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

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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

Black, White and Pink—We’re Having a Baby Girl!

My LaVista family decided to throw me a “simple” baby shower/ despedida party for me and Marco before leaving for the US; they opted to do it at home with close family and friends. On the morning of the baby shower the winds were blowing our tents like crazy and the rain wouldn’t stop pouring. Since everything was pretty much DIY except for the food (we had it catered) we had trouble doing the set up, we were scared that the winds might tip over Mita Wee’s crystal stands for the candies and might just blow away Mita Bo’s tea cup collection but I swear as soon as the baby shower started the weather turned out for the best. We didn’t expect the food to be more than enough too so I’m sure that God was with us during this baby shower.

This was literally a “Ramas-girls production” and it was a complete success. To my lovely aunts, Mita Bo and Mita Wee, who planned this entire event, I really appreciate you doing this for me. Thanks to Dada Benj, Mita Bo (tea set up) and Mita Wee (prize table set up) for throwing the baby shower and for allowing me to take part in the execution. Ate Roma and Kuya JJ for helping us with the pink goodies for the goodies table (we had pink fondue and pink kropek that wasn’t food-dyed, mind you), Paolo and Brianna for helping us with balloons and putting up the decorations, Eunice for the cute baby girl yumminess, I mean cupcakes that handed out as giveaways and all the manangs and manongs at home for helping us with pretty much everything especially the set-up… Thank you for this labor of love!!!

Here are some photos from the Baby Shower:

DIY Invitations I made using free printables online, ended up with invitation #3

My DIY Baby Wishes Printable Onesie Cut Out. I made it specifically for this baby shower

The actual onesies cut out we had printed on cardboard

Got some cute baby shower laundry pins to hang the wishes for the baby and placed them in one of those lace cut out cans that were left overs from my wedding last year

(Laundry Pins: from 168; 3 for P100/ Lace Cut-out Cans: from Target; $1.00 per can)

Can’t wait until Cassie gets to read these

Foldable fans for the guests

Our DIY set-up for the wishes/ prize table

How dainty, tea anyone? #TWG

Yes—our “Spriki” is a girl!

Fascinators laid on the center for the guests

Merienda Cena set up at home

The first few guests our the baby shower

My DIY word scramble printable. It was pretty simple, Microsoft Word all the way

With JC, Jasper, Ate Princess and Janine

Pastries and Dessert for the sweet tooth

Cupcakes care of my cousin. They were gorgeous, thanks Eunice!

Strawberry Fondue

Baby Bottle Game

Diaper Game

The winner of the Create-your-own-bag Game

My pretty aunts—the Climaco girls

My younger Climaco cousins 🙂

Our Ruiz de Luzuriaga/ Mendezona Family

Our Odilao/ Bisnar/ Lim Family

Our Climaco/ Ramas/ Sullano/ Ros Family

The “old” UP crew 🙂

My cutie pie god son, Mateo

Have a cupcake, thanks for coming guys!

~Rhea

It’s 50-50.

(DRESS: from Mami/ BAG: Gap from Mami/ SANDALS: Parisian/ EARRINGS: Aldo/ NECKLACE: Icing/ WATCH: New York and Co)

At 16 weeks and five days I seriously am noticing a lot of changes in my body and I know women differ in pregnancy changes but people have commented how I’m showing so early in the pregnancy. It has reached a point where I myself wonder how I’ve still managed to squeeze in some of my old clothes but I love my baby bump and I’m actually proud of it. Don’t expect me to be taking any pregnancy photos showing my belly though, I have nothing against it but I guess it’s just not my thing (haha, maybe in the second pregnancy) besides I think my lola (grandmother) would  kill me if she sees me exposing my belly that way.

As I near week 17, we’re getting more anxious to find out the baby’s gender. Marco and I would gladly take a boy or girl or even both (haha) because this pregnancy has been more than we could ever ask for. Now that (we think) we’re ready to be parents and we’ve spent some alone time as husband and wife, we asked God to bless us with a little one and he gave it to us in an instant, now we’re just continuously praying for a safe pregnancy for me and Spriki but for betting purposes Marco’s going for a boy (no surprise there) and I’m going for a girl. I actually know of people who are doing bets on our baby’s gender and I really don’t blame them because from Marco’s side there are 5 of them boys and 2 girls and on my side is the total opposite, there are 5 of us girls and 2 boys which makes the chances 50-50. I guess we’ll see in a week 😀

~Rhea

And It Was Positive…

(TOP: U-shape open back top; Market Market/ SHORTS: Black Faux Leather Animal Prints Shorts; Forever 21/ SHOES: Ellie Metallic Espadrilles; Rubi/ SUNGLASSES: Vintage Oversized Frames; Christian Dior/ PURSE: Metallic Blue Clutch; Simply Vera Vera Wang)

I got challenged when my husband hinted that I couldn’t carry espadrilles and backpacks—he said it just wasn’t my thing, so for Christmas those were the exact things I had him buy me. Of course I wanted to prove him wrong, espadrilles were never my preference but I think I look fine in them. What do you think?

Simple Flat Lay of today’s #OOTD. 😀

Spot our Wedding Video by MVP that came in a few day’s ago, can’t wait to watch the entire thing with the mister.

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Btw, I just found out yesterday that I’m pregnant. Marco and I are going to have our own little family and I’m going to be a mommy! Exciting times ahead.

Funny story really…Marco was at work the entire day and I was supposed to get an ultrasound not for anything else but to check if everything in my “system” was okay. Something urged me to not do the ultrasound and buy a pregnancy test instead, I don’t know what it was I guess it was my woman’s instincts bothering me, so I did. I figured if I buy this test and it comes out positive then I don’t have to do the ultrasound anymore because clearly my “system” is working perfectly fine and it’ll save us some money.

I tested and the first line was distinct, the second line was barely there and so I thought “that’s another negative”, I put it back inside the box then inside the brown paper bag and tossed it in the trash. But I was still uneasy and I knew I wasn’t imagining the second line being barely there so I googled it. Yes, Google is very useful in times like these and I checked pictures of positive pregnancy tests and some of their tests looked just like mine, I would later find out from my husband that the reason why the second line was faded was because the Hcg levels weren’t high enough for the test to detect it but it did detect the little of what was there and so it was still faded. You could picture what happened next…I went through my trash, pulled out the brown paper bag, took out the box, re-opened it and there it was the second line more distinct than before. I was pregnant!

And here it is…

IMG_0511

Marco a few days prior to this would tease me a lot, he’d rub my tummy and say “hellooooo and welcome” like how Jason Segel in the comedy Sex Tape said it. He came home from work around 10 pm that night and I welcomed him with my version of “hellooooo and welcome” while waving the test in the air. He said “what’s that?” but he was already smiling, I gave the test to him and asked him “that’s a positive, right?” He saw both lines and smiled.

Today we’re going to the lab to confirm the pregnancy with blood work.  (that too would come out positive)

P.S: Hopefully I won’t be too insecure to post pregnant ootds after this. Haha.

~Rhea

Chateau Hestia

Chateau Hestia,a small hidden garden restaurant nestled in Cavite was where my husband decided to bring me for our Valentines date and the ambiance that night was perfect— just a mixture of quaint and romantic all rolled up into one. Shout out to Jiro for telling Marco to take me here (haha, he told me he asked advise from you).

Had to change into flats, it was really slippery heading to the main dining place since it started raining

Marco reserved a place for us outside with the night sky ambiance while having dinner but it was raining that day so we ended up having dinner inside which turned out to be such a wonderful experience.

The set menu for the night but we were feeling quite adventurous and opted for our own picks from the menu

I just love dating this guy. I’d date him for the rest of my life…haha

The start of our romantic night, candle lit path.

Even the lighting inside was quite romantic.teehee

Yep, we were early birds. No one was there yet.

Something I have to get used to being married to Marco….people constantly messing up our last name. I’ve had Mendez, Mendoza but never a Mendoxa, I’d have to say that this is a first. We were Mr. and Mrs. Marco Mendoxa for the night.

Just outside the loo… I doubt you’ll ever get confused.

A little nook of random things and such

Here’s the set-up downstairs

It’s all in the details

The receiving area downstairs just outside the deli

An alcoholic’s logic..haha

Handpicking wine for dinner

For the love of cheese…

Marco did the handpicking of the cheese

Mr. and Mrs. Marco Mendoxa… I mean Mendezona. haha

They were handing out Hanuta hazelnut chocolate to the women before leaving the place. A good treat to end the night.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Valentines celebration!

~Rhea