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.

Advertisements

My Daily Routine… Lately

Olive turned 2 months old last March 5. Thankfully, she’s more predictable lately unlike in her first month. Changing diapers, nursing and cradling her to sleep seem more like a habit than a chore. I’m able to work again, although still not in the capacity to accommodate a variety of graphic design clients. I am even able to finish 3 months backlog of cash disbursements for our business. Feeling ko lalo kumulot ang utak ko dahil sa dami ng numero kelangan kong i-review. I admit, I have hard feelings to finish that one but it felt DAMN GOOD to balance accounting figures even though I’m mostly only good at creative stuff. And since I’m a writer ever since, I’m also stubbornly attempting to push blogging in between everything. Haggard, and unimaginable noh?

So what’s a day like in my life? LATELY this has been my routine:

  • Rise and shine at 10:45 AM
  • Breakfast at 11:00 AM
  • @ 11:15 AM — Substitute for a while for Janie (Olive’s yaya) so she could cook lunch
  • @ 12:00 NN – Lunch
  • 12:30 PM – Bring down my working bag (with my Mac, organizer, compilation of vouchers, notepad, wallet, cellphone and chargers) to the dining room which currently serves as my office desk. Love working in wide desks!
Kitchen Desk

My office… in the dining 🙂

  • 1:00 PM – Browse my Facebook, Yahoo Philippines, Bloglovin, Instagram and WordPress for updates before I dive into…
  • 1:30 PM – Work — Business concerns first (client follow ups, checking for scheduled collections and bills payment, coach our Sales Staff, review of liquidated petty cash and update on the accounting stuff) followed by…
  • 3:00 PM – oDesk — As of now, I’m only working with my long term clients. I don’t want to commit yet to new clients and be unable to manage tasks effectively
  • 6:00 PM — Nursing time for Olive as Janie prepares dinner
  • 7:00 PM — Dinner time
  • 8:00 PM — Second evening feeding for Olive
  • 8:30 PM — Move my working bag upstairs to our bedroom where I continue whatever I haven’t finished with oDesk or business concerns.
  • 10:00 PM, 12:00 MN, 2:00 AM — Nurse Olive every 2 hours and still work every hour in between since Olive would be asleep by then OR update my lists such as groceries, things to do, schedules, etc.
  • 6:00 AM — Olive’s bath time (still half asleep during this time. Mr. H & Janie usually does the baths). She’s bottle fed by her yaya from this time until 4:00 PM.

**NOTE: My bath time and blogging are inserted in random hours ^___^’ **

As you can see, I really don’t have time to go out and enjoy a change of scenery. I know. After reading it over, sounds unhealthy. But this is just for now, I guess, until Olive can feed less frequently and would be able to sleep on her own (hindi na kailangan isayaw pa at kargahin para matulog). Yet I know we can’t rush that. As Mr. H & I are saying, we should just enjoy each day while she’s still our cuddly little bundle of joy.