My Breastfeeding Story

In this post, I am going to (attempt to) share my breastfeeding journey with Pia.  For the record, Pia breastfed from birth up to a few months shy of her 5th birthday.

Even before Pia was born, I had always known that I would want to breastfeed her exclusively.  I had seen firsthand the positive effects this had on my sister’s (Tina) children, and after doing my own research online and reading other moms’ personal stories, that desire became even more powerful.

When Pia was born, the Brunei hospital that I gave birth in, also had a very strong pro-breastfeeding policy so this made it easy for me to breastfeed her from the very moment she was out in the world.  Our first night together in the hospital, just the two of us, was a truly magical time as I was able to breastfeed her with ease, feeding her on demand without much difficulty.

After about a week post-delivery, when we were already at home, I experienced what they called breast engorgement in my right breast which was very painful and even caused me high fever for a few days.  Consulting with my sister and her lactation consultant friends, I was able to do what I needed to do to overcome the breast engorgement after over a week.  I also experienced cracked nipples which was very, very, very painful especially whenever Pia would need to latch on to the said cracked nipple.  And although it would have been easier to give up and let Pia bottle feed, I still chose to breastfeed through the pain because I didn’t want Pia to have what they call nipple confusion and end up not wanting to feed from me anymore.  During this time, EVCO – Extra Virgin Coconut Oil was my natural remedy of choice as it not only helped soothe and heal my cracked nipples, it was also safe for Pia to ingest.  Despite the pain and discomfort, I persevered in my breastfeeding Pia, knowing deep in my heart that this was what I was supposed to do and that it was the best for her.  The little sacrifices paid off because we were both able to adjust to each other well : my body settled nicely, producing more than enough breast milk for Pia’s growing needs and Pia learned how to properly latch onto my breasts whenever she fed.

The love, support and encouragement I received from Rhenee and other family members helped me  a lot, and I firmly believe this played a huge part in making our breastfeeding journey a success from the beginning.  Rhenee, for his part, would always cook me yummy soup dishes, esp. tinola with lots of malunggay leaves to help keep my milk supply flowing.  Tina, gave me an electric breast pump, to help me express my milk; and my Mama gave me much needed maternal support that only a mother could give a daughter.  Though she did not breastfeed us exclusively when we were babies, she’s become quite an advocate of breastfeeding her grandchildren.

Before my maternity leave ended, I had already come up with a plan how to maintain my milk supply and still be able to breastfeed Pia when I was at home with her after office hours.  That’s when my electric breast pump came in very handy as I was able to express milk for Pia and stock up on her supply in our freezer so that she would always be able to have access to my breast milk even when I was at the office.  At the office I would also express my milk at our office pantry, in the morning and in the afternoon, so at the end of the office day,  I would have at least 2 milk bags full of breast milk for Pia’s supply.  During my lunch break and when I get home after work, Pia would directly feed from me.  In the evenings before going to sleep and in the mornings before going to work, I would express milk too.  That’s how much milk my body was producing  – liquid gold – as what breast milk is fondly called and I was so grateful to God that He allowed my body to be able to do this for our little miracle, to have this superpower for a few years.

The choice to exclusively breastfeed Pia during her first 5 years really helped our family a lot.  Pia was a very healthy and happy baby, and rarely got sick, and even when she did get sick she recovered very quickly.  Breastfeeding helped me manage my body weight post-delivery.  It was good for our finances as we didn’t have to buy baby formula every week.  And we didn’t have much sleep loss as Rhenee and I didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night or wee hours of the morning whenever Pia would wake up to feed.

I know for a fact that not all moms have or had this opportunity so I count it a real blessing that I was able to do it for Pia, and not just for the recommended first 6 months of her life but as mentioned, all the way up to a few months shy of her 5th birthday.  There were some well meaning people who would ask me why I was still breast feeding Pia even when she was already beyond 2 years old, and I just smile and tell them that it will be Pia’s decision when she stops, and that she will stop when she is ready.  And that while she’s not yet ready, I will continue to do what is best for her and provide to her what she needs, when she needs it.  And that’s exactly what happened, when she decided she didn’t want to breastfeed anymore, she just told me herself and she stopped, just like that.  No crying, no drama, no struggles, all before her 5th birthday this year.

To end this, I would like to point out (again) that not all moms will have the opportunity or capability I was given to breastfeed.  And that does not make you any less of a mother to your child or children.  I am just sharing my personal breast feeding journey with Pia, in the hopes that it may help a new mother somewhere out there who needs a little inspiration or motivation to go on with her own breast feeding journey.

Pia’s 5th Troll-ific Party

Pia turned 5 this year and we held a Trolls-themed birthday party for her as per her personal request, last 26th March 2017.  After watching the ‘Trolls’ movie together as a family on the big screen, as well as several times again on the smaller screen at home, it was no surprise that she chose this theme for her birthday party this year.  And who wouldn’t love a colorful and joyful party, right?

After doing some research a.k.a. Pinterest viewing plus crunching numbers for her birthday budget, we came up with a lovely birthday celebration for Pia with family and some close friends at one of our favorite restaurants in Kiulap, BSB, Brunei.  It was perfect timing that they had just renovated some private rooms above their restaurant, and it was just nice for our intimate gathering.

Taking the cue from the Trolls movie, all the party decorations were in bright and lovely colors of the rainbow, from the banners, buntings, and the balloons. These were all bought in Divisioria, Philippines through the kindness of my brother-in-law, Anthony. Additional items displayed were customized water bottles and loot bags which had colorful pens, glow sticks and candies in them.

For Pia’s birthday cake and cupcakes, I went back to Mariah’s Kitchen, the same baker I contacted last year.  I saw the original cake design on Pinterest and she was able to capture the cake design that we wanted for Pia’s Trolls cake.  I also added in cupcakes like last year because I remember that they were a big hit with the kids and adults alike.

( If any of you are interested in contacting Mariah’s Kitchen, follow them on Instagram @mariahkitchen or DM/WhatsApp them at +673 8214014.)

To capture fun moments with the guests, we set up an actual photo booth area this time, complete with props which were also purchased from Divisoria by Anthony.  Guests had a lot of fun at the photo booth station, as did our birthday girl!

As for Pia’s cute birthday outfit, it was a mix of old and new: the old – her pink tutu from last year, pink tights and sparkling rubber shoes; the new – her white top with the different Trolls movie characters on it, a gift from her Rodriguez cousins and her pink polka dot party hat.

Birthday games were Guess the Candies in the Jar, Trolls Coloring Contest, Pin the Hair on the Troll and Freeze Dance.  Kids had a blast with the simple games we prepared, especially dancing to the great songs of the Trolls soundtrack.

Food was aplenty and more than enough for everyone at the party. The guests were all able to eat to their hearts’ content, trying out all the delicious dishes set up at the buffet table.


And to end Pia’s 5th Troll-ific party, we requested guests to pray over her with us, led by her Lolo Mon (my Papa).

And that’s pretty much how we celebrated Pia’s 5th year of life.  Many, many thanks again to everyone who celebrated with our family.  For those whom we invited but were not able to make it for one reason or another, we do hope to see you next time!

Special and extra thanks goes out to my Papa & Mama, Anthony, Tina and kids for going to Brunei to be with us and for helping us purchase, bring over, put up  and put down the party decorations, and for just making her party truly special, memorable and Troll-ific!  We love you all mucho! Next year again, pwede? 

And to our little miracle, happy 5th birthday once again.  You are truly a gift, a miracle sent to us from above! We love you so much!

Pia’s 4th Ice Cream Birthday Party

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Our little miracle, Pia, has turned 4! And would you believe my last post here was about her 3rd Birthday Party – that’s how long I have not been blogging! Time truly flies!!!  (I should really set aside some regular time to blog!  Aarrrggghhh!)

Anyhoo… back to the task at hand. 🙂

We celebrated Pia’s 4th Birthday with an Ice Cream themed birthday party with a simple and hassle free celebration at the newest Jollibee Brunei branch located at Kilanas.  The venue was recommended by an architect friend for its spacious function hall.  We went to have a look even before the soft opening of the branch and we were immediately sold on the venue – the space was perfect for Pia’s party.  We were told that it could comfortably fit up to 100 people and being a private room, you won’t have to worry about your party guests spilling over to the public area of the restaurant, which is a big plus indeed.

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As in previous years, we had a PVC banner printed for the party which of course featured a picture of Pia and reflected the theme of the party.  This lovely design was made by Kristine, who has actually been designing Pia’s birthday banners since her 1st birthday.  Don’t you just love how it turned out?  And since we had the banner printed in the Philippines, we saved quite a bundle compared to printing it here in Brunei.

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The centerpiece of the birthday venue, besides the birthday banner, was Pia’s beautiful and super delicious birthday cake and cupcakes.  I ordered these from Mariah’s Kitchen, a local Brunei home based baker.  Having learned from previous years’ experience that ordering a large cake just meant ending up with a lot of leftover and/or wasted cake, we decided to order a smaller cake this year which was just perfect for all the guests.  Pia’s 4th birthday cake was a 6″ Oreo Cheesecake Brownies cake with pink icing, topped with cone and chocolate drip.   If that sounded delicious to you as you read it, the actual taste of the cake was superb!

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The cupcakes are Mariah’s Kitchen’s own creations: I ordered their Butterscotch and Maltesers cupcakes.

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They were a big hit with the kids as they were quickly devoured; some even came in for seconds and thirds!  If any of you are interested in contacting Mariah’s Kitchen, follow them on Instagram @mariahkitchen or DM/WhatsApp them at +673 7214014.

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In addition to the balloons that came with the Jollibee birthday party package, we got Pia’s special helium filled birthday balloon arrangement from AstroVision, our go-to-place for such special occasions.  Pia’s special ice cream foil balloon came all the way from Divisoria, Philippines but the pink and purple balloons were from AstroVision.

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For Pia’s birthday give-aways / souvenirs, we had these cute ice cream coin banks to give out to the party guests, which we bought from Divisoria, Philippines.

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For the star of the night, her whole birthday outfit also matched the party theme, of course!  Pia’s ice cream headband was lovingly designed and hand-made by my cousin Nina; her ‘Birthday Princess shirt’ was selected by my Mama while her super fluffy hot pink tutu was bought by Nina who just happened to have a neighbor who was selling it at a special discounted price – talk about perfect timing, right?  Overall, the whole outfit turned out pretty awesome, if I do say so myself!!! Doesn’t Pia look more beautiful and adorable? 😉

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Pia’s very special guest for her party was her beloved Lolo Mon, who has never missed any of her birthday parties since she was born.  He was also the one who selflessly brought all her birthday supplies from the Philippines (banner, balloon, coin banks, birthday outfit) for us.  Super duper thanks again, Papa / Lolo Mon for being with us and for making Pia’s birthday party a beautiful success!

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Special thanks too, of course, to the very professional and courteous Jollibee team for the greatly organized birthday party.  The Filipino creativity, attention to detail and hospitality really shone through!

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Jollibee himself made an appearance at Pia’s party and though Pia was a bit scared of him in the beginning (she’s at the stage where she’s scared of mascots), towards the end of the evening, she eventually warmed up to The Bee (to our relief and delight!).

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So that’s it, that’s how we celebrated Pia’s 4th Birthday last 26th March 2016, her actual birth date.  Since it is already July as I write this, it’s time to start thinking of what her 5th birthday party theme will be! 😀

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Many thanks again to everyone who made time out of their busy schedules for our little miracle’s 4th birthday!  See you all next time!
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(For the full photo album of Pia’s 4th Birthday Party, please visit the Facebook Page of Studiothirty and look for the album named Pia’s 4th Birthday. Thanks Domeng and Tere for the great shots! Till the next time!)

Pia’s 3rd Art & Music Birthday Party

This is a looooonnng overdue post that I was supposed to write months ago (Eeep!) to share how we celebrated Pia’s 3rd Birthday Party…. but as usual, life happened and hence this late blog post! So here goes and hope that my memory still serves me well… Hehe!

Pia turned 3 years old last 26 March 2015 and we celebrated her birthday on the actual day of her birthday which fell on a week day, Thursday.  Being a week day, the party was held in the evening at this nice, spacious and (of course) budget-friendly restaurant, Nice Delight Cafe, Kg Madewa, BSB.   Birthday girl seatOur chosen theme for the party was ‘Art and Music’ seeing that these were (and still are) 2 of Pia’s current favorite activities.  The theme allowed us to work with a lot of colors, which I liked a lot (you would understand why if you read about the themes we used for Pia’s 1st and 2nd birthday parties).

It also gave us a chance to showcase Pia’s early art works and music/singing videos which Rhenee lovingly made into a short AVP that we showed as part of the evening’s program (super thanks for that, dear Daddy Bhot! Yayu!)

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Decorations were simple yet colorful: our traditional birthday banner/backdrop (ordered from Phils. as it’s so much cheaper!), balloons (what’s a party without balloons, right?), and buntings, garlands plus bright red table covers that I ordered from this online party supplier shop that I found on Facebook: My Little Party Shop Manila.  (You should check them out if you’re planning for your little one’s birthday or other event, they have a lot of super cute and elegant items on their site.  Thanks MLPSM!)

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Center table 1

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In addition to the above, in line with ‘Art’ theme, we displayed colored marker pens and paint brushes placed in transparent jars plus water paints  on the center table.  In line with the ‘Music’ theme, we displayed some of Pia’s musical toys: her colorful piano, drum & drum sticks, trumpet, clapper, musical eggs and a small microphone.  These were all displayed along side her beautiful ‘Art and Music’ birthday cake and cupcakes that were especially designed to match our chosen theme.

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Art & Music Cupcakes

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Pia’s birthday cake was generously sponsored by one of my girlfriends, Voon, and ordered from the ever reliable and talented duo behind #eielterecakes, Eiel and Tere (thanks ladies!) while the cupcakes were ordered from #shelylee (thanks Shelly!).  Besides being pretty, both the cakes and cupcakes were delicious!

Pia’s birthday banner served as our photo booth backdrop where guests had their photo op with the birthday celebrant who was dressed in her specially made birthday outfit that my cousin, Nina, lovingly made for Pia.

The birthday girl

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The evening’s program began with a short opening prayer led by Lolo Mon and this was immediately followed by the singing of the birthday song and Pia blowing the candles on her birthday cake.  Dinner was served and then Rhenee played the AVP he made of Pia that everyone thoroughly enjoyed, most especially Pia herself! Hihihi!

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Blow your candles Pia

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Funny Faced Pia

After the AVP,  instead of having games we decided to have an art activity for the children, which was the final part of the official program we had prepared.  Kids were given colorful aprons to wear and asked to choose their colored markers to use for drawing on the ‘art wall’ we had made on one empty wall of the restaurant.

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The kids loved this activity and really let their individual artist shine through.  Even the youngest kids enjoyed the freedom of drawing on the ‘art wall’!  At the end of the activity, to the surprise of the kids, we let them keep their aprons and markers as souvenirs.

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Little Artists

It was indeed another super fun and happy birthday celebration for our beloved miracle, Pia.  Special thanks to Lolo Mon and Lola Tita for coming to Brunei again to celebrate with us and for helping bring the party items from the Phils. for her birthday party.

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Pia and Lolo Mon

Thank you too, of course, to all the kids and adults who joined our simple birthday celebration and for your gifts (in cash and in kind) for Pia.  We hope to see you again next year for Pia’s 4th Birthday Party! (Have to start thinking of a theme for that soon! Hehe!)

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If you want to see all the photos from the above party, they are on my personal Facebook page, photo album named  Pia’s 3rd ‘Art & Music’ Birthday Party.  Pictures taken by Leny, Bhot and myself.

(Note: As of this writing, the cash gifts received have already been added on to the mutual fund investment account we opened at Soldivo Strategic Growth Fund, Inc. for Pia’s education fund. )

 

The joy and music of Pia

As I write this post, Pia is already 2 years and 11 months old – yes, she is turning 3 years old next month (!!!) and I am reminded at how time has flown and how quickly my baby is growing up so fast! Huhuhu!

I can actually still recall the night/morning that I gave birth to her and how much love and joy she has given to Rhenee and I right from the time we found out we were pregnant and even up to now as she is set to celebrate her 3rd birthday.

I’ve always believed and tried to practice the principles of RIE i.e. Respectful Intentional Parenting and I have seen for myself the benefits that it has brought in Pia’s development from an infant to a toddler.  One of the principles of RIE is observing your child whatever she may be doing and it is actually one of the joys of parenting/motherhood to see your child develop into an emotionally intelligent, sociable and unique human being all on her own, with just a bit of patient guidance and discipline from us, her parents.  I, for one, love to just watch and observe and listen to Pia when she is busy ‘learning at play’ and here are some of my personal and intimate observations of her:

She is naturally joyful: she’s almost always smiling, giggling and laughing at the most simplest of things.  She loves to laugh and giggle  at the most mundane and simplest of things but esp. when her Daddy or Mommy tickles her.

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She is also naturally loving: she loves to give hugs and kisses, even pouting her mouth to give us a kiss when she feels like it or when we, Daddy and/or Mommy asks for it.  I’ve noticed though that this pouting of the mouth and kissing on the lips is very, very exclusive to Daddy and Mommy, which is a good thing!!! For others when you ask her for a kiss or to kiss, she will just give her cheek for the other person to plant the kiss on.  😉

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She is also a confident and friendly child, I say that because she already knows what she likes and what she wants and is confident and comfortable in asking for it.  I have observed that when we are around other people, either among friends or strangers, she does not hide behind or cling to the edge of Mommy’s or Daddy’s pants unlike some small children.  She will stand on her own and even mingle with people she doesn’t know.  She especially likes to approach other children, older or younger than her, and likes to engage them in play or conversation.  It is actually very fun to watch when this happens because of the different reactions she gets from the other child/children.  Most would engage with her but there are some who would act scared or indifferent to her bold, confident approach towards them.

She is creative.  She loves to get her hands dirty and messy with paint and colors.  She also likes to create with her Play-Doh clay, wooden blocks, and Lego Duplo blocks.

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A recent activity that she likes to do is to cut colored paper into different shapes and sizes using her child-friendly scissors.  Honestly I didn’t actively teach her how to do that (i.e. cut paper with scissors) but she has learned to do it on her own and I was amazed and surprised to see that she could now do it by herself.  Another recent observation while we were having our coloring activity for the Holy Heroes Lenten Adventure was that she could now trace the lines and curves of what she was coloring.  She didn’t do this a few months back and it was such a joy to behold that she had developed her fine motor skills, slowly but surely, all following her own timetable and schedule.

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She is musical and has a natural sense of rhythm.  She loves to make music with her play instruments, be it the piano, organ, drums, trumpet, or egg shakers.  She loves to sing and make up songs that has her own tune and lyrics; she especially likes to change the lyrics to some of her favorite nursery rhyme songs.  And she loves to dance: twirling, swinging and jumping about – both to fast and slow music.

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She loves to read and is an active learner.  Since Rhenee and I had decided earlier on that we would home-school Pia in her pre-school years (or maybe even beyond, until high-school perhaps?), we’ve exposed her to the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, etc. by constant, daily reading of books and a bit of watching of educational short videos on YouTube.  We’ve been reading through her since she was born (actually it should have been done even while she was in the womb) and much to my amazement, she can already count and identify numbers, say her alphabet and identify the letters of the alphabet, plus she knows her colors and shapes!  And all of this without any formal instruction but just reading, reading, reading plus being attentive and observant with her when she points out and asks about things that she sees, hears, feels and tastes.

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And due to her love for reading and active interaction with people, as young as she is (remember she’s not yet 3 years old), she is already a very eloquent conversationalist.  She already knows a lots of words and phrases, and can already speak to you in complete sentences – most especially when she wants to asks you for something! 😉 Quite a lot of people, friends and strangers alike, have approached Rhenee and I, to say that they are surprised that she can already speak so well and that her diction and pronunciation of words is clear and distinct at only 2 years of age.   Our usual answer is we just read to her a lot, in addition conversing with her in complete sentences and proper language (i.e. we never used baby talk with her growing up).

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She also loves to play outdoors.  On most days after Rhenee sends me to the office, they will go to the open park and playground near the place where we stay.  She loves to climb, ride the swing, slide and jog around the open spaces.  She plays with the other children in the playground, even if she had just met them that day.  Don’t you just love that about children? 🙂

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She also loves to go to church and pray.  Most days after the playground, Rhenee would take her to our local church to pray inside the church.  We’ve taught her some simple, basic prayers and she even sings some of the service hymns with us when we attend the Holy Mass together as a family.  Just yesterday at Mass, she knelt together with me during the time of the consecration without being told.   She also sings and prays with us during our worship time in our CFC household meetings, and even raises her hand in worship when Rhenee and I serve together in the CFC Music Ministry during prayer assemblies.

I truly believe that children learn what they live, and that we, parents are their children’s first and best teachers.  That is why Rhenee and I are committed to be the best that we can be for Pia.

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We love you, our dear Pia, and praise and thank you so much Lord for giving her to us to love and care for.  AMDG!

Surprise! Another Party Award!

Belated Happy New Year to everyone!  🙂

It has been a few months (again) since I last posted something here on my blog and my last post was about receiving by an award for best party theme and decorations from PartyPail.com (http://www.partypail.com/).  That award was for Pia’s 2nd birthday party with the theme ‘Noah’s Ark’.

Early this week I received an email from Sue Hansen who works with Shindigz.com (http://www.shindigz.com/).  She’s in charge of connecting with parents who are throwing their little ones top notch parties and she wrote me because of my post “Pia’s First Birthday”.  She says she was doing some research to try and find rainbow themed parties that were bursting with love and creativity and that’s how she found Pia’s.  She found the cake so cute and really liked Pia’s rainbow tutu which was in her own words ‘too precious’.

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And so on behalf of Shindigz she selected to award me the “Party Expert Approved” badge because Pia’s party looked fantastic!

Would you believe it??? Another award for one of Pia’s birthday parties!  Thanks Sue and Shindigz.com, much appreciated!

Pia’s 3rd birthday party is coming up in a month and I have yet to start planning for that in detail.  Yet these awards are motivating me to tap into my creativity juices once again.  How does an ‘Art Party’ theme sound to you? 😉

 

Surprise Award for Best Theme and Decorations!

My last post about Pia was uploaded here in my blog in late April, where I shared about how we celebrated her 2nd Birthday Party.

Then sometime in early September I received a comment from Jenny Franklin who works with PartyPail.com.  She says her job is to search blogs such as mine for individuals who put a great deal of effort into making their kids birthdays extra special.  And that she was writing me because of my post on Pia’s 2nd birthday party. She says she absolutely loved the creativity that I put into the party and that on behalf of PartyPail.com she would like to award me the “Best Decorations” badge. She absolutely loved Pia’s Ark cake and the Noah’s Ark theme, which she found so adorable!

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Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised.  Mainly because I had really thought that my blog posts were only read by my family members and some friends who would bother to click the link posted on my Facebook page announcing that I had a new blog post.  Never did I imagine that other people from across the world would care to read what I posted.   And then this!!!

So thank you, thank you for this lovely award, Jenny and PartyPail.com!  Here’s the link to their site: http://www.partypail.com/

Now I’m totally pumped up on planning Pia’s 3rd Birthday Party!!!!

What should the theme and decorations be this time?  If you do read this little blog post of mine, feel free to comment. 🙂

Honoring Pia’s SAHD

My husband, Rhenee, is a SAHD (Stay-At-Home-Dad).  What is a SAHD? I ‘googled’ SAHD and this is what Wikipedia says:

“A stay-at-home dad (alternatively, stay at home father, house dad, SAHD, househusband, or house-spouse) is a father who is the main caregiver of the children and is the homemaker of the household. As families have evolved, the practice of being a stay-at-home dad has become more common.”

I know it is not a very common practice where we are based (we’re currently based in Brunei) or even in most of South East Asia I’m guessing, because most families I know have the Full Time Working Dads and/or Moms while the children are taken cared of at home by secondary caretakers, or a ‘yaya’ as we call them in the Filipino vernacular.  However for our humble young family, Rhenee being a SAHD is what “works” and in my opinion, was and still is the best choice that we have made for Pia.

Choosing to be a SAHD was not an easy decision for the both of us, but given our present situation, it was the decision that made the most sense to us when we learned that we were expecting our first child.  At that time, Rhenee was already a voluntary mission worker for our Catholic community, Couples for Christ, and after his mission was over he stayed put in Brunei to be with me for the last few months of my pregnancy until finally giving birth to our miracle baby, Pia on March 26, 2012.

Since that day, Rhenee has not looked back on his professional career but has gone full steam ahead into his SAHD career.  He is Pia’s main caretaker when I am in the office – feeding her, changing her, playing with her, putting her down for naps, giving her baths, teaching her how to pray, reading to her, teaching her songs, etc.  He’s also a driver, cooks all our meals at home and tries his best to keep the house tidy and in order (the general cleaning, laundry and ironing are my tasks after office).  And on top of that, he earns extra income by doing part-time work providing transport and website set-up/maintenance services.

I know that some people don’t fully support and understand the choice that Rhenee made for our family but through this post I’d like to give him honor and thanks for actively choosing to be a SAHD.

Thank you, my dear Bhot, for the choice to be a SAHD.  I love how you take care of Pia and how you selflessly sacrifice your own comforts for her (and me too).  I love how you are as a father and as a husband.  I may not say it often enough, but I really thank you, thank you, thank you for all that you do for our family.  My prayer is that the Lord will continue to bless you with good health and strength so that we will have many more happy years together as a family.  I (we) love you very much!

Pia’s 2nd Noah’s Ark Birthday Party

As mentioned in my previous blog post, we had decided to celebrate Pia’s 2nd birthday with a Noah’s Ark theme on the actual day of her birthday, i.e. 26th March 2014.  The selected venue was Aiko Sushi Restaurant in Kiulap, BSB at their private function room on the 2nd floor.

Papa, Mama, Rhenee, Pia and I arrived at the venue about an hour or so earlier than the guests so that we could set up and decorate the venue in time for the guests’ arrival at 730PM.

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Decorations were pretty simple but also took up some time to do.  I asked Papa to put up the birthday banner to one side of the stage which also served as our photo both corner.  Then I placed the high chair I requested from the restaurant and decorated this with the special made-to-order birthday balloons set Rhenee and I collected earlier in the afternoon.  The balloons were filled with helium and the special foil balloon had colorful animal designs on them which was perfectly in sync with our party theme.  Pia loved her balloons and so did a lot of the little (and big!) kids that they wanted to take them home! (One ‘kuya’ actually managed to cut out one balloon out of the set without our prior knowledge!)

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Papa and Mama also helped pump the other rubber balloons using our air pump.  The balloons had the words ‘Happy 2nd Birthday’ on them and came in a variety of bright colors.  We bought these in the same shop where we ordered the helium balloons.  I used these balloons as table centerpieces together with a Noah’s Fun Boat party hat (these were actually just left over hats from Ate Rysse’s 1st Birthday Party so these were free!), some Noah’s Ark coloring sheets (downloaded from the internet so these were also free!) and a box of crayons (also free since I had several in stock from previously attended events).

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The other end of the stage was designated as the sweets corner.  I put another table where Pia’s birthday cake served as the centerpiece and surrounded it with small stuffed animals that were just lying around in our room (mostly gifted items so I didn’t have to go out and buy any!).  This was actually a last minute idea which turned out quite nicely (if I do say so myself! Hehehe!)  I also placed the colorful and delicious cupcakes we ordered from Le Apple Bakery on a cupcake stand on the same table and left a small space for Pia’s birthday gifts.

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The program for the night was pretty simple and straightforward too.  While waiting for all the guests to arrive, guests had their photo opportunity with Pia at the photo booth corner.  The opening and thanksgiving prayer was led by Papa which was followed immediately by the singing of the birthday song and cutting of the birthday cake.  Then dinner time and some simple party games namely Pin the Tail on the Zebra for the young kids, Animal Sounds game for the older kids and Samson-Delilah-Lion game for families.  The final part of the program was a pray over of Pia by the guests led by her ninong Alan.

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The event was a success, by God’s grace, as most if not all of our invited guests took time out of their busy schedules to celebrate Pia’s birthday with us.  Guests enjoyed the food and the simple program and were all generous in granting our request for cash gifts for Pia which we would allocate to her mutual fund savings/investment.

However the best part of the celebration was seeing the joy and delight in Pia’s face throughout the whole event.  She was singing and dancing and playing (even if she did not take her afternoon nap that day!) and had the energy to ‘entertain’ her guests the whole while – a real trooper!

We love you so much our little miracle! – Mommy & Daddy 🙂

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Pia is turning 2!

Can you believe it? Pia is turning 2!  🙂

It feels like it was just yesterday when we celebrated her 1st birthday and I was planning like crazy a few months in advance!  Hahaha!  (Details of that party can be found here: http://www.lisabobiles.com/2013/08/12/pias-1st-birthday-rainbow-party/)

We had originally planned to have a big celebration again this year.  Well, not really grand, but something a bit similar in the scale of what we had for her 1st birthday.  However due to my maternal grandfather getting sick and eventual passing last Sunday, March 2, we decided to scale down the celebration and (try to) limit the guests to Pia’s godparents and grandparents.  Lolo Mon and Lola Tita, my parents, will be flying in to Brunei next weekend so we’re all pretty excited about that! 🙂 🙂 🙂

I had originally wanted a Ladybug or Cupcake theme for Pia’s 2nd birthday but my loving hubby, wanted a Noah’s Ark theme.  I told him that it was a bit too similar to the Rainbow theme we had for her 1st birthday but then he said the Noah’s Ark theme will focus on the animals and not the rainbow… which was true… and seeing how Pia loves her Noah’s Ark stickers and reading books about animals, I eventually agreed with Rhenee’s suggestion. 😉

The first thing I did was to contact Kristine, my ever reliable SFC sister to design the banner, save the date and invitations for the party.  As always, she did a fabulous job!  Here’s the banner design – thanks Kristine! 🙂

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As of this writing, Kristine is editing the save the date and invitations due to the change in the date and venue of the celebration.  So I’ll just post those later on.

Next I contacted the terrific duo behind #tereeiel cakes and asked them to make Pia’s birthday cake.  I just told them the theme and will let their creativity and talent do the rest. It’s pretty exciting to see how the cake will turn out!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

As for the food and venue, hubby had originally thought of just letting his ‘inner chef’ loose and handle all the cooking but in the end, we decided to just have the celebration out of the house at a local restaurant so we wouldn’t be stressed about the preparations and clean up afterwards.  Plus even with the very limited guests invited, we would still be cramped in our tiny flat!  Praise God we were able to find a suitable and affordable place that serves great tasting food in Kiulap, Gadong. 😉

As for the program, it will be a very simple one: family and friends just coming together to celebrate Pia’s 2nd birthday while enjoying simple food and fellowship.  The main highlight would be Pia blowing the candles on her birthday cake, the guests saying their wishes plus praying over Pia.  Sounds good, yeah?

My hope is that with this celebration, Pia will be able to add on great childhood memories, most especially how much she is loved and treasured by Mommy and Daddy.  Every day with her is truly a miracle!  We love you, our precious miracle Pia! So very much!