Cassie: 11.09.2015

1

(DRESS: Mint Polka dot Tutu dress/ SOCKS: Carters; Mint and white/ SHOES: Carters, off white ballet flats/ HEADBAND: Belle and Coco. white bow headband)

Cassie at 21 days. Another outfit from Baba,Thanks again baba!

Advertisements

Cassie: 11.06.2015

1

(TOP: Chiffon,polka dot/ LEGGINGS: hot pink/ HEADBAND: Belle and Coco)

Still getting a hang of this OOTD. Cassie at 18 days. Thanks Baba for my outfit. 😀

Meeting “Spriki”

Two days after celebrating our 2nd Civil Wedding Anniversary here in Houston (we actually thought the little one would come out on that day), our little Spriki decided that it was about time we meet her. My parents, the excited grandparents, have already posted a few dozen photos of her and probably me in my au naturale state on Facebook and I am beyond overwhelmed with all the wonderful comments from family, friends, mom’s friends, dad’s friends, my siblings’ friends, my mom and dad’s co-workers at Methodist Hospital Sugarland where I gave birth and even some people that Marco and I don’t know. Marco and I would like to thank each and every single one of all the well wishers, all those who came to visit us at the hospital and especially those who took care of us during the birthing process—Dr. Lauren Swords and the entire Methodist Sugarland Hospital Labor and Delivery team. To the birthing team,thank you for making our stay as comfortable as possible; to mom and pop’s Methodist hospital friends, thank you for spoiling us like we were checked in at a 5-star hotel, biggest suite and all.  We have indeed received immense love and support since the start of this pregnancy and I’m pretty sure that radiated to Spriki even while she was inside my womb, I can tell our baby girl that she’s been loved even before coming out into this world. Most importantly we are thankful to God for making the labor process uneventful and for giving us a healthy baby girl.

Waiting for Cassie to “come down”

Photo courtesy of my brother, Paul Ramas.

Managing a smile for my mom and dad, my support system, right before going to labor.

My mom called in that day just so she could be with me all throughout the birthing process and my dad, with the permission of his boss, would come and check up on me every “down time” he had.

Why hello there little Spriki.

The nurses cleaning up Spriki.

Our first family picture— The Ramas-Mendezonas

My husband Marco was present and he and my mom were asked by Dr. Swords to literally hep out in the birthing process.

Daddy’s first time changing Cassie’s diaper, he got to do it before I did.

World, meet our little Spriki. Maria Iliana Cassandra “Cassie” Ramas Mendezona born on October, 19 at 7lbs. 80.49 oz.

I’m officially a mommy now!!!!

~Rhea

Baby Haul: Community Sale

A few days after Marco and I found out that we were pregnant we started discussing where we would have the baby, were we having the baby in the Philippines ( Bacolod or Manila) or the U.S? Most of the people that I’ve talked to answered me like it was a no-brainer, “of course have the baby in the US so you won’t have to file for her citizenship anymore“. Typical. But it wasn’t as easy as that so for the longest time we weighed our options and literally went through the PROs and CONs one at a time.

Here’s the long and short of it all:

MANILA

PROs– the cost of giving birth is cheaper from vitamins, labs, ultrasounds up to labor and delivery; there are a lot of manangs and experienced help at home willing to assist me with the handling of the baby; there are manongs who can take us to our doctor’s appointments and what not; we will have a lot of friends and extended family that we can run to for advice or even needs concerning the baby; Marco can keep continue working as a doctor while I go through the pregnancy

CONs– I won’t have my family around as I go through my FIRST pregnancy; my parents won’t be there during the birth of their 1st grand child; we will still have to file for the baby’s citizenship; we will have to wait another month or so after the baby is born before we are allowed to fly her to Houston

HOUSTON

PROs– the cost of giving birth is free IF approved by Medicaid; the government is willing to assist us through the WIC program IF our situation qualifies; my parents and my family will be there to assist me hands on before, during and after my pregnancy; the baby will automatically be an American citizen; we won’t have to take a long flight to Houston with a newborn (20+ hours with a newborn on a plane is no joke, so I heard)

CONs-if not covered by any insurance we will have to pay for ALL the expenses out of pocket—vitamins, medicine, labs, ultrasound, doctor’s appointments and the actual labor and delivery process (and believe me when I say it will cost an arm and a leg); we will have help from family and friends when available but Marco and I will have to learn to do EVERYTHING and be hands on with our baby; Marco will have to drive me to all the doctor’s appointments and what not; Marco won’t be able to apply for  a job right away which leaves both of us jobless

———————————

With how things went in the Philippines, at 7 months and a few weeks I was medically certified to fly back to Houston with Marco and with God’s grace everything fell into place—the flight to LA was smooth and we got see Papi and Javi for a few days (my feet were crazy swollen though after that long flight); the flight to Houston was smooth as well and a after a year and a few months we finally got to see my family; we got Marco’s SS number a few days after we arrived and since we’re both unemployed at the moment we filed for Medicaid and got approved which means all our doctor’s appointments and my labor and delivery should be covered; we found out that Marco aced his STEP I USMLE (Woohoo, two more exams until he can hopefully start working as a physician); we applied for WIC and got approved until we both can find jobs (I’m telling you that FREE monthly supply of cheese, milk, eggs fruits, bread, rice, beans, peanut butter, etc. is a BIG help); we got his Green Card a few weeks after and now we’re working on getting his Driver’s License, applying for jobs and waiting for this baby to come out.

 Other women in my position are embarrassed to say that they’re having a “welfare baby” ergo Medicaid and WIC but the way I see it, I am in a temporary situation where I’m needing help from the government whom I’ve paid my fair share of hard-earned tax money to for the past few years and they have agreed to help me, I don’t see anything wrong with that and personally I think that’s its nothing to be ashamed of.

I think every excited expectant mother wants the best for her baby (especially if its her first) that’s where I’m at right now. I want to get my little Cassie everything she needs and might need, I want to buy her nice new things even before she’s out but just because I’m going to be a new mom that doesn’t mean I’m going to have to buy her EVERYTHING brand new. Even without considering the current situation I’m in, I’ve always been a bargain shopper—always have and always will. I’m the type of person who gets excited over garage sales, estate sales, antique shops, consignment stores and thrift stores so yes, I do thrifting and I buy second hand stuff for myself and I will buy second hand stuff for my baby as well, its a matter of knowing when it’s a “good buy” or when it’s not. In fact I just came from a community sale over the weekend and here’s a run-through of my baby haul (the breast pump and crib were purchased on a different day)

Medela Pump In Style Breast Pump – $179.00- $349.99

It also includes PersonalFit breast shields, PersonalFit breast shield connectors, valves and membranes, tubing, 5 oz. BPA-free breast milk bottles with lids, one wide-base nipple and travel cap, a removable cooler bag, a contoured ice pack, power cord and battery pack (not shown in the picture).

Before you go judging me by thinking “ewww she’s buying a second hand breast pump” , I suggest you relax because I did think this through and I am aware of this thing we call “hygiene”. Of course those items that are “personal” (those that touch the skin/ breast) I’ve purchased and replaced with my own but the actual machine works perfectly fine and that’s whats important.

We paid: $30

Delta Children’s 4 in 1 crib – $150s- $350s

The price range of this crib varies depending on the style that you get but I love how it is a “4 in 1”. We almost lost the deal because someone was willing to pay the asking price of $65 (which was still not bad) when I still opted to haggle for $50, it’s a good thing the interested buyer didn’t show up and the owner ended up contacting us saying that she was willing to give it at our price as long as we picked it up within the weekend.The one we purchased came in the color espresso and and it fits perfectly fine with the rest of the furniture we have inside the room. There are  a few minor scratches and when I say ” a few” I mean 2.

We paid: $50

Dekor Diaper Pail- $29.95- $49.99

Dekor Diaper Refill – $ 12.99

People say there really is no need for expensive diaper pails and that normal trash cans will do for dirty diapers, if we didn’t see this deal I probably would have agreed with them but let’s face it who wants their room or the baby’s nursery smelling of dirty diapers. This thing can hold up to 46 diapers asides the fact that it keeps the room odor-free.

Priced at $10 for both pail and refills.

Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad- $16.99

I wouldn’t have considered this a “super need” since I’ve seen my mom change my siblings diapers anywhere and everywhere without this item but having this may come in handy especially if you want the baby to be comfortable and to hold still while being changed.

Priced at $2

Cotton Tale Designs Lollipop and Roses 4 Crib Bedding Set- $148.93- $215.26

Although this crib bedding wasn’t in the color scheme of Cassie’s area, I fell in love with its vintage feel— the combinations of light pinks, cream and tan were after my own heart and the set was in perfectly good condition so we bought it anyway.

Priced at $30

Carter’s by Kids Line Love Bug Baby Hamper- $35.99

This hamper was sold with its matching crib bedding set but it was too pink for me and the set looked more used than the other set I just got so we just purchased the hamper alone to hold Cassie’s dirty clothes.

Priced at $5

American Princess Peach Floral Dress with Bloomers- $15-$45

The baby clothes at the community sale were in abundance, they were in good condition and really cheap too. Within that crazy pile, my mom found this cute peach dress with bloomers by American Princess for a 12 month old that looked like it was used once or twice. The one in the photo is not the exact dress that we bought but its the closest one I could find, I’d like to think the one we got is cuter.

Priced at $1 for the pair

Petunia Pickle Bottom Crosstown Clutch Wristlet Diaper Bag $45-$65

Now this one would have to be one of my favorite purchases because it’s not only for Cassie but also for me. Not all the time, we’d want to be lugging that big, attention seeking diaper bag especially at parties and dress-up events so this little clutch can be your bestfriend. It has enough space for a skinny wallet or maybe just your credit cards, a phone, your favorite lippies, mascara, eye liner, hand sanitizer and what not, a diaper or two and did I mention it has a built-in detachable diaper changing mat perfect for every fashionable mom.

Priced at $10

And since we bought a lot from the community sale, they gave us an additional discount so instead of paying $58 from the diaper pail down, they gave it to us at $50. Now if we bought all of these things including the breast pump and the crib brand new we would have easily paid $635 instead of the $130 that we just did.

…And this is how we’re making do with what we have here in Houston and honestly I don’t think it’s that bad.

~Rhea

Circa 1900 Rehearsal Dinner

Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.

—Anonymous

As I’ve mentioned in some of my posts from before, another favorite pastime of mine is looking at old, historical houses. In a heart beat I would pick Circa 1900 as a perfect place for the rehearsal dinner not only because of the fact that they wonderfully restored this old Spanish-Cebuano house to a charming white capacious beauty but also because Circa 1900 is know for their delicious and exquisite dishes and drinks, you tend to see a bunch of unique exciting ones on the menu like the Iba shake and malunggay ice cream for starters. The function room found below the house was just right for the 100 guests who came that night, thank you Adrian (and the rest of the staff) of Circa 1900 for accommodating us, helping us out with the menu and scheduling our taste test. Even with the lack of preparation in my part, the pre-wedding dinner turned out to be such  a wonderful and memorable affair for both sides.

10380182_10152334310432039_444608757163502193_o

 The Rehearsal Dinner invitations I made online ℅  Wedding Chicks (they were just sent out electronically). Do check their website and click on the link for more free downloadable templates. DIY made easy, don’t you just love DIY-ing?

Rehearsal

Circa 1900 at night.

photo ℅ http://www.iluvcebu.com

map

Circa 1900 is fairly hidden so to those who might want to visit them, here’s the map that we also just found in google to help our guests get there.

collage

Since we failed to take photos of the buffet presentation during the rehearsal dinner, here are some photos of the menu that we picked during our taste test a few days prior to the eventful night.

MENU:

Appetizer: Japanese Maki Rolls with Tuna, Salmon, Crabstick, Egg, Mango and Vegetables

Salad: Italian salad with Toast andGrilled Vegetables, Mozzarella Cubes, Tomato, Arugula and Pesto

Pasta: Angel Hair Pasta with Chorizo, Shrimps, Chili, Garlic, Red Onion, Olives and Tomato

Main Dish: Chicken Legs and Thighs with Cocodobo Sauce (must try!!!) and the Cripsy Fried Beef Ribs Tadyang

Vegetables: Wok-Fried Asian Vegetables with Beansprouts, Oyster Sauce and Sesame Seeds

Dessert: Maja Blanca Cheesecake & Blueberry Date and Chocolate Chip Crumble Pie

Rehearsal_Dinner13

Nervous Smiles. Wedding Jitters, I suppose. Haha

Rehearsal_Dinner11

Odilao sisters (missing Tita Gands)— with Ninang Ofel and Mom

Rehearsal_Dinner12

Ramas & Odilao sisters— Mita Bo, Mita Wee, Mom and Ninang Ofel

Dadz reunited with the mitas, it’s like Houston all over again.

Rehearsal_Dinner10

with Waning and Dadz

Rehearsal_Dinner9

Marco and I with the bestest girlfriends from U.P—Jem and Gela. We missed you, Andy!

Rehearsal_Dinner5

Rehearsal_Dinner4

 

Rehearsal_Dinner1

10557340_10152422971047039_891704753522935231_n

The Odilaos (mom’s side)

1907392_10152422972617039_4761933481628646454_n

The Ramases (pop’s side)

Rehearsal_Dinner7

Ramas-Mendezona siblings combined, we both come from big families.

Rehearsal_Dinner8

Ramas- Mendezonas (complete version, haha)

Rehearsal_Dinner6

with Marco’s parents

Rehearsal_Dinner3

 …and my parents.

—————————–

Our parents, the ones responsible for the man and woman Marco and I have become today. All your relationship advice and words of wisdom have resulted to this, the Long Distance Relationship Marco and I had would not have lasted without your guidance. Thank you for being the ones we can run to when we have a hard time understanding each other and thank you for showing us the beauty of love, patience, sacrifice and commitment. We are truly blessed to have you who love us unconditionally even with all our faults and failures. We love you both.

~Rhea