an explanation is not necessary.
5.) Cheesy puffed corn. It’s not popped corn but rather puffed corn. Like giant, air-filled cornicks. It comes in a clear plastic bag and it is only sold in Unimart. My sister, Joy, and I would buy several bags and eat it every night while watching DVDs. That was my ultimate treat at the end of the day.