Monday, December 27, 2010

Day 361: A Reunion with Friends

I always look forward to reuniting with my ex-Aboitiz 'family' in Cebu. In my 3-year stint in the Queen City, these ladies became my family. Living away from home was indeed difficult but being with my gal pals made it easier and quite fun. We've been through a lot, our friendships tested and we've all passed with flying colors!

Having our own families and other interests have made meeting up far less in between and so whenever there is an opportunity, we grab it and make sure we make time for each other.  Due to some scheduling conflicts, our ISM Queen and her brood couldn't make it and we surely missed her this time around. 

The night was filled with good food, great talk, much laughter, amazing issues and Guinness  records of sorts (all revolving around degrees and women's handbags). Even the kids had a blast getting to know each other and bonding. By the end of the night, my kids refused to go home and were asking if they could still play with pals, Elle and Jaz. 

As with our usual get togethers, time is always too short, where stories were abundant and was a wonderful night filled with so much fun, camaraderie and love. There's so much to look forward to this coming new year...I'm sure we'll be given more opportunities to meet and catch up stories.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Day 359: A Roden Family Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year to remember the birth of a very special baby...the Messiah, our Savior Jesus Christ, who was sent by our heavenly Father to redeem us from our sins. In years past, I've been engulfed by the commercial value of the season, only looking at the lovely decors, lights and presents and never truly understanding the real reason for celebration. 

In recent years, I've been gradually stripping off the material girl in me and trying to live sufficiently on the most basic of necessities. I find that I can be happy as long as I can make my family happy - by simply being wifey and Mommy. I find joy in preparing gastronomic delights for them, seriously looking forward to their verdict ala "Iron Chef". "You're a good 'cooker', Mom!" is always music to my ears. 

This year, there is no tree, no decorations, lanterns nor fact, you won't find wrapped presents anywhere. Even the kids were conscious about prevailing economics and did not ask what they were going to receive but focused on what they could give.  On Christmas day, the most they got were loot bags of candies and small party favors. Their Titos gifted them with shirts that they were obviously very thankful for.  And yet, their joy was not any less compared to Christmases past. If, at all, they seem to have more fun this year, being surrounded by family.

It is all about and togetherness...the very reason of Christ's humble birth. May your own Christmas holidays be filled with Christ's love, joy and peace.

From our family to yours....MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 357: Cousin Bonding

As predicted, it was indeed utter riot and chaos once the kids met up with their cousin Eejah. Loud shrieks, laughter and pitter-patter of feet permeated throughout the house as the children made up for lost time and played as if there was no tomorrow.

It was really unfortunate for those in the graveyard shift since they couldn't catch up on needed zzzzz's during daytime as the children would keep on shouting, laughing and running around.  Well, I'm sure they'll manage eventually...LOL!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 355: Best buddies invade Cebu!

When we found out that Jarred's best buddy, Francis would be passing by Cebu en route to SG, we couldn't pass up the opportunity for them to meet up and enjoy some time together  before the mad rush of the holiday season. 

For a few hours they were able to spend some time playing at Timezone (which I discovered could really burn a hole in your pocket if you weren't too conscious of the card swiping thing) and the Playroom. Even youngsters Caitlin, CeeJae and their cousin Eejah had a swell time with Kuya's BFF.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 353: Bonding with Mama Lola

Upon our arrival in Cebu, little CeeJae quickly took to her Mama Lola. I guess she shares a special closeness and bond with Mama since she was there during her birth almost two years ago. I believe this is the same bond my two older children have with their Mommy Lola who was present during their respective births.

Seeing CeeJae safely tucked near Mama's side was such a poignant sight that I couldn't help but click the shutter on my camera to preserve the memory.

I'm glad that CeeJae, along with her older siblings will soon have many more bonding moments with their Mama Lola.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 352: An Overnight Boat Ride

For the first time in many years, the family will be spending Christmas and New Year holidays in Cebu. The excitement about the trip has been teeming for the past couple of weeks. The kids would always ask how many more days to go 'til our trip. We took the Cebu Ferry 2 overnight trip from Nasipit to Cebu shortly after attending the Christmas Party festivities in Jarred's school. The kids were filled with so much joy and anticipation for what lay ahead for the rest of the holidays.  I'm so glad they were all well-behaved during the trip and didn't give Mommy a hard time. I was able to spend some quiet time too when they dozed off early, safely tucked in their bunks.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 349: All our bags are packed...

As you can see, we are ready to go on our long Christmas holiday in Cebu.  Since I'll be traveling alone with the kids, I had to send our bags ahead through an earlier voyage of Cebu Ferry 2 courtesy of BCBP Bro. Jensen.  In two days, we'll be in Cebu, spending the holidays with hubby and his family.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day 345: Yikes!!!

After last night's heavy rainfall, this was the sight that appeared right outside our front door...can you guess what it is?  This piece of snake skin was left on our front porch terrace and the minute I saw it, I couldn't bear stepping a foot out our door. If there's any creature I'm really wary of, it's any kind of reptile. The mere sight of them makes the hairs on my skin stand up. 
I had to call our handy man over this morning just to check around the terrace just in case, the snake was still lurking or hiding in our stuff. Fortunately, the skin was the only sign of its presence. Our handy man said that it was the remnant of a Philippine cobra and upon checking at WikipediaNaja philippinensis is a highly venomous snake native to the Philippines. A bite victim usually has only about an hour to get anti-venom treatment before death occurs.

Just by merely looking at the photo above sends chills down my spine...scary!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 343: Serene

Caitlin's very long hair has allowed me to explore the many ways I can fix it.  Pigtails, ponytails, clips, hair bands, name it, I've done it.  However on most days, I prefer to braid her hair since it's the one that looks neatest on her.  Whenever I unravel her braids the next day in time for a bath, her hair comes off in a glorious tumble of curls and waves.  And it was one of these moments when I took advantage of preserving such a look of serenity on my young daughter's face. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day 342: Immaculate Conception

And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  - LUKE 1:30-31
Today we lovingly remember the obedience of a young woman who was to become the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In all humility, she accepted God's will despite the risk of destroying her reputation during times when pregnancy without the benefit of marriage was considered taboo. 

In many occasions, the Lord would throw challenges along my way and more often, I would doubt and question whatever is happening in my life.  It is never easy to say "Yes, Lord, Your will be done."  It is the human frailty in me that makes it very difficult to submit to God's will.  Every single day is a struggle and yet also becomes an opportunity to continue trying to be open to God's plan in my life.  My prayer is that I continue to transform my life and be able to live as an obedient Christian every day. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 341: A Pizza Party

As in previous years, Jarred Andrei celebrated his 8th birthday with a party in school together with his classmates, teachers, friends and sisters. 

This year was like an extension of last year's pizza extravaganza.  An xtra super Cappricciosa pizza from Calda Pizza was the highlight of the afternoon recess time.  It was a huge 36" concoction of thin crust, tomato sauce, mozarella cheese, salami and mushrooms.  I knew that I made a good flavor choice when the kids kept on coming back for seconds and even thirds.

It was a simple and yet memorable event for my son who was just so glad to have been able to celebrate his special day with friends.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Day 340: IN and OUT - The Birthday Surprise

It wasn't to be...or so I thought.

Hubby's trip back home had already been booked several weeks ago...the plan was to spend a brief weekend home for our son's 8th birthday. However, in the middle of last week, his work schedule changed and it would be impossible to come back home.  Although the kids had no idea about the homecoming, I did and it certainly dampened my spirits.

Not wanting the fare ticket go to waste, hubby  already planned to have it refunded over lunch break last Friday. Lo and behold, a couple of hours before their break, the trainer announced that a business meeting would require her to go to work the next Monday and so their days off had to remain in status quo. Hubby's teammates who knew of his homecoming plan couldn't help but cheer him on and be happy that his plan could push through. 

A prankster by nature, he thought that it would be wonderful if he would just surprise everyone without letting anyone know about this great turnaround of events.  I was attending the FREE TO FOLLOW Weekend the whole day that day (which hubby was supposed to attend with me originally before the change in his work schedule - apparently, a delay in the flight home and a turtle-speed of a bus caused him to arrive a couple of hours after noon which made him miss the scheduled formation talks that day) guess who got the biggest surprise upon arriving home that evening?  I felt as if I too was celebrating my birthday with my son that day.

Knowing that the trip home was very brief - barely 24 hours, the entire family made those few hours count.  It was a day full of love, hugs, kisses, and needed heart-to-heart talks. Time flew very fast and before we knew it, it was time for him to leave once more...the goodbye at the terminal was bittersweet...with the baby bawling her eyes out the minute her Dad left the car...

...I reassured the kids that they only had to count 12 days to our own trip - this time spending the Christmas and New Year holidays with their Dad and family.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day 339: Free to Follow the Lord

Almost five months after our graduation from BCLP-12, we gather once more for the first of our formation talks in our journey to becoming faithful servants of Christ in the BCBP community.

For half a weekend, six out of the ten BCLP-12 graduates, joined by other brothers and sisters who haven't completed their FTFTL, came together at Embassy Hotel to listen to a series of talks for continued discernment about God's plan in our lives.

*** credits to Bro. Jeff Dellosa for most of the photos that appear on this post...thank you Bro!!!
I shall not delve into the details of the talks as I may preempt the expectations of those brothers and sisters who haven't undergone the course.  On a personal note however, I would have to say that God has shown His mighty presence and power once more as most of the topics discussed were direct answers to my existing predicaments in life. The Lord has answered my numerous questions, calmed my troubled heart and enlightened my confused mind.  The highlight of the day was being able to invite back the Holy Spirit in my life which humbled the heart of this lowly sinner.

To our brothers and sisters in BCBP-Butuan who made this great day of learning, discernment and empowerment possible, my deepest gratitude goes to you all! I know that everything was made possible by our ever-merciful and loving God. To Him be all the glory!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day 338: Jarred Andrei turns 8!

The month of December is always extra special because aside from celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, our family also celebrates the natal day of JARRED ANDREI, the firstborn son.  Eight years ago today, I gave birth to a 7.3 lb healthy baby boy at the General Santos Doctors' Hospital.  It was a challenging delivery since I had to succumb to a caesarian operation after a gruelling 12-hour labor that didn't progress beyond 3 cm.  As a first time Mom, many things were so new, unfamiliar and downright scary.  It didn't help that I had the worst possible recovery period from my operation.  I just thank God that hubby and my Mom were at my side to give me loving support. 

Since birth, Jawed / "Mokong" / Red / Redboy has always been a dark-skinned baby and he revels in this "kayumanggi" complexion even now as a young man. Being the first grandchild on both sides of the family, Jarred was doted upon by his grandparents, aunts and uncles. He was showered with not just love and care but also with lots of tangible goods.  During his early years, Kuya Jawed enjoyed all the pampering and spoiling as an only child.  Suffice to say, he developed a less-desirable temperament as a young toddler.  

Fortunately, things turned around soon after the arrival of a new baby.  At age 4, Jarred was at the ripe age to become a Kuya.  And boy, how he doted on his baby sister!!!  He became a protective and caring older sibling to baby Caitlin.  Kuya made sure he was always around to assist Mom and Dad with caring for the new baby.  

All of the wonderful qualities that a young boy should have, started to unfold and develop rapidly soon after Jarred began preschool.  His academic learning and personal development multiplied tenfold within his year at Kinder 1.  He was growing up to be a charming and articulate little boy.  Jarred also took pride in his studies, oftentimes placing in the class top 5.  

He was almost 6 when another baby was welcomed by the family.  Even though he was obviously dissed with the fact that the men in the family are now outnumbered, he continued to play his role as a loving Kuya to both girls.  He could already do small tasks involving the care of his two younger sisters.  

When Kuya graduated from preschool last year, he made the whole family so proud by finishing as Salutatorian of his graduating class.  He certainly made such a stark turnaround from being a young "bugoy-bugoy" to a young man, teeming with intelligence, wit, charm and love. 

Today, he continues to grow in the love and fear of the Lord, learning day by day about God's plan for him.  He is growing up to be a very prayerful young lad, a responsible and dependable son, a loving and caring brother, and a reliable and affectionate friend. 

At night, while asleep, I peek in on him and get amazed at the sight of this wonderful young man.  I fight back the urge to wish that time freezes so that I could always keep him like this...but I know that time will pass and he will have to grow his wings and fly to fulfill his dreams. 

But for now, he is my little man...the other important man in Mommy's life...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Son!!!  I pray that you continue to soar in life and achieve everything you set your heart and mind into.  Mommy and Daddy love you so much!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Day 323: Joyeux Anniversaire!




There are as many different ways to call a father and a grandfather as there are languages in this world.   To celebrate Daddy's 66th birth anniversary, I thought of highlighting some of those ways...

For the past 66 years, Daddy has been the silent rock of his family...first as the youngest in a brood of five, he became the steady support for his brothers and sister especially in their twilight years. Then, most of his adult life was focused on doing everything possible to be the best husband and father. It wasn't smooth sailing nor was life like a bed of roses but he did his best.

Daddy has been my hero for most of my life...well, until hubby took over the role, of course.  Many of the things I know about life and love, I learned from him. He was a wonderful teacher. Growing up, I was a klutz who didn't quite have the right sense of style...well, Daddy became my fashion guru - for some reason, he knew the right colors and styles that would suit me and I always looked forward to our shopping escapades together. As a teenager, he was my protector and sometimes came across as too strict in his ways. In hindsight, this became a blessing as I believe I turned out to be a better person because of Daddy's special brand of discipline.

Now, Dad is doting Lolo to four grandchildren, three of which make up what I call "organized chaos" in my daily life. Whatever love and concern he had for us, his children, has been multiplied tenfold for his apos.  There is nothing he wouldn't do for his children, in-laws and grandchildren.

DADDY LOLO is simply the best in the world! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! We love you!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 318: The Pinoy Priority

This is the main road just outside St. Joseph's Cathedral, Butuan City.
On a normal Sunday, this road would be filled with cars, people and vendors.
We usually hear Sunday mass at St. Joseph's Cathedral at 11:00 am.  It was a particularly peculiar scene outside the church today when I parked the car.  I thought to myself maybe we're just a bit early than usual. Since we usually occupied the front pew, I didn't really notice that the attendance at the mass was abnormally less.  It was only after mass when we were about to ride the car when I realized that there were so few people who attended mass this time. In fact, ours was the only car parked on the street that's usually filled up with vehicles. Even vendors numbered to less than five when there used to be a tiangge-style commotion right outside the church after mass.

Why the seemingly car-less and people-less Sunday?  Today was Manny Pacquiao's big fight with Antonio Margarito.  Most, if not all, Pinoys were at home or some place getting ready to watch the "Pambansang Kamao" show off the fruits of his long and arduous training. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Pacquiao fan and all but somehow I don't get the Filipino psyche when it comes to boxing of this magnitude or caliber...we literally drop everything we're doing to watch two men battle it out on the ring. 

Seeing how nearly empty the church was this morning just proved where the Pinoy priority really lies...tsk! tsk! tsk!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 315: Surprise in the Mail

This small packet of surprise came in the mail today. It's the 2010 W@W (WeddingsatWork) Wedding Primer. Skimming over the pages made me reminisce my wedding preparation days back in 2000-2001 (civil rites) and 2006 (church rites).

W@W became my best friend in all things bridal. I was able to scout many suppliers through the site and later on developed friendships with other would-be brides through the W@W e-group. To this day, these friendships have endured time and distance as most of us have graduated from being W@Wies to N@Wies, exchanging our wedding planners for marriage counseling, pregnancy tips and childcare concerns. 

It's so wonderful to see how W@W has evolved over the years and continue to assist all would-be brides and grooms to prepare for their wedding and marriage. Thanks to Abet & Benz for making my day today. Cheers to W@W!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 314: In the morning...

Take a peek at what my three children usually do in the morning before we troop off to school to drop off Kuya Jarred...they're tasked to do the bed and fold up blankets and other sleeping stuff from the night before. Even the bunso helps out by commanding her Kuya on what to do...LOL!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 313: Lushness

It wasn't long ago when the green abundance you see here was just a single branch of beauty. Now it's teeming with rich, vibrant hues of green and yellow-green. 

I don't know exactly what this plant's name is but I bought it because I thought it looked good and would fit well into the garden. Well, I guess I was right. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day 311: Unico Hijo Gwapito

Unlike CeeJae's hair which seems to take forever to grow, Kuya Jarred's grow long and thick quite fast that's why he needs regular appointments with the barber. 

Today he had his haircut on the way home from church. It took less than 30 minutes for the barber to shave off that thick mane of hair and end up with a neater and more manageable look.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Day 309: Fruits of Labor

After a long and arduous scholastic journey, Jarred Andrei was awarded the highest recognition in his English studies for the 2nd Quarter. I was literally in tears when his name was announced and my heart swelled with so much pride and gratitude. It was a double achievement as he was able to retain his 2nd Honors position in Chinese studies. It was truly a day of joy for the students, parents and teachers as the efforts of the young achievers were duly acknowledged and rewarded. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 307: Storybooks

My children love to read and thanks to generous Lolos, Lolas, Ninongs, Ninangs, Titos and Titas, they are able to enjoy great quality storybooks.

Many of the books are interactive and can really engage the attention of even the most rambunctious toddler. 

Aside from reading, my kids have other ideas in using these books - from props to dividers and what-have-you. It just goes to show how creative children's minds can be.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Day 305: What happens at midnight

Knowing that my brood are nuttyholics (including hubby), I always keep a stash of cracker nuts for those weekend midnight snack bonding moments. Aside from nuts, the entire family also enjoys snacking on "cornicks". It's a good thing these stuff are cheap compared to the usual chichirya fare available in the market. Want some?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day 304: Splash Slide

Initially afraid of the water slide, Cailie musters enough courage to try upon the prodding of Kuya Jarred. Reassuring her that it's fun and that he'll be there to protect her throughout the ride, she agrees. This is the classic example of "once you start, you can't stop"...she's been unstoppable at the slide ever since that first try...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 303: A Faerie Princess Birthday

Before celebrating Halloween, All Saints' and All Souls' Day, a very special day is remembered in the family. The big princess of the house, CAITLIN ALYSSA turned 4 years old today. To make her day truly memorable, I let her wear her fairy wings, wand and tiara during lunch. She sure looked so beautiful in her faerie costume. 

The family enjoyed a buffet lunch at Mom's Finest Buffet where the fare included bam-i, crispy chicken, braised spareribs, four seasons vegetables, pork sarciado and fancy dessert choices. After a brief afternoon nap, the kids had fun swimming at Almont Inland Resort. Beaming with happiness, Cailie didn't expect to receive a gift upon arriving home and she was all smiles when she discovered her birthday loot - Dora belt, two Hello Kitty ponytail holders and a pair of Hello Kitty shoelaces. She was doubly happy to know that Kuya Jarred purchased part of her gift using his savings.

It was simple and yet for my Cailie it meant the world...Happy Birthday sweetie!!! We love you!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Day 302: Hide & Seek

Little CeeJae loves to play hide and seek and she uses varied ways to enjoy the game. This time around, it was the sofa edge that served as her haven, showing off her head and face every time I would click the shutter. These are the simple joys of a young precocious toddler I call "my baby princess". 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 301: One Cool Ride

None of my daughters care to play with dolls but show them a cool toy car or ride and their eyes would light up like sunshine. This cool battery-operated car was something CeeJae couldn't let go of once she was neatly tucked in. She sure looks like she's ready to race on a Herbie-lookalike. Who knows? She may grow up to become a race car circuit driver in the future...hmmmm...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 300: Two of a kind

CeeJae finds a new friend in TomTom, Siansi Jenny's youngest son. Older by about 6 months, TomTom plays "Kuya" as he shows CeeJae the ropes on how to play ball and ride the twirly-burly.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 299: A BFF Birthday

FRANCIS RYAN, my son Jarred's best friend, turned 7 years old today. In celebration of this milestone in his life, his parents, Mamer and Alice, threw him a wonderful party at their place and everyone in school was invited. 

Many days prior to this event, Jarred and his sisters were already getting very excited about this party and once school went out for semestral break, they started counting the days to Francis' birthday.

It was indeed an amazing gathering of family, friends, classmates, teachers and parents.  All the kids had a grand time playing and running around - from the little tots to the older ones. 

We were served with an array of gastronomic delights that filled our tummies quite heavily.  At the end of the night, I brought home with me three half-asleep and ultra-tired kids and a bunch of memories to cherish forever.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day 297: Going Chinese

There aren't many dining places in Butuan so whenever a new one opens up, we make it a point to try it out to see if it's any good or not.

A couple of years back, the owners of the CARAGA-original Rose Bakeshop tried their hand at fine dining with their duo-resto, Rosario's and Rosario's Grill. We were actually impressed the first time we dined at Rosario's since we were treated to authentic Hong Kong-style cooking. I remember ordering the Fish Lip Soup and Beef Brisket with Taro Hotpot and they were both marvelous and truly didn't disappoint.

The only drawback with their fine dining restaurant is the price...but what can you expect from a fine dining place, right? Well, maybe the owners got wind of this reaction from the market and tried to brew up something more affordable for the wider mid and low income brackets. 

A couple of months back, they opened Dim Sum House, a lower-end version of their popular Rosario's sans the high-end price. It was definitely a good alternative to the more popular Chowking and give it a few years, I can see Dim Sum House giving it and other well-known Chinese fastfood chains a run for their money. This new place specializes on rice toppings and quick dimsum items. Surprisingly, it also has a decent smoothie and dessert spread. But what about price? Well, it was a wonderful surprise that their food items were very fact, I thought they were on the cheap side when I saw the size of their servings. For taste and price, Dim Sum House is definitely two thumbs up!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 296: Couple Sharing

This morning's joint breakfast was quite special since it heralded the "world-premiere" of our community's own couple sharer, Bro. Rudy and Sis. Linda Desoloc. 

Every time there's a sharing, I get valuable insights and life lessons from the speakers' experiences. In many ways, when they share how the Lord has touched their lives, they somehow impart God's blessings to us, the listeners. It's also a wonderful way to learn more about God's word and teachings. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Day 295: A Camping We Will Go

After a week-long stretch of quarter examinations, the graders of BFCS are so excited to have their yearly scouting day and overnight camping today. This is the first time that my son, Jarred will join such an activity. In fact, the event has a lot of firsts for the family. It is the first time that my son will be spending the night away from home and from us. 

When I dropped him off at school this afternoon, I felt that tugging at my heartstrings once again...those warning bells that seem to scream that he's growing up way too fast for me to catch up. After dinner, I couldn't help but ask hubby for us to swing by school just to check how Jarred's doing. We were quite amazed to see a lot of cars parked in front of the school. Obviously, we weren't the only ones stressing over this "night-away-from-home" event. The kids just finished their evening activities and were about to have their snacks before preparing for bedtime. When it was finally time for bed, there was a mad scramble of parents and kids going here and there, lining up at the comfort rooms, going in and out of assigned bedrooms. Mommies were going after their kids, making sure they did their nightly rituals properly. I was not spared the same as I had to make sure Jarred knew how to keep his stuff away neatly. It was only when I felt satisfied enough to leave him on his own that I decided to finally ride the car and go home. I hope my son has a good night's sleep tonight...I don't think I'll be able to sleep soundly though as my thoughts will be drifting off to Jarred all night through.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 281: Nature's Bounty

This was the very first time we joined an out-of-town field trip together with the entire elementary class and faculty of BFCS. For two years in preschool, our entourage only composed of the Nursery, Kinder 1 & 2 classes and itinerary was usually limited to within the city only. 

Well, this school field trip turned out to be a family bonding time too as we all joined Kuya Jarred and his schoolmates. It began as an adventure ride since we decided to just wander off on our own and take the public bus from Butuan City to Balingoan, Misamis Oriental which took about 2.5 hours on the road. 

We arrived at Mantangale Dive Resort an hour short of noontime and just in time for Jarred to join the group picture taking. Soon after, it was time to unpack our lunch/picnic kits and get ready for lunch. Everyone brought so much food that it turned out like one big picnic party and sharing with each other was one of the greatest highlights of the day. 

After a short rest, the kids hit the pool, swam and played to their hearts' delight. A couple of hours before departing for Butuan, the kids were gathered by their teachers for some games and sports events. 

It was already dusk when we finally arrived home and it was obvious that the kids had an amazing time as they were soon dozing off to dreamland after a full day of fun, friends and family bonding. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 271: Teachers' Day 2010

In Chinese schools, Teachers' Day is celebrated on the birthday of the great Chinese thinker and philosopher, CONFUCIUS. This was a bit different from what I got used to as a young student since we usually paid tribute to our teachers on Valentine's Day. 

This year, the elementary students of BFCS paid homage to their teachers by singing the song, "Wind Beneath My Wings". It was a surprise presentation that the children themselves put together and practiced on their own which made it such a poignant part of the day's program.

To all teachers, thank you for partnering with us parents in assuring a quality education for our children so that they may all grow up as God-loving Christians full of potential, talent and ability to carve a wonderful future for this world.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 259: God's Perfect Gift

I was a young girl of 9 or 10 when I began scribbling the name Catherine Campos over and over on scratch pieces of paper.  I thought that the name was regal-sounding enough...exuding of class and money.  You see, growing up, I always had this notion or dream that by my mid-twenties I'd be married with 2.5 kids, living in my own dream house with a white picket fence, just a stone's throw away from my own folks.  I had images of Sunday brunches with the kids being doted upon by Lolo and Lola every weekend.  This was what I thought life should be. Apparently, my ways are not God's thoughts are not His thoughts...I'd been planning my life dependent on what I thought was right...and God thought this shouldn't be.

Finding my life partner was a far cry from the "Mills & Boon"-ish love story I had always imagined it would be for me.  Whereas most of the women I knew got wooed with flowers and chocolates, went steady and dating with their boyfriends and eventually marrying them in a grand fashion... I had none of those. 

I found my other half in the most unlikely fashion that actually caused an uproar in both my personal and professional life.  He was NOT what I dreamed of.  I vowed never to date anyone a day younger than me - my requirement was he should be at least 3 years older.  Well, God thought it would be funny to make him nearly 5 years younger.  Mr. Right was supposed to be a smooth-talking, suave and confident young man...well, God gave me someone who had very little to say and yet when he does, he says the most amazing and smart things.  

As a teenager, I spent many nights in dreamland, forming scenes of extravagant candle-lit dinners, beautiful flowers and amazing gifts...after all, I was supposed to match up with a rich guy, right?  Well, God thought I should say goodbye to being a material girl and paired me with someone who was the breadwinner of his family - a hardworking young man tasked to send his brothers to school on the salary of an ordinary office worker.  

I always thought I'd be raising my family close to my parents and Sunday family lunches were to be the order of the week.  Well, God thought I'd be better off living independently from my folks, a good one-hour plane ride away and this is where he set me up to meet my match.

I planned my life in a straight line but the Lord made sure I experienced all the bumps and detours He made for me.  

I wanted a life filled with material wealth, comfort and security but God thought I needed to let go and instead experience what was important.

I wanted a dream house with a white picket fence but God thought I'd appreciate life more living in a rented space with the bathroom mapped like an outhouse.

I wanted 2.5 kids living close to their grandparents but God thought touching reunions would teach me and my 3 kids to value and appreciate parents and grandparents more.

I wanted a rich man to provide my every whim and wish but God thought what I needed was a smart, responsible and loving man who will instead teach me the value of hard work, money and true happiness. 

I wanted Mr. Right but God gave me someone who is far from perfect and yet in many ways is God's perfect gift to me...

To my dearest hubby...I thank God for His wisdom and for making it possible for me to meet you in this lifetime. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 258: Loo! Loo!

If there's one thing that baby CeeJae goes gaga over, it would be balloons.  These colorful orbs never fail to attract her eyes and she'd exclaim "Loo, loo...!" whenever she'd see any around her, even when it's more than ten feet away.

This is the reason why her attention holds up pretty well during birthday parties - she can't seem to take her eyes off the balloons.  And she's one smart little girl, she knows when the party's over and she'd tug at me to pull off a balloon or too hanging on the wall for her to bring home.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 257: Girl Power

Gal pals MARIELLA and CAITLIN take a brief break 
from play to pose for the camera.

One of the many gifts that membership to the BCBP has given our family is extended family. Living away from our respective families for many years now, there are times we long for camaraderie and support only family members can give.  We've found such in the community. Even our own children have found and made new friends.

God is truly good...all the time!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 256: Yummy Tater Treat

We love potatoes - in whatever shape, form or style. French fried, mashed, cubed or diced in a dish or simply made into crispy chips. Little CeeJae attacked this heaping plate of thin and crisp taters with gusto, savoring each crunchy and delicious bite. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 255: Weird Stash

There's a bunch of santan plants adorning the front facade of Kuya Jarred's school and it has become my eldest daughter's habit to pick a few santan flowers to bring home every time we drop off her kuya there every morning.

Well, I always thought she'd deconstruct each piece and try to taste the sweet nectar inside like I did when I was younger. However, I was surprised to find these drying up inside an old biscuit tin. So it seems my big princess Cailie has been keeping her stash of santan blooms to dry out. Well, I guess I need to teach her about that nectar thing one of these days.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 254: Flip-Flops

My favorite pair of casual footwear...the popular flip-flops. I love wearing them you can say I flip over my flops. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 253: My Little Boy Scout

Entering primary school has brought in many firsts for my little man: 
  • spending whole day in school (when preschool used to be just half day)
  • wearing long trousers instead of shorts
  • fan-cooled room instead of an air-conditioned one
  • having more than 2 teachers (in preschool there was only 1 for English subjects and 1 for Chinese)
  • joining the out-of-town educational trip
and finally...
  • participating in scouting activities as a cub scout
Scouting is an alien topic for me as I grew up not knowing what it was all about. You see, scouting was not a compulsory subject during my elementary and high school days. In those days, scouting was considered as a club, where participation was voluntary. Well, here in Butuan, scouting is part of the curriculum. It was a sight to see my little man all dressed up in his Kab Scout uniform. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 252: Best Buddies

Francis Ryan and Jarred Andrei first met as Kinder 1 classmates back in 2008. Ever since sharing a ride on a "trisikad" during BFCS' 20th Foundation Anniversary Parade (dressed as superheroes) and spending free time playing and running around, they've become inseparable friends. This school year, they've been spending more time hanging out even during weekends. Ryan would usually call at home and ask permission for Jarred to come over to his house for a playdate. On those days, I'd usually drop off my son in the morning and pick him up late in the evening. Somehow, that day together would sometimes seem to be not enough for these two young men as they'd ask for extension minutes of playtime. They'd usually go bike riding, swimming, play computer games and matchbox cars. It was at Ryan's massive backyard that Jarred first learned to ride a bike without the training wheels anymore. Recently, I heard my son mention the term "BFF" and for someone who's having difficulty with Pinoy terms, I was taken aback when he mentioned it. He said that's what his best friend Ryan told him they were...BFF - best friends forever...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 251: World-Famous Sponge

This little guy was one of the first ever cartoon characters that my son fell in love with as a toddler (I think he's tied with Diego & Dora for first place).

Having spent mornings watching Mr. Squarepants, I would usually have LSS and catch myself singing the phrase, "Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?"...gosh, even Mom got hooked by this yellow creature.

Well, over the years, SpongeBob has become a regular "creature" around the house, with all three of my children now who can easily identify him and his signature theme song.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day 250: Family Royalty the family's tag team of mischief and street smart antics - Cailie & CeeJae, the two princesses who can wrap everyone around their little fingers. These two can be loud, boisterous and certainly attract attention wherever they go but both are also gifted with so much wit and charm, they never cease to amaze us. These two little girls love music, they adore singing and dancing, in whatever form and style. In our family, these two own the throne to royalty. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 249: Fancy Footwork

Perfect coordination...super abdominal strength...pristine timing...and a prayer to not get wet...

These are the factors essential to successfully lift this container half-filled with water with just the use of feet and leg power. To sustain it in mid-air for a few seconds will really stretch your abdominal might to its limit. 

Well, the SUN Team did exactly that...and won this game.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day 248: Sour Face!

Caitlin...still lovely and adorable even with such a sour face.
Remember the late comedians, Pugo and Tagak? Well, aside from being such great comic artists, they were both well-known for their award-winning "mukhasim" expressions for a popular vinegar commercial decades ago...

Well, my big princess makes her own sour face and I think she could give both comedians a run for their money...