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!