Monday, May 31, 2010

Humidity Level's Up

It’s almost summer here.  I can feel it in my bones.  It’s scorching hot now with temperatures rising to almost 40 degrees in the past week.  Last night it was 42 degrees outside. Whew!  Talk about being in an outdoor sauna.

The humidity levels in this part of the world goes up to more than 70%.  We became wary of its possible effects not just on our health, but also in our home that is why I always keep a stock of dehumidifiers of the desiccant type found in Carrefour, the largest hypermarket you can find here. this is how it looks like:

dessicant box

Because humid air can cause mold and mildew to grow, we keep a stock of these and keep them in our baby’s changing table and in our closet where all my bags are kept. A weekend ago, I took this out of the closet 3 months after I’ve placed it: 

Here’s a picture of an unopened dehumidifier and a used (and full) dehumidifier side by side:

before & after
Scary, huh?

Now that we have our little one,  I am super tempted to get ourselves a proper dehumidifier for our home.  Summer’s just nextdoor, and it would be good to arm ourselves with this just to be on the safe side.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Birthday Pressie From Daddy

My birthday is still 3 weeks away but my Dad already got me a birthday pressie. As usual, he's the first to get me one.

For the first time, I never requested a gift, haha!  Since he already offered to contribute for Dade's upcoming birthday celebration,  I coudn't find the guts to ask for one even as a joke. So imagine my surprise when he called the other day at 7:25 in the morning to tell me he's asked my cousin who was in LA to get me an iPad. I  was super thrilled! I told him he shouldn't have but he insisted.  He said it's his way of making up for lost time since he's always been working abroad.  Aaaww, how sweet!  How can you say 'no' to that?

first gen iPad

Heaps of thanks, Daddy!  This is a wonderful birthday gift indeed! I love it to bits (but I love you even more!)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Our Top 10 Favorite Baby Stuff

With Dade now 9 months old, I could say that the worst part of taking care of an infant is over.  Gone are the sleepless nights, the stressful pumping of milk (and the worrying over milk supply), the trial and error ways of pacifying, and the fear of SIDS.  Everything now looks brighter and happier for all three of us. The Daddy and I are more relaxed and confident at taking care of our little one.  Meanwhile, the soon-to-be toddler is now a more contented baby boy who recently found delight in cruising around the coffee table, and often times bravely crosses the distance between it and the sofa by grabbing on to the foot stool for support. It’s less tedious for us to care for him because it’s much, much easier to feed and entertain him.

In the past 9 months, we had help from friends and family in taking care of Dade.  But we admit we never would’ve done so without special lifesavers and important baby stuff that we invested on.  So let me share here with you our favorite baby stuff that we’re super thankful for.  Suffice to say that without these items, we never would’ve survived the first three quarters of parenting:

1.) Swaddling blankets - My fellow blogger pal, Berns shared in her blog “The Happiest Baby on The Block” sometime when her baby was still in her early months, if I remember it correctly. It was a very, very useful reference especially for us first time parents and we learned so much from it. One of the S’s taught in the video (based on its book) is swaddling, which we took seriously, by the way.  Dade was swaddled until the end of his 3rd month so all his swaddling blankets were pretty much put to good use. Thank you, Berns for sharing this wonderful find to us!

2.) Graco swing - Best.investment.ever! We’ve set our eyes on one after watching the “Happiest Baby On The Block” video.  Luckily, I won some vouchers so we were able to purchase it without hurting our pockets.  Dade used the swing until he’s about 7 ½ months old.  We wouldn’t know what we would’ve done without it in our lives.  Truly a lifesaver!

3.) Medela Pump In Style Advanced breastpump – I wouldn’t have survived breastfeeding without my trusty PISA.  It even travelled all the way to Manila when we went on holiday. Next to the stroller, the breastpump is the next most expensive baby item we bought.  But no regrets!  It was very useful especially when I went back to work because I used it like 3-4 times a day to save milk for Dade’s consumption while I’m at the office.  Without it, I never would’ve been able to stretch my breastfeeding career.

4.) Dr. Brown’s feeding bottles – I did a lot of research in finding the right bottle for Dade, And I am so glad i found Dr. Brown’s.  I had three requirements for my baby’s feeding bottle. First, it must be bpa-free. I don’t exactly consider myself an advocate of bpa-free products but I prefer to purchase bpa-free items for Dade.  I mean the US and Canada markets will not pull out the polycarbonate products off their shelves for nothing, right?  Anything where milk, both breastmilk and formula, would pass through, I made sure the stuff I use are all bpa-free.  Dr. Brown’s passed this with flying colors because when I started buying baby stuff, they’ve already released their bpa-free line.  My second requirement was that the bottle should prevent colic.  With Dr. Brown’s patented vent and vent reservoir, they covered that aspect quite well.  I am sooo happy Dade was never a colicky baby!  I really believe that Dr. Brown’s had something to do with this.  Third, the nipples should be silicone and naturally shaped as possible. I liked Dr. Brown’s teats because they didn’t give Dade any nipple confusion plus they’re durable and easy to clean.

5.) Braun Thermoscan – A household should always have a thermometer handy, especially when you have kids. That’s why during my last trimester, hubby and I invested on a Braun Thermoscan and dumped our traditional thermometer.  And we’re so happy we did because we were able to use it on Dade when he had fever twice due to vaccinations and when he caught a cold last January.  It’s very easy to use for infants – just one press of a button and you get the temp in 2 seconds.

6.) VMV Boo Boo Balm & Coddling Lotion – These two products are heaven-sent.  I am super glad VMV came up with baby products, which are great on baby’s skin.  The Boo Boo Balm is a wonderful antiseptic for cuts, scratches & bites, and it really helps speed up the healing.  Meanwhile, the Coddling Lotion is a terrific skin moisturizer.  You see, Dade had atopic dermatitis so at a certain point during his 4th – 5th month, he had terrible, terrible rashes on his face and trunk.  He was prescribed lots of ointments and creams – some with steroids even – but I refused to let him depend on those for maintenance.  Good thing I remembered VMV.  So I bought a bottle of Coddling Lotion in Manila and tried it on my baby’s skin.  And whad’ya know – it actually worked!  Goodbye atopic dermatitis!

7.) Boppy pillow – We got the barenaked miracle middle pillow and bought a couple of covers in the neutral shade of green. I used it during the first few weeks to nurse Dade but I found it more useful in propping him up after burping to prevent acid reflux.  As Dade grew older, he used it in different ways: to support his neck when he was sitting on his Bumbo seat at 3 months old, to prop him up and help him practice sitting up by holding on to our fingers, and to support his body when he was still getting the hang of sitting  down among other things. This pillow doesn’t come cheap but with all the help we got from it, every dirham spent was worth it.

8.) Nosefrida Nasal Aspirator – This is another great bpa-free find from The Soft Landing. When Dade got clogged nose early this year (he caught my virus when I got the sickies), I had to use this nasal aspirator to remove mucus from his airways.  And it worked like how a snotsucker should work – take out unwanted mucus to alleviate the discomfort of my poor, sick baby. I didn’t have to try the usual syringe bulbs ever because the reviews say Nosefrida works better than those. Thank God I found this amazing product! Those Swiss people can really be inventive, too, you know! (Ikea much? haha!)

9.) Island Basics clear bottle cleanser – I am super glad my friend who owns the Island Basics line of products came up with this product. I love it to the max!  I’ve tried using Pigeon and Cuddles to clean Dade’s bottles and utensils but nothing comes close the cleaning power of Island Basics. Apart from its ability to take out the oiliness of the bottles, it is also safe for babies ‘cos it’s made of all-natural ingredients. It’s also concentrated and lathers quite well so you don’t need to use too much.  Just a drop and you’re able to wash at least 4 bottles with accessories. Super economical at Php200 per bottle. What a find!

10.) The First Years Sure Comfort Infant to Toddler Tub with sling – I don’t know what we’d do without this bath tub.  Among the baby bath tubs in the market, this is one of those that has the higher ratings among consumers. I’m so thrilled we found one here in Dubai because I couldn’t picture ourselves buying another to use for Dade. It’s super dandy to use for a newborn up until the baby is sitting up. It’s very sturdy, doesn’t tip over when baby is placed at either three positions possible (through sling for newborns, the reclined position & the sitting position), has its built-in plug to drain water, and can be used atop a double sink, too. One end has a small basin where you can put soap & water for the washcloth, as well. It’s not as bulky as those we’ve seen in other baby shops, which is another reason why I personally like it.  This will definitely be kept for the next baby.

So yup, there you have it – all our personal favorites among Dade’s stuff.  I know that when you’re having a baby, you plan to buy as much stuff as you think you need.  But in the long run, you’ll realize that the essential ones are the ones that actually make all your lives easier.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dade's 9th Month Pictorial

During Dade’s 9th month celebration, his Ninong A (and family) came to our little nook and took photos of him.  Armed with studio umbrellas and other lighting paraphernalia, he set up a mini-studio for the little one, and took these adorable photos:

Lay-out was courtesy of my SIL, Karen.

Would you believe we had to have him watch his own videos to make him smile?  Our boy surely has a good amount of narcissism in his blood I must say, haha!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Not A Cookie Monster (Yet)

Our little Dade, like any other baby his age, usually puts stuff in his mouth.  It doesn’t matter if it’s his pacifier, his toy or the corner of any pillow – he just puts things in his mouth and chews on them.  But the one thing that he doesn’t like are his cookies and rusks. Boo!

We posted a funny video of him on Facebook where he almost gagged at the taste of the rusk in his mouth.  Actually, we think he’s more averse of the texture than the flavor.  For two months, we tried feeding him with the same teething rusks for snacks (they don’t come cheap, by the way), but we just couldn’t bring him to like it. We were always unsuccessful :(

Last Saturday, we went to the Organics Store for their monthly 3rd Saturday sale. Everything was at 20% off, including baby food.  Apart from the vegetables and jarred food of Hipp & Earth’s Best in our shopping cart, we also bought him this box of milk cookies, which we hoped he would at least try and suck on.  And whaddaya know, he liked it!

Way to go, Dade! Now at least you have these cookies to alternate with fruits during snacktime.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My Mother's Day Celebration

My first one wasn’t grand or extraordinary.  In fact, it was just like any other day.  Dade was supposed to have his 9th month check up but it was postponed to the next day as the pedia had an emergency.   So we decided to just go to Dubai Mall and finally get that toy for Dade. But before we went to Hamley’s to spend the voucher for Dade’s new toy (thanks Aunt C!), We went to buy some cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery at Bloomingdale’s first.  We also passed by Kinokuniya to have a look at the books in the largest book shop we’ve ever been to.  We had coffee afterwards at Second Cup.

When we found out that the toy at Hamley’s was out of stock, we headed to Dubai Festival City to check out Toys ‘R Us.  Unfortunately, they were out, too.  In the end, we had dinner at Outback Steakhouse to celebrate.
Mommy & her little cheeky monkey

It was my idea not to get any gift for me.  I was still feeling guilty over the impulsive shoe purchase the week before, so I claimed it to be my first Mother’s Day gift.  I was more than happy spending it with my two boys.  In fact, it was more than enough :)

To all the mothers out there, I hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day celebration with your loved ones.  

Loot From Europe

Bessie B went on a three-week tour in Western Europe, and came home last Saturday morning.  She almost didn’t make it to her tour because of the Eyjafjallaj√∂kull eruptions last April 14 (she was supposed to leave for Dusseldorf on the 16th April).  Thank goodness she found a flight on the 20th April to Paris!

Here are my pasalubong from her to add to my collection:

fridge magnets -- yay!

Me super happy!  She really made up for all the times she had to send me BB messages for directions (yes, I was her navigator even if we were hundreds of miles apart!)

And she also got me this from the airport minutes before she boarded the plane back to Dubai:

Starbucks Heidelberg coffee tumbler

Sweet! :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Proud To Call This My Day

This is my first official mother’s day and I'm so excited!  I dressed up for this very special occasion because my boys are taking me to dinner tonight. Can’t wait!

Motherhood has indeed changed me into a completely different person.  They say that when a child is born, a mother is also born.  And I am so thankful I was given a chance to experience this beautiful journey.  I cannot thank enough the One from upstairs who gave me the privilege to carry a child and bring him into this world.  Mommyhood is the best thing that’s ever happened to me!

To all my fellow Moms out there, here’s a special shout-out to you:

Let us not forget to close our eyes to express our thanks for the blessings we receive.  And please also say a silent prayer for the suffering mothers who may not be celebrating this day with enthusiasm and ardor as we do -- mothers who have lost a child, mothers who are separated from their children, mothers who are emotionally and physically shattered brought about by war, mothers who have children afflicted with terminal illnesses, and mothers who are forgotten by their children.  They may not be feeling the kind of “happy mother’s day” we are feeling right now, but they are mothers, too, and they do deserve to be remembered on this special day, as well.

Mothers, may we all enjoy this day to the fullest! God bless us all.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Accidental Shoe Purchase

Last Tuesday, we toured my teenage cousin who’s in town for a vacation to Ibn Battuta Mall located at the southern side of the city.  My feet were all sore from walking from one side of the mall to the other, add the fact that it was after work so I was wearing the same pair of stilettos since 6:45 am that day. So when we were in China court heading back to Andalucia, I started taking off my shoes.  We scouted for some cheap pair of flip flops that I can use, but couldn’t find any that I like. *choosy, eh!*  Besides, I realized it’d be better if I buy something that I can use again so it wouldn’t be a waste of money.  So off we went to search for something for me and my aching feet.

We passed by Athlete’s Foot, and saw this:

I was so close to buying a pair, but decided against it because I was hoping it would be put on sale this summer.

We kept walking until I saw from the corner of my eye the display window featuring Melissa Shoes. I was ecstatic I literally rushed inside the store to have a look.  After careful thought (and endless cajoling by my hubby, cousins and the salesgirl), I ended up going home with my first Melissa pair, which is part of the Vivienne Westwood line:

I.LOVE.IT!  It’s super duper comfy and it looks so lovely!  I just swiped my card (which I just paid in full as I always do) with eyes closed and convinced myself that I deserve this purchase.

But after this, there was a lesson learned.  I vow never to leave the house again without a back up pair of flip flops or flats in the car.  I didn’t realize it can be damaging to the pocket. Oh well!  But at least I went home happy, and that's all that matters :)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Happy 9th Month, Dade!

Look at you, you little monster!  You look like you're ready to devour that cake soon!

And you make us beam with pride. At 9 months, you can:

- pull up to standing position from sitting
- stand alone momentarily (3 seconds max)
- push up to a sitting position when lying down
- walk while holding on to furniture
- pokes with finger at small things
- drop objects then look for them

- use thumb and finger pincer grasp to pick things up (he can carry a weight of 500 grams!)
- clap and bang objects together
- understand the word no (but usually doesn’t obey it)

- identify self in a mirror
- drink from a cup independently (thanks to Munchkin sippy cups!)

- recognizes/responds to his name, names of familiar objects
- deliberately imitate sounds made by a parent
- combine syllables into word like sounds
- say one word other than dada (he can say "A", and his name, Dade)

Happy 9th month, our dear son!  We love you soooo much!!