Tuesday, February 24, 2009

//of breastfeeding and fulfilling a promise  

Two Februaries ago, Janice gave me an anniversary gift - an easel, three canvasses, a set of acrylic paint, and a set of brushes. Delighted with the prospect of reviving my art club days, I promised I would use it to paint a portrait of her. Two years passed and that gift was left untouched, with all the things that have happened since then.

Last night, as I quietly watched Janice nurse our little Gyro, I had a sudden impulse to capture that moment. I have never used acrylic before (I would probably even spell the word incorrectly half the time) but after a couple of hours of fumbling with the brushes, and making a mess inside our bedroom, it was finally done.

Janice and I have been successful with pursuing exclusive breastfeeding for Gyro, but it was not without challenges. With family members who have never successfully nursed their newborns, we were under a lot of pressure especially at nights when Gyro's cries would seem to go on forever. With a lot of prayer, and a strong resolve to do what we know is best for our son, we are proud to say that Gyro, now on his 3rd month of discovering the world, has never tasted a drop of water nor formula milk. And though we are still in the process of perfecting the art of understanding what his cries meant, none of those have so far been because he was sick.

I am proud of what Janice has done for our little boy- for all those nights she has gone without any sleep just to nurse our growing child, for all the sacrifices she continues to make - all in the name of raising a healthy and happy little maton. And the least I could do for her was fulfill a promise I made 2 years ago, and in my far-from-being-Van Gogh way, honor the best wife one could ever ask for, the best mother a child could ever love.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

//two babies born 32 years apart  

This is Gyro on the day he was born....

And this photo was taken sometime in August, 1976. Can you guess who this is?


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

//to our little bundle of love  

I can still remember that day we learned that you were coming into our life. What was supposed to be just another Monday morning turned out to be the start of the most beautiful journey we will ever take. Suddenly, it was easier for us to smile, and it was easier for us to dream big. Suddenly, every corner of our house, every place we go to, is filled with images of you, running around on fragile little feet, clapping your hands with joy.

I will never forget that moment when I first caught a glimpse of you. I was holding your mother's hand, and then, for a split second, time froze, and I was looking at your foot. And then, a loud cry. Nothing in this world could ever compare to the sight of you - our little angel, our blessing from above.

Now, you are here with us, and it still feels unreal to me - how I could spend one whole day holding you in my arms, how I could never grow tired of waiting for you to smile in the middle of your baby dreams, how just watching you sleep makes our love grow even stronger.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

//an angel named Hannah Ysabelle  

Last Sunday, Janice and I met an angel.

Her name is Hannah Ysabelle.

Hannah is a beautiful 14 month old baby girl. She loves to dance, she loves having her photographs taken, she loves meeting and playing with new friends. If not for the strange strap around her neck, you wouldn't think she has a rare and lifetime condition.

Hannah was born with a condition called Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome or CCHS. She has trouble breathing when she's awake and she is unable to breathe when she's asleep. This is because the nerve that takes over her breathing when she's sleeping is not functioning properly. Because of this, doctors had to cut a hole through her throat, insert a tube and attach it to a respirator to keep her breathing. Hannah spent the first 9 months of her life in the hospital, and though she is now at home with her parents, she is still unable to go outdoors and enjoy the things that kids her age should be experiencing. She is using a mechanical respirator at home, which her parents Joan and Carlo rent, and she has to be watched at all times to make sure she doesn't accidentally remove or play with the tube on her throat especially when she is sleeping. Her parents are now raising money to buy her a portable ventilator by selling rosary bracelets and 5-decade rosaries.

We came across this story sometime in September, a few days away from our scheduled congenital anomaly scan for Gyro. The next Sunday, a day after we got very good results from the scan, we again read about her story from the newspapers. We knew that this was God speaking to us.

We contacted Joan, and offered to help her sell the rosaries. We spread the word to our friends, and got a very good response. This we considered to be Gyro's gift to Hannah. This was our real endeavor as a family.

We visited Hannah at their home last Sunday, and were lucky that Hannah was awake. Joan's mom kindly brought Hannah out of her room so we could meet her, and we couldn't believe how such a small bundle of joy could contain so much happiness, so much love, and so much hope. What equally inspired us was getting to know her amazing parents and her loving lola. I learned that Joan is a contemporary of mine from the UP College of Engineering. Carlo told us how long it took before her condition was correctly diagnosed and we can only imagine how difficult it must have been for them as doctors gave them one diagnosis after the other, and as they heard a cocktail of bad and good news only to see them fall apart, one after the other.

Hannah instanly made a connection with Janice. We believe that inside Janice's womb Gyro is jumping with joy, for being with a wonderful family, for being in their wonderful home. Hannah has the most amazing smile, and though we badly wanted to carry her in our arms, we had to restrain ourselves, afraid that she might be more fragile than she appears. The only clue you would have of her unique condition is her inability to laugh out of glee, as she needs a few more years to get learn how to use her vocal chords.

Knowing Hannah and her parents has changed us, as individuals, as parents, as Christians. Joan never forgets to thank us for the little help we are able to extend to Hannah. The truth is, I believe Hannah has helped us more than we will ever be able to help her. Through her, we witnessed first hand how a parent's unconditional love for a child is more powerful than despair. Hannah has shown us the true meaning of living, and because of her, our own faith has grown. Because of her, having Gyro in our life has become more meaningful by a thousandfold.


More about Hannah here: http://hannahysabelle.multiply.com/

Buy Rosaries for Hannah and include her in your petitions. These rosaries and rosary bracelets are the most meaningful gifts you can give this Christmas. http://hannahysabelle.multiply.com/photos/album/20/rosaries_for_hannah

You can also order these rosaries through us. We will be glad to pick up your orders on your behalf. Just email me for more information.

Our Shell friends may also buy rosaries during the upcoming Shell Day in December. Look for our booth in the bazaar.


Monday, October 27, 2008

//10 weeks to go  

25 October 2008.

Janice and I scheduled a 4D ultrasound scan on this day, and we just couldn't wait to get another snapshot of our little boy. So after our pre-natal visit with our OB, we went straight to Glorietta to wait for the clinic to call us for our turn. So at 2:30 pm, we found ourselves trying to convince little Gyro to take off his hand from his face. Let's just say that our baby wasn't in the mood for socializing that afternoon.

But just as we were about to give up, after what seemed like an eternity of changing positions, playing all sorts of music to get him going, and a lot of pleading/bribery from my end, Gyro finally gave us a glimpse of his face, and showed us a smile as I was calling his name.

Game! Sino'ng kamukha?



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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

//WE Magazine's Beautiful Weddings 2008  

Do check out Wedding Essentials Magazine's Beautiful Weddings 2008. On pages 158-160 is a secret I've been trying to keep from my friends - my article about our wedding! We got a confrimation that our story was selected only when we got a copy of the magazine.


(PRESS RELEASE) Who doesn’t like a beautiful wedding? Whether you’re planning one, or are already married, few can resist the allure of looking at photographs of lovely wedding details and reading the stories of how these lovely weddings were put together.

People read wedding magazines for inspiration, and Beautiful Weddings, from the same team that is responsible for elegant Wedding Essentials {WE}, the bestselling wedding magazine, and Wedding Essentials: Destination Weddings presents the 2008 edition of Beautiful Weddings.

Beautiful Weddings features tips on styling the wedding entourage, menus to savor, real bride makeovers, and even advice for plus-size brides using real plus-size brides to be.

But the heart of Beautiful Weddings are the wedding stories. Over 200 wonderful entries were submitted for consideration, and with difficulty, the {WE} team, headed by quintessential editor Marbee Shing-Go and talented art director Cynthia Bauzon-Arre, finally chose the 30 weddings which best embodied the spirit of Beautiful Weddings. With touching stories, inspiring ideas, and lovely details, each wedding story was unique in itself.

An additional surprise, a first in the history of Philippine publishing, were the 30 individual covers of Beautiful Weddings (in addition to the regular cover), each featuring one of the 30 weddings. Talk about a memento you can’t get anywhere else! Couples featured in Beautiful Weddings 2008 each received their own copy of their customized covers; as a special service to each couple, their relatives and friends can order these covers through the couple themselves.


Snagged from http://www.weddingsatwork.com/wawnewsblog/2008/10/14/whoa-wes-beautiful-weddings-2008-has-30-different-covers/

Here's a copy of our own cover. Don't have a copy of it yet though.


Monday, September 22, 2008

//national family day  

22 September 2008, National Family Day - An initiative that encourages parents to sit down to have dinner with their children. According to a study, children who regularly eat dinner with their families are less prone to substance abuse, and are more likely to have better grades.

I guess it doesn't hurt to start early, so this evening, I decided to cook something special for Janice and our little boy Gyro. I found the recipe in the latest Yummy Magazine, but thought I'd do something different by marinating the chicken in a mixture of lemon, mandarin orange, white wine and garlic powder, using rosemary as an additional spice, and adding sliced peaches as sidings. I call it citrus glazed lemon chicken.

Now Janice is having a little problem with trying to stick to her weight gain plan. Each time we visit our OB, we get reprimanded for exceeding the month's weight gain target.

We think we know why. =D


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