Field Trip to U.P.

It was the first week of July when I stumbled upon an article saying that one of the University of the Philippines’ most popular eateries was going to close. Apparently after around 30 years in business beside the Main Library, Beach House Canteen was being evicted because they were too close to the drainage, making it unsafe for the students to eat there. Okay, but after decades?! I never heard of anyone die from their delicious barbecue (with red egg on the side hehe). I used to frequent Beach House when I was a college freshman in the university, incidentally exactly 20 years ago, and I just couldn’t bear not eating there again one last time. I thought it was also a good opportunity to have their first field trip for homeschool — let the girls see U.P. and start brainwashing them about THEIR future university (insert evil laugh here).

Thank God that I read the article I think on a Friday, King’s rest day was (always is) on a Monday, and the canteen was closing on Wednesday. The timing was perfect. We left home around 10 on July 7, and got to U.P. just in time for lunch. There was a line at Beach House, which I thought was usual, but after ten minutes of no movement, I started to wonder. I thought it was because there were too many customers and they were just trying to catch up on cooking, but after 30 minutes of waiting, we got a confirmation that they were out of their famous barbecue — the very thing I went there for! Apparently many people were buying barbecues by the dozen to bring home, as opposed to them just buying a couple for their lunch. Bummer.

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the long line :)

sunken garden! it was muddy due to light rain, so a picture with it as background was as far as we could go. :)

sunken garden! it was muddy due to light rain, so a picture with it as background was as far as we could go. :) beach house is between the main lib and sunken garden. :)

we were hoping to be able to eat soon on this table. at least i had a seat while waiting. :)

we were hoping to be able to eat soon on this table. at least i had a seat while waiting. :)

outside the library :)

outside the library :)

I didn’t get my Beach House fix, but I had also been telling King for the longest time to take me to Rodic’s so I could eat their yummy Tapsilog (beef flakes, fried rice, and egg). We passed by the library first, and the kind guard let us step inside the lobby for a quick look. The girls were amazed at its size. They actually wanted to read some books, like they would in Fully Booked haha. Danae even told me that I should have brought my ID so we could get further in.

Then off we went to the Shopping Center, where Rodic’s is (and has been for the last 60 years I’m guessing?). The girls got a taste of souvenir shopping in SC (too bad there were no kiddie shirts) and they got to use their bathroom haha, which they weren’t too thrilled about.

 

:)

since 1949 :)

my tapsilog! :)

my tapsilog! with red egg & tomatoes on the side :)

We visited the Alumni Center next. I wanted to check if the old bowling alley was still there because bowling was a Phys Ed class I took during one summer, and to my surprise it still was! Duck pins, manual system, no air conditioner, and way inexpensive — old school. We decided to let the girls play one game. It was their first time to play duck pins. I don’t think there are any more duck pin bowling alleys around, so it was a treat. :)

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check out the rates :)

check out the rates. we paid Php 36. :)

:)

no socks or shoes necessary :)

we taught noelle this technique hehe :)

we taught noelle this technique hehe :)

balls are manually rolled back haha :)

balls are manually rolled back haha :)

Danae was interested in other P.E. subjects like archery, so we tried to see if there were any activities in the gym that day. They looked like they were renovating the place, but the girls were able to play outside. It looked like a playground but I bet it’s for one of the P.E. subjects, like maybe fitness or weight lifting or the like. Hey, U.P. has Stretching for P.E. so it’s not far-fetched. :)

across the gym :)

across the gym :)

they did this before it started to pour :)

they did this before it started to pour :)

Our last stop was the oblation statue, in front of the administration building called Quezon Hall, but we also passed by AS (arts & sciences/Palma Hall) and my college building Alfonso Hall (college of Home Economics). My favorite part of my college was what they used to call CDC or Child Development Center, if I’m not mistaken, because that’s where the pre-schoolers are. Yes, even then, I was fond of kids. Too bad I didn’t finish my course though (Family Life & Child Development), and didn’t get my degree in U.P.

Oblation. Model: Fernando Poe, Sr.

Oblation. Model: Fernando Poe, Sr.

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AS steps. I don’t know if it’s still the same but all the “rich kids” used to hang here or in the lobby.

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my college :)

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I don’t know if they changed the name or if it was always this, but I knew it as CDC. We would observe pre-schoolers there. So cute. :)

love the trees :)

love the trees :)

I love the University of the Philippines-Diliman. I love the campus and I have fond memories there. I am excited to see if this is where my children will end up after high school. We are open to other universities (well, maybe a little haha) where they will get the best education for whatever course they will take. As of now, Danae already says U.P. will be her school. Music to my ears, haha. But King and I are committed to support our children and encourage them towards their God-given destinies, wherever or whatever that may be. Easier said than done, and I thank God we still have a decade to prepare. :)

Last Hurrah Before School Started!

With so many things going on during the summer, I had to make time to plan ahead for homeschooling year 2014-2015, especially since I’d be giving birth in August. I had to consider not only Danae’s subjects and lessons, but also Noelle’s. Danae was incoming grade 3, and Noelle was officially enrolled in Prep/Kinder 2, her first serious year of homeschooling. I would be having two homeschoolers at different levels, and then a newborn. And since we wouldn’t be able to go on vacation for a while, I thought a last hurrah was in order before school started.

I asked King to book us an overnight stay in one of the resorts in Laiya, Batangas. We ended up staying in Blue Coral Resort. King took a leave, and we didn’t tell the girls where we were going. We just let them sleep early, and I packed while they were asleep. They were mostly asleep in the car too, but at one point Danae woke up and saw Blue Coral’s signage on the road. So of course, there was no fooling her. She knew where we were going, as she has heard us talk about the resort before. They were both excited when we arrived.

It was a nice family trip to have before homeschool began, especially as I realized that it was our first family beach trip by ourselves. All our trips, whether locally or internationally, have always been with other people. We usually travel with my mom, and we’ve travelled with her and my brother’s family. We’ve travelled with friends too. It was a first for us to be just us four. It was a good time to bond as a family.

Breakfast at McDo. :)

Breakfast at McDo. :)

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Playing in the sand near our cottage, while the  sun is still too hot. :)

Playing in the sand near our cottage, while the sun was still too hot. :)

Our bodyguard. :)

Our bodyguard. :)

I was able to enjoy the water as well. :)

I was able to enjoy the water as well. 7 mos preggo. :)

The water was great, but we had to vacate as soon as we saw some jelly fish. It was interesting for the kids (well, us too) because we thought it would feel jelly-like, but it was more like a hard gel.

The water was great, but we had to vacate as soon as we saw some jelly fish. It was interesting for the kids (well, us too) because we thought it would feel soft and jelly-like, but it was more like a hard gel.

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King and the girls enjoyed the pool. :)

Noelle was scared to slide down by herself but she eventually got the hang of it. It was her first time to conquer the water slide! :)

Noelle was scared to slide down by herself but she eventually got the hang of it. It was her first time to conquer the (small) water slide! :)

Me and my girls, after dinner. :)

Me and my girls, after dinner. :)

Playtime in the sand before going to bed. Had a couple of funny boo-boos -- one of em picked up something gross while thinking it was a coral or rock; the other picked up something that she thought was a rock but she literally freaked out & cried when it moved. Haha. :)

Playtime in the sand before going to bed. Had a couple of funny boo-boos — one of em picked up something gross while thinking it was a coral or rock; the other tried to pick up something that she thought was a rock but she literally freaked out & cried when it moved. Haha. :)

They found a hermit crab. :)

They found a hermit crab. :)

It was Danae's first time to kayak! :) I did some kayaking too, and almost tipped the kayak over with King in it, as I got down, hahaha. Heavy at 7 mos. :)

It was Danae’s first time to kayak! :) I did some kayaking too, and almost tipped the kayak over with King in it, as I got down, hahaha. Heavy at 7 mos. No picture though, sorry. :)

She did it on her own too, but I was in the water so I have no picture. Hopefully she has one in her dad's cam. :)

Danae did it on her own too, but I was in the water so I have no picture. Hopefully she has one in her dad’s cam. :)

Last chance dip in the ocean. :)

Last dip in the ocean, after a couple of hours in the pool. :)

It was a short trip but we gathered a good bunch of memories out of it. The next time we travel, there will already be 5 of us. :)

Summer Camps

I know, I know, it’s nearly the end of July. Summer in the Philippines ends in May. I just want to finish writing about my girls’ summer activities (this is mostly for me and our family, but keep reading if you’re still interested) before I move on to my next posts. And I’ve been busy, but I figure I’d better get my blog in order before I give birth.

The girls & their friends

The girls & their friends

Danae and Noelle went on the Joshua Camp with King last May 1 and 2. Our church has an annual Me and My Dad Camp, but this time apparently, the moms could join too. Too bad (or good thing? hehehe) I was, still am, pregnant that King and I decided it would be too hard for me. I’m pretty sure I would have survived, but anyway, we wanted the girls to bond with their dad, especially since this is Danae’s second time and Noelle’s first time to be sleeping in a tent up on a mountain. It was also King’s first time to be out on camping grounds alone with the two girls. Haha, it was fun seeing King squirm a little, knowing that the younger one is kinda squeamish about bathrooms and stuff.

 

 

Noelle planting a seedling :)

Noelle planting a seedling :)

Noelle was a little sad when she left home because she usually likes to stick close to me, and

Danae planting a seedling too :)

Danae planting a seedling too :)

she, as usual, cried for me a little that night. Signal was non-existent there, and so we weren’t able to communicate at all until the next day. I was very happy though, that she and Danae came home happy and excited! She said that “Me and My Dad Camp was soooo fun, mom!” I love that not only did they “survive” the cold water, the bathroom, the heat during the day, the cold and darkness at night, they more importantly enjoyed bonding with King (sleeping in a tent, eating marshmallows and hotdogs around the campfire, participating in the games together), and they got to spend (more) time with their BFFs Ana, Andrea, and Coleen.

 

 

camp equipFrom May 13 to 16, Danae joined Camp Equip, a 4-day daily morning training for kids aged 8 to 12 (if I’m not mistaken). They were given 3 options — dance, theater, or singing. Danae’s initial choice was theater, but because there were only a handful of students, the class was dissolved. She chose singing with her friend Ana, though it was clear that she would have also enjoyed dance. She was actually the smallest and youngest in the class and in the alto group. They were taught not only to sing a couple of songs, but to vocalize, sing correctly with the diaphragm (something I know nothing about) and what true worship means. She made new friends too. They sang their songs as a group during their recital, and though I know she enjoyed every bit of it, she could not help but move and groove when it was the dance class’ turn to perform. And as I expected, she told me afterwards that she will be joining the dance class of next year’s Camp Equip haha. She will also join me as I go back to volunteering with the VBC dance team next summer. I am hoping I can convince Noelle to do the same.

 

 

The following week was Vacation Bible Camp — Danae’s 4th time and Noelle’s 3rd. I’ve VBCalways been able to count on Danae coping well in classes or activities, but this was the first time I had no problems with Noelle. She stayed in her class all morning during the entire 3-day event. That’s I think thanks to her BFF Coleen. I don’t think she would have been as enthusiastic and consistent if she didn’t have a constant friend there. I am very proud of her nonetheless. Of course, the girls enjoyed this year’s theme Boomerang Express – It All Comes Back to Jesus. New songs, new lessons, new crafts. We’re excited for next year too!boomerang express

These are summer activities that we look forward to each year. I thank God that our church gives much importance to teaching and discipling children. We as parents are passionate about this and we are happy to be part of a movement that is passionate about the next generation as well. Thank you to Victory Alabang’s Kids Church Team for making it all fun and incredibly worthwhile. Thank you Ptr Carlo, Lea (and Eli :)), Merlee, Grace, Leni, and your amazing volunteers! God bless you all. :)

Happy Father’s Birthday

It was my late dad’s birthday last Friday (the 13th). Our dinner plans to celebrate it with the family could not push through yet, but I wanted to celebrate it with King and the girls. I was first thinking of introducing my dad’s favorite food to Danae and Noelle, but then I remembered that he had sort of an exotic taste. I myself would not be able to eat Kalderetang Kambing (goat stew), Kimchi, peppers, whole pickles from a jar, or durian! The only exotic food I can eat is Kuhol (snails cooked in coconut milk). I remember eating those with him in Pinausukan or Barrio Fiesta.

As I was asking my fully housewifed friend May for activity suggestions, she mentioned golf. I thought it was a great idea since my dad was a golfer. I used to go with him to the nearby driving range and I even played 9 holes once with him and my mom. He was a good coach. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to play in a real course again without his coaching. However, there are no nearby mini golf courses that I know of, and even if we decided to go to the driving range, I don’t think I’d be able to teach the girls properly, with my big belly and all, and I don’t think they’d have little golf clubs for kids.

So I thought of the next best thing — bowling! We used to bowl a lot when my brother and I were young, from duck pins to ten pins.

Bowling :)

Bowling :)

And since there’s a bowling alley in the mall next to our village, and the girls have expressed that they want to try it, it was perfect.

Kuhol :)

Kuhol :)

So we ate at Gerry’s grill, where the girls kept saying “eeeew” and “poor snails” haha. And King and the girls enjoyed their game of bowling at the kiddie lane (there was a fence blocking the gutter haha). I even played one frame — don’t worry, I used a light ball. It was fun, and hopefully memorable. It was another way for the girls to know who their wowo (grandpa) was and to keep his memory alive. :)

Happy birthday and happy fathers day, daddy! Danae misses you and Noelle wishes she met you. We love you! :)

 

 

The Reveal

A lot of people have been asking us what the gender of the baby is. They’re excited because we have two beautiful girls, and they (us too, of course) want to know if we’re having a boy this time. I’m 7mos pregnant now and they keep wondering why we don’t know yet. It’s a case of scheduling and busyness, actually. But now, we do know.

Are you ready for the reveal?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IT’S A………

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

……………….NOTHER GIRL!!!!!!

Haha. We prepared a name for a boy — Kyan David (Kyan means little king), but we haven’t picked out a girl’s name yet. She is perfectly healthy and complete! We are excited and King is already psyching himself and preparing for 100,000 words a day from us four girls haha. It has also sunk in for Danae and Noelle. I am sure they will be doting big sisters.

Thank you for your prayers and please continue to pray for good health for me, baby, and the whole family. God bless you! :)

Noelle and Reading

Next on our summer list, while the girls had art classes on certain days, was Noelle’s daily Reading and Math class for 3 weeks. We enrolled her in Right Start, a small school in our village, where my kids’ friends went to for pre-school. My friend Ken Amador offered to give Noelle a ride each morning to and from school, along with her son and niece. Thank God for generous, thoughtful friends indeed!

Noelle learned to read when she was 4, but I wasn’t really able to help her progress much. Maybe she wasn’t ready yet because she’d say she’s already tired, and sometimes she couldn’t remember the first letter she just pronounced. It was pretty easy to teach Danae to read, and so I was at a loss when it came to Noelle haha. I just let her be, injecting some reading exercises from time to time, but I decided not to force it. Now that she’s 5, and we’re formally (meaning enrolled and real grades will be involved) homeschooling her this year, I wanted her to be prepared. And because I wasn’t sure how to help her, I thought a summer class might do the trick.

What surprised me before classes started though, was that she WAS reading more words and she was more interested in trying. She would still guess sometimes, instead of really reading, but she was improving. By the time classes started, I knew that she was already able to read short sentences, to remember, understand, and repeat them. I gave her teacher a heads up and so they soon included her in the more advanced math and reading class (those entering 1st grade).  I was so proud of her for doing the work! She kept saying she’s already grade 1, haha. She’s incoming Prep or Kinder 2 actually. Her teachers even said that she works fast and always wants more. She still has much to improve on, but she has made progress. Now she can count to the hundreds too, when she couldn’t even count properly before — she’d always skip 19 and 20 for some reason haha.

The fact that I could leave her in class (of course I wanted to be there on her first day and some of her days) without any problems, and seeing her comfortable with her teachers and classmates made me even more proud. The last time she was in a regular school setting, she was very cooperative but didn’t talk much or display her true personality. Her teacher in Right Start was somewhat surprised that she is very well-socialized despite her being home-schooled (a common misconception; most homeschooled kids have no problem talking to other kids AND adults). I’m happy that though Noelle is the more reserved one compared to her sister, she is becoming more comfortable around new people.

I really believe that a child’s learning depends on their readiness. I’ve seen it time and time again with my kids, that it is easiest to train and teach them when they are ready. Danae was ready to eat at 4 months, while Noelle was ready at 6. They both were ready to be potty trained before they turned 3, and I believe they were diaper-free by age 3. Danae understood what discipline meant, though not necessarily adhering to it haha, at 11 months old, while Noelle understood when she was around 15 months old. Danae was ready to read at age 3, while Noelle became ready between 4 and 5. Though it is true that there are many things that can’t wait and that we ought to teach as early as possible, such as the Gospel, maybe how to communicate eye-to-eye, how to share, how to be respectful, how to obey, etc, there are certain things that we need to be more patient and discerning with. When I wait for the right timing, it becomes unforced, it takes less effort, and it results more often than not in success. :)

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Noelle chatting it up with her friend Bea on her first day at Right Start. :)

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Teacher Helen instructing them to write their names.

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Snack time!

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Bea, T. Helen, and Noelle after a birthday party in school. :)

Art Lessons

I am absolutely grateful that I got better in time for my daughters’ summer activities! First on the list was art lessons. We hired a good friend, Maan, to teach the girls some painting. She’s a teacher and a freelance artist, does projects from wall murals to logos and menus, and joins exhibits as well. We’re thankful she accommodated us and made it easy for us. She took care of all the materials, agreed to a schedule that was comfortable for us, came to our house and did not limit their class time to an hour or two. She made sure the girls learned something.

We are very happy with the work that our girls were able to put out, with the close guidance of Tita/Teacher Maan. I’m so proud of Noelle because she has improved highly, sitting and listening to her teacher and following instructions, even though she took many breaks haha. Danae was very cooperative, and was happy that Maan let her try what she wanted to paint. They still make use of what they have learned, with no help from me as I am not at all a painter. I could have learned along with them but I was either too lazy, too tired, or not feeling well. King is the painter between us, and I know our girls got most of their creativity from him. They love to do art and create stuff. Sometimes they just get their materials and start drawing or painting away, though their paintings always look better when supervised by a pro. Sometimes they try to recreate something they see on a video.  They like clay and legos too. I do not want them to lose this interest and love for being creative, so I really hope I can encourage it even more during the entire homeschool year. I am also excited for next summer’s art lessons!

 

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They used acrylic paint in all their sessions. They painted on canvas straight away. :)

 

They painted snow-capped mountains. :)

They painted snow-capped mountains. :)

 

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Noelle’s finished work (with a little help with her shapes from Teacher) on the left, and Danae’s finished work on the right. :)

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They chose their Olafs and drew them on paper first. :)

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Noelle’s Olaf :)

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They traced their Olafs onto their snow-capped mountain paintings. :)

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Danae’s happy Olaf :)

 

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Painting the sun. :)

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Teacher painted the little boat for her. :)

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Danae wanted to paint Elsa :)

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Teacher let her choose which Elsa to copy. It turned out pretty nice. :)

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Noelle didn’t want to paint Elsa so Teacher taught her something else. :)

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Flowers :)

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Painting, using a brush, and using plastic on special paper to create the beach. Practice for their final painting. :)

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Danae wanted to paint their little friend Eli :)

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Cheeks! :)

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Noelle wanted to paint Ana. Teacher helped her with the face. I think she was in a hurry to translate it into painting that it didn’t turn out so perfectly, hehe. :)

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Noelle was out and too tired when she came back to paint the beach scene on canvas, so it was given to her as an assignment. Teacher put Danae in charge of helping her sister. :)

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Their final painting – Olaf on the beach! :) Noelle was very sleepy that day, so she barely finished hers. She still needs to put some detail on her Olaf. :)

 

 

 

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Entrepreneurial Danae

For some reason, when Danae discovers something new to make, she automatically wants to sell them. From drawings, to paper games and paintings. She is quite entrepreneurial. I did not encourage many of her ideas before because frankly, nobody would buy them haha. With her paintings from her art lessons this summer, I didn’t want to let them go. I told her she can replicate them or make new ones, and then sell them.

Recently, she discovered these rubber band bracelets. A friend of hers got a kit for her birthday and she was so interested in it. She 20140522-142143.jpgkept asking me to get her one, and she kept asking her friend to bring her kit to church so they could make bracelets together. She said she could make them and sell them.

I’m not the type of parent who says yes right away to these requests because for one, I am not sure if it is worth buying. I know how my daughter shifts from one interest to the next. Two, I always consider our expenses first, especially with their remaining summer activities and with the school year fast approaching. Three, I don’t believe in instant gratification. She can learn to pray for it and be patient.

20140522-142509.jpgThe other day, Danae told me that she doesn’t need the kit because she can make the bracelet with her fingers. She just needs the rubber bands. So when we found some in a tiangge (flea market), she chose the two colors she wanted and we bought them. She didn’t make them right away when we got home, so King and I encouraged her to do so, telling her we’ll pay her 10 pesos each for a bracelet. The next day, she made a thicker one for me and charged me 20 pesos haha. She made one for her sister, but said it was free since Noelle doesn’t have any money. :)

I’ve promised to buy her more rubber bands, and she is excited to make more because she has already done some sales talk and gotten some buyers! (Thank you supportive friends and relatives!) I’m so proud of her because she’s willing to do it without the loom! Sure, it’s harder and it’s less neat, but she learns to focus, create, and work hard. Plus she earns a little cash. She actually wants me to put up a sign outside our house saying we sell kids’ “jewelry” haha. I’m not yet sure if I’m willing to do that. But if she keeps this up, I will get her that loom next week. What a great idea for Math, even before our homeschool year starts. More so that the idea was hers, and not mine. :)

 

 

 

 

Mothers’ Day 2014

Dearest Danae and Noelle,

You are two of the greatest gifts God has given me. I became a mom because you came into my life. It is my honor and privilege to be with you nearly 24 hours of every single day, loving you, teaching you, disciplining you, playing with you, goofing around with you, going out with you. It is exhausting and frustrating at times, but I will always choose to be hands-on with you two. No amount of money or potential of a career will keep me from being a stay-at-home mom while you are young. Those just don’t matter to me as much. I believe that’s how God wired me, and I am grateful that I have the opportunity and choice to live it.

Looking back, I might have known how different you were going to be from each other since the day Noelle was born. Danae was born tiny and brown, while Noelle was born big and white! You both of course have my trade mark lips hehehe. Your ways and personalities differ, but I believe you have the same qualities of being loving, kind, compassionate, generous, affectionate, thoughtful, grateful, obedient, and wise. You just display them differently and at varying times haha. It’s amusing to see my traits and your dad’s traits in you. Sometimes, you are walking contradictions really. And I’ve had that said about me too – that I’m an oxymoron (see dictionary for meaning hahaha). But no matter, I love you both so much anyway. I don’t think there is anything you can do (but please please please don’t deliberately try to find ways :) ), to make me unlove you.

I know I have not been the “normal mom” for the past months, neither have I been the perfect mom over the years, but thank you for being so patient and understanding. Thank you that despite my shortcomings, you are excited for our baby and that you already love him/her so much. The greatest gift you two have given me through my difficult first trimester, though, is loving each other. Yes, you still argue and bicker, but I have seen you grow so much closer. The bond that I prayed that the two of you would have as sisters, I am already seeing with my own eyes. I am so blessed to see you help each other, depend on each other, serve each other, and just love each other.

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Mothers’ day! We were fortunate to catch the Art Attack event in Eastwood. Even though the activity was for the girls, this Mom was happy and content, watching and helping them do some art. :)

I am 36 now, but even as I grow older, as long as you need me to play catch, stay in the ball pit with you, skate or swim or zipline with you, I will do it. (Promise to do math and all the hard stuff with me too, okay? Hahaha). Your smiles, laughter, and squeals of excitement are a joy to me. I don’t mind getting tired or putting my needs and wants aside for you. Seeing you happy makes me happy. As long as you let me have my alone time with daddy, we’re good. :)

Thank you for appreciating me and loving me. I do what I do for you because I love you deeply. God entrusted me and your dad with you girls, and we are fully committed to obey Him, to do our part as parents in raising you. You may not completely understand our ways and our reasons sometimes, but I believe you will when the time comes. It’s a tough job being a mom, but I thank God that He gave me the best husband as my partner and He gave me two tough, but awesome chicks to raise and love. I know you will be tough enough to be awesome moms one day too.

I don’t know how you are going to choose to live your lives as wives and mothers in the future, but I pray that you will always choose to love and obey Jesus. That you and your husband will teach your children to love and obey Jesus as well. That family will be your priority over your careers (not necessarily giving up your careers, but being hands-on moms nonetheless – yes I see it with super moms nowadays – it can be done). That you will spend quality and quantity time with your children, getting to know them and their hearts by talking to them, dating them, playing with them, and taking them on wonderful road trips and vacations. That your children will give you as much or even more joy, as you two give me. That you will see your children as blessings, as gifts, as students, as the church, as the future, as individuals who need the Lord as much as you do, as individuals with God-given destinies. That you will see and experience that being a hands-on mom is wonderful and is absolutely worth it.

It’s mothers’ day and I thank you for your sweet greetings and notes, but you girls give me sweet drawings, notes, hugs and kisses every single day. Despite my occasional sighs and grunts and our occasional arguments, I really don’t need a special day for mothers to feel special. I am already special because I have the two of you. I love you, my princesses. Thank you for making my everyday a happy mother’s day. :)

Love,

Mommy :)

 

Children are a gift from the Lord;
    they are a reward from him.
Children born to a young man
    are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.
How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!
    He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates. 

Psalm 127:3-5 NLT          

The Surrender

It took me a month of trying to fight my puking urges before I finally accepted that I should just LET IT GO. Yes, Frozen’s song meant something different to me then, haha. I hated the act of throwing up, but it somehow relieved my painful tummy. So I conceded. I tried some food from time to time, just to check what I could take, because I was sooooo sick of crackers. I finally found some that I could eat and be satisfied with — mung beans and dried fish with rice! To us Filipinos, munggo and tuyo/danggit! How ironic that the smelliest of all fish was what I could eat. That was my meal twice a day for more than a month. My tummy settlers were soda, nuts, and chips. I still experienced the same nausea, bloatedness, aversion to smells (and did I mention aversion to food on tv?) and vomiting, but at least I had some real food to eat.

It was around that time, the second week of February, that I psyched myself to finally visit my OB-GYN. It was not without a lot of crying days before, as I was dreading the smells I could possibly encounter. I was seriously afraid, and I felt trapped. I did not want to be paralyzed by my fear, but I was. I was sure I would vomit, and I definitely didn’t want to do that in public. There’s nothing pretty about vomiting, even if I had the best excuse to do it. It’s gross, loud, uncomfortable, and painful.

I made sure I threw up before I left home (twice), and I equipped myself with some crackers and a small jar of vapor rub to help mask other smells. It was the first time I left the house successfully (we tried going to a nearby commercial area a few days before and I was too nauseated to get out of the car). We found out that I was 3 months and 4 days pregnant. Quite late for a first check up, but I had been drinking folic acid and calcium by end of  December, though irregularly. Yes, you guessed it, they were hard for me to swallow at times. I was prescribed the usual prenatal meds, but the ultrasound showed that I was having contractions. My doctor gave me additional ones to secure the baby in my womb. I realized that it was a blessing that I had just been staying home that whole time. I had not endangered myself or the baby.

WE SAW THE BABY AND MY HEART SMILED for the first time in a long while. I was happy to know that even with my troubles, he (or she) was a-okay.

I felt quite accomplished after that. That didn’t encourage me to get out of the house more though. I was still trapped by my fear, and the farthest I would go was in our front yard to watch the girls bike. Of course smells of cooking from neighbors’ houses bothered me too. My next trips out were only for a doctor’s visit and a short side trip to the mall, a dental appointment, and a trip to the bookstore.

Things were getting a tad better, plus thankfully our former stay-in helper came back, but I was still feeling down a lot. There were days that I cried practically all day, and there were days that I was fine. Then came the 3 or 4 consecutive days that I was just in anguish and I cried to God. I was like a crazy person, pleading for grace and mercy one minute and then blaming God for what I was going through the next. And then the inevitable came sometime in mid March — MY HEART SURRENDERING TO THE LORD. I cried, prayed, repented for my anger, ungratefulness, and joylessness, declared His love and goodness, literally lifted my arms in surrender to His will. I was done. I gave up being angry and finally allowed Him to take over.

It was not a quick change in my disposition, but peace and joy slowly came back into my heart. I was able to see the good, even though I was still vomiting every morning. Though I chose to stay home still, I was able to BE WITH my kids, play with them, and even resume homeschooling. My appetite was returning and my taste buds were normalizing. I said goodbye to mung beans and dried fish! I still had problems with smell and I still couldn’t eat all kinds of food, but I was better. I was even able to watch Captain America to support a friend’s fundraiser. I did get quite dizzy before and after the movie, but that was a breakthrough. You don’t know how happy it made my husband that I was out with him. I also started feeling the baby move that week!

The trip that followed was my doctor’s appointment this month, with some grocery shopping and a visit to our church. It was good to be in a supermarket after 3 months, though King did most of the picking and handling especially of the meats, while I ate chips to get rid of the nausea. And it was great to see friends I had not seen since the last Sunday of 2013. I believe the next day was the last day I threw up, the day I watched Rio 2 with my family. My daughters were so happy, seeing that I was “healed.”

10320422_833105283370835_7264876035980516200_nBy holy week, I was able to go on vacation with the church staff and actually enjoy it! I was able to eat. I got the most exercise I’ve gotten since I got pregnant, walking up and down steps and swimming laps. I enjoyed the beach and swam with my kids. I got tired, but not exhausted. Since then, I’d been able to go out, sit at restaurants and endure the smells without gagging! It may not be a big deal to anyone else, but it’s a huge deal for me. Finally, MY MIRACLE IS HERE! Last Easter Sunday was the first time I attended church service since 2013 ended!

Yes, I still get dizzy, I still gag at smells sometimes, I get easily tired, and there are still certain food I can’t stand, but I THANK THE LORD that He has given me this breakthrough. I seriously thought I was going to suffer the tummy aches and vomiting the entire 9 months! And not only am I feeling better, we were able to finish all of Danae’s requirements for her major subjects! Thanks to Teacher Sybil for helping me and the girls, in homeschooling and other matters. All I need to do now is make sure she finishes her computer subject which her dad is in charge of, to fix her portfolio, and to submit her grades. We are quite delayed, but thank God for our understanding school principal.

Indeed I can say that THE LORD IS GOOD. Even though I was so ungrateful and unfaithful to Him, He remained faithful. He was understanding and patient with me. Though many times I felt that He was silent, He gave me people who loved me, stood by me, and helped me sort through my craziness — my patient husband King, my accommodating girls Danae and Noelle, my friend, constant chat mate and shock absorber May, and faithful friends who keep praying for me, are my heroes.

I was aware that God was teaching me something, that it was another stepping out of my comfort zone (boy, was it ever), another push to grow, but my pain and hardship blinded me. I focused more on the bad, whining and crying, rather than focusing on the good. Hormones did play a big role, sure, but I know God wanted me to go through it to bring me to a place of TRUE SURRENDER. My prayers were sincere but my emotions tainted them with pride and unbelief.

It wasn’t until I surrendered that the veil was slowly lifted. God is a personal God. And this is the way He has always been with me — BEFORE HE CHANGES MY SITUATION, HE FIRST CHANGES MY HEART. Everything that He allowed to happen led to a heart change, and my situation began getting better and better. I know it’s an ordinary experience for some and they take it in stride. This was a first for me. My first two pregnancies were not this hard, and I was never this miserable. It was not right to have such little joy and I could not figure it out, hence all my frustration and anguish. I may not understand all of it, but I do understand that God is good and all His plans are purposeful. He loves me enough to want me to grow, and not just coast along. His grace IS sufficient and He is present, whether I feel it or not. He wants me to be free from anger, fear, and pride. He wants me to live fully with peace and joy, not in vicious cycles. And the only way is by coming to Him and surrendering to Him, leaving it all at His feet. FREEDOM, PEACE AND JOY COMES WITH SURRENDER.

1797357_832231116791585_1229765869048486447_nNow I will be 6 months pregnant in about a week! I am healthy, at peace, and excited. My girls are busy with their summer activities and I can be their mommy/driver/assistant again. King is also busy with work/ministry and we were able to tag along to the youth camp last week. The baby is healthy, and by next month, we hope to know and then share the much anticipated reveal of his/her gender! We are all doing well and I can’t thank the Lord enough. :)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:6-10

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 118:1

In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free. Psalm 118:5

 

 Click here and here for the first two posts of this story.