January 30, 2014

Fun and Frugal Finds for January

Hi! Welcome to another edition of Fun and Frugal Finds by no other than kuripot me! :-)

I find it hard to write about January finally ending. Wasn't it just Christmas season yesterday? No? Well, you can't blame me for feeling still Christmas-y. Blame the bed-weather! Anyway, now that it's the end of January, I have to accept that it's finally over. Guess I'd have to wait for 11 more months!

So what was I able to score for the month of January? Most of these are still grocery finds since I just lurve grocery-shopping. All of them are pretty affordable, too, since I already spent a lot during the previous month. Because of that, January needs to be a lean month.

I know this list is pretty long (lean month ba talaga?), but be patient to go through it because my most favorite find is at the bottom.

Okay, I'll stop babbling now. Here are my Fun and Frugal Finds for January:

1. Magic Board for Yuri
I actually didn't plan on buying Yuri one, but one Sunday, when we passed by Toy Kingdom, he was so amused with the Mega-Skecher. So I thought to myself, why not? It's educational anyway. Bakit nga naman hindi.

The only problem was that I was on a spending limit (lean month), and I didn't want to spend more than 1k for a board, which I bet would be used more by my sister and Yuri's yaya. So I looked for a cheaper alternative, which is pictured above.

Price: Around P300
Verdict: Perfect for my toddler's little hands!

2. Science Book Set
This was not in the plan, too, but when I was lining up at the cashier, my mom found this book set, made me look at it, convinced me to buy it, and promptly sent me back to the end of the line.

It didn't take much for me to be convinced, though. Had I found it first, I would've gotten it, too. It features topics of interest such as Ancient History and I have no doubt it would be of good use in the future.

Price: P500 for a set of 6!
Verdict: Pages are on the thin side, but who cares?

3. Cradle Bottle Cleanser
I ran out of Human Nature dishwashing liquid, so I had to buy a replacement. Unfortunately, there are no natural dishwashing soaps in the grocery, so I had to get this baby bottle cleanser. So #throwbackthursday!

Price: Around P120 for a 200-ml bottle
Verdict: It works well with milk bottles, but I guess that's it. It doesn't remove oil and grease from Yuri's plates at all!

4. Sanicare Wipes
This is not actually a new find. Actually, this is my favorite brand of wipes; unfortunately, it's not available in SM. I can only buy this in Gaisano Mall.

I love these wipes because, first, I like the aloe vera smell. Second, it's very soft and moisturizing. Third, the wipes are thick and cloth-like. (Unfortunately, I don't have a camera right now so I couldn't take a closeup photo of an individual wipe.) They remind me of the more expensive Pigeon wipes, but these have a more lotion-y texture.

Price: P85
Verdict: Duh? :-)

5. Crispy Rice Cereal
I prefer buying groceries in SM because it is more spacious; however, it is only in Gaisano Mall where I discover cheap but good brands - like this brand of cereal.

I tried this brand before and that time, I got whole wheat cereal. The little boy liked it, so I wanted to buy it again. This time, I wanted to try rice crispies.

Price: Only P65 for a big box! (200 grams)
Verdict: They taste yummy! Perfect for the future mallows-rice crispies recipe brewing in my head.

6. Cloud-9 Salted Caramel

January 28, 2014

My Mothering Regrets (Shoulda Woulda Coulda)

Let me get this straight: I do not regret being a mom to Yuri. Sure, things have gone unplanned, but thanks to the Grace of God, I do not only manage parenting but also enjoy it! Yes, it is hard to believe, but I'm really enjoying mothering a toddler in my early 20s. Just to set things straight hehe.

However, if I can turn back time and do it all over again, there are several things that I would do differently. Looking back, I can think of several things I regret doing and not doing. Back then, I felt as if I was doing okay, but sometimes, I can't help but cringe when I think how ignorant and incapable I was!

Honestly, when I look at Yuri and how he turned out, I realize I must have done an acceptable job, but if I had a chance, there are several things that I would have done when he was born or before he was born. Here are those things:

5-day old Yuri
1. Feeding formula to a newborn Yuri

What? An exclusively breastfeeding mom for almost 2 years fed her baby with formula? Before I go on, let me clarify that I have nothing against moms who formula-feed. After all, I was formula-fed. I am thankful that I am able to breastfeed so easily. However, many of you don't know that Yuri's first food wasn't from my breasts; it was from a can of S26.

You see, I gave birth with complications. I don't have time to tell the whole story, but here's a blog post you might want to read. While I was confined in the room, Yuri was confined for 6 days in the NICU. When the doctor finally gave me the go-signal to feed him, despite the pain, I carried myself to the NICU to breastfeed. However, my mother was not with me. The hospital (I only knew later) wasn't a BF advocate, so the nurses were not equipped to teach me how. The midwife told me to just point my nipple at my son's mouth, but surprisingly, he wouldn't take it. By then, I didn't know that I had to latch my baby. I didn't know how. I thought we could just let nature take its course, but, as expected, it didn't. The impatient midwife took the baby from me and told me to just buy formula. In the end, for the first days of his life, Yuri fed on formula and not on my breast milk.

It might not be a big deal to you, but for an EBF mom like me, I regret that so much. Until now, I still have the sneaking suspicion that Yuri wasn't able to take colostrum at all, which my mom would always negate. I hope she is right. It doesn't really matter now, but I feel as if my newborn child was deprived of something he deserved just because I wasn't informed. (Which explains why I over-inform myself now!)

The average number of cloth diapers I wash daily
2. Not using cloth diapers from the beginning

Many of you might know that I only bought cloth diapers for the first time recently. Yuri was already 20 months old by then. This is because I had a lot of misconceptions about CDs. I read a lot about it, and I know its benefits, but somehow, I wasn't convinced. All I could think about was the pile of laundry!

Fast forward to now and I regret not taking the plunge to cloth-diaper when Yuri was still a newborn. Now, I don't have to rush to the store whenever Yuri's diaper supply is running out. Also, I don't have to look at money going down the drain (Yuri is notorious for pooping just when his diaper is freshly changed). I do have to launder his CDs (yes, I wash his diapers!) everyday - even twice a day - and I'm working full-time. Surprisingly, it's not as heavy a chore as I originally thought! I find it easy and even fun because they're cute.

While it's not too late to begin cloth-diapering a child, I would've maximized the benefits if we started early!

We should have had more of these high-quality shots!
3. Not investing on good photos (and a good camera)

January 27, 2014

Yuri Speaks Phrases and Other Stories

Good morning! Monday na naman ulit. Thankfully, I had a good weekend. This past weekend was a double whammy because Saturday was my parents' anniversary (31st?) while Sunday was Yuri's 22nd month.

Did I just say Yuri was already 22 months old? Oh wow how fast does time fly?
Like what I mentioned a few weeks ago, I already stopped tracking words. He's learning in a steady stream and I'm pretty sure he know around 200 words already. Nice one, late walker! Hee hee #justkiddingaround

But what he did lately is speak in phrases. Actually, here's a piece of advice to new moms: they won't be recognizable phrases at first. They're just a string of two words spoken separately. They're not spoken in a flowing manner like how we adults do it - at least in my experience. I didn't think Yuri was speaking in phrases at first, but as he repeated them, I realized the words made sense and were used as a pair. Eureka!

Here are some of the phrases I remember Yuri saying:

- kuwin apay (kunin tinapay)
- abas tayo (labas tayo)
- kuwin tubig (kunin tubig)
- ebe tayo (Time for bed - the book - tayo)
- tati pis (cookie please)
- dede tayo (dede tayo!)

If you think toddlers saying words are cute, wait until they speak in phrases. Absolutely adorbs!

Last Saturday, I read Abreeza's Instagram post about Gonuts Donuts' buy 6 take 6 promo for only P216. Of course, the kuripot in me couldn't resist. So that afternoon, we had a variety of sinful donuts! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take a photo of all the donuts. Here's a poor shot I managed to take:
My mom also made spaghetti. Yum! No photos, though. So much for dieting!

(The kids - my sister and my son - and I were at home the whole Saturday. Mama and Papa were in Cafe Laguna in Abreeza. Did they have an anniversary date? Hmm)

Then on Sunday, we heard mass (we regularly go to SM's mass now). Although belief-wise I consider myself a Born Again Christian, because I'm still living under my parents' roof, I wholeheartedly adopted some Catholic practices like going to mass and doing the sign of the cross during mealtime prayers. Remember: Honor your mother and father. But that's beside the point.

Anyway, last Sunday, I genuinely enjoyed the service because the priest's homily was very Biblical and Gospel-focused. I like how he preached about Jesus as "the one" and how we only need to accept that the Work was already done at the Cross for salvation. He also called for repentance not to make way for the Lord as in the time of John the Baptist but repentance because the Kingdom is already at hand. Finally, he called for us to be "Credible Christians." He clarified that he did not mean "credible Catholics" but "credible Christians" as in "credible believers of Jesus."

And I was like, wow, this is my kind of priest!

January 25, 2014

The Art of Slowing Down

Let me tell you a secret. I don't know how to slow down. I'm always on my toes, maybe not physically all the time, but my mind is always, always running. The hamster never stops turning the wheel called my brain. And because I am easily obsessed, sometimes, this nonstop wheel becomes a tool for unhealthy obsession.

In a full day, aside from my mommy duties, I work. I spend 30 minutes reviewing one essay, and after each essay, I allow myself 5 minutes to "rest." Well, guess what? During those 5 minutes, I do blogwork!

I do the same each lunch break. Sometimes, I catch a good TV show, so while Yuri begins his nap, I watch TV. However, my mind is still running, eternally on search of good topics to write about. The same happens at night. After reading bedtime books to Yuri and finally tucking him to sleep, after reading the Bible and praying, I read more articles and posts and I draft future blog posts.

In all reality, it keeps me productive. In fact, this is the reason why, for the past several weeks, I've been blogging every day. It was literal blog-horrea! Because of the time I spent on thinking of new topics and taking stock photos, I was able to produce post after post after post.

So what's the problem? I realize I've become so attached to the idea of a new post every day. It's silly, but I didn't want "vacant days" in my blog. I don't know why and how, but somehow, I let my love of blogging become an "idol," something that I obsessed over and practically worshipped, and God convicted me to stop that right away.

I realize that by obsessing over writing posts, I've set myself up to being a slave of the blog. (Remember that I am writing from a Biblical perspective, so if you have a different belief, you might not really understand why I'm so bothered when I realized that I'm beginning to "worship" blogging.)

January 24, 2014

Finance Friday: How to Budget Using the Envelope Method

Hi there! So last Friday, we talked about the basics of budgeting. Here's a recap:
Identify your source/s of income, identify whether it's fixed or not, list down the fixed non-negotiables, list down the fluid non-negotiables, list your debts, create flex, save for short-term stuff, allot for leisure, and make sure all of these are not more than what you make.
Easier said than done, right? Now, I hope you were able to get the basics of budgeting down to pat, but that's not the hardest part. Not even close. After you had made a budget, you need to implement it. In other words, you need to stick to it. How?
One of the easiest - and my favorite - methods of budgeting is the Envelope Method. It's really easy. The principle is to separate your money into different envelopes, which stand for the categories you had created. This way, you only spend what you allotted for each category.

For example, if you allotted P1000 for your leisure money, and you already spent P500 for a movie, it means you can only spend another P500 for leisure for the rest of the month. You cannot borrow from other envelopes. No cheating!
What I like about this method is that I can immediately see what's left of my allocations for my budget categories. It's different to see P6000 all bundled up together. I might be fooled into thinking I have budget for a cheap camera (which I really need). However, when the same amount of money was rightfully separated into envelopes, I would know that I still need to deposit half of that amount for stock investments, a fourth for groceries, and so on.

Plus, in the absence of a tracking app or a planner, envelopes can readily serve as money trackers. What I used to do before was each time I get money from a certain envelope, I write down the details on that envelope. I write the date, the amount I "withdrew," and the reason. This way, I wouldn't wonder where my money went!

January 22, 2014

Oplan Balik Alindog / Paandar 2014

Most, if not all, New Year's resolutions include losing weight. Mine usually did except for two years: the year when I was about to give birth (2012) and the year before Yuri turned 1 (2013).

The first year was a no-brainer because I was about to pop. Losing weight was the farthest thing from my mind. In fact, if I remember it correctly, that was the month I was beginning to gain a lot of weight due to pregnancy. I was 7 months pregnant then, and before that, I think I only gained around 15 pounds. By my 7th month, tuloy-tuloy na ang pag-gain.

On the other hand, the second year was a Godsend for me. I honestly thought I won't lose all the pregnancy weight because I've been fat chubby all my life. To my surprise, I did not only lose weight but also went back to my highschool weight. All thanks to breastfeeding! What a God-designed wonder.

So I felt smug. I could eat like a construction worker and not gain a pound - at all! I even lost pounds just by lying or sitting down and feeding Yuri. Here's a photo; I think Yuri was 8 months here:

Pardon the kagigising-lang-face. Just look at those arms.

I weighed just a little over 50 kilos then, which was a lot less than my pre-pregnancy weight. It may be heavy for some people, but I certainly felt lightest! That time was heaven because I was losing even more weight each month for the first year of Yuri's life. I was even scared I'd go too thin so I ate a lot. Ong yobong yobong.

Until one day, I hit a plateau. I didn't lose weight anymore. I thought to myself, okay, let's just keep it steady at 50 kilos. I know the reason I wasn't losing weight anymore was that Yuri was eating table foods already. Still, I didn't make any conscious lifestyle changes. I still didn't lessen my food intake nor did I do decent exercise. I tried to depend on what was left of my breastfeeding to keep me from gaining too much, which I thought was fine.

Isang araw, nagising nalang ako sa katotohanan.

The past year, I knew I was fatter than I was the year before, but I wasn't bothered. Okay, I might have been in denial. As long as my clothes still fit me, I was still fine.

A few weeks ago, Yuri and I went to his pedia to have his last shot. The secretary had to get his weight. Since Yuri wasn't cooperating, what we did was we were both weighed first then I was weighed, and the results were subtracted. Alas, I already weighed 56 kilos!

What troubled me was that my pre-pregnancy weight was 62 kilos. I'm so near to achieving that weight again, which I don't like! Also, Job only weighs 58 kilos, so no no no no way! So just very recently, nagising ako sa katotohanan that breastfeeding just isn't cutting it for me anymore. Gone are the perfect days; now, it's time to work it.

The gameplan: Count calories and exercise daily.

January 20, 2014

My Far-from-Perfect Sunday and Changing my Character

It's Monday again! Ambilis! Sunday just flew past my face. Hindi ko sya nafeel. Lucky are you who have two-day weekends, but for those like me who only get one restday, I feel yah!

Yesterday was a really chilly day. The kind of day when the bed's magnetic pull is too strong. It was raining quite hard here so we weren't able to go to church. In an ideal setup, I would stay in bed all day wearing pajamas and reading a book with Yuri by my side content to be playing quietly. But life doesn't always happen that way.
One of the reasons why I didn't get to enjoy my Sunday that much is that first, I didn't get to go outside the house and second, I had to do a general cleaning of the bedroom. There are actually a third and a fourth reason, but let's get to that later.

We finally had to say goodbye to our sidecar crib arrangement, which served us well for a year. I actually liked it because while we were technically co-sleeping, I still had my personal space. No, the problem was that Yuri was getting too big for the crib. So last Saturday, we bought a double bed.

Yes, just a double bed. We couldn't buy a bigger bed because our stairway was too narrow. In fact, getting the double bed upstairs caused not a few scrapes on the banister. But we made it through. Yehess.

(I was thinking, good luck sa new house because it had an even narrower stair case. But let's cross the bridge when we get there.)

Here's our old arrangement:
And after more than 3 hours' worth of intense labor and cleaning, here's a new sleeping arrangement for Yuri and me:
You might be wondering why we were such in a hurry to buy a new bed. Well, my parents just chanced over a furniture sale in Gaisano Mall, and this bed (frame + Uratex mattress) was only P7k+. Original price was near P10k. Okay!

I am a bit nervous because the reason why I had to switch to a sidecar arrangement was Yuri falling off the bed. To be safe, I placed the old mattress on the floor. Just to be sure. But ultimately, I'm praying God send his angels every night to, um, keep Yuri from being too malikot while sleeping.

What's the third reason my Sunday didn't become a real restday? Yuri refused to take a nap on the new bed, that's what. It was getting on my nerves already because I'm sure he's sleepy. In fact, Yuri is almost always a good sleeper until now. And it went beyond naptime. Before dinner, he was already asking for tuyog (sleep), so after eating quickly, I was sure he'd sleep almost immediately. Well, no. The boy endured another 30 minutes of battling sleep despite his obvious sleepiness. Hay naku!
Now, the fourth reason happened when Yuri finally fell asleep. I was looking forward to having quiet time and finally being able to talk with Job after an entire week. I was looking forward to it the whole day. Unfortunately, our network didn't want to cooperate. I'm looking at you, Smart! Job can receive my messages easily, but I didn't receive any of his. Talk about a cherry on top of my sundae-sweet Sunday!

Of course I was really frustrated. Aside from the fact that my body was tired, I also needed some emotional recharging by talking to Job. I thought it was unfair. Now, when we complain that the world is being unfair to us, aren't we technically complaining that God is being unfair to us? I realized that last night. I was being upset with Him for not giving me a perfect Sunday. What? What a brat!

January 18, 2014

Of Playdates and French Toasts

My camera has finally died after two years of service. Yes, it died out too quickly! This must be the result of taking hundreds of photos every day... Anyway, yesterday, I took out the memory card and saw that I was able to take blog-worthy photos in the last minute. Yay!

Last Tuesday, Yuri woke up a bit late at around 8am. Actually, I had to wake him up so we could go down for breakfast (and I was, like, holding my pee since forever). He finally woke up and I got to prepare our breakfast downstairs (everybody else was already finished eating). In less than five minutes since we went down, our neighbor arrived bringing with her her half-American son.

Everybody, meet Gabe:
He's our friendly 6-year old neighbor who gave Yuri this Tigger stuffed toy last Christmas:
He brought with him a toy car (also an army tank) along with a Pokemon toy and a Mario figure. It's Mario's son daw. Yuri was very curious to see what his kuya Gabe was doing. What's up with boys and tanks?
Well, they did not play together, but they did play side by side.

Funny anecdote (I was preparing Yuri's breakfast):
Me: Gabe, do you want cereal, too?
Gabe: No, I don't want cereal.
Me: What would you like to have?
Gabe: I would like to have pahn-duh-sahl.
If you didn't get it, pandesal daw! Tutyal!

The next day, we were in the mood to make some French Toast. Actually, we have been planning to make some for a few days now, but there's always aberya. For example, one day, we were ready to make French Toast, and when we opened the fridge, wala palang itlog. That day, despite remembering that we were already out of cinnamon, we still decided to push through to satisfy our craving. Also, nakakailang loaf bread na kami. Haha!

Again, we didn't have cinnamon, so we made the most basic of French toasts. Here are the ingredients:
We used only two eggs para hindi masyadong ma-cholesterol. First, combine the milk and the eggs in a bowl and whisk them together. Then, add a capful of vanilla and a pinch of salt to taste.

January 17, 2014

Finance Friday: How to Make a Budget Plan

Because we all need to plan our spending and saving!  I have yet to meet a person who doesn't want to save money. In fact, it is rare to meet a person who doesn't need to save money. Well, maybe Gretchen Barretto, but that's beside the point. I bet (metaphorically speaking) Henry Sy's grandsons also save money.

However, it is even rarer for me to find someone who is actually saving money - consistently, faithfully. More often than not, we do not have a lot money left at the end of the month. Instead, we have a lot of month at the end of the money.

Why? Because we fail to make a budget and keep it. I'm not at all a finance or a budgeting expert, but I've always been interested in budgeting. I've done this since I began earning money 6 years ago, and I find it therapeutic (just like writing and listing). Keep in mind, though, that making a budget is different from keeping it, but that's another topic for another day. Today, let me teach you how to make a budget plan.

1. Identify your sources of income.
The first thing you need to do is note your income, which we will later divide into categories. But before that, you need to answer this question: is your income fixed or not? If it is fixed, you also need to work with fixed amounts. If not, like mine, you can work with percentages, which are more flexible (except for the non-negotiables, which we will discuss later). If you have multiple sources of income, and praise God for that, identify all of them.

2. Note the fixed non-negotiables.
After you identify your income and whether it is fixed or not, begin listing your payables. Begin with the fixed non-negotiables. I am using this term loosely to refer to payables with fixed amounts and need to be paid regularly. For example, internet bills and mortgages incur the same amount every month. For both fixed and non-fixed income, you need to list these categories using fixed amounts. Here's an illustration:

3. Note the fluid non-negotiables.
After the fixed non-negotiables, you need to list the more flexible payables. Take note that this doesn't necessarily mean you can choose not to pay this category. I would discourage you from doing that. What I mean here are the payables without fixed amounts. Examples are tithes, donations, and savings for emergency and retirement funds.

Why would I discourage you from skipping this category? Many of us follow the notion of saving what is left from our salary. The formula we usually follow is this:

Income - expenses = savings

This is wrong, wrong, wrong! Ask yourself: when was the last time you were actually able to save somethibg from what was left of your salary? Usually, this never happens because before the month (or kinsena) ends, we've used up all the money already. Not incorporating a savings category into our budget is one of the reasons why we can't save at all. In contrast, the formula we should follow is this:

Income - savings = expenses

See the difference? Now, for people with fixed income, you should cite fixed amounts, too. However, for people without fixed income, I recommend using percentages. In my case, I usually allot 10 - 15% for savings no matter how much I earn. In tithing, a good guideline to follow is to give 10% of what you earn, but if you can give more.praise God! Here's another illustration:

4. Create a "debt" category.
If you have a debt or are paying something on credit or installment, create a new category for that. Cite the amount you need to pay per month plus the interest if applicable.

5. Create a "flex money" category.
I got this idea from The Simple Dollar. You see, no matter how meticulously you track and budget money, there will always be times when you need to pay something you didn't account for. For example, one day, a package from the US arrived here and the postman asked me to pay P50 for it. I certainly didn't know about that! This category allows you a bit of freedom and flexibility and prevents unnecessary stress because it allows you room for unseen expenses which are not necessarily life-and-death. (Keep in mind that this is different from the emergency fund).

6. Identify your short-term saving goals.
Next, you need to create another category for an item or a vacation you're saving up for. You should create another entry for this because this doesn't fall under the long-term savings illustrated in number 2. For example, I usually begin saving up for Christmas in September. You can do this when you're saving up for an iPad or to go to a summer getaway in Siargao.

7. Create a "leisure fund" category.

January 16, 2014

The Library Project

I live in a house that is full of books, and I give credit to the homemaker: my mom. Last time, I shared with you some photos of our bookcases, but in case you missed it, here they are again:
Aside from the books in the bookshelves above, there are still many books in the kitchen (mostly recipe books) and more in my own bedroom (Christian books, my Bible, devotionals, Eraserheads paraphernalia - alin alin ang naiba - and magazines). Someday, when we finally settle into our own home (which might be sooner than I think, God-willing), I hope it will also be filled with a lot of books.

For now, my project is more localized. My 21-month old, Yuri, has already developed an interest in books. Predictably, this fueled my obsession in buying children's books, which led to the predicament: saan ko sila ilalagay? It's a good thing there was an unused bookshelf in the house, which is perfect for Yuri's height.

At first, every book had its own place.
However, the shelf quickly filled up last Christmas.
You might not see it, but the books were just crammed together. This is a problem because it doesn't attract the toddler; in other words, hindi nakaka-engganyo. 

The amount of books was quickly accumulating, and it has only been a month since I started buying books intentionally! Pano pa kaya in a few more months? Well, I asked for help from the ultimate domestic diva (my mom), and with her magic hands, Yuri's "library" turned into this:
Disclaimer lang, malakas ang backlight (as can be seen in the photo above), so I had to use flash. #defensive
The books are now separated and categorized! Don't worry; the inside of the cabinet is not filled with Yuri's books - yet.

January 15, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Work-at-Home Mom: Toddler Edition

6:30 am: The sunlight is already streaming through the window, rousing me from a good night's sleep. I grab my phone to check the time and utter a morning prayer. Yuri is still blissfully sleeping beside me (we co-sleep).

6:35 pm: I read the Bible (on my phone) and my verse of the day.

6:45 am: After praying, I read articles in my Pocket app. I hold my pee while waiting for Yuri to wake up.

6:40 am: Job wakes up and sends me a message. He usually wakes up before me, but I woke up extra early today. We talk. A lot. Yuri also finds his way to my breasts for a pre-breakfast snack. (He nurses while asleep.)

7 am: Yuri finally tosses and turns, a signal that he's almost awake. I give him a few minutes to rub his eyes, stretch, and adjust. Then, we read a book. Currently, we're reading Pig's Egg.
Photo: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17284564-pig-s-egg
7:15 am: We go downstairs for breakfast. Breakfast today is bread, eggs, and sausages, but Yuri prefers to eat cereal. We eat together.

7:25 am: I'm done eating. (Somehow, ever since I became a mom, I've never had time for leisure eating.) I get up and wash my plate (and cup and spoon and fork). Yuri remains in the high-chair as he's still eating. I always sing a nursery rhyme for Yuri from the kitchen; my current song choice is 10 Green Bottles.

View from the kitchen. Don't worry; it's not as dark as it looks. It's just the effect of the backlight. :-)

7:40 am: Yuri is finally done eating! I remove his bib, take him out of the high-chair, and wash his hands and mouth at the sink. I pass him to his yaya (stay-in nanny) while I wash Yuri's utensils and clean his tray and chair.

7:45 am: I get Yuri from the yaya and ask her to heat some water for Yuri's bath. Yes,we don't have hot water in the bathroom. I prepare the bathroom and undress the excited little boy.

7:50 - 8 am: I give Yuri a bath. Yuri loves taking a bath so much that he doesn't want it to end. Luckily, today, he doesn't fight me when I saw bathtime's over.

8 - 8:15 am: I dress Yuri up in thin, comfortable clothes. We also cuddle a bit while breastfeeding.

8:15 am: I pass Yuri to his yaya. They go outside the house to play and look at insects. I sit down at my desk to work.

9:00am: They go back inside to play and wreak havoc.
8:30 - 11:45 am: Work, work, work

11:45 am: I prepare Yuri's and my lunch. Today's lunch is turkey burgers, which are bland, but Yuri loves them.

12 nn: Yuri and I eat together. Honey can eat whenever she wants to, but she prefers waiting for us to finish. I finish eating before Yuri and wash my plates while he eats. When he's done, his yaya takes him so that I can wash his plates and clean his chair.

12:30 - 1 pm: Cuddle time! Yuri and I will usually read a book but this time, we quietly watch Stuart Little. He nurses again and eventually falls asleep. I switch channels and watch Life of Pi.

1:15 pm: I give a sleeping Yuri back to his yaya. He stirs but falls asleep again.

1:30 - 4:45 pm: Work, work, work

3:30 pm: Yuri wakes up from his nap and resumes playing - and wreaking havoc.

4 pm: I give Yuri merienda. Today's merienda is a bowl of macaroni salad.

5 pm: I get Yuri from his yaya and he nurses a bit. Then, the sun has not set yet, we go outside to play. We watch cars, birds, and basically anything that move. I also get out a Christmas book (this was during Christmas vacation) and I read it to him. We are reading Karen Katz's Where is Baby's Christmas Present. Yuri loves saying the "No" part!
5:30 pm: I take golden-hour photos. But of course.
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