Thursday, July 10, 2014

Our DIY Rainbow Party

My sister, Kai, is set to get married sometime this month. Before this, of course, her dutiful maids (i.e., my and my 2 other sisters) threw her a most unconventional bridal shower. Unconventional, mainly because it included our dad, uncle, and Mister Teapot! Hehehe. (So maybe it should've been a despedida de soltera from the family?)

Anyway, regardless of the designation, we really just wanted to have an intimate gathering especially for our dear bride-to-be.

We had only a couple of days to prepare, but I think we managed to pull off a very pretty DIY rainbow party! #buhatbangko haha

Casa Esquivias has never been this colorful before!
We chose Rainbow as our theme because we thought it'll go well with the July rainy weather... and also because it was easy to execute. Hehe!
For the details, I picked up colored plates and red utensils from the grocery. Then I got colored paper from Jaden's activity box and used them as placemats! This did the trick as the table (covered in white tablecloth) instantly became more festive! For the glasses, I used mason jars with colored daisy lids and paper straws. As a last minute idea, I wrapped strips of colored paper around the utensils and stamped a "K" on each.

At the center of the table, we spread a purple crepe paper (para-paraan haha). On top of that, I put a couple of blue mason jars filled with the red plastic spoons and forks. Ganda ng effect, if I may say so myself. Haha. There was also colored tissue paper and extra plates. Then we scattered the bright paper pinwheels my sisters made.

The dessert table with a K! (K standee handmade from scratch my my sister-in-law!)
We had a mini dessert table featuring kiddie ice pops and Swell Sweets cupcakes and cookies :)

We served carbonara, chicken lollipops, DIY burgers, and mini-cheese sandwiches with creamy tomato dip. Very children's party lang. Hehehe. For drinks, we had different fruit juices selected by color. Lol.

May you have a grace-filled, blissful, and colorful marriage, Kai!
That's it! My very first honest-to-goodness DIY party at Casa Esquivias!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

The Teapots in Chicago

Cloud Gate aka The Bean 
at Millennium Park

Hands-down, the one landmark that everyone said we should see when we visit Chicago. The Bean, up close, was simple but ingenius! If art is a reflection of life, then this is first-class art! Hehe! I marvelled at how beautiful Chicago skies and skyline were as reflected on The Bean.   

Chicago Architectural River Cruise,
Chicago River

Chicago takes pride in the splendid architectural styles of their buildings. The river cruise was the perfect way to get to know them.

The Sears Tower (black tower in right part of photo), once the tallest building in the whole world.

Children's Museum,
Navy Pier

Jaden went on this Human Wrecking Maching twice!

The dinosaur aficionado teaching his boy how to dig up fossils

Jaden climbed up this vertical tunnel that reaches from the 1st floor to the 3rd floor of the museum! Midway through it, he said, "Mom, I don't think I can do it." With encouragement and coaching from the resident guide, Jaden made his way up and beamed at me with so much pride and self-confidence! "I did it!!! Did you see me??" he exclaimed :) Meanwhile, stage mommy me was so proud that (a) he conquered it kasi ang taas nya talaga; and (b) naintindihan niya yung instructions ng American guide nya.  Hahaha.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

A Wonder Called Relactation

After a challenging year of breastfeeding & expressing milk for my darling daughter Sophia, I decided to gradually wean her from the breast and introduce cow's milk at 1 year and 1 month. Although more headstrong than her brother, Sophia didn't make the weaning too difficult. A good three weeks before we left for the US, she successfully transitioned to formula and fresh milk during the day. I continued breastfeeding her at night. Naturally, my milk supply significantly dropped.

When we arrived in the US, however, Sophia seemed to forget that we have been through weaning. Perhaps because of the rather overwhelming changes that were happening on our trip (ie, time zone difference, weather, lifestyle... basically her complete environment), Sophia sought comfort from being close to me and from nursing.

Sophia & Mommy: We were hardly ever apart during our US trip!
I allowed her to comfort-feed with no second thoughts whatsoever. But I still tried to give her fresh milk during the day, believing that my milk wasn't enough anymore.

To my surprise, Sophia consistently refused her bottled milk all throughout our vacation. This caused me anxiety because I presumed she must not be getting enough nutrition. I mean, she ate well, yes, but I've always believed taking milk is very, very important especially at their age. So, whenever she refused her fresh milk, I got so frustrated and worried!

For the entire duration of the trip, Sophia would cuddle up to me and position herself for breastfeeding. Naturally, I nursed her on demand. I nursed in cars, hotels, airports, airplanes, friends' houses, theme parks, restaurants, malls, Targets, etc! In short, we breastfed everywhere!
Sophia nursed every chance she got: while traveling in the car or plane, while taking a break from shopping (as seen in photo), while on It's A Small World... I kinda felt like I had a newborn with me! (Please excuse my super sleepy look! Haha)
All along, I believed that she was feeding for comfort alone and satisfied herself with the little milk she got.

When we came home to Manila, I took a few hours of rest for myself. I then noticed that I was lactating like a full-time breastfeeding mom again! I was so amazed! It was like my body was waiting for Sophia to nurse again--hindi na sanay na mawalay sa anak for more than thirty minutes!

It was then that I realized that all those stuff I've read about relactation and increasing milk supply--they're all true pala. We can relacate and we can increase our milk supply---even after weaning!

It now makes sense why Sophia refused her bottled milk. All those times I tried giving it to her, she was already full from my milk. And all those times I thought she wasn't getting enough nutrition, she was in fact getting the best, most complete milk for her!

I said it above and I'll say it again--I am amazed. The Lord indeed has given me a body that is equipped to nurture the children He has blessed me with. Just that thought blows me away.

Thank You, God! :)

Tuesday, July 01, 2014


Alternate title: #paramdam ;)

Well, well, well! That was quite a long time to not be blogging! I can already feel my stress levels going up and in dire need of a therapeutic outlet!

As some of you may know, my family and I flew to the US last month, primarily for the graduation of my brother-in-law from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. It was a proud moment for the whole family especially since he was chosen as the Top Student Awardee (among over 900 Kellogg MBA students) by his professors!

While there, we also took the time to go around with the kids.

It was CRAZY!!! I was exhausted most of the time! Tipong hindi pa kami nakakalabas for the day, pagoda na ako. Hahaha!

American life with kids is super challenging! Miss na miss ko ang mga yaya ko. Hehe!

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love serving my family by taking care of my two small children. But in a foreign place, it was draining!

At first, I was frustrated at how we couldn't just go out and see new places (we were traveling after all!) because the kids were jet lagged or too tired. Later, however, I found joy in the time we all shared even when we opted to stay home. It was humbling to serve my children this way. And I found great happiness at how my eldest son, Jaden, seemed to blossom into a perfectly considerate, responsible, loving, obedient, and independent big brother!

Despite the exhaustion, I am grateful for our three weeks in the US. It taught every member of my family a lot of things about living independently. More importantly, as mommy, it was truly gratifying to see my children's faces light up at new and happy experiences we encountered. I can honestly say that the excitement they felt even just for one morning is worth the 20 seemingly long days we were away.

I am also super thankful that none of us got sick. I had packed a whole medicine kit for Julz, myself, and the kids, but I prayed hard that we'll never have to use any of the medicines inside. God is good, He spared us from acquiring any illness during our vacation :)

I'm currently loading the photos of our trip now, and I hope to post them soon!

I missed blogging!!! So excited to be back! :)

Friday, June 27, 2014

I Can't Wait To...

1. Get a 2-hour full body massage.
2. Sleep for at least 6 hours straight.
3. Have a hotel staycation sans the kids.
4. Get a foot spa with mani-pedi.
5. Do Pilates.
6. Run.
7. Get a body scrub.
8. Enjoy a loooooong hot shower.
9. Blog regularly.
10. Plan a REAL vacation.
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