2 Years of Breastfeeding and Beyond

Posted by Arvi on Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Nursing never has and never will look just one way for every mother and child.

Listen to your child, listen to yourself.

Accept what is.

Don’t read into things too much.

Go with your instincts.

Feel the love.

- Excerpt from To the Mom of a Nursing Toddler by Nurse Me Mama


I came across this article about a week after Ava turned two. It summed up all of my thoughts about our breastfeeding journey which I have been feeling highly emotional about lately. In our trip two weeks ago, I was scheduled to go ahead for two days and two nights, that meant being away from Ava (at night) for the very first time after her birth. Since we are still breastfeeding, I was initially worried about how Mr. T would manage to make her sleep through the night, or if two consecutive days and nights will make her wean. Am I ready? Is she ready? That would be a relief right? No, I'm not ready, what will I do if she doesn't like to dede (breastfeed) anymore?

Guess both of us weren't ready because the first activity she did in Hong Kong was breastfeed. Happy Mama and a happy tot together again.

So cheers to two years of breastfeeding, and cheers to who-knows-how-much-longer. Pats on our backs are in order. One for me and one for Mr. T. Achievement unlocked! :)

Travelling Tips for Your First Family Trip

Posted by Arvi on Thursday, November 13, 2014
We recently had our very first family trip to Hong Kong to celebrate Ava's birthday. Mr. T and I thought about it after Ava's first birthday and we both agreed that we are going to Disneyland for her second. Seeing our little darling's progress, we knew exploring Hong Kong will be worth it already. While our trip had its kinks, we still think it was a huge success. Looking at our photos and videos afterwards made us realize more how much Ava really enjoyed it.

For first-time parents who are travelling with their little tot for the first time, I am sharing some of the things we did that made this trip really, really awesome.

1. Research Well.

There are a lot of readily available guides and articles online that you can find over the internet. Read as much as you can to help you decided which places you'd want to go. I always find Lonely Planet's Guide to Hong Kong helpful every time I visit because of its comprehensive guides and suggestions.

2. Plan Your Itinerary.

Make an itinerary that's feasible for your family instead of trying to squeeze everything just so you can visit as many places as you want. Remember that toddlers can be a little impatient, moody and cranky. Putting a lot of activities in your itinerary without considering these things can result to a meltdown for the whole family.

Part of planning your itinerary is becoming familiar to the area where you're staying at. Check where the nearest MTR stations are, bus routes and other transportation services. Going around Hong Kong is fairly easy, you can always go old school and use tourist maps which are conveniently available in the airport and probably in your hotel's reception desk. But with today's digital age, there are a lot of apps readily available for your smart phones and tablets. The apps that helped us the most is Google Maps and the MTR Tourist. Most establishments in Hong Kong offer free wi-fi services already but for those times that we could not connect, Google Maps' offline map services came in handy. The MTR Tourist app is also a pretty neat app because you can easily see your train route just by plotting your place of origin and your destination.

3. Prepare Your Documents.

Obtaining a passport is a lot easier now compared to before. You can simply set up an appointment through the DFA's official website and choose the schedule that's convenient for you. Most countries require a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the date of departure, check if all passports are within the six months validity. Better be safe than be surprised during airport check-in right?

In applying for your baby's passport, for 1 year and below, setting up an appointment is not necessary since you can go straight to DFA and you'll be directed to the priority lane. But it's still more convenient to set up an appointment so you can have the application form filled out and printed already.

4. Pack Light and Pack Smart.

Having a baby or a toddler in tow often times indicate packing the whole house (if possible) just to make sure that you have everything you need. This is really not necessary. Identify the basic things that you really need to bring and check if it will be more convenient if you just buy once you reach your destination. As your baby grows older, the smaller your baby bag becomes.

Check the weather so you can bring the appropriate clothes. Since Hong Kong's weather is really not far from the Philippines' we still brought clothes that we normally wear. We just packed a couple of extra sets just in case the weather gets colder.

5. Prepare Your Gears.

And by that I meant, strollers, baby carriers and other baby essentials. While your toddler is already eager to explore and walk rather than be carried, there will still be a lot of carrying that will happen. Mr. T and I both love babywearing so it wasn't really something new to us. Train rides and strolls with a lot of people were more manageable with babywearing compared to pushing a stroller. For leisure walks and when Ava naps in the middle of our itinerary, the stroller did it's job. I would recommend choosing a very handy and lightweight stroller. Earlier this year, we got a Maclaren Volo in preparation for this trip. It's perfect for travel because of it's size, weight and design. Practice using your gears first should you decide to purchase new ones specifically for your upcoming trip.

6. Enjoy.

Don't forget that there's really no perfect trip, especially for a family who's travelling for the first time. There will always be glitches along the way and how you will react to it will make or break your trip. So it's best to opt for the more positive approach for an equally positive result.

These are the things that I think made this trip awesome. Of course I'm sure there are a lot more but I'm still trying to recall. On my next post, I will add more to these as I share our four-day itinerary.

The Birthday Surprise

Posted by Arvi on Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Our celebration from Ava's second birthday turned out really well which gave me a list of different topics I can blog about from that trip. While I am still organizing my posts, I will jump right up to Mr. T's celebration which happened the following week.

This year, Mr. T turned 30. :)))

We don't really celebrate our birthdays with big parties but I thought this year should be special. I was originally thinking of having a joint celebration for Mr. T and Ava but given our trip already, I don't think it will be practical to spend more. Plus, I really wanted this celebration made special for Mr. T. :)

So two months before our trip, right before everything went chaotic, I decided to go for a simple birthday surprise with our family and friends. I sent messages to our different groups, his former and current officemates included.

I have everything all set in my mind already - Mr. T will arrive at the venue thinking he was just there to pick me up from a meeting, but he will be greeted with a Happy Birthday song by our family and friends. But Saturday's horrible traffic made some unexpected twist in what's supposed to be a perfect surprise. Mr. T arrived at the venue unexpected and unannounced. But it was a fun get together with everyone nonetheless.


What's Been Happening? :)

Posted by Arvi on Thursday, October 16, 2014
Ola! More than a month of nothing from my blog?! Hahah! Typical me, life has taken over again. Lol. So I've been busy, still am and will still be. So many things are still about to happen especially towards the end of the month. And then there's November, birth month of my two loves. I still can't wrap my head around the fact that my little darling is about to turn two. Oh wow! *cue nanay tears*

Anyways, last weekend, we had fun attending the FAB event to check out some new baby wraps and at the same time, share our babywearing adventures to other families. This was in celebration of the International Babywearing Week.

If you're looking for an activity this weekend, why not head on to BGC and start your holiday shopping with Bench's The Pink Ribbon Sale? :)


And for more Mama activities, my favorite Mommy Mundo bazaar is happening soon. I always look forward to these bazaars because almost all the participating vendors are mompreneurs! You will definitely find a lot of stuff here that are perfect for your family, especially for your little ones. Just like the stuff we got the last time. So mark your calendars na! :)


While October has been nothing less than awesome, I know November is gonna be great even more. And of course the holiday season! Aaaaccckk! Too much excitement! :))))

Red Velvet Crinkle Sandwich

Posted by Arvi on Sunday, September 14, 2014
I love baking! And I'm really glad my hiatus has ended. I guess those Chocolate Chip Cookies set the mood back.

Since the ber  months have started, I think anything Red Velvet will be a good idea. Thus this Red Velvet Crinkles with Cream Cheese Filling.

Crinkle recipe is from Cooking Classy while the cream cheese frosting is adapted from Martha Stewart.


CO/OP Goods & Eats

Posted by Arvi on Monday, September 08, 2014
It was a weekend without a definite schedule so most of it went to doing house chores. After Saturday's series of chores, we decided to get a quick break and visit the newly opened CO/OP in San Juan. The design and architecture of the place got me curious that's why I asked Mr. T if we could go there for our merienda.

The place is actually pretty easy to find especially if you are familiar in the San Juan area. You'll immediately notice the wide front yard of CO/OP with it's industrial restaurant concept as a background.



Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted by Arvi on Monday, September 01, 2014
So I've mentioned how we loved the chocolate chip cookies from π Breakfast & Pies, and I've been craving for more after that visit. Add the fact that I sort of missed baking. Good thing we didn't have anything planned last Saturday so after some wife and mama duties, I went on with baking some of these goodies.

This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart's Recipe, but I lessened the amount of sugar a bit for my little tot. I also made the cookie dough ahead of time and stored it for about an hour in the ref. The cookies turned out really soft and chewy, not too sweet and most of all, super chocolate-y.


Ingredients

2 1/4 cups All-purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup Packed Light-Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
2 tsps. Pure Vanilla Extract
2 large Eggs
2 cups (about 12 oz.) Semisweet and/or Milk Chocolate Chips

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. 
  2. Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  3. Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Pi Breakfast & Pies

Posted by Arvi on Sunday, August 24, 2014
We had an early start last Thursday despite of it being a holiday. I looove breakfast food, and the first thing I think of everytime my little fambam gets up early on a non-working day is where we can have breakfast.

I've been reading a lot about the food spots inside Teacher's Village and as much as I've been wanting to visit all of those places, Mr. T just isn't a fan of driving in Quezon City. But luckily, he agreed last Thursday, and I think it's a good sign for our possible food adventures in Quezon City.

Our choice: π Breakfast & Pies.


Like all the trending foodie places around the metro, Breakfast & Pies has that hole-in-the-wall vibe to it. A small space with cozy interiors smacked in the middle of an unexpected area. When we got there, the place was packed already. But luckily, we got seated after just a few minutes of waiting. We ordered as soon as we got to our table.

Easy DIY Washi Tape Organizer

Posted by Arvi on Saturday, August 23, 2014
I looove washi tapes! Cute patterns, lovely colors and more. You can use it in so many things like labels, wrappers, accents and more. It's also perfect in keeping a little tot busy even for just a few minutes.

This was posted over a year ago when I finally installed that wooden shelf I got from Papemelroti. If only my main purpose was to display these tapes, then this shelf is perfect as it is. But since I am actually using all these, this shelf turned out to be a bit of a hassle. Since the tapes were stacked, I need to take them the ones on top, even the stack beside, just to get the tape at the bottom. It became a bit of a hassle. So I searched for a washi tape holder/organizer only to find out that the one that I liked will cost me around 2,000Php. Ugh.

If I had the budget, I would've gotten me one of these from Scrappy Manila

Time for some DIY! :)

How Breastfeeding Helped Us Jumpstart Our Family

Posted by Arvi on Friday, August 22, 2014

"Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (August). For this month, we write about the World Breastfeeding Week 2014 - Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal for Life and share how breastfeeding can help the Philippines achieve the 8 Millennium Development Goals developed by the government and the United Nations. Participants will share their thoughts, experiences, hopes and suggestions on the topic.

Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries."


I am always excited every time I get to blog or post about breastfeeding. What's even more exciting is that I get to participate in this year's Milk Mama Diaries blog carnival to share my personal thoughts and our experiences in breastfeeding with high hopes of inspiring others to pursue their very own journey as well.

Breastfeeding Aids Poverty 

Like all newlyweds, we were on our way to building up our own family, and that also meant building up our finances. While we've already planned to have a baby on our first year of marriage, we were still caught in a bit of surprise at how costly it was to have a baby. The monthly check-ups, vitamins, medicines, laboratory tests and in my case some special tests to make sure that Ava was perfectly fine inside my womb. And then there were those cravings, the clothes that did not fit and the days/months when I had to take a leave from work. Then it was time for Ava's birth. While it was one of the best days of our lives, we still had hospital bills, doctor's fees, more medicines and other stuff. It was a bit overwhelming but we are grateful for our families for giving us the emotional and financial help that we needed that time.

No-Bake Chewy Oreo Squares

Posted by Arvi on Thursday, August 21, 2014
This very easy recipe was adapted from Picky-Palate's No-Bake Chewy Cookies and Cream Bars. I was really aiming for exactly the same results, but unfortunately mine went on a different path. Lol.


Ingredients:

32 pcs. Oreo Cookies (approximately)
3 cups Large White Marshmallows
4 tbsp. Butter
How to Make:
  1. Place Oreos in food processor and pulse until ground. Melt marshmallows and butter in microwave until puffed, about 1 1/2- 2 minutes. Remove and pour in ground Oreo Cookies. Stir to combine then transfer to a foil lined 8×8 inch baking pan. Let set up for 10 minutes. Remove bars out of pan with edges of foil and cut into squares.
It's that easy, but how come mine didn't turn out the same? I didn't follow the quantities indicated in the recipe because I didn't have it with me while I was doing it. Yes, I know, how smart. :D



Because I must have blended my Oreo cookies a bit too much, instead of small granules, I ended up with finely grounded Oreos. My marshmallows were a bit smaller in proportion also that's why I didn't have that cookies and cream look. 

BUT, it didn't turn out bad. It was still chewy and yummy. Mr. T and Ava approved. 

The Yaya Chronicles

Posted by Arvi on Thursday, August 14, 2014
It's inevitable for a Mama's blog to have a post or two about her Yaya encounters. Here's mine.

While I did not constantly have a Yaya/Househelp when I was growing up, I still pretty much experienced a lot of dealing with them, mostly when I was all grown up because of my sisters and their babies and a lot of stories from friends and online communities.

And when Ava finally came, I finally had my very own share of Yaya stories.

The first one who came in was when Ava was just around three months old. Yaya #1 agreed to do the job but she eventually confessed that she was pregnant and she just had to get away so her family won't know. Of course we had to let her go and told her that she needs to let her family know about her situation. Yaya #2 was too young and because of the lack of goal and maturity, she got bored and opted to go back home after two months of stay. Yaya #3, we had to let go after a week because she was totally not fit to take care of a baby. That was also the first time I fired a person. Yaya #4 was a familiar face to us. She was my first niece's previous Yaya and she also became our help at home before Mr. T and I got married. She left because of personal issues and later on we heard news that she eventually had a baby on her own. Conveniently for us, while we were looking, and for the third time, she went back to us and became our Yaya from Ava's fifth month until her eighteenth. She left once again because this time, she needed to take care of her own kid.

The one that followed, Yaya #5 lasted for a little more than two months. She took a weekend off and while she was away, we found out that she's been doing some things that are unacceptable, nothing that involved Ava, thankfully. We understand that it comes with being young and all but I really can't tolerate some things. We told her not to come back anymore.

Small Closet Organization Ideas

Posted by Arvi on Friday, August 08, 2014
I grew up sharing a room with my siblings, and we didn't have a walk-in closet, just a linear set of typical cabinets and drawers. I was initially allotted just a set of drawers since I didn't need a big closet space back when I was just in grade school. Uniforms, a few pieces of panglakad, and house clothes are just what I had back then. When I moved to Manila for high school studies, since we live in a very small apartment, I once again had just a set of cabinet to keep my clothes. Fast-forward to married life, I now share a closet with Mr. T.

When I was studying Architecture in college, I was introduced through drawings to the design ideas of walk-in-closets. It didn't matter much to me then until I actually started working and got to design residential houses with huuuge closet spaces. I really don't want a big walk-in-closet but I got interested with how organized a closet can be. Lol. I always had trouble keeping my closet tidy because they are always piled up, never hanged, because I get annoyed at seeing hangers in different shapes and sizes. So my shallow dream was to have my clothes organized on typical hangers.

That dream finally came true. :)))

Most organized our closet has been! :)))

Pottery Barn Kids Manila

Posted by Arvi on Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Last weekend, we were finally able to check out the newly opened Pottery Barn Kids at BHS Central in BGC. I will be sharing to you a few of the things you'll see but as much as I would like to recommend what to get, I was not able to buy anything because they are expensive! Lol.

On a serious note though, we are lucky enough to have a few pieces of from Pottery Barn Kids all thanks to my in-laws who lovingly sent them over for their grand daughter. :) We got the Kendall crib as well as some crib sheets. We really really love because Ava's crib mattress (from the Baby Company) was the 6" thick type and since the typical thickness of crib mattresses here are just 4", sheets for the 6" thick are a bit hard to find.

Darling Daughter loves her crib so much she even tried to eat it. Lol. Pink Elephant sheet from Pottery Barn.

Japan Home Wholesale Centre

Posted by Arvi on Wednesday, July 30, 2014
I chanced upon this Japan Home's Wholesale Centre when we picked up a parcel somewhere along Panay Avenue months before. I told Mr. T that we should check it out and it was only yesterday that we finally did.

Japan Home Wholesale Centre along Panay Ave.

The place was huge - two floors of 88Php madness. I am such a cheapskate and there are some stuff that I've been looking for for the longest time and finally found them here! :) I think my finds should be on a separate blog since we are still planning to go back and get more stuff.

Teachings from my Daughter

Posted by Arvi on Thursday, July 24, 2014
One thing I love the most about motherhood and parenting in general is that I get to learn a lot of things from a pint-sized tot with a cheeky face. :)

Last Tuesday night, Ava felt warm to the touch. But aside from that, she was her usual jolly self - ate dinner with so much enthusiasm and sung and danced like a pro before our sleep routine. When she latched on to me, that's when I knew she has a fever. We checked her temperature and it registered a 38.1°C. Mr. T and I both concluded that her budding molars are causing it. As per our pedia's advice, we gave her a dose of paracetamol and stuck a Koolfever on her forehead. I also applied some teething gel (prescribed by her pedia) to her gums. She started getting fussy and would latch, unlatch, cry and asked to be carried. We were monitoring her temperature every hour, and by midnight her temperature was already 39.1°C. And she was at her crankiest. Mr. T and I were calm and quiet the whole time, we agreed that if her temperature didn't go down on our next checking, we are going straight to the ER. Thankfully, it went back down to 38°C. But she was still fussy and would wake up every hour or two until the morning of Wednesday. It was then when her temperature started going down to 37°C. Late afternoon, she was totally back as if the night before didn't happen.

You wouldn't know that she's still sporting a low-grade fever here. This was the morning after.

I found out later on that Mr. T and I were sharing the same feeling during one moment when Ava was crying (as if in pain) and we couldn't figure out why. As I have said, we were both quiet and calm but the truth was, both of us were really worried, close to panicking thinking it could be something else other than teething. After recalling what happened the previous night, we realized that it wasn't that bad after all. And once again, Ava taught us how to be her parents.

Ava shows us more and more about her character on a daily basis. We are often caught by surprise with how fast she's growing and maturing. Maybe it's today's generation, but we are really seeing how Ava is becoming her own little person everyday - strong and independent yet loving and compassionate.


Our characters as parents are also changing along with her growth. And I just love how Ava continues to teach us to be more patient, understanding and compassionate. She made us see life on a different perspective, through her eyes. Where everything always has a brighter side. Her sense of humor is so contagious making our home filled with laughter all the time. But she also gets frustrated, she also cries and whines thus teaching us to respond more with sensitivity. 

I know this post is going nowhere really but today my heart is just filled with so much joy just thinking about these things and moments that Ava has brought to our lives. :)

The Late Loomers

Posted by Arvi on Tuesday, July 08, 2014
So we finally caught up with the loombandwagon and I know we are pretty much late for it. Lol.

While I was just starting with fishtails and other easy ones, Mr. T jumped straight up to the challenging ones. He actually turned out to be more interested in it than I am. Nuninuninu. :D

My favorite go-to site for tutorials is Loom Love. It is a website of two adorable sisters named Maddie and Emily. They show a lot of pattern tutorials, from charms to bracelets and more. They also share tutorials from other websites. They're super cute. :)

Mr. T just searches videos in Youtube where a lot of tutorials are also available. You can also checkout the Official Rainbow Loom Channel for other instructional videos.

Anyways, we used the cheaper types of rubber bands in majority of these bracelets but we eventually got some original Rainbowloom refills. And I will quickly show you the difference between the two.

Original Rainbow Loom Band vs. Cheaper Version
Original C-clip vs. Cheaper S-clip version

More of our BLW Story

Posted by Arvi on Monday, June 30, 2014
I know I have been mentioning how much we love our baby-led weaning (BLW) story with our Ava but I just realized that I haven't completely shared some of the things we did that made our  journey successful. So I thought of making this post with high hopes of inspiring other families to at least consider the baby-led approach in feeding their babies.

Let me first give you a quick introduction about BLW, just in case the term is pretty new to you. Baby-led weaning is an alternative approach in introducing solids to babies at six months, we also call it baby-led feeding here in our country. Compared to the traditional way of solid feeding, BLW does not recommend spoon-feeding, mashing or puréeing food. Instead, it allows babies to pick up their food and eat independently. It also encourages a healthier eating habit, so no boxed or jarred baby food, just wholesome and all natural foods cut into chunks big enough for babies to grasp and gnaw.
Here are the things that will happen in BLW:
  • The baby sits with the rest of the family at mealtimes, and joins when she is ready.
  • She is encouraged to explore food as soon as she is interested, by picking it up with her hands - it doesn't matter whether or not she manages to eat any at first.
  • Food is offered in pieces that are the size and shape that the baby can handle easily, rather than as purées or mashed food.
  • She feeds herself from the start, rather than being spoon-fed by someone else.
  • It's up to the baby how much she eats, and how quickly she widens the range of food she enjoys.
  • The baby continues to have milk feedings (breast milk or formula) whenever she wants then and she decides when she is ready to begin reducing them.
- Excerpt from the BLW book by Gill Rapley.
If you are interested in reading more, the best way to start is read the Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods - and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett. Everything you need to know about BLW is in that book.

I thought of sharing our story based on the commonly asked questions I've read in the BLW group or from the questions that I've received from other mamas. I will also share some ideas and principles that we have practiced that made BLW easier and more fun for our family. :)

How did we learn about BLW?

I learned about BLW in one of the breastfeeding meet-ups we attended when Ava was just three months old. Solid food introduction was asked and I distinctly remember one mama sharing how her son eats fruits and vegetables, cut into chunks, independently. Hearing her story amazed me so much that I decided to do some further researches and discussed the things I've learned with Mr. T. He also liked the whole idea and the principles of BLW so we agreed on trying it with Ava. I also learned about a Facebook local support group for those practicing the baby-led approach in feeding their babies - Baby-Led Weaning Philippines. At that time, it was a group of just less than 500 members, and I was amazed at all the stories, photos and videos of babies eating on their own. Now the group has reached more than 8,000 members and it's so nice to see that a lot of mamas (and papas too!) are practicing the same approach and a whole lot more are interested in trying it with their babies.

Tips: It is very important that you understand the whole concept and principles of BLW. That way you will gain confidence in letting and trusting your baby to eat independently. You can also attend some first-aid classes about Infant and Child Safety seminar in case you are worried about choking. There are also a lot of materials online that you can watch and read as well. If you are worried about the thought of a higher choking risk in BLW compared to the traditional feeding, then you should know that it's quite the contrary. In traditional feeding, when you feed your baby mashed or puréed food, the consistency is not much different from their milk, the food can easily slide (or sometimes forced) at the back of their mouth. It does not allow them to chew first before swallowing. In BLW, babies learn to gnaw/bite, chew and swallow at their own pace. In between six and eight months, the gag reflex in babies are particularly sensitive. This reflex in babies prevents food from moving too far at the back of the mouth when they aren't ready to swallow. That's why it is important that you learn the difference between gagging and choking. Basically, if your baby bites a huge chunk and started making a lot of noise and if her face is turning red, that's gagging. Just allow her to manage the food and wait for her to spit it out. But if she's not making any noise (completely) and starts to turn blue, then your baby is choking. Give first-aid immediately and then call for help.

Ditch the Mama Guilt

Posted by Arvi on Wednesday, June 18, 2014
I have been working for nearly a decade now. Two companies, almost two years in the first one, and I'm on my 6th year here in my current office with only 2 or 3 months of unemployment in between. In case you're not familiar with what I do, I work as a designer in an architecture and interior design company. In our industry, regardless if we are designing residential houses, offices, commercial spaces, etc., all have something common. It's the flexibility and the long working hours needed to complete a certain project. In my previous job, I have experienced staying in the office for two-three days straight to finish a project presentation. But things are better where I am currently working, our company encourages maximizing our office hours instead of rendering overtime work. But as I have mentioned, our industry goes hand in hand with the need for extended work hours so there are days that I still need to stay a little longer just to get things done.

If you are unattached, single, in a relationship or even married without children, your time is pretty much your own. So working in the office until late at night or until the wee hours of the morning even, is really okay as long as you're able and and willing. But when you become a Mama, a baby enters the picture, then poof! Every second will count. Literally. And when the seconds add up to minutes, hours or even days for some, that's when the guilt starts. The guilt doubles up if you're coming home late not because of work, but because of some leisure time with your husband or with your friends. Trust me. I know how anxiety can get to you in the middle of a movie, or in the middle of a good conversation with your friends. It sneaks from below your spine up to the back of your neck. It will even give you goosebumps some times.

But here I am now, having a hot cup of hibiscus tea and a plate of sticky cinnamon bun while waiting for Mr. T to come off of work. I could have gone home earlier but since it's raining, traffic's bad for sure. I'm not that brave to commute at this time. Instead, I'm going to spend the next hour blogging and reading. Do I feel guilty? No.

Internet, hear me. I'm not guilty. Lol. :P

Ok, sometimes I still do feel guilty but not as much as before. And I know Mr. T has completely different views about this, he already knows that going home an hour or two later than usual is already ok. No need to beat ourselves up for it, just make the most out of it. After reading more about attachment parenting, I have come to realize that spending most (if not all) of my time and energy with and for my daughter brings no balance to my personal and our family life. I have to make time for my husband, myself and other things too. In order for me to do this, I needed to do some changes and I am sharing some of them to you.

We Love Human♡Nature! :)

Posted by Arvi on Thursday, June 12, 2014
It was during our first trimester when I encountered an article with a list of some ingredients found in beauty products that could be harmful to pregnant women. And some of those were found in the facial moisturizer I was using back then. With a little research, I stumbled upon Human Heart Nature (HHN) products. Two years later, I'm still using the same moisturizer, beauty oil plus more.


Here's a list of our much loved HHN products and know why we love  using them:

100% Natural Day Moisturizer - I don't really use a lot of facial products but there are three items I cannot live without - facial wash, scrub and a moisturizer. This HHN moisturizer feels really good on my skin because it's not sticky nor oily. I spend my whole day inside an air-conditioned office so just imagine how dry my skin can get. There were times when I would forget to moisturize and by lunchtime, my skin is already cracking. But with the HHN moisturizer, I only need to apply once in the morning and it lasts the whole day already.

Sunflower Beauty Oil - This one I used more when I was pregnant. See, Mr. T is not really fond of oils and lotions. He hates those sticky stuff. But this oil he didn't mind using while massaging my legs after a day's work specially when I was on my last trimester already. I also massaged this to my super stretched tummy everytime it itched. I love how my skin felt after using this oil, soft and smooth but not sticky nor greasy. Since it's an all-natural product, I also tried using it on Ava's legs to even out her skin from dark patches caused by insect bites. It worked for us because I saw the dark patches eventually lightened up to Ava's natural skin color.

When your child becomes mobile, you have to be ready with a lot of insect bites. The first few insect bites, you will question the universe how and why. Heck, you'll even chastise Yaya for it. Lol. But I guess insect bites are just part of childhood. So there's no use fussing over it. Just keep watch on the serious ones though.

On Poops and Pees

Posted by Arvi on Monday, June 09, 2014
As I was fixing Ava's diapers early Sunday morning, I realized how much she's grown. I wonder how much longer we'll be using these diapers. Our little girl has begun showing signs of readiness physically and emotionally.

For the first time, Ava said "poopoo" about a month ago. We thought it was just coincidence, then it happened again, until it became a routine without us even training her to say it. About 80% of the time we check, there's poo on her diapers. And about 60% of after doing no. 2 she would actually say "poopoo". We've also seen other signs of readiness like there was this one time, about a couple of weeks ago, when her bum was red (without rashes) all over. We let her sleep without diapers and woke up to a dry and clear bum the next morning. Predicting when to use liners (to catch poo) and what type of inserts and boosters to use for a specific time of the day are both easier now.

Ever since we learned and understood a baby-led approach into feeding Ava, our whole parenting style kind of followed. Instead of the parent-led ways that we both grew up with, we are following Ava's cues instead. We didn't do sleep training, we didn't schedule her feeding time, we didn't even made a special schedule for her activities. Surprisingly, she lead us to our own routines that fit our lifestyle as a family.

Things You Don't Say/Ask to a Breastfeeding Mama

Posted by Arvi on Tuesday, June 03, 2014
Yes, in case you have missed it, my darling daughter is now 19 months and still breastfeeding. :) It's one of the best choices we have made as first-time parents. We know we are providing the best for our daughter.

I remember when I first watched the movie Grownups, we weren't married yet. It was the scene when the group reunited for the first time at the coach's funeral. They were seating in a gazebo chatting when Kevin James' son walked up to the mom and asked to breastfeed. The group was taken aback, someone asked how old the boy was and Kevin James responded, 48 months, trying to downplay the age. Then the couple went defensive and explained that they're trying to wean him already.

That was a funny scene, or back then I thought it was.

Fast-forward to today, I am now a Mama to my beautiful daughter, and we are breastfeeding. I have learned a lot about the importance of breastfeeding not only during the first 6 months of a baby's life but also extended breastfeeding for a toddler. Anyway you look at it, breast milk is still superior to any other kind of milk being offered in the market.

See, here in our country, it is just recently that breastfeeding is really breaking through. Years before, milk formula companies together with their marketing ploys and ads did a great job at making people think that formula milk is as good as breast milk. Packed with vitamins and nutrients that they have studied that are supposed to be similar to what a child gets from breast milk. Before I got pregnant, I didn't know formula milk was all that bad, we even tried giving Ava formula milk before when I was about to go back to work just in case I don't get to meet her daily milk requirements by pumping. She was around 3 months then, and that was the only thing I regret doing as a parent. I was so misinformed.

Stay-at-Home-Moms vs. Working Moms

Posted by Arvi on Wednesday, May 28, 2014
It's gonna be a never-ending topic.. Both trying to outdo each other in the field of motherhood. My two cents on this, if you have time, please read on.

First, let me share with you what I think the differences are between SAHMs and working moms.

The Working Moms

I am a working mom, out of the house from 8:00 in the morning and back at 7:00pm or sometimes later. But when I am at home, I am a wife and a mother. I cook our meals, make sure our place is clean, check Ava's things and attend to both my husband's and daughter's needs. On weekends, I make sure that we get to spend quality family time, regardless if we're just at home or out for a leisure. This for me, is what motherhood for a working mom is.

But then there's also a different version of a working mom. She works in the office the whole day, goes home at night. Eat dinner with the family, plays a little with the baby and then calls Yaya to take care of the baby for the rest of the night because she has a million other things to do. Work, internet, tired, whatever. Yes, similar to the ones we sometimes see on TV. Where the babies get more attached to the Yayas? It really happens.

I also know of some work-at-home-moms (WAHM) and they are awesome. :) They do their work from home and they get to take care of their babies first-hand as well.

The Stay-at-Home-Moms

SAHMs should be no different than working moms and they are equally hard-working as well. I also know this first-hand because I'd like to label myself as a SAHM during weekends. :) Here's what I think SAHMs do or should do. They wake up early to attend to their husbands needs before leaving for work. Then they attend to the baby's needs the whole day. And on top of that, house chores and everything in between. The presence of a helper is of course valuable but for me, they should be there just to assist you. I think in choosing to be SAHM, it also means that you are choosing to take charge of your family's well-being and that will only happen if you experience doing these things first-hand.

If you are doing otherwise, then maybe this mom is right somehow. Harsh words, yes but there's truth in some of them.

Screen capture used with permission.
Having help is not a problem at all because we can't do it all right? But if you rely on them in taking care of the baby, house chores, practically everything and you just sit around the house, sleeping, bumming, demanding and whatever, without lifting a finger, then I think that's where the argument will come from.

Working moms sacrifice their time away from their family just so they can help provide their needs. But that doesn't mean they will just put being a mother on the sideline. SAHMs also sacrificed their time and independence (mostly financial) so they can attend to their family's needs more. But that doesn't mean they will just bum around and demand things from their husbands.

We have different families with different needs. The most important thing is your family's well-being. Yes, it's not just about the baby, but it's also about your husband and yourself. Your disposition as a wife, as a mother and as a person. Working or not. open yourself up to learn from other people's experiences, advises and opinions. Because no matter what they say, it's still gonna be your call which of those things you'll take.

At the end of the day, we're all mothers anyway. :)

*A special shout to Ams. She has a wonderful post about how it's like to be a stay-at-home-mom.

18-Month Sleep Regression

Posted by Arvi on Friday, May 23, 2014

About two weeks ago, Ava's sleeping routine went haywire. From sleeping soundly through the night, she went back to refusing sleep and to waking up every two hours just like when she was just a newborn baby. She refuses nap times or only sleeps when carried. We know she's already tired and sleepy but she won't sleep! With a toddler weighing 12kg (or probably more?!), imagine. Lucky for me, Mr. T takes the graveyard carrying shift. But most of the time, she wakes up just to nurse. It's pretty exhausting for both of us when we still need to wake up early the next morning and go to work.

So I looked it up. Thank you Google! Mamas experiencing the same with their toddlers, take a deep breath, what we're all going through is normal. I repeat. IT'S NORMAL.

Beef Sukiyaki

Posted by Arvi on Wednesday, May 21, 2014
We love Japanese! :) But Mr. T likes the sushi, sashimi, grilled meat side of Japanese food while I love the noodles, soups, ramen and the rest that's in a Japanese menu. And since I am the one in charge of cooking, I cook what I like. Lol.

For today's recipe sharing, I will share with you my own version of Beef Sukiyaki. See, I still take into consideration Mr. T's preferences even if I cook dishes that are really not up for his taste buds. I cook them in a way that he won't mind if I cook them again. Hah! And of course, this recipe is also BLW friendly for my darling daughter of course. :)


Ingredients:

500g Beef (Sukiyaki or Breakfast Steak cut)
2 medium-sized Onions
1 medium-sized Carrots
1 can Shitake Mushrooms
1 Chinese Cabbage (Pechay Baguio)
50g Sotanghon Noodles
1/3 cup Kikkoman Soy Sauce
1/4 cup Mirin
2 liters Water (or Light Beef Broth)
Pepper
Cooking Oil

How to Cook:
  1. Sauté onion over medium heat. Wait till it's soft and cooked (but not browned) then put in the beef. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  2. Take out (strain) the beef and onion from the pan and set aside.
  3. With the beef broth still in the pan, pour in the water, soy sauce and mirin. Boil for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the beef and simmer for about 2 minutes. Then add the sotanghon noodles and let it simmer until the noodles are slightly cooked.
  5. Add the carrots and mushrooms. Then add the cabbage and let it simmer for 2 minutes.
  6. Season with pepper.
  7. Serve and enjoy over a cup of rice. :)
*You can also add tofu to this recipe but unfortunately, I didn't have tofu available last night. The original recipe also calls for brown sugar but Mr. T doesn't like anything sweet for a main dish. The amount of soy sauce in the original recipe was at 1 cup (?) but since we're cutting down on salt for Ava, I reduced it to 1/3 cup instead. It's always fun to adjust recipes for you and your family's liking. Oh the joys of cooking. :)

You The Mom!

Posted by Arvi on Monday, May 19, 2014
Motherhood is a bit overwhelming. Ok, not just a bit but maybe a lot. But if you find the right people to help you or advise you, then it can turn the tables and reveal the real awesomeness of being a Mother. Long story short, I found mine in Mommy Mundo.
Mommy Mundo is the Philippines’ most extensive portal of mom and family-focused resources. Born out of a passion for motherhood, an advocacy for active parenting, and driven by a desire to help and provide support to mothers, Mommy Mundo aims to serve the information needs of moms not only through this online home, but through other forms of media such as print, web, events, and beyond. Mommy Mundo is made up of an active community of more than 30,000 moms. - Mommy Mundo
Mommy Mundo's Expomom "You The Mom!" in Glorietta


The Balik Bukid Experience

Posted by Arvi on Friday, May 16, 2014
I've been wanting to visit Sta. Elena Fun Farms ever since I've read about it in My Mom-Friday's post. They also have the Balik Bukid fair which happens twice a year, one during summer and one in the last quarter of the year.On their first year, we were busy with the wedding preps and I didn't know about them then, the following year, we were busy with parenthood. But finally this year, it happened! Just right on time for Mother's Day! :)))


Since it was our first time, I would like to share with you some of our learnings so you can enjoy your Balik Bukid experience more.
  1. It is best to choose the right time you want to go to the fair. Check the schedule posted on their Facebook Page to see what activities will interest you. The fair starts at 8:00am and ends till 6:00pm. If you're coming with babies and toddlers, I suggest going early morning, or late afternoon. Otherwise, lunch time could be a little uncomfortable especially if you're going on a hot summer day.
  2. Don't forget to bring stuff that will protect you from the sun. Hats, umbrellas, abanikos, sunscreen, etc. There are available stuff on site as well, but it's still best to bring your own so you won't need to buy and spend extra.
  3. Think about having a picnic! Because that's one of the best things you can do during the fair. Bring blankets, pillows, etc. You can just choose a spot and setup and enjoy munching some food you got from the participating stalls or just enjoy an afternoon nap. We're definitely doing this next time.
Here are some of the photos during our visit. We particularly enjoyed watching Ava interact with the animals. She was so ecstatic. Just look at that face. :)

In the Kitchen: Stir-fry Mung Bean Sprouts with Tofu

Posted by Arvi on Wednesday, May 14, 2014
I recently tried cooking this dish and found out that my daughter loves mung bean sprouts (togue). We tried it again last night and she still ate it! :) Now, this is gonna be a staple dish for our family. :)

This is a very easy recipe I picked up from the net. Since we are practicing the Baby-Led Weaning approach in feeding Ava, I skipped some seasoning and made the dish more BLW friendly. :) Let me share with you my recipe.


Ingredients:

1 pack Mung Bean Sprouts (I got the packed ones from SM, 30Php per pack I think)
250 grams Tofu, 1/2" thick sliced
1 medium-sized Onion
1 medium-sized Red Bell Pepper
1 medium-sized Green Bell Pepper
2 medium-sized Carrots
1 cup chicken broth (please use real broth, not bouillons)
1 tbsp. Oyster Sauce
Garlic Powder
Ground Black Pepper
Cooking Oil

How to Cook:
  1. Heat your oil in a pan over medium heat. Add your tofu and cook until brown on all sides. Cool down a bit then slice into cubes. Set aside.
  2. While frying the tofu, you can slice your onion, bell peppers and carrots into thin strips (juilenne cut).
  3. In the same pan, sauté onion.
  4. Add the chicken broth (or you can just add plain water if you don't have chicken broths available) and the oyster sauce. Add the carrots and mung beans. Simmer for about 3 minutes. Then add the bell pepper and simmer for another 3 minutes.
  5. Add the tofu, a dash of garlic powder and ground black pepper.
  6. Simmer for about 2 minutes and then it's ready.
  7. Serve hot and enjoy! :)
*Best paired with Fried Tilapia. ;)

Babywearing and Breastfeeding in a SaYa

Posted by Arvi on Saturday, May 10, 2014
I think I was more emotional now that Ava turned 18 months old compared when she turned one. Lol. I wonder why. Maybe because we are also celebrating some of the milestones she did at 6 months or maybe because it's Mother's Day. Or most likely, one of those times when I can't help but think that my baby's growing up so fast. #nanaysentiments


Breastfeeding while babywearing my 18m.o. darling daughter. 

So one result of my senti moment, I posted a photo of Ava breastfeeding while I wore her in our much loved SaYa carrier. And the beautiful Miss Buding, took notice and asked if I could make a simple video tutorial. I just love sharing and learning to and from other moms so I told her that I'll surely make one. And this is also my Mother's Day gift to my fellow babywearing Mamas. :)

Celebrating One Year of BLW

Posted by Arvi on Saturday, May 03, 2014
It was exactly on Ava's 6th month celebration when we introduced her to solids. Her first food was avocado. That was one year ago already.

When we started out with the whole parenting thing, we were basically relying on our doctors, parents and siblings for advises. That meant doing everything the traditional way. As we adjusted a few months later, we began to have a better understanding that we are already building a family of our own. I, particularly, wanted to break from my family's norm of raising up kids. Don't get me wrong, I am forever grateful to my parents and I respect my siblings' decisions in raising up their own kids. It's just that I think, our generations have evolved immensely and there are significant information that we didn't know back then that we know now. That's where our choice for Attachment Parenting (AP) came in.

Our Darling Daughter's Birth Story

Posted by Arvi on Thursday, May 01, 2014
As our toddler turns 18 months old today, I would like to finally share the story of her birth.

October 30, 2012 | Wednesday. It was two weeks before my due date. I was sitting outside my OB's clinic after my office, waiting for Cholo and for my turn to be checked. Ava, like the impatient baby that she is, was kicking and somersaulting like an olympic gold medalist inside my tummy. I was not complaining because any movement was always a good indication for us during that time. Cholo arrived around 7pm and not too long after, it was our turn to be checked. During the ultrasound, our OB told me that she can't seem to scan any movements, apparently Ava fell asleep right before we went inside. She instructed me to turn to my left side so we can wake Ava up. Still scanning, our OB told me that she's gonna send me to the ER if she didn't see any movements so we can have a stress test. A few minutes later, Ava twitched. What a good girl! :) My cervix was also checked via IE, I was already 1cm dilated. But we were allowed to go home since I was not experiencing any contractions yet.

After our checkup, while having our dinner, Mr. T and I were even talking about the possibility of Ava being born on November 1. And we thought we were just kidding. I still have a little blood discharge when we got home, thinking it was from my IE earlier, I went about my nightly routine and prepared to rest for the night. My discharge, though small in amount, seemed to be more than just an effect of my IE so we decided to message our OB. She immediately instructed us to proceed to the ER to be checked. So I took a bath (because if this was really it, who knows when's the next time I'd be able to get a full bath. :P), got our stuff ready and went straight to the ER. When we got to the hospital, the residents immediately checked on my cervix. I was admitted at around 11pm, 3cm dilated. It was a long night.

Back to Basics with a Twist

Posted by Arvi on Sunday, April 27, 2014

One year of cloth diapering, we have 35 cloth diapers in rotation, plus boosters and extra inserts and other cloth diaper accessories. And oh, we're still expecting a fluffy mail coming in soon. No, that wasn't bragging. If you've been into the whole cloth diapering community, you'll know that that's the average number for an ideal stash.

Let me share our cloth diapering story. :)

We were typical new parents when Ava came along, we had problems with breastfeeding, we were bickering because of exhaustion from the lack of sleep and other typical issues. Getting myself together after the CS operation, taking care of a newborn without a Yaya, going back to work and managing my milk supply were just some of the things we had to overcome. After a couple of months, we eventually got our rhythm as parents and things started getting easier. That's also the time when I found ways how we can go about the whole new world of parenting.

The answer: Fellow parents, especially Mothers, with newborns and toddlers alike from different online communities. One of them was the MCNP Facebook Group.

Before I gave birth to Ava, I've been reading a lot about cloth diapers but the whole thing seemed to be a little too overwhelming with all the do's and don't's so we decided to just skip the whole thing and go for disposables. We were buying a disposable diaper that was 14Php a piece that only lasted for a maximum of 4 hours depending on whether Ava's gonna poop on a new one or not. After a couple of months, we downgraded to a brand that's a little cheaper but still at 10Php a piece. Apparently, the bigger the size the more expensive it becomes. It was about the same time last year, summer time, and the heat was as bad as what we are experiencing right now. And that, is an instant recipe for baby bum rashes. Ava was five months then. Luckily, an Expo Mom was happening that time and we were able to get 3 cloth diapers for trial. A week later, we were exclusively cloth diapering Ava. And as they say, the rest was history. :)

Summer Time is Travel Time

Posted by Arvi on Tuesday, April 22, 2014
It's summer time and it goes without saying that family trips are also here. For first time parents like us, travelling with a toddler could be a great challenge. Not that we have been travelling, but I've been thinking about it and thought about ways of how we'll manage when the time comes.

Just recently, we were able to travel and visit my parents in Nueva Ecija. It's usually a 3-4-hour-drive from Manila via NLEX, but it seemed like everybody was headed the same way. It took as 6 hours. Our fambam's first time to travel with Ava the toddler that long.

Luckily, our little happy belle didn't seem to bother the long drive. And it also helped that we brought some stuff that kept her busy.


Here's my take on what you can do while travelling with your toddler:

Carseats

The use of carseats in our country is not as strict compared to others. I am also guilty of this, most of the time, we're good with Ava just sitting on my lap either in the front passenger seat or at the back. But I think we should all practice safe travelling especially when we are with our children. Make sure they are all buckled up comfortable and secured. Unlucky for us, we just realized that our darling daughter already outgrew her infant car seat. So we had to take her out from it and just settle at the backseat while Mr. T drove carefully. That's why we're already looking at getting front-facing carseats so the next time we go for a long drive, Ava is already safely buckled up. :)

Left: Ava in her infant car seat. Right: Britax Front-Facing Car Seat.


Mama Goes Shopping

Posted by Arvi on Thursday, April 03, 2014
Now, I truly believe that "Shopping is a girl's best friend." And I also found out how it starts and who's to blame - the Mothers. Hahah! I'm raising my hand here.

Having a baby girl is like having a life-size doll. I remember how I used to play with Barbie dolls and paper dolls. I learned how to sew in grade school because of them barbies. But I enjoyed playing with paper dolls more because I get to easily cut and draw different clothes. Now, I get to dress up a real doll! :)

So I'd like to share with you my favorite brands and shops where I get most of our stuff, not only for babies but also including breastfeeding accessories and other Mama stuff. I included the items we got  and love from them that are totally noteworthy. Here we go.. :)

Wrap Baby Wrap

Posted by Arvi on Saturday, March 29, 2014
UPDATE: Make sure you do a lot of research first when making a DIY wrap. After this post, I was able to learn more about DIY wraps. You can search Babywearing Philippines in Facebook to learn more.

I've been a baby wearing Mama ever since I became a mother to my beautiful toddler. She's almost 17 months old already, so that's about 16 months of baby wearing. :)

We got our very first baby pouch from the Mommy Mundo Christmas Bazaar back in 2012. Ava was barely a month old then and we braved the Christmas bazaar season in Powerplant. Amongst the baby carriers that we saw, I fell in love with the simplicity of Indigobaby's Baby Pouch. It was also a good decision to get the pouch right after I gave birth instead of ordering online because I was able to check the correct size for me and Ava. Apparently, if I followed the size chart, I would've gotten a wrong size. It is always best to try the (sized) carriers first before getting them because a wrong size can be uncomfortable and can make or break your baby wearing journey. We were yayaless during our first couple of months with Ava and I was doing household chores while attending to my newborn. Those include breastfeeding, cooking, cleaning and washing baby clothes. I don't think I would've survived if not for baby wearing. I guess I rubbed off some of my love for baby wearing to Mr. T because a few months later, we got an Ergo Sport for him thanks to our sponsor (aka Grandpa). It's a Soft Structured Carrier (SSC) with lots of buckles and straps, it was really perfect for him. Then I became a member of the online Facebook community called Filipino Association of Babywearers (FAB) and oh boy! Hahah! Fellow baby wearing parents with different types of carriers sharing tips and helping each other which made me learn a lot. That resulted to me getting another carrier called Saya. It's a hybrid type which is a lot lighter than Ergo since it is only made of very lightweight fabric.

Left to Right: 1 m.o. Ava in our very first Indigobaby Pouch | Ergobaby Sport at 5 mos. |
Our second Indigobaby Pouch at 5 mos. | Happy to be in our Saya at 7 mos.

Recently, I joined an international Babywearing DIY Advice and Support group and was so amazed with all the projects that the other moms were doing. So I decided to try and make our own that both Mr. T and I can use which is the wrap type.

Before I share with you a simple tutorial let me just remind you that you should always consider your baby's safety before making your own baby carrier. I figured a wrap is the safest type to do since it does not consist a lot of straps and buckles that require sewing which, when done incorrectly, can tear and cause accident to you and your baby. So please do your research first.

My Reading List

Posted by Arvi on Friday, March 21, 2014
I love reading. I stopped for a while though because of so many things happening at the same time. I sucked at managing my time. Funny thing is, now that my list of things to do has multiplied by a hundred from work stuff to being a mother to a toddler, it is when I found time to finally read again. Lovely.

One of the reasons why getting an iPad last Christmas was a good decision. Though holding a real book is nothing compared to flipping pages just by swiping a glass screen, there's just people like me who benefits from the convenience of ebooks more than a paperback version. But when the day comes and maybe when I'm just at home with time in my own management, I will definitely go back to bookstores.

Read books.

The Hashtag Project

Posted by Arvi on Thursday, March 20, 2014
This is just the perfect entry for today because it's a #ThrowbackThrusday kind of thing. :)

I recently ordered an Instabook from Imagesmith. It's a book of your pictures gathered from your own Instagram gallery. For my first Instabook, I chose photos of Ava from her first year. And here's how the book turned out.


If you'd like to make something out of your Instagram gallery, then I would say go for an Instabook. ;)

#100HappyDays

Posted by Arvi on Thursday, March 13, 2014
About a month ago I decided to join this on-going campaign called 100happydays. Basically, what you do is post one photo that made you happy - everyday for 100 days in a row. According to the website, 71% of people who tried this challenge failed due to lack of time. How can that be? Posting a photo a day shouldn't be that hard.


Yes, posting one photo a day is really not that hard. BUT, posting one photo of what made you happy for the day, for 100 consecutive days is a challenge. Trust me, I know because on my 28th day, I almost gave up on this. But I'm glad I didn't. :D

Baby's Safety Online

Posted by Arvi on Monday, March 10, 2014
This has been an on-going topic amongst parents and it seems like it's going to continue along with the evolving virtual world of social media internet. And ever since our very own little belle entered toddlerhood, this has become a part of our discussion as parents as well.

Amongst the articles I've read discussing/debating this issue, I've come across two questions that are always being asked. (1) Are you violating your own child's right to privacy? (2) Is it safe to post photos of your child?

And these are my takes.

(1) Violation of my child's privacy. This sounds silly to me, trying to imagine my toddler, who can't even control her bladder yet, invoking the right to control her own photos.
"The violation of personal privacy doesn’t start until an individual has the ability to understand what the violation means." - New York Times
Makes a lot of sense to me. That's why it becomes part of our many responsibilities as parents -  to make sure that our children are safe and protected - whenever, wherever. For me, bum-naked is already a violation of my child's privacy. I once posted a photo of her right after birth, blurred out except for her face. But eventually took it down after a while because I find it too much for sharing. The context of how photos are being shared should also be considered.

(2) Safety of my child. This one I find a bit too much.
“Research shows that there is virtually no risk of pedophiles coming to get kids because they found them online,” said Stephen Balkam, chief executive of the Family Online Safety Institute. While the debate makes this crime seem common, he said, all the talk is really just “techno-panic.”
Exactly my point. Of course protecting children from dangerous people should be a concern to all parents. However, these people are more likely to target children they know and who trust them already, instead of those they have only seen on the Internet.