Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Most Unusual Anniversary

Truth be told, this is not how I want to spend our 3rd wedding anniversary. All three of us are downed with something--Julz and Jaden both have terrible cough, and I am on bedrest for... *sigh* premature contractions.

Apparently, the "aches and pains" I was having yesterday were not ngalay, but pain from actual, albeit small, contractions. I thank God for my instinct to go see my OB that very morning.

Last night (our anniversary eve), I was again rushed to the hospital because the pain persisted. I was given a shot of medicine on my arm, which immediately calmed down my contractions. The doctors and nurses of the Delivery Room of Makati Med also checked on Smartie, who--thankfully--was doing okay and undisturbed by my pain. I was back home by midnight.

I tweeted that I was tired, scared, and lonely. And I don't think I could have captured my feelings yesterday any better than that.

Today, I feel better. I'm also a bit happier because Jaden visited me in our room this morning (he spent the night with his Lola Cowa so I could rest fully) and he's more playful now! He has no more fever and is clearly getting better. Yay!

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, "No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."

I read this verse this morning and realized, I don't want want to wallow in my exhaustion, fear, and loneliness anymore. Marami akong dapat ipasalamat, despite our less-than-ideal circumstances now :) These "roadbumps" are temporary. Because of God, I am confident that there's a long and smooth road up ahead, and that I have my family to enjoy the ride with!

So here's to more anniversaries! (Pero sana next year, makapag-romantic dinner naman kami! Hehe)
Photo by Sheila Juan Catilo

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

On My Knees

My little boy is sick :(

He has a bad case of sore throat, cough and colds, and a persistent fever. He refuses to eat and take his meds, probably because it's hell to swallow them now.

My heart bleeds for him. I know he's having such a difficult time. I've been taking care of him as much as my preggy self can (taking the whole day-night shift last Sunday), and now I am feeling the exhaustion.

As i write this, I am on my way to my OB, Dr Annebelle Aherrera, to check if the aches and pains I am feeling are part of a normal pregnancy or if... (and I shudder as i say this) I pushed myself too hard taking care of my sick toddler.

I really have to remind myself that I have two children now, and I have to take care of myself to be able to take care of BOTH of them. How do i do that when the ill one is calling out, "Mommy! Mommy! Carry please!"?

Dear God, please heal Jaden. Please take away his colds, cough, and fever, and every pain and discomfort they are bringing to my son. Wipe away the soreness of his throat so that he can eat. Let him tolerate his oral meds to facilitate his recovery. Restore his health and strength.

Protect me and Smartie, too, from this illness that seems to be going around the house. I can't be sick, Lord, if only to keep my little baby in the tummy safe. Please, please strengthen my body.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Time to buy bows, ribbons, and tutus

Because we're having a baby GIRL!!!

*doing the happy dance right now*

Yes, yes, and a whole lotta yeses! Ima gonna have my own sidekick soon!

Once again, the discovery of Smartie's gender is, like her conception, a confirmation of what I've been feeling since finding out about my pregnancy. I don't know how or why but I always had this gut-feel that this one's going to be a girl. (For the record, it's definitely NOT because I feel prettier now! I honestly think I looked better during my 1st pregnancy. Huhu. Di bale, basta maganda si Smartie!)

Oh wait, I've been saying Smartie here and there without formally telling you that this is the nickname that I've decided to give my little one while she is in my tummy. We'll pick her formal name soon (and announce it when she comes out), but for now she'll be Smartie :)

Incidentally, "Smartie" is also the first petname that Julz gave me back when we were just getting to know each other (nung nagpapa-cute pa siya).  Cute lang ngayon that I'm "bestowing" it upon my 21-week-old baby-in-tummy! :)

Anyway, my husband and I are very excited to have a little girl in the family. Coming from a family of four girls and zero boys (except my dad obviously), I've never really felt that both genders must be represented in a family to be called complete. But clearly, I am over the moon now, feeling extra extra EXTRA blessed to have a son and soon, a daughter. My heart is just overwhelmed.

We are even more thankful that Smartie is growing well. She is normal and healthy! The Congenital Ultrasound, which checked basically all possible body part that could be seen at this point, showed that everything is well and that Smartie is growing okay. God is good! By faith, I am continuing to believe that He indeed is "fearfully and wonderfully" making my baby girl! Thank You, Lord!

via Instagram

So excited to meet my angel!!! :)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Last Thursday

one of my dearest, bestest friends in the world married the love of her life :)
Mr. & Mrs. Filart
All the giggly girls :)

Congratulations to the Pats!!! Beautiful wedding, beautiful couple, and beautiful love story!

Photos by Jorem & Sheila Catilo.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Dining Room Inspirations

Where to get a dining set like this?

Similar to photo #1. We're obviously drawn to warm hues when talking about our dining area :)

Dark wood and upholstered chairs please

I really, really like this!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

As I have enthusiastically announced, I won in Sentro 1771's raffle. The prize is a fancy dinner for two in their upscale Chateau 1771 restaurant.

As one of the winners, I was invited to Sentro 1771 yesterday to "claim" my prize and have a "photo op" with Chateau's Chief Operating Officer. On top of that, I (and my date) get to enjoy a complimentary winner's dinner. So yeah, I effectively won not one, but two sumptuous dinners! :D

Actually, I didn't want to go anymore. Not for anything else, but because I imagined receiving an oversized cheque with the words "Dinner Date Bonanza" ala Eat Bulaga plus confetti and stuff, and then me doing an awkward pose with the presentor/s of the award. Hahaha. (My imagination can run pretty wild, huh?)

Thank God my husband insisted we should go. And thank God even more because none of those cheesy stuff happened! Hehehe! I should have known the Chateau 1771 group is way classier than that! Silly me.

When we got to Sentro, I just whispered to the waiter that I was there for the raffle dinner. He quickly got what I meant and introduced me to their marketing officer who in turn introduced me to Vicky, the group's Executive Chef and COO. In a second, I was handed my gift certificate. Then I was politely asked if they can take my photo with Vicky. I obliged. All this happened quite discreetly, not even attracting the slightest attention from passers-by or those inside the restaurant. So of course, I was glad and relieved!!! (Shy type talaga?! Haha) After barely three minutes of those, we were ushered to our own table to have our complimentary dinner date! Yaaay!

Because Sentro is truly a family favorite (walang halong biro yan), we already had our "usual orders" and that's what we requested. Julz and I feasted on Fried Kesong Puti, Squash Soup, Garlic Steak, and of course, the star of the meal, Sentro's outstanding Sinigang na Corned Beef (the BEST sinigang in the world). Then I had Sago't Gulaman while Julz tried their Honey Ginger Lemonade (both drinks get a two thumbs up each!!!).

Gosh. I just got hungry naming our dinner last night!

Anyway, Julz and i were so full! The waiters offered us dessert, but though we wanted so bad to try their suman and mango, hindi na talaga kaya ng tummies namin! Hehehe! I could really feel my skin stretching--buti nalamg buntis ako kundi nakakahiya..laki ng tyan! :))

It was an extra-happy date for us. Julz and i always loved Sentro (in fact, this is where we celebrated after we tool our oath as lawyers), so being treated to a compli dinner made our date a lot more fun!:)

Preggy Luck?

Last week, I got a text saying that I won a raffle. I didn't get to end of the message on purpose because my Globe number always gets hoax messages like that... and I had no time to get annoyed.

A few minutes later, my phone beeps again. Same number. Same message. I decided to read it.

Hmmm... this text had my FULL NAME on it. Mejo scary! BUT at least it didn't ask me to send a message to XXXXX (na pasa-load number pala) to claim my prize! Hehehe. Instead, it told me to expect an email from The Chateau Group of Companies because I won in the Sentro 1771 Anniversary Raffle.

Now, that got me excited! I distinctly remember "joining" this raffle after dining at Sentro twice over the past month. Remember this date with my toddler? This is the meal that won us the prize! :)

But what's funny is that I recall (even more clearly) keeping the raffle stubs--something I NEVER do because I NEVER really win raffles of this sort!

Anyway, so I waited for the email. When I finally got it--BAM! Yun na, naniwala na ako! Hahaha!


I didn't win the grand prize (trip for 4 to Discovery Shores Boracay!)... le sigh! But but but... I got something that's just perfect for me and Julz: A 6-course sit down dinner for two at Chateau 1771! Weee!!! :)

This is just so... swak for us! You see, I have been thinking of where to spend our 3rd wedding anniversary next week. Just before we won the prize, Julz and I have settled that we just wanted a special dinner, just for us 2. (No more staycations or getaways for now--magastos magpagawa ng bahay! :P) And that was exactly what we got!!! Hurraayy!!!

Besides that, winning the raffle just made me so darn happy! Like I said, I don't win in raffles like this! Hindi na mga ako naniniwala sa mga ganyan eh! Hehe! But as they say, there's a first for everything... and this is my first (hopefully) of a string of lucky wins!

Now I'm beginning to believe what so many people say about being lucky when you're pregnant! ;)

Then again, hindi naman buntis yung nanalo ng grand prize! ;)

Oh well, basta nanalo ako! Thank you, God! And thank you, Chateau Group! Weee!!! :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

This Week's Gonna Be BIG!

I miss blogging!!! I haven't written a post in probably 2 weeks? The past week has been scheduled photo-posts, so I truly terribly miss writing!

Pero tomorrow na ako babawi!

Haha! Anti-climactic ba?! It's just that it's past midnight already and, well, I still have to sort out my emotions about this coming week!

There are at least two big events happening... and I'm caught in a web of inexplicable & overwhelming happiness that I'm not too sure how to put it in words!

First, there's a very special wedding coming up. Not mine (obviously), though it feels almost as close to my heart as my own big day. I told my hubby the other day that I feel like I'm "giving away" my sister--there's that mix of great excitement and joy, and also a teeny weeny bit of being sentimental about the good ol' days when we were young(er). Haay! Baka di ako makatulog the night before!

Second, it's ultrasound day on Wednesday!!! Finally, this day has come! More than anything, Julz and I are praying for a healthy, normal, and whole baby. Discovering the gender would be a bonus. Pero shempre, sana magpakita talaga siya ng gender nya! (So that I'll know what to paint the 2nd room in our house :P)

I can't imagine how much more excited Julz and I will be when it's delivery day! Kung itong ultrasound palang, di na kami magkanda-ugaga, what more kung makikita at mahahawakan na talaga namin yung baby?! That feeling of anticipation, I know now, doesn't get old :) I LOVE YOU, SMARTIE!

You'll get a full account of these events within the week. In the meantime, please allow me to dwell in this indescribable state of joy!

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Girliest Bohol Trip Ever

Airport palang, chismisan na.
Peacock Garden plays host to 3 giggly girls
Mission: To be pampered with Pevonia Botanica products! *kilig*
More chismisan
Our super photographer, Sheila!
Me, the hopeless photographer haha

Photos by Sheila Juan Catilo

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bohol Bee Farm

Pretty salad

Chocolate + malunggay ice cream. Surprisingly, they tasted good together!
May height requirement kami sa barkada :P
With a pre-schooler and a 6-month old, she definitely deserves this me-time! :)

Photos by Sheila Juan Catilo.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Peacock Garden's Best-Kept Secret

Happy Monday everybody! Today, I am treating you to a gastronomical feast! ;)

Remember our Bohol girls' getaway last month? You've read snippets of it here and here. Patty has written about it twice, too! (Read the Resort experience here and the amazing Pevonia spa treatments here!)

Now, what's missing? The FOOD!!!

Omigosh! I couldn't be more grateful that my first trimester wooziness and qeasiness have left me in complete peace! Otherwise, I might have cried the entire flight home because the food we had were wonderfully delectable!

You will have to forgive me, though, because I'm the opposite of a food blogger. The moment food is served, I (usually aided by my hubby) dig in, totally forgetting to take photos! Then, there's the problem of my memory--I don't remember the name of the dishes!!! Yikes. So sorry to the chefs and cooks who make my food! Finally, I suck in describing food! As in puro "sarap" and "yummy" and "delicious" lang ang alam ko. Hahaha.

I really can't give justice to the food we had in Bohol, especially in Peacock Garden! Their in-house fine dining restaurant, Old Heidelberg, is simply fantastic. It has an elegant old-world feel--but none of the haughtiness of those times! In fact, it has its own distinct classy charm that blended beautifully with the rest of the resort ambiance. Best of all, their food is delightful! My mouth waters just remembering every dish we had.

Thank heavens, we have photos--professionally done no less! (Thanks, Sherie!) And photos don't lie, right? Check out what made us LOVE the resort even more... and the reason for the extra pounds we took on the way home ;)
Peacock Garden's signature drink, the PiƱakwan, a superb combo of pineapple and watermelon. I must have had about 4 glasses of this!
I will fly back to Peacock Garden just for this. Peacock Garden's Fried Camembert with berry sauce.
Ooohlala! Sumptuous steak with baked potato and bacon-wrapped asparagus. This came with an excellent mushroom-truffle sauce! Haay kakagutom!
Grilled prawns covered in parmesan cheese sauce. I could eat this everyday. Ang sarap!!!
Sherie's salmon dish with lemon butter sauce. I barely had time to try this because I was too busy gobbling up my prawns. Hahaha.
This plate was wiped out in seconds! Heavenly home-made ice cream! After a serving, we all understood why owners Chris & Amanda kept telling us to save room for dessert! 

All photos by Sheila Juan-Catilo.

For inquiries & reservations, visit

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ten Things

1. I want the 2013 Starbucks planner. I am 12 stickers away from one.

2. I also want the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf planner. I need 11 stamps for that one, but I'm thinking it'll be harder for me to get my hands on it. CBTL is not as accessible to me as Starbucks is, and I have GCs for the latter too! Oh well. I'd be happy with either planner! :)

3. I'm relieved I was not one of those affected by the horrendous C-5 traffic yesterday! Whew!

4. Jaden and I resumed Mommy Preschool! Yay! We had to take a break for the past 3 months because of my first trimester woes. But now that I'm a-ok, I'm tremendously excited! For the occasion, we bought fresh supplies of art materials. Then we drew big buses, bikes, and balls on cement with colored chalk! In between, we reviewed colors and shapes (which he still knows, thank God!). After our session, Jaden squealed, "Jaden fun!" That certainly brought a huge smile on my face!

5. Househelp issues. Sigh!

6. Eleven days to go and we'll know baby's gender!

7. Eighteen days to go and it's our 3rd wedding anniversary!

8. I wonder if I can breastfeed our second baby all the way til 2 years... I was happy and proud of my 1 year with Jaden, but something tells me I want to breastfeed longer this time. Sana kaya ko.

9. It's easier (or...less difficult) to submit to a husband who honors you. (Thanks, Aims!)

10. Just finished Perks of Being A Wallflower. Nice read! In the hunt for my next book :)

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

My Cup Overflows

As thanksgiving nears, I find myself face-to-face with the wonderful, undeserved blessings that came my way this year. I have a lot, but four things stand out: new baby, new house, new adventures, and good-as-new health :)

You already know the story of our new baby. Perhaps, for some, there's nothing special in it--there's absolutely zero drama involved. But ask any mom and you'd learn that every pregnancy (and birth) story is the most beautiful. I am thankful for this chance to carry life inside my womb again. It's a wondrous experience and undoubtedly the best thing about being a woman :)

Then there's that new house on the block... proudly ours! Honestly, I don't know where to start the story on this house. It was a long and trying journey to get here. And the truth is that many of our marriage core values were put to the test! (And we're not even talking about room colors yet! Hehe!) In the end, the decision to build a house is a milestone for me and Julz because we discovered how much we both loved one another that we would do everything to make each other's dreams come true.  (I love you talaga, Aims!)
Almost there... :)
My 3rd big blessing this year is our many opportunities to travel! We have reached Palawan, Cebu, Singapore, Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Vatican City, Greece, Hong Kong, and Macau this year alone! Isn't that incredible?!?

Last but not least is my family's good health. In 2011, I learned (quite the hard way) how important indeed our health is. Since then, I have prayed most fervently for good health for my dear gwapong husband and son, and myself. And I thank God that He has been so faithful in taking care of our bodies. We get the occasional illnesses, yes, but God's healing power always delivers us and makes us whole (even better!) again.

I share this with all of you because it's a huge deal for me to receive blessings as big and beautiful as these. I never thought, even in my wildest imagination, that I'd be living this kind of life at 29 years old! I am happy and fulfilled, and the most exciting thing is... I know the best is yet to come! :)

Thank You, Lord, for blessing my life with such wonderful abundance.

Thank you, Julz, for sharing with me this life that is beyond my dreams.

And thank you, Jaden, for making Mommy the happiest mom in the whole world!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Our itsy bitsy secret

I have been getting "fearless forecasts" from family and friends lately about the gender of the baby I'm carrying. So far, all of them have predicted a baby girl.

Truth be told, I'd love to have girl in the family. As stereotypes go, she'll be my default partner while Jaden goes with Daddy. (Can someone confirm to me if this is indeed true?) If that fails, then at least I have someone to dress up and prettify with those fancy li'l girl outifts! Hehe!

But really, I don't think I'll be disappointed with another boy. Jaden brings us so much joy every single day and I couldn't fathom how much happiness (and chaos) a boys' tag-team can bring!

Anyway, all this gender talk has gotten me wondering to the nth level if our baby is a he or a she. I have a feeling what he/she is, but I'm not telling now (mwahaha). Although it must be said--I correctly guessed Jaden's gender the very moment I found out I was preggy with him! I hope I can get it right again!! :)

Last Friday, I just couldn't contain it anymore. I've been reading a lot about gender determination, and that it can be detected as early as the 16th week--I was on my 18th! And with the long weekend ahead, there was really nothing much i can do except obssess about it!

That afternoon, we found ourselves in an ultrasound facility. Hahaha! Agad-agad! We took a peek at our little baby!! I heaved a sigh of relief upon learning he/she is doing well and growing okay. (In my defense, I also really wanted to know if the baby is ok after our HK/Macau trip)

Of course, we tried to check the gender... but the baby didn't want us to know just yet!!! Smartypants, this little one--he/she had her back against us, so it was the butt that we clearly saw on the screen! Hehehe! The doctor nonetheless did her best to give us a guess.

Three days after our "secret" checkup, I am now more eager than ever to do another ultrasound!! Argh! It's such a challenge to wait! ;)

We are scheduled to have it on the 21st. I think I will have to force-learn patience til then Hehehe.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Territory #20: Macau

Macau happens to be the 20th new place in our 12 in 2012 Faith Goal! Yep, we exceeded! I can't believe we made it! Thank you, God, for the many opportunities to see the world! He definitely gave us more than what we imagined! Will surely blog about this soon! :)


Our little bakasyonista group traveled to Macau by ferry after a couple of days marathon-walking in Heng Keng!

The ferry ride took about 1.5 hours, a good part of which Jaden and I spent sleeping! When we got to Macau, we boarded a big bus that took us to our hotel.

Staying at The Venetian Macau is a highlight in itself for me for this Macau trip. One, I have a thing for superb accommodations (am a total believer of staycations). Two, Julz always raved about it with me--e.g. "Andon na lahat ng shops sa baba ng hotel rooms!"--so I was naturally curious what the fuss was all about! And three, I want to relaaaax! The idea of staying in the hotel for three days is music to my ears!

But who was I kidding? I had a whole new territory to explore and my feet just took me everywhere! And I had Jaden to babysit, too! Having him stay put in a hotel room longer than an hour is next to impossible! Why, he wanted some adventure as well!

Home suite home in Macau
It's actually a prettier, swankier version of the real Venice!
Jaden with his Lola Cowa
Day 2 of Macau was spent in the historic Senado Square, seat of the former Portuguese colony
St Dominic's Church. That's my sister-in-law lighting a candle for the family :)
Behind this cutie patootie is the Ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral. The complex also includes the former St. Paul's College. St Paul's used to be one of the most important churches in Asia. Kings and queens used to vie to give the Cathedral the best gifts.
Back at The Venetian with my Papa- and Mama-in-law! Do you see my baby bump? :)
Ready for take-off

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Finding Out

[Read the prequel here]

On August 1, 2012, Julz and I saw two lines on my home pregnancy test :)

It was a moment that is way up there with our engagement, wedding, discovering I was pregnant for the first time, and Jaden's birth. Hence, every detail of it is ingrained in my memory as if it happened in ultra slow motion!

To be perfectly candid, I had been testing way before I was supposed to. Blame it on my complete lack of EQ... but because this is me (biased and self-preserving hehe), I'd rather think that it was because I already knew I'm pregnant and I just needed an external confirmation of it ;)

Naturally, the very early pregnancy tests turned out negative. Each time, I'd feel so deflated. But I tested and tested again. I think I took 4!

Half a day before my period was due, I took another pregnancy test. Lo and behold, fate seemed to play with my excitement... the little white plastic showed 1 distinct line and another hazy one. I was like, "Considered 2 lines na ba ito?!?" I am OC that way.

That night, I slept with eager anticipation for the day about to come. The last test, though weird, gave me a lot of hope. I figured, I just have to wait for the right time before those two SOLID lines appear!

And so the next day, I woke up early and discovered.... naubusan na ako ng pregnancy tests sa bahay!!! Hahaha. Bitin!

But sige, ok lang. We went to the office. I asked Julz if we could have lunch in SM Hypermart (kasi may Watson's dun! haha). Before we could even pick a table in the restaurant, I went straight to Watsons and bought two preg tests. After ringing them up, I hurried to the ladies' room.

Yes, I found out I am pregnant in one of the restroom cubicles in SM Hypermart Pasig. :))
The two on the top were the ones from Watson's. The two below were the ones that drove me crazy with 1 distinct line and another not-so-distinct line! Diba, hindi ganon ka-clear?! :P
Julz knew it was positive the moment I went out (he was waiting for me like a doting hubby!). I was grinning from ear to ear and obviously, that's just a giveaway when you've been praying for news like this!

I'm 18 weeks today... One more week and technically, i reach the halfway mark of my pregnancy! Weee! I'm over the top EXCITED!!!
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