Back on Our Feet

“We’re back on our feet!”

This was what my husband said a few days ago, as he successfully closed new projects and observed that I’m busy doing several design projects (and didn’t have time to blog).

Aside from our savings (which is still in replenish mode), I think could agree. ^_^

My freelancing took a back seat when Olive was born. The problem with being a freelancer is that nobody gives you a maternity leave. You earn great, but if you are impulsive and spoil yourself with a lavish lifestyle, you might end up zero. I had savings on my oDesk wallet to cover a month that I won’t be able to work. But since I delivered via CS, it wasn’t enough and ended up being used as payment for our hospital bills. We were broke after out discharge.

The first few weeks felt so chaotic and depressing.

I had to nurse Olive. We have additional people to feed in the house. I felt like I NEED TO GET BACK TO WORK ASAP. But attending to Olive took up most of the time in my day, I can’t even do anything else. I notified my clients, beforehand, that I’d be away for a while. But although they were supportive and understanding, one by one, most of my contracts ended. Google was no help when I looked up any tips for pregnant freelancers. I guess there really was no advice but to prepare even for the unexpected.

Thankfully, Lauren of Flavours Catering, who’s been my long-time client, sent me a job that kept me busy. I had to send back PSD files of the materials I’ve done for them so they could archive everything. In the end, there were a total of more than 700 PSD files since I began working from them last year. (Come to think of it, I’ve been working with her for a year now) I sent the last batch last March 19.

Having nothing else to do, I applied to open jobs again. Despite being experienced and with good client feedback, not even 1 of the 25 job applications I’ve sent ended up with a job offer. I was anxious. I know that if I can’t meet my self-imposed quota, next month’s vaccination, christening and credit card bills would be a problem. God was probably in the works though, ‘coz the next morning, I had like 4-6 job invitations and has been piling up til now. Like oDesk acknowledges that I’m back from my maternity leave.
Loving My oDesk Clients

As eager as I am in getting new projects, I quickly responded and landed with 3 new tasks. It felt like scoring my first job again on oDesk!

I took on a fixed-rate project with Edie – a motivational speaker/author, who needs a double-sided flyer for a book expo. She’s happy with the draft I sent so far and even recommended me to her colleagues. I like that she’s smart and sweet despite her level of being an expert and that.

On hourly jobs, I got on board the team of James – who’s into promoting Youtube SEO. I’m doing his monthly newsletter using iWork’s Pages. Its actually my first time doing a task out of it, but it feels great that I’m able to deliver and meet his expectations. This is also the first time that I’m actually also able to converse with other outsourced member of his team.

Last but not the least is Jennifer. I’m so glad to have met a client who’s also a fellow work at home mom! Did her flyers and postcards and am exploring MailChimp for customized templates. She’s my second client who needs a template done and I think its about time I learn about it.

Busy with oDesk

Happy to have my hands busy

For the first time, in a long while, I felt happy with getting stressed. My to-do list was full, and I’m juggling with office work with HVPC. I could only manage to whip an experimental snack for a break. Try champorado + Coffee Mate + Corn Flakes, really yummy!

nom nom nom

Quick Snack: mix left over champorado with Coffee Mate and Kellogs Cornflakes. YUM!

But if isn’t for Fahima, I wouldn’t have my first freelance job and my first client feedback. A 5-minute business card was my first stint into the freelance world. She was always patient with me despite my shortcomings when I get loaded with work. She and Lauren are my long-time clients who gave me a badly needed pat on the back! (After a long while of working in the Philippine Government).

Preps for Olive’s Christening

Christening Event

Saved money from not printing invitations

And as projects keep coming, Mr. H and I are busy on the side preparing for Olive’s christening. We’re targeting April 13 at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral where her dad was also baptized. I’m quite sad that my family and friends couldn’t come due to short notice. Anyhow, we’re also on a limited budget, so we’re not planning anything fancy. We might just take the few expected visitors to a restaurant for dinner.

Last night, we bought her a outfit for the rites. A white dress with cap & frilly socks from Metro Ayala Dept. Store and this super cute headband from Celestina & Co. (The Maze at Ayala Cebu).

Celestina & Co Headband

Really happy with this head band! 🙂 planningtobuymore

Olive's Christening Dress

Cotton dress with bloomers for our princess

I’m super satisfied with what we’ve bought! I might actually wear it myself if I were her size! So glad to have found the headpiece! The dept store at Metro Ayala ran out of stocks. But I think I found a treasure trove at the Maze. They had so much to choose from that I didn’t have to check out online stores to buy from Manila.

Daddy H also INSISTED we buy her pairs of short pants and toys. She’s just always wearing a diaper at home. I bought her pajamas but we don’t dress her with those since its always humid. And the father wants her to have a variety of things to look at at home aside from Ate’s wallflower and our photos and glow in the dark stickers posted on our bedroom wall. While at that, I also bought her extra hooded towels. Olive’s grown out of the ones Mommy brought from Dasma. ^^

Baby Shorts

Assorted colored baby shorts on sale!

Care Bears hooded towel

Care Bears hooded towel

Stuff Toys

Chicken & fish plushies

So we got her these shorts which were on sale, a mobile set from Fisher Price (T_T so expensive), a blue birdie and colorful fishie stuff toys. I insisted we drop by Comic Alley for my choice of stuffed toys. Thinking of cute plushies but they’re out of stock.

Tiny Milestones

My credit card sure got smoking, but its worth it when we saw Olive’s curiosity and enjoyment. Playing with her makes me feel like a kid again! ^_^ And what do you know, from the last time that I’ve posted, our tiny bee also learned some new skills!

She’s beginning to turn to her side, do the caterpillar crawl and, oh, what a loud solid crying voice! XD

Olive learns to turn

Olive learns to turn

She’s also more talkative and responsive compared from the last month. We just have to capture it on amateur video for when she grows up! 🙂

Missing Dasma this Holy Week

Its the start of Semana Santa and we might just stay at home. Its my second Holy Week spent here in Cebu, and I’m missing Dasma a LOT! The last time we were there, we went to Calaruega to inquire about the wedding venue, dropped by Sonia’s Garden and roadtripped to traffic.

McDonald's spotted on our road trip

McDonald’s caught on traffic at Tagaytay

Sonya's Garden

Fantasized our wedding reception to be held here, if not for the vegetarian menu and price tag that’s way above our budget!

 

Calaruega, Batangas

Me and my then-boyfriend at Calaruega :3

In the following days, I know I’d be scrolling down to newsfeed of family outings or friendly get togethers on Facebook. I wish we’d be there next Lenten Season and be with family on Visita Iglesia.

But actually, just being at home with them and Olive. That’s more than enough.

Grapefruit Caught My Eye

I dropped by Gaisano Tisa last night after our window shopping at SM. Pinauna ko na lang sila Olive umuwi dahil gutom na and we’ve exhausted yung baon naming feeding bottles and milk. Wala kasing breastfeeding station sa Gaisano, dyahe naman. And besides, I can see sa face ng makulit na pagod na din siya (pati si Jane).

I’ve been carrying a grocery list since we left the house but I didn’t want to shop at the SM grocery. Bukod sa expired na ang SM Advantage Card ko, cheaper talaga yung merchandise sa Gaisano and the store is just small na kabisado ko na kung san hahanapin yung lahat ng kelangan bilhin. I hate getting lost on the grocery especially if malaki. I had an experience na pabalik balik ako sa magkabilang dulo ng lugar para lang makuha yung isang pack ng powdered milk at isang pirasong butter. Lurky much!

Anyhow, so nandun na ko sa grocery. To follow si Mr. H after making sure that Olive’s rested at home. Start na ko with the shopping. First sa toiletries. Last time, I tried Camay’s Vanilla Shower Gel. I was pleased kasi medyo kaamoy niya yung Body Shop Vanilla Buttercreme Shower Gel that my friend Cecille gave as a present on our wedding. Aside from the scent though, it wasn’t any much better than Safeguard Aloe liquid soap that I’ve been using since nagbuntis ako. I was expecting a cleaner feel and soft feeling as promised sa commercial. Bumenta kasi sa ‘kin si Angelica Panganiban.

Camay Shower Gel

Camay Shower Gel in Vanilla (white) and Grapefruit (transparent bottle)

I was going to buy Safeguard na lang again pero nakita ko sa shelf yung isa pang Camay na Grapefruit naman ang peg. I admit, as a designer bumenta din yung packaging! ^_^’ AND ubos na din yung Safeguard liquid soap sa shelf kaya its fated na subukan ko yung Camay. I checked the price on the scanner and I think its a bit pricey for 62 pesos. Pero ganun talaga, kailangan bumawi sa cost ng advertisement and packaging. Pag-uwi sa bahay I tried it. Dito kasi sa Cebu, mas prefer ko maligo sa gabi kesa sa umaga. Parang Amerikana no? E kasi nakakahinayang din kapag naligo ka sa umaga tapos habang nagbibihis ka sa kwarto, tumutulo na ulit yung pawis mo. The entire day maaalikabukan lang din and papawisan. I also love going to bed na malinis ang pakiramdam. Parang mas mahimbing yung tulog ko kapag bagong paligo.

In fairness energizing naman ang peg ng Grapefruit Camay Shower Gel. Pangtanggal pagod after the long day we had at the crowded mall. Like the Vanilla version, clear din siya and it lathers well when you rub it in your skin. I just hope the liquid is thicker in consistency. The bottome line is that you feel happy when you smell yourself after a long day. There’s also a feeling that you’re detoxified when you smell like fruit. It gives a luxurious experience without regret that your bathing with something super expensive. All in all, if I’m not tight on budget, I’d try Camay Grapefruit and Vanilla Shower Gel again.

A Day Out in the City

I WENT OUT OF THE HOUSE ALONE LAST THURSDAY!!!

Yes that’s BIG NEWS! The last time I went out alone was for a checkup when I was a few months pregnant and I had to go back home right after because I had so many weird goings-on in my body. This time its to complete my SSS requirements, buy some office supplies and canvass a dress for Olive. We’re planning to have her christened next month.

As usual, the heat and the crowded jeepneys of Cebu were killer factors. I rarely opt to bring an umbrella, but I HAD TO lately. 1 year mahigit na akong di gumagamit ng whitening soap! And though I appreciate the traffic flow in Cebu City, hate ko talaga mag-commute sakay ng jeep. Pilit pa ding pinagkakasya ng mga kundoktor yung isang dosenang pasahero sa jeep na sampuan lang. Siguro kung batang maliliit kaming lahat keri lang. And I don’t know why people still ride a jeep na obvious namang punong puno na if you look from the outside. Meron kahit dulo na lang ng pwet ang nakaupo poise pa din. Talent siguro yun. >_> Dati sa Dasma, kapag nakitang madami ng nakasakay, maghihintay na ng kasunod na jeep yung mga pasahero. Kahit hindi nagsisinungaling yung barker nung sinabi nyang 2 pa yung kasya. Hehe.

Moving on, I unloaded at Maternity (version ng Fabella dito sa Cebu minus the scent of lochia you could smell from outside), crossed to the opposite side of the road para maglakad from Osmeña Circle to Cebu Doc. Oo nagtitipid ako ng pamasahe. Plus I was planning to enjoy the stroll despite knowing its 1:30 PM at walang kaulap-ulap sa siyudad.

Fuente Osmena

Hello City! We meet again!

One thing I appreciate about Cebu is that, unlike Manila, they have wide and clean sidewalks. You wont get paranoid about the people around because there’s a policeman stationed at strategic spots. Hindi naman ganun ka-crowded sa streets ng Cebu on an ordinary day. Compared din sa Manila, controlled naman yung peace and order dito kaya hindi ganun kahigpit ang hawak ko sa bag at hindi din ako nagbaon ng heavy duty cutter.

I passed by the Cebu City Public Library or the Rizal Memorial Library and Museum. Its structure is a bit overwhelming. I learned that the library is only housed in the ground floor. Upstairs probably served as a museum. There was a poster outside about an art exhibit. I’m hoping that its spacious inside, mentally picturing something like APD. Somewhat missed that place. I hope I could bring Olive to the Children’s section when we get home. Oh the huge storybooks and the puppets!

Rizal Memorial Library & Museum

Cebu City Public Library

A few more steps and I’m at my first destination. I went back to Cebu Doctors University Hospital to get my OB and Operating Room record as a requirement for my SSS claim. I just recently had the focus to fix the requirements. Partly because I feel like I need the refund since I couldn’t focus on freelancing lately. I liked the male clerk at the Medical Records Section.  He’s probably around 40-50 years old, but very accommodating despite his intimidating appearance. Plus points that he spoke in Tagalog when I told him I’m can’t understand Cebuano that much. He even checked my SSS maternity claim requirements if I missed something. For my OB record, I had to leave the form with Ms. Arlene, Dr. Larissa’s secretary, and call back if its ready for pick-up. For a while, I kinda missed having my prenatal checkups. Dr. Roa is very reassuring and kind throughout my pregnancy. I’d recommend her to anyone who needs and OB. 🙂

Medical Records Section

Waiting for my OR Records @ Cebudoc

I walked towards the Provincial Capitol after I’m done at CDUH. Mainit pa din. Pero tinamad na ko ilabas yung payong ko. Yung bitbit ko na lang na document envelop pinangsangga ko sa araw. The commute to Ayala was much better. Hindi puno yung jeep and wala ding kundoktor. I went to Broadway Gems first. Kelangang kelangan ko talaga bumili ng pony kasi nawawala yung kaisa-isang ponytail ko na bitbit galing Dasma. Nakakahinayang kasi may sentimental value yun. Tas long hair na ang lola mo, e sobrang humid ngayong mga nakaraang araw mga te. I really need to buy another one and a spare, in case ma-misplace ko na naman. Side effects ng General Anesthesia! So ayun nga. I’m not a fan of fancy hair accessories but I chose a candy colored spring type pony (14 pesos) and a simple black one (8 pesos) (pang serious mood). Namamahalan pa ko dun kasi alam ko sa bangketa makakabili ako nun ng tag-5 lang. Pero sobrang natuwa ako nung napadaan ako sa Marcella & nakita ko yung mga kapareho nun na mas mahal ang presyo. Bargain pa din yung nabili ko. Sinulit ko na din at bumili ako ng dangling earrings, a sparkly heart-shaped fancy diamond and a simple black teardrop pearl at 20 pesos each. Mura na din! Sa bahay lang din naman ako mag-eearrings habang nagtatrabaho. Hehe! I feel like dressing up sometimes kahit nandito lang sa bahay nagtatrabaho no!

Ponies and earrings

Ponytails and earrings from Broadway Gems

Next, I window shopped for a toy para kay Olive. I was thinking about a puppet or a mobile to hang at our bedroom or on top of her crib. Nakaka-respond na kasi siya if she hears a sound. Madaldal na din siya and BabyCenter was recommending the toys for her speech, eye and audio sensory development. Window shop lang kasi I have a strict budget in mind for her toys and christening dress. I found several dresses for Olive and a matching pair of shoes. We’ve decided though, na hindi namin siya pagsusuotin nung makati sa balat yung tela. You know what I’m talking about. Those dresses na parang pang-abay. I’m sure you’ve been forced to wear one before. I saw some that fits our budget pero pretty din & masusuot pa niya on other occassions.

I have my eyes on YOU!!!

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Kikay bib

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Olive's Christening dress?

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Kaso eto na, napansin ko andaming nakabalandra sa hallways. Sale pala sa Metro until March 18! I really not an impulsive buyer, but after seeing so many pretty dresses napakuha talaga ako! I also found a toy for Olive. Just a simple pink baby rattle, the cheapest in the infant toys section. Pero kahit ordinary lang siya, hindi talaga nawala ang attention ng bruha kapag naririnig at nakikita nya yun. ^___^ SULIT!!!

Guilty purchase from the Metro Ayala sale

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Eye candy for Olive

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So this is really how it feels kapag mommy ka na. Parang lagi mo gusto uwian ng pasalubong yung anak mo. Lalo na kapag baby girl! Parang ansarap maghoard ng baby dresses sa mall at umorder ng sunod sunod sa mga online stores. Tough act for a frugal person like me! Nakakaloka lang yung price tags! Mas mahal pa yung mga damit ng baby kesa sa damit naming mag-asawa. At bakit kung anong liit ng mga laruan ngayon, kasing mahal na din ng damit ng baby?! I found a mobile as well with cute teddy bears. I just wasn’t really decisive on buying it (unlike the dress ^_^). I was thinking of bringing along Daddy H before buying. Well actually, its more of getting his approval kasi I’m also planning to buy another set of baby towel and beddings. Mahirap na baka mag-overspend. Hindi pa naman ako masyado nakakapag-oDesk ngayon.

So cute but so expensive

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Hanu ba yan! Pagka-gamay, pagka-mahal! >_>

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Unbelievable price tags! x_X

 

But there. I’m glad I’m able to get another dose of the outdoors. Hope I could go to a different place again next time. Maybe take a stroll again at the Ayala parking lot or the sports complex. Being alone is somewhat therapeutic. Kinda makes me feel like myself again or figure out the changes in my life and embrace it when I come home. I’m thankful my husband allowed me to go. Til the next time! As of the moment, I’ll go burn some keyboards for cash. 😉

Workstation

Work – work – work!

Ways of enjoying the rainy days when I was younger

Magic Knight Rayearth

Magic Knight Rayearth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m so up early today! (Woke up around 6 but got off bed around quarter to 7.) Mr. H has an early trip to the next city and has to be there by 8:30 AM which is about now. I hope he made it in time. Meanwhile, I’m glad my energy’s bursting! Probably due to the local puto & tsokolate sold outside. (Can’t believe they sell home-made hot choco on the streets outside, another thing uniquely Cebuano).

Announcements of class suspensions, flood and black outs dominate, as we digest the early morning news through breakfast. The weather report said there would be torrential downpour over Southern Tagalog. In my mind, how I wish I was there! ^_^

When I was young, rain gave me a lot of productive and peaceful moments. The sudden class suspensions would give me extra time spent at home. And while my parents are away at work, my brother and I have the entire house to ourselves – with the constant phone calls and monitoring of course. That little sense of independence and chill gave me time to…

Clean and arrange my room to the most princess-like interior decorating I could.

We live in a home with an oven-like temperature during the summer, with winds we could only feel if we open both our main door and windows. Its normal to sweat at every move we make. That’s why waking up by a loud rainfall send extra adrenaline and comfort knowing its going to be a bit cooler most of the day. So when Mommy & Daddy leave for work, I turn my room upside down, change the linens (even if its the middle of the week), wipe the dusts, rummage through school memorabilias and sort out junks. The greatest feeling afterward is seeing my room all pink and clean.

Hot baths

I’m an otaku and a kid who grew up watching Japan Video Topics on local TV. Often, I dream of bathing in a warm tub and just soaking. But of course, the traditional middle-income Filipino household would only have a pail and tabo on the bathroom/comfort room. So to emulate the Japanese tradition of soaking in a steamy hot bath, I boil up water in our largest cooking pot (filling about 1/3 of the pail) and mix with it with 2/3 cold water. The result – a satisfying hot bath! And this is usually the perfect time to use imported liquid bath soaps my relatives abroad send me as pasalubong! – THIS and lying in freshly changed bed linen is the best indulgence I could have back then! ^_^

Note: Hot baths only make sense when its the middle of the rainy season in the Philippines. Trust me, summer is HOT AS HELL!

Cook an experimental dish

What comes after getting my room clean and indulging in a warm bath? Eating of course!

And when we were young, we weren’t spoiled to eat outside fast foods often. Two things I’m obsessed with are mashed potatoes (the ones they serve at Kenny Rogers and KFC) and fried potatoes in creamy sizzling sauce (served at our local Country Side Steak House) which is the steak side dish. My Mom usually stocks on potatoes, margarine and cream which I whip into a dish or a snack to feast on with my brother. He often smirks when I cook but he eats it anyway so I guess it didn’t taste that bad. :))

Unfortunately, nowadays, my stomach gets upset at the slightest content of starch, triggering gas attacks and vomiting (since I’m pregnant). >_>

Watch anime, draw, write poetry, and read books

Now that I realize it, I’m quite envious that I was able to do all of these back then. What’s a kid gotta do when classes are suspended anyway? You’ve got local TV showing anime runs of Little Women, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn in the morning. In the afternoon, the more action-packed and shounen/shoujo-themed series of Gundam, Magic Knight Rayearth, Zenki and BT’X occupy the kid-inclined timeslots. As early as I got to know about Voltron and Sailormoon, my fondness of learning the art of drawing manga has kept my old notebooks and stocks of bond paper full of drawings that my Mom used to nag to me about it. I don’t know why though. I’m a pretty neat artist and I don’t scatter and occupy the dining or living room just to sketch. I even tried creating my own stories and manga strips.

That kept me writing, at first, kind of in a novel format. Then switched to dialogues with captions on how I’d be drawing the frames. I was in the school publication and was kept interested because I was mingling with co-artists (who are real-life manga artists by now — Raph & Ian). Sigh! Those were the days! ^_^

I was also fond of reading. I got into the Sweet Valley High bandwagon, and later into poetry when I learned about Pablo Neruda in college’s world literature. I even kept this poetry journal — those I’ve written from elementary to college. Its something I kept written by hand and shown only to my best friend. 🙂 Sort of sisterhood secret.

Stare at the skies and listen to the trickle of the rain.

And when my mind’s exhausted of imagining – its the best time to embrace the painting of reality that’s unfolded in the skies, our wet garden and rusting gate. Its like emptying your mind in a blank stare, but at the same time appreciating that moment of peace. Storms and hurricanes are chaotic beauties of nature meant to be absorbed in solace.

Wait for the afternoon monay vendor

…It follows the time after siesta and we’re hungry again. Daddy usually comes home in the afternoon after police duty with a bag of merienda in hand – sometimes pancit, lomi or sopas. We pair it with freshly baked monay sold by a bike-riding vendor who still roams the village despite the rain.

All in all, rainy days are slow days meant to be enjoyed at back in my hometown.