A week after Zayne turned one year old, our little family flew to Bacolod together with our very close friends who also happens to be Zayne’s ninongs and ninangs. If I’m not mistaken, the last time we went out of town as a group was in 2010. Joy, Skye and Zayne were still out of the picture.


We didn’t really have a plan to go on a trip. Joie, Erlie, Aubrey and I would discuss about planning an out of town trip, but we always came up with countless of excuses for the trip not to push through – we’re paying for mortgages, our schedules won’t meet, the babies are still too young, and the list goes on! A few months before Zayne’s birthday, I told Joie that a part of me didn’t want to plan for a party. I really wanted to go on a trip instead of stressing myself for a party that my baby would probably not appreciate. Joie immediately became defensive and told me that she had a self-imposed “travel ban” this year. I know her (and her very low EQ) too well so I stopped bugging her. A couple of days later, she sent me another message saying, “Je, Bacolod tayo!” She booked the tickets for all of us, and I still ended up throwing a birthday party for Zayne! Sabooooooooggggggggggg!!! Hahahaha!!!

Being the ever reliable ninangs that they are, they all helped me plan and execute Zayne’s first birthday party. Because of this, we only started planning our Bacolod trip less than a week before our flight! We were only equipped with our plane tickets. We booked our hotel 2 or 3 days before our flight! We didn’t really have an extensive itinerary because we really just had one goal – to eat! With the help of our Ilonggo friends (who by the way are the sweetest and most helpful), we had a detailed itinerary and transportation arrangements roughly 48 hours before our trip!

You won’t believe it, but our itinerary looked like this:

Kaplastikang tour na kaya naman matapos ng 1 oras
Tour uli na parang napilitan lang isingit para matunawan sa kinain
Zzzzzz time

No joke, guys! Aubrey said that when one of her office mates saw our itinerary, she said, “Wow! Nahiya! Nagpunta ng Ruins!!!” You’ll believe me the moment we post details of our Bacolod trip on our blogs! I’m not sure when I’ll have the time so you can probably check out the blogs of Aubrey and Joie. Baka mauna silang sipagin mag-post! I just created this post to remind me years from now that we went to Bacolod just in case I totally forget to make the follow-up blog entries! Hahahahaha!!!

And because we’re the biggest crammers, we came up with our “official hashtag” at the last minute! As soon as we booked our plane tickets, I’ve been bugging them to think of a hashtag. Hay, if you can only read our Viber conversations! Hahaha! Wagas sa ideas! Since we were going to Bacolod to eat, eat, eat and eat, I suggested:


E, ayaw nila! Hahahaha!

We were already in Bacolod, and Aubrey was about to post her first photo on Instagram when we came up with #JAJEBusogLusogBacolod. I don’t know who thought of that. Definitely not me. My suggestions are wayyyyyy cooler! Bwahahahaha!

So in case you are curious of how sabog but enjoyable our trip was, you may check out #JAJEBusogLusogBacolod on Instagram. But these are my favorites!!!

A photo posted by Jerellt Abenoja-Andrade (@dahwanderer) on

A photo posted by Jerellt Abenoja-Andrade (@dahwanderer) on

A photo posted by Christine Joie Relevante (@cjoie12) on

A photo posted by Christine Joie Relevante (@cjoie12) on

A photo posted by Jerellt Abenoja-Andrade (@dahwanderer) on

A photo posted by Jerellt Abenoja-Andrade (@dahwanderer) on

A photo posted by Jerellt Abenoja-Andrade (@dahwanderer) on

I had a Eureka moment while I was writing this post! JAJE is actually the name of our Viber group. JAJE = Jerellt, Aubrey, Joie and Erlie. I told myself, lugi naman ang boys hindi kasama sa hashtag! I was wrong, pala! Pasok pala ang Joy at Efren. I therefore conclude, dapat J, A or E lang ang start ng name ng future boypren ni Erlie!!! Bwahahahahaha!!!

So there, I do hope I will be able to post more of our Bacolod EATventures! Wish me luck! :)
A few weeks before Zayne turned a year old, we decided to once again get the services of Frames Perfect Studios for Zayne’s pre-birthday photo shoot. I wanted to do it in a hotel since I wasn’t sure if Zayne would cooperate if we do an outdoor shoot. My husband and I also wanted to have another staycation so technically, we just used the shoot as an excuse to have one! Haha!

I chose Ascott primarily because it is the most lenient among the other hotels that I inquired. I sent an email to around three hotels. All of them either did not allow us to have a shoot outside the hotel room or they were requiring us to pay an additional fee. WTH, right? I then remembered that Ascott Makati was the hotel my younger brother booked for their wedding. I sent an email to Ascott to ask about their rules in having a photo shoot in the hotel premises. I immediately made an online reservation as soon as I received a reply from them.

Ascott is right at the heart of the Glorietta complex so parking space was not a problem for us. Checking-in was very fast and efficient considering that we arrived around 2PM. Their grand and pristine reception area gave us a glimpse of what our staycation would be like.

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We booked a 1-Bedroom Deluxe Suite since we needed ample space for the shoot. We immediately started shooting so the photos of our room, except for the bed, were taken the following day. I really tried my best to have everything look as decent as possible. In case you noticed something displaced, that’s not Ascott’s fault! Hahaha! To put it quite simply, our suite was spotless!

I was endlessly exclaiming ooohhh’s and ahhhhhhhh’s as I admire every nook and cranny of our suite. I think it would have doubled, probably tripled, if I were not too busy running around chasing my baby daughter while trying to make her smile in front of the camera! Hahaha!

The first thing I noticed was this plate that welcomed us. I took a photo of it, promised to eat it after the shoot, and I totally forgot about it! Haha! Sorry, Ascott, but I truly appreciate your thoughtful gesture. =)

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Our suite has a fully-equipped kitchen. I believe it’s because Ascott is actually meant for longer stays. Gaaaaahhhh! I hope my company will send me to some sort of a seminar and will let me stay here for days! Oh, shoot! I totally forgot that I just live half an hour away from Ayala! :p

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I’m a big fan of nice kitchens. I loved the fact that Ascott was able to maximize the little space they have to provide their guests with a classy and efficient kitchen. I remembered that our suite’s kitchen was initially the design that I was eyeing for our home. I wanted to at least have a U-shaped countertop because I want the feeling of being “enclosed” while I prepare our meals. (Sorry, I’m weird like that.) It didn’t work out due to the restrictions of our house’s layout that’s why I was so glad to have spent more or less 24 hours in my semi-dream kitchen. Haha!

The kitchen has all the basics you’ll ever need to prepare a meal – a stove, pots, ladles, can opener. They even have a whisk! We don’t have a whisk at home!!! Hahaha! The hotel also provided manuals on how to operate the kitchen appliances. Our suite also has a complete set of utensils. Aba, may wine glass pa nga e!

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Our suite also has a very simple yet elegant dining area. It’s adjacent to the kitchen. Hanging above the dining table is a simple yet chic lamp. My photos may not give justice to my claim, but the dining area somehow exudes a romantic vibe.

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Parallel to the kitchen is a large closet that is camouflaged in the wall. Hidden behind what I thought was a simple cabinet is a washing machine. If I remember it correctly, I saw a small bottle of liquid detergent inside the cabinet.

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The living room of our suite is very nice. The couch perfectly blends with the monochromatic theme of the room. The pillows gave a perfect contrast to the subtle colors of the living area.

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Zayne enjoyed running like a crazy duck in the living room! She was literally going from one point to another in a speed of light! It’s that spacious, my dear friends. I borrowed one of the photos of Frames Perfect Studios to prove my point. We just moved the accent table and the chair on the side so Zayne could move around freely.

ascott makati frames perfect studios

I also loved that the living room is carpeted, and the accent table is foamed. I somehow felt relieved that Zayne wouldn’t be bumping her head with all her running. The living room has cable TV, but the signal was lost when we were about to checkout. I thought they automatically cut the signal upon checkout, but the receptionist told me that even the nearby hotels experienced signal interruption that day. Hihi. But just allow me to point out that their internet connection is seamlessly fast!

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The Makati skyline is also visible from our suite. We stayed in Ascott around mid-October so the Christmas lights from the nearby buildings kept Zayne entertained by nighttime. The following morning, I could not help but be amazed at the sight of the same buildings that I’ve been seeing almost every day for years. I really don’t give a sh*t seeing these things on a stressful work day, but when you’re on a staycation, you sometimes appreciate some things by merely shifting perspectives. #hugot

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Now, let’s go to our bedroom! Our room has another TV so Tatay didn’t get to fight with Zayne over Disney channel! Hihi. The bedroom is also carpeted so we literally didn’t mind Zayne running in and out of the room.

And their bed! Wooohooo! I’m co-sleeping with Zayne. She usually nurses once or twice in the middle of the night so imagine how sleep-deprived I’ve been. But Zayne and I both slept through the night! It must be the bed. I bet it is. It’s so comfy! The comforter and the pillows are so fluffy. My back thanked me the following day! The sheets smell so nice, too!

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The bedroom has a spacious closet. It’s so spacious that we literally turned it into a storage room when we needed to “hide” anything during the shoot. And yeah, we brought a suitcase for an overnight stay! We have a baby, people. Haha! Housed in the closet are the laundry bin, safety deposit box, umbrella, extra hangers, complimentary slippers and hair dryer.

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Next to the closet is the bathroom. The size of the bathroom is just okay considering that I’ve been to other hotels with bigger bathrooms. I just felt that its size is not “proportional” with the size of the entire suite. I’ve stayed in a smaller deluxe room in other hotels where I could do a cartwheel inside the bathroom.

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The bathroom has a bathtub. It’s also equipped with both handheld shower and rainfall shower head. They also provided crisp towels and an impressively complete set of toiletries.

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L’Occitane is 

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One of the very rare times that a hotel actually provided a razor kit!

But if you know me or you’ve been an avid follower of this blog, then you probably know that I specifically look for one thing in all hotel bathrooms. Unfortunately, Ascott failed in this aspect. They don’t have a bidet installed in our bathroom! Why, oh why?! I seriously hope they install bidets. Human rights violation ang kakulangan ng bidet, e. Haha! :p

Our stay includes buffet breakfast for 2 at Myron’s. We had a very good night sleep so we woke up a bit late. I didn’t get to take photos of the buffet spread because the restaurant was already in full swing when we came down for breakfast.

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The spread may be a bit limited, but Myron’s certainly compensated it with the taste of the food. I specifically loved the sausages and the bacon, of course. Haha. I also noticed that Ascott tried to make the spread as diverse as possible. I’m not sure if it was a deliberate attempt to cater to the needs of the expats who are staying in the hotel.

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After breakfast, we then went outside to check out the pool area. There was an ongoing construction in the area during our stay, but it didn’t erase the fact that their swimming pool is still an eye-catcher. And it is really huge! I saw how the kids and kids-at-heart were enjoying. I still don’t allow Zayne to swim in public pools, but our little one surely enjoyed waving and saying HI to the older kids.

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Because we skipped swimming in the pool, we decided to spend the remaining hours of our stay in their kiddie area. It was also another reason that I booked Ascott for our photo shoot. It was the first place we visited as soon as we checked-in.

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My husband and I purposely do not give Zayne lots of toys so imagine how overwhelmed she was when she first saw the playroom! Haha! I was LOLing as I saw the perfect mix of excitement and confusion in her eyes!

We all enjoyed our stay in Ascott Makati. If I were to rate it from 1-10, I would give it a 9. The missed 0.5 is for the lack of bidet in our bathroom. While we were checking out, I asked the receptionist if they have a breastfeeding/lactation room so I could nurse Zayne. She said they don’t have one so I ended up nursing Zayne in the reception area. There goes the other 0.5. But apart from these glitches, we still had a wonderful time at Ascott Makati!

Ascott Makati
Glorietta 4
Ayala Center
Makati City

* All photos were taken with an Asus Zenfone Selfie
I want to say two things. I’m sorry, and thank you very much.

Ever since I posted our battle with infertility, I started receiving tons of messages from women who are still struggling with getting pregnant. Most of them would tell me, “I hate the fact that my friends are having babies effortlessly while I drain my finances just to have one,” or “It pains me to be a ninang to all of my friends getting pregnant without even trying.” Had they said such things to someone else, I know that they would be judged for being so harsh and insensitive. But I refuse to throw the same judgment to them for one reason – I, too, felt the same for years. I was surrounded by wonderful women who turned into amazing mothers. But I will be a hypocrite if I don’t admit that for years, envy and bitterness clouded my heart. I am just human after all. I have friends who had unplanned pregnancy. I have a friend with a husband who only comes home from the US once a year and stays in the Philippines for less than a month. That friend got pregnant before I did.

All of them made me a godmother to their children. For a time, I somehow accepted the fact that I would be ALWAYS A NINANG, NEVER A NANAY. Don’t get me wrong, okay? I loved all of them dearly. I treat their kids like my own. Isinapuso ko ang pagiging ninang sa kanila. Haha! But again, I felt a kind of pain that only women battling infertility can understand.

When I saw your pregnancy announcement, I felt sincere happiness for you. But again, a part of me somehow felt like life was being unfair. I’m sorry for feeling something negative in a time that was supposed to be filled with happiness. And thank you for being happy for me when it was my turn to make the big reveal.

Each time I would buy gifts for your kid, an unexplainable feeling of sadness filled my heart. Although I make sure that the gifts I gave your kid are packed with genuine love, care and generosity, I’m sorry if there were tiny pieces of negative feelings that came with my presents. And thank you. Thank you for spoiling my kid now.

Each time you posted photos of your little ones with captions like “Please don’t grow up too fast,” or “Thank God it’s Friday,” I cringed with these thoughts running in my head, “They are human beings, of course they grow up! Do you expect them to stay babies forever? Oh yeah, it’s Friday. We all work the same number of days in a week. What’s so special with that?” Again, I’m sorry for being such a bitch! I finally get you now. They really do grow up too fast. And yeah, Fridays become extra special when you become a mother! More importantly, thank you for being emphatic each time I say the same words now over and over again, because seriously, babies do grow up so fast! And why is it not Friday yet?! Hahahaha!

Each time you posted videos of your kid’s accomplishments, I would raise my eyebrows with nothing but disbelief in my head. “Duh! Your kid got a perfect score in his exam! So, what?” I’m sorry for raining on your parade. And thank you for liking all of Zayne’s videos, including the one when she was just blabbing some nonsense noise with saliva coming out of her mouth. Feeling ko kasi at that time, napakahusay na talent na ‘yun ng anak ko! And I finally get you now. I felt like my daughter was such a genius when she learned to do CLOSE-OPEN using her hands! Hahahaha!

For years, I secretly hated you when you posted nothing but your babies. I thought that the world should revolve around me. I felt that you should have been mindful of how I was feeling at that time. How can you post how cute your baby was while I sulked at how I was failing with my fertility workups?! I’m so, so, so sorry for my overwhelming sense of entitlement! Why on Earth would I think that your life should stop for me? And thank you! Thank you very much for continuously rejoicing with me as I enjoy motherhood every single day through my social media posts. Please don’t block me! Hahaha!

Each time you told me how tired you were for taking care of your baby, I would silently judge you for overreacting. “Teh, hindi lang ikaw ang pagod! I work more than 8 hours a day, too. I brave traffic just like you do! Echoserang ‘to!” What was I thinking?! I’m sorry. I really am! The exhaustion I felt before was INCOMPARABLE to yours! I became a mother, and I realized, “Yung pagod ko dati, isang malaking arte lang! Ngayon, totoo na!” Hahahahaha! And thank you! Thank you for making me realize that motherhood equates to patience and hard work. Thank you for making me appreciate more all the mothers that I now work with. And thank you for lending me your ears when I constantly complain of how tired I am! Hihi!

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And now to all the women out there who are feeling the things I used to feel before, I am not judging you. I’ve been there. I definitely know where you’re coming from. But believe me when I tell you that these women who you’re currently jealous of will be the same women who will stand with you, most probably battle with you, when your turn to motherhood comes. The women I envied before are the same mommy friends who made my life as a mother much easier! (Believe me, Google is good, but asking a mommy friend in matter-of-life-and-death situations is wayyyyyy better! Haha!) The women I despised before are the same women who prayed for me and with me as I faced the difficulties of motherhood. The women I secretly cursed before are the same women who celebrated with me as I delight with my child’s milestones. The women I hated before are the same women who paved the way for this clueless, first-time mother, and they all made sure that I feel nothing but love, support and empowerment. :)
My dream was to become a 100% breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering and baby led weaning momma. I was an idealistic first time mother who simply wanted the best for the child she waited for four long years. But somewhere along the way, I learned that more than following whatever I learned from parenting books, what really matters is being able to address my baby’s needs. Had I chosen to stick to my initial plans, my baby would have suffered big time mainly because I would be losing my sanity along the way. Zayne has been exclusively breastfed since day 1. She’s in cloth diapers on most hours of the day except when we go out, and I still practice babywearing. Unfortunately, I failed in BLW. When Zayne was about to start on solids, her weight gain reached a plateau. Her pediatrician was a bit worried that it would have an effect on her brain development. To be able to catch up to her weight, I discarded the thought of BLW and resorted to spoonfeeding her. On our succeeding monthly checkups, her pediatrician’s worries were thrown out the window when he noticed that Zayne was actually advanced for her age. She started walking even if she was just expected to crawl. Her mental development also impressed her doctor. His conclusion: Mana lang daw talaga sa aming mag-asawa si Zayne. Heller, nakaka 3 cups of rice kami pero hindi tumataba! Hahaha!

As soon as the “weight gain scare” was over, I decided to let Zayne eat on her own. I was initially worried that she would refuse our new practice. Yes, it was more challenging, but Zayne was actually enjoying her new-found independence. Hihi! But a couple of months ago, when Zayne started to become more active, meal times suddenly equated to MESSY TIMES! There had been times when she would “accidentally” knock over her plate. And you probably know what happens next. Food is everywhere! She has sweet potatoes in her ears. My shirt is soaked with vegetable sauce. We have food scattered on the floor and sticking on our walls! Hahaha!

Good thing that I discovered The Project Mommyger through my longtime friend and mommy batchmate, Dianne. Dianne’s daughter, Padi, is almost the same age as Zayne. Dianne bought a Fun Feeding Mat for Padi, and she vouched how effective it is for Padi. I checked out the website of TPM, made an online order, and the mat was shipped to me in no time. It was definitely a hassle-free transaction.

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This is our Little Kolokoy enjoying the Fun Feeding Mat from The Project Mommyger. Teaching her to eat on her own was very easy. Telling her to sit like a lady is an entirely different story. Hahaha! Don’t worry, guys. We’re already working on it! :p

Taken from TPM website: This all-in-one silicone placemat & plate will make feeding and cleaning up after your little one a breeze. Made from a BPA and phthalate-free food safe silicone, this placemat suctions securely to hard surfaces, preventing little fingers from pulling up the mat, meaning no more tipped over plates or bowls.

When Zayne used it for the first time, she was trying so hard to remove the mat from our table. It was so hilarious! Those who know us personally can attest how strong Zayne is. (She can pull my husband’s laptop bag! A visitor was shocked when she once saw Zayne trying to pull a 6L bottle of water. Yes, guys. May laman ‘yung bote! Haha!) But Zayne finally gave up when she realized that she could not move the mat. Hihi!

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Dealing with Mommy Karen was a delight. She personally sent me text messages to inform me of the status of my order. And if you look at the products in her site, you’ll realize that most of them are considered mommy hacks! Pampadali ng buhay ng mga nanay!

There are a couple of other online stores that sell products that are similar to what TPM is offering. But there’s one reason which made me decide to choose TPM over them. It’s Kara. Kara is Mommy Karen’s daughter who’s just a month older than Zayne. I follow Mommy Karen on Instagram, and I see that Kara actually uses all the things that are being sold in TPM. This fact makes me feel at ease. Why? E kasi, real life (tiny) human being ang brand ambassador ng Fun Feeding Mat! :)

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This is not a sponsored post, people. This is an honest and objective review from a paying customer. If you don’t believe me, then just look at Zayne’s happy face! Hihi!
I was restraining myself from buying a new pair of ballet flats even if my “daily” pair already gave up months ago. I was about to go to the mall to look for a new pair when I remembered that one of my best friends, Joie, recommended the ballet flats from Sole Depot PH. Sole Depot PH is the brainchild of Joie’s elder sister, Ate Cathy. This local business aims to provide classy, comfy and durable ballet flats at more reasonable prices. Ate Cathy designs the shoes and have everything done locally, mostly in Marikina. Because I had been meaning to replace my worn out ballet flats, I sent a private message to Ate Cathy inquiring about the prices. A pair usually starts at around PHP500. Not bad, ehh?! Much to my surprise, Ate Cathy told me that she would just be sending me a pair so I can review it here in my blog! Wooohooo! Okay, bago niyo ako i-judge na biased ang post na 'to dahil libre ang shoes, I received the shoes last August. I decided to delay posting this so I can stress test it for a more objective review. *wink wink*

sole depot ph ballet flats

Joie kept on raving about the quality of Sole Depot. Pinanlusong na daw niya sa baha ‘yung shoes niya! Although I knew that she wasn’t just being biased to her sister (haha), I wanted to see it for myself. I am a size 5, but Sole Depot suggests that you get shoes that are one size larger than your actual feet size.

I have been using this pair for ALMOST every day since August. I had countless of trips to Divisoria, and this was the same pair that I used on all of those trips. And just last week, it was the only pair of shoes that I brought with me for our trip to Bacolod. I realized that my sneakers were also worn out so I used ballet flats to do some hiking… while carrying either my one-year-old baby or her diaper bag that’s even heavier than her! And believe me, I did not feel even the slightest discomfort while wearing it.

A photo posted by Jerellt Abenoja-Andrade (@dahwanderer) on

A photo posted by Jerellt Abenoja-Andrade (@dahwanderer) on

A photo posted by Jerellt Abenoja-Andrade (@dahwanderer) on

O kitams? Sabi ko sa inyo bonggang STRESS TEST ang ginawa ko bago ako mag-review! :p

Durable: CHECK!
Affordable: CHECK!
Comfortable: CHECK!

At ang ganda rin ng shoes! Para siya ‘yung classmate mo noong highschool na matalino na, magaling na mag-karate, nuknukan pa ng ganda pero sobrang humble! Hahahaha! It’s so pretty that some of my office mates even took notice. One of my office mates even got her own pair when she saw the pair given to me by Sole Depot. I was so impressed with the quality of the shoes that I decided to buy another pair when they had a flash SALE on FB. I got my second pair for PHP400!

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I wore my second pair of Sole Depot ballet flats on our family photoshoot :)

No need for BAND-AID!
No need to scrub the edges of the shoes with the wax from a candle. (Ako lang ba ang gumagawa neto?!)
No more ouchies after hours of long walks.
And more importantly, no need to strain your wallets!

I have never been brand-conscious. If you have been following this blog for years, then you probably know that I support local brands. Kaya, lezzzzgowwww! Support Filipino-made products. Support local businesses!

Follow their Facebook page and take a peek at the designs of Sole Depot PH. And also be updated on their next SALE schedule! Hahaha!

But if you like to personally see and try out the shoes, you may visit any of their showrooms:

Elite Fashion Boutique - Boni ,Mandaluyong
The Pink Gossip Boutique - Taft, Manila
21st Avenue Boutique - San Fernando, Pampanga
Your Fashion Point - UST, Manila
Hollermall - Vito Cruz, Manila (opening December 2016)
I’ve been with my current company for almost five years. For years, when Halloween preparations begin, I would feel a mixed sense of excitement and sadness. Excitement, because, duh, candies! Hahaha! But trick or treat in the office served as a reminder of all of our failed attempts in conceiving a child. So this year, hindi ako excited. Hindi rin excited si Boyet. Nag-vacation leave lang kami pareho para sa trick or treat ni Zayne! Wakekekeke!!!

I exerted more effort in helping the team prepare for the decorations. Our Halloween theme was Pokemon. Kaya kahit si Pikachu lang ang kilala kong Pokemon, bongga ang gupit, design at pintura ko. ‘Yung pininturahan kong giant Pokemon, hindi ko siya kilala. Promise!!! Hahahaha!!! Inisip ko na lang, para ‘to sa ika-e-enjoy ng anak ko at sa cash prize kung sakaling manalo ang team namin sa contest! Nyahahaha!

I would have wanted to be that do-it-yourself momma and create a costume out of whatever I could lay my hands on, but I was too busy preparing for Zayne’s first birthday party. (And duh! I am not creative either. Sino ang niloko ko? Haha!) Since we were already making trips to Divisoria, I just bought a Minnie Mouse costume for Zayne.

Zayne fell asleep while we were on our way to the office. If you have kids, then you probably know how they are when their sleep has been interrupted. Most of her Titos and Titas were excited to meet her for the first time. Pero si Zayne, lakompake levelz siya. Lelzzzz!

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Zayne: Bakit ang kalat sa office mo, Nanay?!

There were a lot of bigger kids running around the office. And since Zayne had just recently discovered her new superpower which is her ability to go from one point to another in just one millisecond, I decided to just place her along the “less busy” hallway. She actually didn’t mind at all. She was too busy “picking” the leaves! Pasimple pa ang ale e!

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Jollibee also kept her busy! :p

A photo posted by Jerellt Abenoja-Andrade (@dahwanderer) on

And she could not stop staring at her Ninang Mitch! Hahaha!

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Zayne: Parang nakita ko na siya dati... 

A photo posted by Jerellt Abenoja-Andrade (@dahwanderer) on

I was too paranoid that the bigger kids would step on her (Haha! Step talaga?!) so we were not able to take photos of the decorations. Nanalo pa naman kami ng 2nd place! :p But luckily, we were able to pose with the... uhmmm... box of tissue paper! Bwahahahaha!

*** Some of the photos were taken by my officemates, Joel and Roy.
Today, our baby turns one year old. I find it weird that I kept on falling in and out of my sanity the past couple of months. There are days when my heart is overflowing with so much happiness because our little darling is growing up to be the kind of child that I’ve always prayed for. She has turned into everybody’s sweet darling. And before I knew it, tears would start to flow because I feel like my child is slowly slipping away. I have been in constant battle with time, and I feel like I’ve been ceaselessly losing against it. I cry because I know that no matter how hard I pray to spend more time with her “smaller” version, I simply can’t challenge what nature has designed – that my baby is meant to grow up and find her own path.

I initially had a conversation with a mommy friend. She said, “I feel you, Je. It’s normal. Every mother goes through that same struggle.” She later on told me that I’m excused to be a bit more emotional because of the struggles I had to endure just to have Zayne. She’s right. I figured that my mommy heart has been struggling already even before I became a mother. Battling infertility for four years was not easy. My heart was initially like dam. The struggles dried up my dam. My heart became so used to being like a dried up, useless  dam. So when Zayne came, my heart that was so used to being a bottomless pit of emptiness, suddenly overflowed with so much love, happiness and contentment. Don’t get me wrong, okay? I have always been happy, and I came to a point in my life when I had already come to terms with the possibility of not being able to have a child of my own. Boyet once told me, “You and I, we’re already a family.” But you see, a dam is supposed to have water in it. So when Zayne came into my life, a dam that was once used to being empty suddenly overflowed! Now that I’m seeing her grow up, I can’t help but be reminded of the days when she was nothing but a wish. I’m reminded of the days when my heart, now filled with so much love coming from a little human being, had nothing but a feeling of longing. Before she came, I could not imagine how I would be able to love someone selflessly. It’s as if motherhood made my heart expand a thousand times more.

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There are days when I feel like wearing a cape which comes with my supermom powers. But on most days, I feel like I’m lacking. I give myself a pat on the back when I don’t need to choose between spending time with her and checking out my social media accounts. She always comes first. But there are days when I just feel so exhausted to even lift a finger. There are days when I wish that money grew on trees so I won’t be needing to spend hours in traffic and stay in the office for hours away from her. And then I’ll get back to my senses, being reminded of the things that I want to do for her and with her – giving her a good future, traveling the world with her and allowing her to chase her own dreams – all of which require one thing: MONEY. Hahaha! I feel bad for the tricks that I didn’t get to teach her, but I just feel so blessed that our little family is surrounded with tons of people who help us guide Zayne. It really does take a village to raise a child. I feel bad for the hours I spent away from home. But I make sure that I make up for it even if it means that I need to sing and dance while watching Hi-5. On days when I feel like being a bad mother, my little one, with her heart a million times bigger than her tiny hands, would shower me with hugs and kisses. When I tell her, “Zayne, please give Nanay a kiss,” she would stop whatever she’s doing, reach for my face and give me a kiss on the lips. Minsan aso-level with licking on my nose pa. Haha!

Most of the time, I wonder how this world is so unfair to mothers – misjudged, undervalued and unappreciated most of the times. But I guess nature has a way to balance it out. A simple hug can wipe away all the stress. I’m surprised how an exhausted mother can feel so recharged with just one kiss from her child.

There are days when I can’t help but look back at the times when Zayne was not yet with us. We had more money to spare. We had more time to go on spontaneous dates and out of town trips. We had the freedom and the liberty to do whatever we wanted to do. I had more sleep. I could read all the books in my shelf. I could savor my every meal without a baby to think of or a schedule to follow. Those were the days. But those were also the days when my dam was all dried up. Ironically, both my sleep bank and bank account may have been depleted, but my heart is at its fullest.

I know I may sound like a weirdo to you, but every day, as I see Zayne grow before my eyes, I remember the days when I prayed for the things I’m now blessed with. I am reminded of all of our failed attempts to conceive a child. I knew that God has a reason for everything. It was something I kept on convincing myself. I told myself that sooner or later, I would understand why my husband and I had to go through years of patiently waiting. Now, as I look at my little ball of sunshine, I finally understood God’s reason for making me wait. It took him years to “design” the kind of child that I really needed. He gave me a sweet and loving child to teach me how to always readily show affection. God probably wanted me to become less grumpy so He blessed me with a cheerful child. He gave me a sensitive and forgiving Zayne - the kind of child who would surely understand my shortcomings as a mother. And with all those years of waiting, He made sure that Zayne would be worth it.

As our Zayne turns one year old today, I am once again reminded of the many beautiful things that came out of years of waiting. My husband has turned out to be an amazing father to Zayne, and he still looks at me like I’m one helluva sexy Victoria’s Secret model! And one of the most important lessons I learned in my short stint as a mother is this: For the longest time, I thought that being a mother is being able to help my child turn out to be a good person. Somewhere along the way, I realized that my child has also been given to me to help me turn out to be a better person, to teach me the most valuable lessons in life.

Today is our Zayne’s first birthday. It’s amazing how a little human being has turned our worlds crazier but definitely happier. And today, as we also celebrate our first birthday as parents, I am more than amazed to see how a small human being has continuously transformed our hearts. Thank you, our dear Zayne, for teaching us how to seize each day. And to our little angel up there who should have also been one year old today, your Tatay and I love you the same way we love your Ate Zayne. I know that a part of you has remained in Zayne because on most days, we feel like we are taking care of two babies with Zayne’s wit and energy! And yeah, I still miss you.

Happiest birthday to our babies! Nanay and Tatay love you very, very, very much! Thank you for making our hearts grow bigger in love!

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* Photos by Dar Calado of Frames Perfect Studio
I often find myself on the verge of crying for so many different reasons. My heart is overflowing with joy because Zayne is growing up to be the kind of child I’ve always prayed for – happy, smart and kind-hearted. But my mommy heart is breaking into tiny pieces because I can’t cope up with time! Here I am, blogging about her 11th month a couple of days before her first birthday! Give me Piper Halliwell's power so I can freeze time!!!

Zayne was feeling a bit under the weather on her 11th month birthday. She had runny nose which explains her gloomy eyes and pambahay outfit. I’m just thankful that she has a better immune system than me. Sipon sipon lang ang sakit niya. 

She was also wearing a beanie handed down to her by her cousin, Ate Zoe. Zayne wouldn’t let it go since she saw it. Haha!

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Her Ninang Joie definitely made up for missing to make her a cake on her 10th month birthday. Joie made this mouth-watering chocolate cake topped with different kinds of chocolates! Grabe! I died and went to chocolate heaven after my first bite of the cake. :p

When Zayne reached her 10th month, she discovered that she has the power to walk endlessly! She just won’t stop walking! She walks inside our house. She walks within our neighborhood every morning. She walks when we go to the mall. She walks like a zombie as soon as she wakes up! People are often surprised when they find out that she’s not even one year old! And they are more amused when she starts showing off her tricks! Haha!

A video posted by Jerellt Abenoja-Andrade (@dahwanderer) on

She already knows some parts of the body – head, nose and tongue. But now at almost one year old, she can point at her eyes, ears, hair, stomach and armpit! Yes, armpit! She would raise both of her hands when you ask her!

A video posted by Jerellt Abenoja-Andrade (@dahwanderer) on

She has mastered saying hi, bye, high five and flying kiss – complete with the right hand movements! Well, except for flying kiss because she still uses the back of her hands instead of placing her palm directly on her lips. Nanay Inday, our trusted babysitter, told her once that her palms are dirty so she should not put it in her mouth. It makes sense, right?! Haha!

She learned to clap her hands when she was approaching her 9th month, but it was the quiet clap. Imagine how happy she was when she was able to produce sound when clapping her hands! She even claps her hands while sleeping!

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She has also learned to associate things based from their use. She points the remote control of the TV or the AC, and she puts the mobile phone NEAR her ear. Ok, fine. Hindi masyadong NEAR her ear! :p

She loves seeing animals – whether it’s our neighbor’s dog, a stray cat or an elephant from Animal Planet, she’ll giggle right away. She also loves it when I read books to her. She loves it as much as flipping the pages of her board books by herself.

She also sings and dances all the time. She loves the opening songs of Sheriff Callie’s Wild West, the birthday song from Disney Junior and almost all the songs from Hi-5! (Pero medyo OA levelz siya sa WOW, L.O.V.E. at Robot Number 1! Hume-headbang pa ang lola e!)

Every night, I pray to be able to guide and nurture Zayne so she’ll turn out to be a disciplined child. For some odd reason, our parenting skills were put to a test right away. As soon as Zayne reached her tenth month, she started going (very) near the television. Whoever was taking care of her would complain the same thing. They would carry her farther, but she would just go right in front of the television after a few seconds. When I already had enough, I decided to turn off the TV one night after she kept on ignoring me. She cried, of course. I then explained to her that I would not be turning the TV back on until she promised me that she would sit farther away from the TV.

She cried even harder!!!

I was already losing my cool because I honestly didn’t have a single clue whether she was getting my message. I gave her the remote control, and I told her, “Zayne, here’s the remote control. If you still want to watch TV, give it to Nanay so I’ll turn it on for you. But you have to sit here beside me.” Still sobbing, she handed me the remote control. I turned the TV on, and Zayne quietly sat on my lap for two consecutive Disney Junior shows! She lasted an hour! I told my parents and our babysitter, and they’ve been doing the same trick up until today!

She also knows parts of her nightly prayer. In the name of the Father at Amen pa nga lang ang alam niya! Hahaha! :p

My husband and I also feel so grateful for being blessed with a child with such a happy heart who finds delight in even the simplest things. She has continued to be a low maintenance baby. She enjoys playing with the very few toys that she has, and she shows the same level of happiness when she plays with some random things like a tissue paper! Hahaha!

Hay. Eleven months. Our little darling is turning one year old on November 8. (I know, I know. This is a long overdue post! Hahaha!) I honestly don’t know why scientists haven’t invented something to freeze time! Hey there, Piper Halliwell, give me some of your powers!!!

P.S. Halatang-halata ang edad ko sa paggamit ko kay Piper Halliwell sa post na 'to! :p