December 29, 2012

12 Things I'm Thankful For This Year

2012 has been a roller coaster ride for me. No kidding. I started the year very clumsy and bloated; I was already 7-months pregnant with Y when January rolled in. And I was blowing chunks, literally. Apparently, pregnancy does not sit well with my body and I had "morning" sickness all throughout the ordeal.

Then, for the first time ever, I gave birth and became a mom. Y's first months with me were very hard because he had to remain admitted in the hospital. I also had postpartum depression. I used to think it was just baby blues, but looking back, I now know it was depression, which was a result of too many factors - which I won't elaborate any longer.

However, the good things that happened to me this year are far too many compared to, well, the not-so-good things. I'm thankful for so many good things that I don't think I even deserve, but I got, because of God's grace. To sum up this year's blessings, here are the 12 things this year that I'm very thankful for:

12 - I'm thankful for being comfortable in my own skin.

I cut my hair this year, and thanks to a misunderstanding with the parlorista, my hair was cut very short, this short:

Not the most flattering photo of me: taken last April, I think
Sure, for the first few days, I spent a lot of time wondering if I can ever go out again. However, logic got the better of me. Who cares how I look like when I go out? Most probably, people will look at Y (who was just almost 2 months at the time) and not at me.

Then, eventually, I started going out by myself. I don't know how but the simple logic got replaced by self-confidence - which stuck to me until now. Now, I can wear dresses, shorts, anything that I usually am too self-conscious to wear. I'm no longer self-conscious ; I can walk knowing that I look good simply because I feel good - maybe because I know I am loved. :-)

11 - I'm thankful for this blog.

I have been blogging since 2008, but it's only this year that I took blogging really seriously. I'm thankful because this blog has been an excellent outlet for me. Working from home discounts me off the benefits of having someone to talk to (read: officemates), so what I did was talk to this blog. I'm also thankful that I was able to buy my own domain name; even though I don't have a huge readership (yet), just seeing my dot com makes me feel like I really, truly, own this nook in cyberspace.

10 - I'm thankful for knowing who my true friends are.

I have spent most of my college life with a lot of friends and org-mates. Then, when I graduated, my circle narrowed down to a trusted few, with whom I shared my utmost feelings and thoughts. Around August this year, a couple of those trusted friends suddenly stopped speaking to us, and I don't even know why. Seriously, I don't even go outside the house. But I let it go already. If they decide to come back, I'll demand for an explanation, but I'll take them back, like I always do. However, I'm thankful for the handful of friends left with me. We may not see each other often, but I know they'll be there for me when I need them - just like how I'll always be here for them.

9 - I'm thankful for having the capacity and desire to give.

For the longest time, I excused myself from giving to others because I thought I needed help, too. I had this "poverty mindset," where I thought I can't possibly give because I can't even afford the things I like. However, God made me realize that by giving, I become richer. Maybe not in the financial sense, but I become richer because I am able to liberate myself from material possessions and even money.

8 - I'm thankful for having a trustworthy Yaya.

I wouldn't have been able to do or experience half of the things I did and experienced this year without Honey, Y's yaya. I'm thankful for being able to find a yaya that is not only trustworthy, but also loves Y as if he's her own little brother. She's still very young and has a lot of flaws (don't we all?), but I'm really very thankful I have her to mind over my baby while I work - and earn.

7 - I'm thankful for being able to bond with my family.

This year, I was able to strengthen my bond with my immediate family. Frankly, from the time I set foot in the university and until I started working, I barely saw my family. I was always too busy with academics, extra-curricular activities, church (not that it's not important), and my boyfriend. Now that I'm working at home and taking care of Y, I see them everyday. More importantly, I'm now able to "treat" them sometimes, which makes me feel better as the oldest daughter in the family.

Right before we left for Cebu: my mom asks for your forgiveness for still wearing pambahay slippers.

6 - I'm thankful for being able to meet my relatives from Cebu.

While most of our relatives (father-side) live in Cebu, we are raised in Davao City. This means we barely see them. In my case, I never even saw most of my relatives before. So when we had a chance to stay in Cebu last October, I couldn't be more thrilled to finally meet the rest of the Laxa clan. And Y, at the tender age of 7 months, was already able to ride a plane for the first time!

With some of my cousins in Cebu's IT park (tama ba?)

5 - I'm thankful for my ability to breastfeed.

Even when I was still a child, I already had my mind set on breastfeeding my children. I didn't know why; my mom didn't even breastfeed us exclusively. So I guess it's DOH's doing. Good job, DOH! Anyway, I'm very thankful that despite Y's birth mishaps, I am able to breastfeed him with virtually no problems. Sure, it hurt like hell the first time, but I was able to adjust soon enough and we never had a problem with latch. :-)

4 - I'm thankful that I have the perfect job.

I can't be more thankful for the job I currently have. If you read my blog regularly, perhaps you've had enough of me saying that it's everything I could ask for. I've been working in Netsourcephil since July 2011, but I only decided to work with them full-time this year, when I resigned from my office job to take care of Y. And now I know it's probably one of the best decisions I have ever made.

3 - I'm thankful that I am able to "spoil" myself sometimes.

Aside from being able to spend as much time as I like with Y, the other perk of my job is that it pays quite nicely. It has already afforded me a few gadgets, which I all bought on cash basis. While none of my gadgets are considered high-end (hello, I don't even have a single Apple gadget), I value them dearly because I paid for them with my own money.

Yes, I succumbed...
Then, I am also able to shop for things that I don't really need but admittedly want. And I am also able to give other people special treats - or something like that. I do need to avoid being overly attached to material possessions, but I am thankful I can finally afford to buy nice things for myself and for other people.

2 - I'm thankful that I can talk to J everyday.

If I can be granted one wish right now, I would wish that J were here instead of there. However, I can't be more thankful that I met someone like him. He never gave up on our relationship, even though it is too complicated. He makes ways to talk to me everyday, even if that means going out in the rain to "make pa-load." Hehehe. But the simple gestures get to me, you know. And I know I wouldn't have to worry about him because I know he loves me and Y too much.

1 - I'm thankful I can be there everyday for Y.

You wouldn't think I can sum up this year without a special entry for Y, would you? I'm a proud mommy, and I think I have all the bragging rights in the world simply because for each of his milestones, I have been there. I never missed any of his firsts, and I plan to remain standing here, watching and supporting Y, while he does more of his firsts. And for this, I am very, very thankful.

December 28, 2012


Christmas is the season for giving - and I think I may have taken it too seriously! Frankly, I was able to save up a generous amount last month in preparation for Christmas. However, I did not plan to spend it all in just one go. But it seems like I have gone overboard (again!) and spent almost all of it! When I checked my bank account online, I only have a little amount of money left. And I have only P800 in my wallet!

If you're a mom with a baby, you would understand how depressing this is.

Oh, the woes of a one-day millionaire. I tried to track back all my spending, and thanks to the Pocket Budget app in my phone, I was able to check all my "transactions." I wanted to see how my finances look, so I copied these transactions into my account in Expense Register. Take a look at this:

Report from
If you noticed, more than half of my money went to "gifts." Now, if you received a gift from me, don't worry because I don't regret it. What I actually did is went overboard on my gifts to my immediate family. I know that it is better to give than to receive, but next time, I will set a budget and I will stick to it. I can only image J's face if he finds out about this. :-| 

I solemnly swear I won't be spending anything for the next three months. I swear I will keep a stable amount in my bank account and in Yuri's each month. I promise I won't spend on impulse. Huhuhu.

December 27, 2012

Y turns 9 months!

If someone got pregnant around the time Y was born, she would've given birth now or will be giving birth anytime now. Y is 9 months old already (yesterday, actually). It' so surreal; I actually can't believe it! I know it sounds cliche, but it really seems just like yesterday when he was still a small newborn baby. Now, he eats a lot (but still breastfeeds, thankfully) and plays with people!

So how did we celebrate his 9th month? Just like how we celebrated his 6th month - a morning at the Baranggay Center. He has to have another shot, this time for measles. Boo for pain! But yay for immunization! We arrived at the center at around 8am. Usually, the place is already jam-packed by then. But maybe because it's the day after the Christmas, there was only one baby ahead of us.

The untiring center volunteers and a handful of moms and babies
A strangely empty health center
Y being readied for his shot. Y didn't cry! Brave boy!
This is our last vaccine shot for this year. We also have a pediatrician, whom we are scheduled to see on February pa. When Y was still very young, we saw his pediatrician every month, and we shell out more than 6k each month. We could have bought an iPad with the total amount. But without free immunization at the health center, we could've been paying more than twice of that amount! Free health services rock!

On another note, here's a screenshot of baby's milestones, from

Y is able to do all of the 8th month milestones already. And even though he just turned 9 months, he can already do most of the 9th month milestones: all of them, except the advanced skills. But we're getting ready for those. Good job, baby!

December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012 - Noche Buena, featuring my no-bake Nutella Cheesecake

I'm not on a diet, but I do try to watch my intake. However, who carefully watches their food intake during Christmas? It's the most wonderful time of the year - and as an avid food lover, I can only wait for the pounds to pile in vain. And it doesn't help at all that my mom is a very good cook. Here are some of what she cooked for Noche Buena:

Ang aarte, naka-goblet, pero ang katabi naman, microwaveable container lang. Hahaha!
Homemade turbo-roasted liempo and breaded chicken drumsticks
My dad's request: chicken macaroni salad
Ang hindi mawawalang fruit salad
Turbo-roasted ribs (na buto-buto na lang kaya ni-blur ko na lang :-P) and more liempo
Not in photo: My mom's special dinuguan, which she serves every Christmas - and only during Christmas, and our tons of chocolates and tea cakes. Good luck sa blood pressure! Haha!

On the other hand, I always contribute dessert to Noche Buena, but I'm not the best baker in the world. Wait, I don't even know how to bake! So every year, what I make are no-bake desserts, like special munchkins and the all-Filipino mango float. I wanted to make something different this year, and so I made a no-bake Nutella Cheesecake.

I got the recipe here. The Nutella's supposed to be mixed with the cream cheese itself, but my mom doesn't like sweets, so I made a plain cheesecake instead and just put Nutella topping.

The core ingredients: cream cheese, cream, and of course, a jar of Nutella.
I wasn't able to take photos of the actual making of the cheesecake - sayang - so here's a photo of me spreading the Nutella on top. I used round Pyrex bowls para presentable.
Messy! I should've used a plain pan. :-(
Messy, but good enough to eat. Here's the plain Nutella cheesecake.
And my sister insisted that the other bowl be topped with M&Ms.
Tada! Kailangan lang ng improvement sa physical appearance, but taste-wise, masarap naman. And it's so easy, even kids can do it! :-)

Christmas 2012 - Gift opening

It's my first Christmas as a mom (well, not counting pregnancy, of course) and it's Y's first Christmas! As expected, the season revolved around him. I was wondering what kinds of gifts to give and how we would eat Noche Buena, knowing that he's fast asleep at 12mn, for months already! Well, he didn't appreciate the season yet, and he slept through Noche Buena, but this Christmas is still very special.

As I mentioned before, we decided to give him clothes for Christmas, as he has outgrown most of his "panlakad" clothes already. On an unrelated note, I'm thinking of having a garage sale. We donated some of his newborn clothes, but his onesies are still very usable. Of course, the daddy wants to reserve the clothes for the next baby. As if!

Knowing that Y sleeps at 8pm, we decided to open our gifts just after dinner. We laid down Y's playmat beside our little Christmas tree and got to business!

Our Christmas corner - before the mayhem
Christmas afternoon - Y can't wait to open his gifts!
San kaya akin jan?
Alright, are you ready, baby?
Mukha naman kaming masaya no? LOL
Woah, clothes!
Y, scratching his head, trying to comprehend what's happening
Opening the grandparents' gift
Me, all-smiles, with my new organizer, and Y looking smug. Look at all the wrappers beside me!
Checking out the gifts and not minding the mess around us
Y toying with my sister's headband
After the rather messy opening of gifts ceremony, Y and I went upstairs to sleep. Well, it was only Y who slept. I spent the night talking to J hehe. At 11pm, I went downstairs with a sleeping baby in my arms to eat Noche Buena. :-)

December 22, 2012

This Week in Photos

Since it's also Christmas vacation for most students in the US, it also means vacation for me. No essays = now work! Sure, there are a few essays every now and then, but that means I only need to work for a couple of hours in a day. That means my brain is on vacation-mode! So that would give me enough time to blog, right? Not!

Because I had to work almost everyday for most of the time, this "vacation" means I can finally do what I can't usually do. Messy table? Now's the time to clean it! New sleeping arrangement? Now's perfect! Fussy baby? No worries, we can lay in bed whole day! Gifts shopping? OMG gifts shopping!

So I guess the holidays don't really mean idleness. However, here are some grainy photos captured by my phone in the last couple of weeks:

We decorated late this year. Usually, our decorations are up before December even begins. But this year, we (my mom, actually) only found time to decorate our house a couple of weeks ago.
More often than not, no work means more time for camwhoring with Y.  I think we took this photo while watching Miss Universe. By the way,  I think I already lost all my pregnancy weight - thanks to breastfeeding! :-)
I mentioned in my last post that Y fell from our bed several nights ago. This means we have to have a new sleeping arrangement. He wouldn't go inside his crib alone, so I tried the sidecar arrangement - which works, so far. I will write more on this next week!
My mom and sister rearranged our furniture early this morning. We now have a LOT of space for Y to run around. Also, they came up with this cute Christmas corner that now houses our little tree, our Santa Clauses, and our (THEIR) gifts!
Collage of the Christmas corner, as seen in Instagram
And finally, finally, I'm finally done with gifts shopping! Let me tell you, it's no joke when you have a baby in the house. First, you need to sneak outside the house just to get to the mall. Next, you also have to find time alone to wrap the gifts! So I had to do most of my shopping online. But I also managed to find time to go to the mall TWICE! So thanks Halo, Bench, Penshoppe, online shops, and department stores for my gifts!
I have no gifts, though. I'm too old to be bought gifts by my parents, and I certainly don't expect to be gifted by my siblings, or Y, and while J has something for me, I don't want him to spend on shipping. Boo! But weirdly, it's fine with me. I guess I understand the spirit of Christmas now. Or maybe I'm just getting old. :-)

December 19, 2012

My New Diaper Bag

I used to have a very nice diaper bag from Baby Couture. However, I don't think the people who go out with me appreciate its size. See, because I carry Y, they have to carry the diaper bag. And since it's as big as an overnight bag, it's really not the most convenient thing in the world.


My beautiful but unfortunately oversized diaper bag
So I needed to find another diaper bag, one that would also double as my handbag. I knew I needed a satchel, but I couldn't find one that would fit my budget. Hello? Who am I to spend 2k on a bag when I barely go outside the house? For a while, I used my old Fossil bag and stuffed Y's things into it. But it was too cramped, so I borrowed my younger sister's VS toiletry bag. It did well, but I didn't like the pink color - too kikay for a baby boy's diaper bag! Also, my sister wanted it back. Hehehe.

Luckily, I found a cheap but pretty satchel in, where else, but SM Parisian. My mom was just looking for a pair of shoes to wear to a wedding (not mine, though. LOL), but we were informed that we would get a discount if the purchase reaches a certain amount. So my sister looked for a pair of shoes - pink, duh - and I went off to find my new diaper bag. Here it is:

Crooked photo showing the front details. Behind bag: My UP Sablay. ;-)
Opened bag: lots of pockets! And roomy, too!
It easily fits all of my and Y's things. And we still use the Baby Couture diaper mat, much to the old bag's dismay.
I love using it because it's so casual - nobody would ever suspect what's inside are diapers and baby food. And the best part? It only costs P500! So much for expensive satchels haha. I guess my Baby Couture would have to wait for our next long distance trip to get used. It would be my go-to travel bag! :-)

* Grainy photos courtesy of my LG phone. Where the heck is my camera?!

December 17, 2012

My Grown-up Christmas List

Image from
A couple of weeks ago, typhoon Pablo devastated a lot of us in Mindanao. I can't help but think that the storm missed J and I by a narrow inch. See, I live in Davao City, which is just around 2 hours from DavOr and ComVal. But the only effect of the storm on us was the 2-hour power outage and the 2-days internet disconnection.

On the other hand, J, who resides in Surigao del Sur, is safe and sound. What's weird is that the entire province was placed under state of calamity. So many people lost their homes and livelihood in Surigao del Sur, too. But the town where J works, as well as his hometown where his family lives, were spared. They are two different places, miles away from each other, and devastation was felt in the towns between them, but the two towns were barely touched by the storm.

Amazing? Maybe. But God is faithful. I prayed really hard from the moment they announced a typhoon is coming to the country. I prayed hard for God to spare J, Y, and me, and both our families and loved ones. I was reminded how powerful a prayer can be.

One post ago, I wrote something that is very materialistic. I'm really a sucker for holidays and gift-giving, so I won't take my post back. But aside from giving and shopping, there are a lot more things I'd rather see and have - and will attain by praying. These will comprise my grown-up Christmas list.

5. Good (and better) relationship with my boys

I am so much in love with Y. Well, can you blame me? The boy has the charisma of his dad! Haha, no seriously, if you're a mom with a firstborn son, I think you can relate with me. Boys, they say, are much closer with their moms (bwahahaha!). On the other hand, my relationship with J is getting stronger and more mature - especially with Y, now. But we have our funny moments, too, and they keep the relationship interesting. Chos! So frankly, I could not ask for anything else, just for everything to grow and to be better.

4. Job and stability

I am very thankful for having a job that doesn't require me to be away from my son. As a new mom, I was able to witness all of Y's firsts - first smile, first laugh, first rollover, first sit-up, first attempt to crawl and even first fall (my bad!) - and nothing can ever replace the experience. Aside from that, my job allows me to buy not just our needs but also our wants. I can only pray that J will have his dream job, too. He earns enough, but if it requires him to be away from us, then it's not the one for us.

3. Renewed relationship with God

I once had a beautiful relationship with God. I belonged with (not "to") a church who felt like family. But I was unfaithful and wanted to be "free." Long story. Now that I'm a mom and look forward to having my own family, I pray that I can renew that beautiful relationship. I also hope to belong with the Christian church again. So why can't I do it now? Sadly, I still live with my parents, who are vehemently against it.

2. Hope for the devastated

First, there's Pablo, and now, there's the Connecticut shooting. And there are a lot of devastation in between that we don't see (because they are not in the media). I can only pray that the ones left behind can still find a reason to smile and be hopeful for the future.

1. A complete family

J and I have undergone many challenges, too many I sometimes think, but we have been faithful. The one thing that would make me really happy is for us to be together with Y. By then, surely, I will be the happiest woman - and mom - on earth.

By the way, Y fell from our bed last night. My little boy fell face-down to the floor while I was sleeping. I think he woke up, crawled to the bed's edge, and tried to stand up. Poor boy! Everyone ran upstairs because the "bang!" was loud! And Y kept crying then. Now, all's well already, but I have a nagging thought in my head the entire morning. I realized I just drifted off last night and forgot to pray - I usually pray over Y each night for protection. Of course, I'm not saying God made Y fall to punish me - it doesn't work like that. But it looks like I needed a little rough shaking to wake me up. Pray, child! 

December 14, 2012

Christmas Gift Guide

Gee, where did the time go? It seems like we were just getting ready to go to Cebu in time for Halloween; now it's already December 14th. Only 11 days to go before Christmas! Or if you're Pinoy - since we do the actual celebrations on the 24th - only 10! And I haven't done any Christmas shopping yet! Gaaah!

I was complaining how I won't be going to any Christmas party this year. Last year, I had parties left and right - seriously - and I didn't want to go then because I was already 6 months pregnant. It's so hard to move around. But now, zero, zilch, nada, nothing! This means I need to take charge - it's either I organize a party or just buy gifts to "feel" the season.

Try organizing a party with a hyperactive baby. So I decided I'd just buy gifts for my friends, family, and myself to feel Christmas-y. Because I haven't done any sort of shopping yet, I decided to make a gift guide to maximize whatever shopping trip I can do:

For mama:

I noticed that lately, I'm always giving gifts to my mom. Last month, I bought her some clothes from ForMe. It was her early birthday gift. When her birthday actually came, which was November 30, I also treated her to the salon. She spent 8 hours there. Now, it's Christmas, which means another gift! She has just bought a pair of high heels and a handbag, and my dad also bought her 3 pairs of pants. Now what? For the woman who has everything but makeup, I'm thinking of buying this:

Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream (Image from
I've been telling her to get a BB cream for herself, but somehow she's never found the time to do it. Either that or she's afraid to choose one. :P

For papa and kuya:

I seldom buy gifts for my dad and older brother. During their birthdays, I wasn't able to give them something because the days coincided with Y's baptism. So now, I need to at least buy something. How about this?

Code by Giorgio Armani (Image from
Nah, just kidding. But I'll probably end up buying a bottle of perfume for the two.

For my sister:

For her birthday early this month, I gave her my old phone. But that doesn't really count as a gift because it was something of convenience; the phone wasn't something I intended to buy for her. And the little sister, who is beginning to "blossom" into a little lady, wants one of these:

Forever 21 Sparkling Bow Bracelet
And yes, she wants one specifically from Forever21. What's with that shop and teenage girls? And my sister's just 11!

For yaya:

I couldn't work without Y's yaya, so I need to buy her something she'll surely appreciate. My sister and she have almost the same birthdays. For her birthday, I bought something from Penshoppe. Since she's a teenager, I think she'll appreciate kikay stuff, like this:

Chic Laced Jumpsuit from
Or would she? Sorry, it's been quite a while since I've been a teenager. Hahaha. But if someone gives me this, I'll gladly wear it! :D

For ze boyfriend:

J actually told me I don't have to buy anything for him. Well, I won't buy him anything for now since it's too expensive to send something over LBC - I learned my lesson during his birthday last year. But I'll definitely give him something early next year, and since it's nice to plan, I wanted to have at least an idea. Scratch that. I know what exactly what I'll give him:

Mossimo Long Beach Watch
He seriously can't get enough of watches. They're his mistress! But I couldn't afford a Technomarine for now (I don't think I ever could!), but isn't this Mossimo watch handsome? Too bad it's out of stock in Zalora. :-(

For the little boy:

Of course, I would not forget the little boy. But there's no need for an idea for his first Christmas gift; it already arrived yesterday! J and I already ordered early this month. We were thinking of something to play with, but Y already has a lot of toys, most of which he can't appreciate yet. He's also not in need of any piece of furniture, since kumpleto naman. So in the end, we bought something he can surely use. More clothes! This is the parcel:

Photo made grainy by Instagram :|
What's inside? It's a secret for now. :-)

For friends:

I don't really know what I'll get, since I'm not sure whom I will run into this month. But I plan to keep some gifts prepared just in case I bump into someone. I'm thinking of chocolates? Or what about mini notepads? I really don't know; I hope I can find some cute things in Davao's novelty shops.

Cursory Notes from

And finally, for me:

It's the season for giving, but forgive me for wanting to buy some stuff for myself. After all, I already resigned myself to the idea of not receiving gifts this year! So I'll just go out and treat myself to these:

Front-zip dresses (Image from
A pair of classic skinny jeans (Image from
I'd like to think I'm a techy person, but I don't find myself lusting for gadgets nowadays. I have my laptop, my camera, and my phone - that's it! Now, all I want is something decent to wear. No kidding!

I want to have as many front-zip dresses as I can, for breastfeeding purpose. And it doesn't hurt that they look cute, too! Don't you think the zippers add a nice detail?

As for the denim skinny jeans, I think it's finally time for me to invest on one. See, for the longest time, I wore leggings, shorts, skirts, and dresses - for fear that I will develop curly hair on my legs. Whoever told me that? But now that I want to wear shirts again, I am in dire need of a sturdy pair of skinny jeans. :-)

How about you? What are you buying for Christmas?
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