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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Reese's under the sea party at three

Given that Reese is an only child, I feel guilty not holding a birthday party for him. Adding the fact that my parents and my husband's parents live on both ends of the Metro, we held two simple parties last year and I felt like we could have made it better with one bigger party. So that's what we did this year and given that he is such a water baby, I wanted the theme to be under the sea. Here's a round down of supplies and other stuff we used for the party.

Jellyfish and Backdrop Decor: DIY, Labor of Love with my sisters



Technically, I only spent about 200php for all the materials for the backdrop but it was so laborious and time consuming!! The jellyfish took the most time, as we spent about three weekends, 4 hours each, just twisting the tentacles for the bodies and completing multiple cartoon marathons in the process. We were able to make 12 in total. 

Jellyfish: The body is a half moon colored paper while the tentacles are crepe paper. Cant find the tutorial we used, but basically, you have to cut the crepe paper into 2-inch thick strands, twist it every inch or so and the length and number of tentacles per jellyfish depends on you. 

"Waves" : They're cut out japanese paper though we made them way too early so some were crumpled on the day but still, I think they were nice :)
Credits to kara'spartyideas.com where we got the inspiration :) 

Please check out the full post on:
http://karaspartyideas.com/2013/08/under-the-sea-water-party.html/under-the-sea-12

Name and # 3: I cut out the letters from carton and used 1-inch colored paper squares. It looked okay but they were freakin' heavy for the curtain and after a few minutes, the last "E" kept falling, so note to self, think of something else.

Thingies:

Star Balloons: 80php/dozen, Divisoria (No sticks, not blown)



We have a suki stall in 168 mall, somewhere between Sta Elena and Soler wing, on the 2nd floor, though I'm bad with directions I cant exactly tell you where it is. Hahahaha. Anyway, that shop has two stalls facing each other and they have most party supplies you can think of- from this type of balloons, to other shapes, to paper lanterns, to lootbag items, to baptism souvenirs so I suggest you check it out if you're hosting a party and looking for multiple supplies.

We used supposed choco sticks to prop the balloons and my son loved them so much, he broke about 2 balloons even before the birthday from too much playing. Hehehehe

Brownies Tower:
Divisoria- 12php candle, 35php pack of plates, 35 peso pack of toothpicks and liners
Cafe Mary Grace: 300 for 16 pieces of brownies
Goldilocks: 207 for 25-pc brownie pack
Tower: Bought in 2015 in Dapitan Arcade, 600

Not bad for 800 php, right?

Story: I didnt want to avail the usual fondant cake as the cheapest ones are 1k and up, only to serve as display on the event. I originally wanted donuts but they proved trickier to arrange so we ended up with brownies.

* I cut a 9 piece square from the Mary Grace brownies to serve as the "main cake" and stuck 
toothpicks and the candle to it
* I transferred the Goldilocks brownies to the liners to give them an oomph....and hubby's cousin
even asked me where I ordered them. Hahahahaha
*Later on, we ran out of liners and I cut the paper plates to make them smaller and used them to hold the brownies.

Pencil Case Lootbags

Pencil Case: 72/dozen, Divisoria(Juan Luna St)
Key Chain: 36/dozen, Divisoria(Juan Luna St)
Stickers: 40/pack, National Bookstore
Assorted Candies and Choco: Grocery
Total Cost per pencil case: about 30 php



Story: I was appalled at the prices of lootbags, some as expensive as 20 php(so I need to spend about 50php for the contents to do justice to a 20php paper bag????), and some though at 2php each, looked like glorified sando bags(bit snotty but just being honest). Good thing I came across these pencil cases and asked hubby to make monograms- one side sea animals and one side reese at 3 and filled them with candies. :)

so cute!!!


Including the pool, I spent about 10k plus a few things that my mom, sister and my sister-in-law shouldered, so we spent about 13k, and seeing Reese so happy made it worth it... though it might take time for me to consider hosting another party like this.. hahahaha

If Reese is happy, Mama's happy too! :)

Bye and till the next post!





Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Atulayan Island, Camarines Sur

I visited this beautiful place 5 years ago when Typhoon Bebeng was setting in motion in Bicol. 
Dark Clouds Looming otw to the island

Then boyfriend said he was scared that we would be trapped in the island because of the storm. Me, on the other hand couldn't get over how beautiful it was, even if the rain was lashing at our boat. I thought that if it was that beautiful on a stormy day, it would be twice as beautiful on a sunny day. So I promised myself I'd come back when the time is right.

It was drizzling throughout our stay but the beach was calm and picturesque


And come back we did! After attending a wedding, we headed to the island on May 29. I was right! The water was soooooo much more inviting! There were a lot of people yet it wasn't crowded, still perfect for an afternoon getaway. We had so much fun and my toddler who's such a water baby wasted no time in Swimming! 
Hubby's Panoramic Shot of Colacho Cove

Hi Beautiful!
Nognog na sha agad!




If you want to visit the place as well, here's a rough guide:

Directions via private car

From Naga, take the route heading to Legaspi. Bypass the town of Pili and turn left to the road heading towards Ocampo (the same one you take heading to Caramoan)

Pass through the towns of Ocampo and Tigaon and a few meters after the town proper of Tigaon, you will see a marker to turn right going to Sagnay/Sangay. Take that road and after 5-10 minutes, you will be in the town proper of Sagnay. 
Church in Sangay. It reminded me of the Paoay Church in Ilocos

Turn left when you see the multi-level market. The church will be to your left.
After 5-10 minutes, you will be in Brgy Nato.
Turn right and ask for directions for the Brgy Hall. The hall is part of the port complex itself.

View from the Brgy Hall
You will make boat arrangements there and the cost depends on your group size, which also determines the boat size. Our round trip boat transfer costed 1,100 php for our group of 4 adults and 1 kid, though we were told it was good for 7 pax.  The boat ride lasts about 30 mins before you reach the Colacho Cove (on the right side of the island). 

Total Travel time one way is approximately 1.5 hrs from Naga, depending on traffic.



Tips:

1. Buy your supplies from Pili or Naga because there are a few options in Sagnay.

2. There are technically 4 beaches in Atulayan- the first area you see as you approach the island, Colacho Cove and 2 more. The first one fronts the sea so water gets deep within a meter and the area is the front yard of fishermen. No one swims here. The 2nd is Colacho Cove, the one where bangkeros will bring you by default. This is the one I visited twice. I dont have information about the other two.

3. There is a sari-sari store in Atulayan where you can buy basic supplies and ask them to cook rice for you but they dont sell meals

4. There are technically three "resorts" though we didnt see actually rooms, just huts. They cost 750-850 for daytrip, depending on the size, but you can haggle.

5. Bring snorkeling gear and goggles. If you're a good swimmer, you can see random fish a few meters from shore.

6. You can stay overnight at the beach though we have been told the electricity has a schedule so it may only be available for a few hours at night. Not sure also if lodging options (other than your own tents) are available

7. The washrooms in the Brgy Hall are much, much better  and cleaner than the one in Atulayan though they only have 1 for male, 1 for female. If you're a small group, you can take turns washing up there or like us, just change clothes in Brgy Nato and wash up in Naga.
 
8. The water in Colacho Cove is very calm and perfect for lying on those ring floaties so bring as many as you like.

9. The bangkeros  are on time, so give them the exact time you want them to pick you up. 

10. This is a laid back, secluded beach and no real maintenance peeps. So please, please, pretty please, CLEAN AS YOU GO AND DONT LITTER.

Cheers and enjoy!


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

My son after GBS

I am writing this post more for parents whose children have/had Guillain-Barré syndrome, or GBS for short. Since this disease is rare and information is scarce, I know how hard it is to find first hand information out there. I also know that there are some who post in forums and search engine sites but if you're like me who doesn't fancy reading exchanges through forums, then this post is for you.

To give you an overview, here are my boys details:

>He had his MMR booster/vaccination on June 13, 2014. He was 1.1 years old at that time
(After that, I cannot remember exact dates but here's what happened)
>He developed cough and flu like symptoms on June 16 after we went swimming in the river
>We did self-medication of anti-biotics on June 22 due to on-off fever of 38-39 degrees
>His fever stopped but his physical condition got worse after that and by June 26, he was much much weaker and couldnt stand up
>The first pedia misdiagnosed it as dehydration and we started on fluids on June 26 but since he wasnt getting better, we brought him to another doctor on June 30
>He was confined on June 30 and diagnosed with GBS on July 1
>We started with IV IG on the night of July 2 and stopped on July 6
>He was discharged on July 8 and did Physical Rehabilitation until September 2014(3 months)
>He was able to walk again in October 2014
video
The first day he was able to walk again ^_^

Here are info that I still remember from our hospitalization

> My son vomitted on the last night of the IV IG procedure. Doctors said it is not a normal response to the IG so they deemed it safe to continue the intake. He also vomitted the day after that and though the doctors think it might be caused by overfeeding, I think it was due to high blood pressure because at that time, my son's bp was ranging from 110-120/80, pretty high numbers for a toddler. IV IG causes high blood pressure since its basically concentrated form of blood/anti-bodies.

> Doctors told us that he will be able to walk approximately 6 months to a year after he was discharged though he was able to do it in 3 months. They say that GBS progresses more quickly in younger patients but the good side is, since their bodies have not been exposed to "damage" from unhealthy food, alcohol, etc., they also recover more quickly, which was the case for him since he had it so young. We take this as a big blessing from God because I have watched videos of GBS patients in hospitals who were bedridden for MONTHS.

Life Two Years after GBS

Now, our son is up and about and people who never knew his illness wouldnt know that he had to face such a condition. However, we believe that his body has not "fully recovered" from the trauma of the disease because

1. In those 3 months that he was unable to walk, we view it as a recuperating process, meaning that when he was able to walk in October, he was back to his old self in June. Thus, we technically lost about 6 months in development since he was not able to move forward for 4 months and because he was still recuperating as time went by, his over all development only continued a few months after he was able to walk again. Thus, when I look at my boy who is 2 years and 11 months old, I believe his over-all development is closer to that of a 2 year and 6 month old boy, given that he was able to catch up a bit from the delay. His peers are much taller than him and are able to talk more. However, I believe the situation also enabled him to develop his socio-emotional skills better- because he understands sharing, time outs, saying sorry and remorse, as well as pretend play(which I normally saw in 3 and 4 year olds when I was a teacher).

2. It is hard to look for scientific evidence for it but I think trauma caused him to be delayed in speech and other areas of development. I am constantly looking for mothers' accounts that say that after a traumatic experience, their child seemed unwilling to try to talk. GBS was traumatic for our son in 2 accounts- he understands the medical staff's work and fears all of them from doctors to nurses to medical technician and he remembers the experience of being unable to walk during and after the sickness. At present, our son would only talk a few words- family members, a few animals, food he likes and for the rest, rely on gestures to express himself.
video
Such a water baby! A video at the beach of informal speech practice

3. Be wary of some doctors, because not all are genuinely interested to help you. 

Given the rarity of the disease, curiosity and technicality gets the better of some doctors, and to date we experienced 4 doctors. 1) During our hospitalization, we encountered a doctor who rated my son's physical movement as 0(I believe on a scale of 1/5) and it was really really upsetting, seeing my son exert effort to move his legs. 2) A different one, a resident(who I believe has not encountered a pediatric GBS case before) asked me over and over again information about his history, information she would been able to see on the chart.

Afterwards, it was extra hard to find pediatricians that we trust and believe can cure our son's sickness unrelated to GBS. 3) One profusely argued with me about the connection of vaccines and the syndrome. 4) Another treated my son like a fragile glass and concluded that he is ultra-sensitive and thus prohibited from getting sunlight, eating chocolates and doing anything else that might be dangerous or cause allergies. She even advised us to lessen salt in our dishes, which as far-fetched as it may sound, seem to come from her desire for me to lose weight given that I'm overweight and had nothing to do with my son. It took a while of trials and errors before we were able to find the perfect fit, a doctor that we trusted to truly be able to cure him for other diseases and illnesses. 

I'll end this note by saying that experiencing GBS was one of the hardest yet meaningful experiences my husband and I had as parents. It's one of those things that you wish came with a manual but at the same time brought out the best in us, and show us that other than what we have previously done, we are capable of more love as parents. 

If there are other things you wish to discuss or simply want to talk to somebody about the experience, feel free to drop me a line!

Cheers!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Independence & letting our children go

Last night, Reese slept on a bed on his own. Technically, his "bed" was right next to ours, he still climbed to ours when he asked for milk but from any perspective, he slept by himself.
Excited about this new arrangement!

The pretend play started a few days back, when he would get a mat(meant for the sofa), lie on it and close his eyes. Last night, however, hubby prodded and prodded him but the boy simply smiled at us, showing that he really means to sleep there. Worried that it might be too cold and hard for him, we created a space for him with all his pillows. He was so happy and when I tried to overdo it by adding a comforter, he said "Hindi", meaning "no, the mat and the pillows are enough".

Last night was a gentle reminder that I aim to be a parent that allows my son to experience things, far from my teenage years of lying my way through "firsts", because my mom wouldn't let me experience them if I asked permission. Lying to watch a concert for the first time. Lying about an out of town because I was travelling with my boyfriend. It was quite a blow as an adult, a woman with a job who still feels the need to lie to her mother for fear of being reprimanded. It was a reminder that unlike what I did to my mom, I prefer to know my son's decisions because in the end, I'd wish to know where he is even if I think the activity is too dangerous, far away,  or expensive- because it is part of letting them make their own mistakes.

  It was an eye opener, a gentle reminder that our children are not our own. Parents are here to guide them, raise them and educate them, but we have to let them go, let them be the individuals that they are meant to be, regardless if  we are ready to do so or not.
Nag-pose pa talaga!
I got teary eyed because my boy is still stuck at one word sentences( his age is expected to be able to carry 2-3 word sentences at a time), and here he is, wanting to sleep by himself. Today, it's about the bed and a few months from now, it might be something else. That's the thing with being a mom. The concern changes but the feeling doesn't- a mother will always care. It never gets easier-it's just an ever morphing ride of caring about something else that affects your child

So today, I lock away the mom who wants to protect her child from every little thing and prod the one who's willing to let her son be independent.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Under The Sea Party @ Three

The stage mother is back!!! Hehehe. Our darling Reese will turn three in May, and of course, three months into the date, ze stage mother (aka: ME), had a Eureka moment and decided that the theme will be, yes, UNDER THE SEA.

Our boy is such a water baby that at this point, he only had two ways to look post swimming:
1) You're-the-meanest-parent-ever-for-asking-me-to-stop-swimming 
(IF we ask him to stop swimming at the right time)


OR
2) I-don't-feel-cold-I'm-still-okay-don't-mind-me 
(IF we wait for that wrinkly-palm moment when his teeth start to chatter from the cold)


Hence, it was suppah easy to pick this theme because it fits our boy annnndd and goes along the usual shades of blue. Why Blue? Because even if I am gender-sensitive and all, most products for boys(from clothes to party favors to rash gards, almost every freakin' thing) are blue, so this makes my life hella easier.

Since this is a party in the making, can't show you my own pics yet, but here's a mix of pics I found online if you're interested in the same theme.

I can just see myself rockin' those fish cut outs! The original picture came from 
http://karaspartyideas.com/2013/08/under-the-sea-water-party.html


Such Cute Food Toppers! 


I'm not completely sold on the sand-pail thing but I like the contrast of blue and orange


It won't be complete without the personalized lootbags!!!


Not an octopus but a starfish, perhaps? Hehehe


Might replace that big annoying figurine of Spongebob but other than that, this looks perfect!
(Goldilocks)
I'll be back with updates on the toppers and all once I'm done and a thought bubble comes along. Ciao!!!

Friday, February 5, 2016

View Park Hotel Tagaytay

This is a long, long, long overdue post from our check-in at the hotel 5 months ago(did I say long)? Hahahaha....Anyways, now that I've left that mind draining work in Eastwood, my brain is "functional" again to do fun, creative, fell-good thingies like blogging!

So... what led us here?

The hubby and I celebrated our tenth year of being together(which, by present standards is like a century given that people break up before they can say third monthsary), and I think it called for a more-than the usual celeb, hence Tagaytay!

For staycation and the likes, I have three qualifications: Buffet Breakfast Included, Pool, Internet. Breakfast- because, come on, what's the point of staying in a hotel if I'm expected to pay extra for it, worse go outside to have a fill? Pool, because if I'm shelling out a few thousand bucks to sleep overnight, I gotta get some water fun with my boys. Internet- because in this day and age, no connectivity for a hotel is unacceptable. View Park met all three and the price was really pocket-friendly so it was a no-brainer to pick it among other hotels in Tagaytay.

If coming from the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Road, turn left and go straight for about a kilometer or so. It's on the left side almost across Picnic Grove, so you'd hardly miss it.

We got a Standard Room which was a steal at 2400ish. sorry, cant remember. It was petite but for our small party of three, it was enough. Check-in Process was breezy and in no time, we were led to our room and since we came from Manila, we napped for a bit before swimming.




This was just about the whole Standard Room. ItBorlogs kung borlogs ang boylets ko!


CR was squeaky clean
Standard toiletries. They also provided shampoo and conditioner but I failed to take pics

We didnt have our own pics of the pool and this is from the hotel's website. The pool was small though I doubt if making it bigger would have mattered- it was cold and I think Reese and I only dipped for less than an hour. Hubby just shrugged that it was too cold and watched us from the side.
From the hotel's Agoda website


We needed to be back in Manila before lunch so it nice that they serve breakfast at 6 or 7, I think. Not too many choices but food tasted okay, hindi tinipid, so twas fine with me.
The buffet stubs felt like raffle tickets. lols


Not too many choices but as long as my scrambled eggs are fluffy, I'm good :)


Family pic before Reese rushed to roam around the area

 All in all, I liked our quick vacay in View Park. The hotel actually looks nice from the outside and can be a location from simple photoshoots, if you're aiming for this kinda Italian vibe/look.
Also from the hotel's Agoda website. I imagined myself making emotera poses here :P


Here's a quick review of things to consider:

Pros:

>Mid-range accommodation in Tagaytay that includes breakfast
>Super accommodating staff
>Cold aircon- Kinda stopped us from sleeping soundly kasi sobrang lamig but if you prefer a very cold room, I think this is a plus

Cons:
>Faaaaar from the Sky Ranch-Taal Vista, Bag of Beans everything else area. We went to Mahogany Market to buy dinner and it took us a while to get back(traffic na)
>There's a view in the parking area na "slum area" ung feel. I think its from the adjacent property but still felt like they can do something about it.

Ansayaaaaa! Hopefully it doesnt take ages for me to make the next post. Ciao!!!


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