Weekend Special #9: Brief Reprieve from the Brutal Winter Chills

We had a bright, warm, sunny weather today. This warm spell had given us a reprieve from the harsh cold season.

I personally never liked winter. It’s even worse for my ageing mother. The long stretch of consecutive days of rain did not help us either. It only made us want to keep hibernating like a cocoon at home.

When the weather turned unexpectedly warm after Church, my husband asked me if I like the idea of us strolling around the neighborhood. Our not-so-newborn baby love was still asleep so we can’t take him with us. My Mum offered to feed him once he wakes up so we can have a longer stretch.

We actually missed doing this as we used to go walking together every once in a while. I have resumed my daily walking routine but I had to call a halt when I got a bout of cold and cough. I felt so much better couple of days after just doing natural home remedies: boiled ginger with honey. I could vouch for its potency and power.

So off we braved the sunny Sunday in winter. I adored the feeling of the sun warming my skin. It took us 45 minutes walking around the neighborhood and we enjoyed “house watching”. LOL!

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We’ve exchanged pleasantries to a couple of people in the walkways. It’s refreshing to have exchanged “Hi’s”, Hello’s”, or any other similar greetings at any hour of the day to people unknown to us. It’s actually plain and common courtesy.

That pretty much sum up our weekend. It’s an enjoyable brief reprieve from the brutal winter chills.

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Fashions of India

Clothing styles in India vary based on region, ethnicity, culture and climate, but all styles are beautifully made with colorful textiles and intricate details. One of the most beautiful fashion styles is the traditional clothing of women in Gujarat and Rajasthan.

A lehenga is a type of skirt that is long and pleated with intricate embroidery and a large border at the bottom of the skirt. A choli is an under garment or blouse with a low neck and short sleeves. It is worn under a stole or shawl, called a dupatta, that’s draped over the shoulder or head. The dupatta can be made any length, but most finish around the hip area. Longer shawls are often desired by women to elongate their body. For women who don’t want to wear a choli top, an overlay jacket can be made. These traditional Indian fashion items have been worn for hundreds of years, and they symbolize cultural traditions and lifestyles embraced by Indian women. For younger generations who want a more modern look, traditional style skirts are often worn with an updated halter top or crop top.

Although there are variations in design, there are four basic styles of Indian skirts: 1) A long straight skirt that falls from the hips; 2) A long flared skirt that widens towards the hem; 3) A pleated skirt with some flair; and 4) A mermaid fish style skirt that fits at the knees then flares out at the bottom. All of these styles enhance the body and reflect originality with colorful fabrics and finished details that are selected by each individual woman.

When you think about Indian fashion, you may envision a traditional sari, a wrapped dress. The sari has has been worn by Indian women for thousands of years. It even dates back to other ancient Greek and Roman civilizations where many women were wrapped in sarees. In India, the original sari is still a popular form of dress and worn by women in every part of India. Teenage girls who wear traditional sarees often present a half sari, an updated version with an exposed midriff and more form fitting top. For younger girls who don’t want to wear traditional fashion styles and ethnic products every day, fashionable jeans and tops are a popular option, but traditional Indian clothing is still part of their wardrobe, especially during cultural events and family gatherings.

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My Pregnancy Journey: The First Antenatal Visit

I shall go back to the time when I had my first antenatal check at the public hospital. That was roughly eight months ago! I can’t believe it’s been ages since I have written a blog update about my pregnancy.

Ohh but wait!

This is only the second time I am talking about it on this blog again. The first time was when we’ve made the big reveal via the blog post We Prayed, He Answered: We Are Pregnant.

In Australia, pregnant women had to wait until they get past the 12-week mark before the hospital will book them in for an appointment. This is so because miscarriage is common in the early stages of the pregnancy.

My first antenatal visit was uneventful. I say that because our baby was doing well, everything about me was alright, even my blood pressure was still under control at 14 weeks. I was very happy everything went so well and so smooth!

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I was reminded of the do’s and don’ts while being pregnant. If there was one thing significant that I vividly recalled on that visit, it was when the Midwife emphasized this to me:

“Surround yourself with positive people who will say the right things to you at this stage.”

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While I was happy of the result of the antenal visit, I was actually anxiety-ridden the whole duration of the pregnancy. It was not without reason. It sprung from a miscarriage history just two months before falling pregnant for the second time. While the first pregnancy was a bumpy journey, we considered it a huge blessing that it did not take me so long to fall pregnant again.

This time around, we did not left it up to chance. We went to see a private gynecologist to monitor our baby’s progress. Our appointment frequency with him was every four weeks.

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It was not cheap to say the very least. To make matters worse, the consultation fee was not covered by our Health Fund. However, that did not seem to matter. As the song goes, “There is no dollar sign on a peace of mind.”

Each time we hear our baby’s heartbeat and we see his progress, we can’t help but heave a sigh of relief. It kept me a tad bit calm, relaxed, and reassured that this time; it’s going to work out and our baby will be just fine.

This has continued until the 20th mark. But then my husband and I discussed about it. He left it up to me to come up with the final decision. I reasoned that it was useless to continue with our private consultations when we already had secured our appointments in the public hospital. And so I called off our ensuing appointments with the private hospital.

Now that I have began going back to my pregnancy journey, I will try to fill the gaps in between. It may be extremely slow with a not-so-newborn in tow but I will endeavor to recall and pen down as much as I can.

Thank you for sticking!

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All for the Love of Jamie: High Tea Baby Shower

I have never been invited to attend a baby shower in the past nor have I organised for one. It is perhaps because it is not a common thing in the Philippines. So having to attend one in my honor in anticipation of Jamie’s arrival is quite overwhelming to say the very least.

It has been four months down the track since the Baby Shower took place. Late as it may seem, I feel the need to express my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to all those people who have been instrumental in making it happen.

As a first time Mum-to-Be, I was told not to stress about the planning and organising of the Baby Shower.

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I am lucky and blessed enough to have been surrounded by these beautiful souls who volunteered to wholeheartedly and unselfishly organise it for me:

MIRA
She is simply heaven-sent! As soon as she learned that I am on my 30th weeks of pregnancy, she told me that she needs to come up with a plan for the Baby Shower. Not only that. She automatically offered their house as the venue to spare us from hiring a hall for the event; without thinking of any inconveniences it would entail for her. She was all too willing to do it for us and our little family. She is just amazing!

Mira with Sis Mau and her very smart son, Darrell

Mira and Sis Mau with their smart daughter and son- Miranda and Darrell

SIS MAU of DECORS & MOTIFS
It must be noted that even before I fell pregnant, Sis Mau had long expressed her willingness to style the venue for the Baby Shower. I felt truly special! I was not even sure then if someone is gonna organise one for me- sans a lot of friends to boost being a newbie in this country. But here’s one lovely soul who magnified a persona who is so full of love and kindness. She is famed for her artistic craft and it’s indeed both an honor and a privilege to be styled by one of the best there is in her chosen field.

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JM
She is my lovely friend who exceptionally volunteered to prepare all the food for the High Tea event. Without second thoughts, she offered her services to do all the cooking to spare us from spending a hefty sum for the catering. Isn’t she awesome!?

JM in the middle with lovely friends Imelda and Jinky

JM in the middle with lovely friends Imelda and Jinky

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THE GUESTS
Like in our wedding, the Baby Shower was a small gathering of people who mattered to us. We sincerely appreciate that they took time to be with us to celebrate Jamie’s arrival. Their kind and generous lovely presents were also hugely appreciated as it helped us tremendously in preparing the things we need prior to giving birth.

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My husband with Jinky and Imelda

My husband with Jinky and Imelda

My husband's side of the family

My husband’s SIL with her daughter

My husband with some of the boys

My husband with some of the boys

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The guests had no qualms joining the parlor games prepared by the host’s husband. They were all so cool about it which added fun and excitement to the event.

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MY HUSBAND
I was anxiety-ridden due to my hypertension and previous miscarriage that made staying pregnant tough. I had a bumpy ride with ligament and muscle pains and some swelling issues towards the end of my pregnancy that moving around was a pain in the neck not to mention that my hormones were all over the place- I was typically held hostage.

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At some point, I told my husband to forego and just forget about it. But his support and encouragement never waned one bit. I was amazed at how he took things in stride especially in supporting me emotionally. I still do not know what I have done to deserve such a wonderful husband.

GENDER REVEAL
We got the chance to reveal Jamie’s gender via cutting of the cake. The guests were excited to know whether it was a he or a she.

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It's a HE

It’s a HE!

OPENING OF PRESENTS
We took time to read everyone’s messages and also open their gifts for Jamie.

Reading out one of the cards

Reading out one of the cards

Opening some of the presents with excitement

Opening some of the presents with excitement

THANK YOU IS NEVER ENOUGH
Before everyone left, we took the time to say our words of appreciation. I can’t help but be misty eyed. We honestly felt their love and support.

Words of thanks and appreciation to everyone present

Words of thanks and appreciation to everyone present

And for that, we give back all the glory to God for giving us the right people who wished us well and who also prayed for a smooth and uneventful pregnancy all the way to delivery.

Photo Credit
JAY-BRIAN CUSTODIO

Hair and Make-Up
Susie Tsui

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Examining the Common Household Heater

Most HVAC professionals fixate on the air conditioning portion of a central system, but the heater or furnace is still a big part too. It consists of a heating element, blower fan, sensors and control panel. Any of these components can malfunction, creating a cold interior in the fall and winter. When you understand your system, such as a split heater model, you can troubleshoot and explain problems to professionals when servicing appointments are due.

Thermostat Control
Your heater has a control panel with a thermostat embedded in its housing. Controlling the heat from this panel is simple because most systems are digital. Press a button to increase or decrease the temperature displayed on the screen, for example. Some systems even learn about your favorite temperature settings and adjust automatically over time. As you select a temperature value, the system reacts by heating up or ceasing operations to match that number exactly.

Heat Sensors
Heater systems are fascinating because they have small sensors to tell components when the home is warm enough. These sensors cut off power to the heater, effectively shutting off the mechanisms until it’s cold enough to reactivate. Problems occur when sensors don’t react correctly or fail altogether. Heating professionals must verify if these electronic components are faulty or signals to them are intermittent.

Remote Access
With households connected to the Internet through WiFi components, heater manufacturers have added remote access to their newer models. You could be at the office and adjust the thermostat from your work, for instance. This remote access simply requires an Internet connection and a smart device, such as a tablet or phone. Remote access eases energy use if systems are forgotten in the “on” mode, for example. Households can even update older systems to work remotely too.

Never attempt to service a heater on your own. These systems have sensitive and hot components. Burns can easily occur if you’re not familiar with heater technology. Ideally, hire a professional at least twice a year to inspect and update any heater parts. When cold weather strikes, you’ll be ready to turn up the heat without any problems.

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