Motherhood

Motherhood. It’s probably one (out of 3, I think) of the craziest things I got myself mixed up in. Fulfilling and life-altering, but crazy nonetheless. :)

From painful labor and difficult, scary, and potentially life-threatening deliveries, from bringing the breastfeeding baby wherever I had/have to go, breastfeeding while driving, playing, eating or homeschooling, drinking hot soup while carrying a sleeping baby, carrying a baby with one hand and pushing the stroller with the other, taking a bath with an audience (baby in stroller or crib right by the door), to traveling with an infant, traveling with a toddler, traveling with a pre-schooler and a baby without King, traveling sick with two kids, and then soon (hopefully never ever again sick) traveling with three!

From juggling schedules especially during summer, driving them to and staying with them at parties, play dates and classes, to homeschooling one child and then two, homeschooling two while pregnant, and then homeschooling two with an infant.

From fun, laughter, joy, interesting conversations, quality and quantity time together, playing and reading, making memories everywhere we go, to heartaches, disappointments, tears, fights, heartfelt confessions and heartfelt cries, deep conversations, and hard lessons on love and forgiveness.

I tell you, it’s a crazy ride, but one that I am willing to be in. Through the incredible ups, frightening downs, exciting loops, surprise turns, and even the steady (or messy) transitions, I’m all in. No matter how painful it has gotten or it might get, no matter how close I have been to giving up (a bit overdramatic maybe? hehe), no matter how many times I have actually said I give up (because trust me, the nappy changing and sleepless nights are the “easy” part), no matter if I could turn back time and other less crazy rides were offered to me. I would still get on this one. I love my children. They are each a blessing to me and King. And by the grace of God, I will get better and better at loving them the way He wants me to.

I am a perfectly imperfect mother and I pray that through my imperfection, my children will see and learn how much they need God. That God is the only One who is constant, the only One who is always there, the only One who is truly reliable, the only One who knows and gives what is best, the only One who loves perfectly and makes us whole. As a mother, even with the help of my most awesome husband, I experience this truth every single day. I need Jesus. I can’t do it without Him. And though consistently inconsistent me has had days or moments of doing motherhood without Him, I pray that He will enable me to always go back at His feet, humble myself before Him and give up the reins, receive His mercy, and entrust to Him the hearts and lives of my children. 😊

Thank you Lord for this gift of motherhood! Thank you for blessing me with three beautiful warrior princesses. Thank you for the honor and privilege to co-parent with King, to raise and take care of our girls. Thank you that even though it becomes overwhelming, your grace is sufficient. I am comforted by the truth that I don’t have to be everything to my children because YOU are everything. 😊

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HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY, BEAUTIFUL MOMMIES! :)

How blessed am I?

How blessed am I? I’m married to a man who loves Jesus… a man who honors his father and mother… a man who loves, leads, and provides for his family… a man who loves his children through his time, words, and actions… a man who honors and serves his mother-in-law… a man who has answered God’s call to love, lead, serve, disciple and pastor God’s people… a man who enjoys working with a team and does not mind doing the dirty work… a man who has great creativity, foresight and has a gift for pioneering… a man who is loyal, faithful, reliable… a man who is patient and forgiving… a man who makes people laugh… a man who is simple and down to earth… a man who loves to cook… a man who enjoys traveling… a man who is active and fun-loving… a man who can move, groove and make it look good… a man who truly enjoys life…

Yes, I am very blessed! But not only for the reasons you think.

I am blessed because my husband is NOT perfect.

Because he is not perfect, I have less reason to put him on a pedestal and make him my idol, and I have more reason to depend on, seek, trust, and surrender to God. Because he is not perfect, I get to learn, adjust, exercise my faith, and grow in character. Because he is not perfect, I “get a pass” on my own bloopers and blunders and get encouraged to do better next time. Because he is not perfect, I learn to be grateful and love him even more for his wonderful qualities. Because he is not perfect, I get to watch him grow and learn from him. Because he is not perfect, I have a front row seat to God’s glorious work in and through his life. Because he is not perfect and I am not perfect, I learn unconditional love — to give it, to receive it, and to be completely amazed at God’s ability to lavish it on His children.

Because he is not perfect, I am incredibly blessed.

Happy birthday babe! I love you. I see how much you love me with all you do for me and our family. Thank you and may the Lord richly bless you with the desires of your heart! :)IMG_8703.JPG

Music and Our Kids

My girls like music. They like singing and dancing. Of course they hear different songs everywhere and of course they tend to like the catchy but not-so-wholesome songs these days. One time, Danae saw a choir competition on tv, and of all the songs she could have recalled, “spaghetti pababa” was the one that stuck! They catch some of the lyrics right away without thinking about what they’re actually singing. Danae also knows the “clean” versions of some songs, which means she is aware of the dirty ones. King and I don’t approve, but as much as we would want to control what they listen to, obviously we can’t.

Case in point, last week. We were all in the car, driving out of Festival mall. The radio was on. King quickly changed the station to one we thought was the “safest,” where they play cool, smooth, wholesome music. Just as he said the words “this is the safest,” the lyrics “I want sexual healing” softly and smoothly came out of the speakers. Hahaha. Thank God it wasn’t catchy enough that the girls missed it. I for one am not yet prepared to explain what sexual healing means.

It just proves that there is no such thing as safe. We can sometimes request the music to be changed (I’ve done that at a resort before — music had very foul language), but we can’t always protect our children from bad influences – yes, songs are not just songs; they can alter our mood, influence the way we feel, our values, the language we use, and how we act. We can only teach our children to be wise about choosing what songs to listen to.

What we try to do is check the lyrics with them and explain what they mean as much as we can. We always remind them that though the beat is nice, some songs do not teach them good things, and many of them do not teach girls to respect themselves. We tell them that these artists are definitely talented, but we don’t agree with some of their life choices and with the messages they share in their music. We teach our children to think first before adopting a certain artist’s views or a certain song’s message. King and I are never shy to tell them when there is a song we don’t approve of. Our girls usually listen, especially when they themselves realize what the song is teaching them. Otherwise, they tell us that they only like and sing certain parts of the song, and we somehow find middle ground.

It’s tricky because we don’t want to be legalistic and restrict them from listening to music, but we can’t also just let them listen to whatever they want. Tricky because it’s hard to separate the music from the words, the artist from the message. Tricky because there are some topics that they will not and should not understand yet. Tricky because we can’t brainwash them to only like classical or Christian music. I myself enjoy grunge, alternative music and I just love Pearl Jam. Well maybe they won’t have much (or any — here’s hoping!) angst to be attracted to it, but I guess it’s fine if they learn to like it too. I certainly prefer it over cheesy, shallow, boy bandy songs which my girls gravitate to. But then again, I’m 37 and they’re 9 and 6. Their preferences will change and their taste in music will perhaps mature. They will grow and gain the wisdom they need to choose what and who they will allow themselves to be influenced by.

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. 1 Corinthians 10:23 NLT

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT

What do you do with music and your kids? I’d love to gain perspective from other parents regarding this matter. Looking forward to reading your replies. :)

 

Guardians of the Family

A little late and no, I have not seen the movie, but see what I did there? Hehehe. I thought this title apt because of how our older daughters are so protective of us. Many times I don’t feel the need to ask King where he’s been and with whom, well mainly because I trust him, and because my daughters are usually way ahead of me. Sometimes they ask out of curiosity, but when King comes home late, sometimes Danae asks to make sure her dad didn’t do anything inappropriate (which to her mostly means spending time alone with another woman). Her tone and her sigh of relief give her away. She’s been aware of adultery for quite some time now (though she has no actual reason to be concerned, neither in the past nor in the present, at least not in our family) and we always reassure her that Daddy and Mommy love God, love each other and love them too much to hurt our family that way. We also urge her to always pray for us. I tease King that he needs to answer not only to me, but to our daughter who seems to be more strict than I am haha.

I thought Danae was only protective of her dad, but I’ve seen how she is protective of me too. We were watching How to Train your Dragon 2 in the cinema last year, and I was seated between her and a man. She, Noelle and King were on my right. the man was on my left. I was 7 months pregnant with Gianna. First she offered to switch seats with me. Of course I declined and told her I was okay. I would rather that I be the one to sit beside the stranger. She seemed uneasy because she would look in my direction and ask me if I was okay. She confirmed her worries when I asked afterwards. I thanked her for her concern and King reassured her that he was watching over me too.

Noelle surprised me a few months back as well. It was a tight squeeze in the hospital elevator, and Noelle put herself between King and a woman. I was about to tell her to come to me where there was more space, when she mouthed, “I’m protecting Daddy.” I nodded and quietly relayed the message when King was also about to tell her to go around the stroller. We let her be and King thanked her.

Last week, while walking in a mall, I caught Noelle looking at King, after which she said, “Ok good, he looked away.” There was a huge storefront ad with a woman in her undies. Noelle was checking if her dad looked at it, and I’m pretty sure she was ready to tell him to look away if she had caught him doing so (not that King has a habit of looking haha). Just the other night at a video store, she warned King not to look at the music video that was showing a scantily clad girl.

Our children watch us constantly. They watch what we do with each other as husband and wife, what we do with them as their parents, what we do with and around other people. They watch us even when we’re not aware of it. They expect no less than us practicing what we teach them (such as remembering boundaries, and protecting our minds and hearts by wisely choosing what we watch, read and listen to). They hold us to the same standards we hold them to. They are always always watching.

And it is a blessing to know that though they watch us to see if we walk the talk and hopefully only follow our good example (obviously we set bad ones too), they also WATCH OUT FOR US. They are like our guardians, our watchmen. They don’t just watch us make mistakes, they warn us against making them. They remind us that they care and therefore we should always also take great care of each other and our marriage. I always tell our girls that we are a team — we help each other out, we work together. That’s exactly what they’re doing being vigilant children. They’re helping me and King keep our marriage secure and our family intact.

 

A very old pic, but perfect, don't you think?  haha.  little guardians of our family. :)

A very old pic, but perfect, don’t you think?
haha.
little guardians of our family. :)

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1Peter 5:8

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13

Grateful for 2014: My Mom is Alive

It was December 5. The two older girls were in their MAPEH class. King, Gianna and I were just beginning our lunch at a Christmas party in Alabang.

THE CALL

Apparently my mom, who lived on her own in Makati some days of the week, had contacted my brother because she was not feeling well. When my brother arrived without a key, my mom could barely get up, walk, and open the door for him. She was very dizzy, and according to my brother who told me later on, she looked terrible, like a corpse almost. My brother called King and asked him to get to Makati right away to help him.

King did not even think twice. He didn’t finish his lunch. He immediately figured out a way to get to Makati since our car was prohibited that day due to number coding. I was the one who had a lot of questions because I had the baby with me, and my friend Bianca was set to give the older girls a ride to where we were after MAPEH. I needed to know how we were going to get home. Big thanks to Edrei and Thine for switching cars with King, and then giving us a ride home.

IN HOSPITAL

Ambulance, ER, ICU, regular room. It was my brother and King who took turns staying with my mom, as I could not because where I go, Gianna goes. It was too risky for the baby. The girls and I were not able to even just visit her.

Her sugar levels were high and she was given insulin. Her blood pressure was also very high. Her brain was swelling, hence the need for her to be in ICU. According to King, he could talk to my mom, but she would doze off pretty quickly. She was always sleepy, and her speech would slur every now and then. She could move her entire body while in bed, but was unable to stand or walk.

My mom suffered a stroke, and what was affected was her cerebellum, which is responsible for balance.

GRATEFUL

I learned later on that she was a candidate for brain surgery, but thank God her doctor said that she would only need physical therapy to learn to stand and walk again without falling. She was discharged from the hospital after 9 days.

I thought she would have a hard time doing regular things, but though she needed some help, she quickly adjusted and took care of herself in the bathroom. She uses a wheel chair and a quad cane to help her move about, and she can’t drive anymore or live alone anymore, but she is doing great! We have even gone around the mall during the holidays!

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She moves so much faster than she used to when she first got out of hospital. Her therapist, who comes to the house 3 times a week, says she is doing better and getting stronger. My mom says she still gets dizzy at times, but she can also feel her improvement. And also a big plus is, NO MORE SMOKING! She has not smoked (I destroyed her stash) since the day she was brought to the hospital.

We thank the Lord that my mom is alive and well! I told her the other day that after three strokes (yes she has survived two before this one), she is a walking miracle. SHE IS A WALKING MIRACLE. Amazing that her previous strokes never left any evidence on her body and mind. And I know that it won’t be long before there wouldn’t be much evidence of this stroke either. God is good.

Our eldest daughter lost her Wowo too soon, and our two younger daughters lost the opportunity to be loved by him. And so we are very grateful that our tres marias have many years more to enjoy their Wowa. :)

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Grateful for 2014: Gianna

It’s 2015! And before I can think about what I’m looking forward to this year, I need to share what I am grateful for the past year. God, family, friends, church, ministry are constants, but there are 3 specific things that stand out about my 2014. I want to begin with the obvious – Gianna.

Oh, my Kaitlin Gianna. God has blessed me with such a beautiful baby girl! She was born on August 12, via c-section, and right away we noticed that she didn’t cry continuously. Danae and Noelle were both big cryers, but Gianna had a gentle cry and was just quiet some of the time. She was fair and chubby at 3.1kilograms. It was the first time I experienced “skin to skin” and immediate latching with my baby almost as soon as she came out of my womb (they cleaned her a bit first). They didn’t do that with my first two, maybe because it was in a different hospital.

Another great thing about St. Luke’s is they consider the mom and the baby as one unit. Where mommy goes, baby goes too. At first I wasn’t too happy about it because I’ve experienced rooming in and not rooming in the baby, and rooming in exhausted me. But then I figured it wouldn’t be so bad. It was best for baby.

Gianna was with me in the recovery room, where I stayed a few hours because my blood pressure was not yet stable. I was there so long that I thought to ask the nurse if she could bring Gianna out to meet her sisters. She accommodated me, even though she couldn’t contact King right away. The sisters met for the first time that night, before the two big sisters went off to stay with my in-laws.

first picture of the tres marias :)

first picture of the tres marias :) Gianna was around 8 hours old :)

I didn’t get to see my older girls that night anymore because we were moved into my room really late. Our first night with Gianna was good. She cried, but she would latch onto my breast fairly easily, and then she would fall asleep. The nurses were helpful in changing her nappy. By morning, however, a doctor came in to tell us some news.

BAD NEWS

The doctors extracted blood from Gianna while I was in recovery to run some tests. I can’t remember if it was protocol or a precaution or both, but I never expected the results we got. Gianna’s white blood cell count was markedly high, about 25,000 more than normal. They said clinically, she was alright, but her white blood cell count could not be ignored. She had to be given AT LEAST one week’s worth of antibiotics intravenously, and the hospital policy was for her to be monitored in the NICU. They took her away that morning.

All day I could not go down to breastfeed her because the catheter was still in me. Good thing they sell pasteurized breast milk in the hospital so they could feed Gianna. They are very strict about giving babies breast milk –- no formula and no sugar water. As soon as they removed the catheter late that night, I went to see my little love. It felt good to hold her again, but it hurt to see her on IV. On her third day in the NICU, I saw that she had nothing connected to her, and the nurse said they were going to reinsert AND draw blood. I couldn’t help but cry for her at that point. It was my first time to have a child stay in the NICU.

It was also sad that the two other girls could not visit their sister in the NICU. Children not allowed.

In the NICU :(

In the NICU :( 2 days old

I didn't stay for the re-insertion and blood extraction. I was already crying just knowing about it.  I would not have been able to bear seeing it. I'm thankful for the kind, loving nurses there, who took good care of Gianna.

4 days old. I didn’t stay for the re-insertion and blood extraction. I was already crying just learning about it.
I would not have been able to bear seeing it. I’m thankful for the kind, loving nurses there, who took good care of Gianna.

GOOD NEWS

In the NICU, the pedia extracted Gianna’s blood so they could do a blood culture. After the first day upto the last (I forget how many days were necessary), no growth had formed in the blood culture. Her bilirubin levels (jaundice) were also high but not high enough to require phototherapy. They also extracted blood to check her white blood cell count again after so and so days. What was supposed to be 7 days of antibiotics became only 5 days! It was not any particular infection, but we were just grateful that nothing worse came up. She entered the NICU on a Wednesday and was discharged on a Sunday. We were able to go home the next day!

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6 days old. The girls only got to see their baby sister again that Sunday, and thanks to our friend Varsha, we got our very first family picture with Gianna. :)

SOME ISSUES

We had some issues during the first two months. Gianna lost weight on her first two weeks of life. We got concerned because although it is normal for an infant to lose a little weight after being born, Gianna still did not gain weight after two weeks. I was still emotional and all, and it made me sad to even consider giving her formula at such a young age. I was determined, however, to help increase my milk supply by eating more malunggay and being faithful in taking my malunggay supplements. By our next appointment, she had already gained weight!

I was so happy to hear about the weight gain, but then at 5 or 6 weeks, her jaundice had not disappeared. Daily morning sunning for about two weeks should have done the trick, but it didn’t. The pedia required a blood extraction to check her bilirubin levels again. The result was extremely high. If I remember correctly, the normal range is .2 to 1 (I don’t know the unit of measurement, sorry). Gianna’s was in the mid twenties! I was ordered to stop breastfeeding for a while.

It was inconvenient, because I had to pump my milk to keep the supply going (I would much rather feed directly) and wash bottles and all that, but I obeyed. I was concerned that Gianna wouldn’t take to the bottle and the formula, but to my surprise, we had no problems. It was a first for me to give my baby formula so early and she was/is the first among the three girls to be okay with drinking from a bottle.

My poor baby girl had to go through more blood extractions that week. King was the brave one who held her through it. My heart could not take the sight of her getting hurt. I just comforted her afterwards. Thank God her bilirubin levels went down enough that we did not need to confine her for phototherapy, and it was a confirmation that her jaundice was caused by breast milk and not problems in her liver. I also finally got the go signal to go back to full breastfeeding!

waiting for blood extraction.

in hospital, waiting for blood extraction. brave 1 month old baby. brave  daddy.

SUCH A HAPPY BABY

Gianna is now nearly 5 months old. She is healthy and strong, and she is such a happy baby. We immediately noticed her smiling while she was asleep as a newborn, and when she was about a month old, she smiled in response to our voices and faces. I was even honestly concerned about her eyesight because she wouldn’t focus on my eyes. I remember the two older girls looking at me while breastfeeding, and Gianna did not seem to be doing that. What a joy it was to finally lock eyes with her when she was more than a month old! And now the looks that she gives me – oh so heart melting. She looks, sometimes stares at me, and then when I acknowledge her, she gives me the sweetest smile. And she ALWAYS does this, even when I’m across the table from her. Sometimes she stops from feeding to give me a smile haha. That always makes me giggle in glee.

August 12 Kaitlin Gianna - 265

2 weeks old, smiling as she slept while sunning

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nearly a month old, smiling as she slept

almost 5 months old :)

almost 5 months old, smiling at daddy :)

The way she responds to King and her sisters is just priceless too. She likes to “talk” to and “sing” with King. I guess she knows how loved she is. Her sisters can’t get enough of her, and she most of the time doesn’t mind being “man-handled” haha. She reaches for and touches our faces now when we are near her. She just really makes our hearts smile.

about 6 weeks old. i put tape so her ear would properly fold. worked like magic!

about 6 weeks old. i put tape so her ear would properly fold. worked like magic! thanks to our pedia for the encouragement to “fix” it.

4 and a half months old :)

4 and a half months old. first Christmas. :)

talking to daddy and touching his face :)

talking to daddy and touching his face :)

Her cries are louder now, but she’s still a very good baby. She enjoys her mini baths, although she didn’t at first haha. I’m excited to get her a bathtub and see her enjoy being IN the water. Sometimes she’s just quiet in bed or her carrier, checking out her surroundings, and so I get to eat and not get frazzled when we’re out (well most of the time, haha). She’s usually calm when I change her diapers too. I literally thank her for being such a good baby.

When she wakes from sleep, as long as she has had enough sleep, she doesn’t cry. I catch her awake, entertaining herself with either looking at the light, checking out her hands, or “talking” and kicking her legs. And then that smile…..sigh. She has started laughing too, but we find that a tad difficult to elicit haha. It’s such a joy to wake up seeing this pretty baby beside me every morning. Weird, but I really feel so loved when I see her.

Kaitlin Gianna :)

Kaitlin Gianna :)

Just like her sisters’ first names, her first name Katilin means pure. Gianna means God is gracious. And God has certainly been gracious to us, blessing us with such a beautiful princess. I am just so grateful for her. I can’t wait to witness God display His grace in and through Gianna’s life. :)

Our Sweet Danae

So we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary last week. But before I share how we celebrated that, I want to share what happened on our 9th anniversary.

It was a busy day. The kids attended their friend’s birthday party in church early afternoon, and King and I had a couples thanksgiving event to attend in the evening. We didn’t have any separate plans to celebrate our anniversary that day. Little did we know that our eldest daughter was working out an impromptu surprise for us. Well actually, she did say she had a plan to surprise us hahaha, but how and what her plan was exactly, we didn’t know. The idea came to her only as we walked into church!

So as we were getting ready for the event, Danae told us to stay in King’s office and only come to the conference room when she said so. My friend Merlee covered my eyes and Ptr Carlo covered King’s eyes as they led us to the room (this is according to Danae when I asked her, because I don’t remember that part anymore haha). When I opened my eyes, our friends (those she was able to gather, or more like force haha) were there to greet us a happy anniversary! There was cake and a written out program!

 

Surprise!!! :)

Surprise!!! :)

My sweetheart :)

My sweetheart :)

:)

:)

 

 

 

 

the cake! :)

the cake! :)

check out the prizes! haha :)

check out the prizes! haha :)

the script for Danae and their friend Julio :)

the script :)

Our friends told us that Danae told them (everybody she saw in church) to come to the surprise party. She asked help to buy cake. She wanted a big cake but I guess she didn’t realize that she needed more than the 200 pesos she had. My friend Lea accompanied her to the cake store. They told us that Danae made sure there were plates, forks and table napkins. It was a short “party” but it was the sweetest thing ever. I love how she really wanted to do something nice for us, and I love how our friends accommodated her. I was close to tears at her thoughtfulness and determination.

This year, Noelle woke me up with her greeting and later on showed me her sweet card.

super love the spelling! :)

super love the spelling! :)

And Danae wanted to sort of recreate the surprise candle lit dinner I did for King on our first wedding anniversary but we didn’t have an opportunity to because King already made plans. He took the whole family, including my mom and his parents, to dinner at one of our favourite restaurants, Alba’s. We ordered our usual chorizo bilbao, gambas, paella, salpicao, and my favorite, lengua. Their trio also, as usual, serenaded us with spanish music, but when they could not grant our request for That’s All, which was the song to our first dance (at the wedding; we’ve danced together before that, for church heehee), they sang John Legend’s All of Me. Oh what a beautiful song. I’ve always appreciated that song, but now it’s one of my faves. I’m claiming it as ours, our tenth anniversary song.

After dinner, we had dessert at, wait for it, Jollibee. Hahahaha. We met up with King’s sister and his family there, and I discovered that I like their ice cream with kisses mix-in dessert! Then we stayed at the park behind Jollibee, while the kids played and did a photo shoot.

Although it’s pretty usual for us to eat at Alba’s on special occasions, or to have dessert at Jollibee, or play in the park, it was still extra special. It was our tenth anniversary, it was our first time to spend an anniversary with our parents, and it was our first time to celebrate an anniversary with three children. God is good, and I am incredibly blessed. :)

happiness :)

happiness :)

 

“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’  ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,  and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Mark 10:6-9

Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?  The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him. Proverbs 20:6-7

Ten Years Today

I have not posted anything in quite a while, but today deserves this break, possibly the break, from my hiatus. Today King and I celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. I didn’t think it would be such a big deal, but you know what, IT IS. Today is a milestone in our lives. Ten years. By the grace of God, we have been together ten years!

So many memories! I was just telling Danae the other day that on our first wedding anniversary, when she was nearly a month old, I prepared a candle lit dinner on our living room floor. King and I faced each other while she laid on a thick blanket beside us. I can’t remember what I cooked but I remember the candles and the white blanket. Too bad we didn’t have a proper camera back then. No pictures!

Oh our wedding. I remember the things that went great and things that went wrong. I don’t remember the food except that I dropped my pumpkin soup spoon on my dress hahaha. And my dad, who was so excited. He interrupted our first dance so we could take a picture with relatives! And he grabbed the mic from me to share his excitement, and then to tell our guests what kind of brat I am (or was), hahaha.

One of the things we learned from our leaders even then is how important it is to build memories. And travelling has been one of our favorite things to do — instant memories-builder! Every trip we take becomes a special memory. Mine and King’s first travel experience while we were engaged was for Campus Harvest in Baguio. That was memorable, especially because we had a fight hahaha. The next one was a road trip to Pangasinan with my childhood peers, right after which King and I joined my family in Baguio for a road trip to Ilocos. Of course, our first trip as a married couple was our honeymoon in Camiguin. Because I spent my childhood summers in Cagayan de Oro, it was not my first time there, but it was King’s. Since then, we’ve visited the island a few times — once when Danae was a baby, another time when Noelle was a baby (my cousin’s wedding), and a couple more other times. And to keep with tradition, it will be Gianna’s turn pretty soon. God-wiling, we will continue travelling as a family, and one day hopefully in the near future, King and I will be able to go on the much awaited trip by ourselves.

So many lessons too! We are the first to admit that our marriage is not perfect. We have our own issues — some we have overcome, others we are still working on. I thank the Lord that neither of us gave up on the other. There was never a talk about leaving or taking a time out. I am grateful that God is not done with me yet. Let’s just say that though I have a long long way to go, I’ve come a long way hahaha. We have endured difficult times together, and yes, we have endured each other’s annoying habits. We are continually learning to forgive and love unconditionally, to serve each other, to communicate better, to work as a team, to enjoy what we have, to be better parents. I thank God that I have a partner who refuses to “know it all.” He is always willing to learn and grow with me. Thank God we are surrounded by godly men and women who care about us, whom we can count on not just for friendship but for wise counsel. Our own parents’ marriages are examples to us as well. King’s parents are still happily married, enjoying their ten grandchildren. And if my dad were alive, he and my mom would still be happily married, enjoying their five grandchildren.

Ten years today. Ten years with the love of my life and my best friend, who is fast asleep on our bed. Our older daughters though battling cough and colds, are asleep on their beds. The baby is asleep on me. I’m typing with one hand, my shoulder and arm are about to go numb, I have unfinished work, I’m sleepy and hungry at the same time. BUT ALL IS RIGHT IN MY WORLD. Thank you Lord for King. Thank you Lord for three beautiful daughters. Thank you Lord for ten beautiful years. :)

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. :)