Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New Blog!


I've started a new blog.

So much time has passed since my last post here that it'll be impossible to start where we left off. So as much as I love this blog, it's time to move on.

So folks, if you're still out there, please feel free to move to http://maviosafabulousa.blogspot.com.

See you around!

Monday, February 8, 2010


Oh, wow. Another long break from blogging AGAIN. So much has changed. I was actually looking for a different blog when I logged in into this old one. Maybe it's a sign to update my posts.

Well, Raya's almost 18 months now. Yep, one year and half. And she's still breastfeeding. I get more disapproving looks and comments from doing it until now but my baby still wants it and it doesn't pose any major conflicts with my lifestyle. In fact, if anything, it's more manageable now because I don't have to pump while I'm at work as she gets most of her nutritional needs from solid food now.

She has grown a lot since my last post (She was around 8 months then I think. Haha. Yeah it was that far back.) and has learned more new things too. Now she can say simple words like "Hi!" "Bye!" And "No." She can also mumble "Happy birthday!" and "Thank you." Most of all, she can already comprehend instructions like "Bring this to your dad." or "Wait because Mommy has to do this first."
Yes, parenthood is still a dream. I don't think that ever changes but now that's she bigger and has gotten more independent, I allow myself to take more time for myself and to better take care of my needs.
In the past, work and Raya took up most of my time. Now, I don't allow that to happen too often although those two still remain my priority.
I've decided to set goals for myself this year. I vow to make 2010 MY year. Apart from some career changes, I set three major goals that I think are achievable within the year.
First, I've decided to start an exercise regimen as well as a diet program. I plan to lose 30 lbs. this year so I can fit into my old clothes! It's nothing too fancy or formal. Most of it's just 20-30 minutes of cardio a day and counting calories, limiting portions. I don't even have strength training though I am planning to take Yoga for that. But I think I'm starting to see some changes. I also created an account at Calorie Count so I can monitor my progress daily. It's a great site!
My tummy doesn't bulge as much when I'm wearing jeans. In fact, I can now wear tighter tops with jeans because it doesn't look like a doughnut anymore. And it also makes me feel good. Makes me feel more empowered as well as more psyched to start the day.

I'm giving this weight loss program as 25th birthday gift to myself.
Second, I've decided to learn how to drive. I've inquired at A1 Driving School and I've looked at their rates. I'm planning to save up for it and have that done before the year is over.

I realize the value of having a skill like that because you never know when you might need it. It also gives you more independence as well as more flexibility.
And last but not the least, I plan to learn how to cook. Nothing like gourmet of course but just simple hearty, Filipino dishes that will allow me to feed my family and myself if I want to. I also want to start learning for Raya, so she can get healthier, homecooked meals even when there isn't a maid or cook around.
There are a lot of mini-goals tied to these three but it would be too many to enumerate here. I'm just happy I'm starting somewhere. It's been so long since I felt this motivated and I want to take advantage of that. :)
Here's to a great 2010, peeps!

Monday, May 11, 2009

It's been too long!

I can't believe I haven't posted anything here since I gave birth. And I can't believe it's been almost 9 months since Raya arrived. Seems only yesterday that I posted her 4d scans and wrote about my delivery preparations.  

It's been quite a ride. I've learned a lot of things and discovered a lot about myself since becoming a mom. Can't say all the lessons were easy but I can say all were worth it. And I'm still learning! I guess there's no stopping since this IS a lifetime job. Hehe.  

It's such a cliche to talk about the wonders of motherhood that I hesitate to dedicate this entire post for it because I'm sure wiser, more experienced moms would have more to say about that than me (Sidenote: I just saw my daughter munching on another piece of paper she picked up by the bed so can you tell I haven't entirely baby-proofed our bedroom?! 'Told you, I still have a lot to learn.). Don't get me wrong -- motherhood really is WONDERFUL. Just watching all the new tricks Raya can do now and the amazing little person she's turning out to be gives me all the warm, fuzzy feelings every parent has probably talked about at least once. But I'd like this long overdue post to be more of a source of support or information for first-time moms who are less-than-certain that they're on the right track as I was and still, sometimes am. I've been lucky because I have an amazing support system starting from my husband, to both our families but taking care and raising a baby really is more of a journey that every mom has to make by herself since it is her primary responsibility to care for her little one, right? And you will encounter some form of criticism along the way and there will be times when all you have is your gut to go by. So if you find something to relate to in some of the things I'll be jotting down here, then I'd have done my good deed for today. :)

My parenting style AND the decisions I make for Raya may be different from some people but I'd like to say that this is MY style and you're welcome to comment or suggest but you're also welcome to go to another page if some of them offend you or your values. Hehe. After all, this is my diary. 

So anyway, if I were to compile a list of some of the things that I've lived by (or I'd wish I had done) during my entire pregnancy and the first few months of Raya's life, it would include some of these things: 

1.  Don't eat for two when you're pregnant. 

By the time your baby is born, her tummy will only be the size of a marble so there's really no need for her to eat a lot, especially not while she's inside you (She won't be eating through her mouth even.). So all that food and weight gain not only puts you and your pregnancy at greater risk, it also makes getting back in shape doubly hard. 

I was almost 200 lbs. at full-term that means I gained more than 50 lbs. the entire pregnancy. I was bloated. I felt ugly and the last trimester felt like hell. I have lost most of the weight since then but if I hadn't gone past the 30 lb. recommended weight gain for preggo women, I would've been back to my pre-pregnancy size now. 

2. Read and research. 

If you can go and learn a lot about other things, wouldn't you do the same for your most important job? Information is the only thing a first-time mom can bring to the table as far as having a baby is concerned so read up. Also, babies naturally attract well-meaning, unsolicited caregiving advice from other people so sifting through what works, what's scientifically sound and what's not is basically made easier if you're well informed.

A lot of things that were generally accepted practices in the past have been proven to be dangerous now and if you're well-informed you'll be able to make the right choices. Read up on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Nutrition, Medication, Vitamins, Well Baby Indicators, Infant Gear, etc. Buy books, go on legit baby care sites like KellyMom, La Leche League, etc.   

3. Breastfeed. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that women breast feed their babies at least for the first two years and then for as long as it is mutually desired. We all know the WHO isn't made up of a bunch of yahoos who just make random recommendations so therefore, they must be coming from an informed standpoint when they say this. 

And if you do your research, you will find NO medical findings that say that formula is superior or even equal to the benefits that breast feeding gives your child. Breast milk has 400 nutrients present in it that have yet to be copied by formula. It also changes its composition according to YOUR child's needs, plus it's clean, safe, always available and FREE! 

Only 1% of women in the whole world can not breast feed for physical reasons but everyone can and will produce enough milk for their child. How else would your ancestors have fed all the generations before you if women did not produce enough milk for their children? Think about it. As long as your baby sucks and feeds, you WILL have milk.  

I'm very passionate about this because I really believe it gives your kids the best start in life. In fact, I think I'll be dedicating a post just for this. And with the advent of effective breast pumps and all, working women have so much options now that breast feeding and having a career is possible! 

Lastly, I'd just like to add that as of writing this: My 8 and a half month-old baby has never had any serious upper respiratory problems, never had a fever, never had diaper rash and is almost always two weeks early in her developmental milestones. She's also very lean and siksik -- not overweight. We've also never had to worry about allergies, running out of milk in the middle of the night, sterilizing numerous bottles (unless I pump and leave her) and milk going bad. I've also lost almost 50 lbs in 7 months just by breast feeding alone (no diet or regular exercise). Need I say more? :)

4. Co-sleep. 

This is more "controversial" than breast feeding because some people agree with it, and some don't. They don't think it's safe and I understand there are risks but in my experience, Raya slept more soundly beside me than she ever did in the crib, and I never got too exhausted too because I never had to fully wake up in the middle of the night for a feeding since I just had to turn to my side and breast feed her. It was just a matter of emotional attachment and convenience for the two of us. :)

5. Talk to your baby. 

Talk, talk, talk. It'll make her more responsive and maybe let her talk earlier. Hehe.

6. Don't buy too much stuff. Buy according to her needs, as they come.

I didn't buy too much clothes for Raya and I was lucky that a lot of people gave her gifts or hand-me-downs that she still uses 'till now so I didn't exactly have to shop a lot for her layette. Though I did buy a lot of feeding bottles which I now regret. I bought them as insurance thinking that in case breast feeding didn't go too well, I'd have them ready. Now, I realize I should've bought only 3-5 bottles and used the money for something else like a breast pump which I eventually had to buy or a high chair (which Mom and Dad gifted us with). But hey, not all is lost, I could hand them down to family members who'd have their kids though I'd hope they'd try and breast feed too. :)

7. Take time off, if you can, when the baby arrives.

I know, I'm lucky I've been able to put off working until now and I know not all CAN do the same thing and that's understandable but if you can, do it. Because this time of your life and that of your baby's is absolutely precious. :)

8. Take care of your partner too.

Taking care of a baby can be overwhelming and it's easy to feel pressured and overworked, especially if you don't have a yaya and the easiest target for your exhaustion-induced temper would be your partner. So take care of your relationship too. :)

I'm sure there are a lot of other things I can say about this but I'll have to write a novel by then. I've already been so presumptuous as to write something like this but like I said, if it helps others, then it's good enough for me. :)

Till the next post! 

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Say Hello to My Little Friend

It's been quite a while since my last post because I've been so busy with a lot of things that sitting down and composing my thoughts into a blog post seemed such a chore at the end of the day.

The past three weeks have been eventful what with Rod and Zhar's wedding and my twice a week pre-natal check-ups as I entered my 40th week of pregnancy, and all the moving-in into our newly renovated Place of Zen (a different post reserved for that).

But the more spectacular reason for my indisposition the past three weeks would be the arrival of our much-awaited Little Friend -- our very own Bundle of Joy, Ball of Fur, Ray of Light, etcetera, etcetera, Raya Victoria Almeda Ungco!

Weighing in at 7 pounds and 3 ounces and 19 and half inches long, she is Love personified. :) I can't believe how happy I am!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ripping off RJ's Ultimate Lasagna Post-to-be

RJ's been so busy with a host of other things that he hasn't been able to update any of his posts...and I can't hold it in anymore! Haha! So I'll be preempting just one of his posts lined up for publishing just to give you all a sneak peak into what he had in store for us last Sunday. 

Ate Rona (and his many fans, hehehe), he finally worked on that Ultimate Lasagna request! And it was supah dupah delish!!!

Most of the pictures are in my Multiply site: http://mavsalmeda.multiply.com but just to provide a glimpse of what RJ's genuis has brought forth now, here are some too! 

Anyhoo, you'll have to stay tuned to HIS blog for the complete recipe but in a nutshell (since I'm such a blabbermouth and I can't resist posting this), what he did wasn't your regular, classic, run-of-the-mill Lasagna. He put together this amazing concoction of classic italian sausages, tomatoes, tomato concasse, olives, garlic, onions and his very own, Swiss cheese fondue! 

Yum, yum, yum!!!  Gastronomic delight indeed! 

We had it with garlic bread and a bottle of Shiraz (well, they had the Shiraz, not me. :)) and it's best served piping hot, by the way! 

Hope you guys could sample it soon! 

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Isn't she lovely?

We finally had our 4D scan done! RJ and I had been pondering whether to have it performed even with our OB-GYN's referral because it's quite costly but now, we're glad we did. The experience was totally worth it. 

We wanted to stay hooked forever to that fancy machine that showed us spectacular images of our baby moving, writhing, sleeping and grimacing (yes! she's quite suplada! hehe.) but Raya was already acting up around 20 minutes into the scan because the probe was probably disturbing her nap. The images showed her crossing her brows and making faces at us. And her sleeping with her mouth open. Hehe. But she was sooo cute. :)

I was a bit anxious at first, always asking the OB doing the scan whether she could see any problems, but she said so far, everything looked in order. She's actually average-sized, around 6 lbs. so that means all those chocolate bars and night binges are just all going to me. Hehe. At least that does something for my chances at a straightforward normal delivery. 

We really can't make out if she looks more like me or Arj but her nose looks quite high and pointy (Yay!) and she has very chubby cheeks! The Doc also said she looks singkit and she may have my lips (Don't ask me how she figured that out. She's supposed to be the expert. Hehe.). She also says, the images would've been of better quality if I had more amniotic fluid (since I'm full term, it has considerably diminished by now) and if she wasn't so big as to attach herself to the placenta at times (that's the cloudy part of the image by the way) but considering I'm nearing the D-date, she says we were still lucky Raya was still up to striking a few poses for Mommy and Daddy. 

Anyhoo, here are a couple of snapshots I took of the printed scans. We have yet to claim the DVD of Raya in utero that comes with the package we availed so we'll have to do with these Black and White images for now. Aah, the wonders of technology. :) 

Raya sleeping peacefully 

Raya sleeping with her mouth open :)

Raya acting up later on during the scan :)

Isn't she just precious? We think she's absolutely perfect. :)



Sunday, July 20, 2008

An Update on Raya's Ride

As posted earlier, RJ and I intended to get one of the new Graco Travel Systems for Raya, in lieu of the recalled Chicco lines. But all efforts were to no avail. Joy scouted major stores in the States and she couldn't get the models we asked for. Her only other option would have been to go and buy online but the delivery wouldn't be able to catch up with her departure date! So it was AGAIN back to the drawing board for us. The stroller business was turning out to be really trying...

Joy and her sister-in-law, Trin, were nice enough to suggest other brands like Stoke and Orbit but they were way too expensive for us (even if they looked uber cool!), so we just thought of getting our travel system here in the P.I. 

Stoke Travel System

Orbit Travel System (around 800$-1000$)

We figured we could just check the manufacturing date for Chicco items anyway as their press statement said and check if that particular base was part of the recall. We could take that risk at least. The only downside really is paying a little extra than we would've in the U.S.

And so off to the baby stores we trotted and began our quest for the perfect alternative Ride for Raya...and it was not in vain!  

We were able to buy a Chicco KeyFit travel system whose manufacturing date was not within the recalled batch, and we got it at 10% off too! We got it from Baby and Co. in Powerplant Mall (It was a thousand bucks cheaper than in Rustan's, before the discount.). Incidentally, if you're looking to buy some kids' stuff this would be a nice place to look because they give you an automatic ten percent off on ALL items if you agree to register for a baby shower, 1st birthday or christening, which I did even if there really was no baby shower to register for anymore. Hehe. A tiny, white lie for this...

And the great thing about getting it here too is that it comes assembled already! So that saves me and Arj a lot of poring over the instructions manual and a lot of arguing. Hehe! Such control freaks we can be...

It was manufactured last year so the latch of this car seat base isn't defective as those made between February and March of this year. 

It's not the Chicco Cortina Explorer that we originally wanted, but we still love the sleek design of the KeyFit. RJ brags it's because it's an Italian brand! Hehe. It's also really easy to maneuver and carry around. Everyone, including Mom and Dad, were psyched with all the features.

Forgive my over-eager husband, the pose...

Plus, we got Raya a rockin' stroller cushion for her to lie in when she rides this new baby. There were other designs with pink elephants and other cute, dainty prints. But she's too cool for that. We know already.  :)