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Tristan’s 100 days

Dear Tristan,

Happy 100 days to you! I didn’t really learn to celebrate 100 days until I had your brothers. I use to see it more as dad’s tradition but now I see it more as a celebration of you and your brothers. It is also a way of saying thank you to everyone who had prayed, helped and support our growing family. I hope you knew how many good hearts took mom’s hand when she felt like she can’t get up anymore or feeling anxious at work.

Though we can’t really have a big celebration like we use to because of COVID. I want to remind you that we are very grateful that you are part of our family. After a miscarriage before having you, I was reminded that life will not be perfect and there will be rough roads, but in the end the sacrifices and the patience that you give will teach you that things are worth it.

So, let me say thank you. Thank you for being strong and rocking the different changes that you have to face outside my womb. Thank you for making our sleepless nights exciting with giggles and cooing. Thank you for your patience when I have to take care of your brothers too, you have mastered sitting on the high chair and watching all of us run around getting ready for dinner and bed. Thank you for your morning smiles and cooing chats during breakfast, you seem to have a way of letting us know that everything will be okay. By the way, although I am your buddy most of the time, Dad is the best playmate, your brothers knows that and you will be joining the fun soon.

Always remember that we love you. We are here for you. Dad and I will not be here forever but we will make sure that you and your brothers will be capable. We promise you that you will always have arms to go home to, especially on days that you will fall. Life has challenges and sometimes it will be too much, but we will help you navigate with laughter and a strong faith. You will always have a family.

Dear 2020

Dear Year 2020,

You are one tough year. You had brought so many challenges to each one of us. You are the reason why I am 9 months pregnant and yet I have to go to my doctor’s appointment by myself. You are the one who taught us that a piece of cloth on our face makes a difference. You made my kids learn from a screen. You made eating out almost impossible. You just turned our world upside down with Covid-19. Probably the word tough is not enough to describe what you really are.

But I want you to know that despite what you have brought to our lives. I remain grateful. This is actually the year of the Rat from the Chinese calendar and that is my year. The year that symbolizes wealth and a new beginning according to Google. It sounds crazy but I felt blessed in so many ways this year.

Let me explain. First, we are blessed with good health. I don’t think I have to say much on that, except being healthy during a pandemic is one of the best gift you can have. Then, came our baby boy named Tristan. He laughs a lot. and I enjoyed the time being stuck at home with him and my other two boys. It is also the time for self discovery. I have been so busy running around since the kids came but now that we are at home, I had the time to sit more, do calligraphy and draw. Instead of being bored I enrolled myself on Skillshare and studied Surface design which totally gave a new spark inside of me.

We have a job. Probably being a nurse is not the greatest during Covid-19 times but it is the most needed. Totally reminded me why I worked in healthcare and put my heart on it. Lastly, the opportunity to have a new home for our growing family came. Though we had challenges in the process plus post baby blues in between, we made it. I have to say that my husband also faced everything with strength and perseverance, seeing me lose it while juggling work, kids and getting our home. I am grateful for him. A lot of times I really felt helpless, all I can do is pray and tell myself that I have to be strong and sure enough God answered my prayers, in His own perfect time.

There are so many things in the world that I want to complain about but I decided to stop overthinking. I still get lonely when I can’t see family and friends freely and without fear. But, thank you. You have taught us so many things. Like being home with the family all time is tiring but at the same time you get to sit together more, talk more and laugh more. Being home also means more time to learn and develop new skills. Or simply being home to sit back and rest your mind. This is the time that I realized that I had so many dreams not only for my family but also for myself. I felt like I stopped dreaming since mommy duties took over my life but here I am, looking back during a hard time.

You are a tough year but thank you for teaching me to see beautiful things that I often taken for granted. Things will never be the same again but I know that all of us will get out of these challenges strong. I know there is more to come and each one of us have our own battles that we have to face, still I am looking forward to a new year where we can finally breathe and feel free. I will never forget you, year 2020.

With Love, Vanessa

Favorite Christmas Moments

It’s been 4 days since Christmas day. It is also a day with Covid-19 still infecting many people, which lead us to following the restrictions and not have a big gathering. I honestly felt like it is another ordinary day. It is really depressing, if you dwell on it. Still, that is not how my kids saw it. They say we bring the magic to our kids but I think kids are the magic in our Christmas days. So, here are my favorite moments this Christmas.

Gift wrapping with the boys

Cute gift bags are a real life saver when you don’t have the time to use a wrapping paper on everything.

Easy chocolate chip cookies for Santa and love letters.

Ingredients: Ghirardelli triple chocolate cookie mix, 1 egg, 1 stick butter. No experience needed. Ha!

Gifts under the Christmas tree.

It was a real struggle to wait for Christmas morning when your kids asks to open the gifts every 5 minutes. But, we made it! Plus thought the kids the value of patience.

Setting up for Christmas eve dinner.

I know it’s just us but it does not mean we should not make dinner look pretty.

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I know wrapping gifts took longer than opening it, still it is worth it.

Hope you had a beautiful Christmas, no matter how you celebrate this special day.

Home update: Our Family Room

It’s been 2 months since we moved to our new home. I remember 9 months pregnant and doing house hunting. We even visited our current home at sunset and we fell in love with it right away. The night before my C-section we found out that someone else got the house. It was a day mixed with disappointment from losing the house and anticipation for our new baby.

But I always believed in the saying that what is meant for you will always be yours. 2 weeks after giving birth our wonderful realtor called us to let us know that the property is still available since the first buyers backed out. We were so excited but really buying a house is not all fun. Let’s just say that there were a lot of sleepless nights and prayers said.

When we did our first visit the family room land on my favorite part of the house list right away. My brain went to work, imagining where should I put things or how am I going to fit our furniture. But what truly got my heart are the built in shelves and cabinets. I told myself, I will totally make this into one of those Pinterest ideas shelves. Of course, it never happened. First of all, my boys needs the space. My husband is a collector of toys and it seems like he has the same thing in mind. To make the story short, we end up compromising, letting his collection shine on top and the rest goes to me and the kids. I love those cabinets, it just created space for all of our stuff. It gives a feeling that everything has it’s own space. Although, I wouldn’t say that everything is organized inside those cabinets. Ha!

The next question I had in my mind was how am I going to create a space that makes the fireplace and tv accessible. And as always, we all have different views. My husband definitely chose to face the sofa to the tv and ignore the fireplace. But it is such a beautiful focal point to be ignored. So, we end up putting our old sofa in the middle of the room. Even our old entry table made the empty space behind the sofa complete. I don’t think anyone really loved our green sofa, I chose that long time ago thinking a pop of color will make the room brighter. It was one of those furniture that is hard to pair with anything but in this house it just seems to fit in, since we are surrounded by nature.

Though we have cabinets I still made use of our shelves from our previous home. I had always wanted the kids to be able to have a space for their art or Lego creations instead of leaving it on the floor. It is a reminder that they are capable of putting away their own stuff. Also, we kept their kids table and chair. It created a perfect spot for learning and daydreaming.

Another favorite of mine is the large area rug where the kids could play and sit around freely. I always tell them that this is their space and they can play or do art as they please. Probably, a strategy I taught of to prevent them from leaving toys all over the house.

The family room is truly an explosion of our personalities. A lot of times it’s a mess. Still, it is a place where we get to sit and be ourselves. I was thinking so hard to clean everything before I take the pictures but it would be a lie to make everyone think that I have a perfectly clean family room. Reality is, this room gets messy and not everything in the cabinet are organized. But at the end of the day what matters is the memories created in this room.

Tristan’s Birth Story

Today Tristan is almost 3 months old. He is growing so fast and smiling everyday. My C section seems to be a distant memory and before I totally forget about it, let me share a story with my sleepless brain. I am writing this to share an experience I can look back and maybe to give alittle positivity to my fellow moms who is about to give birth or already had.

Last July, I had my third C-secion scheduled. It was both familiar and different with the COVID-19 protocol in place. I always choose the first case time and not wait the whole day terrified of what is about to happen. So, at 5am we are already in the hospital, coming in, my husband and I were both scanned for our temperature and provided with a mask. Nothing new to us since we both work as nurses. With the virus still going on I am only allowed one person to be with me the whole time, from admission to the day I was discharged from the hospital. He did made trips to the house to check on the kids with their grandpa.

By 6am, I was ready to go to the OR. All the lab works and monitoring are done. I also talked to the doctors asking me if I am ready and I answered with a laugh (I do that when I am nervous). The whole time I was wearing my mask. When I was wheeled to the OR, I got my epidural in place and I sure did not forget that first stick on my spine to introduce the medication. It was the most painful part I remember on each delivery, but in this story it’s different. When they opened me up (kinda gross to imagine), they have to go through my scars from my previous C-sections. It was really uncomfortable, especially when they tried to get Tristan out. I say uncomfortable because all I felt was the pressure and pulling, am sure there was more to that because I saw my husband’s eyes widen. But when I heard our little one’s cry, all I felt was relief and happiness.

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Then, came the closing part after I briefly said hi to our baby Tristan. Saying hi is basically seeing him breastfed right away and saw how awake his eyes are. Since the first time I saw him, I felt like he is so aware of his surroundings and probably wondering what is happening. Going back to the closing me up portion, that was miserable. I am usually a person with high tolerance for pain, but that was something else. Probably being opened so many times took a toll on my abdominal walls, finally the anesthesiologist gave me more medications. Right away I felt totally drunk and separated from my body. It’s like I am watching myself in the OR. Luckily, I have good self control even when I am drunk. πŸ™‚

From then on, all I remember is raising my hand to ring the bell that I had a baby by the nurse station. In the recovery room, I found my husband feeding our hypogylcemic baby, I had gestational diabetes so that had an effect on him. Baby Tristan did bounce back right away, ever since his sugar has been normal. It was a rollercoaster but I am just so blessed that my body still have the ability to heal fast. By afternoon I was walking to the bathroom already, this time I did not toughen it out, I acknowledge my pain and took my medications. In my head I remembered the way I take care of my patients’ pain/discomfort when I am at work. By the third day, I was discharged home with our healthy baby boy.

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It was an experience that is memorable but probably in a few months I will forget most of the details, both from being too occupied and sleepless. I won’t lie, COVID-19 protocols sometimes gives me a feeling of being alone, since I can’t really see alot of my friends and family right away. But it also reminded me that I am capable of so many things. After having two boys, I found the courage on where I stand on feedings and sleep training on my third one. I am also reminded that my husband is a wonderful partner, because like me he found his strenght as a parent. Though we still have worries and arguments, at the end of the day what matters is our love and our family. Though anxiety still kicks my butt at times, probably from my hormones,Β  I remember to pray, take care of myself, cry and just get back up again.

 

 

My Nesting Story

With less than 2 weeks to go before my scheduled C-section, my mind is filled with thoughts of being ready for another baby. Although I can surely tell that after two boys my anxiety is less and I felt more experienced as a mom. But, who can really tell if you are enough when every pregnancy is different and for sure every child is unique. It is a choice you have to make and be at peace with yourself.

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Still, I believe every mom was built with a heart that does not forget to care and prepare. I think that is the reason why our bags are filled with all kinds of snacks and toys. As I had mentioned before my first trimester totally kick my butt and now at third trimester body aches and extra weight included my energy is pumping to make sure everything is in place and ready. Although I am pretty sure that I will keep forgetting a thing or two.
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Luckily, we kept most of our baby furniture from 6 years ago when we had our first son Parker. The changing table has always been there since we still use the dresser part. And yes, the crib is still there probably because we felt that we will have another baby or we are just too lazy to disassemble it and think where to put it. I ordered most of the baby stuff ahead of time and though I did not have a big baby shower, that did not stop people from sendingΒ  gifts and sweet thoughts. At this difficult time with COVID 19 still going, I did not feel too alone.

I can’t deny that I am overwhelm but having two boys kept me busy. Probably too busy to even think what is bothering me. Though there are moments that I find myself irritable and ovethinking. Still, I refuse to give in, maybe that is why I put alot of my thoughts and efforts in watercolor and calligraphy. But above all this I believe that having a quiet conversation with God helped me get through my worries. I still feel grumpy but alot of times my heart feels lighter. I feel like my prayers where answered when I don’t know what to do anymore. So, I will just keep on inspiring myself with art, let go of my worries with prayers and just embrace a positive attitude in life. My wish is every momma who is having a hard time will have the strenght to survive and come out stronger amidst all the trouble that we have around us.

Looking Back to our Seattle Trip

We have been shelter in place since March because of COVID 19, and at this point all I could think of is how grateful I am for being able to travel when we had the time. Sure it gets expensive but the memories are priceless. Most nights when we are having dinner and we talk about going out again, it’s a joy to see our kids remembering their favorite places.

If there is one place I want to go back to, it will be Seattle (aside from the Philippines of course where I grew up). I know it rains alot there and it gets really cold but there is something about Seattle that touches the city girl in me. It just made me feel extra about myself especially now that I am loving my creative self. I must be getting old, just loving sitting down to do calligraphy, just loving messing around with watercolors, just loving art.

I have been putting off writing about this place, mommy responsibilities seems to take over when we are out all the time. But now that we are home, life seems to be teaching us to look back, appreciate the things that we have and start catching up on things that we have been delaying. Delaying since 2017. Ha!

So, let me start with our roughly 24 hours train ride. We took a night trip at Amtrack Emeryville. We had our own room. Not really that big or luxurious but it didn’t really matter for all we could think of is, it’s adventure time. Travelling on mountains that started all dry and bare to a snow filled one is amazing, especially when you are at the train’s viewing deck. Food was not fantastic but enough for the trip. Though I would say the train ride is a bit much for two little boys who wants to run around and there is not enough space. Still, I will definitely take that train ride again on my retirement days.

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When we got to the city, we checked in at Loews Hotel 1000. It was one of my favorite hotel. Using Booking.com got us an upgrade and it is a money well spent, with the space and wonderful customer service that they gave us. It got expensive being there for 5 days but we splurged and enjoyed every moment. I mean I spent my mornings in the gym and lounge area writing while the boys are asleep, those are the “me times” that I treasured. It’s in the middle of the city. Busy streets and all, but I loved it. Everything is within walking distance and that is enough for me to be in a happy state of mind.

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We did alot of walking and exploring, it got challenging when we have to go farther with kids. We end up renting a car after realizing that it is difficult to find an Uber/Lyft with a car seat. Lesson learned, we had a debate about our situation, totally laughed about it and just like that we moved on to exploring this wonderful city.

There are so many places to go. We had a gondola ride by the port to see the whole city. Also, a quick visit at the Seattle Aquarium. My boys loved it, probably travelling with us so many times taught them to just embrace the ups and downs, with all the tantrums and “carry me” pleas. I was probably in awe of everything, the Space Needle visit was a blur. I vaguely remember that it was under construction. Still, I hear myself saying, the view was breathtaking.

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The Museum of Pop Culture left me speechless, though half the time I find myself laughing because of how my husband appreciates every part of it. He seems to connect to every exhibit and explains everything to me. May I just say he is a smart, fun loving guy.

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But with all of the place we went to, the Glass museum captured my heart the most. As I have said before art plays a big part on bringing joy into my busy life. Like when I sit down to do calligraphy or watercolor, it tells me to slow down, to just be calm and see things more clearly.

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I remember that was the time I fell in love with Starbucks coffee. It is just a place where a hot cup of mocha totally changes how I feel and look at life as a new mom. It became my bestfriend when I am about to lose it. So, visiting the first ever Starbucks just made my heart skip. I know it must be alittle too much to feel towards coffee but how can I forget that feeling that I am wonderwoman after a cup of coffee. Totally gave me super powers and a different perspective on things.

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Here I am sitting down and writing about Seattle, thinking being at home totally brought me back to a place that is filled with happy memories. Though I could barely remember all the details, the feeling is still there. And looking at the pictures validated how I feel. And for a moment, being at shelter in place felt a little lighter, bearable and probably one of the best teacher on how to value the places that you’ve been to. I’m sure when this is all over we will appreciate being outside more, we will appreciate life more.

My Pregnancy Story during COVID-19

I am not quite sure how to begin this entry since I felt like half of my pregnancy is a blur with days filled with not feeling well. I know first trimester is a kick ass, it literally kick my butt until all I can remember is sleeping, nausea and functioning like a robot to make sure I can still take care of my other two boys. Though I feel miserable most of the time, there are two things that are clear to me, I have to go on and I have a very good husband. I am not sure how can I go on without his understanding and patience.

But I think being pregnant at year 2020 does not end every woman’s story on the misery of pregnancy symptoms, because of how COVID-19 totally define what life changing situation really means. Let me just start with the shelter at home order, being called high risk and being screen of the virus’ symptoms before going to your doctor’s appointments. Aside from that, you are going to the doctor’s office alone to lessen the risk of infection. Aside from numerous doctor’s appointments and lab work with your mask on, there is the worry of getting your baby supplies. Luckily, it is my third child and I am pretty aware of what my baby needs. But just to be prepared I orgered things earlier to avoid delays, so to my fellow pregnant mom it’s best to start early.

It is so easy to be anxiuos and negative to the world’s current situation. I am a nurse and I should know better than going to work. Still, I am there, clocking in with a smile on my face. I will be lying if I say that I am 100% positive and I don’t overthink. But I am 100% sure that we will get through this. I go to work with a grateful heart as my costaff looks after me and remind me that though everyone is under pressure and scared, we care about each other and no virus can put us down.

Plus how can I drown from this stressful time when everyday I wake up with my kids wanting to play. And half the time my husband is working at home. We have food in the table, we are healthy, we have time, we are blessed. Every night, I pray starting with a thank you.

I know life is not fair. I might look at things differently if I am on the other side. But right now I am just doing everything I can to survive and to not lose sight of what is important. I cannot allow myself to wander away and be taken over by overthinking. Life taught me that self love can totally help you get by the tough times. Alot of times I stop and ask myself how I am doing. But being at home for 2 months clearly showed me that family time is important. That this is my chance to save up for the future and learn something new. It is a time to rise above worrying and embrace what is infront of me.

To My Kids Who Go to School

To my kids who goes to school, if only I can tell you how anxious I am behind my smiles and laughters, you probably run away from school. Do you know how much I read the school policy and instructions, alot! I felt like I memorize each word, each letter and still I find myself going back to the emails and papers that I printed multiple times so I don’t forget. My planner is full both written and on my phone. I pray every night and day that you will be okay, that I will be okay.

So, thank you.

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To my Parker, you are at Kindergarten this year. You are in the big boy school now. That totally hit me when I dropped you off on your first day. Thank you for being so brave although you have worries and new challenges. Thank you for listening to me repeat for the 100th time your school work and schedules. Thank you for reminding me of your school activities when I forget because I am too occupied. I want you to know I love your short hours in school because I love our lunches together. I like how you talk about your day both your group winning and your bad days when you did not win that eraser or when you were mark yellow on your behavior chart because you are talking in class. I totally felt that the years I spent with you paid off because of how you talk freely and express yourself. I am grateful that we have that understanding that we are here for each other.

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To my Norrin, I know you must feel a little left out since big brother is in another school. But thank you for being brave enough to still go on and fearlessly let go of my hand when it is time to go to preschool. You never fail to show me that you are your own person and I admire you for that. I love how proud you are to speak what is in your mind whether it’s the right answer or not. Thank you for catching up with the changes and never failing to enjoy our moments together. I love our chats and struggles on what color a dinosuar should be. I love how you run like a champion when we are late dropping off big brother. I am thankful because everyday you remind me that life can be silly and simple.

I am thankful that you (my boys) made it. I know it is still a long way until college but seeing you starting to learn more than I can give is already a big step for your future. I wish I can tell you I worry alot seeing you stepping out of my wings but I know this is what you need. Dad and I will not be here forever, so don’t be afraid to grow and find who you truly are.

My Dream Home Checklist

I have always been a sucker for books about home design, a lot of times it is to find inspiration but deep down I know I have zero talent on designing a home. I always get overwhelm when I see all these ideas whether from books or Pinterest. I want them all so much that in the end things just don’t work out.

I remember when we bought our house, I had to hire an interior designer just to choose the correct paint and furniture. I even found interior designers online, to help me change the style of our bedroom and dining room. I just can’t seem to trust myself on choosing the right furniture or color to make things match or look good together. I just erase home design on my list of things that I am good at.

Still, I can’t deny that my perspective about not being able to put things together for the house changed when I became a wife and mom that has to take care almost everything in the house. I think experience taught me to make things work especially on times that I have to juggle appointments, to do list and me time in the air. My love for organizing open possibilities to fix the house in a way that works for us.

So, I am sharing our visit to Ikea. I enjoyed taking these photos to remind me in the future when both time and budget permits on where to start and what to get when I have to redecorate or move. I have not bought many things in this place but I can say that during our short trip as we try to find a bookstand for my husband I made alot of mental notes that I definitely want to have for our house and hopefully our next home.. πŸ™‚

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I love how welcoming this living room is. I truly loved that bookshelves since all of us can be found on our quiet time with a book or comic.

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I love white all over and that center table and lighting is a big plus on bringing life to this set up.

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Loving these ideas to show off my kids art! Since these two boys can’t stop being creative once they have crayons in their hands. It is also a wonderful feeling to see them proud of what they can do.

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Will definitely have this wall frames for our growing memories. I am not usually the I-will-take-a-picture-and-put-it-on-a-frame girl but since the kids are growing so fast I feel like photos are the best way to sit back and remember how they use to be.

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This stylish and space saving shelves is on top of my list to organize my kids study area especially now that Parker is starting kindegarten.

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Next to the shelves, this cabinet is a must to keep things away and at the same time having that clean and everything-has-a-place look. πŸ™‚

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A study area that inspires. Definitely what I would want for my husband who loves to collect books, comics and toys. Also, for days that he writes. πŸ™‚

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Totally a dream kitchen for me, though I have to worry on how to keep it clean later on! πŸ™‚ I also love how I can see through the cabinets and not play hide and seek on where things are. Most of the time I find myself in the kitchen making food or making my to do list, so having a place that sparks joy is a priority to me.

I totally enjoyed our mini trip to Ikea. I hope these inspires you too and helped you take that first step to creating a home that you love.

How about you? What is your dream home checklist?