In the Philippines, we have a lot of sari-sari stores — small stores that sell all sorts of stuff. My posts are stories of all kinds of stuff that I experience or learn, most especially while being a woman, a wife and a mom. :)
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. 🐼
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! 🥘
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. 🤖
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
My in-laws recently celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. First of all, 50 years together? Wow! What an amazing milestone!
Growing up, I attended the golden wedding anniversary celebrations of my grandparents on both sides. I think I may even have played the piano at one of them. I love that my children will also remember celebrating their grandparents’ anniversary with family and a few friends. They will remember that they got to witness their Dad officiate his parents’ renewal of vows. They will remember the love and appreciation they the grandkids and others expressed for their grandparents. They will remember how their aunts and uncles honored their mom and dad with their messages. They will remember how loved we all made their Wowo Jun and Wowa Remy feel that night. They will remember their grandparents’ legacy of love, a strong marriage, strong family ties, and a committed relationship with God.
King and his siblings expressed some time last year that they wanted to do something nice for their parents this year. They kind of wanted a repeat of what King organized for their parents 3 years ago, which I was supportive of but absent for, due to a very difficult first trimester of pregnancy. Somebody also suggested a renewal of vows ceremony. To make the long story short, the idea was not at all forgotten, but we were all lacking in the planning department haha. Thank God King and I had some alone time one morning, on our way to a wake, and we had the opportunity to finally talk about the anniversary. It was literally a week away! Things moved pretty quickly from there. King suggested Neil’s Kitchen, we had lunch there and inquired right away. Our first choice, January 21 was booked, so we settled for the next best thing, January 22, a Sunday. We ran it by the siblings, two of whom were in California at that time, and they gave us the go signal. I basically became the very willing coordinator of the party. I guess the hosting skills naturally kicked in haha. Guest list, food, attire, motif were quickly decided. My sister-in-law residing in the US sent teddy bears and candies for our giveaways, through their eldest brother Ronald, who came home the Friday before the event. Thank God for internet. Communication and coordination would have been impossible without it. Good thing I’m married to the officiant too, haha.
It’s funny because King kept telling me that he wanted a simple party. He didn’t want me to add anything to what was part of the package, basically because he didn’t want me to work and get stressed. Sweet, but no. I needed to personalize it, of course! And what I do is always minimal and always simple anyway, never over the top. But he does know how I lose sleep working on the little details, hehehe. But I insisted. My other sister-in-law also said she was making cut-outs of their parents’ initials. She and her husband are excellent in making decor and props like that.
To me, it became so much more meaningful when I realized this was something I would not be able to do for my own parents because my dad is no longer with us. My mom and dad can’t celebrate their golden anniversary anymore, though I am certain that they would be if he were alive today. My kids didn’t have the chance to see firsthand my parents’ marriage, how they love and take care of each other. I don’t have the privilege to do something for their 50th. This was my only other opportunity, and I’m so grateful.
I’m grateful that my in-laws are alive AND are still together after 50 years! I’m grateful that we — especially me, my family, and all of King’s siblings and their families — did not miss or waste this opportunity to thank, honor, and rejoice with them. We all worked together to make the celebration possible. I’m grateful for everyone who tried to come and for those who actually came! Some came from as far as Bulacan. We made Daddy Jun and Mommy Remy very happy! So happy that Mommy Remy was overcome with emotion that she could not say what she wanted to say. She told me yesterday that there are so many stories behind their 50 years, and that one day she will tell them to me. I will wait for that day. King has told me amazing stories about his experiences and about his family. I have no doubt that when my parents-in-law share their stories with me, I will be amazed at God’s faithfulness in their lives.
Happy golden wedding anniversary Daddy and Mommy! Thank you for setting the bar high, for inspiring us to have strong, God-honoring marriages, for teaching us to love and prioritize our families. Thank you also for showing us that when we get to your age, we husbands and wives can still serve the Lord together. God bless you both so much. We love you! ❤
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12
Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Romans 13:7
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! 🙂
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 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.
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
King and I celebrated our 8th anniversary with the kids at Marciano’s in South Mall tonight! We ordered Fight Night, composed of a salad, 2 appetizers, lasagna, and a-14 inch pizza. Simple celebration, yummy food, grateful for eight years of highs and lows, successes and failures, joys and sorrows, breakthroughs and struggles. Eight years of LOVING and LEARNING. 🙂
Happy anniversary, Babe! Thanks for dinner! I love you! 🙂
This is post #8 for 8 wonderful years! Check out post #7 here!
Our Iloilo trip was such a blast! We don’t really tour the place when we’re there. Normally we visit relatives or join family reunions. This family reunion was to celebrate my aunt and uncle’s 80th birthday, and for the grandchildren to bond with one another.
I love that my girls love their cousins, just as much I love mine. They know and have bonded with their Kuya Bubuy, Ate Iday & Kuya Dutdut as we have visited them in San Carlos a couple of times already. They’ve met Kuya Woofie and Kuya Josh in Iloilo before, but since they’re much older and they’re boys, they don’t really play. Danae met Ate Inna & Chai briefly 5 years ago, but Chai was asleep because they came in late, slept over our house a little before they flew back to Ohio early the next day. So last Friday was like the first time Danae & Noelle met them.
Chai, whose name incidentally is the same as my nickname (Chy), is so much like Danae — active, smart, pretty, charming, friendly, kikay (girly girl), imaginative, but a year older. They hit it off right away. With all the time they spent together, even sleeping on the same bed for 2 nights and sleeping by 10pm without any arguing (haha), Danae got inspired to learn to play the violin like Chai and to practice news casting because “Chai is so good.” Of course they included Noelle too, and ate Inna with ate Iday would always be patient and accommodating, helping the younger ones realize their visions haha. I loved seeing my girls have so much fun with their cousins.
Danae was sad the whole time we were in the car from the apartment to the airport. She kept wishing she could stay till April, and go back to Manila the same day Chai goes back to Ohio. When we landed, she said she was glad to be home but that she still missed Chai. When she woke up Tuesday morning, she said she missed Chai. What an impact a few days make!
I’m grateful we all had that time together, 4 families sharing 1 apartment and 3 other families in the apartments beside us. We ate most of our meals together in our apartment. My brother and his son were able to join us for a whole day too. My mom did a great job preparing the place for us. We were comfortable and very well-fed!
We’re definitely looking forward to more reunions in the coming years! 🙂
It was a very busy Christmas Season for us, all the way up to New Year and Noelle’s birthday.
It’s been busy and exhausting, yet fun, fruitful and meaningful, most especially for our family. We ended 2011 and began 2012 with milestones!
Danae lost her very first baby tooth on December 28, and she’s excited to lose more haha! She was actually saying that she’s excited and happy to be “bungi” (one with missing tooth/teeth) even before the tooth actually fell off. I’m grateful that her friend Ana lost a couple of teeth before she did, that she has someone to look up to and she doesn’t have to feel insecure about how she looks. Let’s hope she feels the same way when her upper teeth go too.
Noelle first learned to pull down her pants, then eventually learned to take off her top (as long as it’s not body fitting). Towards the end of 2011, she learned to put on her undies and shorts by herself, and then her shirt on by herself. Each time she accomplished something, she would excitedly exclaim “I did it!”
Noelle learned early on to feed herself, but chooses not to. “Feed me” she usually says to me, but by year-end, she would already say “Big girl na, mom” and feed herself! Of course there are still times she wants me to feed her, but at least I can now more often pull out the “big girl” card.
Noelle turned 3 last January 6. She’s more friendly now and more willing to perform in front of others. She’s still more cautious than Danae, but somewhat gets over the fear when encouraged. She talks like an adult sometimes but certainly still looks like a baby especially with her chubby cheeks, adorable facial expressions and cute movements. She surprised me by showing me one day that she can sit on the toilet on her own! Soon she’ll be independent just like her big sister, just informing me that she’ll be in the bathroom.
I’m so proud of my girls! I don’t know what anyone can learn from reading this haha, but like some of my blogs, this is mostly to “record history” so that I won’t forget. Many of my blogs have helped me remember, that’s for sure. Happy New Year to all! 🙂
Last August, after King’s ordeal with his slipped disc, I got to talk to Danae about MIRACLES. I don’t remember exactly how I explained what a miracle is, except that it is something only God can do of course, but I told her that daddy getting well without surgery was a miracle. I called it DADDY’S MIRACLE. I then told her about HER miracle, that she was born with her umbilical cord wrapped twice, tightly around her neck. I told her that it could have caused her to be disabled to say the least, but praise God that she was spared from that and that her body and mind are functioning properly. That’s actually an understatement. She’s extremely active AND smart!
I didn’t know where the conversation would go, but I was pleasantly surprised by her question. “What’s NOELLE’s miracle?” I didn’t have to think hard because Noelle’s case of bloody poo when she was around 3 months old came to mind. Noelle pooped constantly. No farting, all pooping. And we found blood in her stool. We saw a number of doctors, feared the unknown, feared that she would have to go through an endoscopy to check her stomach at such a young age. But again praise God that it didn’t have to go that far. It was just a case of a really bad allergy to chocolate, which she was getting from me as I breastfed her. When I stopped eating chocolates, she stopped having bloody poo.
Inevitably, Danae’s next question was “What’s YOUR miracle, mom?” This one I had to think about. I was never hospitalized until I gave birth to Danae. I had no sicknesses or any medical issues whatsoever, my entire life. The most truthful answer I could give her was my salvation. My miracle IS my salvation. If Jesus did not save me, I would not be who I am now. I would not be where I am now. If Jesus didn’t save me, who knows what kind of life I’d be leading?
Just the other night, many people witnessed God’s miracle on King. At our church’s Volunteers Appreciation Night, he (a.k.a. Bruno Mars) along with the other pastors danced on stage. If you didn’t hear about his ordeal, you really wouldn’t know that he has a deteriorated, herniated disc, with nerve impinged, on his lower back. He did not break dance of course, but he danced nonetheless!
It just reminds me to NEVER FORGET WHAT THE LORD HAS DONE! REJOICE AND BE GRATEFUL! I am grateful for King, Danae and Noelle — alive, healthy, and happy. I am ETERNALLY GRATEFUL for my miracle. I am SAVED, FORGIVEN, FREE! 🙂
Last December 8, we had the chance to catch Janina Punzalan’s second to the last stint as Brigitta in Resorts World Manila’s production of The Sound of Music. I personally love the movie, and ever since we heard that Janina was doing the show, I told my girls that we would watch her. Good thing my friend and Janina’s mom ate Jenn advised me to let the girls watch the movie before seeing the show. Little did I know that my daughters would just love it!
Danae and Noelle were pretty stoked that night. But Noelle, being 2, almost wasn’t allowed to enter! I quickly told the guy that she’ll be 3 in January and that nobody told us that rule when we purchased tickets. I did tell our contact the ages of my girls. He accommodated us but reminded us to, in not so many words, keep her “controlled.” I was a tad worried that my kids would misbehave, and it didn’t help that beside me was an older gentleman, an old-school politician who ran for president at one point if I’m not mistaken. The pressure! I heard him say though that he was impressed by the theater, that it was “better than Broadway.” The Newport Performing Arts Theater IS excellent. It has that revolving stage too. Anyway, there were a few times that the girls kept moving, and singing even when the song they were singing was already done haha, but they were relatively well-behaved.
Their reactions were priceless! Noelle said before it started, “I’m so happy. Oh my heart.” When the nuns opened the show, she asked me “Who’s that mom? the NUMS?” haha. Every time the scene changed and the lights went out, she would ask me if it’s done or say “Turn on the lights.” And they were such experts! They would both sing along to the music. Noelle kept asking if it was time for “So long, farewell,” her favorite part, and a few times pointed out that the character was not doing something that they saw in the original. Danae would say things like “It’s different. That’s not the song there.” or “That’s a new song.” And they got very excited when they would see their ate Janina, now dubbed as Ate Brigitta.
The show was 3 hours long, mind you. By the second hour, I was getting concerned because Noelle was getting antsy. Both girls were saying they were hungry. Good thing it was near intermission already, by which time they were able to be free & run around outside. I was glad Noelle had an emergency diaper on, and that Danae was able to use the bathroom right before the doors closed for the second act. I’m pretty proud of my girls. Danae was also 2 when she watched her first shows The Wanders and Disney on Ice, although those were just 2 hours long at the most. Amazing, come to think of it.
Danae wanted to say hi to ate Janina after the show and was close to tears when I told her that it may not be possible. Thank God ate Jenn texted me to meet them at the lobby. Danae and Noelle are such fans, and rightly so. Janina was awesome! She had probably the biggest part among the children, next to Liesl of course. She had the most lines and her voice was just beautiful. We are so proud of her! We love you Janina! 🙂
Yesterday, I started, or maybe somewhat continued a Christmas tradition with my victory group in church. I actually surprised them with milk (and cupcakes) and cookies. I set up the table really nicely too. Beside their plates were a small piece of paper each, which they were to list down things they are grateful for this year. That paper was inserted into a home-made tag/ornament. All around the table were little pieces of ribbons, stars, flowers and others which they were to personally decorate their ornaments with. Then we had a BLESSING TREE on which they were to hang their ornaments afterwards. In our recent Christmas Traditions event at Victory Alabang, my friend Margot Uy shared about this Blessing Tree, which helps us focus on or be reminded of God’s blessings to us. I just loved the idea so much, I immediately applied it. We will also be doing the same thing at our annual Happy Birthday Jesus Party, which will be our fourth year so far, for our kids and their friends at home. I will also do my own spin on Shirley Marquez’s wonderful table scape.
Tonight, it being the first Sunday of the 4 Sundays before Christmas, our family is going to begin our new tradition, which is lighting up the Advent Wreath. I’m excited to apply what I learned AND taught at Christmas Traditions! We’re going to use the materials that I used for teaching — a wreath, some decorations, 4 colored candles, and 1 white candle. Two years ago, our friend gave us The Lion Book of Christmas Carols, and I just realized that I can actually use it for our Advent wreath. There are 5 stories, perfect for the 4 Sundays before Christmas and on Christmas Day. There are Christmas songs for every story that we can teach the kids and sing together. The kids will be excited to light up and blow 1 candle each Sunday and on Christmas Day! But like I said at the event, you can create your own “program.” Some sing Christmas carols first, share different Bible stories, read from the Bible or from story books, or talk about how they celebrate the holidays in other countries. The point is this is another opportunity to gather the family together and to point them to Christ.
My friend Ging Morados shared about the Advent Calendar. This tradition, we’ve been doing for 4 years, but this year we have a new calendar! Our eldest Danae looks forward to this every year because she gets to do one special thing every day beginning December 1, counting down or leading up to Christmas day. This is the first time Noelle will be actually participating in this tradition. Ging pointed out the importance of not just having something to do every day of the month, but something that will point them to what Christmas really means. Things like appreciating Daddy by making him a card, or packing up some goodies to share with kids on the street, or watching a show, play, or movie about Jesus with the family.
We love Christmas! Like what Ptr Paolo and Jenn Punzalan shared that night, Christmas is a time for BUILDING. It is the best (though not the only) time to teach our children about Christ, BUILDING THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS and building our relationship with Him as well. It is a time for BUILDING CHARACTER, wherein we teach and focus on certain traits as gratefulness, generosity, love, kindness, and many others. It is a time for BUILDING MEMORIES with our children, our families. They will treasure these wonderful times and will want to do the same for their own families as they grow older.
Our heart to have this Christmas Traditions was to bless our church, and I believe that with everything they received — INSPIRATION, ideas, gift wrapping tips, recipes (which I will post soon), not to mention lots of prizes and giveaways — they were blessed indeed. It was a successful event, and I believe I speak for the other pastors’ wives, staff and everyone who worked to make this happen, that it was a great privilege to have been able to do this. Merry Christmas!