Family

Tito Panser, the beloved!

Tito Panser. I dont know anyone else named Panser, or Fruspambliser for that matter. So when people say his name, I automatically know who they mean. He was someone everyone knew and someone everybody was fond of. Maybe it was his charisma, maybe his consistent smile. Maybe it was his gusto, or his singing, or his ahoo! He was always the life of the party. Danae said this as well when she learned that Wowo Panser was heading to heaven soon. She said our family parties won’t be the same. How painfully true. He brought that joy and light to all our gatherings, and it isn’t a surprise that he was the same in church and everywhere else.

To me though, he was Tito Panser who loved me. You see, I grew up with his daughters. I’m the only girl in my family and I’m so blessed to have my cousins, Ate Sol, Mai, and Dee, as my sisters. I would sleep over in their home often, and he, and Tita Monette of course, always welcomed me. It was like I wasn’t a visitor, as I was privy to some things, like his hair hehehe. And in the times that I could not sleep and had to go home in the middle of the night, I did not hear any complaint or reprimand, only laughter. Like it wasn’t new. Because it happened a few times hahaha. A tad inconvenient, but no biggie since we live only a couple of blocks away.

As a kid, I didn’t really like going to church, much less wake up early for it, but I knew that if I slept over on a Saturday in their home, Sunday morning would mean church. That was a non-negotiable. They were consistent. They were the family I respected and looked up to when it came to Christianity. Not perfect, but consistent and committed in serving the Lord. And when I reached a phase in my life that wasn’t ideal or pleasant (to put it mildly), they remained loving and accepting towards me. They let me stay an entire summer, the ultimate sleepover, in their home, to help my parents deal with me. They never made me feel like I was a bad seed. Now I understand how Jesus enabled them to do that, despite my being….me. I am certain they prayed for me and my family, and that they believed in the power of the Lord to change what needed to be changed….which was of course, me. 😂

Fast forward to my twenties when I started following Christ, I got engaged, and it was a no brainer to ask him and tita to be one of our prinicipal sponsors. I’d seen plenty of them as a married couple — they loved God, they served in church together. I love what Kuya Nando said in his eulogy, that wisdom was in Tito Panser’s counsel. In his and tita Monette’s. They helped many people in their marriages, in their family life, and in their walk with God. I also saw how they took care of each other, and how tito Panser pampered tita Monette and the girls. I knew him as a man who was strict with the budget, but always included pampering in the budget! He loooooved his family. He was a sweet husband, and also a super sweet dad to the girls — as in the kissing, hugging and the hand-holding kind of dad even to his adult daughters. ❤️

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When the grandchildren came, he was the loving grandpa to Ate Sol’s boys and wowo Panser to my girls. He showered us with hugs and kisses when we saw each other. My childhood friends, the Tumangans included of course, and I hold a Happy Birthday Jesus Party for our kids every December. There was this one year that we could not have it at home because I’d just given birth and my mom was recovering from a stroke, so the next best venue was the Tumangans’! And tito Panser was never one to just sit back. He got involved. He and tita welcomed us all in their home, ate with us, laughed with us, watched us play games. He even shared about Jesus and our value as God’s children that evening.

❤️

And of course, he did his usual — he made all the kids line up so he could give them Christmas money. Another thing that was consistent about him. He did this every Christmas since I was young. It only stopped I think when I started having kids hahaha. The Christmas money started going to them.

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Noelle said that Wowo Panser lived a good life, and that he was generous. Isn’t that the truth. I remember last Christmas, when the church staff held a party for our EGSI team (our helpers in church), Tito Panser showed up. Of course he did! And he made all of them line up with their kids, to give them their Christmas love gifts. I was a bit surprised but also not that surprised. That’s just how he was. He blessed people and was always ready to help. His generosity extended to others, not just to family.

These are my personal photos, still in my phone actually. Dec 2019.
I didn’t know I would need it for this post.
I guess that just really shows how I admired and appreciated Tito Panser for what he did. ❤️

But like I said, he was a man who always worked with a budget. Which means he was always intentional about his generosity. He did not do it on a whim, but he joyfully and lovingly planned and set aside finances for it. I love what Ptr A said about him being a kingdom-minded guy. I believe the way he gave truly showed that. The way he lived showed it too — always to the glory of the Lord.

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The Word shared in the memorial service was very comforting and just plain beautiful. Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints (or faithful servants, in another version). Indeed, tito Panser was one of God’s faithful servants. He lived fully here on earth, worshipping God and telling everyone he could about Jesus, and God gladly, giddily, happily welcomed him home. This gives me much joy, especially when Mai told me that the vision she received was of her dad dancing before the Lord. What an awesome picture! ❤️

You will always be remembered, our beloved Tito Panser! Even Gianna asked me for your photos so she won’t forget. I have many, old and new. From our yearly vacations together in Batangas and in Baguio, to family parties, and church events. She still prays that you will be safe in heaven, which of course you are. 😂 It just goes to show the impact you made even in a young child. Since my dad, their wowo, passed away before Danae turned two, you were the wowo (here in the South) who was a consistent figure in the girls’ lives. Thank you for your love and generosity, and your example of faith. We love you! We love your whole family! ❤️

🙏❤️

Family, Just My Thoughts

Remembering God’s Providence

We had our couples victory group meeting last week, online of course, and King asked us, as a warm-up for our discussion, about our favorite memory before the pandemic. Funny that I didn’t know he would ask that question and that he would give his answer. But he was absolutely right. Our favorite memory before the pandemic was our trip to Baguio!!!

In February, a childhood friend of my mom’s based in the US came to visit, and we planned to bring her somewhere special. We needed to work around everybody’s schedules, including hers, so plans could not be finalized right away. Barely three weeks before her flight back home, I read an article about nice vacation homes in Baguio. One of the homes belonged to an old friend of ours, and the pictures were lovely!!! I thought it perfect for a short get-away. I immediately ran this by King and my mom. With their approval and having pinpointed the only dates good for all of us (kids had important school activities, and ballet rehearsals and their recital), I checked the available dates on airbnb. Would you believe that all the dates in the first half of March were booked solid, except for the dates that we needed??? I tried booking online, and I tried bugging King at work so he could book ASAP, but King was busy and I, having limited tech skills, could not successfully do it. I had to directly contact our friend! Hahaha. He was so kind and gracious. We got the booking!

We stayed in the guest suite,
below the main house.
Entrance through the porch on the left side. Click here for more info. 😊
The porch, overlooking the fire pit. 😊
Tiny living never looked this good! My friends are talented — woodwork and design, plus use of actual wood of the old house! 👏 👏 👏
Blessed indeed! 💛
Smores and hotdogs at the fire pit!
Erly, the awesome caretaker, made us a fire.
Iron bbq skewers were provided too! 🥖🔥

It was my mom’s first time to go back to Baguio since 2006, when my dad was still with us. My mom’s friend’s last time there was probably way back in the 80s. Fortunately for us, we’d visited in 2018 with friends, but that was also our first since 2006.

A dessert place in John Hay, 2018. 🍰

There were news reports about the Corona Virus in Manila already, there was shortage of alcohol in stores in Manila, they cancelled the Panagbenga festival in Baguio, but for some reason we were not fazed. We were already pretty vigilant (well I was, at least) with washing hands and making sure the kids did too, and trigger-spraying alchohol on our hands after each time we touched anything. We just made sure we did the same while in Baguio. We also bought our stock of alcohol bottles, since there seemed to be no shortage there. Masks were not yet compulsory then, but we spent most of our time outdoors anyway. There were few people out, we thought it was great! Even Burnham Park wasn’t that crowded. It was either there weren’t a lot of tourists or people were opting to stay indoors because of the virus. We didn’t really know for sure.

We went biking in burnham park! I actually wanted to do the boating thing but the kids preferred this. 🚲
We were the only customers in tree top adventure. In fact, the guy we talked to
told us that it’s a good thing we came so they could keep it open. They were already closed by the time we exited. What timing!
The little one was too little for the “ride” so she and daddy hiked together. 🤗
This was after they went roller skating
(well the two younger ones tried 😂),
still in Burnham Park. They like climbing trees. 😊
At Baguio Botanical Garden 🐘
At Baguio Botanical 🌻
Lunch at Lemon & Olives
before heading down to Manila. 🍋

One of our kids, to be honest, was concerned about school clearance week, so when they announced that classes were suspended, I think on Tuesday, March 10th, I saw it as a favor. She didn’t have to worry about not completing her clearance, though in my opinion, she really had nothing to worry about. Little did we know that Community Quarantine would be announced shortly after.

We got back to Manila late Wednesday evening. That was the last time the kids were out of the house because minors and seniors were instructed to stay home. Well, you know the story. We are still in quarantine today, after 4 long months.

At Jollibee somewhere on TPLEX. Last meal outside our home, nearly 5 months ago 😱

Which is why I really thank the Lord that He allowed us to have that 3-day, 2-night trip to Baguio. Perhaps we were wishful thinking that the virus would not spread as much as it has in the Philippines or in denial that the problem would last as long as it has in the whole world. But who knew?! Who knew how much impact it would make in our lives? Who knew that it would usher us into a new normal? Who knew that it would challenge our habits and way of living?

Who knew that three Sundays before our trip was the last time we’d attend an actual Sunday service as a family because the two Sundays before our trip were spent on the girls’ ballet general rehearsal and recital? Who knew that Noelle’s birthday in January was our last time to go up to Tagaytay (due to Taal’s activity AND the quarantine)? Who knew that our trip to Baguio would be the last time we’d go out, eat out as a family? Last time to explore new places? Last time to sit at Jollibee and enjoy some chicken joy and burger steak? Last time to ride the car as a family??? Who knew that that would be the last vacation we’d be taking this year? It’s only half the year, I know, but Covid is too close and too real. No trips for the rest of 2020.

But I saw the providence of God. The timing of it all — our available dates, our accommodations, home the day covid was declared a pandemic, home before the quarantine. We got to build precious memories with the family, precious memories in a beautiful house in a beautiful city, and everybody stayed healthy. My tita even got to fly back home to the US, days later, without a hitch. (Well, almost. There’s a funny story attached to that, but one that might be better kept among ourselves.) All by the hand of God, I truly believe.

This week, I and a bunch of friends were supposed to go on a trip outside the country — my very first without family. While it is sad that it didn’t push through (I’d already bought my tickets), it was wise to cancel it even months before we knew we would still be in quarantine (modified enhanced community quarantine at that) today. Once again, the providence of God.

In a season of tremendous uncertainty, unexpected happenings, difficult transitions, and heavy losses, it’s good to remember the better times, our better times. To listen to other people’s stories and see God’s faithfulness in their lives too. To look back at what God has done before, so we can endure, remain grateful and trust in what He is doing now, and look forward to what He will do again. Remembering keeps our hope alive.

I imagine all of us around a bonfire, sharing stories, singing songs, lifting each other up, being there for one another. My prayer is that each one of us receive and recognize the abundant grace of God at work in our day-to-day. He is in the details, as well as in the big picture. My prayer is that we carry each other through prayer and encouragement, and rejoice together when we overcome. God is never not in control and He always takes care of His children. ❤️

The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and faithful in all he does. Psalm 145:17

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

Family, Marriage

Golden!

My in-laws recently celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. First of all, 50 years together? Wow! What an amazing milestone!

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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.

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10 grandkids! They sang I WILL as Wowo and Wowa had their anniversary dance. 3rd eldest granddaughter Yelly created and edited a video for them too. 🙂 

 

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With their 5th child and 3rd son King — pastor, officiant, DJ extraordinaire!

 

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My sister-in-law in the US, Leris, with her husband Diego, sent an audio of her message to honor their parents. Each of their children honored them with much love, touching words, and some tears. ❤ 

 

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.

 

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Function room of Neil’s Kitchen. By no means was it a grand celebration in terms of scale and cost, but it was a joyous, intimate gathering of family and a few friends, with lots of love, laughter, and encouraging words, good food and cool music.

 

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Prayers for Mommy and Daddy ❤

 

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.

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I cut out 50s using gold crepe paper and stuck them on the little chalk boards I had at home. I covered my votives with the same paper and tied jute string around them. I put ribbons on the base of little easels. And I bought boxes from a bakers’ supply store and cut the gold covers for the Bible verse print-outs.

 

 

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My other sister-in-law Lanie made the J and R! 🙂

 

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I placed couple shots of daddy and mommy through the years in each table, along with the teddy bear and candy giveaways.

 

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I propped the Bible verses up on the little easels. I put the candy giveaways in the votives. I asked some early bird family members to help cut out hearts from the gold box covers, write thank yous, and tie them around the teddy bears’ necks with jute string. We added some baby’s breath flowers as well. 

 

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The cake! Not the usual, formal anniversary cake, but delicious nonetheless. Can’t go wrong with Mango Bravo. 🙂 

 

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.

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The children, from left to right. Ronald, the eldest. Rammil with his wife Lei on his right. Lanie and her husband Larry on her right. Jay, the youngest and tallest, with wife Weng (not in picture). King with me. Leris and husband Diego (also not in picture).

 

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.

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FAMILY ❤ 

 

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

 
Family, Just My Thoughts, Marriage

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

Family, Marriage, My Kids, Parenting

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 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

Family, Marriage, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Eight Years!

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!

Hudson Prawns

Eight years!

Marciano’s Signature Salad

14-inch Bandel’s Margherita Pizza

Joey Tribbiani’s Meat Lasagna

Donnie Dresco Calamares

Still tired from our trip, but grateful for our family!

Family, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Family Reunions Are A Joy!

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! 🙂

Family, My Kids

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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! 🙂

Family, Just My Thoughts

God of Miracles

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! 🙂