Eleven @ 1

Our darling Eleven turned 1 today! I consider her our lucky charm because ever since she lived with us, it has been nothing but good news for our family. Despite the pandemic, we’re still very much safe and comfortable in our home, cooped up with her and Mr. Frodo.

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First family picture with our Eleven

Initially, Mr. Frodo was a little jealous of her. He’s been our baby for the longest of time and the new addition was foreign to him. Little by little, they learned to live together and even romantic at times, except when they’re fighting over food scraps. Haha!

Eleven is quite the opposite of Mr. Frodo now, but she very much reminds me of him when he was little. She’s very playful since she’s still a puppy. She can be feisty sometimes, but always obedient when I give commands. She waits very patiently when we’re having our meals before asking for her snacks. She learned how to pray and “say” amen before every meal in just a day!

She reminds me of the lamb in that children song because she follows me everywhere I go, even to the restroom!

And every where that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go…

Every time I hear this song on Spotify, I can’t help but sing it to her, modifying the lyrics so it fits her. She would look up at me with those big, brown, puppy eyes and listen intently. Adorable! Whereas Mr. Frodo hates all the singing and dancing that we do, Eleven seems to enjoy it.

We’re happy because Barkin’ Bakes is now open for pickup and delivery. We ordered a paw cake for her so she and Mr. Frodo can have their little lick and smash celebration:

Here’s a short video that I made to commemorate this day. Enjoy watching!

A Quarantined Celebration

At the stroke of midnight, Cris gave a little surprise for Mother’s Day. For the past 3 years, he’s been greeting me and treating me out for Mother’s Day because of Ezra, our baby in heaven. This year is a little different but he did not let the ECQ stop him.

He remembered how much I love dark chocolate and macadamia so I was really happy with his little surprise.

I wanted to prep something special for lunch so I asked him to get some meat cuts on his last grocery run. I wanted to have samgyeopsal (Korean BBQ) at home so we can have a little taste of normalcy. I also wanted to use our electric hotpot & grill, which has been sitting in our kitchen cupboard for so long. Original plan is to cook and eat in our balcony, but it was a logistics nightmare. As a workaround, we just made use of our good old grill pan and sauce pan and cooked in our stove instead.

Our lunch menu was ssamjang soup — pork broth seasoned with soybean paste, samgyeopsal — pork belly, and chadolbaegi — thin slices of beef brisket. I made a quick video about it because I’m currently having so much fun with my phone’s movie editor tool. Haha! Forgive me!

It really makes me happy when I cook and prepare meals for my husband, especially when he really enjoys it and not just pretend that it tastes good. 🤣

He gave me another surprise but that deserves another post. 😉

Afternoon was spent praying The Holy Rosary in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary (and as requested by our Mama so we can’t really say no). And since it’s still ECQ, we did it over Zoom.

I hope that on Father’ Day, we can already go out and celebrate but that might be wishful thinking for now. Our ECQ has been extended for another 2 weeks and who knows what will happen by end of the month.

Despite all the restrictions, I’m still very thankful for the gift of life, love, and family.

A Spaghetti Story

When we were just dating, Christian shared with me his favorite spaghetti recipe. Up until then, the only pasta that I know how to cook is my roommate’s spicy tuna carbonara. Really simple because you only need to mix the canned tuna and the cream, let it simmer, then mix with your cooked spaghetti, or any other type of pasta that you want.

His recipe was a bit complicated for me then, a kitchen novice. It involved mincing garlic and onions, slicing hotdogs (Yes! We have hotdogs in our spaghetti because we’re born and raised in the Philippines! Haha!), pre-cooking the grounded beef, and perfectly mixing together his secret ingredients to make his preferred sauce. He’s not a fan of sweet spaghetti, like most Pinoys. He wants it tomato-ey and a bit spicy, thus, his “secret sauce”. Even the pasta, he wanted a very specific way of prepping.

All well and good if he actually prepped and cooked it from time to time, but no. He instructs, I execute.

Through the years, I’ve come to perfect his spaghetti recipe. I remember including in my silent wedding vow that I will cook his favorite spaghetti on his birthdays. Silent because we didn’t really say our vows out loud in front of everyone. But I’m getting out of topic.

Anyway, today is not his birthday but he’s been very stressed by work lately. In my effort to take a bit of his stress away, I went ahead and prepped his favorite meal. And I’m happy that it put a smile on his face.

I’ve read that to make a marriage work and to keep the love alive, you don’t need to do monumental gestures every single time. It’s the little things that matter that you consistently do.

You just need to know what makes your partner smile and you try your best to be a constant source of that smile.

Star Wars Run 2018

May the 4th be with you! In honor of Star Wars’ Day, let me talk about my Star Wars Run from 2 years ago.

Our main reason for going to Singapore that year is the Bruno Mars 24K Magic World Tour. Why fly 2500 km just to watch Bruno Mars perform, you ask? Simple: It’s just so hard and frustrating scoring tickets here in the Philippines. Thank you, inconsiderate scalpers!

Anyway, I was looking for other things to do and try to maximize our stay in SG when I chanced upon the Star Wars Run in Facebook. The race was actually on May 5th, not May 4th, but it’s ok. It has always been one of my goals to join a race outside of the PH. Second, it’s Star Wars. Come on!

I asked Cris if he’s willing to join me despite the steep registration fee. He agreed and actually extended the invite to our Dark Side – SG Chapter friends who’ll be coming with us to the concert. To my surprise, they all decided to join.

This was one of the most unique and fun run that I’ve even been to. Upon registration, it lets you choose between the Light Side and the Dark Side. This determined your race shirt, finishing medal, other freebies, and your actual path. Yes, the two sides ran through different paths and converged at the finish line.

We chose to participate in the 5.4KM non-competitive run because we were just in it for the fun. Personally, I also like how it corresponds to the Star Wars date which made the finishing medal all the more special. I was so happy that my 5.4KM finishing medal is a Stormtrooper, but Cris wasn’t so fond of his. He’s not a big fan of Chewie. Lucky for him, his route is the more enjoyable one because it’s around the Marina Bay area. They even went through the Hellix Bridge which looks spectacular at night! Meanwhile, our route was true to form — it was so dark! We went through trails and tunnels that I’m not totally familiar with. It’s a good thing I did not get lost even if I had to stop in the middle of the race for a quick bio break.

I can no longer find my stats for this race so I’m just posting here my favorite pics. This is a very good reminder for me to post regularly so details are not lost in time. Haha!

Overall, it was very enjoyable and I was impressed at how organized the race was. I was even allowed to exchange my race pack because the shirt size that I chose is quite small. This surprised me because if it was here in the PH, I’ll have no choice but to run wearing a crop top baby tee.

Post race, we went to a hawker in Geylang for a much needed dimsum dinner. I can’t even remember the name of the hawker place but it looked like a popular go-to because just mere minutes after we have reserved a table, there was already a long line of people waiting to be seated. We were lucky we got there a bit early.

Despite the post-race fatigue because of lack of sleep and the the Singapore heat, we went home with full tummies and happy faces — fully recharged for the Bruno Mars concert the day after.

📸: Brylle Baluyot

Happy Barkday, Mr. F!

Dear Mr. Frodo, 

I still remember when I first saw you. You and your sister were in a playpen but you, my boy, caught my eye. You know why? Before we even approach you, you were already standing on your two hind legs and resting your two little paws against the playpen, barking at me incessantly, looking so happy. It’s as if you were saying, “Pick me, hooman! Pick me!”. 

And I was smitten. 

You were so curious on our drive home, looking out of the car window and can’t seem to get enough of what you’re seeing. Do you still remember what I told you then? 

“Look at the world, Mr. Frodo. Make it yours!”. 

You are a promise silently made and a promise kept.

When your Poppa and I just started dating, I jokingly told him that he should get me a pug if ever we reach our 3rd anniversary. This stemming from the fact that some people thought we wouldn’t last that long. He just shook his head at me, smiling without saying a word. I took it as silently telling me, “You wish!”. 

It didn’t help that after three years, he gifted me with a pug paper craft proudly saying he’s keeping his promise. I thought it was really funny, until he told me that he’s getting me you, for real. I still could not believe it until we were going rounds the pet shops already, looking for the perfect you. 

The morning after, you gave me a fright. You were so sick that I thought I’d lose you. Without taking a shower I took you to the vet and waited nervously for your checkup. The vet told us that you might not live for long and I almost cried. I talked to your previous owner and she assured me that you will live. That she will take you in for two weeks and give you back to me in perfect health. 

And she did.

It was a promise made and a promise kept. 

At that time, I wouldn’t have thought that you will be this mischievous little one who would go and ruin my stuff, sneeze straight on my face as if it’s the most delightful thing in the world, and make me fall and roll around the streets of Tomas Morato while trying to save you from being a roadkill. 

At that time, I wouldn’t have thought that I could trade sleep just so I can keep an eye on you when you’re sick. That I could trade night outs and partying just so we can spend more time together. That I could trade splurging on a meal just so I can buy your favorite snacks and toys. I wouldn’t have thought that I have this much capacity to love a squished faced, sneezy non-human. 

Mr. Frodo, you are one of our earlier relationship milestones and you’ve been with us through every other milestone thereafter. The good and the bad, the happy and not so happy. 

And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Happy 6th Barkday, Mr. F. We love you and you will always be our baby boy.

That’s a promise that we will always keep. 

His Greatest Fear

This ECQ has proven to be a good time for no nonsense yet hilarious conversations. I was having lunch with my husband one day when he brought up something that surprised me.

“Hey, if ever you go into labor someday, can you make sure that you type the baby’s name first on my phone?”

“Why? Are you having second thoughts?”

We’ve talked about baby names for as long as I can remember. Part excitement, part wishful thinking, I guess. We’ve actually narrowed them down to two, depending on the baby’s gender. Yes, we have become that couple who annoyingly plans for something as if it’s already a reality.

“No. It’s just that… I don’t want to make a spelling mistake”.

This cracked me up! In all of our talks for the past years, this was the first time he’s brought it up. It’s not as if our chosen names are too difficult to spell out. We are not fans of  complicated names that are convoluted with consonants, or vowels, or (gasp!) both.

“It’s one of  my greatest fear you know. Misspelling the baby’s name”. 

Laughing out loud, I assured him that I would do such thing and make sure I put in my pregnancy checklist in the future.

“Ok, I will make sure it’s in your phone and in one of our documents when we pack your hospital bag. But husband… if you ask me, my greater fear is for you to tick the incorrect gender. Yun yung di talaga kita mapapatawad!”

It was his turn to laugh out loud but the look of concern never left his face…

The Things I Love by The One I Love

I love waking up next to you — morning breath and all. A past flame told me that to love someone is hard work. Loving is easy, commitment is not. My younger self dismissed it as something old people say which de-romanticizes my view of what love is. I understand now. And I also understand why my past flame and I never ended up together.

I love telling you about the songs that I like. Even the songs that I don’t like. I love sharing with you how someone could write a happy sounding song that was inspired by a real life crime. And I love how your eyes widen, how your brows furrow as you blurt out, “Sick fuck!”.

I love watching you drive. Your mind fully concentrated on the road ahead, making sure that both of us are safe. And even though driving takes a toll on your stress levels, you still manage to reach out for my hand and hold it for as long as the Manila traffic, motorists, and pedestrians let you.

I love telling you about the books that I’ve read even though most of the time you can’t relate. Your knowledge, and perhaps interest on the subject, could be summarized by your 3-second chuckle.

I love how you immediately reaches for the lavender room spray when I tell you I couldn’t sleep. How you automatically grab the soothing oil and roll it gently over my temples so I can relax and get over my migraines.

I can go on and on. I can list the smallest of things that make me love you and yet, summing them up doesn’t fully quantify and justify what and how I truly feel. They cannot even fully answer the ‘why’.

My Dearest, Husband.

Let me start with an apology.

I ruined your prized Lewis Hamilton shirt. The one that you’re saving for the Singapore Grand Prix this September. The one that was gifted by our valonqar.

I don’t know what’s worse:

(1) Me being so scatterbrained as of late that I tossed it in the washing machine (I was the one who told you to strictly hand wash it because the dryer will ruin it)

Or

(2) You, not even the slightest angry at me.

“Polly, you tossed it in the wash… the print’s melted a bit…”, you said matter-of-factly.

You’ve always been that way with me.

Patient.

Kind…

When we lost Ezra, I was in a very difficult place. So difficult that I made it all about me. Blinded, I failed to see that you were hurting as much as I did.

Heck, it must have been worse for you seeing your wife having difficulty moving on. You probably felt that you not only lost Ezra, but on the brink of losing me, as well.

I read something recently that strongly resonated with me: “You wreck your own life and then, very gently, you wreck the lives of those around you”.

I hope I haven’t wrecked you yet in any way. I hope that I haven’t dampened your spirit.

You’re helping me recover, little by little. You were there for me in every tear, every frustration, every anxiety attack, every insecurity, every back-to-square-one…

Every.single.red line.

And for that, I am very thankful.

My pain is your pain. My loss is equally your loss.

That I should not forget.

You would’ve been a great Papa to Ezra.

I love you.

 

Happy Father’s Day.

 

Always and Forever,

Your Wife

Nat Geo Earth Day Run 2018

Earlier this year, I decided to go back to running to have a healthier body and mind. One of the first things I did is to register for this event to start conditioning myself that “hey! this is happening!”. I told some of my friends about it and encourage them to register for the event, too. I find it’s always more fun and encouraging to do any type of exercise with friends.

Weeks before the actual run I have established a regular running routine. After office, I would usually go round and round our office compound before heading home. Therapeutic after a long stressful day at work. On weekends, I would go to my college’s campus for longer runs with fresher air and scenery. It’s one of my favorite places so I get energized when I’m there.

Now on to the nitty-gritty…

I wasn’t fully prepared for this run despite establishing a routine early on. Two weeks before the event, I reached a plateau and wasn’t able to do a regular practice. All I managed was an easy 3KM run the day before. I was also not eating healthy which I felt contributed to my sluggishness. And the scariest part? I didn’t get to sleep the night before. No sleep at all.

I contemplated on just skipping because who in her right mind would go run 10KM without proper sleep? Answer: ME.

I know it borders on stupidity but all I was thinking was how I will, yet again, flake on another goal that I set for myself. And how my friends, who I dragged into participating in this run, would think of me.

With my idiocy and pride, I dragged myself out of bed and prepped for the run. The husband made me promise that I wouldn’t push myself too hard and just walk whenever I feel something’s up. He was supposed to bring Mr. Frodo with him so they’ll cheer for me at the Finish line but we decided against it. At least he would be fully available to tend to me if anything happens.

And so it happened. I stood by my promise, so much so that the run felt like alay lakad. I ran a full 1KM before I stopped for a brisk walk. The run was just starting and I’m already feeling some tingling all over my body. I have a long way to go and I couldn’t risk it. So I created a pattern — run as long as I can on a comfortable pace and then brisk walk for a whole minute. I was literally counting the walking seconds in my head. I think after that I haven’t managed a non-stop run for a full KM. It was really a struggle.

But yes, I did it. I got to the Finish line without any injury, thankyouverymuch. 200M away from the Finish, there’s this guy who cheered us on, asking us to go run the remaining distance.

POTR_ Nat Geo 2018

So I tried. To my chagrin.

There’s a long queue of runners waiting to pass thru the Finish! I found it ridiculous because I always loved breaking into a sprint towards the Finish line. But in this race, no. I can’t imagine how it must have felt for the 21KM runners who are serious with their PRs.

Luckily, an organizer beside us said that we can pass thru the Finish just to get our chip time then just go back to the end of the (continuously growing) line to get our medals. So I did and fortunately I was able to find a much shorter queue where the medals are being handed out. Despite the Finish line fiasco, I felt so happy when my medal was worn on my neck.

We initially planned on getting breakfast but I was no longer in the right condition to stay on. My body is begging me to go home and get rest. I slept until afternoon feeling much better after.

Despite my story ending in good, I would like to warn everyone that you should never do this to yourself. It’s better to skip the run altogether than put yourself at risk. Better yet, train properly and regularly so you won’t lose sleep getting too worried that you are not prepared.