Uncategorized

2018 Hongkong Highlights

Christmas is always a busy but really fruitful and meaningful season for us. We enjoy doing Advent activities daily, getting ready for Jesus’ birthday. One of them is writing down what we are thankful for for the year. This time, we did it by month. I wrote down in my March box our trip to Hongkong.

Yes, I love traveling with my family. Yes, I love going to Disneyland. But what I loved most about our trip was that I had one on one time with each member of my family. Precious memories. ❤️

King and I went out alone for a walk, to see what were in the shops and where we could take the kids. Thankfully our hotel was in a pretty good location, and my mom was with the girls. It’s refreshing to just chill and spend alone time with the hubby, even if it’s just for an hour. The weather was nice and cool too. 🐽

Noelle was sick on day 1 but I think it was day 2 or 3 that we had a chance to take a walk and shop for some things for herself as well. It was a blessing in disguise that Danae was too sleepy to come along that Noelle and I had some time together. 🐼

Noelle loves pandas. Notice her shirt. 🐼

Danae and I also had some time checking out stores, while King went into a separate store. She got to buy ice cream from an ice cream truck.🍦

And then on one evening, she came with King and I to Temple street for the night market. She and I walked back to the hotel alone while King waited for some yummy take out food — Yang Chow, Spicy Pork, Lemon Chicken, Steamed fish and broccoli! 🥘

Our best meal in the city, considering all other meals from McDo, KFC and Burger King. 😂 I do miss their McDonald’s Spicy Wings, which we don’t have here.

And then Disneyland. I love Disney. I love Mickey. I love Disneyland! It makes me all giddy inside. BUT… I doubt I’d enjoy it at all if my family was not with me. And it was Gianna’s first time — a dream come true for her! She was so excited to go to Disneyland that once when we were going to a mall, she asked if we were going to see Buzz there. She kept telling me she wanted to go to Disneyland, until my mom said she’d take her there. What a blessing my mom is! 😇

Gianna and I enjoyed riding Slinky together! Danae and Noelle rode together. I wasn’t sure how Gianna would react, since her ate Noelle cried when it was her first time, but she didn’t! I was so proud of her. And of Noelle too because she didn’t get scared this time. 👏🏼

King and Danae went on the Star Wars Space Mountain ride, so I took Noelle and Gianna to meet one of the Star Wars characters. It was R2D2! I loved how Noelle was beyond excited to have her picture taken with him. 🤖

Noelle was a fan of Star Wars for a while. Disneyland was a great place to get some merch. I dunno if her shirt can be seen but it is a Star Wars shirt. She’s also wearing a Star Wars cap, bought here.

Danae and I rode the new roller coaster in Grizzly Gulch. It was soooo much fun! I thought it was mild enough for Noelle to ride at first, but boy was I wrong. I was laughing the whole time, while Danae was screaming 😂

Thank you Lord for our Hongkong trip, but most of all thank You for my family. None of us is perfect, and our relationships are rocky at times, but You have blessed me indeed. Every year, I will be grateful for them. ❤️

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34

Funny Fridays, Uncategorized

Funny Fridays Is Back (for today!)

>Noelle has always been funny with words.

Someone in the family, I forget who, was singing Quest’s song entitled Saludo….

Noelle: Saludo? It’s Saluto! (with conviction)

Me: It’s Saludo, love.

Noelle: Oh, I thought it was salute-Oh.

😀

 

>Gianna hears a catchy ad once, and she learns it right away.

Shopee to the tune of Baby Shark. Jollibee’s Linamnam ulam. And more that I can’t remember at the moment.

Months ago, she surprised me when she sang “ilamlam ulam,” and the girls explained to me that it was a Jollibee ad. Once at a super market, she saw a product with Anne Curtis’ face on the box. She excitedly pointed to it and told me, “Mom, it’s ilamlam ulam!” 😀

>One time, she suddenly mentioned that she wants to go to Florida. When I asked why, she said because of the little couple. She has seen the show’s ad on TLC, and she remembered that the family was moving to Florida. 😀

>Another time, she came to me with a piece of tape on her arm.

Gianna: Mom, Dr. Pimple changed my life!

If you know the ad of the show Dr. Pimple Popper, the doctor says that she doesn’t just pop pimples, she changes lives. 😀

>We were walking in a mall, and Gianna pointed at a picture, and said “Nico.” Apparently she knows Solenn’s husband from an ad she has seen. 😀

I guess dance moves aren’t the only things she picks up quickly. 🙂

Uncategorized

Christmas Eve Service

We attended the last Christmas Eve service in Victory Cagayan de Oro yesterday. Gianna of course, wanted to stay in the toddlers room, and the girls didn’t want to go to Kids Church. Danae offered to stay with Gianna and Noelle decided to stay with me and King in the adult service.

During tithes and offering, I reminded Noelle about her tithe. She proceeded to get money from her wallet, and wrote on the envelope. What she wrote blessed my heart.

Lord,

I pray that you have a great birthday. And please bless Beanie and her family.

In Jesus’ name, AMEN!

And then after the short worship during tithes and offering, she asked me something.

Noelle: are you crying?

Me: a little, yeah.

Noelle: why?

Me: I’m like that when I’m reminded of what Jesus did for me.

Noelle: oh, well I never forget that.

Amen. Thank you Lord that my children know and will never forget what You did for us on the cross. That You died a death we should have died, saving us and forgiving us of our past, present and future sins, and You rose again after three days, giving us the opportunity to have eternal life with You in heaven, IF we believe. Thank You Lord that my children also believe.

I asked Gianna this morning, when she woke up momentarily, whose birthday it is today.

Gianna: Jesus.

Me: what did you say to Jesus?

Gianna: happy birthday to you.

Me: what did He say?

Gianna: I don’t know.

Haha I love that her response was real and that it made sense. Sometimes we really don’t know.

Lord, we pray for great faith for our children, that they will have a vibrant, intimate relationship with You, and that they will constantly hear You and seek to hear You and obey You every day of their lives. In Your name, amen.

Merry Christmas everyone! May you find that the true meaning of Christmas is Jesus. I pray that everyday will be Christmas for us, that everyday is with, for and about Jesus. ❤️

Marriage, THE PRODUCTIVE WIFE, Uncategorized

Our Words Have Power

Wife, do you tell your husband you are proud of him? When was the last time you did?

Husband, do you tell your wife she is beautiful? When was the last time you did?

The tongue has the power of life and death, the Bible says. Let’s lift each other up with our words.

Wife, your husband will feel secure and significant, knowing that you are proud of him. Let him know that you are proud of him not only during successes, but most especially in failures. Hold the criticism, the “I told you so”s. I know sometimes this is hard, since apparently we wives are always right (hahaha), but this will teach you to trust in the Lord more. To pray. To be silent when your husband needs you to be. Hug him. You standing by him, being his number one fan no matter what, will encourage him to get back on his feet and keep going. Your support means the world. It will encourage him to keep giving his best.

Husband, your wife will feel loved and secure when you tell her she is beautiful. Mean it. Focus on a particular detail about her beauty, whether physical or internal. Change it up. Be creative. Find new beautiful things about her. Discover her. Tell her. This will teach you to step out of your comfort zone, to pause and reflect, and to be grateful for God’s goodness in your life. It doesn’t have to be cheesy. Trust me, I’m not cheesy either, though King often is (hahaha). Just tell her sincerely. Details help. So she doesn’t have to ask you why, and you don’t have to explain further either. Right? She will appreciate your appreciation of her, and you will put a smile in her heart all day.

 

The tongue can bring death or life;
    those who love to talk will reap the consequences. Proverbs 18:21 NLT

Gentle words are a tree of life;
    a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4 NLT 

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
    keep watch over the door of my lips. Proverbs 141:3 NIV 

 

 

Uncategorized

Summer Fun at Villa Escudero

The other tourist spot we went to this summer was Villa Escudero in Quezon. My cousin and I went there together, with my family, when we were young. This time, it was our kids’ turn. We hired a van to accommodate us all and it took us about 3 hours, with a couple of stops, to get there. It’s still a beautiful place, with better facilities. I honestly just wanted the kids to experience eating lunch by the waterfall like we did as kids haha. Although we failed to check out the museum and watch the cultural show, I’m happy that our kids got to enjoy the place.

The pink building behind the plane is the museum. We decided to go straight to the waterfall when we arrived and visit the museum in the afternoon, but then it closed at 5pm. We were too late.  Tip: visit the museum first!
The pink building behind the plane is the museum. We decided to go straight to the waterfall when we arrived and visit the museum later in the afternoon, but then it closed at 5pm. We were too late.
Tip: Visit the museum first!
You pay Php1,250 per head on weekdays, Php 1,400 on weekends and holidays. Only children below 4 feet are charged half, while babies like Gianna are free. That's inclusive of the carabao ride, entrance to the museum, use of the pool and rafts, all you can eat lunch at the waterfall. :)
Php1,250 per head on weekdays, Php 1,400 on weekends and holidays. Only children below 4 feet are charged half, while babies like Gianna are free. That’s inclusive of the carabao ride, entrance to the museum, use of the pool and bamboo rafts, all you can eat lunch at the waterfall. You can bring chips in, but not much else. 🙂
 Luningning was our carabao. We were amazed at her strength. She carried us, our stuff, and the musicians who played nice Filipino music for us. :)

Luningning was our carabao. We were amazed at her strength. She carried us, our stuff, and the musicians who played nice Filipino music for us. 🙂
A field we passed during our carabao ride. :)
A field we passed during our carabao ride. 🙂
Not sure if this is still in use.  A visit to the museum would have been helpful, haha. :)
Not sure if this is still in use. A visit to the museum would have been helpful, haha. 🙂
the waterfall! :)
The waterfall! 🙂
the waterfall from where we ate :)
The waterfall 🙂
lunch by the waterfall! :)
All you can eat lunch by the waterfall! They have water dispensers but other drinks aren’t part of the entrance fee. I ordered buko juice in its shell for Php40. Grilled pork, grilled tilapia, pancit and other Filipino dishes. On a banana leaf, with your bare hands. Yum. 🙂
the water was cold! the kids enjoyed wading and getting wet! :)
The water was cold! The kids enjoyed wading and getting wet! 🙂 Tip: Be there by 11AM because the place got surprisingly packed by 12PM.
i don't have a wide shot of the pools but they have 3 that look pretty well-maintained. :)
I don’t have a wide shot of the pools but they have 3 that look pretty well-maintained. 🙂
i don't have shots of the swimming pools, but they now have 3 that look pretty well maintained. swimming in the lake is prohibited, but the kids enjoyed fishing (for which they had nothing to show haha) and rafting. :)
Swimming in the lake is prohibited, but the kids enjoyed fishing (for which they had nothing to show haha) and rafting. 🙂
danae insisted on going rafting and my cousin's hubby accommodated her. thank you tito vincent! :)
Danae insisted on going rafting but King was not with us, so my cousin’s hubby accommodated her. Thank you tito Vincent! 🙂
the kids were fishing here, and the structure they are in is where they held the cultural show. i think it's also a restaurant. the show was quite lengthy and my cousin said it was great. i of course had to stay with my kids who were sometimes in 3 different places at the same time haha. :)
The kids were fishing here (Php100 for the rod, and I think you can keep or have whatever you catch cooked), and the structure they are in is where they hold the cultural show. It’s also a restaurant. The show was quite lengthy and my cousin said it was great. I of course had to stay with my kids who were sometimes in 3 different places at the same time haha. 🙂

The kids enjoyed swimming so much that we got out of the pool area late! We missed the carabao ride back. It would have been a tiring ten minute walk back to the front, if not for the electric shuttle. That’s also when we were told that the museum closes at 5PM. They have accommodations as well, but we only opted for a day trip. Click here for more information.

It was another memorable time for my kids. Even though they don’t see their cousins often, they will have these awesome memories to always go back to. I thank the Lord for opportunities like these. 🙂

My Kids, Parenting, Uncategorized

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. 🙂

20140608-131408.jpg
Noelle chatting it up with her friend Bea on her first day at Right Start. 🙂
20140608-131439.jpg
Teacher Helen instructing them to write their names.
20140608-131544.jpg
Snack time!
20140608-131622.jpg
Bea, T. Helen, and Noelle after a birthday party in school. 🙂
Family, FEATURED, Just My Thoughts, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, Spiritual Family, Uncategorized

SALTIMBANCO and CHURCH!

We had the privilege of watching Cirque du Soleil’s show called Saltimbanco at the Arena about two weeks ago. As usual, they were amazing! The live music was awesome too. I have seen two shows of theirs in the past, and I can say that Saltimbanco is so much more entertaining than Alegria, which we saw in Singapore. It doesn’t measure up, however, to their Las Vegas show Mystere.

Saltimbanco stage at the Arena
the stage. no picture-taking allowed during the show.

Danae was most especially entertained and got inspired to be in the circus. Noelle decided to take a nap during a fourth of the show. It was their first time. We certainly oohed, aahed and laughed a lot. Then we got a taste of some flood in the parking lot as the rain poured. We managed to stay dry when the unnamed southwest monsoon hit that week, but my Chucks, socks, feet and jeans weren’t spared that night haha.

Some thoughts on the show. The TRUST they had for each other was extraordinary. They leaped into the air, back flipping and somersaulting, absolutely certain that the spotters would catch them WHENEVER and WHEREVER they landed.

There was a part where a girl was on a swing high up in the air. For the first part of her routine, she had no harness on. The spotters below her had a cushion, ready to catch her if something went wrong. They did not look down, not even for a second. They looked up at the girl until she finished. Their eyes never left her until she put on her harness and started swinging, doing more stunts. The girl was assured of her safety, while the spotters made sure she was safe.

It reminds me so much of God and how we can trust that He is always with us as we move, upholding us and giving us the grace we need to do even the impossible. We can absolutely trust Him to catch us when we make mistakes and fall. He meets us whenever and wherever our own faith fails us. His eyes never, not even for a second, leave us. He promises never to leave nor forsake us. More than doing a job, GOD LOVES and VALUES US. When He makes promises to us, He keeps them.

During one of the leaping routines where they would be catapulted, landing either on the cushion or another person, the final person who was catapulted into the air to somersault did not correctly land on the chair that was meters off the ground. We were all surprised and waited in anticipation as she tried it again. When she did it, everyone clapped and cheered for her.

We all, even the best among us, make MISTAKES. When we do make mistakes, it’s not the end of the world. We can pick ourselves up and try again. I realize that most people (not all) won’t boo you or kick you down more to show you what a failure you are. They actually ROOT for you and even CHEER for you when you overcome! I am grateful for the people around me who see my flaws, weaknesses and failures, yet love me, pray for me, encourage me, and rejoice with me.

The circus is made up of hundreds of people, each with a different role and responsibility. Besides the people in the acts themselves, which are many, there’s the band, the camera men who sit beside the lights way above the stage, the light men, the sound tech, assistants, stage director and probably more that I can’t think of. Not all get the recognition they deserve, but they each do their part and they all work together towards one goal: to give us a great show.

It looks a lot like church. We are made up of many people. Besides the pastors and staff, the unsung heroes are the VICTORY GROUP LEADERS and VOLUNTEERS. Many may not always get the recognition or appreciation that they deserve, but we each do our part and we all work together in UNITY towards one goal: TO HONOR GOD AND MAKE DISCIPLES.