Goodbye, May!

Today is the last day of May 2013, and I'm happily bidding the month goodbye!

It's been a really busy month for our family. For one thing, we had a lot of big family events, such as my sister's wedding, my mom's birthday, and of course, my Little C's birthday. There's a lot going on in terms of work too. It's the peak season for the statistical consultancy service that I work for, which means twice as much work as usual, and I also started another editing sideline. Plus, the boys have been caught in the cough-and-cold season we're having right now, thanks to our crazy tropical climate as we move from summer to the rainy season. In addition to being under the weather, Little C is sprouting a whole bunch of new teeth, which has turned him into an irritable little dude for the past few days as well. Add to that the never-ending yaya and maid problems I had to deal with at home and you've got one crazy month right there.

Working has been a bit challenging lately, what with twice as many projects to finish and not enough time to work on them. J has also been very malambing lately, and he's taken to hanging out in our room in the afternoons to play. That's not the problem, since J's pretty good at keeping himself occupied. He plays with his iPad or watches Mickey on the TV. The thing is that he's recently discovered the joys of building blocks and would always ask me to play with him. He'd call me, "Mommy, Mommy, play please?" and tug on my hand until I joined him on the floor to work on our latest creation. I try to join him as much as I can, because as Big C says, the day will come when he won't want to spend time playing with Mommy, so I should enjoy it while it lasts.

I guess that's one of my biggest conflicts as a WAHM. People sometimes think it's so easy for us since we stay at home to work, but finding enough time to finish all that we need to do is always a problem, especially when you've got adorable little kids who plead with you ever so nicely to stop working and play with them. J actually said to me one day, "Mommy, no type!" which means that I should stop typing on the computer. Oh, the guilt!

Because J has been spending so much time with me, I feel very guilty because Little C is always left to fend for himself. I try to squeeze in as much Mommy and Little C time as I can. I make sure that I'm the one who picks him up first thing in the morning so we can spend some quiet play time. He loves it when I take off his socks and smell his feet and wrinkle my nose. When he wakes up from his afternoon nap before his brother does, I drop everything and I try to spend some time playing with him, just the two of us, so I can give him some undivided attention. Some afternoons, I put him in my sling and take him on a walk so we can babble on about nonsensical things, just like I used to do with J when he was a baby.

He's growing into such a wonderful toddler, easy with his smiles and laughter and bravely testing the limits of his small body. He's just perfected standing up, and I couldn't be prouder of him. He hasn't started walking yet, although he did take his first hesitant, but unsupported steps a few days ago. We're in no rush though. J took a while before walking and I suspect Little C is the same way.

Well, I'm hoping that June will be a lot more mellow for us. Thankfully, the boys have been feeling a bit better since yesterday, and I've just sent off my last project for this month. I'm looking forward to a bit of rest this weekend. Before I end this post, I'd like to share some pictures of the month that passed.
Our little dragon C, rolling on his Di-i's new bed
I want the remote!
His angpao for sharing his dragon luck
A picture with Uncle Marvin from SG (Thanks for coming home for  Little C's day!)
The proud grandfather
My handsome little dude
My sweet boy
Goofing around with Kong-kong
Blessed be, these sisters three
My sister walks down the aisle
Family picture time before Little C's baptism
With Little C's godparents
With my siblings-of-the-heart
Happy Friday to all, and I hope you have a great weekend ahead of you!

My Little C is 1!

This Mothers' Day was triple-special for me. First, of course, because it's Mothers' Day, and I remember that I get to celebrate this day, not just because I was raised by a wonderful mother, but also because I now have the honor of being the mommy of two of the bestest boys in the world, my J and my Little C.

Second, this Mothers' Day marks my anniversary as a breastfeeding mommy. Yes, I managed to make it to a year. Yay me! There have been more than a few rough spots, and we are still mixed feeding, but formula only enters the picture for one or two feedings a day. Despite the fact that Little C is not exclusively breastfed, the larger part of his diet is composed of mommy's milk. I am also proud to say that my son will only take formula late at night, when he's asleep and can't tell the difference. During the daytime, it's only mommy's milk for him. If we try to give him formula because I missed a pump, he'd rather just take water. Also, this breastfeeding journey is much more successful than the last one, and I'm super thankful for that.

Third, because I have now been breastfeeding for a year, that means one other thing: my little munchkin is now one year old!

In honor of his first birthday, I'd like to take a little trip down the memory lane of his first year of life.

Hello, world! He's out!
First picture with Mommy
In the nursery
His first picture with his Ahya
The day we brought him home from the hospital. Look, he and Elmo are the same size!
Tummy time!
First time in the sling
The day he got his coral bracelets, marking his first month
Morning playtime with Daddy

The first time we captured his smile on camera
Caleb, being Caleb!

Picture time with Mommy
We were saving these red pajamas for him, but by the time we let him try it, he was too big for it, so he only got to wear it once. :)
Enjoying the bouncer he inherited from his Ahya J
Fresh from a bath
The first time we put him in his booster seat
Because Mommy should also be in the picture!
His first TPC pictorial

His first haircut by Angkong, according to family tradition

After Mommy cut off the rest of his hair!

Before his morning bath
Being carried around in a pouch sling

His first carousel ride

Milestone: crawling on hands and knees
First time to hold his own bottle!
He loves to watch TV!
His first Christmas
Hanging out with his "batchmate", Sophea
Family day with Daddy & Mommy's friends
Welcome to the Christian world!
A picture with his cousins at his 1st birthday party
Happy birthday to my Little C! I can't believe it's been a year already. It feels like it was just yesterday that I was in the delivery room, and now, Little C is well on his way to toddlerhood. He's standing by himself now, and although he has yet to take his first steps, he gets around well enough because he crawls crazy fast. He's a curious little boy, and he loves to eat! He'll try any kind of food, and he gets mad when we take too long to give him his next bite. He's a loving little boy, who loves to be tickled and tumble with us. He adores his big brother and would follow him anywhere. He loves Mickey Mouse, and would smile and laugh when he watches his favorite show.

To my Little C, thank you for coming into our lives. Daddy and I used to think that we were just fine with one child, but when you came, you completed our little family in a way that we never imagined. You brighten my days with your smiles, and I am so proud of you. Your hugs and slobbery little kisses are the best things in my world. To hear you laugh makes me happy like nothing else does. You are a happy, wonderful little boy, and I have nothing but the best intentions and brightest dreams for you. I hope that you grow up to find your passion in life, and whatever it is, you can be sure that your Mama will be there to support you, to cheer you on and to believe in you even if you don't believe in yourself. Most of all, I hope you live a long and happy life, that you always stay healthy, and that one day you find someone to share your life with, the same way that Daddy and I have each other.

Sometimes I wish you would stay my baby forever. When I look at you, usually when you're sleeping, I marvel at the changes that time has wrought on you. So much has changed in a year, and I'm sure so much more will change as you grow older. I hope though, that some things will stay the same: that you will stay the same loving boy you are now, that you stay happy and healthy, and that you will always let me call you my sweet baby boy, even when you grow big enough to be the one to carry your Mama.  

I love you so much, my sweet boy. Whatever happens, that much will always be true.

Forever and always,

Supplier Ratings: My Little C's 1st Birthday!

Hello all! We've just come back from a tiring, but super fun weekend. It was a memorable weekend, because last Sunday, my Little C turned 1! Big C and I hosted a small lunch get-together for close family and friends, instead of hosting a grand children's party. Here's a list of the suppliers who were part of Little C's special day and my ratings for their services, for the information of other mommies who want to know more about these suppliers. For the most part, I'm really satisfied with the suppliers that we got, because most of my suppliers are tried and tested.

1. Baptism ceremony - We held the baptism ceremony at St. Stephen's Parish, where the family attends mass. J was also baptized here, as well as the other kids in the family, so this was a no brainer. It's an added bonus that the church itself is beautiful, air-conditioned, and has a large parking area for the ninongs and ninangs. I also loved that the pastor personalizes the baptism ceremony. It wasn't just a generic by-the-book thing. He talked a bit about the name we chose for our son and the legacy that is set for Little C to follow. He  also explained in detail the important role of the godparents in helping the parents raise the child, and I thought that was wonderful. (Supplier rating: 5/5)
With Little C's NInongs & Ninangs before the baptism ceremony

Pastor baptizes Little C
 2. Lunch reception - We are loyal customers of Gloria Maris Greenhills, and this is where we held the lunch reception. The staff of GM is always really accommodating and easy to talk to, and we were allowed to choose the dishes we liked instead of just being limited to their set menus. We were able to reserve the small hall at the top floor, where they usually put big events. The food was good and the guests went home satisfied, which is really important in Chinese celebrations. (Supplier rating: 5/5)

3. Cake - I have to declare that I am a Sugarbox loyalist. They made our wedding cake, J's 1st birthday cake and my sister's wedding cake, so when it came to Little C's birthday cake, I didn't even bother to look elsewhere. J and Little C's Auntie Emily did a marvelous job with the cake, and the cupcakes that we gave out to the guests. Emily is really easy to deal with, most of the arrangements were made through email. All I did was to send her the peg of the cake that I wanted and just let her work her magic. With Emily, I never need to stress about anything. She is reliable and her cakes are always gorgeous. (Supplier rating: 5/5)
Little C and one of his uncles checking out his MMC cake by Auntie Emily of Sugarbox Cakes!
4. Souvenirs and prizes - Even though we didn't have any games, I still wanted the kids who attended the party to have something special to bring home. This year, we had a modified version of the good old-fashioned pabitin, in the form of a balloon burst. The kids had fun collecting the balloons, and each balloon had a number rolled inside, corresponding to a prize. This is one aspect of the party I didn't delegate, because I enjoy working on stuff like that. My always-helpful mom and my sisters went with me to the land of party supplies, a.k.a. Divisoria, and we shopped for goodies for the kids.
Souvenirs and prizes care of Mommy
 5. Inflatables and play area - Instead of a generic children's party with a program, I opted to rent a set of toys to set up a small play area for the kids. While searching on, I chanced upon, which is run by a fellow mom. Caryll rents Little Tikes toys and other play items for kiddie parties. I got the Simple Joys package, which has a ball-pit, a small slide and a seesaw, and added one of their inflatables. I think this is one of the best ideas I've had in a while. The kids had a blast! Once J saw the inflatable slide, he was happy for the rest of the afternoon and we had to drag him away to get him to eat. As another plus, the adults were appreciative of the fact that didn't have to deal with an overly loud kiddie party. The staff members who stayed for the party were courteous and unobtrusive, and I appreciated that they were there on time. By 10:30, they texted me that they were already done setting up for an 11:30 event. (Supplier rating: 5/5)
The birthday boy in the ball pit
The birthday celebrant inside the inflatable slide
Kids on the inflatable slide, which was a big hit!

6. Kiddie - (Just to let you know, I saved the worst for last.) I booked KP as a supplier because they were already an established name in the business, and their prices were competitive. But I have to say that I am very disappointed and unhappy with their services. Talking to their account executives (AE) was easy enough. They were accommodating, and they did simplify the process. From KP, I ordered the balloon centerpieces, the stage set-up (which I sprung for even though we didn't have a program because my son loves Mickey Mouse) and the balloon burst. However, on the day itself, I was very stressed out to see that when I got there at 11:30, there were no balloons and no stage!

I called the AE who I dealt with and I demanded to know where they were. I was panicked because guests were arriving already. She told me that she'll look for them and call me back. (It's only now that I realized that she never did call me back.) Thankfully, my brother-in-law spotted them downstairs, so I went downstairs to check on them. When they finally arrived, I asked the person in charge why they were late, and she said, they'd been there since 10am but the guards at GM sent them around and around they were unable to make their way upstairs to the venue. I was skeptical, so I talked to the GM personnel and they told me that the KP people had just arrived.  If they had been there early, they would have been immediately sent up to the venue to set-up. I'm inclined to believe them because my cake supplier and Rent-a-toy had been able to set up early. Also, according to my BIL, when he and his family arrived at about 11:15, he saw that they were still downstairs.

Anyway, I left them to set up and the end result itself wasn't bad. The balloon burst was nicely done and the centerpieces were cute. However, I can't stress how disappointed I am by how they dealt with the situation.

Today, one of their other AEs called me to ask how the party was, so I asked her to call me so that I could let her know what happened. I told her that I don't know what I find more unacceptable: the fact that they were late, or the fact that their staff lied to me. After I finished speaking, I waited for the AE to respond. She just said, "Okay, ma'am." So I was already PO'd by this point, and I asked her if she had anything to say to me. I was waiting for an apology, so she did apologize, but it sounded like an afterthought, only  given because I was obviously fishing for one. I asked her if the feedback gets relayed to their boss and she said yes. I don't know if that's true, but I do want to let the other mommies know about my experience just in case they considering hiring KP for their kid's party.

(Supplier rating: 0/5)
Stage set-up, which turned out alright in the end.
Birthday boy Little C examines the balloon burst with his uncle. :)
In the end, despite the hiccup caused by the KP debacle, the party itself was a success. We were a bit disappointed that there were a lot of people who were unable to make it because it was Mothers' Day, but we understood the situation, and it doubled our appreciation for the people who were there that day. I would especially like to thank my two cousins from Singapore, who shuffled flights around, just so they could stay for their little nephew's party.

That's it for now, mommies!