Friday, January 24, 2014

Grateful for Lola Belen

Ate Belen has been with us for almost 6 years (even before our baby was born) now. She is helping us in some household chores like cleaning the house, dusting the furnitures, doing our laundry and ironing our clothes. A year after our wedding, we didn't have our baby then, and both my husband and I were working full time. We were both busy and passionate with what we're doing so everytime we come home, we always found ourselves super tired and would just want to eat and then hit the sack. Realizing there's a need for help, we approached and talked to Ate Belen (she also helps in maintaining the cleanliness of the office where I used to work and my husband is currently working). She didn't think twice. She offered her service without even asking how much we're going to give her. And since she has other commitments, we asked her to work with us on a part-time basis. Then 3 years after, I got pregnant and gave birth to the most beautiful baby in the world (hehehe, pagbigyan nyo na po ako, I know every mom can relate, heehee).

Our li'l fashionista with Lola Belen at McDonalds
My mom is in the States while my mother-in-law lives in Montalban (which is quite far from us) so it was really hard for me as a new mom to take care of the baby while making the house spic and span. I would often find myself frustrated because I felt like I was not a "good enough" mother and homemaker. But Ate Belen was there to encourage me and tell me that I needed to take good care of myself first before I would be able to give my baby the love and care that I would like to bestow her. I remember the time when I was not able to wash the dishes and I felt so bad because I couldn't stand seeing the clutter in the sink, she said, "Hayaan mo na yan dyan. Ako na bahala. Kumain ka at sabayan mo ng tulog ang anak mo para may lakas ka 'pag nagising na sya. " And everytime I would thank her at that time, she was quick to say, "Eto naman, wala yun. Para na din kitang anak." Ate Belen has become a mother to me and my husband and a Lola to Wynona. Ate Belen has become a friend to us.
Lola Belen with baby at home
Last January 17th, Ate Belen celebrated her 60th birthday. As much as I would like to throw her a surprise party, for some reason I wasn't able to do it. I am hoping that one of these days we can take her out for a special lunch or dinner although I know she deserves more (we gave her a gift that hopefully she'll be happy to use :)).

Though I know she won't be able to read this, I am writing it nevertheless just because she deserves a spot here. Ate Belen is one of God's wonderful blessings to us and we are so grateful for her. I don't think we can thank her enough for the love and service she has rendered us all these years.

To Ate Belen, happy 60th birthday! May the Lord add more years to your life and may you live abundantly! :)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Take God at His Word: A Lesson I learned (once again) from My Li'l Fashionista

This morning my li'l fashionista asked me to "read Jesuts (Jesus). She was actually referring to her Bible, The Beginner's Bible which was a gift (on her dedication day) from Aunt Jessie, a friend of mine and hubby. We were reading the story about Jesus calming the storm. I read and re-read it becaues baby wanted to "read 'gain, Mommy."

After reading it, I reenacted it just because. I quoted Jesus, "Don't be afraid! Peace! Storm stop!" Little did I know that the story and those words spoke to baby's heart. What do I mean? When we were eating lunch, she hiccuped. I told her to get her water bottle and drink. It was a bit dark inside her room because I turned out the light, there's a little sunlight coming from her bedroom window though. Baby didn't want to get her water bottle because she's kind of afraid, "kakot (takot) baby, Mommy." So I said, "Why are you afraid? Mommy is just here. Kasama mo naman si Mommy." Upon hearing it, she immediately stood up and was on the act of getting her water bottle. I thought she was encouraged by my words. But then she looked at me and with a smile on her face said, "Mommy, sama Jesuts baby!"

Wow! Isn't that something? I was stunned. I have already forgotten about the storytelling activity we had that morning. I never thought it would sink in that soon in her very young heart. I was like, "How did she grasp the concept of Jesus being with you that you don't have to be afraid? She has not yet "met" Jesus and her heart takes Him at His Word. What great faith - the kind that pleases God! I was humbled. I was reminded once again. God is God and He does what He says He will do. All He asks from us is to take Him at His Word, to believe, to have faith - as small as a mustard seed, or should I say, as big as a child's heart.

In response to my li'l fashionista I said, "Yes, baby. Kasama mo si Jesus." And off she went to get her water bottle. :)

Our li'l fashionista "reading" her Bible :)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

28 Months and Counting...

Yesterday (January 4th) marked the 28th month of my baby. Yes, by God's grace, our li'l fashionista is 2 years and 4 months old now! Yay! For sure, time flies. :)

It's also been that long that I have been breastfeeding her. It was not easy at first. There were hurdles along the way, one of which was I have inverted nipples.That didn't stop me though from giving the best gift I believe I could give my precious one. Looking back, I never thought we would come this far. It was the best decision I have made as a new mom.

So, why did I choose to take that path? Why didn't I use my condition (inverted nipples) as an excuse? Because of the gazillion (exaggerating here, heehee) benefits that my daughter could get from my breastmilk. Let me enumerate some (out of the gazillion, haha) which are based from my personal experience. :)

1. Giving birth is not a walk in the park, specially if it took you long hours of labor before the baby came out. In my case, it took 19 hours and I delivered via C-section which was not the original plan. That means, hubby and I were both lacking in sleep, very tired and just wanted to get some rest. Long intro, huh? What does it have to do with breastfeeding then? If you've chosen to breastfeed, you and (hubby too) would get that much needed rest. Why? You (and/or again, hubby) don't need to get up at the wee hours of the night just to prepare milk or formula which by the way is a long and tedious process (for me). You have to sterilize the bottles, boil the water and make sure that the milk temp is just right before you give it to your baby. When you're breastfeeding your newborn, you don't have to wake up the hubby, it would just be you and baby, thus hubby can rest. As for you mom, you just stay on the bed with baby and let her properly latch on to you. I don't think you'll get so tired with that, right? :)

2. One of the things I love and will always cherish is the bonding time I have with my baby every time I breastfeed her. It's really different from the bonding time you have when you play with her or other activities you do with her. The first time I breastfed her, it was such a magical moment. I couldn't help but cry. It was like I was beholding a miracle. I, looking at her while she was sucking for the very first time. It was like, "wow'! Until now, I still feel that special bond that we have. :)

3. Health benefits. My li'l fashionista had her first cold only after she turned 1. That was also the first time she had fever. Can you believe that? And even if she's feverish at that time, you just couldn't tell. Do you know why? Because she's just as active as she could be. She would dance, play, chat with me and Daddy and do other activities which would say that the baby was very well (her body temp reached 38C and she was fine). Of course, it was by God's grace and mercy towards us. I also believe that it was because I was (and still am) breastfeeding her that made her body strong. I can cite lots of testimonies regarding the health benefits of breastfeeding but I still have other benefits to mention. Maybe some other time in my future posts, I will go into details. :)

4. If you will notice, I always use "li'l fashionista" when I refer to my baby. It's because she is. Mind you, I didn't teach her to be like that, she's just that. Hold your thought right there. I'm not saying that if you breastfeed your baby, she would become a little fashionista. NO! That's not what I meant. What I mean is, breastfeeding your baby makes her feel more loved and therefore she is more confident about herself. Our li'l fashionista at a very young age knows what shoes to put on if she's wearing this kind or that kind of clothes/dress. She doesn't feel intimidated if others are wearing dresses while she's just wearing pants. She's confident to wear "print on print". She looks at the mirror and says, "Mommy, nice." She even "styles" me. One time, I was wearing a black blouse with a touch of purple. I was planning to wear my brown wedge with gold stones/accents. She then called my attention and said, "Mommy, no. Ayo (Ayaw) baby. No shues (shoes. that is the brown wedge). Dis (This, that is the ballet flat shoes with a purple ribbon) Mommy shues." My hubby and I were like, "Wow!" Again, more stories about this but I have to reserve them for future posts. :)

5. When you get pregnant, you gain weight, right? And sometimes it's so hard to go back to the pre-pregnancy figure. Breastfeeding helps you with that in a breeze. Haha! Easy peasy, as they say. I lost about 10 or 20 lbs a week after I gave birth. No kidding! (Note: Of course, after two years, I started to gain weight because I was urged by my mom to eat more so I can give more (breastmilk) to my baby without losing weight. Well, that's her opinion and I listen to her, heehee!) Right now, I'm just back to my pre-pregnancy weight (I was not really super thin before) but I'm looking forward to shedding some pounds in the not-so-distant future. Ha!

6. Breastfeeding is practical, convenient, and economical. :)

7. Breastmilk is... still the BEST for our babies! :)

Well, there you have it ladies (and gentlemen, if there are). These are just some of the benefits of breastfeeding and/or breastmilk. I could go on and on... And again, these are based on my personal experience. I trust that this gives light to those who are contemplating if they will breastfeed or not. I hope this post helps you decide. Whatever decision you come up with, please know that I respect you/it. :)

Happy breastfeeding! :)

Hopeful in 2014

Last New Year's Eve, before we (my husband, our daughter and I) went out of our bedroom to look at the beautiful fireworks of our neighbors, we held hands together and prayed. Hubby and I believe that this is the best way to start the new year and we would like our daughter to see that. It was just a simple prayer of gratitude for the year past, thanking God for all the things that He allowed to happen and the blessings that came our way. It was also a prayer of trust and hope, believing that He will, once again, go with us, no matter what the new year holds.

After our prayer, which took about 15 minutes, we got dressed for the "New Year" and went to the veranda to watch the amazing fireworks. We were in Calamba (my hometown) by the way. I am now based in Quezon City together with my husband and daughter. So, after the fireworks, we went inside the house and read Psalm 91. Then we prayed for our house (which represents our family) while touching every part of it with oil. I felt so peaceful and I could tell that the Lord was with us as we were doing it. When we're done praying, we had our pictures taken (which has been our tradition since our little fashionista was born, heehee).

Yes, our li'l fashionista was wearing a ladybug costume. She was so excited about wearing it! :) The other lady is our Tita Beck.

I may not know what is coming in the future or in the next 12 months for that matter, but one thing I'm very sure of, the Lord already knows and my hope is in Him. So I say, thank You Lord for 2013 and I am hopeful in 2014, believing that the best is yet to come! :)