Counting Candles, Counting Memories

I’ve been busy prepping for Baby Bears’ 1st birthday party. As I’ve mentioned on my previous blog post here, 1st birthday parties in Manila have become so lavish and festive. I don’t know when it started to become like this but I think it’s born from a new breed of parenting. The new generation parents are now more hands-on with regards to their kids and turning 1 for them has become a very much celebrated milestone. Also, I think for our generation, we tend to be more OC about things. Guilty, guilty, guilty! 🙂 I want to share some details about prepping for the party but in a separate blog post maybe. For now, I really AM busy with the party stuff but I just wanted to quickly drop by my blog and share with you the newest toy I got for Baby Bear.

Leap Frog Counting Candles

I bought the Leap Frog Counting Candles upon the recommendation of my mommy friends. They swear that their kids were able to blow out the candle on their 1st birthday party because of this toy. Yeah, I know, I am so OC that I even thought about wanting Baby Bear to blow out the candle on her cake — hey, makes for a good picture y’know! 🙂

Admittedly, I was at first hesitant to buy it but as with all my purchases, I did a lot of research first and was encouraged to find out that the toy had a lot of features that could teach kids a lot of things. Living in a condo with little storage space ensures that all things bought has to have educational value or lots of use! 😉 This toy introduces counting and there are songs to make numbers fun. It also encourages pretend play, teaches the birthday song, and pressing the buttons encourages development of motor skills and other what nots. Teaching them to blow out the candles was just the icing on top of the cake! Pun intended! 🙂

The true test of the value of the toy is always the actual usage. I am happy to report that Baby Bear was happily pressing away at the cake. She kept holding the lights, amazed at the “glow” caused by the flickering movements. It was also funny the way she was imitating our blowing until she finally got the concept. After 30 minutes of blowing, she was finally able to blow one out! Good job baby girl! 🙂 The toy looks durable – let’s hope so!  As a plus, it comes with volume adjustment — another OC habit of mine — my need to be able to control the volume of the toys!  😛

We have but 3 weeks left to practice on the toy… 3 weeks left until the main event… 3 weeks to making sure our party is picture-perfect!

But more importantly, we have 3 weeks left before my baby turns 1… 3 weeks to yet another milestone… yet another celebration… and yet another happy memory among all happy memories! 🙂

A Smart C+ A Day…

Last week, I blogged about my Baby Bear being down with colds and coughs here. For people who know me, I am super paranoid with sickness and I am addicted to drugs (OTC drugs that help with sickness… and not the kind that you might think) ;)! At the slightest sign of any sickness, even minor aches or pains, I am already popping a pill for instant relief… emphasis on the INSTANT! 🙂 Also, I developed allergic rhinitis after graduating from college and it was so bad that there was even an instance wherein my voice box shut down for a week. Horrors I do not wish to relive… the attack of the allergies was that bad! 😦

Lately, I have found a cure to my pill-popping addiction. Whenever someone in the family is sick or when I feel like I am about to get sick, I quickly load up on this drink. Btw, this is not a paid post or a product placement… I even doubt that the company even knows that I exist! LOL! 😀 I just wanted to share this with you because it has done a lot for me. I don’t know if it’s just plain coincidence or maybe even psychological, but whenever I drink this, it thwarts off any sickness and my allergies really do go away! 🙂 Without further ado, here is my magic potion and how it helps me…

vitamin C overload! (pic stolen from smart C+ site)

It comes in three delightful flavors – Pomelo, Lemon and Orange. My personal favorite is the Pomelo variant. This is a part of my grocery list already. Keeps my allergies at bay and as an added bonus — Baby Bear loves to play with the pink bottle — me thinks that might be her favorite color 😉

As parents, we do what we can to be healthy… if not for us, but for our kids! Hard enough to keep our kids from getting sick… even harder to be sick while they are too… or worse, being the source of why they are not feeling well! (Shudder!)

A Smart C+ a day… this is my ounce of prevention… what is yours? 🙂

*For more info about Smart C+ visit their page at http://www.keepupwithsmartc.com/ or their facebook profile at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Smart-C/168470286504349

We’re On A Schedule!

As I mentioned in my previous post, the nanny will be taking a 4 day leave starting this Monday. Staying true to what I mentioned before that I am a list nazi, here is my sample schedule for my 11 month old Baby Bear. I wanted to try out a schedule with her as I am having problems with getting her to sleep early. I won’t be strict about following this down to the last-minute but at least this will help me to stay on track, not be rattled, focused and I am assured that I won’t run out of activities to do with her. My mom would probably be raising an eyebrow at having a schedule… for a baby!!! Whatever works or whatever way helps us be better moms, right? 😉

Here’s how our day looks like:

8:00 to 8:30 am – Baby Bear lounges around in bed, wakes up Papa Bear and Mama Bear; change diaper

8:30 to 9:00 am – Breakfast – Oatmeal or Rice Cereal mixed with pureed fruit

9:00 to 9:30 am – Fun in the Park!

9:30 to 10:00 am – Free play; Baby Bear plays on the floor or inside the crib while the bath is being prepared

10:00 to 10:30 am – Bath time! 🙂

11:00 to 11:30 am – 7 oz. milk

11:30 to 12:00 pm – Short morning nap… or long depends on how tired she was playing in the park 🙂

12:00 to 12:30 pm – Lunch – congee or rice with small chunks of whatever viands we are having and a piece of fruit

12:30 to 1:00 pm Baby Bear plays on the bouncer while watching Barney in the living room

1:00 to 2:00 pm – Play time! (Gymboree Music Class every Thursday)

2:00 to 2:30 pm – 7 oz. milk

2:30 to 4:00 pm – Afternoon nap!

4:00 to 4:30 pm – Afternoon snack – soft bread or cookies with yogurt or Dutch Mill yogurt drink

4:30 to 5:00 pm – Fun in the Park!

5:00 to 5:30 pm – 7 oz. milk

5:30 to 7:00 pm – Floor play in her room – we bring out the age-appropriate educational toys that are supposed to aid her in whatever milestone she is gearing for that week. Tiger Mom Alert! 🙂

7:00 to 7:30 pm – Dinner

7:30 to 8:00 pm – TV in Papa Bear and Mama Bears’ room. Watch her favorite Kai Lan show and her ABC videos.

8:00 to 8:30 pm – Bedtime routine starts with a warm bath and brushing of tooth/s 🙂

8:30 to 9:30 pm – Change diaper, put on jammies, read Goodnight Moonand flip through her 2 favorite Touch books. Go around the condo saying goodnight to all her toys and other family members.

9:30 to 10:00 pm – 7 oz. Milk if she is still asking for it or put Baby Bear on the mattress beside her crib and massage her while she tries to fall asleep on her own.

She will sleep through the morning but we usually give her another bottle (5 oz. milk) at 5am after changing her diaper. She sleeps while she’s eating… ahh… the life! 🙂

This is her schedule thereabouts. Obviously, this doesn’t go down to a T as we believe in operating on a flexi schedule. The sample schedule here just serves as friendly reminder to us and to the nanny. It also limits the baby’s’ TV time for instance to just 1 hour a day. I am already being a bad momma as it is letting her watch TV so I try to limit it and encourage more play and book reading. 🙂 Unlike the French parents, we try to adapt to our baby’s’ needs not because we spoil them but it is because she is not yet a year old and we like a little room for surprise activities. There are also some activities that we really urge her to do more of, like for instance, taking long naps in the afternoon, or we will not stop play time if she is learning something or on the verge of discovering something new. We also tend to prolong the time she spends on her reading nook to read even if it’s just mindless flipping of pages. Yes, we want to raise a bookworm! 🙂

Wish us luck next week! 🙂 Can’t wait to spend all this time with Baby Bear having fun and learning. How about you, how does your day with your baby look like? 🙂

MIA StartUp Babies

So, I’ve been MIA from blogging this week because of a couple of problems:

1.) Baby Bear got colds and a mild cough — probably from teething? or from a potential dust allergy because we just got a brand new car seat that probably wasn’t cleaned well 😦 This was a bit of a stressful incident for me because it was the first time she was sick so I didn’t now how to handle things. I had to call and ask my mommy friends for advice. A special shout out to My Yummy Mummy for being my lifeline.

2.) I didn’t have a helper around the house so it was just me and the nanny.

3.) I had so many pending stuff from my business/es. I was drowning with paper work backlog.

4.) The so-few free time that I had, I spent reading stuff online about car seats and how to get the baby from liking the car seat. It is simply so hard to just let the baby cry-it-out. My ancestors would be so disappointed in me… I need to channel my inner Tiger Mom 🙂

5.) I was also busy planning Baby Bears’ 1st birthday party. In Manila, a birthday party here is like… planning a wedding? an engagement? It’s like a product launch! When did kiddie parties stopped being so simple, anyway? 🙂 This totally deserves another blog post.

6.) Lastly, we are going on a trip after Baby Bears’ 1st birthday. A plane trip, mind you! So, I am being a panicky and OC mom and coming up with lists of what to bring, what to do, and busy reading up on how to keep the baby QUIET in the plane!!!

I want to apologize in advance though as I will probably not blog much again this week because my nanny will be taking a 4 day vacation leave to attend the graduations of her two daughters. (Hooray and congrats to them!) 🙂 4 days may not seem like a lot… but to me, it is… only because I have a lot of things on my plate… the nanny VL timing just wasn’t right.

On a brighter note, who am I to complain about getting to spend all this time with my baby girl. 🙂 My Baby Bear is almost a year old… at least I get the chance to make a few more “before 1” memories with her. Time flies… Must.Not.Blink!!! 🙂

Sneak Peek!

One of my baby businesses is about to launch and I would like share with you some of the excitement I am feeling. Here are some teaser pictures. I hope they tickle your fancy!

Cabinet Dresser PENELOPE Collection - customized to meet the exacting needs of an OC momma 🙂

Bedside Shelf KAYLA Collection - for those important items you need easy access to... but don't know where to place 🙂

Safety Gate MATTEO Collection - customized design for another OC client 🙂

Let me know what you guys think. Your honest feedback is most welcome!

Do let me know what other furnitures you’d also love to have in your own nursery. 🙂

Baby Bears’ Reading List

Even before our Baby Bear was born, I already started buying her books. I wanted to foster in her the love of reading. I left the shopping of clothes and cutesie stuff to her maternal grandma (gua-ma), while I took care of her books and educational toys. I bought different types of books… as in, a lot! That’s why I was super worried when we started reading to her at 3 months and she showed no interest whatsoever in any type of book! She would just rapidly close or throw the books to the floor. We tried every type of book — cloth book, Lamaze books, board books, books with sounds, with puppets, every type of baby book that I could conceivably get my hands on! Fast forward to now at 10 months, I am happy that my Baby Bear loves reading books. We now read to her the classics like The Runaway Bunny, On the Day You Were Born, and Goodnight Moon, among others.

Like I said, it didn’t start out this way. Here are some things I learned along the way that helped me:

  1. Try to discover what type of book interests her. For babies below 4 months, the most practical book to start with is a cloth book since it is light and soft for baby to touch and feel.
  2. Go for picture books that have the simplest execution. The best books are the ones with just the picture and the word. Flash cards are a good example of this type of reading tool.
  3. Invest in board books as your baby will just crumple and tear the paper pages. Believe it or not, my baby even uses the board books as a spring board to getting to another place and even tries to stand on it! Yikes!
  4. Point to the words when you read to your baby to help him associate that there is a word for everything. Take it a step further by pointing out objects as you go about your day to further associate that there is a name for everything.
  5. Size of the print is important – the larger the print, the better. Don’t make reading too hard for them.
  6. Pick a good time to read. Make sure baby isn’t sleepy or hungry.
  7. Have a special reading nook.  Read where there is no distraction. Separate the toys from the books.
  8. Read with passion – as enthusiastically as possible… with feelings! 🙂
  9. Consistency is key! If your baby is like mine and she doesn’t show interest at once, do as my husband did. Plop her down every night on your lap with a bedtime story until it becomes a ritual to her and she begins to like it. Warning: expect a lot of squirming!
  10. Last but not the least, kids love to imitate so show them also that you love and ENJOY books. Give her a book to read while you are reading your own book. Kids learn best if we model the behavior.

Make it a part of the daily ritual to read books. I am thankful to Papa Bear who persevered in this endeavor. He lovingly picks up the books that Baby Bear throws to the floor and goes back to reading from whence he left off. Her favorites are the Baby Touch book series that I got her from The Book Depository. She can already point out to where some of the objects in the book are like star, owl, pink bird, and can even pinpoint details such as the tiger’s tummy, wheels of the car, and others. I am one proud momma!

Here is the list of books that we read to her in rotation. Hope you can also share with me how you read at home and what your favorites are too! 🙂

flash cards - we started out with the black and white version for infants then moved on to coloured 🙂

she relates to the simple action and object books as those shown are so much a part of her own daily life

puppet books for interaction

books that "sing" and "talk"; the ni hao kai lan series' also teaches mandarin - talk about 2-in-1!!! 🙂

Baby Touch Books - 'nuf said! 😀

other books in her book shelf and more!!! 😀

Kreativ Blogger Award

Thank you NIA, for nominating me for the Kreativ Blogger award! I am deeply humbled to receive this blessing since I just recently started this blog — last month, to be precise. 🙂 It is truly an honor for me and it makes me feel inspired… what a warm welcome into the blogging world! 🙂

I was nominated by dear, sweet Nia of www.photographyofnia.com.  Nia is a very talented photographer who sees the world with her lens. Her ability to capture the beauty of the subject of her camera is truly amazing! Makes you see the world from a different perspective. 🙂

These are the rules:

  1. You must thank the person who has given you the award.
  2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
  3. Link the person who has nominated you for the award.
  4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
  5. Nominate 7 other Kreativ Bloggers.
  6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
  7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs to let them know they have been nominated.

7 Things about me:

  1. I get good ideas while I’m taking a shower or while I’m swimming in a pool or beach… must be something about water that calms and inspires me! 😉
  2. When I was young, my mom thought I would become an artist… turns out I didn’t have the gift! 😉
  3. I am directionally-challenged.  Lost cause a long, long time ago.
  4. If I were to be stuck on an elevator with someone, it would have to be with some star.  Not because I’m star-struck but it would be nice to know how human their life really is.
  5. I can do productive work while listening to my sounds, but for some reason I can’t digest the book I’m reading if I have my tunes in the background… go figure!
  6. I feel that one of life’s greatest achievement would be to “be someone’s mentor”.
  7. I hope that when I die, I leave a legacy behind.

I would like to nominate these other note-worthy blogs for this Kreativ Blogger Award:

  1. http://anyluckypeny.wordpress.com/
  2. http://bamskitchen.com/
  3. http://www.tartineandapronstrings.com/
  4. http://101gramsofeyecandy.blogspot.com/
  5. http://lezoemusings.wordpress.com/
  6. www.ocmominmanila.com
  7. http://www.mymomfriday.com/

My “To-Read” List

We all have that stash of books by our bedside that we read, attempt to read, or just put on display.

I used to read a lot of chick-lit, fiction and John Grisham books. When the baby came, they were replaced with parenting how-to-books. I also read a lot of business books before, but now they’ve dwindled to a meager two… sometimes even none, when I am catching up on the monthly baby book schedule.

Here’s my pile of books that have been gathering up dust on our bedroom couch…

Bozo the Bookworm

Notice the tattered stuff toy by the book… that’s BOZO the Bulldog.  My husband gave it to me many, many valentines’ ago. I brought Bozo along with me to our new home and now, it is my Baby Bears’ favorite toy. She will not kiss me and my husband, but she will kiss Bozo… endlessly! 😛 Now, if only there’s a book that would teach me how to teach the baby to kiss us instead? 😉 LOL

How about you? What books do you have lying around the house? 🙂