Dearest Zeeka,

In the stillness of the morning, I look at you. I wonder how anyone or anything can be so perfect. I touch your flawless skin, and even while sleeping, you give me than cute little grin.

I wonder what it is you’re thinking of. I wonder if you see me, your Mommy. I wonder if you see Daddy. I wonder if you see and feel the love that we both have for you.

My Zeeka's First Bath

My Zeeka’s First Bath

We just watched a movie. The guy in the movie had two children and they were both girls. I could very much relate to the movie, since it showed the relationship that the mommy and daddy had with their two girls. It brought me to think about you, Zeeka — your future and how you would be to us your mommy and daddy.

When you grow older, I know that you will have a mind of your own. You will form your own thoughts and ideas about people, things and even yourself. As early as now, I want you to know that you are perfect. You are perfect since God created you and He gave you to us. You are our precious gift from God.

I want you to learn how to love and appreciate yourself. I know that there will be times that you may think differently, especially at times when the world seems to be against you. Remember that to us, the people who love you, you are the most beautiful and talented girl in the world.

Also, never doubt your capabilities. If at first you fail at what you do, rise up and try again. There is nothing wrong with failing. Failing and falling are steps on the ‘success’ ladder. Mommy and Daddy also experience failure and defeat (until now), but this doesn’t make you less of a person. Also, remember that we will always be here for you during these trying times. Be confident and never forget to pray that you may overcome all of these obstacles.

Zeeka, my wish for you is that you learn to love yourself. That love overflows. By loving yourself, you get to love others and have enough courage and strength to show others that you love them.

We love you!

Mommy Ginger

Mommy Ginger

And voila! It’s done 🙂 I finally got around to picking up the last furniture that I ordered for Zeeka’s Nursery room last week. I ordered it from Mothercare a month ago and finally, the new stock arrived. It actually arrived that week that I was in the hospital. I got to pick it up last week! Hurray!

As you all know, I made an article before entitled Fixing a Nursery. I got a lot of great ideas from fellow moms who have decorated their nurseries very well. I was inspired!

I have shown you the ‘before’ pictures. And now, here are the ‘after’ pictures… drumroll please…

Zeeka's Completed Nursery Room

Zeeka’s Completed Nursery Room

First off, the walls of Zeeka’s room was painted green. The shade was sort of like apple green. It gave the room a fresh clean vibe! For the crib, this was the walnut colored Cuddlebug crib given by my parents (thanks, mom and dad!). I wanted the all the furnitures to be of this shade. Later did I find out that it’s so hard to look for furniture of the same shade.

Details inside Zeeka's Room

Details inside Zeeka’s Room

For the picture frame, I got the pink colored frame from Dimensione. We then printed out a picture of Zeeka. We really had a ‘shoot’ in our house so that her attire matches the color highlights of the room. We also had the Z is for Zeeka poster printed out. I got the design from http://ontobaby.com.

For the wall stickers, we bought these stickers from Youji & Me. I saw these stickers on their facebook page and I completely fell in love with them. For the other wall, we also stuck stickers from Youji & Me. It was the Circus stickers with a sticker for measuring your child’s height.

Cute Stickers from Youji & Me

Cute Stickers from Youji & Me

Letters from Invitation House

Letters from Invitation House

As for the letters stuck to the wall, we had it made by Invitation House. The minimum order is 6 letters. I think I spent Php 1000 for all the five letters. I had two letter Z’s made.

For the clock in Zeeka’s Nursery Room, I got this from SM Makati’s Home section. I think I spent less than Php 500 for this clock. Isn’t it so cute?

Check out Zeeka's Clock

Check out Zeeka’s Clock

I was looking for comforters that would match the theme of the room. Lo and behold! My tita gave me comforters for Zeeka! (Thank you, Tita Ter!). It was perfect. She actually gave me four, but this one in particular matched the design of the room!

Animal Themed Comforter (from my Tita Ter)

Animal Themed Comforter (from my Tita Ter)

The picture below shows the dresser that I got from Mothercare. It was perfect for the things I wanted to put, like Zeeka’s sterilizer, bottles, etc.

Dresser from Mothercare

Dresser from Mothercare

I love this gift from Zeeka’s great grandmother and great grandfather (Thank you, Mama Edie and Papa Arnold!). I was really looking for a cabinet with a lot of drawers for Zeeka’s things. I couldn’t find any. I was getting frustrated. I was so thankful when my grandparents offered that they had a cabinet customized and this would be their gift. It’s really a nice cabinet and it goes well with everything else in the room.

Customized cabinet with drawers (Thank you, Mama Edie!)

Customized cabinet with drawers (Thank you, Mama Edie!)

So what do you think of my DIY project? I hope you like Zeeka’s nursery room. 🙂

Love lots,

Mommy Ginger

Mommy Ginger

With Baby Zeeka here, crying every hour or two, asking me to feed her, it’s impossible to get out of the house and buy a few more items that I missed while I was still pregnant. Online shopping has been my best friend and I think it will be for the next month or so. Being a discerning and hands-on mom, I want everything to be perfect for me and my baby. I want things of good taste and quality.

I know that one of the fears that you have when you buy online is you really can’t check the quality of an item before you purchase it. Well, I had no problems with buying things for my baby using Taste Central. Have you visited their site? The minute I saw their site, I was impressed with the design.

Of course, the first thing that I did was I checked on the items being sold for kids.

Kids Section of Taste Central

Kids Section of Taste Central

Taste Central has five categories that you can browse through Home and Living, Women, Men, Kids, and Food. Under Kids, it’s easy to look for things that you are looking for for your children since the site has subcategories (Nursery, Bed and Bath, Toys, Feeding Accessories, Fashion, and Travel). I was so excited to shop. I went through the things that I lacked for Baby Z and intently went through the kids’ section of Taste Central.

I found this high chair that I wanted to buy for her.

Jazzy High Chair at Taste Central

Jazzy High Chair at Taste Central

I know it’s a bit early to shop for something that she can only use when she’s 6 months old, but anyway, I liked the product, so I bought it. I also bought these other items for Zeeka.

Shopping for Zeeka!

Shopping for Zeeka!

I bought a Chicco Go Baby Carrier (which I already tried wearing this morning… with out Zeeka in it though…yet :P). I forgot to take a picture of it, but I also bought a Spinkie Butterfly Pillow for only Php 940. The Spinkie pillow is a unique chiropractic-inspired pillow for your babies and without.

I bought three items for Zeeka! I had a fun time shopping in between feedings. I love shopping and “window shopping” at Taste Central since the items are easy to find and the website is very user-friendly. They also have great and unique items — it makes me feel that I only have to go through the best of the best!

Choosing items, checking out and even sending payments through the site were easy and very convenient. Items are delivered within 3-5 days.

Confirmation from Taste Central

Available Payment Options

Mommies, I suggest that you try out the site. BTW, Taste Central is the Official Retail Partner of Deal Grocer. I know that you will love going through the items that they have and buying stuff for yourself, for your little one, for your loved ones and for your home.

And here’s more good news! Taste Central and Mommy Ginger is giving away this cute Bright Starts Infant to Toddler Rocker.

Bright Starts™ Infant to Toddler Rocker

Bright Starts™ Infant to Toddler Rocker

All you have to do is follow the mechanics indicated in the Rafflecopter widget. We will then raffle off the Bright Starts Rocker to one lucky winner! The promo starts today and ends on April 7, 2013. Winner will be selected via Randomizer.org or via Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Join now and win that cute Rocker! 🙂

Sign up now at TasteCentral.com. Click HERE.

Goodluck and have fun shopping!

Love lots,

Mommy Ginger

Mommy Ginger

An Interview with Mariel Medina, Proprietor of Sitting Pretty Crafts Studio

The minute I met Mariel, I knew that she was a very strong willed and determined individual. Mommy Mariel is a mom to four kids, Cody (15 y.o.), Maki (13y.o.), Vigo (6 y.o.) and Rees (4 y.o.). Like some of the mompreneurs out there, Mariel worked in a corporate environment first for Sales and Marketing for quite sometime before going after her dream of putting up her own business. She married, her now husband, Louie last December 2011 and resigned from her job last February 2011.

Mompreneur Mariel Medina and family

Mompreneur Mariel Medina and family

It wasn’t easy starting out, Mariel says. She resigned during that time but had no business in mind yet. She started a Multiply business of selling garden planting kits. She also tried out selling children’s clothes for toddlers. For 6 months, she was trying to figure out what to do.

Finally, on August 2012, while watching her kids play in their room, she got this bright idea, which led her to start her own business!

Ginger: Hi Mariel! Can you tell us more about this business and this bright idea?
Mariel: My business is called Sitting Pretty Crafts Studio. We make fabric covered magnet boards, which are great for decorating nursery or kids’ rooms or even for placing on top of your office desk. I got the idea when I saw my kids stick tape and stickers on the walls of their rooms.

Mommy Board

Mommy Board

Makeup Board

Makeup Board

I make boards of different sizes: 18 x 24, 12 x 18 and 9 x 12. I sell my items via Multiply and advertise via Facebook and Twitter. I also tried and joined different bazaars such as the Ateneo Fair Bazaar last October 2012. It was such a learning experience. I then joined the Mommy Mundo Bazaar. I learned a lot from joining these bazaars.

magnets 1

hand dyed wooden clothespin magnets
Ginger: With all of these marketing efforts, who do you think your market is?
Mariel: I think my market are moms who are in-charge of the house. They buy these items for their house or for their kids. Some ‘kikay’ yuppies also buy from me. They use these

Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming a momtrepreneur? What are these?
Mariel: Production is really a challenge for me. Under production, my main obstacles are quality control and manpower. You have to check that all items are of good quality. Since I only have two people helping with production, I, myself see to it that I get to check the items. For manpower, I only have 2 peope — one to create the frame and one to wrap.

Another obstacle is limiting my wastage. I need to further study how to lessen waste. Also, there are already competitors in creating magnetic boards. I know that this is a reality so I have to create new and innovative products in the future. Another challenge is educating the market. Since this is a unique product, I get a lot of questions from possible buyers on what the board is for. I then have to patiently explain what its function is.

Ginger: What are three traits that you think a momtrepreneur should have when starting their own business?
Mariel:

a. Must know how to Multi-task. A momtrepreneur must know when to switch hats from being a mom to the business woman that she is. She has to learn how to ‘compartamentalize’ and once already in the role, she must learn how to focus.
b. Support of your family. It is important that the people aroudn you truly believe in your business and support you in any way they can.
c. Must have that Entrepreneurial spirit. There are things na hindi natuturo sa school (isn’t taught in school). I believe that having that entrepreneurial spirit is a one of these skills.

Ginger: Any unforgettable lesson that you learned as a Momtrepreneur?
Mariel:
a. Never forget to spend time with your kids. They grow up so fast so cherish every moment with them.
b. Money is not the only reward that you get from being a mompreneur. It gives you time for your children. I’m happy that it allows me to pick up my kids from school.
c. Being a momtrepreneur gives you a clearer picture of what’s important

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Momtrepreneurs?
Mariel: Do your research before starting your own business, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It is okay to make mistakes.

I think that it’s better, too, to think of your business while you are still employed. At least you have a fallback just in case you don’t push through with your business. Also, it helps to assess and know what you want. It will take time to get to know what you want, so just be patient.

Also, when already in business, it’s so easy to get consumed in your business and you forget about spending time with your family. Never forget that family should always be your top priority. Also, there should be no shame in asking people for help (approach family— siblings, cousins, etc.). It is okay to get help from family and friends. For me, as mompreneur, the concept of being a super woman means that at times, you have to learn to realize that you can’t do everything.

And lastly, look for like minded individuals. They will be your support group.

Ginger: Thank you, Mariel, for all your wonderful ideas and insights!

Sitting Pretty Crafts Studio Contact information:
a. Website/Multiply site: http://sittingpretty.multiply.com/
b. Email address: sittingprettyph@blogspot.com
c. Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/sittingpretty.ph
d. Twitter account: @sittingprettyph

This is not like me. I have always had things under control. I’m not so much of a control freak, but for everything before, I always had the opportunity to handle things in such a way that I like the outcome or I expect or get to foresee the outcome. And yet now, I am frustrated. I literally find myself crying over… crying over ‘I have no idea’ actually.

It has been 1 week and three days since our little bundle of joy was born. The minute she was born, my husband and I were in cloud 9. It was such a great feeling to have a child of your own to love, to hug, to kiss and cuddle. Since I had a C-section, I was in the hospital for four days.

During those days, we had a difficult time adjusting to the baby’s sleeping and feeding schedule. My personal goal is to the be the best mommy that I can be. Even before Zeeka was born, I vowed to myself that I would exclusively breastfeed and I would stick to that. My goal led me to ask for the baby to be roomed-in right after she was born, so just few hours after my operation in the morning, Zeeka was already with me in my room late that afternoon.

Since I was not that mobile yet, I breastfed her in the hospital doing the side-lying position. Thankfully, Zeeka had a good suck. She latched right away after our second try. We, Ej and I, would get up every so often to feed her and change her diapers and have her burp. We would monitor each and every feeding and diaper change. These were days of sleepless nights.

When we got home, we continued to have sleepless nights. I then had problems since my nipples started to sore and bleed. We tried different breastfeeding positions and for some reason, Zeeka could not latch well. I felt so frustrated. I didn’t know what was suddenly wrong. I kept on thinking that it was my fault. I kept on crying and crying, since I really felt like a loser ‘mom’. Why did so many people seem to direct breastfeed so easily? They seem so calm and relaxed in the pictures that we see on the net and even in real life.

I know I did everything I could. I attended breastfeeding classes. I attended three in fact. I attended birthing classes. Why can’t I get Zeeka to latch well. Of course I know that my sore nipples were due to Zeeka’s incorrect latch. I gave up and started pumping.

When I started pumping, I got to collect around half an ounce of milk from both breasts. This made me frustrated again. It entered my mind that I didn’t have enough milk. I got to hear from friends that they collect as much as 2 ounces of milk and some even more. Again, it felt as if it were my fault. Every time I would hear Zeeka’s shrieks and cries, I would cry, too. I felt so unfulfilled. Everything felt so uncontrollable — my milk let down, the hunger cries of my baby, my sore nipples, etc. I felt so useless.

At this time, I was already thinking of mixed feeding. Although, at the back of my head, I really wanted to exclusively breastfeed and formulas were really a no-no for me. It was a good thing that I stuck to this commitment. I just kept on convincing myself that if I had to pump every hour, I would.

At this time, Ej and I decided to already call on the help of Abbie Yabot, a lactation consultant to help us fix our latch. She came to us yesterday, early morning. It was just the right time, since I was losing it. Before she arrived, I was crying over spilled milk (literally) that I pumped.

She arrived at almost 8:00 am. When she came, we immediately went straight to trying to latch Zeeka, and in just a minute or so, she successfully latched on to me. We learned a lot from Abbie during her visit. We learned a lot of things, both incorrect things that we were doing and tips on how things should be done. The session was really helpful. We are now perfecting and practicing our latch and I am more at ease with all these things going on with Zeeka and with her feeding.

They say that motherhood is one of the best things that could ever happen to a woman. When I look at Zeeka, all bundled and cuddled up, I do believe that this is true. I read this beautiful article that a friend shared with me, Beautiful Catastrophe: The Death and Rebirth of Becoming a Mother, and I couldn’t help but cry. I could relate to the writer in so many levels.

No one or nothing can really prepare you fully for motherhood. Your mother, your grandmother, a lactation expert, etc. can give you all the advice in the world, but you will still have to adjust and learn with your child. Both of you, with your husband, will have to take the journey together. This is what I learned with my experience.

And if you accept the fact that…
1. you are not perfect and are only human
2. that not all things are within your control
3. and that motherhood is a learning process…

everything will be waaaay easier.

To end this, I leave you with this quote:

“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.” ― Debra Ginsberg

Love lots,

Mommy Ginger

Mommy Ginger

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