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.