Saturday, December 26, 2009

cosmic christmas eve

Enchanted Kingdom, Starcity, Fun Ranch, Avilon Zoo, Ark Avilon, Manila Zoo, Luneta Park, Marikina Science Centrum, Museo Pambata, UP Campus, Serendra, the Fort, watch shows at Araneta Center, shop at major malls (megamall, glorietta, trinoma, shangrila) If you have been to all of these places, chances are, you will think, Metro Manila is so limiting! Where else can we go? Where else can we take the kids?

I chance upon Cosmic Kidz, in one of my favorite the blogs, and we decided to bring the kids there last December 24. We don't have big family gatherings on Christmas Eve, anyway, so i didn't plan on cooking up a storm. Besides, one of the househelps asked for a day-off. So, it makes sense of just go out, and take the kids somewhere.

It's better pala to go out on christmas eve on these kind of establishments. Since most will be at their respective homes, there were very few people. Hans and Ivan almost had the plaground for themselves.

Cosmic Kidz is inside a section at the Mall of Asia called Kids Universe. Kids Universe, on the side of MOA SMX Convention Center, is a wing devoted to kids stuff like toy stores, botiques, ice cream parlor etc. It's a 4storey playground where kids can play with new, and safe play equipment.

The entrance fee is 250 Php per one hour of play. There's an option for half an hour. You can leave the kids on their own while you go shopping. Kids under 3, like Ivan, must have a companion. The fee for adult companion is 120 Php. Socks is compulsary. They sell cheap socks for 30 Php if the kids or the yaya needs one.

At the start, Ted went in the kids to take their photos, after a few minutes he swapped with the yaya. It's allowed naman, since Ted and I had to go shopping pa for Rania's new stroller.

Here are some more photos of the place:

Monday, November 23, 2009

she's here!

I knew it would be sometime during the first week of November, even though the Ultrasound says it's around 29th, and last menstrual counting places it around 19th. I already had a hunch. So, i took an earlier maternity leave. I don't want to have my waterbag break at the office, or worse at SM megamall.

November 8, was one of those lazy sunday mornings. The night before I was already preparing to go to the hospital since I was feeling some regular contractions, but they were still quite distant from one another. I brought out all my pregnancy books,the babycenter website available for all my search and I've unearthed all my lamaze reading materials, for review.

By noon, I already texted my OB that the contractions are becoming regular around 20minutes intervals. It really pays to learn the birthing process. I was not panicky. I was just going thru the motions. She told me to go the hospital so i can be assessed.

When we arrived at Cardinal, I texted my OB if I can still eat before going up to the delivery room. However, she wanted me to be assessed first by her residents. When I got to the delivery room at the second floor of Cardinal Santos Hospital.

My two elder children were born at the Jose Delgado Memorial Hospital. It's a maternity hospital in Quezon City, where my two OB are affiliated. However, my second time at Delgado was not so impressive. I found the labor room, quite messy and the sheets were like from cheap motels. I don't have any issues with the staff and resident doctors at Delgado, they're all attentive and very capable. Cost-wise, five years ago, the difference between a maternity hospital and an upscale private hospital like cardinal would have been huge. But nowadays, even Delgado can be quite expensive. Good thing that big hospitals are now offering birthing packages.

Anyway, when we went up, I was the only patient in the prep room. Ted was allowed to go inside, and he saw how I was interviewed, IE-ed, and prepped for the labor room. I'm impressed how clean and organized the facilities at Cardinal Santos. There were no dirty linens, lying around uncollected.

I brought along my Ipod and magazines, i know it's usually long hours of labor. I'm prepared. But they only allowed me to bring my preview & ok! magazines. No other stuff because it might get lost. During my labor with Ivan, I was reading The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks until my eyes crossed due to the labor-inducing pill, which i dimly-heard as Florabelle.

I'm impressed with my assigned labor room. It's private, and it's equipped with cable TV, fetal heart rate monitor, and a junior resident beside me. I actually had a fun labor,discussing the lives of celebrities with the resident, in-between contractions. When I was about 7cm., when i was straining a bit hard worthy of a drama actress, that the resident asked me whether i needed epidural already. I told her, you decide! She said, "ba't di mo na lang i-ire?" What? She wants me to go painful not painless?! Is she out of her mind.

3 more centimeters later, and I was already crying out, "Where's my epidural?! Please!! I need an epidural now!" The attendants were already getting stressed, also, since my OB and anesthesiologist are still not around. They're on their way!! After a few minutes of grogginess from an IV-infused pain reliever, I heard them saying, "Ok, put her on the airplane" "Dr. Aquino is on her way, but Dra. Poblete, is ready just in case." Well, at this point I don't care who should be the OB, as long, someone gives me relief.. fast!

With my 1st two deliveries, I was dead to the world. I didn't remember what happened. My anesthesia was full-blast. But this time, I am awake. So, awake that I heared my OB finally arriving, and was able to greet her, like a normal human being. Here's the funny part, before the OB arrived, I was telling everyone during my contractions, "ayan na! ayan na!" (i meant, the baby's coming out!) and I really felt the crowning of the head, but then, they were telling me, "not yet! not yet! wala pa si dra!" I felt someone pushing the head back in. So funny! Then i heard, them say, "Wait, Get the Daddy!" I wanted to pop, but they want me to wait, till all the right people are in attendance!!

After a while, i heard the anesthesiologist, with a booming voice, instructing me this and that. And then, i as floating in heaven!! I was told to push, and after two pushes, I was told to open my eyes, and because lo and behold, Rania's there! Crying her heart out! What a relief!

Now, I want to sleep! But wait, they're still laughing. The anesthesiologist was making comments like, "Dewie, Next time, outpatient ka na lang ha! Ambilis mo manganak!"

Welcome to the World, Baby Rania!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

what a historic pregnancy, this is!

I'm on my homestretch with my pregnancy. Being on my 37th week, I'm all set to pop, just waiting for the right moment. I already have my admitting orders from my OB.

What a relief. Honestly, I feel so bored already with the pregnancy. It's not that I love my daughter less, it's all the inconveniences that goes with carrying a heavy load for the past eight months. It's the loooong wait, taking a toll on my already-limited patience. It's wearing the same clothes week by week. I didn't bother investing in a lot of maternity clothes, save for the basic ones. I plan for this to be my last pregnancy. I just have the basic warddrobe, and they're all worked to seams.

Pregnancy inconveniences, like always feeling hungry, walang kabusugan! the restricted movements, caffeine, zero alcohol, no gimmicks, the disturbed sleep, I always wake up at night, either I need to pee, change my sleeping position, or I'm hungry again. Nakakapagod at Nakakasawa na rin!

This pregnancy is the most eventful one, speaking from historical perspective unfolding in the world. With my last two pregnancies, I cannot recall any huge events that happened, that rocked our world. But Baby Rania's 9months stay in my womb, is really memorable.

On a personal note, we moved to our new home in Kapitolyo April 2009. I was about 2-3months pregnant when we had the house renovated. I hope there are no permanent side effects to Rania with all the rebuilding, remodelling fumes that I inhaled.

A new and deadly strain of flu was discovered, and because it originated from pigs, it was called swine flu. It was almost declared a global pandemic. Classes were suspended for 10 days everytime a case is discovered in schools. My officemate who sat beside someone on a airplane who contracted swine flu, was quarantine for 10days in an isolated resort in Singapore. Suddenly, like the time of SARS in hongkong, wearing masks become fashionable again.

The King of Pop, Michael Jackson died, allegedly from overdose of prescription medicines. Suddenly, we can't get enough of Michael's music and videos again.

Cory Aquino, the former Philippine president who overthrew the Marcos regime died of colon cancer. Her funeral drew huge crowds and lasted from 8am to 9pm.

Ka Erdy Manalo, the most-revered Executive Minister of Iglesia ni Cristo also died, I was glued to the television watching the solemn and dignified funeral rites. My respect for INC members grew. My husband was asking whether I'm thinking of converting, because after the funeral, i used linger in the Tamang Daan show in GEM TV, listening to INC evangelists.

Typhoon Ondoy devastated Metro Manila. Almost all major cities are flooded, except our area, Kapitolyo and Ortigas, Pasig. Most of my colleagues, nu skin accounts, ted's former officemates in San Miguel, experienced horrible flooding. Some were flooded up to the 1st-2nd floors of their homes, their vehicles also flooded.

About two days after Typhoon Ondoy, Typhoon Pepeng wrecked havoc in northern luzon. Ted was on a business trip to Tuguegarao, despite advisories. How stupid can one get! They were stranded for 9 hours in Landslide prone areas. My accounts in baguio, pangasinan were affected, also.

A rare scientific occurance happened with Ondoy couldn't leave the country soon enough. The reason for this was the pull of the succeeding typhoon pepeng who's devasting Northern Luzon. Pag-asa called it Fujiwara Effect, and the last time it happened was 1974, my birthyear.

What else ba? I hope that was the last. No more unfavorable events before the year ends.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Girl Power!

My colleagues were all predicting the same thing, Ted was very positive about it, even the two kids know what they want... A girl! It seems I'm the only one who's still unsure. Maybe because I don't want to feel disappointment, just in case, the opposite happens.

On my 5th month, off we went to megamall's In My Womb, to try the latest in ultrasound technology, 3d/4d. It's quite an expensive service, really. The cheapest is about 2,200 for a 3D ultrasound, which will get your 3 4R colored photos of the developing baby and gender determination. Since I was scheduled also the the Congenital Anomaly Scanning, which costs 2,500. I spent 3,500 for the whole experience.

Initially, i told the staff, to just do a 2D ultrasound. If it's a girl, that's the time we'll do a 3D. Poor Baby! Can you blame me? I had my fill of grainy black and white boys' ultrasound photos. I know what to expect. I was ushered into the room with the ultrasound machine, the boys were also in the same room, but separated with a ledge, though there's no glass partition. They have chairs to sit, and see the whole thing happening. They are very, very noisy, talking with the doctor.

Initially, the baby's genitals could not be seen. She's tucked somewhere in my rightside. The doctor asked all of them, if they want a boy or a girl.. and they all said, a girl!! Well, she said, you will soon have a little princess! look at her waving her hands!! She was indeed making open and close fists.

Despite her pronouncements and pointing to the lacking "lawit" I couldn't quite believe that she's indeed a girl. Doctors are fallible. So, could she be mistaken? It's just too surreal to be true. Well, she sounds confident, have tagged the photo, and is now using the pronoun She. Our new baby is a dream come true... an Answered Prayer.

The doctor then started studying the baby's features. As usual with a congenital anomaly scan, every part of the baby's body is scanned. The good doctor/sonologist keep a running commentary, counting the fingers, looking at the 4valves of the heart, listening to the heartbeat. It was a steady 140per minute. good rhythm.

After awhile the boys got bored. They were already talking about lunch while I was lying there being scanned. Kids! I chose the photos that will be printed. Honestly, the baby's figure is still a bit unformed. I was asking the doctor why it doesn't look like those in their posters and brochures. Apparently, those shots were of babies already 8 to 9 month old. Fully-formed, and almost ready to be given birth to. Our baby is just 5th month old, still being formed. She suggests that I get another ultrasound maybe 3 to 4months from now.

There's a slight problem with the growth of my placenta. It's laying too low, almost near my cervix. According to literature, if this one persists, I had to undergo caesarian. But the doctors assured me that normally the placenta will go up, when the uterus grows, about 98% of low-laying placenta will resolve itself. I hope and pray that i will be part of that statistics.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Songs I Grew Up With

The recent demise of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, made me nostalgic about the songs from my past. From my childhood years up until today, that I'm a mother of 2 kids, songs have always been at the background.

While i was growing up, around 5-8years old, i was still with my parents in the province of Masbate. I remember listening to the long playing albums (the vinyl-kinds) of Nora Aunor (tiny bubbles... in hawaii..), Victor Wood, Sylvia La Torre (balot, penoy)and Celeste Legaspi (Mamang sorbero, saranggola ni pepe). But that is not to say, we're that parochial. On the international front, I knew Patty Page (tennesee waltz... was a favorite!), Nat King Cole (I can't remember the exact titles of his songs, but let me hear the intro, and I will surely remember the rest of the lyrics), a slew of Elvis Prestley's, Beatles... Ooh, not to forget, I also love to sing-along to the catchy songs of Cascades (Rhythm of the Rain, Last Leaf..) Beach Boys (Surfin' USA, Califoria Girls), Four Aces, Platters and Neil Sedaka (Put your head on my shoulder, diana, Happy birthday sweet sixteen...)

When i went to Manila to study, since elementary days up to grade 5, i stayed with my grandmother in Ongpin, Manila. My mother's cousin, Ate Adela, served as my yaya, fetching me to and from school. Since she was only about 4 years older than I am,
we had the same taste in music. Our lives revolved around Menudo! Menudo was a group composed of 5 extremely cute young men from Puerto Rico. Whenever they turn 16, they graduate from the group, and is replaced with a new one. We used to buy tons of songhits, and if the cover was Menudo, we will lovingly cover it with plastic covers. Looking back, when i had more matured appreciate for music, i recall that the voices of menudo members are actually "duh?!" They're horrible. I wonder how i could have squealed over them!

When i was about 12 or 13 years old, my older brothers came to Manila, from their boarding school in Iloilo, to continue their high school education. Despite a one-year gap between their ages, they have different tastes in music.

Our eldest brother Ricky was a rocker. From him, i learned the songs of Scorpio, Nazareth, Eagles, Queen, Kiss, and Journey. My elder brother Ed was a fun of 80s, he's the nerdy-type who excels in school at matipid sa allowance. You can always count on him for extra dough. From Ed, i learned New Wave music like OMD, Duran Duran, Tears for Fears, Spandau Ballet, Fra Lippo Lippi, the Crew, Depeche Mode and a number of other unforgetable band names but who have one-time hits.

I have my own personal favorites, too, which my two brothers consider tacky. What the heck, I'm thirteen! I loved Michael Jackson (Beat It, Bad, Billy Jean), Madonna (Papa Don't Preach & Crazy for You), Cindy Lauper (Girls just wanna have fun, time after time), Laura Branigan (self-control,Power of Love) Gloria Estefan (conga!), Bryan Adams (summer of '69), Culture Club (karma chameleon, miss me mild), Huey Lewis & the News (hip to be square), and who was that who sang Tarzan Boy?

Those were the days of casette tapes and walkmans. We usually "record" our favorite songs from the radio to our portable casette tapes. Or, alternately, you can give a list of your favorite songs to any store along Raon, Manila. They'll record the selections for you.

I went back to Masbate during my 6th grade to 4th grade. We didn't have FM signal in our place. Can you just imagine, a city-bred like me adjusting to it? That's why i went back to the old vinyl records of my parents and really mastered the 70s hit songs, in those vinyl records! It doesn't help that even AM stations, also seemed to be stuck in 70s various artists selections turned into modern tunes (Pretty little baby..)

Whenever my father would go back to Manila, I would ask him to buy my the latest casette tapes. At that time, I was already a teenager, i was into love duets...James Ingram, Patti Austin, George Benson, Billy Joel, Lionel Richie.... Hay... kilig!!

When i was in college at UP, it was back to Manila life for me. I quite unfamiliar with the 90s songs, it was my roommate Kaye Madrid who introduced me to acoustics rock. She plays a mean guitar. I became acquainted with Jon Bon Jovi, U2, nirvana, radiohead, pearl jam, stone temple pilot...

Working at ABS-CBN, my colleague Myra and I love Regine Velasquez! But we weren't into music much then, we were into self-help books like jack canfield's chicken soup for the soul, paul coelho, john grisham...

During my pregnancy with the kids, I'm into classical music almost every morning and night. I had my brother, who now shuttles between Hongkong and China, to buy me the compilations of tchaikovsky, mozart and beethoven. I have about 5 CDs from each Master. I don't bother with the titles, i just pop one into the CD player or my laptop, like what's playing now, whenever I'm alone.

The kids now, all growing-up, while I'm playing those classical music for the one in the tummy now, thinks that classical is soooo noisy. What happens to the babies whom i raised in mozart while they were being conceived? Well, they're now into Black Eyed Peas, Pussy Cat Dolls, even Elton John, and willie revillame!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Off to Big School for Hans!

Remember 6 months ago, Hans did series of entrance exams to enroll for the coming school year? It was a whirlwind, trying to meet requirements and worrying if Hans can hurdle the big schools' standards (Ateneo, La Salle and Lourdes). We didn't had him take Xavier's, I have trauma against Chinese Schools. (He can learn another language as an extra-curricular activity, some other time.)

Anyway, he passed all the 3 big schools alright, but eventually the main consideration why we chose to enroll him at Lourdes School are the following:

1.)COST - Prep school in Ateneo costs more or less 83K per year. La Salle's rate is about 95K per year. Those doesn't include miscellanous and books. Both offer only
2-installments payment schemes which has interest. Lourdes' rate is only 50K. We have the option to pay quarterly, per semester or one-time. No matter what scheme, they do not add-on any interest.

2.) PROXIMITY TO THE HOUSE - a child is in his growing up years, it's cruel to have him wake up 430am or 500am to travel to school. I also don't want him to be lantang gulay at the end of the day, travelling to and fro, with all the traffic around the metro. Secondly, I also want the school to be near where i work, so I can also be present in emergencies, meetings or school programs.

3.) CATHOLIC EDUCATION - Having schooled in catholic school ourselves, and turning out just fine.. We want all the works for Hans -- first communion, rosaries, mass, daily prayers, service, etc. Is it asking too much, if i hope to see him, an acolyte someday ?

4.) NOT TOO BAD REPUTATION - the only not so favorable comment i hear about Lourdes, is that, there are a number of kids that end up being gays. But we believe that, if one is destined to be gay, he will be, no matter what. Besides, both of us are full-time hands-on parents. I think the kids are aware of gender differences and roles, early on in their lives. The other thing favorable thing I hear about Lourdes, they turn-out kids who are street-smart. Who would not be? the school is just a block away from EDSA! Hahahaha. Kidding aside, I do not want to cuddle my son, and to live constantly fearful of what's happening to him. I want my son to grow up, ready for the challenges of life. He must be able to take care of himself, with or without mommy & daddy around.

So, yesterday, Hans rode his school bus, and was on his own, for the first time, without any mommy/ daddy or yaya. I was not apprehensive at all, I was confident for Hans.

Well, I was suppose to meet him, at the gate, because the school bus' staff are not allowed inside the school. I was suppose to bring him to his classroom. He has not been to his classroom yet, the only place he's been to in Lourdes was the guidance office during the exam.

When ted and i arrived in school, Hans was already inside the classroom, sitting there, waiting for classes to start with his huge bag. Galing! I wonder how he found his classroom? When i asked him at the end of the day, apparently, he went with a parent, who had a kid, wearing similar prep-uniform like he was wearing, and she helped him find his way inside the big school. Bravo!

We stayed for about 30minutes observing the class, until all the parents were turned-away, since most the the kids are settled already. Three of his classmates were crying having separation anxieties. Hans, covered his ears, with all the crying. :) Until we waved him good-bye, as we went off to our respective days ahead.

In retrospect, I tell my friends and my husband, seeing my eldest starting in big school is a bit overwhelming. "Imagine, nagsisimula pa lang kami. Andaming pa niyang pagdadaanan... school projects, book reports, field trips, relationship problems... I recall my own childhoold challenges, yung maliit na mundo ko noon, na buong akala ko ay this is the world, yun pala, mas malawak pa ang mararating ko." My son has to undergo these things, overcome small challenges to grow up to be somebody someday.

My husband confidently assures me, "Kaya natin yan! We just have to take it a step at a time." Hahaha! Do i hear Jordin Sparks? Pero totoo nga, "We live and we learn...A step at a time, there's no need to rush. It's like learning to fly, or falling in love. It's gonna happen, baby, what's suppose to happen. When we find the reasons why, one step at a time."

Friday, May 29, 2009

Liveable -- at last!

Finally! After a literally gruelling 2-3 months of renovation, we have moved-in to our own new home! I can't describe the feeling, but my husband succintly described it, after waking up in our own bedroom, "Iba talaga, pag sarili mong bahay. Parang wala kang ini-intindi na. Relax!"

Renovation was no-joke! I can't describe everything in detail. I guess some of these before and after photos will tell the story. It's actually a complete renovation of the house. As my husband say, "Parang lot and framework lang binili natin."

This is the old living room. The former owner had enormous sofas, wall cabinets and consoles that are all over the place. Notice that there's a dog near my feet. She actuallys allows her dirty askal to roam around the whole house! On a positive note, we both like warm lights instead of stark flourescents.

Here's our version of the same space. We made drop ceilings to hide the lights installation, and create depth, installed ceilings fans, for some breeze. In the windows, we made built-in seating, which has storage underneath. This became the favorite nooks of the kids and the helpers watching the goings-on in the street below

I wanted a cheery, happy living room, so we painted one of the walls - bright sunny yellow. We installed our home theater in the living room, because there's nowhere else to place it. I would have wanted a home theater, but it's kinda impossible on this townhouse!

We have some paintings, which we bought from Bali, waiting to be installed on the walls. Ted volountered to do them, but he hasn't find the time yet. I'm not so keen on curtains. It's homey, cute but too traditional and commonplace for my taste. Ted and I are still debating whether curtains or blinds. Besides, we're still saving up to settle some obligations!! So, Those little things have to wait awhile.

This is what the old dining area looks like.

As you can see, she has a passion for pink. Pink Curtains, pink walls and that garish bluegreen "roller-painted" images of leaves running all over the ceilings. Clutter all-over. eeww!

Here's our version of the dining area.

We didn't buy new tables, because a 4seater is still enough for our small family. Though a 6seater is also perfect for this space. Besides, I wanted more space... plenty of space to move around. Thank God, my husband was tolerant of me, wanting a redish-orangish color because I read somewhere that it stimulates appetite. The embossed wall, as my friend Rommel, who helped make sense of my style puts it, is a Statement. The oomph that this little unit needs. On top of the wall, there are installed warm lights, which creates a glow while we're dining. We haven't got around to buying lights on the ceiling. I wanted a something that will really go with the wall. For now, the soft glow from the wall is enough to guide our dining pursuits.

This is the old kitchen.
What can i say? She has too much going on! The cabinets, for sure, have termites. They really had to go. The pics will speak for itself

The new kitchen for the lady of the house! I would have done something on the marble countertop, but taking them off will be too much trouble. Non-fire stove, conductor microwave ovens, high-tech rice cooker that can cook bulalo as well, all electricity-powered, and, in modern black and silver color! My dearest husband thinks of everything! I better produce some culinary creations to make all these modernity worth it.

I'd rather not post my complete side by side of my documentation process of the whole renovation. Suffice to say that some of the "before" photos might disturb some of your sensibilities.

So, here are photos of the newly renovated unit. We havent' gotten around to buying a lot of furnishings. For now, we're making do of what we have accumulated from the past years.

I'm especially proud of this window treatment at the master's bedroom because I was the one who designed it. We don't have a home office, so I had a built-in desk made overlooking the window. Underneath are open shelves for my little brick-a-bracks and a drawer and cabinet to put in all our paper clutter. I love that i can look over the window, and get a view over the treetops.

Some of the other parts of the house:

The dirty kitchen, at the end of the garage, on the 1st floor

Our Lanai at the roofdeck, which is temporarily being used as drying area.