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 Villanueva, 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 T. Maan) 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 horizon. :)

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Tracing the sun. :)

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Painting the sun. :)

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T. Maan painted the little boat for her. :)

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Danae wanted to paint Elsa :)

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

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Noelle didn’t want to paint Elsa so T. Maan 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. T. Maan 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. T. Maan 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.

The Roller Coaster

When I started experiencing constant acidity and gas in my tummy daily, I badly wanted to eat to relieve it. But believe it or not, I could not take anything but crackers and bananas. Relief would come but it was always short-lived. My water intake was also terrible. With the little I ate and drank, I would still vomit DAILY. I hated it. I cried buckets of tears because I was hungry and I felt bloated at the same time. And the vomiting literally hurt me and tired me out. Many times I would vomit gas and saliva alone, but the sensation and the effort were the same. I would get contractions too while throwing up. I lost twenty pounds by February.

I was on the most horrible emotional roller coaster ride of my life. I wanted to be grateful everyday for this wonderful gift, but I could not see past my pain and hardship. I felt bad that I wasn’t like other pregnant ladies who were strong, could still exercise, continue to work and take care of their families. I felt bad that my husband, tired from work all day, had to take on my responsibilities at home. We had a stay-out helper who washed our clothes and did some cleaning and cooking during the day, but at night, King had to still clean up after the girls’ messes. He cooked at times too. He had to make sure our children had breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I was stuck in the room, because I could not stand the smell of any food, or other strong smells for that matter. I could not cook, or even accompany my children at the dining table. My kids learned to eat on their own or with the stay-out helper. They learned to always close my door to prevent the smell of cooking from wafting in, though many times it was impossible to block the smell out. I would hide in the bathroom to try to avoid throwing up, sometimes to no avail.

King felt an enormous amount of pressure, thinking about my physical and emotional condition, thinking about the kids’ welfare, and thinking about his work. And I felt the pressure of him feeling the pressure. We badly needed a stay-in helper to lighten our loads physically (chores) and mentally (planning). And I badly needed my miracle.

Though it’s common in all my pregnancies that I cannot stand King’s smell during the first trimester, I felt terrible that I could not even smell my own children! I couldn’t cuddle with them, or kiss them. I stayed in a separate bedroom. They were understanding but there were moments that Danae would cry to me, sad and upset that I couldn’t do normal things with them. I totally felt for her, because I wanted what she wanted. BUT I JUST COULDN’T. I was so frustrated with myself for being so weak. I felt helpless and useless. Don’t even get me started on homeschooling. Nausea kept me from being able to do any.

To top it all off, I was upset because I felt that God WOULD NOT give me my miracle. I prayed so hard for it even before I got pregnant, and most especially while I was having such a hard time. I felt like He wasn’t answering, wasn’t moving. But then again I knew that I was blessed — the fact that I could even conceive and carry a child is already a huge blessing. All the more that I felt frustrated with myself because what I was feeling was the opposite of the truth that I knew and believed. I honestly was starting to doubt God’s love and His goodness. I was completely miserable, bursting into uncontrollable tears every now and then. My poor kids witnessed some of it and they would be kind enough to comfort me, pray for me, or leave me alone.

Then I would see other people with bigger, deeper problems than me, but are still able to smile and live their lives with joy. I was experiencing a seemingly endless difficult season but obviously temporary, and I was ready to throw my faith out the window! I was suffering for only 9 months, if ever it wasn’t going to get better for me, and then a beautiful addition to our family would arrive! I knew I should choose joy and be more grateful. I knew I had the power to choose a better attitude, but I was unable to. I wish I could blame it all on crazy hormones, but I am just not sure that’s true. My frustrations were immense. I not only beat myself up for something I could not control — my physical weakness — I also beat myself up for something I could control — my attitude. I knew my feelings were valid, but I could not figure out what God wanted me to do. I was angry with Him, but I also knew that there’s nobody else I could rely on to help me through it. I knew it was only by His grace that I could overcome. My despair was real.

 

I know this is a depressing end to this post, but I promise, the third and last installment tomorrow will be better. :)

Click here for the first installment.

 

The Third

Yes, I am 5 months pregnant with our third child. :) It’s the reason why I have been MIA for the first quarter of the year. It’s the reason why I was not able to renew my blog site on time, and had to pay a larger fee for doing so late. Thank you to the kind angel who tweeted me to tell me that she couldn’t access my site anymore. Obviously I have not been checking my emails either.

I am 36 years old, a year late in my plan to have our LAST baby. I had been very fickle about having another for a few valid reasons. Raising and homsechooling two active, strong-willed little girls is no easy task. I wondered if I could handle three children. Our daughters are growing up, becoming more and more independent. I wondered if I was willing to go back to square 1 — breastfeeding, diaper-changing, sleepless nights. King and I had gotten our dating groove back since the girls can more easily be left with a helper, friend or relative. I wondered if I was willing to give our child-free dates up, not to mention our desire to finally have a child-free vacation.

BUT since we don’t use artificial protection, not for any reason other than we are not comfortable doing so, and I am not ligated yet nor has King had (or is ever willing to have) a vasectomy, I could be surprised with a pregnancy in my late 30s and even 40s. I mean no disrespect to those who choose to have children at that age. I just really prefer to be younger to have the last baby, and I prefer not to be surprised. So even though I am already past my so-called deadline, it’s really now or never. Then I will have myself ligated when they open me up for a c-section. I noticed that there’s a baby boom too, and I truly felt we were going to be part of it.

My biggest apprehension, however, has always been the pregnancy. My first was okay. I had nausea, aversion to the smell of cooking, aversion to Chinese food, and I had no cravings during my first trimester. I was able to eat, and I actually threw up only a few times. I lost only about 6 pounds. My second was pretty bad because I threw up more, and it got to a point where I felt so weak that I asked King to take me to the ER. I chose to be confined so that I could get more fluids in me. I don’t remember losing more than 5 pounds since I was still able to eat certain food. Things normalized after the first trimester.

Although thankfully I had no problems with threatened abortion, bleeding or anything like that, I seriously did not want a repeat performance of my previous pregnancies. I asked God to give me a miracle — that when I get pregnant, I will have none of the problems I had before. We found out that I was pregnant a few days before Christmas day! We were so excited! And though I had been feeling bloated, sometimes nauseated and couldn’t eat my normal amounts, I could still eat. I was already thanking God for my miracle.

Sadly, it barely lasted two weeks.

The last day I was out in a mall, before my long hiatus, was January 2 for my nephew’s birthday. I couldn’t even join them inside the pizza place because I couldn’t handle the smell. I walked around, popping mints, and because I liked the smell of pretzels, I bought one and ate that. I was supposed to see my OB-GYN the next day, but I was not at all up for it. My daily battle with smells, vomiting, hyperacidity or acid reflux or whatever you want to call it, and not being able to eat anything began that week. I wasn’t even able to celebrate Noelle’s birthday with her. :(

Please bear with me. I shall continue tomorrow.

 

 

Statement 1 or Statement 2?

I posted this question on my Facebook page almost 2 months ago. I was starting to share my answer too, but then it became too long to be a comment. I decided to post it here instead.

On girl-boy relationships.
Which statement is more true for you, and why?

1. It’s worth it because this is forever.
2. Even if it’s not forever, it will be worth it.

I received quite a few answers and different explanations, so thank you. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for opening my mind to your perspective. I know that your answers were personal, and I respect all your opinions. Allow me to share my personal beliefs as well, based on my past experiences, my current situation, and my hopes for the future.

First, I want to clarify that when I say forever, I mean “till death do us part.” I know that there is no such thing as forever (here on earth anyway) because we all die. When I posted the question, I was thinking about relationships and marriage. :)

I choose statement number 1.

Boy-girl relationships should not be taken lightly, should never be entered without the future in mind. If I were my immature, delusional, romantic young self, I would choose statement number 2, not thinking about the future but merely ENJOYING THE MOMENT. And God knows that’s what I did before. I convinced myself that it was worth it because I was “happy.” I would also always convince myself that we had a future together, as if that made our relationship justifiable (so maybe I would’ve also chosen statement number 1, having this mindset). But did I consider the consequences? Nope. All I cared about was me and what I wanted. Hind sight is clearest in this matter because it’s done, already in my past. I had no relationship with Christ. I exercised no restraint, no wisdom.

Was it worth dishonoring my parents? Was it worth adding further damage to an already faulty family relationship? Was it worth all the heartache and the drama of being deceived, two-timed, used, neglected, ignored, or unvalued?  And not only heartache from the BOYS I was in relationships with, but the heartache of feeling so alone in my family because I pushed them farther away? Was choosing a boy, any boy over my family worth it? Was it worth doubting my own self-worth and losing my true identity? Was it worth the unnecessary pain I caused my husband as he discovered my past? Is it worth the fear I sometimes feel, dreading the possibility that my children will reap all that I have sown?

I say NOT. Those temporary relationships were not worth it. I learned much from my experiences, and I now clearly see the goodness of God because of them, but, no disrespect to the people involved, they were not at all worth it. It’s true what they say — experience is not the best teacher, the Word of God is.

I became a Christian at 24 years old, quite fresh from a devastating breakup. Through discipleship, I learned to see myself the way Jesus does — someone of great value and worth, someone unconditionally loved and accepted. I learned that it is Jesus who completes me, no one else. I learned to forgive. I learned to repent. I learned to humble myself and allow God to restore my relationship with my family. I learned to stop obsessing about marriage or romantic relationships, and focus on my relationship with God. I learned to enjoy my friendships, and to exercise the right boundaries. I learned to guard my heart, and keep myself from entering relationships that I was not sure were from the Lord. I learned to seek His will for my life and wait for His timing. I learned to allow Him to write my love story.

Now that my waiting is done and I am married to the man God created for me (yes, I really believe that, albeit sounding still delusional haha), I believe that everything is and will be worth it because this is it. God orchestrated this and I chose to participate. I made this commitment to my husband and to God, that I will do whatever it takes on my part to make our marriage work. All sacrifices, hardships, even heartaches will be worth it because it is the will of God that I am here in this marriage. I choose to obey God — to honor Him, to honor my husband, to honor our marriage. King is worth it. We are worth it. God is worth it.

All things between us are well at the moment, but nothing is perfect. Anything can happen in the future. Though there are situations, deal breakers in my book, that I have seen first hand among people I know and love, I cannot live my life in doubt and in dread. I choose to hope in God, to hope for the best in King. My hope is that King and I will remain in God, so that we can continue to be faithful to each other. My hope is that we remain vigilant in taking care of each other, in protecting each other and our marriage. My hope is that when we make mistakes, we will always choose to forgive each other and choose to continue to love each other as we do now. My hope is that he and I will constantly be on the same page about our family and our marriage as the seasons of our lives change — that we will both hold each other with such high regard, with such value, importance, and priority, and continually honor each other as husband and wife.

All the time, energy, effort, diligence, forgiveness, love and commitment I give today, despite conflicts and challenges, are worth it. Worth it now and worth it in the long run, because I believe in US. I believe that King and I are forever, and I believe that it is worth investing in forever.