Monday, June 30, 2014

Lia Ahryn's First Month


Now that was fast!

She has gained weight and her legs are not as frail and skinny as when she's delivered earlier than expected. She's doing very well, and almost cannot wear her newborn-sized clothes. Life’s pretty simple for her, give her what she needs and she’s all right. And right now all she wants are plenty of cuddle-carrying, milk feeding every 2 hours or less, and urgent clean-ups. She’s the boss, the doll, the baby! 

Below are two more photos. She's wearing a hand-down, vintage Baby Gap dress from here Ate and a personalized headband the mom specially crafted for her.


Happy first month Baby Lia. We love you to Planet X and back!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Bathroom Makeover on a Budget

Our home is a work in progress, constantly. We are always moving things around, looking for what works best. And how to improve our way of living in our small space is always in our minds. We believed that design affects the way we move and live. Good design improves the quality of life and bad design impedes speed and progress. We feel that life is easier when we successfully transform a space from its dated, boring, nonchalant state to one that is not only more usable but is fresh and more liveable.

We are not ready to commit to a major renovation physically and financially, but we wanted to update the Master Bathroom. The solution we have come up is to do a Bathroom Makeover on a Budget. Take a look at how it used to be and my SketchUp plans for the Before and After.


BEFORE. The biggest problem was there's no storage provision at all. The small glass shelf and the wall ledge served as a catch-all area. And since we didn't want it to hold all our toiletries, we kept it clear by storing our things in the bedroom closet. It was not practical and the space was just plain blah.



AFTER. We removed the frameless oval mirror and assembled Ikea's 2-door LILLANGEN mirror cabinet in its place. We also installed 2 EKBY wall shelves (with plastic brackets because it's in the bathroom), GRUNDTAL corner wall shelf (not shown in the sketch), toilet paper holder, and hang a washable fabric shower curtain. We also brought in a rug to complete the setting. We accessorized with tealight candles, perfume oil diffuser, white towels and fresh plants for that spa-feel. All these decorative and functional elements finished up this new and improved bathroom.

For now, this will do. We have plenty of storage, that and more. We love the new space!

Next stop, Ashrie's bedroom!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Kids Say What?

Kids learn new words by watching, listening, and using some of these words in sentences of their own. Although Ashrie knows how to read already, there are some things that she name herself and some words that she misheard but use nonetheless. Here are just some.
I heard her saying she wanted to visit "Toy Store Us".
And when she's reminded that she has been corrected before she sometimes say,
Toy Store "R"

She named this thing the Suckifier!

This is somewhat strange but innocently true, maybe a sequel of the Suckifier,
she call this the Breast Sucker!

And lastly, remember how Idina Menzel's English and voice sounds very strange the very first time you hear it? Well, when Ashrie sings "Let It Go" before, the lyrics go like this:

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of Iced Malaysian (isolation)
And it looks like I'm the queen...

Happy memories! Happy Tuesday!

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Great Stroller Search

Little Lia's turning one month next week and soon she'll be out and about. Both of her ate's baby and toddler strollers were already passed on to her cousins in the Philippines so we need to get a new one.

I thought it would be easy to choose this time around (since it's the second time) but I was wrong. With so many choices and so many cool buggies nowadays, it hasn't been an easy task for me to decide which one to get. It's just like buying a new car (not that I have one)!

You can easily enumerate the big ones- Maclaren, Graco, Combi, Peg Perego, Aprica, Silver Cross, Quinny, Babyzen, Capella, Stokke, and Bugaboo just to name a few.

I have a mental list of what I want and not for a stroller and here they are: I want a lightweight stroller. I don't want an umbrella-type buggy. I want a pram that can stand while it is folded. I want one that is suitable to use from baby's birth up to at least her third year. And lastly, I want a trendy-looking stroller with a nice color and cool features.

So after browsing through websites and their distributors here in Singapore, I came up with three options which I viewed personally to get a good look and feel before finally buying.

Here are my three favorites: Stokke Scoot, Aprica Ria and Babyhome Emotion.

STOKKE SCOOT. Released just last year, it's the compact and more practical version of the Stokke Xplory. Who would not fall in love with this? The luxury stroller has brilliant design, good quality, reversible seat, and a high seat that promotes child-parent bonding (think a rolling highchair which would be useful in dining out). It took me days to convince my wife about this because it is really pricey. It's Stokke after all!


In the end I changed my mind. Not that it doesn't have a bumper bar, or it cost a limb, the biggest turn-off for me was its weight and size. It weighs almost 11 kg! Even if it has a one-hand fold, its dimensions is a bummer. Oh well.

APRICA AIR RIA. Talk about lightweight! This puppy weighs around 5 kg only. It's perfect for newborn because it reclines well and has a generous and beautiful canopy! 


And lastly, the one I did not let go. 

BABYHOME EMOTION. Wanna makes you sing the Bee Gees song right? And all for the right reasons. This stroller is practical, lightweight, folds upright, perfect for newborns (because of the car seat), and has good looks! It also comes with optional accessories to jazz it all up and can accommodate up to 25 kg, all in the color that I want. Weighing 6 kg only, to me this lightweight stroller has the best of both worlds.


Have I told you that it is also cheaper than my first two choices? And because of that I'm able to get the car seat as well! Below is the color or non-color that we've picked.


Now that's a good buy!

*Update (30 June 2014)

The shipment has been delivered on time by the local distributor but to my surprise, and not so pleasant at that, they gave me the black with silver frame. I tried to have it exchanged to my original order but unfortunately they cannot send the two units in the same color I wanted. A lot of calls (and a lot of patience) later, I gave up and accepted this color with a matching car seat as we urgently need one and waiting for a replacement would be frustrating.

It still pretty though and looks perfectly-matched with the Nuna Sena Mini-Travel Cot I got last week.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Charlie and the Poop Factory

Warning! Poopy talk ahead.

Back in my days (and I tell you it's a long way back), my parents did not use any disposable diapers. They used and they washed cotton cloth nappies during my entire babyhood.

Could you believe that? Can you imagine the time and effort they've spent just to get through the nappy stage?

Fast-forward to the 2000s, where the use of disposable diapers is just the norm, we are, in all of our product choices, responsible for its effect on the environment. Just imagine the number of soiled diapers you are throwing in the rubbish bin each day. That's an average of 6-8 diapers per day. Now multiply it by how many days/years you will use diapers. You would have spent thousands of dollars and threw a thousand pieces of soiled diapers in the trash. Now multiply it by the number of babies and toddlers in Singapore, or if you want, the world. It's mind-blowing!


In the US alone, their landfills are collecting almost eight billion pounds of soiled diapers a year! Poor Mother Earth!

Although, we cannot negate the practicality of disposable diapers especially when going out, we can do something about managing the amount of trash leaving our homes. So this time around, we will be using washable cloth nappies alongside disposables. We recently purchased Charlie Banana Reusable Diapers even if it means having to wash the stinking "poopourri" off it and doing laundry more frequently. It's our own little way of being "green". Plus we will enjoy the benefits of using cloth nappies: It's cheaper in the long run, it's better for baby's skin, it's more absorbent, and it's eco-friendly.



Plus, it's way cuter and definitely more fashionable than disposable diapers. Also, they say that parents feel better when they use cloth nappies. It's probably an emotional thing or just the feeling when you know you're doing the right thing.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Father's Day 2014

It was Father's Day yesterday. My wife greeted me with this...


The church handed out these paper bags during the service.


Ashrie presented me with this key chain. It was their craft of the day in Sunday School.


And my wife snapped this picture of me and my daughters, Ashrie and Lia after the service when we reached home.


No fancy dinners as we were all busy. And the rest of the day was all about the baby, putting her to sleep, changing her diapers, feeding her, singing lullabies to her, carrying her, sterilizing her things and repeating this routine many times around in no particular order.

But all is well. Being a dad is a job I wouldn't exchange for anything. So, to all great dads, a Happy Father's Day! 

Old Apartment Plans and Some Random Thoughts on Life

Now what do we have here? 


As I am rummaging through my old backup files, I saw these plans that I drafted way back in 2008. It's our supposed-to be humble apartment in the Philippines. A simple dream.

Shown is small 1-bedroom unit with attached kitchen and bath (bath plans not included).

One will enter from the kitchen which is equipped with an oven and custom built-ins. There is also a small breakfast table for two. Improvements: Glass-enclosed wall cabinets and open shelves will be a good addition to this design. And a drop-leaf table will be a better option to accommodate more diners.

The door on the top (second photo) leads to the Main Bedroom which has a seating area, a dresser which also works as a console table, a built-in closet, a study, a queen-size bed and a wall-mounted flat screen TV on the wall. Improvements: For this, I think a two-seater sofa bed would be a wiser choice or two armchairs would be a classier option for the seating area. Additional decorative lighting such as table lamps and sconces will complete the whole setting, as a floor lamp will be a luxury to the already limited floor space available. But if it can still fit, why not?

Now the for random thought:

All these plans did not materialize. Nothing of this came true. A shattered dream, I may say. But God has given Jane and I so much more. So much more, that in the past we dare not imagine.

What's funny is how we plan our lives, how we try to envision our destiny and how we practically limit ourselves by what we have at the moment. Not knowing that God has a better future in store for us.

We have been through life's ups-and-downs but God is faithful. We will still encounter life's greatest trials but what's comforting is that these too shall pass. And by faith, I declare that the best is yet to come.

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. ~ Proverbs 16:9 ESV

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Thank Goodness There's New Huggies JB!

When it's time to buy newborn diapers a few days before Lia's arrival, I know exactly which brand to buy, Huggies!

We have used Huggies all throughout Ashrie's babyhood and her early toddler years. "Early" because she was potty-trained early as well. We have trusted this brand for its quality, value for money, and excellent freebies!

So when I was about to get the NB size, I was surprised to know that there is this new JB (Just Born) size. Knowing that Lia will be just around 3kg at birth (because she'll be delivered early), this was the size of choice.

True enough at birth, Lia’s weight is just 2.76 kg and she even got lighter once all the water retention subsided. Apparently, the hospital also uses Huggies diapers in the new JB size. We love it because it's snug fit so we don't have troubles with leaks and all. After all, doesn't babies look good and comfy in clothes (and diapers) that is their size? And to note that for newborns, wearing clothes in the right sizes are safer in general especially during sleep.

Lia is now on her Week 3 and we are still using this size. A few weeks more and hopefully we will be able to shift to the NB size as she catch up with her weight and size.


Guess what? You can request for a free sample and have it delivered right in your mailbox here.

I'll review some more products that we are using for her in my future posts. Until then.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sweet Sisters


Love this photo set! It features our daughters, Ashrie the Ate (elder sister), and our one-week-old baby, Lia!

Right now, we're glad that Ashrie loves her baby sister so much and helps Mom with small chores at home. It's funny that although she has a tiny voice already, she talks to Lia in falsetto. It's an added blessing that it's the school holidays and Ashrie can spend more time with Lia.

Having another baby entails a lot of adjustments for our family. As time passes, we will grow together as a family, Jane and I as parents, and them as sisters.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Lia Ahryn's Here!


Finally, here she is, Lia Ahryn Sto.Domingo! Born at exactly 37 weeks, delivered via C-Section by Dr. Khoo Chong Kiat at KK Women's and Children's Hospital.

Lia name means "Bearer of Good News" and Ahryn means "Peace". It was a last-minute change from Ahren (meaning eagle or high mountain) to Ahryn because the latter sounds more feminine. But Lia is there from the start. It is also a short-form of her Great Grandmother's name Julia meaning "soft or downy".

Her name has one letter less than her sister's and their birthdays are (as mentioned before) exactly one month apart. They also have the same blood type.

We are so happy that even though Jane has a very sensitive pregnancy, she's healthy and we were able to go home together after three days.

Sleepless nights are coming and have actually begun, but I'm definitely loving every minute of this stage. And thank God, things are now looking up! 



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