Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lung Leavin' Day - A Story Of Hope And Strength

Today, I’m sharing the inspiring story of the Von St. James family.

In 2006, Heather Von St. James was diagnosed with mesothelioma which is a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. She and her husband Cameron had just been blessed with their daughter Lily, and during the most exciting time in their lives, Heather was given only 15 months to live. After surgery to remove her left lung, Heather began her courageous journey towards survival, and that was how Lung Leavin' Day started.

Each year on the 2nd of February, the Von St. James’ gather around a fire in their backyard with friends and family, write their biggest fears on a plate, and smash them into the fire. The purpose of Lung Leavin’ Day is to help others face their most terrible fears. That and to honor those who have passed away while fighting their own battles, rally behind those who continue to fight, and to encourage those whose spirits need uplifting.

This year is the 9th anniversary of their Lung Leavin’ Day celebration and February is Lung Leavin' Day Awareness Month. I invite everyone to share awareness about mesothelioma and to spread the message of strength and hope today and every day. Write down your fears and cast them in the fire.

I’d like to personally thank Cameron for reaching out and sharing his beautiful story with me. To know more about Heather’s fight with mesothelioma, her family’s prevailing spirit, and to take part in Lung Leavin’ Day (which I believe should be celebrated all year round), go to today.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Flight Fright

We're going on a trip. Yay! It'll just be me and the baby. Boo. Destination: USA. Yay! 14-hour flight with a toddler. Yikes. Flying back home eventually. Double yikes.

When we started having talks to go to the States with Luna, both excitement and dread have taken root in my head. As you can see above, it's been a constant battle of yays, boos, and yikes in my mind for a good month or so now. It's become a bit stressful, to be honest. I mean, traveling with a baby is no joke. I know, I've been on countless plane rides to various destinations, and I know for a fact, after much observation and deduction, that babies and planes just don't mix. Now, it'll be my turn to take a baby. A fidgety, chatty, adventurous toddler at that. Oh, I can already see the glares and evil stares from other passengers. Gives me the heebie-jeebies.

This will not be Luna's first time to fly, no. Her first time was when she had just turned 1 and we flew to the Visayas for some leisurely time with family who were visiting from the US. The flight from Manila only took about an hour or so and Luna was just an angel. She slept through most of it. Hallelujah! The flight back to Manila took a little longer because of some airport traffic issue. So, we circled the skies for an extra hour. Even then Luna was still well behaved. I wasn't anxious about traveling with her that time at all. This time around, I have anxiety up the wazoo.

Understand that the circumstances are just way different. Back then Luna hadn't even started walking yet, so she basically sat on our laps the entire time we were on the plane. Take note, I said laps. That's plural. Obviously, I wasn't alone. She bounced from my lap to my husband's to my mom's and so and so forth. She had, well, options. And I had down time. All Luna needed was one toy and she was set. It was perfect. This time around, it's a whole other ballgame.

This is not going to be a short plane ride; 14 freakin' hours at the very least! She's less than 2 years old so she doesn't have to have her own seat on the plane. But with that comes the real price I have to pay - she has to sit on my lap that whole entire time. $1200 savings, check! Restless toddler on my lap, X X X!!! She's walking now, so I'm pretty sure she won't want to sit still that whole time. I can't even stay seated for more than 3 or 4 hours at a time. More so for a child who had just discovered that walking is the shiznit.

Panic and anxiety still lingers, I won't lie. In fact, my heart still races every time I think of it. But a friend pointed out that if anyone can handle a situation as unpredictable and potentially challenging as this, it would be me. Oddly enough, that helped. I know it to be a fact. All anyone could ever do is prepare the best they can for any situation, and preparation just happens to be my thing. This is where my training as a master girl scout (and daughter of my mother) kicks in. See? Now, I'm excited. [insert evil grin here]

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sleepless In Manila - Luna's First Bouts With Insomnia

Ok, it's not really insomnia. I think it's just too early for that. I struggled with severe insomnia when I was in high school. So Luna has still a few years before that could happen, I think. Or never, if she's lucky.

It all started when she got a bad cold about 3 weeks ago. Since then, she couldn't sleep well on the bed because her head wasn't propped up enough, making it a bit difficult for her to breathe. That, and it's always been a bit cooler in our bedroom even without the A/C on, so she gets more congested. That's when I decided to move her to the crib, which she only used during the day when she'd nap or play. It worked for a while. Until it didn't anymore. Boy, was I losing more sleep than ever.

The last few nights have been extra trying because she'd stir and wake up every 45 minutes to an hour. Honestly, it's exhausting! At first I thought it was because she had developed allergies (rhinitis - like mother like daughter) so she got restless whilst sleeping. But after trying out a few different things to create a better nighttime routine, I've discovered she was probably just uncomfortable in her crib. Tonight, I tried bringing her back to our bed, and lo and behold - she's been sleeping soundly since 8pm! It's been about 2 and a half hours since. PROGRESS!!!

I really hope she gets back on track with her sleeping. They say that at her age, she should be sleeping through the night, meaning uninterrupted sleep without feeding, for at least 5 hours straight. Here's to better sleep for her and longer sleep for me!

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Pink Heart Bandit - Luna's First Valentine's

My ever so thoughtful husband (he definitely has his moments haha) got me a gorgeous bouquet of flowers for Vday. Luna got a small bouquet, too. How darling!

May sweetness, joy, passion & love reign in your hearts forever. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Luna Milestone - The Rollover

It was 3 in the morning on the day she turned exactly 4 months old. What a great *cough* time to start practicing huh. Just when Nanay is zombified and half-asleep. Good thing my instincts kicked in and I was able to grab my camera. And in the dark at that! I'm getting good at this [stage] mom thing.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Whole New World

So THIS is what being a mom feels like. No, wait. Scratch that. This is what being a FULL TIME, STAY-AT-HOME MOM feels like. There. That's a more accurate description I think.

My life pretty much revolves around the little one now. I sometimes go through a whole day without combing my hair. Meal time feels more like a race than anything else; I can hardly taste my food. Who needs perfume when you can smell like baby puke? I've trained my left hand to do one thing while my right did another. I need to work around our helper's schedule just so WE (hubby and myself) can take the day off (ok, not a whole entire day, but any length of time doing things other than changing diapers and lulling our baby to sleep is much welcome and appreciated). My blogs, music library, to-read list, and social life have been put on hold (I'm surprised I can even write this). Taking a nice long bath is a luxury. Sleep has become non-existent; I have become the walking dead.

She's only 2 months and 4 days old yet everything's changed tremendously. I wonder what else is in store for me in the days, weeks, months, years to come. I hear it only gets "better." lol

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

HOMEStory Photo Shoot - A Preview

Toward the end of my pregnancy, hubby and I arranged to have pictures taken of our baby at the hospital aptly called a NEWBORNStory by Regina Hahn-Siy. Rej is a passionate photographer, but a wife and mother first and foremost. We learned about the services she offers from her mom Chiqui. Good thing that we did, too.

Since our baby had to be kept in the nursery for an entire week post birth, our NEWBORNStory photo shoot fell through. Obviously, Rej wouldn't be able to take pictures of our baby's many firsts. But we still gave it a go a few days after she was released from the hospital. Instead of the NEWBORNStory, we had a HOMEStory. You can visit My Story Photography to see a preview of the shots from that day. Check out the packages while you're there! We highly recommend it.

Adjusting at home with the baby hasn't been a walk in the park, that's for sure. For that reason, we honestly thought we wouldn't be able to go through with the photo shoot. But hubby and I were determined to get it done. With Rej's help, talent (and patience), we certainly pulled it off. Sure, we looked a little haggard in the pictures. LOL But hopefully the edited prints will look better.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Welcome Home, Lunakin

Hubby and I were simply overjoyed when the doctor said we could bring little Luna home tonight. We weren't prepared at all because we expected to bring her home tomorrow at the earliest. So, when we knocked on the door of the Special Care Unit of the hospital to "claim" our daughter, reality hit us like an over-speeding bus. I looked at my husband as we waited and I saw both excitement and fear in his eyes. I was grinning from ear to ear, but I have to admit I was just a big ball of nerves inside.

The door opened and the nurse wheeled out Luna in her bassinet. She handed all of Luna's stuff to us then proceeded to swaddle her. She lifted her out and handed her to us. Hubby more than happily volunteered to carry her. Incidentally, it would be the first time he holds her. Once she was in his arms, he just couldn't stop smiling. And mine was just as big, if not bigger.

At that moment, we were complete. We are now a family. And we're all going home. :)