Category Archives: Baby

Back to Normal Life?

Remember how I used to blog here?  And share about my trips?  And runs?  And other random crap?

I’m finally “settled” in DC, I had my parents in town for the better part of a month, and my sister-in-law just spent three weeks here with us.  To make things extra special, the week I had in between visits my computer decided to rebel and I had to restore it to factory settings (after spending lots of $$$ to recover my pictures, since I had failed to back them up after leaving Manila).

Visitors are gone, and Ellie finally naps during the daytime (OMG!), and goes to bed consistently around 6:30/7pm every night, so I predict more blogging to come (I hope someone still reads this!  I will go back to blogging about trips and running and baby!).

And Ellie is getting cuter and cuter each day.  Case in point…


Life has been super busy thanks to all the visitors from Brazil (but oh so fun!).  I may have given up running the marathon, but I haven’t given up on running…  Aside from the Ridiculous Race (which was more fun than running),


I ran the Crystal City Twilighter in July, the 9/11 5k, and the Navy Half Marathon just last weekend (I did better than I expected, but horrible compared to my other half marathons, thanks to extra weight, still being out of shape, plus blisters and foot pain – but I’m still vain and can still smile at a camera when I see it one!)  Kathy and Jen ran the half with me, and provided amazing company!


I still have the Army Ten Miler and the MCM 10k to run, before winter sets in. The much cooler weather in DC should help the running too!

I even got my sis-in-law, Lara, to wake up butt early with me yesterday and run to DC, and though she’s still a new runner, so she had to walk quite a bit (plus she was testing out her Newton shoes), she still went 5 miles, which is a record for her!


Ellie had lots of firsts during the time Lara was visiting…  First taste of solid food at 6 months…


First time riding in a shopping cart…


First visit to a museum…


First metro ride (though this picture is from her 6th metro ride or so).


First zoo visit – see the sea lion swimming behind her?


First time petting a cow (this brought giggles out of her!).


First swimming class (which she LOVED).


And we also had Lily’s first visit to Old Town Alexandria (yep, the puppy has not been forgotten!).


Ellie is also liking her stroller more and more, and though I have now mastered wearing her on my back, my poor feet just can’t handle it for more than dog walks or shopping trips (I really really need to call that orthopedic surgeon already to get his opinion…  2 hours is still the limit they can handle a day – whether walking or running – before horrible pain sets in, and when carrying Ellie, it comes much sooner due to the extra weight, which sucks).


Karl is still busy learning Portuguese, and he got a lot of practice when my parents and Lara were here.  I can’t believe that exactly 3 months from today we’ll be arriving in Rio de Janeiro.  Time is flying by…

Until then, hope to update much more often, as I still have a lot to catch up to!


Filed under 5k, Baby, Half Marathon, Lily, Non-Running Stuff, Pictures, Runs

Boracay: Booked!

Every Filipino I meet outside of the Philippines, or anytime I chat with one locally, I always get the same question:  “Have you been to Boracay yet?”

Yes, we have traveled extensively in the Philippines, visiting Bohol, Cebu, Moalboal, Coron, Siquijor, Apo Island, Subic, Mt Pinatubo (still need to blog about these last two…), Batangas, Tagaytay, El Nido…  Considering we’ve had less than two years to travel around here, I think we did pretty well.

But despite El Nido being gorgeous…


The diving in Apo Island…


…and Moalboal being spectacular…

Hiking Mt Pinatubo being an unique experience…


…and Bohol having the famous tarsier monkeys…

No one ever asks me if I’ve been to any of those places.  Nope, they’re only interested in knowing if I have been to the famous white beaches of Boracay…

I was convinced we were going to leave the Philippines without stepping foot there.  I do hear mixed reviews:  I have friends that love it and been multiple times, and others that hated how crowded the beach is (and I am not one for crowded beaches).  And when I’ve been to other white beaches here, like Malcapuya Island during a beach hopping boat trip in Coron…


…I had no immediate desire to go to Boracay, a place I can’t ever find a good fare deal for.

But I still felt like we couldn’t leave the Philippines without checking that box.  Who knows if we will ever be back here?

So in late April, Ellie will be going on her first plane ride, and spending a weekend with us at the most famous beach in the Philippines…  And as it’s our first trip with baby, and our last trip here, we went for a bit of a splurge:  we’ll be hanging out at the Shangri-la!


It wasn’t cheap by any means, but after I found out they offer resident rates, the prices became much more affordable (though still a huge splurge). But after staying put since NYE in Australia, when we usually travel at least once a month, and considering we’re dragging a newborn around for the first time, this sounds like the best way to end our time in the Philippines!  Plus, it will be a great way to travel with baby AND relax (we even splurged for the seaview room, in case we need to be cooped up in the room, at least we have something nice to look at).

Now let’s hope I can make Ellie be just as much as a water baby as her mom…  I don’t know what I’ll do if she doesn’t grow up to love the beach like I do!


Filed under Baby, Foreign Service, Philippines, Pictures, Travel, Traveling in Asia

Pregnancy Update: 2 Weeks Postpartum


So it’s been 2 weeks since Elena was born, and though I don’t plan on doing more of these updates (because no one cares, really), I figured a 2 week update to see where things are headed and how they compare to my last week of pregnancy would be good!

Total weight loss:  18lbs!  Who knew popping a baby would be the best weight loss solution?  Now if only it wasn’t incubating her that made me gain weight in the first place, things would be good.  9 more pounds to go to get to my pre-pregnancy weight, but I have a feeling without exercise it’ll take me a while to get there.  It certainly doesn’t help that my diet has been less than stellar since I came home from the hospital.

Exercise: Recovery has been much tougher than I expected.  Had a lot of pain last week, went to the doctor for a check up and had to have some stitches manually removed (because they didn’t dissolve as planned), and left with prescriptions for antibiotics and an ointment for the swelling on the stitches site.  So yeah, recovery has not been easy.  (But I heard that as much as the first couple of weeks can be tough, things do get back to normal quicker than if I needed a c-section, so there’s that. )

Said that, I feel MUCH better today than I did a week ago, so obviously both time and the meds are doing their job.  But since then I’ve been resting and avoiding walks (as they were triggering the pain), exercise will not be in my horizon any time soon.  But hopefully at a month post-partum I can hit the gym again?  I feel gross and definitely miss hitting the weights and the treadmill!  It will probably take me a little longer to be able to run again (have I mentioned I am planning – hoping? – to run the Marine Corps Marathon again this year?), but I think I can hit the weights by early April, hopefully!

Measurements:  There’s still a LONG way to go before I get back to my pre-pregnancy measurements, but amazing how much change can happen in two weeks!  My hips went down 2”, my ribcage went from 34.5” to 32” (this is the only part that is almost back to normal, only another inch and a half to go for my pre-pregnancy measurement!), my waist went from 37.5” to 31.5” – a great 6” decrease(!), but still a far cry from pre-pregnancy 27.5” waist. The widest part of my belly went from 44” to 38.5” and yes, it’ll be a while before it’s back to its original measurements too. 

The only part that didn’t decrease was my now porn-star proportions boobs.  My bust got up to 41.5” during pregnancy.  But see how my ribcage went down 2.5” already?  The boobs only went down 1” – meaning they actually grew 1.5” since giving birth.  They are seriously scary.  I was a 34DD pre-pregnancy, so at this point, I must have run out of the alphabet. 

(And if you think this is a gloating “look at my gigantic tatas” post, you don’t know me at all.  I had really hoped they would not get bigger during this ordeal, as I had enough of a complex with my pre-prego cup size:  do you know how hard it is to find good fitting bras when your ribcage is a normal size but your boobs are not?  Plus, I can’t even imagine how running will feel like now.  Will I topple over?  Stayed tuned…)

Despite the significant reduction in belly/waist size in two weeks, it will be a while before the belly stops jiggling with every step.  Things weren’t very toned before (though boy, did I try!) but they’re definitely way flabbier now. 


Maternity clothes?  Still wearing maternity shorts (yay for no muffin top!) but I fit into most of my t-shirts now (though some are a bit on the tight side on the chest/arms).  It feels so good to be able to change up my wardrobe a bit!

Stretch marks?  My almond oil + Burt’s Bees Belly Butter massaged twice a day WORKED!  Went through the pregnancy without a single stretch mark on my belly!  And don’t go saying that stretch marks are genetic, because not only I have stretch marks on other parts of my body due to weight gain in the past, but I developed new ones on my inner thighs during pregnancy (I was moisturizing my belly religiously and never crossed my mind that other parts of my body might be expanding too…). 

Sleep:  No more pregnancy insomnia!!!  Though my sleep has been in chunks thanks to having to get up to feed the baby multiple times during the night, the sleep I’m getting is some good DEEP sleep that was highly missed in the past 9 months.  So yes, I’m tired, but man, sleep has been a lot better than it was a month ago!

Best moment this week:  Seeing Ellie’s newborn pictures.  True, it took us 4 hours to get a few shots, but tell me if it wasn’t worth it…



Miss Anything?
  Definitely don’t miss being pregnant, ha!  But I do miss the freedom of being able to leave the house when I want to and not having my life controlled by someone else’s peeing/pooping/feeding schedule.  But that’s what I signed up for, right?  And I heard it’ll get easier in a few weeks.

Food cravings:  Sadly, I’m craving lots of sweets, and since Karl has been home on sick leave to help me out (it’s great he had enough days to take since he doesn’t get paternity leave, as his help has made a huge difference on my recovery!), we both have been eating crap.  No good.

Belly Button in or out?  My belly button never “popped” (yay!), and now it’s back to its usual very deep self.

Wedding rings on or off?  Wedding ring is back on after over 2 months of being off!  Sadly the diamond of my engagement ring is slightly loose, so have been keeping that off until we can get it fixed back in the US.

Other random updates…  Lucas (the cat) has been staying the hell away from the baby.  He used to sleep in her pack & play (we have been using it in lieu of a crib since we’re moving soon), and every trick I tried failed (cats don’t like stepping on aluminum foil?  Well mine sleeps on it!), but since Ellie got home, he hasn’t gotten near to the pack & play once.  My friends had warned me that their cats had the same reaction, so I’m relieved that it was that easy!

Lily, however, has been going through a really tough time.  She doesn’t get that Ellie is a baby, not a pet, so she’s been acting replaced and depressed.  To make things better for her, we took her to Seafront (where we lived temporarily when we first got to Manila) this weekend, to burn some of her energy off.  It worked!  Though she’s not back to her usual self, she is a bit more hyper now. 


Karl has stepped into fatherhood like a natural.  It is really wonderful to see how much he loves this baby, and how sweet and gentle he is with her.  He sings, talks to her and does most of the diaper changes (at least for now while he’s home).  I knew he was going to love her, but I think just like me, he was taken by surprise at how much you can love this little person you just met.


I keep taking pictures of the two of them together.  It’s so sweet!



And I’ve been doing ok.  Aside from the tough recovery, I have been doing my best to get out of the house, get to the MADS coffee mornings for some girly chat with other moms, I’ve had a few friends visiting and gotten out of the house a few times. 


Some days when she cries to eat yet another time (“she just ate!  She can’t possibly be hungry!”) I think “now this is how my life will be like,” but I’m so in love with this baby (and she is so freaking cute), that I still think it’s worth it.  Though this conversation did happen last night:

Karl: “So having a baby really is just like having a boss.”

Me: “Yeah, like having a boss that beats you!”

But even though it’s only been 2 weeks, I can no longer imagine how life was like without her (though maybe that is because I’m too sleep deprived to even think).  I’m still in awe that this little baby came from inside me (even though I have the stitches to prove it!).



Filed under Baby, Philippines, Pictures, Pregnancy

Evolution of a Baby Bump…

Now that my pregnancy is (finally!) over, I thought it would be fun to post all my bump pictures – sadly, I only started taking the standard in front of the closet bump pictures late in the pregnancy, the others are all mirror self shots, and not as nice, but what can you do?

The earliest bump picture I have is at 14 weeks, when I finally started showing (or so I thought, ha!).  At 21 weeks,  I started posting my pregnancy updates here – if you click on the respective picture, you’ll get taken to the that page.

Week 26-28 were definitely my favorites bump-wise, when I had a cute bump and felt attractive (I was no longer in the dreaded “fat or pregnant” stage but not yet in the “hugely pregnant and uncomfortable” stage either).  I definitely “popped” at 30-31 weeks.

Now scroll down for an ever-growing bump!
























Filed under Baby, Pictures, Pregnancy