Happy Holidays!


It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
by Andy Williams

It's the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you "Be of good cheer"
It's the most wonderful time of the year
It's the hap-happiest season of all
With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings
When friends come to call
It's the hap- happiest season of all

There'll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow
There'll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago

It's the most wonderful time of the year
There'll be much mistltoeing
And hearts will be glowing
When love ones are near
It's the most wonderful time of the year

There'll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow
There'll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago

It's the most wonderful time of the year
There'll be much mistltoeing
And hearts will be glowing
When love ones are near
It's the most wonderful time
It's the most wonderful time
It's the most wonderful time
It's the most wonderful time of the year


Javier's Arrival

I gave birth to a son whom we named Javier last October 30 at the Cebu Doctors University Hospital. Giving birth was one painful yet amazing experience. And Javi (his nickname) was out through normal delivery at 7 lbs and 1 oz. He looked very healthy when he was given to me.

I have the most wonderful birth team. My doctor, Dr. Ianne Villarin was the best. She was more of a girlfriend than a doctor.

I thank God for a relatively easy and safe delivery.

What Keeps Me Busy


I suddenly don't have time in my hands anymore.

I still can't establish a routine.

I'm a complete mess. As I said, my life has never been this out of order.

And then he smiles at me... my heart melts.

Can't get enough of Javi's smell. It's the best scent in the world.

Ah... welcome to MOTHERHOOD.

The Prayer of Jabez


And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying,
“Oh, that You would bless me indeed,
and enlarge my territory,
that Your hand would be with me,
and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!”
So God granted him what he requested.
- 1 Chronicles 4:10 New King James Version

Our good friends Kris and Malou gave us a copy of the book, The Prayer of Jabez. I had heard of this book, so I was extremely happy to find it together with their baby shower gift for Javi. I showed the book to Jed, and to my surprise he finished reading the book before me. It was unusual as he is not really a book lover.

That same evening before we both sleep, he asked me if I knew the prayer of Jabez. Well, how could I when I haven't had the chance to read the book. Then he told me what they are and explained them to me.

Jabez asked for four things:
  1. To bless him indeed
  2. To enlarge his territory
  3. That God's hand would be with him, and
  4. That God would keep him from evil, that he may not cause pain
It was a very simple prayer. Yet, they are exactly what we need to ask God in order to have a better life.

The following morning, I grabbed the book, and read it. I wanted to find out how the author Bruce Wilkinson expounded on the prayer.

I learned:
  • How the Lord loves us and that we should not be reluctant to ask God to bless us indeed. Remember, His cup overflows and would only want the best for His children.
  • How we should ask God to continue to expand and increase our territory for us to reach out to more people and make a difference in each their lives. He wants us to grow in every aspect of our lives.
  • How we need to depend on only Him.
  • How we constantly need to ask for the Lord's protection as we will be regularly tempted to sin.
It is easy to pray to God. Just talk to Him like you would engage your best friend. Jabez's prayer is not complicated at all.

Help Wanted?

In my entire life, we never had a live-in nanny or househelp/maid. My mother raised me and my two siblings on her own. I am used to taking care of my own needs, of our house, and looking after other family members. And life for me had always been like that.

When I was younger, I resented my mother for teaching and letting me do all the household chores at home. While I could be outside playing, I was washing the dishes, sweeping the floor or working the washing machine. It even crossed my mind that we might be that poor and we could not afford a maid/househelp. Then I realized it was my mother's choice why we never ended up with one. Yes, we had help, there are ladies who would go to our house to do our laundry and press our clothes, but the rest of the chores were up to us. Then I eventually appreciate that kind of life.

I later discovered that I am obsessive compulsive. Then the time came when my mother finally hired a stay-out maid, I would still be cleaning my bedroom and bathroom. I would not let anyone clean except me. It would frustrate when someone else would clean it and I could tell if somebody else did.

Life moved on, and I became Jed's wife. We first lived in a one-bedroom condominium unit in Mandaluyong City. I had my routine set-up. Managing the place was very easy for me. I enjoyed keeping it orderly and clean. There was absolutely no need for extra help.

We moved here to Cebu and I became a full-time housewife. Again there was no need for extra help as I had all the time in the world to be the queen of the house. I must have driven my husband crazy as I became more hands-on and strict in keeping the house in order.

And then I got pregnant....

My mother who raised me without a nanny or househelp is now insisiting I get extra help. And why's that??? Her reason was that I am mostly alone in the house, and if ever an emergency would come up then I'd have someone bring me to the hospital. Alright.. My entire pregnancy had been fairly easy and I had no complications of sorts. So I got away without any extra help for most part of my pregnancy. I managed well the entire time. I do not mind being alone; I kind of prefer it that way.

Thoughts of me going into labor alone and the first couple of months with a newborn sounded chaotic and scary. Jed and I decided that I NEED extra help. It took me a while to digest this new concept. I prayed about it and asked for only one person to help me. God heard my plea. Jed and I had been allowed to borrow Manang Neneng from his uncle for three months. Manang Neneng had been with Jed's family for more than 20 years. I had a good feeling about her. However, it was a struggle for me. I am a very private person and I just do not let anyone into my personal space. The first week was hard for me. She must have been bored to death. What could she do here? Our place is not very big so it only takes an hour or two to clean the entire place. Also, I am used to doing things my way - cook, clean, etc. I feel awkward asking her to do stuff for me. It is important for me that I am the one looking after my husband's needs.

When the baby finally comes out, our lives would be busier. But I'd still want to be the one taking care of Javi. And I do not want to rely so much on Manang Neneng as we have to return her back to Jed's uncle by January.

Then I'd be all alone taking care of Javi and Jed. Good luck to me!! It may come as a surprise but I'd rather have it that way. I had been blessed with this rare opportunity to be a stay-at-home wife and mother, and I'd like to make the most out of it. I really cannot see my children being raised by a nanny or some stranger. That would be unfair as my mother raised me without one, and I'd want to do the same for my children.

I do not want my kids to depend on their nanny, I want them to grow up knowing how to do things for themselves. I would want to enjoy every minute with my children. I would not want to appear helpless when left alone with my own children.

It will not be easy. But it is possible. There would be sacrifices. I just know that it'll be worth it.

Couch Potato

My favorite TV shows are back.

I anticipated the return of Gossip Girl season 3. I am not really after the values as honestly there are very few. It's fun to watch how the uber rich live their daily lives.

Oh, and there's my favorite Grey's Anatomy. It's now on it's 6th season. I miss the character of George O'Malley.
I cannot believe I missed the season 4 premier of my other ultra favorite, Brothers and Sisters. Thank goodness for my friend Sam's tweet. Otherwise I wouldn't have been updated. I love the Walkers. I can relate to almost each and everyone of them. I've told myself I want a family as close as them. Credit goes out to the family matriarch , Nora Walker, played by the very fine actress Sally Field.


Thanks to Twitter, I discovered this new show called Glee. It sounds High School Musical like. My best friend said I am bound to enjoy the musical performances.


I can already see my future, watching new episodes of my favorite shows while breastfeeding Javi.

Thirty Six Weeks


At thirty six weeks, here's how I look like.

I'm waiting for Jed to pick me up for dinner.
Yes, we're going out on a date.

Helping In A Whole New Level

Typhoon Ondoy brought out the worst and best in the Philippines.

WORST: My jaw dropped as I watched the devastation that happened. My heart broke and went out to the victims. It was horrifying and a total nightmare. For the first time, my family's home in Bocaue was flooded. God was still good because at the time the water was rising my mother and sister were here with me in Cebu. They were supposed to fly back Saturday afternoon, but then my brother decided against it as the situation was getting worse. True enough, water was knee-deep inside the house.

There were many "what if's" -- What if it were only my mother left alone in the house? She would never managed the flood on her own. Even my sister would feel so helpless. But my brother could. And he was even out helping neighbors get to safety.

BEST: Bayanihan is very much alive. I am so proud of the Filipinos. Every single one of them who use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to disseminate crucial information such as ways people could help. It is possible to help wherever you are.

There really is no excuse to be indifferent anymore. But there are people who still are. If they only knew how blessed they are from being spared. I really do think these people are the first ones who need to be out there helping the victims. Or even in their own little way such as sending cash, or post information to help others. Be involved if you want your children to live in a better Philippines.

Ways to Help:

  • Bianca Gonzales compiled this comprehensive list in her which she updates regularly. Through this I learned how I can send donations from Cebu.
Here are helpful tips for those homes and cars affected by the flood:

Oprah + Black Eyed Peas = Awesome!

I love --

Oprah
Black Eyed Peas
the Windy City
the song I Gotta Feeling

"I gotta feeling.
That today's gonna be a good day.
That today's gonna be a good good day.."

The Sweetest Thing

Patrick Swayze passed away this week and tributes were given to this fine actor by the media. I had been a fan of his movies, Dirty Dancing and Ghost. Caught myself singing the song he wrote, She's Like The Wind. And I was in awe when he dropped by Oprah lat year, and boy he could still dance.

People had this photo tribute on Patrick and his wife Lisa called Patrick & Lisa: A Love Story.

I was so moved by this photo, especially its caption. I can definitely feel the love between the two.

Rest in peace, Patrick.

SIDE BY SIDE photo | Lisa Niemi, Patrick Swayze

SIDE BY SIDE

All throughout Patrick Swayze's battle with pancreatic cancer, his wife of 34 years, Lisa Niemi (with him at a L.A. Lakers-San Antonio Spurs game in May 2008), was by his side to help him soldier on. From helping him keep track of his medication to flying him to chemo treatments (she's a registered pilot), the dancer-actress was his rock. "He looks into her eyes and he sees nothing except, 'Everything is going to be okay,'" Patrick's brother Don told PEOPLE in 2008. "No matter what he's going through, it's okay. She's just there.""

Frustrations

When I moved here in Cebu, I was stunned to find out that the simple things I enjoy back in Manila are not available here.

You'll be surprised that grocery stores and supermarkets here do not sell:




















Gardenia bread



















Pre-cut salad greens

Last weekend, Jed and I went around buying baby stuff, and we had a hard time looking for plain white garterized baby mittens.




















Today, I checked out the Marks & Spencer store in Ayala Center Cebu and could not believe that they do not sell nursing bras. If I had known that that would be the case, I'd have bought in Manila two weeks ago. But then I followed the advices to purchase nursing bras closer to the due date. Sigh...













You bet I am frustrated. But then I realized how these situations teach me to be more resourceful, flexible, and content. And that I'll manage with whatever's available here. People here survive, so will I.

Thirty Three Weeks

This is how I look at 33 weeks pregnant.

Javier's been super active. I feel like he's using up all my energy as I'm easily exhausted.

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Baby Shower Gifts

Thanks to those who gave their gifts, lent items, and handed pre-loved goodies to us. :-))

Baby Showers

On my last trip to Manila before I give birth, I made sure I spent time with the special people who matter - my family and closest friends. It's also the time for baby showers. Who'd have thought I'd end up with three??

It was supposed to be just one baby shower thrown by Neyza and Ding, but then several friends could not make it resulting to two more get-togethers.

My long time friend Tammy, who I've known since grade school hosted a dinner for me in their lovely home. She invited our friends from grade school and high school. Confirmation was a 100%.

Being a new mom as well, Tammy's been a big help throughout this pregnancy. And when I feel clueless, I'd be texting or e-mailing her and she'd get back to me with so many useful information.



With Tammy, and the entire group
Photos from Samantha


My former colleagues and friends from the Canadian Embassy threw a sort of baby shower for me at Cafe Breton. I couldn't remember a time I laughed that much. For a while I was scared Cafe Breton would kick us out because we were too loud. A few of us transferred to Cafe Havana next door after a few hours, and the conversations continued.


My embassy friends + with Javi's Ninang Che


We waited for Fe at Cafe Havana

My real baby shower happened on a Sunday afternoon in Conti's in Serendra hosted by Neyza, Ding and my brother. Jed was there, and so were my family. And our favorite couples (Sam + Rob, Malou + Kris, and Joel + Joy) made the afternoon more fun.

The invitation and my organizers



A hearty laugh from my family


My small group and HS friends
Photos from Samantha

I'd truly miss everyone. Jed and I are so blessed with all these friendships, and their little something for our baby Javi.

September Treat

I cannot wait for Grey's Anatomy season 6 premiere. Here's the first five minutes of the two-hour premiere.

Two weeks to go!!

Pregnant Poses

I love what pregnancy's done to me. So far so good.

I feel great. People say I look good. And I'm having a baby boy! Now that's really a surprise as pregnancy usually tends to stress out the mothers-to-be of baby boys.

At 24 weeks or 6 months

At 28 weeks or 7 months

While I could only fit in a number of clothes, and have been wearing Jed's boxer shorts at home, that does not stop me from dressing up when we go out. I refuse to buy maternity clothes. Except for a couple of bottoms. I figured that if I'll only use them for a few months, then it's not worth the money. I did invest in dresses last year and that's what I've been wearing. If I'd have to buy clothes or tops, stores now sells a lot of loose clothes which I could fit into. I'd still want to wear the clothes I'm wearing now after I give birth. One has to be practical these days.

There are no ruffled dresses in my closet or pastel colored clothes. I am into solid colors - purple, yellow, green, red, turquoise, brown and black. I love wearing black! I'm not the type who believes in pamahiins. I wear what I want to in any color I want as long as it feels comfortable and I look good in it.

Psalm 23 From The Mouth Of Kiddos

Che asked me to watch this link yesterday and I immediately fell in love with the two kids. Now I have a goal that when my son reaches a certain age and could speak and memorize lines, I'll videotape him reciting my favorite Bible verse, Psalm 23.

What's My Love Language?

This topic came up when Kris asked me what my love language is. I couldn't answer him. I knew I took the quiz a long and couldn't remember what the results were. I'm ready to take the Five Love Languages Quiz again. And I will let Jed take the quiz on his free time.

And my results are:

The Five Love Languages

My primary love language is probably
Quality Time
with a secondary love language being
Physical Touch.

Complete set of results

Quality Time: 10
Physical Touch: 7
Acts of Service: 6
Words of Affirmation: 5
Receiving Gifts: 2


Information

Unhappiness in relationships, according to Dr. Gary Chapman, is often due to the fact that we speak different love languages. Sometimes we don't understand our partner's requirements, or even our own. We all have a "love tank" that needs to be filled in order for us to express love to others, but there are different means by which our tank can be filled, and there are different ways that we can express love to others.

Take the quiz

Fifteen Movies In Fifteen Minutes

My friend Ding tagged me on Facebook. Since I love movies so much, I decided to work on her tag. I found it fun coming up with the list of movies and why I thought about it.

The rule goes: Taken from the "15 Books in 15 Minutes" concept, pick 15 movies that are stuck in your subconscious and can dredge up within a span of 15 minutes and try and give an idea why it's memorable.

And my fifteen movies are:

1. The Italian Job
The first movie I watched with Jed. This movie remake has no violence, no sex and has a great storyline.















2. The Devil Wears Prada
Fell in love with the movie. Reminded me of a former boss. Totally entertaining. I was overwhelmed with the clothes, shoes and accessories. Meryl Streep's acting was impeccable. I remembered watching this alone the day after Jed proposed to me.















3. 10 Things I Hate About You
A modern adaptation of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. Ah, first time I've heard of Heath Ledger. He blew me away with how he exuded his manliness. I've been a fan eversince.















4. Cinderella Man
Beautiful story and acting. It has a redeeming factor in the end which left me feeling good.















5. Shawshank Redemption
Another beautiful story which touched the core of my heart.















6. Sex And The City The Movie
Watched this with Ding. Been a fan of the TV series. It's a movie girls and gay love.















7. The House of the Spirits
From the bestselling book of Isabel Allende. I couldn't forget this movie adaption. First saw this when I was in college.















8. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
What's not to love about the Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien? The movie version of the book lived up to great story.















9. The Incredibles
I am not a big fan of cartoons or animated films. But this one is an exemption. I truly enjoyed watching this movie that I even bought a shirt of Edna Mode that I wore up to this day.















10. Meet Joe Black
I am a daddy's girl and that was why this movie appealed to me. And boy, Brad Pitt just took my breath away.















11. I Am Sam
What a tearjerker! I first cried fifteen minutes into the movie and that continued until the end of the film. Sean Penn's acting was amazing.















12. Brokeback Mountain
I felt the love between Ennis and Jack in this very controversial movie. I also felt the pain of Ennis' wife, Alma.















13. X-Men: The Last Stand
Been a fan of the X-Men series. Was amused with the mutants' powers. And of course, there's Wolverine played by my favorite Hugh Jackman.















14. You've Got Mail
Totally could relate to this movie nine years ago.
















15. Jerry Maguire
I've watched this movie over and over. Loved the kid Ray played by Jonathan Lipnicki. I was still naive then and I cried when Jerry Maguire delivered his "You complete me" line. Now that line no longer makes sense as I am complete on my own and do not need another person to make me whole.


 
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