Monday, August 22, 2016

The Ferns Maternity Photoshoot

When my dear friend Jen Evangelista-Cruz offered me a very special gift, a maternity photo session with her husband, AP Cruz, my jaw just dropped. I have seen first hand AP's talent and passion in photography and I became one of his fans instantly. To be offered such a marvelous gift was such a huge honor. I thank the Lord for my friends' thoughtful and generous hearts-hearts that always bring happiness and joy to others. 

We shot at McDaniel Farm Park, 3 mins away from our apartment. A park I didn't even know existed until our friends Jeanette and Mike told us about it. It's a historic farm turned into a public park. The place had a rustic feel and every corner was so picturesque. It was a perfect place for photo shoots! We checked the weather forecast and it was going to rain that day. Thankfully, the rain didn't show up until we finished shooting. I was up at 6 am and did my own hair and make up and tried dolling myself up so we can catch the sunrise. I'm glad we got a glimpse of the sun but the rest of the day was breezy and cool.  

I've read somewhere that the best time to do maternity shoots is at 7 months of pregnancy. Mommy is not too bloated and can still actively glide around with only minimal discomforts. And that was true! I was glad that I was able to move around without any problems, I was able to climb up the hills, managed to situate myself in the middle of a gushing creek, and was able to just be on my feet for 3 hours.

AP has a very artistic eye. He let us look at the raw photos from his camera after the shoot and on every scroll, we were left with "awww", "wow", "uh-mazing", "beautiful", "nice". Those raw photos didn't even need editing. That's how good he was. As a photographer, AP was easygoing and fun to work with. Alan and I have one signature pose, and that's a big smile with a peace hand sign. hahaha. We are amateurs when it comes to photo shoots so I told AP we just wanted a very relaxed, bright and cheery session. Less of serious poses and more of we-just-want-to-be-our-goofy-selves kind of poses. He was able to achieve it! Special thanks as well to his gorgeous assistant, his wife, Jen. She had so many cute ideas and suggestions on how to make the pictures look good, from the props to the blocking, to how our hair looked. The two of them make a great team! Both of them are nurses and does photography on the side. They also do weddings, engagements, family portrait and even newborn/kids photo shoots! For bookings and inquiries, visit AP's facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/allaincruzphotography/ or email him at allaincruz.photography@gmail.com.

I'm flattered and my heart is so full by all the kind compliments I get from my friends and family on how pregnancy looks good on me. After I've seen AP's pics, I now believe it! lol. I think I radiate a pure joy! A joy like no other. A joy that only God can satisfy. A joy of becoming a mom.  So now let me share with you some of our maternity pictures to inspire all you moms out there and those dreaming to be moms someday. 


 

















Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Week 27

I'm now on my third and last trimester! By God's grace, my second trimester went by smoothly and baby is growing quickly but as gently as possible inside my tummy. Here's a rundown of what my pregnancy was like through the previous weeks.  

Week 18. I was scheduled to see a maternal fetal specialist. They are experts for high risk pregnancy. Although my pregnancy wasn't really considered high risk, we found out something quite unexpected. Early on the pregnancy, on my first OB appointment (week 7) I was told by my doctor that I was supposed to have twins!!! Unfortunately, she only found one heart beat thus only one baby has fully developed. I'm not going to lie, it broke my heart a bit. But the doctor reassured me that I did nothing wrong to harm the other baby. I did more research about it and I found out that what I had was called the vanishing twin syndrome. Most moms back in the day probably didn't know they had multiple babies that vanished early in their pregnancy. But because of advanced ultrasounds that we have now, it could be frequently identified. By God's grace and mercy, the maternal fetal specialist told me that the fetal tissue of the vanished twin was reabsorbed and the one that was left was perfectly fine and healthy. What a relief! I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I trust God that He is in control. Twins could have been great but I'm sure it would be definitely challenging as well. What truly matters is that Alan and I are blessed to have a child.

Week 19. I had my anatomy scan. It was the level 2 ultrasound where they took measurements of the baby, check baby's major organs, feet, hands, fingers and also detected baby's gender. The scan went well and baby was growing at a steady rate.  As for the gender, we were so thrilled to find out that we were having a baby girl!!! We had a gender reveal party that weekend which was organized by our small group in CFC. If you want to see the video, click here--> The Ferns Gender Reveal Party
It's a girl!

Week 20.  I start to feel baby's kicks.  She's so active and could feel her movements especially when I am just sitting in the couch or laying in bed. It just feels surreal whenever I feel her move. What a glorious thing to grow a human being inside my belly. Amazing!

Week 20

Week 23. We had our hospital tour. We were informed where we would go during labor, where the visitors would wait, what we would need to bring in the hospital, what hospital amenities we could enjoy, and so on. It's helpful to know all these things so we could be better prepared and stress free when labor comes. We scheduled a birthing class and a breastfeeding class too in the following months.   

Week 24. Alan bought a new car! Not exactly pregnancy related but I guess this purchase is in preparation for our baby! Our 2006 Camry stopped working for the second time and so got towed and repaired again. This time it was the alternator. The other time we got stranded, the starter and motor mount had to be replaced. We just couldn't imagine getting stranded somewhere while baby is in the car. Definitely not good. We just see it fit that we get a second reliable car for baby. Welcome to the family Rose!

    
Food cravings. I have been into making smoothies out of fresh fruits and vegetables. I guess that's the reason why people recognize my glow. hehe. My skin has cleared up and noticed that my hair is extra shiny! Although to be honest, sometimes I do give in to unhealthy food too. I'm only human lol.

Strawberries, mangoes, banana, spinach and coconut water


Weight. I have gained 12 lbs (as of week 24) since the beginning of my pregnancy. For me, that's quite a lot! I'm only 5 feet tall so I'm only expected to gain another 16 lbs more. But I'm totally fine with it. All for the sake of the baby.

Week 24

Sleep. Sleeping was quite challenging. I was advised to sleep on my side and had to refrain from sleeping on my back Sleeping on my side caused me sore shoulders. I have also developed a carpal tunnel on my right wrist so when I sleep on my right side, it makes it worst. Thankful to my ever so loving husband because he helped me resolve my sleeping dilemma. He went online to look for great deals and got me a memory foam mattress topper and pillows. That made sleeping so much better. Thanks Daddy!

Week 26. Our dear friends from CFC pulled off a surprise baby shower for Alan and I. Please allow me to have some emo moment right now. Must be the prego hormones. We must have done something good to deserve this overwhelming love from them. We truly felt God's goodness in our life and God's validation of love to us through all of these amazing people. He put the right people at the right time in our life. Napakaswerte namin sa kaibigan! We loved everything from the party props, program, games, food, gifts and their heartwarming messages. We haven't bought a single thing for the baby and we are grateful that they generously gifted us with things that we will need for her. We can never thank them enough! Okay, enough of the rambling.. Here are some of the pictures from that memorable event! (Thanks to our dear friend Leah for these photos we will forever cherish!)





Can't believe we only have 3 months to go. I will surely miss this sweet time bonding with my baby in my tummy. But we can't also wait to see her, kiss her and hold her in our arms. 

Till next pregnancy update!

xoxo,
Joselle




Tuesday, April 19, 2016

13 weeks

I am so glad our little angel and I breezed through the first trimester! I thank the Lord that I was spared from morning sickness, nausea, food/smell aversion, spotting and cramping. This little one inside of me is truly an angel. Never had she/he made mommy feel awful. The only thing I had to struggle with was sleepiness and exhaustion. One of the early symptoms I had was falling asleep early at night and taking longer naps on the weekends. It was such a struggle keeping my eyes up during work especially in the afternoon. But now that I'm over the first trimester, I'm starting to feel like myself again!

On cravings, I didn't have any crazy cravings. I think between my husband and I, he's the one whose craving a lot. haha. I just like to eat healthy for our baby. I try to eat fruits and vegetables more. I try to keep my snacks healthy too (eg. yogurt, toast, nuts, granola bars). I have been trying my best to avoid food that offers no nutritional value like chips, processed food, soda, etc. Also I switched to drinking milk and stopped having coffee and tea because they make me run to the bathroom like crazy. Although this weekend, I treated myself for a bit of comfort food to celebrate the end of my first trimester!


Food trip at Ponce City Market
My tummy is already showing as my uterus has grown in size. From the size of a blueberry when I first found out, my baby has now grown to a size of a peach according to the baby app (what to expect). However, I don't have a decent bump yet. I just look like I'm bloated. I couldn't fit into my regular pants anymore so I'm living in my leggings and loose tops. So far, I haven't bought any maternity clothes yet. The only thing I've bought in my early weeks was a bellaband! It's a basic maternity band designed to hold up unbuttoned pants and no one has to know. It's pretty much like a spandex camisole although it fits right from your belly through your waist. No need to buy maternity pants. Lifesaver! Now that it's starting to warm up, I'll probably switch to maxi skirts and dresses soon. Also, since my belly is starting to stretch out a bit, I bought a pregnancy oil to avoid/reduce appearance of stretch marks. It also aids my belly from drying and itching. (thanks to YouTube for these pregnancy tips and must-haves!)

I had my first ultrasound on week 7 and that's when we had our first glimpse of our little angel. We also got to hear his/her heartbeat! On our next visit, I had my pap smear and blood work done around week 11 and everything was normal. We also heard the heartbeat again from a fetal doppler. It was music to our ears every time we heard the baby's heartbeat. Made me want to buy a at-home fetal doppler!

This pregnancy makes me more affectionate and cuddly to my husband. I don't know why but I just like smelling him, hugging him, kissing him more (sorry TMI!). I'm thankful I don't have mood swings either. Speaking of my husband, he's been so great in taking care of me and our little angel. He lovingly checks up on me at work everyday. He runs to the grocery store to buy my needs. He eagerly goes with me on every doctor's appointments. And most importantly, each day and each night, he blesses us and covers us with prayers (Numbers 6:24-26). Little angel, you are so blessed to be loved by an amazing daddy!



Saying hello to the 2nd trimester! Praying that baby will continue to grow healthy and that this pregnancy will stay calm and easy. 6 months to go. Till next time.


xoxo,
Joselle 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

8 weeks

Somehow, our dreams are unfolding exactly as they should. What we dream of happening is happening. Not exactly when we planned it to be, but in God's perfect timing!

Alan and I are excited and happy to share the wonderful news that, WE ARE EXPECTING A BABY! I've entered my 8th week and by October 25th, as I turn the big 3-0, I'll become a momma officially. I can hardly believe it. My heart just melts in awe and with overwhelming joy. 
This pregnancy is a testimony that the Lord's timing is always perfect! We have waited for 4 years to conceive. Waiting is never easy. But great things come to those who patiently wait. And here we are now, on to the next chapter as parents. Indeed, God is faithful to those who are faithful to Him!

The Lord definitely gave us enough time to prepare ourselves to become parents. Although, we can't be fully prepared, there are things I know for sure. First is that I have the best partner in the world. I know Alan will be one awesome, doting dad. And because it takes a village to raise a child, I'm grateful that God gave us very supportive family, friends and community. Lastly, I rest in the fact that the Lord shall and always will equip us and guide us in every way that matters. This is His beloved child whom we are greatly honored to nurture, love and care for. 

I hope you join us as we pray for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Thank you to all of you who prayed with us for this beautiful miracle. Thank you my dear prayer warriors.


excited to meet you all :)

xoxo,
Joselle




Monday, February 1, 2016

Baked Teriyaki Salmon

I have been gearing towards eating fish lately due to my above optimal cholesterol level. That means I'm not getting any younger!! I need to stay away from the bad fats and hang out more with the good fats. Aside from taking fish oil daily, my doctor recommended for me to eat food that are rich in omega-3 like those found in salmon. 

On that note, let me share with you one of my favorite and easy salmon recipes. Baked Teriyaki Salmon.

Ingredients for the teriyaki sauce: 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 4 salmon filet
Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. To make the teriyaki sauce from scratch: 
  • Add oil and garlic to a saucepan. Cook till garlic turns golden brown.
  • Throw in soy sauce, water, honey, brown sugar and ginger. Mix and bring to a simmer for 2 mins.
  • In a small bowl, mix together cornstarch and water and slowly add this to the sauce. Stir until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat. (you may adjust saltiness/sweetness to your own liking)
3. Line out a sheet of aluminum foil on your baking dish and lightly oil it. Place salmon on top and brush each salmon with teriyaki sauce. Another option is dipping each one in the sauce if you don't have a brush.
4. Cover them with another sheet of aluminum foil and fold the edges.
5. Throw in the oven and bake for 20-30 mins or until the fish is fully cooked.
6. Serve immediately with your favorite salad or brown rice.

That's it! It's really simple, easy and I love that it's not as expensive as eating salmon out in restaurants. Hope you found this helpful. Till my next kitchen journey. Happy baking! 

xoxo,
Joselle

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What I learned in 2015

2015 came so kind to me. The few years prior were better but last year was roundly special!!

It was the year I turned in to a full-pledged wife when my husband came in February. I learned a lot of things. I learned that my husband eats light breakfast in the morning. Fruits and tea are essential. I learned to adjust. I learned that I have to let him be on the driver's seat and I take the passenger's. Not because he is the better driver, but he likes to serve me. On the other hand, as a passenger, I learned that I was an annoying  backseat driver and so I had to take one step back and let him do his thing, freely and humbly. 

We learned that we like doing things together. Like tea and milk, peaches and cream, adobo and rice, we were inseparable. Even in doing the house chores. He does the laundry with me. And that makes it fun. After a few damaged clothes, he finally knew which of the clothes go to the dryer and those need to be line dried.

It was also last year when we finally moved out and decided to get our own place. I learned that bringing a notepad with a checklist of things to look for an apartment while negotiating with the leasing manager can make you look like a pro. When in fact I have never searched for an apartment in my life. It may seem overwhelming but actually moving can be feasibly done if you do your research on point. I learned that interior decorating is not so expensive if you know where and what to look for.

It was last year too when together, we joined a couples discipleship group. We learned about how so much of a cradle Catholic we were and there's still so much to learn about our faith. What's refreshing to know was that while we were learning about our faith, our relationship grew deeper and stronger and we made wonderful friends. We learned a lot from each others experiences and so much so from our household leaders.
 
I learned that God does and always will take care of my job. He builds my ladder even if I don't realize it. All God expects me to be is that whatever I do, work at it with all my heart as working for Him (Colossians 3:23) and He will take care of me. I learned to give priority to what utterly matters and figured out what was dispensable and what's not.

I learned that my writing skills got better, however, I didn't write as much. I felt sorry but not so sorry. Family, work, community, got in the way. A good kind of way. I learned that influencing people could be done more with actions and not so much with rhetorical words. To be truly intentional with touching other people's lives is to first making yourself better. I know I still have a long way to go. Through God's grace, he taught me how to control my emotions, my anger, my frustrations. That your one and only enemy is the evil one. The more you try to be good, the more the devil tempts you to do bad. And that's just how the world works.

I learned that the pressure is getting real in the baby department. Now that Alan and I are together, people seem to be in a hurry for us to get pregnant. Whenever I check my Facebook, babies and new moms dominate my news feed. I learned that I should rejoice and be happy for them and to not think something is wrong with me. I learned that God is still preparing me and Alan for parenthood.

My favorite learning of all is that the happiest moments of my life is not the accumulation of things but the moments I get to spend with Alan and the memories we made. Life is simple and less complicated that way.
 
2015, I learned a ton from you and you really took my breath away.  I'm now getting the hang of being a wife, and prayerfully a new role would be nice, 2016. 



xoxo,
Joselle

Monday, December 28, 2015

4 Years

Alan and I reached our 4th year wedding anniversary today. Being a wife to my husband each year is wonderful but this year it is even more so. Now that we're blessed to live happily together, I'm getting to know him on a much deeper level and there is so much more of him to love. 

My family, especially my mom, would tell me how lucky I am to meet such a good man like Alan. To me he is a unicorn, surreal, one of a kind. And I have God to thank for that. It can only be God who could adeptly orchestrate uniting two distinct people, who lived oceans apart to be together. When Alan was younger, he discerned to be a priest. Good for me, it was not his calling. On the other hand, when I migrated to the US, I thought I would marry a blonde-hair blue-eyed man. However, our plans are not God's plans. And God's plans are always absolute best. I couldn't be more joyful that I married Alan, a beautiful man, with a heart. My one and only man in the world, the universe rather (O diba feeling Miss Universe haha)

Looking back at the 4 years we've been married, we hardly get into fights. No dramatic, screaming scenes so far. I guess because Alan has the softest and calmest voice in the world, it is close to a whisper so to yell is alien to him. And I like to take my chill pill once a day regularly. LOL. Kidding aside, we are pretty much a great team. We have each other's backs covered. Such that problems turn into sweet little adventures when we deal with them together. 
 
At the end of the day, when he snuggles at my back, and my body pressed against his, I could not help but feel like I'm over the moon. This warm feeling of blessedness is still surreal...even after 4 years.

Thank you to our dear friend AP, for the photos below taken at Savannah.
 

 

 

xoxo,
Joselle