Busy busy Christmas season! Before I completely forget it, I'm posting about my 1st (and 2nd) attempt at making nappy cakes. We were about to hold a baby shower for 2 buntis friends, how special is that?! And my gift to them is a pair of nappy cakes. I finally got to make not one but two! One for a baby boy and one for a baby girl. I've already planned it all in advance, 2 nappy cakes, matching blue and pink embelishments, and I had a budget too. That's part of the challenge. 2 can be quite pricey, so the contents must be essential and practical! During the planning of my own babyshower a year ago,I remember asking a friend if someone is giving me a nappycake, kasi if none of them are, I'm considering making one for myself... That's just how addicted I am to the idea.
My materials and nappy cake contents include the following:

•35 pcs pack of small size Smile diaper (it's not your popular brand, but it's highly recommended. I like it better than the Pampers and Huggies, sorry multi national corps.)
•6 pcs lampin
•2 hooded towels
•2 newborn onesies
•8 small washcloths
•1 pink bib
•1 blue bonnet
•2 teddy bear toppers (our baby shower theme)
•2 paper plates
•transparent nylon strings
•pink and blue japanese paper strips / pretty ribbons are better but I was at a budget ;)

Finally the steps, which I customized using various resouces at pinterest and youtube and from my own nappy cake gift (yes, I have understanding friends who did buy me one:))
I found this tool essential! Any circular box or can. I found it impossible to make anything sturdy without the help of this "molding" tool. :) it is essential to work on a clean surface too.
I spread the hooded towel onto the box, making sure face of the animal on the hoodie has allowance for folding
Stuff the nappies i to the box, on top of the towel. I found i need not roll thenappies yet here. Leave a hole at the center.
Stuff and fold the edges of the towel in the hole you've made. Be sure not to stuff the hoodie animal face
Once it is stuffed folded and secure you can get it out of the box. I personally turned the box upside down, gently of course
Tie with a nylon thread to secure. I personally don't like to use double sides tape because despite the sturdiness it brings, the tape tends to stick and it gets hard to wash off. It might even damage the nappies. Also, I placed the 'official' 1st layer of my cake onto a paper plate as base.
I now inserted a lampin (cloth diaper) into the middle hole. It is rolled up like this to provide a 'spine' for the next layers. I also used an old ponytail ( never been used) to tie at the middle
Next is to roll up more nappies and insert them one by one into the ponytail until it forms the second layer. By this time I've used up around 24 pcs of diapers.
Fold up the hoodie towel's animal face. You can tuck edges into the diapers to make it look neat
I removed the ponytail after tying nylon thread around the 2nd layer. The 3rd and top layer is too small for nappies so I put rolled wash cloths (using the same procedure with the ponytail as the 2nd layer) instead. I also added a onesie, with the sleeves not folded so the design will show.
Some tucking and it now looks like this. Since I wanted to add height to the cake, I decided on this banner/ streamer design and a bear topper (bear can also be used by baby as first toy)
To put the bear in place I pinned its bottom to the onesie Before I tucked its edges.
For the poles of the banner I just rolled up 2 sheets if blue construction paper, punched holes at the tip and tied a string of nylon onto each.
I spread glue on the string and just gently pasted tiny banner cutouts I made from japanese/tissue paper
I used more Japanese paper to cover the nylon strings and to decorate the 1st and 2nd layers. Voila the finished products, my 1st and 2nd! Not too bad if I may say so. :)
I hope to blog about the shower and the wonderful time we had. I'll post that next. In the meantime I hope you're able to pick up some useful tips here. Do share if you have a special technique in making nappy cakes!
”I’m participating in the Spend-Less Holidays: Saving While Savoring the Season Blog Carnival, hosted by The Frugal Fil-Am and Dainty Mom. We’ll be sharing our tips on how to spend less this holiday season, so that we can have a more meaningful Christmas. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.

Now that 'tis the season for gift giving, I find this as a wonderful opportunity to hone my super powers. As you may not know (because I rarely use these alter egos) I am THE BUDGET-ER, THE RECYCLE-R and the DIY-ER!!!!

One way to make sure I use my abilities (and not to let it dry up, like so many other missed opportunities) is to use them through the GIFT WRAPPING CHALLENGE!

The Gift Wrapping Mission: 
(1) Save: not to buy gift wrappers & use cheap materials, 
(2) Think: use creativity, personalized is always more special, 
(3) Recycle: Use stuff around the house which might as well be trash or dust collectors.

The Super Saver Materials : 
(1) Leftover Japanese paper from my previous craft endeavors
(2) Erasers from the lootbags of M (he is too young to use them anyway)
(3) Xacto Knife
(4) Markers / Paint
(5) Pencil
(6) Leftover craft twine / wire / string
(7) Scotch tape

Crime... er... Expense Fighting Steps:
(1) Turn the eraser into stamp. With a pencil draw desired Christmas design onto eraser. Using Xacto knife carve out the design.
this is the eraser and the carving tools you'll need to begin with
testing the stamp and marker
(2) Use a marker / highlighter to coat the carvings with ink. You can also use paint :)
(3) Wrap gifts using japanese paper. You can use any leftover paper you have from previous crafts or kids project. Using crepe paper, construction paper or cartolina is also a favorite of mine. Then, stamp away!
(4) For DIY ribbons, still using japanese paper (or crepe), cut strips of about 1.5" thick x 8 feet long (it doesn't have to be continuous). 
(5) Fold them as in picture below, then tie craft wire at the middle. You can also use a string, as long as it is not too thin.
(6) Pull each sheet upward one by one, very gently. This is to give the ribbon that puff.
(7) Install ribbon with tape. You can cut more stips to tie (or glue, in my case) around your gift
Tada! Try it for yourself, make the most of this season as discover your own creative super powers. Make sure to have lots of fun and to make it as personal as possible! Why add personalized gift tags while your at it, you can cut up old folders and use that brand new eraser stamp you have! Exciting times! Happy gift wrapping!

Check out the rest of our Spend-Less Christmas Carnival participants!

Now that M is 1, his curiosity is just growing in leaps and bounds! The perennial problem of parents is to find that right balance between safety and freedom. Just as safety is a must these days, it would also be just criminal to cage them in a bubble and let that curiosity dissipate.

I have no intention of discussing where to draw the line between these two, because admittedly, I really do not know and it is still a constant issue of mine.

Instead I will share a DIY project related to it. (Yes, on to lighter things!)

In my quest to make a child proof space for M (even just 1 area where I can let him safely explore independently), I went hunting for cabinet safety locks. I came across several locally distributed ones from Safety First. But either they're too expensive or they just won't fit these particular cabinets. As much as I just want him to open away, there has been some incidents of bumps, scrapes and a whole lot of mess which husband will surely not approve of.

So the solution came in mind easy, I'll just make 'em! The idea is so simple and so much cheaper that I just couldn't believe how I didn't think of it before!
Steps and materials :
These are all the materials you'll need
Just stick the hook on the other corner beside the opening of the cabinet and then tie a string like so
Tying the string this way gives you the end knot as a lock. Brilliant eh?
Now I don't have to constantly put the weight of my hands on the doors to keep him from opening them (he gets upset when I do that) nor do I need to keep chasing him and removing him from this particular area. He would just learn that there are some things you cannot get into yet. :)

What are your ideas on child proofing your house?
The thing with living in the city is that you really have to work on integrating nature into your living space. We live in a townhouse, in a compound, smack in the middle of Tondo. The view from the window would be your neighbor's window, if you must visualize. I remember a friend's 3 year old, wanting to open our window so she can see the birds, I just had to tell her, madumi, no birds. So sad.... Ever since we have been trying to rehabilitate the view from that particular window. 
Potted Plants

I decided on planting Ampalaya! I'm sure this is not the best looking or the nicest smelling decision, but if it does work, it would not only provide good coverage, but also give M fresh veggies to eat. I've seen some, wildly growing on the neighboring walls. So I know that the conditions here at our place would be conducive. Also, since I have no experience in "gardening" starting off with easy to acquire and low maintenance plant seems to be a good idea. I really hope they climb well on the railings, that serves as border / enclosure to the little outdoor space we have.
Baby ampalaya plants. Seeds and pot brought from nearest grocery store.

Bird Feeders

Husband's idea. Next goal is to have some nice tweeters to sing to the baby in the morning. Also, we are able to use our creativity in recycling milk cans, we seem to have quite a collection right now. Since its installation, I have yet to see actual birds on them myself (The nanny says she has seen one). One achievement though, I have been HEARING the birds more now compared to before. Maybe they're just shy. I'll give them more time.

Here is how I made one of the feeders:
materials : cardboard, empty milk can, stick, acrylic paint, cutters, tape and pencil
trace cardboard with half the curve of the milk can. then, cut slits on the outer portion. this is so we can tape the cardboard following the shape of the can
tape the cardboard like so, with th eslits and tape "inside" the can. this will serve as holder for the bird feed
punch holes at the bottom of the can using a nail and a hammer. this is so you can tie the bird feeder on a branch or on a railing
decorate the can, here I gave it a more natural look by painting leaves on it. afterwards, insert the piece of stick on the cardboard (I just taped it again inside) so the birds will have somewhere to perch on
hang the feeder using some wire or sturdy string. Don't forget to add the bird feeds inside!
It is still  work in progress, but there are already some major improvements. Hopefully we can find success for our little patch of green dream.
I've always thought that I was Angela Chase. I loved the show so much that I have specific memories of answering slum books with FAVORITE SHOW: MY SO-CALLED LIFE
Having rediscovered the series again somewhere, and have recently concluded watching all episodes over piles of hand washed laundry, I just can't help but feel nostalgic. Really, my understanding of the series way back when it was shown over at RPN 9 was nothing to how great this show really was! Or maybe because I was only 12 at that time that I can't possibly understand most of the issues presented there, like, Angela's attraction to Jordan Catalano???!!! That is one of many perspectives change age has given me. To just enumerate 6 things as how I saw them then, and how I saw them now:

1.) THEN: Jordan acts like a loser, why is he Angela's love interest?
NOW: I had crushes, but once anybody treats you like trash wouldn't you just feel defensive and stay away? I did not like gorgeous looking boys even before, they look like trouble and every instinct of my body tells me that a miss match is a no match. But when I saw Jordan Catalano again, oh my gosh! He does look like love! Now that I know love and how he was pictured in the eyes of Angela Chase. Despite being the thinker that I am, I think I did eventually chose heart over logic. I think I can say I chose the Jordan Catalano of my life over the Brian Krakows... just because the heart follows no one

2.)THEN: Patty is like my mother, I want as much distance physically and emotionally as possible!
NOW: Eww, now I am Patty Chase. trying my best to be a responsible parent. Trying so hard that you forget you can't possible exercise control over all things. I still love "The Zit" episode, it will be one of my forever favorites. But now I can understand Patty's perspective as she unconsciously tries to hold on to her past self. Sometimes we just become, old, and it's not always easy to move on and accept gracefully with open arms. And as a parent there is nothing wrong with wanting our kids to be better versions of ourselves... but then again, what about what they want? They don't want to be us, they want to be who they are, even despite the fact that they don't know who they are.
3.) THEN: Rayanne Graff is exaggerated.
NOW: I can see now how Angela was attracted to Rayanne. Not because she is cool and different, but it's because she complements Angela. Like Yin and Yang. I also had various friends in highschool. I wasn't cool, or anything, but I did mingle with the cool ("dangerous") ones, now realizing it is because I get energized by one that is completely opposite. They awaken a part of us that is already there but is dormant. I was a wallflower, so hanging out with people who are not afraid to express themselves is, like, addicting. Other than that I also realize now that the issue of teen sex, alcoholism and addiction is very real. I think I was more innocent in that sense that I never really went full blast into their world to actually see it... 
4.) THEN: Poor Brian Krakow.
NOW: To be as sensitive and smart at that age is not a curse. It is a gift. And to not have the maturity to express that at your teenage years is normal. Brian is not the least of the characters but is has in reality, the best of it. In his future, when his emotions have matured, he will finally be able to express himself and get into a decent and serious relationship with quality real women who will, at time, be over immature highschool jocks and would bet any day on the smart, sensitive and rich one. All these minus the emotional damages he could have gotten by getting into too serious a relationship early at his teens.
5.) THEN: Patty and Grahm are boring, skip their scenes and grab something to eat.
NOW: Marriage is very tricky, and it does require constant vigilance. I learned a lot watching the show again. I find myself saying, no Patty, you should not let Graham get too close to any other woman, not even the business partner, that's too dangerous! (Boring much?)

6.) THEN: Angela Chase is me, awkward on the outside yet deep in the inside, woe to our tortured souls!
NOW: Oh Angela, I'm glad you are who you are. I'm glad you were awkward and that you thought too much and you cried too much. I'm glad you held on to your principles and had the strength to accept loss and not fall under pressure. Though I, unlike Angela, did not have a boyfriend in highschool, I feel in the same way, I followed my own standards and not felt like I had to get into something because a boy told or asked me to. Or that because everybody seems to be in a relationship that I should be also just because of the fact. Not that I was so mature to have known all that, thanks to my awkwardness I think I had a fairly less amount of pressure than the prettier ones who were "pursued" more. But you know, I thought I was weak then, but looking back, I think I had enough self worth to hold my own because the security of family and love gave me that.
The show did end prematurely, having low ratings... against F.R.I.E.N.D.S. (duh low ratings, not because of the show's poor content)! I saw a lot of fan fiction continuing the story of Angela Chase, but I did not read any of them. Because in our own way, we [fan girls, or whatever] feel like we are Angela Chase. But we, unlike Angela, all continued on with our lives instead of ending with a cliffhanger. In as much as their lives were their own version of Angela's story, I also have mine. So pretty much, in my humble opinion, I already know how Angela Chase ended up... and I'm not so worried. ;)
First of all, Happy Chinese Mooncake Festival!

Such festive times bring us excitement... and more excuse to party and eat; as we Chinese play our traditional dice game and exchange moorcake treats. I actually had to restrain myself from consuming for myself the whole can of mooncake treats given for the family.

But I'm not blogging about food this time, more on this creative project I was blessed to have been part of. You see, I got commissioned to make these  GIANT DICES for a mooncake festival parteh of a company. How exciting is that!? They needed 6-8x8 inch dice for playing and as party props. Because they are for play and not just display I have to make them sturdy. Yet, they will be played with by kids so they need to be light. They actually gave me a peg, the dice used in Landmark Trinoma. I, of course, cannot replicate those to a T because those were probably ordered in bulk and special cutter machines were used. So, off I went to get the main base material that would become the dice. I went scourging through divisoria, 999 mall and Ilaya (my love-hate places). It was soooo christmasy already there!

The Craftventure begins!

My special base material proved to be hard to find, as expected really. I was almost about to give up as I near the end of the school supplies strip in Juan Luna when I got to talk to this Manong at a school supplies store for help (basically begged, he must have felt sorry for me haha). He directed me to a FISHING STORE, where he said he saw something like what I was looking for. So off I went to the corner of Juan Luna and Sta. Elena., lo and behold there they are!!! Amidst the fishing nets and life jackets, there they are!
I could have done a dance right there but instead I made a my I'm-not-that-interested-unless-you-give-me-discount-poker-face and asked the tindero for their price and if they can give me 6 of these 10 inch styro balls. They were smooth and sturdy, made for the mighty sea. I love them!

How these balls were turned to dice

1.) I wanted to use a solid base rather than gluing or folding pieces of materials together. Since they will be thrown around, I want to avoid the risk of a piece falling off due to force. From the Styro balls, I had to find focal points (like geometry!) for the 6 faces of the dice
2.) I used these focal points as base for a protractor and then marked 6 equal circles around the ball. 
finally putting highschool math to good use. study your math kiddos!
3.) tricky part : cutting those circles. I used some guitar wires mounted on wood and charged them with a car battery charger. Voila! Instant Styro cutter, DIY from items around the house. THANK GOD FOR HUSBANDS who have the tools. I initially planned on using a hand saw, but that would have taken ages! But using my homemade cutter posed one challenge, getting that even surface. Thus the fourth step...

4.) Paper Mache coat. This would make the surface look smoother. I only neglect not being able to put more layers on it, otherwise it will become too heavy for the kiddos.
drying them out, statring to look real pretty here :)
5.) Painting over them! This was the fun and less stressful part. :D I just used white and black acrylic. Then I coated them with varnish so they are more dirt and water resistant when thrown (I assume, on the floor). After which they already look like real giant dice!
packing all 6 for delivery
I wasn't there at the party, but my friend Nap, who endorsed me to the company was. He said the kids were able to enjoy playing with the dice. That was the best part really, more than the joy of making these crafts is to know it served it's purpose of making the event more enjoyable for the guests. 
photo credits to Nap Ching :D
It's been a while since I was able to enjoy the sea, given the pregnancy and all. So I was excited for this Anniversary Trip we planned. At the same time I was torn to leave the baby behind, I will miss the little monkey. But I realized, he won't really miss us at all, an my husband and I needed quality time -- you know with real quality, far from responsibilities... just for 3 days. Miguel is pretty independent and enjoys his time with yaya and his grandparents anyway,

It was the perfect time to go to La Union! This is the season where the sea swells perfectly for surfing. Joseph wanted to check out this nice hotel called Thunderbird Resort in Poro Point, the surfing plan just came after when we were thinking of what else we could do there. And everything just came together perfectly! What made it even more perfect is that we recently crossed paths with an old schoolmate of Joseph who now lives there. So we even had someone to point us to all the right places to maximize our stay. I really think we were able to succeed in that!

So, the 10 Things we did for our Anniversatrip:

1.) Left home at 4:30am - best time to go because we were flagged that there will be traffic because of the ongoing roadwork along Mc Arthur Highway. Right on decision this was! The trip took us 6 hours. With stop overs and getting lost already factored in there.

2.) Got lost. With this we now know how to get there the proper way (via car) next time. For readers here it is for you: take the NLEX to Pampanga- option to use McArthur Highway to Tarlac OR SCTEX (if SCTEX, exit Concepcion) - back to Mc Arthur Gerona- Paniqui - Moncada - Villasis - Urdaneta - Pozzorubio - Rosario - Agoo, Aringay - Caba - Bauang - San Fernando (destination)
If you plan to go there by buses tourism ph says you can ride Partas busesDominion Bus LinesFarinasMaria de LeonPhilippine Rabbit and Viron. I'll let you know if we're successful in doing that next time. :D Cool thing this online bus booking site that is already functioning. If you're anything like me who easily stress when you get to the bus station and find you need to wait for hours for the next available slot, then this is a good idea for you.

3.) Ate Lunch at Halo Halo De Iloko :D. This was a wonderful experience! Because of one, the fact that the place was filled with all these decorative details that's perfect for pic taking tourists like ourselves, and two, of course, great food! We had Vigan Longganisa (which is even better than the ones I've tasted from Vigan), Sinampalukang Manok in heart carved coconut (must try), bagnet, pinakbet and the highlight --> special halo halo with yema milk! 

We also treated by our friend, 2 bottles of their Okoy Suka as pasalubong. :9
4.) Enjoyed the company of a friend. Paula (Joseph's schoolmate) showed us around and ironically instead of the plan to go to the Macho Temple we had a different religious experience as she showed us their family business and the beautiful chapel that they built as thanksgiving for all God has done with their lives. It was really refreshing to hear someone share their faith with so much passion. If it so happens though that you haven't got friends there, look on the brighter side --> you can always make one. :)
5.) Checked in to Thunderbird Resort. It was beautiful there to understate. And the staff were nice and the food was good. It looked exactly the same live as it does in the website. So, no photography "enhancements" there (as some resorts tend do). They provide excellent service too. The beachside, well we never got there really, but I don't think they've quite developed it. The seashore there is really not swimming friendly. You could be content with the pool though, it's "infinity"! You might recognize the place if you care to look beyond Anne Curtis' swimsuit bod in No Other Woman.
6.) Ate a Romantic Dinner at Olives Restaurant. I  don't think there are other fancy places there, so we opted to officially celebrate our Anniversary at the hotel restau. It was pricey, as hotel restaurants go, but the serving was big enough and they have Greek food on the menu, so that was something new. You have the food and the ambiance, might as well use a little imagination and pretend you are in Greece. :D
7.) Went Surfing and Eating in San Juan. We contacted San Juan Surf Resort otherwise known as Billabong Surf School for lessons. It was a 15 min drive to their resort from Poro Point. We took a 1 hour session with instructors for P400/head. We scraped both knees, got slapped (hard) on the face by the South China Sea, bruised around places, swallowed some waves... but it was all worth it for the thrill! I really hope we could do it again next time. The one hour was almost bitin, but I already felt slightly sea sick (darn this sensitivity to motion sickness) while waiting for my wave so I had to give it a rest. Just when I was finally getting the surfer stance going. :P  
We were surfing there, might as well have lunch at the same place. Their platter meal was a surprise. It took a long time for them to prepare, but it was worth it! We had grilled tuna, ensalada and adobong baboy... on a bilao platter!
8.) Dinner at Midway Grill.  The restaurant serves a mix of American, Filipino and some other Asian dishes. Big serving, affordable price and yummmy! I had their baby back ribs and it was meaty and tender. <3
9.) Bought dried fish along Rosario as pasalubong. Try not to get stressed when you get harassed by the dozen or so Ale(s) who all want to sell you their daing. We particularly bought the "espada" which are the 10-12inch long dried fish. I wish we could have bought more, because I really enjoyed them with the Okoy suka. :)
10.) Coffee At Mc Cafe Rosales. We were only really able to appreciate Mc Cafe here. We never really had coffee from this place in Manila because of easier access to Starbucks and the like. But they serve surprisingly good cappuccino and mocha frap. It's a good place to stop over should you feel your lids slipping down south and you are in dire need for some caffeine (100 or so, kms more to go, ya know!) . Next good coffee place would be at Tarlac already, so if you really must stop, consider some twister fries at this place.
Other chow places which were originally on the itinerary which I'll just reserve for next time (no time, sadly)--> Mommy Lu's (near Midway Grill), and  Isdaan in Gerona Tarlac. 

I must admit I actually over ate on this trip and upset my stomach. But nothing could damper your fun if you really want to have it. Yes, I actually have a philosophy that you can plan as much as you want about your trip, but if the plan doesn't happen you leave it be and choose to enjoy whatever it is you have at the moment. Because we are here to enjoy life and not to be a critic of it, judging whether this one is good or bad... so to end this post I'll just leave you  with this quote:

                "Fun? Fun is what you bring with you!" -D. Barrymore as Bev in Riding in Cars with Boys
Classy Classy Classy. That is the word to describe you oh calligraphy!

My first experience with calligraphy was when I was in elementary school, being in a Chinese school it was part of the curriculum; to dip your brush in ink and fill in the Chinese characters pattern. Nostalgia. But all I learned then was that calligraphy and it's ink dipping can be a whole lot of mess. It is still messy now, but for the love of letters you yearn to master it.

My love for this art was rekindled when I was planning for my wedding. I wanted to do my own calligraphy on our dark red envelopes. The idea of white ink was just too awesome to resist. But alas, I failed on that attempt and just ended up running the envelopes on the printer with black ink. It wasn't that ugly, but the invites were not as pretty as I hoped it would look like. This was the peg, which of course did not happen:
image from engagedandinspired.com
GA Printing did such a good job pa naman with the envelopes, hay frustrations...

But for some weird reason my passion for calligraphy was rekindled during my preps for Miguel's first birthday. And at last Sept 12 at 11:43am, while I was wallowing in my frustrations, I came across this calligraphy workshop by The Fozzy Book. It just so happens that registration opens at 12nn on the same day! What a blessing! So I already drafted my registration email and just hit send when it opened at 12nn. Slots were all full an hour later.

Happy giddy excitement I got a slot!

Then came the actual workshop last Sept 22 at Briggy Hall Kapitolyo (which was a pretty cool creative venue). I got a few snips:
that's fozzy, our calligrapher mentor (she is cool to understate)
this is fozzy's work, that's gonna be my handwriting soon, just you see!
the workshop came with a notebook, ink, pen with nib and this manual (which I dirtied, clumsy)
I got a little headache during session, not because of the workshop itself (which was actually nice, with so much food, relaxing music, nice classmates and really super teacher), ut because, damn, this is harder than it looks. It is really an art and a skill that requires practice, patience, grace, discipline, control and memory that does not come from the brain!

I have been practicing, shy to upload the practice sheet really, because it is still such a mess and I still need much practice. But I'll post it anyway, nyahaha, I'll just chose best ones I've done of course:
Hopefully my inking skills would be good enough day to find it's way on a really nice set of wedding envelopes again (of course not mine na). That is a dream, which I pray would happen. But until then, I'll practice, practice, practice. Because you can't simply do nothing about it if you finds those things that you know you can just do forever and ever. 

I really couldn't claim to be an advocate, but during the earlier parts of my mommy life... if my pumping station was an address (and I don't mean gas) I'd have lived there; if IOS can actually check you into breastfeeding stations that's where you'd find me. I've lost count of the coolers I've filled donating where I can... but now a year after I find myself seeing another person... the old me. I never thought I was that far gone into this that it really transformed me.

I started to see glimpses of "the old me" when Miguel's pedia advised that we try mix feeding him at 8 months. My knee jerk (and internal) reaction was "this is one of those moments that you do not listen to everything your pedia tells you to do cos you know better". But I was also exhausted on trying to figure out ways to increase his weight. Miguel is perpetually underweight you see... eventually I caved in. I don't want to be a stubborn kid. I was afraid that after going though arduous experience of supply building that I've become too strict about this on myself. You see, we've been to countless pedias and more often than not, they give an ok to supplementing after 6 months. At first I was relieved with the idea of capping my nursing mom endeavors at 1 year. That I can use the pumping and feeding time doing the things my old self used to do. But now I actually feel a wee bit sad about it. Miguel's weight did increase after the supplement but only temporarily, he is back now to his old plateau. I just came from another pedia who says  breastmilk is still best for Miguel at his age (why the other pedia? well that's a long story)... too bad becuase I'm almost all out. 

One thing is for sure, pedias really have a big influence on ya, even though you've read all your literature and attended all your breastfeeding talks. It was a big part of our criteria for Miguel's pedia, don't know why, how or at which point we just settled with the one that is seemingly pro-breastfeeding. I encourage anyone, everyone to be more discerning.


I have also had questions thrown my way on breastfeeding. I now think it was a blessing to have taken he arduous path towards getting my supply. This way I have the experience and the empathy to share to other newbie nursing mom friends (which I seem to never ran out of). Up side is that they also encourage me to keep the "advocacy" at heart. But there are those moment when I have to stop myself from being too legalistic and pushing them the way I pushed myself back then. If you need a picture, I got to the point that I lashed out on my husband because I was soooo tired with no sleep as I refused to let anyone do the feeding but me directly. I had a no bottle policy until 1 month old because I read about nipple confusion. Eventually I caved in (less than 1 month) because I needed the sleep more than baby needed direct feeding. I also grew this nasty auto-disdain for people who told me they just simply "didn't have enough". I really felt bad feeling that way towards people. Not that I was self righteous, but more, "I" did not have enough either but I tried really really really hard! You could have too!!! That is what I wanted to say, but I refrain, because I wouldn't know how to say it without sounding insensitive.

That was just some of many "challenges" that came my way. Point is breastfeeding is really a lifestyle and more relationship based than you can ever imagine; between you and baby and between you and the rest of the world! In as much as every person in your life can factor to you doing it or not... you also get this power to  influence others to do it, to keep on doing it, to do it next time if you were not able to do it before... I suppose this post is also an apology, for what I have said and what I COULD HAVE SAID and didn't say to people. I could have used this influence more appropriately really.  To anyone and everyone who knows me personally and we seem to have had this conversation in the past about breastfeeding; what I really wanted to say was : You, MOM, can do it! It will require your best. Low supply at the beginning doesn't mean it won't increase. Working doesn't mean you'll lose your supply. It will not be easy (I didn't have it easy), but I am positive there is a way. And You HUSBAND, FRIEND, MOTHER, FATHER, SISTER, BROTHER, YAYA, NEIGHBOR... you do have the power to help her do it long term, YOU DO!

Support with Integrity
I recently stumbled across this advocacy. Given the above experiences, this sums up everything that should have been and could still, be done right regarding the support and influence a breastfeeding mother could surround herself with. Yes, I support breastfeeding and am more than glad to offer advice and support to others who need it. I also realize that our society lacks enough influencers (could be other moms, friends, family, yaya or health care providers) so those who are given the voice should be more proactive in using it. I offered my pledge with this movement. I could copy paste the whole article about it here but that seems like a bad idea so I'll just take snips. The rest you can read here, and hopefully you won't wait until the end of your nursing career to start to believe that you, in fact, have such power and that you can start putting it to good use NOW.

"The goal of the Support with Integrity Pledge is to strengthen and to unite the efforts of breastfeeding supporters who focus on getting the baby fed, and not taking sides about how it’s done, or being right. We each may prefer one organization, technique, method, schedule or position, but we believe that a mama who is breastfeeding deserves support with whatever technique she chooses, and whatever works for her and her baby

To be clear, this pledge isn’t about breastfeeding vs. formula feeding. It’s simply about uniting breastfeeding supporters who have a common goal: to help normalize breastfeeding, to help remove the barriers to breastfeeding, and to provide a peaceful village of supporters united in their desire to help women successfully breastfeed."

Once upon a time mommy Cindy's asked me for some help on how to make paper flowers. It is as practice prop for your flower girl duties this October. But Mommy said she can't quite do it right, so this I made need no one fright (yes must insert rhyme). 

Here are the steps you need to take,
should you need to make some for your own art's sake:

1.) stack together 8 layers of 4.5" x 7.5" japanese paper (you could stack together different colors if you want)
2.) fold them all together accordion style from the 4" side
3.) once you've achieved this narrow line like shape tie a craft wire at the middle; just loop and twist
4.) cut curves on both ends for petals
5.) unfold each layer

simple eh, pics here for the more visual type.

But baby Ellys got sick before I can give the flowers. Hopefully you'll get better soon and still have the chance to practice with your  paper  flowers. But you don't need to have a wedding to be flower girl, really. You can be flower girl any day you want. Heck, you can be anything you want anytime you want! Just don't lose your youth's imagination. Keep dreamin' keep believin'!