Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A sweet shift in focus

I started this blog a year ago, but I haven't been consistently posting. Since blogging has become my only creative outlet nowadays, I have decided to take it a little more seriously.

I'm sprucing things up a bit in the coming days. It's time for a blog makeover. Not only am I changing the name of this blog, I'm also shifting focus to include a little more about what interests a new mom. Parenting is still a major focus, but there will be more about the home, nesting, design, food, shopping - all the sweet little things I like. I'm so excited!

That's my little mood board for the blog. It's my guide to what I want this blog to look and feel like. I want the blog to be whimsical, to be as sweet as my little girl. What do you think?

New look coming real soon!

That's my little moon being naughty. Hihi. She of course wanted to be part of the action when she saw me laying out all the pretty stuff. Out of everything laid out, she wanted the pearls!

Should we go to the beach?

My cousins are planning to go to the beach on Friday. They asked us if we wanted to go, so I'm trying to decide if Ally and I should go with them or not. It'll be fun. I'm dying to get another seaside full-body massage. I want to go! But I have lots of things to consider:

  1. My husband has work on Friday, so I have no one to help me with Ally. But I can probably bring Grace, our house help, with us. Still, it won't be the same.

  2. My favorite cousin Kristine has work too, so she's not going. Boo.

  3. The drive to the beach is at least two hours. I'm not sure if Ally can handle that. We won't bring our own car, so I don't think we can do stopovers when Ally gets cranky.

  4. What if it rains at the beach? Will Ally be ok in the cottage if it does?

  5. My uncle and brother will be out in a boat in the middle of the ocean, fishing the whole day. There's no telling how long they'll be, so we'll pretty much be stuck at the resort till they get back. No problem with me, I'd rather be stuck at the beach than at home. But what if Ally gets bored?

Ok, I think I've talked myself out of it.

But, but, but... how badly do I want that massage? Haha.

Ally's 1st beach trip at 6 months, March 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Trick or Treat for Unicef

We didn't get Ally a Halloween costume, but that didn't stop us from Trick or Treating! Instead of going around the neighborhood to ask for candy, we joined the UNICEF Superhero campaign and asked for donations from Ally's lolos and lolas, and ninangs at the party we attended last Sunday. This was such a fun idea! 

When we were at SM Megamall a few weeks ago, Ally's cousin Yapoy got this free kit from the UNICEF booth. The kit contained a Trick or Treat donation box, ballers that say "I have the right to play", a participation pin, and some forms. But since Yapoy is on vacation, the kit was passed on to Ally. 

From the UNICEF press release:
The tradition of Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF began in 1950 in the United States, when Philadelphia schoolchildren first went door-to-door at Halloween collecting money in decorated milk cartons to help children in need around the world.
They raised a grand total of $17, kicking off a campaign that has since brought in millions of dollars each year to help UNICEF provide medicine, better nutrition, safe water, education, emergency relief and other support to children in more than 150 countries.
Millions of children now participate in Halloween-related fundraising campaigns in the United States, Canada and Hong Kong, China, among other places.  In these campaigns, children go far beyond trick or treating in scary costumes with the familiar orange UNICEF collection boxes in hand. Children and young people take part in various fun and educational events that help them gain a better understanding of child rights and the challenges facing children around the world – including poverty, killer diseases and armed conflict.
This global campaign, now in the Philippines, has raised more than $167 million around the world and remains an inspiration to the young (and the young at heart) to further the cause of children everywhere.

We're turning in the donation box this week. Thank you lolos, lolas, and ninangs for your donation to UNICEF!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Flowers and frisbee

Our Trick or Treat plans for the weekend got scrapped. When Ally got sick last week, I didn't get her a costume anymore. But I'm not the least bit disappointed because this weekend, instead of going to a Halloween party, we visited family instead.

On Saturday, we went to Ally's mamalola's garden supplies shop in Calamba, Laguna to visit her lola and cousins. Ally had a great time - she loves the outdoors. Too bad the cousins weren't there. So after slices of pizza and Coke in a small bahay kubo in the garden, we headed to San Pedro to see her cousins.

On Sunday, we visited my cousins to celebrate their lola's 75th birthday. Happy birthday Lola Zeny! There was so much food!

After stuffing ourselves till our tummies hurt, we played frisbee in the park. Yay, physical activity! I've been sedentary for so long, I can't remember when I last broke a sweat from real exercise. (Unfortunately, carrying my big baby around doesn't count as a workout.) I am so out of shape that throwing the disc a few times gave me sore muscles all over! What a loser! I need to start swimming again soon.

I don't have photos of the party, but here's what my stylish one year old wore:

Before heading home, I got her to wear her bunny ears and we got to collect donations for Unicef in her tiny orange Trick or Treat box. More about that in a future post.

And speaking of Halloween, I finally caught up with the new season of Walking Dead and Once Upon a Time. Do you watch those shows? I can't get over WD episode 2!

So that's what we did the past couple of days. Weekends should be longer! How did yours go?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The playground on a Tuesday afternoon

They say laughter is the best medicine, so we thought of giving Ally a little treat to cheer her up. She was being cranky at home (who wouldn't be if you had to be forced to drink medicine 3 times a day!), and we knew just what she needed. We made a quick visit to the playground this afternoon to give her a break from being cooped up indoors for the past 3 days. I wish we could do this everyday!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sick baby :(

Our poor little Ally is sick. It started with a mild fever and a little coughing last Thursday. The fever went away, only to return on Friday evening. The coughing got worse.  So we went to her pediatrician Saturday morning, who prescribed Amoxicillin and Ambroxol. It's been a struggle getting her to drink the antibiotics. The doc suggested mixing them with juice  - we tried that, but she doesn't like drinking juice. So we have to gently wrestle her to get the drops in. The fever is gone, thank God. I hope the cough goes away soon.

Our little trooper enjoyed the visit to her doctor - well, at least the part where we let her walk in the garden. She squealed with delight as the wind blew on her face. Just look at her.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Gingersnaps sale

There are mall-wide sales going on all over the metro starting today until Sunday. So please remind me to steer clear of malls this weekend - I can only imagine the traffic, the race to get the last parking slot, and the long queues.

But I'm only saying that because I already got me loot in advance, haha! This lucky mommy went to Megamall yesterday for some grocery shopping, and unwittingly dropped by the department store where - surprise! - a table full of Gingersnaps goodies were on sale early. I just went to the baby section to look for leggings for Ally (those pesky mosquitoes are at it again!) and see if there's a new collection at the Gingersnaps corner. So I was super delighted to see a couple of sales ladies unloading plastic bags of clothes on a table. They were displaying the sale items early, woot!

Here's what I got for Ally! All of these shirts, I've been wanting to buy earlier this year. Yey, now I got them on sale! The blue Circus shirt with the cuddly bear is my favorite - now Ally has two Circus-themed shirts!


Ally's 13th month report card

One of the synonyms of the word parenting must be paranoia. I've always been the worrywart, but I've never been as anxious as when I became a parent.

It all starts during pregnancy: Oh my gulay I forgot to take my folic acid supplement, does this mean the baby will be bobo?

Then there's the newborn stage where you get up every 15 minutes to check if she's still breathing.

Now she's a toddler, and there's a whole bunch of new issues you start worrying about: I try to clean her ears, but she doesn't have tutuli! Is that normal??? (Doc says yes, it's normal. And yes, I actually asked her pedia about that.)

Seriously speaking though, normal development is the thing that worries me the most. I don't pray for a smart kid, that's asking too much. Instead, I pray that her physical, mental, and emotional development is going along fine. Please Lord, no developmental delays or disabilities. We pray for a healthy, happy child.

There's this checklist of milestones on that's helpful for keeping track of your child's development. There are different stages, and the one above is the list for toddlers. I don't know how accurate this is, but it was prepared by pedias, developmental psychologists, and many other professionals. I tried to cross-reference different sources (Mayo Clinic, What to Expect book), and this looks pretty reliable.

That's Ally's progress so far. Looks like her communication skills are pretty advanced. She's madaldal just like her mom (uhoh!). Her motor skills need improvement (I guess we have to play with balls more often), but as far as the chart is concerned, it's still normal. So we're pretty happy about her progress so far. Thank you Lord!

So here comes another bout of paranoia. Just when you think you're in the safe zone, you find articles that talk about regression. One day they're fine, the next day they lose skills they've already learned. Pretty scary stuff!

It pays to always be mindful of milestones, and check out lists like the one above. At the very least, you'll find out what to get excited for in the coming months! And more importantly, new research has shown that you can now detect signs of a developmental delay as early as 14 months old, as opposed to waiting for the 3rd birthday like recommended in previous years (read here). There is so much new information today that wasn't available many years ago. It's a good idea to read about these things once in a while.

I know my post sounds gloomy when I should be celebrating about Ally's triumphs. Believe me, I am celebrating and doing a happy dance in my head! :) But I just wanted to take this opportunity to share the info with fellow parents. So check out the link above. The earlier you detect a problem, the earlier things can get better.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Little Miss Gingersnaps

There's this local brand of kiddie clothing we love called Gingersnaps. They make the most stylish baby dresses, rompers, and tees. Comfort isn't sacrificed for style. Be it casual everyday wear or special occasion dresses - everything is super comfy! We love it so much that most of Ally's clothes are from Gingersnaps.

But this post isn't meant to be a review. Just wanted to share this cute coincidence. Doesn't Ally look exactly like the Gingersnaps character on her romper? Give her golden curls, and you'd think the character was based on her! Teehee!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What to wear for Halloween?

It's Ally's first Halloween. Technically, it's her second, but since she was still a newborn last year, we didn't get to experience it.

This year, I don't want to miss the hullabaloo. I can't pass up a chance to dress her up in a cute outfit. I don't know what costume to get though. Any suggestions? It has to be very comfy and it shouldn't require a hat or hair thingie. She doesn't like wearing headgear! I don't want her to be in full mascot attire - we live in a tropical country so it's going to be really warm in a full suit.

But look at these photos of her taken at a studio a few weeks before her birthday. I didn't plan the lion costume. But when I saw it at the studio, I decided to give it a shot and see if Ally would wear it. It was going to be perfect for her party invites. More on that in a future post.

I had concerns about the costume, so I checked if it was clean before I made her wear it. It was freshly laundered. I also made sure it wasn't scratchy - the inner lining was soft and silky smooth. The studio was air conditioned so I didn't have to worry about her getting uncomfortably warm.

Ta-da! My happy baby was such a good sport! I still can't believe she actually wore the lion costume! I was so happy she cooperated during the shoot, and was super surprised when she started mimicking me as I acted out how a lion would growl. That's what she's doing in the third photo below! (Now she "growls" like that every time she sees these photos of her or any lion photo. Kagigil!)

It took all of 5 minutes. I am amazed that the photographer got these shots (and more) in such a short time. And even more amazed that Ally was such a ham! I didn't expect her to last that long. As expected, she started tugging on the headgear a couple of minutes into the shoot. The photog wanted to take more photos, but I didn't want Ally to be in that suit too long, so I asked her to stop shooting. And just in time too, because Ally started to cry. She hated the headgear. As soon as I got it off her, she was a happy baby again, even with the suit still on.

So I don't recommend costumes like these for toddlers if they're going out Trick or Treating. A quick photo shoot in a studio with A/C is fine. But I can't imagine making babies wear this in Manila weather for more than 5 minutes - even in a mall!

What will your kids wear this Halloween? What's your favorite costume of theirs? Please share by commenting!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

No Barbies yet please!

We were at Toy Kingdom last week, spending the gift card Ally received for her birthday.

Now Ally has recently discovered Barbie, having seen her 4-year old cousin's dolls one time we visited. So when we were at the Barbie aisle in the toy store, she reached for a doll. She singled out the one with long, bright purple hair. Yes, they make Barbie hair in all sorts of ridiculous colors now.

Oh my gulay, she was very assertive with her choice! I was showing her dolls with more "conservative" hair color (aka blonde or brown). Go for the classics, baby. She dismissed them all with grunts and impatient gestures, stubbornly clutching her chosen doll in a death grip. She had eyes only for the purple-haired Barbie. She was giggling as she looked at the box - a reaction not even beloved Pooh received when we visited his aisle a few minutes earlier.

Her dad and I almost gave in. How can you resist the drool-slathered smile? How can you tell her that she is too young to have a Barbie, when she has clearly fallen in love?

You'd most definitely break her neck before you could learn to comb her hair, little lady. I told her Daddy as much.

We almost got hypnotized by her Puss-in-boots eyes. The Daddy especially. But we escaped the trance!

Bracing for a tantrum, we let her hold the box and made our way to the other aisles. We were trying to distract her by showing her more age-appropriate alternatives. Minutes later, bored with her purple-haired friend, she chucked the box to the floor. Ha, we won this round!

We went back to the Winnie the Pooh aisle where she fell in love with Piglet. Whew.

How long can we keep Barbie out of her toy cabinet, I wonder? Why are you growing up so fast, my little baby? What's next, nail polish when you're two?

Oh boy, we are in trouble. The Daddy especially! :p

The perks of having a baby girl

I loved playing dress up when I was a kid. I also loved paper dolls and would even design, draw, and cut out new dresses for them. I owned Barbies, and would create tiny frocks out of my mom's leftover fabric.

So you can just imagine how much I enjoy having a daughter. It's like having a real walking and talking doll! It's such a joy making her wear the cutest outfits.

Almost everyone we know also seem to enjoy dressing her up - most of the gifts we receive are clothes!

Though I loved dolls and dresses, I only developed a bit of fashion sense in my 20's. But Ally, at the young age of one, is showing interest in all things stylish. It could be my imagination, but I can feel she has an eye for this stuff!

She used to hate wearing shoes when she was an infant, taking them off at every opportunity. Then when she started teething, she started to think shoes were a tasty alternative to teethers!

But at 10 months, she surprised me when she grabbed a sandal and tried to put it on. Ever since then, when she sees her sandals or shoes, she'll gesture for them, and will try to put them on. And just the other day, she learned to say "shoes"!

I found out she likes pettiskirts. When she saw me browsing through recent photos of her wearing a purple tutu, she looked down at what she was wearing (a tank top and a diaper) and patted at her sides, looking for the skirt. Now every time I bring out her skirts, she willingly steps into them like a little lady!

Photos of Ally by Kat Wycoco

I'll find out about the downsides of having a daughter sooner or later. But for now let me enjoy dressing up my real life baby doll.

My new passion

People sometimes give me a weird look when I say I've been busy. Some of them don't understand when I say I've been preoccupied with my baby.

Ally turned one a few weeks ago, and it has been the most amazing year of my life. There is nothing more exciting and fulfilling than seeing your baby grow into a little person. It's not all smooth sailing mind you, I've had to weather a lot of storms along the way. It has been rougher than I imagined it to be. But that is nothing compared to what you get in return: the joys of being a parent!

So yes, I've been preoccupied with my baby.

How can someone this adorable not make everything else unimportant in comparison?

How can you not drop everything else, and pay attention as she learns to say her first words? As she takes her first few wobbly steps?

How can you not give her your full attention when she excitedly points to the figure outside the window, and says in a very articulate manner "Cat!"?

How can you think about doing anything else when she hands you "And to think that I saw it on Mulberry St." to read?

Is there anything else you'd rather do than to discover new things with her?

Is there a job more important than teaching her about the world around her?

To me there isn't, so I am embracing motherhood and enjoying every moment I get to spend with my little one.

They aren't little forever. The beads and clay can wait.
Photos of Ally by Kat Wycoco