The Last Time

Posted by Arvi on Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A quick journal before I gave birth.

07 June 2017

We were originally scheduled for June 17 but it turns out, this baby wanted it to be a week earlier. And we weren't even surprised. We thought it best for me to take the a day off before I got admitted so I can rest and do our last minute preparations. Glad I did because I did not do any of those two. But instead, I spent the day playing, lounging, snacking, story-telling and playing with Ava.

This was the last day that it will be just as two.

I know we'll still have our own bonding time together. We even made plans already since I told her that I'd be staying at home for a while after I gave birth. She started babbling about having breakfast dates, going to Robinsons Magnolia just the two of us, her and Mr. T's dates, etc. I know it's gonna be fun, but I also know it's not gonna be the same again.

For four and a half years, she's been our only baby. While I know Ava's more than ready to welcome her new sister already, anxiety still hits while thinking how we're gonna adjust to our new normal. Maybe the anxiety was more for myself than Mr. T and Ava. Most days I felt excited, but there were days when I wondered if I'd be able to be as curious or as patient as I was before.

I think I will, I know I will.

But for now, let me just worry about the next activity that Ava and I will do, just the two of us, for the last time.

Life Recently

Posted by Arvi on Thursday, March 09, 2017
Glad the hiatus did not take a whole year. Lol. So many updates, big and small, being pregnant with Baby Number 2 is the biggest I guess. Yes! We're having another baby! :)

Our hearts (and my body!) are getting bigger by the day. Mr. T and I are both excited and anxious even though it's our second time. Four years was long enough for us to be feeling like we're back to step one again.

But we are most excited for our little Ate Ava. She's been nothing short of awesome in this whole pregnancy. First, I had to wean her from breastfeeding a month after confirming that we are expecting. We tried to keep going but my body was just not cooperating. We had to sit down and talk to Ava about it and she was such a trooper. Just a few nights of crying herself to sleep or carrying, a week later, we were ok already. I still could not believe how mature Ava has grown that we are now able to discuss our decisions and options with her.

How our mornings look like lately 

You know how it is when having a child, all those milestones, transitions, etc. Well, we had a big one the other day, definitely one of those "Oh gosh, this is how being a parent really feels like."

MamaGuilt: I Hate Play-Doh!

Posted by Arvi on Saturday, May 07, 2016
We did another round of toys shake-up because, well, it seems like our toddler is starting to move out and a kid is slowly moving in. Dear heart, please.

Anyways, so another round of going through Ava's toys, clothes and other stuff included. If I was my 20-year-old self, going through my stuff and deciding which to keep and which to let go would be such a daunting task. But when Ava was born, I slooowly learned how to keep things that we only need. Plus, reading up about Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up helped a lot. This deserves another post. :)

Moving forward, so we went through all of Ava's toys and discussed which to keep and which to let go. A lot of bargaining but I think we both did a pretty good job. So on to my main point, one big move we did was to get rid of ALL our Play-Dohs!

Courageous Caitie

Posted by Arvi on Saturday, April 02, 2016
The story of Courageous Caitie hits so close to home even when the only thing I can relate to is me being a mother to Ava. Or probably because Ava's second name is Caelin which is an alternate version of Caitlin. We do not know the family on a personal level but like everybody else, we were still moved by her story. I only know of the courageous mom Feliz through different online mommy groups and communities. We got to exchange a few chitchats on threads and even had some exchanges through N@W GS. Here's a picture of Caitie wearing Ava's first birthday party dress. She looked so cute.

Caitie during their family trip to HK Disneyland, Photo by her Dad Jay Jay | Ava during her First Birthday Party

It was earlier this year when the mysterious case of of Caitie's illness started circulating. I read about her condition and updates and saw how similar her symptoms were with what my niece, Via, had when she was the same age as Caitie. I checked with my sister about the details of Via's condition back then and realized it was almost the same. I also had a quick chat with Feliz earlier on and shared Via's diagnosis, she told me that other people also mentioned it and it was already ruled out by the doctors. Word started to spread quickly and Caitie's story and the community supporting her continued to expand not only from the country but outside as well.

Daily Caitie updates became a habit. Talked about it with friends, online mom groups, group chats with other moms and more. The highs were celebrated and everybody cheered the family on. But it was when the lowest of times for the family I found it moving the most. Updates of Caitie being unstable, low oxygen levels, platelet of 1 and other complications were hard to take on. But the page becomes even more alive with people offering prayers and encouragement. I guess this was Caitie's effect, everyone is moved by how she courageously takes on what she's battling with that people are left in awe. There's just no room for sadness, just faith, an immense amount of faith.

Early Thursday morning I had to go to Baguio for work. While waiting for our meeting, I was chatting with my co-BLW moms when an update came up asking for prayers because of Caitie's critical condition. We were all hoping and praying for the next update to be a good one, a better one. It was probably the longest hour on Caitie's page as everybody awaited for the next update. And there it was.

A picture of Caitie in the arms of her parents. It was devastating.

After hearing the news, I wanted to immediately go back home to Ava and give her the tightest hug I can ever give. One of my co-BLW mom shared the same feeling as she was also at work. I immediately shared the news to Mr. T and told him how I feel. He just told me that he will take Ava with him when he picks me up later regardless of time.

And when I saw Ava in the car, that's exactly what I did.

An update from Feliz or Jay Jay after sharing the news of Caitie's passing..
Looking back... No wonder you were so advanced in everything. No regrets. So glad we brought you everywhere we could... Did everything we could. Became silly, study, play... Looking back, I know we did everything. No regrets. We lived it to the full. We flew around the world together... I will miss you pumpkin... your EQ, IQ was just so high... Your love for us was just so pure. I love you so much.
This is always on my mind as a parent. To make sure that we live our lives with Ava to the fullest. Day in, day out. It could be as simple as talking over dinner, it could be as grand as a trip to Disneyland. It won't matter. Because amongst all these things, time and love will matter most.

No words will ever be enough to explain the many questions of how and why this happened. I can only hope and pray for God's grace to provide peace and joy to the Lucas family in this very trying time.

Ava sends a message to Caitie. #flyhighcaitie

Books Over iPads

Posted by Arvi on Thursday, March 03, 2016
I was supposed to just put a post up on Facebook but Mr. T suggested I blog about it as well. Thought it was a good idea since I really haven’t published anything for quite some time. 

One of the things we made sure to work hard on as parents is to not let Ava become so hooked on watching TV and using our iPhones and/or iPads. At this digital age, it’s really hard work. For one thing, it should start with us as her parents and I tell you, up to this day we are still trying. This is in no way a swipe against parents and children who liberally use smartphones and tablets. I really believe that it's a personal preference. I think it only becomes bad when the use of tablets and other similar gadgets are way too excessive that it grows into a bad dependency and starts replacing human interaction. But if managed well, like any other technology and digitalization, it's an awesome help for parents in teaching young children.

Earlier on while Ava was still a chunky little belle, I chanced upon this video from one of the mommy groups I was in. If you have time, please do watch this video because it explains a lot about the effects of screen time to toddlers, even babies.

After watching, I immediately shared the link to Mr. T and right after we've both agreed that this is something we really want to work hard on. We uninstalled Youtube, a lot of game and baby apps on out iPhones and iPads. Ava was not entitled to any of our gadgets. She knows it's not hers, and she needs to ask and borrow only if and when we allow her.

Since we bring our stuff (phones and tablets) with us, a huge struggle in this practice was how to teach our Ate to adapt and make sure that Ava will not be glued to the TV all day while we're out. I'd like to believe that we've succeeded with teaching because we see positive results. We thoroughly explained what was discussed in this video, making sure they actually understand. Instead of totally cutting off watching TV, we just asked that it won't be a whole-day-watching-spree. Late afternoons, Ava is allowed to go out of the house and play, allowing her to interact and socialize with other people. After a while, we also shifted from battery-operated toys to wooden toys and other educational toys.

Writing Letters and More

Posted by Arvi on Sunday, October 04, 2015
In my previous posts, I have shared some of our favorite montessori-inspired toddler activities as well as some of our favorite books for reading. I am big on the fun approach when it comes to teaching your child. And it has proven us that Ava responds to fun learning very well. 

I tried introducing writing to Ava earlier this year but she didn't seem to be interested, not a bit.  We have been enjoying reading, counting and playing (of course!) so I think it's about time we give writing another chance. Two weeks into these sheets/activities and we've made little progress! Lol. Progress is still progress right?

Earlier this year, I was able to get these worksheets from Powerbooks. The overall layout and colors look fun and the size variations are perfect for little tots who are just starting to trace/learn writing. Definitely something I would love to work on if I were a kid, that's why I assumed Ava would love it too. Lol.

Baguio in September

Posted by Arvi on Monday, September 07, 2015
This year is probably the busiest so far, for both my work and our tiny family. And just before it gets even busier come Christmas season, our little family was gifted with two overnight stays at Baguio Country Club. It's a perfect break after all the crayyy and definitely an awesome down time before another wave of busy that is coming before the year ends.

Since it's been raining cats and dogs lately, going to Baguio - the summer capital of the Philippines, might seem like a crazy idea. A lot of the touristy activities here are mostly outdoors which are best enjoyed when it's bright and sunny. Thinking about it, not a lot of things we can do really.

Sounding like a boring trip already? Nope. While the things to do were very limited in the rainy season, Baguio offers a lot of nice places to eat that are equally worth your time. 

This is a lengthy and photo-heavy post so I hope you'll enjoy reading. Here are some of the places we visited and the yummy eats we had from this trip!