Simple Joy…

The last weekend of January, I decided to bring Z to the Children’s Park at Burnham Park. Given that it was a Sunday, there were a lot of people spending time as a family. There were a lot of kids, too, that I find the park a bit too crowded for my taste. However, that afternoon weather was fine – not too chilly, not too warm. It was a good day to spend in the park, so to speak.

I let Z ride the swing. Z’s first experience with a swing was during his therapy session. He didn’t like it. Well, he hated it. I think he was not too keen with the rocking motion. At first, I thought he wouldn’t like it because he almost didn’t want to get into the bucket (well, it looks like a bucket to me). But after a few seconds, he sat down and got comfortable then I pushed the swing lightly for him to be accustomed to the motion.

It was so amazing and so wonderful watching him enjoy the ride. I saw his face lit up with glee as the swing went higher. I saw how much he enjoyed the moment. For a second there, while I pushed his swing and took a video at the same time, I just couldn’t help but realize that there are those moments in life wherein we just need to take a step back, take a deep breath and just enjoy the little things. Life may be chaotic and decisions seem hard to make at times but we need to ride the swing once in a while and let go and just be carefree.

This video is definitely one of my favorites. I just love how this kid is teaching me a lot of things about life.

February, February…

Yep, it’s that shortest month of the year again, and this year, the month’s got an extra day. It’s the leap year so February gets 29 days again. For the past couple of years, I have always been mentioning how I hate this month for the reason that it feels too long. However, I think this is the first year that I will say that I am excited. Well, I have several reasons and indulge me as I tell you all about it.

We have found a nanny for Z! :D Z had a nanny previously – a stay-out nanny in the mountain city – and her contract ended last December, which, my Mom and I agreed, will not be renewed due to several reasons. (I’ll have to blog about my nanny stories some other time). Last month, we have been searching for a stay-in nanny for Z willing to work in the big metro so my son can stay with me. Last Wednesday, she already reported for duty. I met her over the weekend and so far, I liked what I saw. Even my Mom said that she is okay.

Since last week, I have been busy preparing my home for Z. I have been cleaning, washing clothes, rearranging stuff, and making sure that the place is safe for my son. I’ve just finished doing laundry consisting of bedsheets, curtains and blankets. :P

This weekend, I will be going home again to the mountain city to pick up my son and the nanny. We will be travelling back to the big metro on Monday (to avoid the weekend chaos at the bus terminal and the heavy traffic jams along the way). I am soooo excited!

But of course, we wouldn’t be travelling back before celebrating my Mom’s birthday. Her birthday is on Valentine’s day so we – my siblings and I – are planning on a family celebration. It will be the first family lunch that we will have this year (since we weren’t able to do it last month).

The thought of having Z finally staying here with me is exhilarating. I am already starting to plan a lot of things that we will be doing – places to see, activities to do, events to go to. I am also preparing for his therapy schedules and doctors’ appointments as well as play dates. :D

But at the same time, I am feeling a bit anxious, too. This is the first time that Z will really be living with me and I will be his sole guardian. Meaning, I am going to be a full-time Mom. No longer a weekend Mom. And the thought that it will just be me guiding him and providing instructions to the nanny, it’s a bit worrying. Can I really do this? Am I going to be Mom enough for Z? Can I handle the responsibility?

It’s really going to be a challenge but it is a challenge that I have been waiting for for a long time now. I am sooo looking forward to waking up seeing my son beside me every single day – not just weekends anymore. And I am really excited to watch him grow every single day.

Oh, by the way, February is also Down’s syndrome Awareness Month. And I have decided to join the Happy Walk happening on the 21st. I am excited to meet and bond with other families who’s got a family member with Ds. And I would love to see some of the Moms that I have been chatting with every now and then as well. It will be so much fun.

I am looking forward to the days of this month. :)

 

When There’s Silence…

You hear your thoughts loud and clear…

It’s 1:45AM this side of the world and I’m on my second cup mug of freshly brewed coffee. I know I should be taking it easy so I can sleep in a few hours but then I needed something to do besides doing the laundry. I’ll do that tomorrow, I guess.

My mind has been cluttered with a lot of things lately it is really hard to concentrate. Music can no longer drown out the thoughts that slowly trickles through my consciousness. So, I might as well give it time and go through it one by one. But I am not going to post that in this blog. Not just yet. Not when I still don’t know what to do with it.

Going all those thoughts, it seems that I have a lot of worries, a lot of things to be anxious about, a lot of things that I really long for but seem to be always short of my reach. You know that quote from the movie “A Knight’s Tale”? It goes like this: you’ve been weighed, you’ve been measured, and you have been found wanting. I think I have been setting very high standards for myself that it has become too unrealistic and I have found myself wanting. I want more but I end up with less. Something to that effect.

There just comes a point in life when you just want to drop everything and make your own fort out of blankets and hide there forever with a flashlight and pretend that nobody knows where you are. It’s hard being a grown up. Haha! There are also times when I want to reset my life. Live it a bit different to have a different outcome. And there are those times when I just want to take my brains out and leave it on the sink with the water running so it will wash out those things that needs to be washed off. LOL!

Yeah, yeah, I know. We all have those things that we need to change and we all have those what if moments that we can no longer take back. Probably one of the reasons that I have a lot of things running in my head a mile a minute.

Anyway, going back. January is almost at its end. In a few days, the next month begins. And until now, I haven’t really thought of the goals that I want to achieve for this year. I cannot really say that being busy at work is the reason why I haven’t given it much thought. It’s more like the questions, questions rather: “what now?”, “where to go from here?”

I’m stuck. Going back to the drawing board, starting from scratch, the tip of the pen just a little bit over the drawing paper but hesitant to even put a single dot. Why?  Because I don’t know where to put that small dot on the large piece of drawing paper, that’s why. Seriously, I am already 32 years old and yet I am having the problems of a 20-year old trying to decide where she wants her life to go. A bit frustrating to say the least.

And yes, I know I am babbling. Again. Oh well.

Okay, seriously, getting back to the topic at hand. Since I live alone (well, during weekdays, that is), I come home to an empty house with only the television turned on for a little bit of noise. But again, it is not enough to down out the thoughts that have been trying to get out. I worry about a lot of things and, being the control-freak that I am, I feel that everything is already out of my control. It leaves me clueless as to what I need to do or need to resolve first. Sometimes I really think that I need to give up trying to control a lot of things and start taking things as they come. How do you do that exactly? One thing that I can probably ask myself after somehow entertaining thoughts in my head is that “how do I want to live my life from now on?”

With all these things running in my head, both coherent and incoherent, logical and illogical, what ifs and what will be’s, I have been reminded of a Bible verse that I have learned when I was a kid:

Cast your cares on the Lord

and he will sustain you;

he will never let

the righteous be shaken.

Psalm 55:22

At the end of the day, when there’s silence, you hear your thoughts loud and clear, and at the same time, if you listen closer, you can hear God’s voice saying that we just have to trust Him and to believe that He knows what’s best for us. We just have to believe and claim His promises. And as a reminder, here’s a song that well describes what I am trying to sum up here.

Yes, we need to cast our cares on Him.

When They’re Good and Ready…

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I’ve seen this in Facebook and I couldn’t help but share. When you have a typically normal kid, it is so easy to push them to get ahead of the game. We tend to think that their usual curiosity at a very early age is a sign that they are “gifted” and we try to hone it to the point of getting competitive in the parenting department, wanting our kids to be better than everybody else. Well, I don’t think all parents do this but I hope you get the drift.

Being a Mom to a child with Down syndrome, I have learned and still learning to become more patient. We need to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. Down syndrome is termed to be a learning disability so we cannot really push our kids to do things the way we would a typical kid. We need a lot of patience and we need to stick to routine for our kids to learn one thing before moving on to the next.

My son is already 2 years and 4 months (turning 2 years and 5 months in 10 days) and he has just learned how to walk a couple of months back. He is still working on his balance, holding on to furniture every now and then, but I can see his determination to walk and soon, run. My little Z is still non-verbal as well. He babbles a lot but no distinct words is still said. He can imitate a dog barking, he knows the sound of a car and he tries to imitate other sounds that he hears.

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Afternoon at John Hay Manor, walking towards the fountain

Z wanted to play with the water :D

Z wanted to play with the water :D

My son loves music. He loves “The Wheels on the Bus”, “Eensy Weensy Spider”, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, “I Have Two Hands”, and a few more nursery rhymes. He even knows the actions to these songs. And he will do the actions even if no one sings the song and my brother just plays it on the violin. Whenever someone plays an instrument at home, he would immediately go to the person playing and would try to play the instrument himself.

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When he sees a remote control, he would point it to the TV, when he sees a phone, he would bring it to his ear or to your ear, when he sees my tablet, he would “ask” me to play his app by taking my hand and tapping it on the tablet, he knocks on closed doors, he would crawl to the fridge and open the door, he now knows how to sit on a small chair and he knows that he needs to close the gate when we go out for a walk or come back from the outside. In his own little way, he would communicate with you what he wants.

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“Hello? Are you there?” :D

Watching his nursery rhymes on my tablet

Watching his nursery rhymes on my tablet

He loves cars and anything that goes around. He checks the wheels on his toy cars to see how they work. He loves colorful lights. Early December last year, I brought him to Ayala Triangle to watch the light show and he loved it. On Christmas Eve, we tagged along with my cousins when they went to John Hay Manor to watch the light show and little Z loved that, too. Everyday, my Mom or my sister or I (on weekends) would walk Z to the main street back home just to watch cars passing by. After a few minutes, we would walk back home. And if given the chance, he would hold the tires of cars parked nearby.

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He attends therapy sessions once a week and one of the things they use is a gym ball. He has his own gym ball at home but since his gym ball is quite big for him to get on it on his own, he would use a balloon and do some of the exercises he does on a gym ball. :D This was really fun to watch.

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While these things may seem small compared to milestones of typical kids his age, I am just so proud that my son has achieved these milestones. Surprisingly, I am not rushing for him to do things as well. I learned to be patient and to just be there to guide him in achieving milestones upon milestones in his own time. I would rather that my son understands each and every lesson he learns as he grows rather than pushing him to do things prematurely. I guess this is something that we all need to learn and understand. Kids would do things in their own sweet time with our proper guidance. You might be surprised with what the will achieve eventually.

“Stop and smell the roses” is no longer just a quote for me. This is a reminder that, given the pace of life nowadays, we need to learn to appreciate the small things, else we miss out on the most wondrous things that we may experience. There’s no need to rush things especially in learning because we might miss out on the most important lessons as well.

Trip Down Memory Lane: The Confirmation…

It’s already 4AM here and I am yet to settle on my bed.  I have a leak in the bathroom’s ceiling which I reported to the maintenance when I got home. Unfortunately, the water leakage is coming straight out of the light fixture which would mean that I cannot turn the light on to avoid further accidents. Apparently, the leak was caused by the renovation being done at the unit directly above mine to which the maintenance guy and one of the roving guards mentioned was not authorized. Oh well. And I have to get up early later as I need to run some errands that I need completed tomorrow… err, later today because I need it for tomorrow, and I also need to personally report the leakage in the bathroom to the administration officer to make it official for proper action as well. Such a hassle. But then it has to be done.

Anyway, this day three years ago marked the biggest turning point in my life. January 14, 2013 was the day that an OB-GYN officially confirmed that I was pregnant. The tumble of emotions, the butterflies in the stomach, the anxiety that day was so high I was not able to concentrate at work after the doctor’s consultation. I can remember it like it was just yesterday. :D I was overwhelmed that day. When I told the doctor that day that I was delayed, she started asking pregnancy questions like when the first day of my last menstruation was, if I feel any symptoms like nausea, cravings and all that and if I was sexually active.  I think it was just those three pertinent questions that were asked before she started computing then told me my expected due date: September 9. I was officially 5 weeks pregnant. She required me to have an ultrasound to further confirm, too, to which – still dumbfounded me – I obediently followed.

First time ever to get an ultrasound... Oh, the mixed emotions as I lie there motionless...

First time ever to get an ultrasound… Oh, the mixed emotions as I lie there motionless…

Good thing I was not alone during that time. I asked my bestfriend to go with me to the doctor after telling her a day before of the two pregnancy test results that I got. I remember not knowing what to tell her when we saw each other that night after telling her the positive pregnancy test results. :P

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Coffee session the night before doctor’s appointment… #denialmode

After my doctor’s appointment, I already knew that I would be keeping my baby and yet I remember coming up with a spreadsheet of the pros and cons of having a baby at what I thought that time was the wrong time. LOL! Seriously, I was such a workaholic those days and I think I had been staring at too many spreadsheets that I needed to come up with one for all the wrong reasons. LOL!

At the end of the day, I don’t regret my decision. I don’t regret getting pregnant even if there is no father around. I already fell in love with my son even before I knew he would be a boy. Well, I fell in love with him after I got over the initial shock which lasted for about a day at the most, I think. :)

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Three years after… <3

 

 

Midnight Musings: Reminiscing the Past…

… to know what’s wrong with the present…

For quite sometime now, I have felt like I am floating or falling into an abyss. Or maybe I am hanging somewhere. And I am reminded of a song from way back then… Somewhere in Between by Lifehouse. And the line on the song goes like this “I’m somewhere in between what is real and just a dream”…

I don’t know. I’ve been thinking quite a lot for the past few weeks. About the past, about the present, about the future. And I think that some things need to change. I just don’t know what.

I was talking to a colleague earlier and it has just dawned on me the reason why I think I am already stagnant in my growth, professionally and partly personally. And one thing stood out clearly from going through past blog posts (from another lifetime it seems) and past chat sessions with friends. Sometimes I even wonder what I was really like 5 years ago. The posts I wrote and the chat conversations I’ve had felt like they were all written by a different person. Some of the things I’ve wrote back then had me wanting to slap myself and say, “what the hell were you thinking back then?” LOL!

One thing stood out, though. I have lost the recklessness that I’ve had when I was younger. At the same time, I’ve lost the creativity (or whatever creativity I think I had back then) in doing things. I no longer blog the way I did before. If my Multiply account was still alive, it would be so nice to read my old posts – opnionated, quite honest point of views of things that caught my attention. Now, I can’t even sit down and write down a post worth reading and commenting on. Sheesh!

In my professional life, I have been to three companies. First was an IT school, then a BPO company and now, a supply chain. The first company was basically a training ground for me. Something experimental for me to gauge if I could really work in a corporate setting. The second one was where I started to grow professionally. The third one, well, it’s the longest industry that I have been in. 9 years going 10 by end of this year.

One of the realizations that I’ve had was this. During my stint with a BPO company, I went through 3 major experiences (for the lack of better term, really):

  1. I was bended until I broke then I was re-built into something stronger. I had to unlearn the things I knew so I can learn new things which I did.
  2. Someone held me accountable for my actions and reminded me that everything I do will have a ripple effect within the team.
  3. I was challenged to become better by pushing me to go past my so-called limits.

When I left the company, I felt stronger and more confident. Then I entered the company I am with up to this day. And here is what I realized:

  1. I received a lot of criticisms but received no proper mentoring. I was not bended until I broke and I was not re-built to become stronger then ever. I incorporated previous learnings into new learnings and learned how to be creative in doing things the way I see fit. It was a trial and error on my end. And during the early years, I looked up to a handful of people at work that would be my role models and pegged them to be my goal as a working professional.
  2. Overtime, I feel that nobody holds me accountable for what I do. I tend to do things I want and if I don’t do things exactly how I was told, I don’t get the kind of berating that I got previously. I have learned to be independent and be accountable for my own actions. At the end of the day, I can’t feel any proper guidance for me to grow.
  3. After 9 years, I no longer feel challenged. Well, there are times that my curiosity gets piqued and I feel challenged but after a while, I start to procrastinate until I am no longer interested and go back to old, boring routine.
  4. Appreciation goes a long way. Recognition goes a long way. Motivation goes a long way. I don’t need public announcements that I did good at something. A simple heartfelt “thank you” or “good job” or even a simple pat on the back just to acknowledge that I have done something right is enough for me. For a few years now, I just realized that I haven’t felt appreciated. All I got were criticisms. And hearing one negative feedback after another have worn me out.

At the end of the day, I realized that I am no longer creative as I used to be. I am no longer motivated as I used to be. I am doing things by routine. I wake up, go to work, come home, stare at the ceiling, sleep. And then it goes on until end of work week. Then I go home to my son, be a Mom somehow, try to get some rest, then come back and prepare for the next work week. So routinary. So boring.

I need to change my routine somehow. I need a paradigm shift. But a few questions that I have been asking myself lately are:

  1. What do I want to do?
  2. What do I need to change?
  3. How do I change?
  4. What will make me happy?
  5. How do I get back part of my used-to-be ideal self where I see the world with a glint in the eye, ready to challenge whatever that will come my way?

*sigh* I think I am getting old. Or maybe I have already lost myself along the way and it is just now that I realized that I have been losing myself. And so I guess this was the reason why I have been digging around old skeletons lately. I need to find myself again.

Oh well….

The Money Challenge…

It’s already the 12th of the month this side of the world and I have yet to decide what money challenge I would take for this year.

Last year, I attempted to do the 52-Week Money Challenge that was trending the cyberworld. I used my son’s bank account to keep the savings and I also kept a spreadsheet to track down how much I was able to save. I started out with a base amount of Php50 but I didn’t stick to the dictated amount to be saved per week. Every payday, I would deposit my extra cash and add it into the “pot”. By week 15, I already have an amount equivalent to a week-42 target savings. :D I was giddy and was really motivated to save more because I was already thinking that by the end of the year, I would have at least double the targeted amount.

Unfortunately, I was not able to complete the challenge because of several unexpected turn of events wherein I needed the funds and the extra cash I was planning to save. The big expenses that really put a dent in my cash flow is when I had to find a new place. My new apartment now is a bit more expensive than the last one, but during the time that I decided to get this place, I made a short computation of my expenses and thought that I have extra for the additional cost of the place. However, come June time, I hired a nanny for my little Z which we got from an agency and the monthly cost was a bit higher than what I have anticipated. Since the nanny is already a need (because my Mom and my sister are working, too), I made some adjustments in my budget plan. Then about two months after that, little Z’s therapy sessions started as well which was an additional expense. On top of that, I had utilities to pay, groceries including milk and diapers to buy and daily transportation expenses.

I was not able to refund the savings that I was able to use to cover for majority of the big expenses but at some point, I don’t really regret it because I know that I was able to use it for a cause. It was because of that savings that I was able to get a lease on a new place, it was because of that savings that I was able to hire a nanny and it was because of that savings that I was able to pay for Z’s confinements and other doctors’ appointments. The only thing I regret probably would be not being able to finish the end of the challenge.

Since I started working, no let me rephrase that, since I started realizing that I needed to be mindful of my spending, it has been my practice to treat every new year as a blank page on a budget plan. I create a goal for end of the year or even what I wanted to spend on within the year and incorporate it in my yearly budget plan. Yes, I have a yearly budget plan. I don’t write it down though (maybe I should now) but it usually contains ideas of things that I wanted to buy for myself or trips that I wanted to take within the year. I set loose target dates as well and adjust my budget accordingly.

As of this time, I am thinking of doing the same money challenge but I would have to decide on my base amount first. At the same time, I am still trying to find other money challenge that I can do this year. But first things first, I need to list down the needs and the wants and anticipated expenses within the year so I can work on my budgeting properly. I also have to take into consideration the earnings that I will get from my baked goodies. It’s not a regular thing for now, but who knows, it might turn out to be something that I could really earn from.

I really have to start thinking of these things because in about a couple of years from now, my son would start school and if I really wanted to push through with my plans, then I would need to have a big capital to fund his schooling. Hopefully my other investments would mature by then. That will really be a big help in the future.

Do you know any other money challenge that I can try? It’s still the start of the year so there is still time to catch up. :)