Family, My Kids

Mommy Writes

Mommy’s turn!

The first time I encountered “it” was when Danae was around 2 years old. She wasn’t in any pain. She was actually just singing her heart out in the shower. I immediately called my aunt, who is a pediatrician, and she confirmed my fears. “It” was a hernia. I instantaneously cried over the phone, knowing that surgery was the only way to fix it. I did not want my baby to have to go through something like that.

But because it never gave her any problems — no pain, no changes in her bodily functions — and because I guess we were foolishly hoping it would resolve on its own, it took us 8 years to finally consult a pedia surgeon. The birth defect (not an injury) needed to be closed so that she could safely do gymnastics and other activities. Though it was not an emergency situation, we wanted it done a.s.a.p.

They humored her request! We joked that we are in the business of making dreams come true. She said, yay! Tomorrow, another dream is coming true. My surgery will be done! 🙂

 

I believe in the Lord’s timing, and I believe that though it seems late, Danae’s surgery was done at the right time. She’s more mature now, and she understands why it was necessary. She has always been brave, but God supplied her with so much courage and grace to endure this. I had to put a brave face on for her the whole time because I am not brave! With so many thoughts entering my head and fears threatening to disable me, I enlisted our family and a lot of friends to pray for and with us. That, and the peace of God that transcends understanding, certainly kept me standing.

There was no question that I would be the one staying with Danae in the hospital, and King would be shuttling back and forth to hospital and home. I’m so thankful that when it comes to family matters like this, it’s never hard for King to ask for a leave. It became a time of bonding for me and Danae. She got to have mommy (and daddy at certain hours) all to herself. I was happy to serve and help her. The two younger ones were safe at home with my mom during the day and with King in the evening.

When it was time to have her IV inserted, she was afraid. My outgoing, brave, confident, independent young lady became a timid, nervous, needy baby who wanted mommy to hug and hold her as they put the needle in. She cried in pain. She cried also through the pesky skin test. I wanted to cry too haha, but I was the adult. I needed to be strong for her. I just kept comforting her, encouraging her. It was late, but when she asked for TV, I obliged. As my mom advised, I helped keep her spirits up.

In the morning, while waiting, the anesthesiologist came in. All this time (I even signed papers to consent to it), we thought she would be given General Anesthesia. They could, but because of the asthma factor, it was more risky having a tube in her throat. Apparently that’s how GA is administered. They put you to sleep and then insert a tube in your throat for the gas to go through. When the anesthesiologist suggested spinal anesthesia, since she is physically big enough for it (he said that she’s big for her age — he should see a lot of her taller friends haha), I was not able to hide my apprehension. That was the same anesthesia I received, giving birth to Gianna. Could my Danae handle that? But the doctor assured us that they would do what we were most comfortable with. Thank God we had time to decide. Thank God King was there. I would never want to make major decisions like that on my own. We agreed that spinal anesthesia was safest for Danae.

About to be wheeled down to the surgery unit. Nervous but still smiling. 🙂

 

As she was being wheeled from her room to the surgery unit, she kept calling me, making sure I was right with her. She wanted me to be the one in the waiting area with her, and in the recovery room afterwards. I asked the anesthesiologist if he could sedate her while still in the waiting area, and he was kind enough to do it. He understood that Danae was nervous about being wheeled into the OR without me. He even agreed with me in prayer when I prayed for Danae while he was putting the sedative in her IV.

About an hour and a half later, surgery was done. I was right outside the door when they called for Lucero. The surgeon met me inside, told me that it took longer than expected because her hernia was so small. She said that small hernias are more dangerous because intestines are more likely to get trapped. God’s grace right there! Nothing of the sort happened to Danae all these years! The surgeon was happy also to say that Danae didn’t even flinch when the spinal anesthesia was given to her. She did great!

When I saw Danae, however, I saw her eyes closed but wet with tears. She kept talking but tears kept running down her cheek. I knew she wasn’t in pain, but I guess she was feeling overwhelmed. She couldn’t stop her tears from falling. I encouraged her to sleep, but she didn’t want to in the first hour. She needed to lay flat on her back for 6 hours. We also needed to wait for the anesthesia to wear off. She was hungry, but she eventually slept. She kept repeating that she was hungry when she would wake up. I would fall in and out of sleep too. At times I’d read. I’d pray for the others who were there in the recovery room. 6 hours is a looooong time to wait on a monobloc chair. But I thank God that because Danae’s a child, she was allowed company.

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My facebook post 🙂

 

Back in her room, she said she was happy that the surgery is over. Whew, me too!!!! We thanked God for everything. None of it would have been possible without Him. I was happy that the operation was a success, that her vitals were stable the entire time, that there are no complications, and that SHE’S ALIVE. Today, she is recovering very well. Praise God. 🙂

Through the 3 short days, my daughter learned to be more grateful. She thanked me each time I helped her ❤ ❤ ❤ . I don’t think I’ve ever received so many sincere thank yous that are not because of something material. On the way home, during a moment of quiet inside the car, she said “Thank You Lord.” That was probably the most sincere and meaningful prayer of thanks I ever heard her say. Indeed, our whole family thanks You, Lord. ❤

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First steps at home, with Wowa’s walker. 🙂

 

Thank you so much, family and friends, for standing with us in prayer. Thank you for checking on us as well. God bless each of you.

Click here and here for Danae’s take on her experience. 🙂

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever. PSalm 136:1

But I will restore you to health

and heal your wounds,’

declares the Lord, Jeremiah 30:17a

My Kids, Parenting

EARLY TRAINING

A few months back, Danae complained about having to get her own water and having to get us glasses for the table. She even smartly told us that we were big enough to get our own water, that she’s a child and we should get water for her. The other day, she wished that they had a nanny so they didn’t have to clean up after they played.

Most days, Danae is willing to help. She’s always been a natural helper. Sometimes, she whines first before helping. And on very few occasions, she would complain and go as far as saying she doesn’t want to help anymore.

I grew up with a nanny, who did everything for me that it was such a chore to even get my own water. I literally learned to get my own water when I was already in high school, and begrudgingly so. Cleaning up after playing was not a priority in my life and I was never really pushed enough to make it a habit.

Managing a home is tough, and more so in my case because I had to learn everything when I was already older. I never cleaned a bathroom until I was married. I never cleaned a house until I was married. I was never burdened with the responsibility to cook our meals until I was married. All these things don’t come naturally to me, therefore each chore IS a chore. I’ve definitely improved, but i still need to develop the proper habits.

I believe that training our kids now, even with simpler tasks, will help them in the future. I always tell the girls that even if they had a nanny, they would still be cleaning up their toys themselves. We don’t want them to be too dependent on nannies or helpers like I was, or take the help for granted like I did. We want them to develop a sense of appreciation, of responsibility and of ownership for their things, their room, their home. We also want them to learn the joy of serving others.

We have a long way to go, but we believe that we will reap what we sow.

In the meantime, we will continue sowing into the lives of our children. 🙂

My Kids, Parenting

GOD VS SATAN 2

“Satan made me do it!” “Si Satan kasi!” Words we used to hear Danae say when we would discipline her.

Yup, we do that sometimes too. We blame others for the things that “happen” to us. Really? It’s his fault? It’s her fault? Really?

We always have a choice. Satan, or anyone else for that matter, can’t make us do anything. We have control over our thoughts and actions. It is a choice WE, consciously or unconsciously, make. We can choose to obey God, and not give the devil a foothold. We can choose to believe God, instead of believing the lies of the enemy. We can choose to fight with the word of God, instead of giving in to Satan’s temptations.

Like I said in my old blog, Danae is only 6 but she is already experiencing this struggle in her heart. She is aware of it and she can articulate it. What she needs to learn now, and not later like me, is to stop pointing fingers at others and to own up to her mistakes. She has the power to fight the enemy. She has the power to resist the power of suggestion, whether from satan himself, or from her sister, cousins or friends. But when she does make a mistake, she also has the power to CHOOSE to RESPOND, to correction or any situation, RIGHT.

In Christ, we hold that power as well. The question is, are we using it?

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! 🙂

FEATURED, My Kids

The Sound of Music

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! 🙂

Family, My Kids, Parenting, TRAVEL

LET’S TRAVEL WITH OUR KIDS!

TRAVELING is very much a part of our family. Aside from it being a time for family bonding, for creating memories, for rest and recreation, it’s a GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR TEACHING. Exposing our kids to different places and cultures teaches them so many things. From simple things as how sand feels like, how sea water tastes like, to more complicated matters as how to behave in certain places.

When we arrived Singapore and went through immigrations, Danae was so hyperactive! She couldn’t stay still because she was so excited. She just could not contain herself. The immigrations officer had to tell King to “tell your child to stay put” as she would move past the counter. How embarrassing! But at least we got to teach her that rules need to be strictly followed and that things may be different when you are in another country. They have different rules and different ways, which she must adjust to and comply with.

Danae also had a running commentary on everything! Like I said, super excited. She would point to an Indian woman and tell me that she’s Indian because she saw “that round thing on her forehead.” She would tell me that certain people were “ching chang chia,” trying to say that they’re Chinese or that they’re from another country. I had to remind her that it’s rude to point and blurt out anything that she notices. I had to remind her that people there (or anywhere) may respond differently than what she’s used to here in the Philippines.

I could go on and on about what we had to remind our girls about, but my point is this. LET’S TRAVEL WITH OUR KIDS! Whether it’s to another country, another city, another town or simply to a friend’s house or the supermarket! They can LEARN so much from the EXPERIENCE. Sometimes just thinking about taking our kids with us and all that it entails already stresses us out, but LET’S NOT ALLOW OUR FEAR OF BEING INCONVENIENCED TO DICTATE our decisions. It can be stressful and tiring, yes. That’s the reality that we need to learn to deal with. I’ve been doing this ever since Danae was 2 weeks old, but trust me, I’m still learning to this day. But I’ve also learned that we can actually ENJOY it and it’s almost always WORTH IT.

Tomorrow, another adventure awaits our family. All four of us are going on Danae’s field trip to Subic! It’s not our first time to go there as a family, but it’s our first time to ride a bus going there. It’s Noelle’s first time to ride to go on a field trip, and therefore Danae’s first time to bring her sister along. It’s our first time to travel on a bus, on a field trip as a complete family! Yes, it’s costly because there’s 4 of us, but the school gave us (and everybody else) terms to pay and time to save up. If you think about it, it’s a good deal because we’ll be going to Ocean Adventure, Zoobic Safari among other places, plus King doesn’t have to drive or pay toll. We couldn’t resist! More memories, more bonding, more recreation, and more teaching moments! 🙂

Motherhood, My Kids, Parenting

How well do you know your child?

Because Danae’s 6 and Noelle’s already almost 3, their personalities are more evident than ever. It definitely showed during our recent trip. For one, well this one’s not new at all, they’re both witty and funny. Years ago, Danae at age 3 exclaimed as we landed in Manila probably from Cagayan de Oro, “Thank you Lord!,” which made people behind us chuckle. Last month, Noelle exclaimed with her normal loud voice as we landed in Singapore, “I made it!”, which made everyone around us LOL. hahaha. It caught me by surprise how everybody turned to us and laughed. Noelle wasn’t too happy about the response but later on she would recount that “she made everyone happy on the airplane.”

We walked quite a lot in Singapore. Although Danae at times complained that she was tired, she was more a trouper than Noelle was. When Noelle didn’t feel like walking anymore, she really wouldn’t walk. She’d stop in her tracks, slump her shoulders, make her adorable complaining face, and whine “I can’t.” I must say though that Noelle is quite easy to lead because she prefers to hold my hand almost all the time. Danae, of course, would much rather be free to move around.

Danae enjoyed all the shows, while Noelle got bored quickly. Danae was willing to try some of the rides. Noelle wasn’t. She would much rather EAT! Which makes it even more surprising that she was willing to go on The Luge with us! But both definitely love love love the water. Noelle came alive when we allowed them to play in the fountains at Universal Studios.

Both girls are relatively manageable when traveling, but Noelle really has her own mind. She’s picky when it comes to bathrooms. She won’t use it if she feels it’s dirty or stinky. She’ll say that her pee is “not coming out.” She would also tell me to flush the toilet first even though it’s clean. But thank God they didn’t mind me using baby wipes on them after they did #2. I’ve finally conceded to using them. I totally refused to do so before because I preferred washing them with soap and water. Yay me!

After I got them dressed when they got wet in the fountain, Danae easily slipped on her wet shoes, while Noelle just refused to! Squeamish much? Thank God we rented a stroller. It didn’t matter much that she was barefoot, except when it was time to leave the stroller. Guess who had to carry her.

Even with clothes, Noelle is so picky! Danae will almost always comply with what I prepare for her. I cannot force Noelle to wear anything she does not like. Sometimes it’s understandable, but many times it’s just not. Even while it was drizzling, she didn’t want to wear her rain coat! The stress is coming back to me! Hahaha.

It definitely teaches me as a mom to be flexible, to know which battles to pick and which ones to let go. Did I mention that Noelle is quite a messy kid? Danae’s not a neat freak, but at least she was willing to clean up when she was little! Noelle even drew on my mom’s wall, which Danae never did! On the other hand, it’s fairly easy to talk to Noelle when it comes to things she wants, except maybe when it comes to food haha. She can cope well with not getting what she wants right away while Danae more often demands instant gratification. My kids are walking contradictions! Probably just like their mom. Haha.

It just goes to show that each child is different. Danae and Noelle may have their similarities, but they have different personalities. It teaches us parents to be attentive and engaged, else we would assume that what worked for one will work for the other, which may not necessarily be true. There is really no ONE formula in raising our kids. We must constantly learn and be open to learning — learn about our own children, get to know them, spend time with them, talk to them, play with them….and be open to learning other ways of nurturing our relationships with them, of teaching them, of guiding them.

The more I know my children, the greater my capacity to anticipate situations and prepare myself to deal with them as they come. The more I know my children, the greater my capacity to understand them and to communicate with them. The more I know my children, the more I learn about myself. The more I know myself, the more I know that I cannot do this on my own!!! I need King’s partnership and we need the wisdom, the grace, and the love of God for us to be able to raise these precious girls. 🙂

My Kids

NOELLE SAYS

Danae & Noelle are different in many ways, but they do have some similarities. For instance, when Danae was 3, she would say JOPHES instead of Joseph and HOSTIPAL instead of hospital (click here for an old blog). Noelle says the exact same thing today. Noelle says OH MY GOSH while covering her mouth just like Danae did when she was 2 (click here for another old blog).

Like what I said about Danae in the past (click here), Noelle is a 2-year old whom you can have an actual conversation with. She steers the conversation her way, of course, and sometimes it’s hard to decipher her words and her train of thought haha, but she can hold up a conversation IF she feels like it. Yup, Noelle is quite a character. Here are some of what she says lately.

When she makes a mistake or almost falls or something, she says OOTS!

She says COOL! when she sees something that’s actually cool.

She says I THINK… with matching shifting of her eyes, or I MEAN… appropriately.

She asks questions by using DID YOU instead of DO YOU. She asks DID YOU WANT SOME? DID YOU LOVE ME, MOMMY? And it’s grammatically correct, if you think about it, and incredibly sweet.

When she shows me something that she thinks I won’t approve of, but realizes that I’m okay with it, she asks me IT’S FINE, MOM?

When she notices that it’s quiet, she asks WHY WE’RE NOT TALKING?

She’s somewhat of a defender, and there was a time that her dad farted, Danae & I complained of the stink. She immediately said I LIKE YOUR UTUT DADDY. hahaha.

One time, I was talking to her in Visayan, telling her that she’s “langayan” and “sunluganun.” She responded with a WHUT? TAGALOG! and ignored me haha.

Have you heard of the nursery rhyme KWINKLE KWINKLE Little Star? Have you used arts & crafts materials GULUE and GULUGI EYES lately? Do you let your kids watch SPRONGE BOB? We don’t and Noelle knows that she’s NOT ALLOWED, ONLY MY COUSINS WATCH.

When her sister gets the rod, she always says MOMMY I’M OBEYING or MOMMY, THE ROD IS TEACHING ME. It’s another story when she’s the one getting the rod haha.

She’s a bit of a tattletale, saying things like MOMMY, SI ATE OH or even SI WOWA OH when my mom wouldn’t let her watch TV till she got dressed. hahaha. She tells us when she knows her sister is watching, saying or doing something that’s not allowed.

She’s pretty particular about bathrooms. She won’t go if she thinks it’s dirty or stinky, even comments with PEE-YOO STINKY!

She appropriately uses phrases like LET ME TRY, YOU’RE GONNA BE…., I NEED TO FIX THIS, I’M NOT FREAKING OUT, OKAY FINE, among others.

When she didn’t get her way, she used to slump her shoulders and say AW PITOLS (aw pickles). Now she sadly says FINE when she finally agrees to something. This is not to say she doesn’t have melt-downs, which she does, believe me. She can yell FINE to her sister when she’s upset too.

She has a pretty good grasp of WE, YOU, I, THEY, THESE, THOSE, without being formally taught.

She adds a syllable to certain words like PE-LAY, PE-LATE, BA-LOCKS, CA-LOCK, FA-LOOD, BA-LOOD, PI-LEASE, FA-LY.

She calls the dirt in her armpits LADYBUG hahaha.

She likes to cup her hand on the side of her mouth as if to whisper. She likes to call us and just wave hi. She runs to us to just give us a kiss and go back to whatever she’s doing. She likes to play mommy and calls me SWEETHEART. I love how she puts her face close to mine, looks into my eyes, and talks sweetly to me. I love it too when she sees something she likes and tells me I WISH I COULD DO THAT WITH YOU MOMMY.

When she’s having fun, she’s having fun. She doesn’t care about winning or losing yet. In fact, when Danae says she wins, Noelle even says YAY I LOSE! hahaha.

Noelle is Noelle! She cracks us up all the time, not just with what she says, but with how she says them. She definitely makes us laugh and warms our hearts. 🙂

Family, FEATURED

Great Tip to De-Stress Your Life!

Before our 10-day stay in hospital, it has been 4 months of not having a permanent helper at home and about 2 months of having a weekly cleaning lady and weekly laundry woman. I would have to cook our meals, which I have said here that it’s not something I am used to, OR we would have to order out, which is totally unhealthy and expensive. I have learned to cope with our situation, doing minor cleaning myself 6 days a week, and drying & folding clothes after laundry day. I realized that it was the cooking that would stress me out the most, and so we had to come up with a plan for when we’d get back home. I could already foresee what I would be up against because unlike in the hospital where there are nurses 24/7, ready regular meals including snacks delivered to the room, and the housekeeping staff to clean the room & bathroom, I would have almost no help at home, not even from King because he’s still recovering — taking care of the kids, bathing them, taking them to the bathroom, bringing Danae to and from school, washing dishes, vacuuming, even the simple act of picking up something on the floor or grabbing King’s shirt in his cabinet…..you get the picture. And so I thought, to lessen my work (and stress), I need someone to cook many meals for us, so that I could just reheat them. I wanted clean, healthy, home cooked meals. My friend Chef Len Santos-Ding came to mind.

I immediately messaged her if she would be willing to cook for us in bulk — food that we could put in the freezer, then reheat and add fresh vegetables as needed. Being my friend and a woman, she completely understood me. She was on board immediately, telling me that she has been wanting to provide exactly this kind of service for women like me. We came up with a possible menu that suited our liking, but I told her that it’s up to her since we knew that we would love whatever she cooked for us. It’s been six days since we got our food and we have been enjoying our meals! I’m not pressured to cook and I can have our meals ready within 30 minutes, as opposed to an hour or two, including prep time (yes, I am slow). Everything has been delicious and we still have loads in the freezer! We’ve consumed the baked macaroni & cheese, beef stew with mushrooms, meatballs with mushroom sauce, 2/3 of the beef nilaga, half the chicken teriyaki, half the chicken pineapple stew, half the one loaf of embotido. We still have 2 kinds of spaghetti sauces, adobo, sinigang, chicken estofado, another embotido loaf, and more meatballs. I didn’t have to do anything but pay as I picked up all the food. She even gave me tips for left-overs. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner. Seriously, this is one of the best tips I could give you, if you want to de-stress your life. I can’t wait for our next batch of food. I see delicious, home made arrozcaldo, tocino, longganiza, lasagna and kaldereta in our future! 🙂