Monday, December 30, 2013

2013: Our Year of Grace

More than once have I said that 2013 has been a difficult year for me and my family. Those closest to us surely have an idea of our drawbacks, but I think it is fair to say that it is only Julz and I who know the depths of it all. It was tough!

Still, as I look back at the year that was, I can't help but be in awe of the truly amazing grace our God has shown us. Our milestones in 2013 were as extraordinary as our wedding (2009), Jaden's birth (2010), career-family balance and breastfeeding success (2011), travels (2012)... except that this year, our miracles came in a quieter, less obvious fashion. 

In 2013, we didn't have the triumphs that the world celebrates. Instead, my family and I won victories that honor our love for each other and God's faithfulness to us.

Here are our Top 5 blessings of 2013:

5. Bible Study with friends. In the latter part of this year, Julz and I, together with our friends began meeting once a week just to talk about the Bible and pray as one group. I can say this has opened our home to a lot more blessings! I feel this made us stronger as a couple and closer to the One who wove our love story :)
Our barkada/Bible study group

4. Provision. We had unusually huge expenses this year, but we always had more than enough. Thank You, Lord!

3. Healing. We battled illnesses this year, from the simple virus to scarier conditions, but God's power of healing always saw us through.

2. Protection. I don't mean this in a general way. There were specific instances this year that my family came a little too close to danger, and I can only offer my profound gratitude to God for keeping us alive and well. Now I know what "thankful for another day" truly means!

1. Sophia's birth. As a mom, I am convinced that nothing can top the blessing of new life :) Her coming couldn't be any more perfect because with her, she brought in wisdom and strength, the very meaning of her two names.

Thank You, Father, for a very meaningful 2013.
HAPPY NEW YEAR from our family to yours!!!

Post-Script:
I was reminded of my 2013 Faith Goal after publishing this post. I'd like to include my insights here, as part of how I reviewed the past year.

I had declared 2013 to be a year to focus on life's essentials. That is, building relationships within my family and taking care of my health and body. It was also a year of putting together our house.

I expected it to be an "easy" year, with no huge goals--just simple essentials.

But God different plans. I was right about the need to focus on essentials, but boy did I underestimate just how important these essentials are! To strengthen them, we had to go through fire.

In the end, I can say that our family achieved our 2013 Faith Goal. I believe we are a stronger couple now, and my sense of family and security has never been this solid. I truly know what matters now.

The house is still a work in progress, but even that was made a teachable moment. I learned that a home is infinitely more important than a house :)

Again, thank You Jesus for a meaningful year!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, Jesus!


and a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone!!!

Much love from the Teapots :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thoughtful

This deserves a post all its own because it is the best thing I heard today :)

This story was told to me by Jaden's nanny.

She said that while Jaden was waiting for our office Christmas dinner (which MisterTeapot and I hosted) to end, he had been playing with his Lego blocks in his room. While building stuff, he kept on asking the yaya, "Are the visitors still there?" He could hardly wait.

Then he proceeded to make big cubes or "houses". (Will post photos tomorrow)

As soon as he finished, Jaden proudly exclaimed, "Ta-da! I will show this to Mommy!"

Aww cute diba!! :) :)

But what really got me was this line:

"Magugustuhan niya to!!!"

How sweet of my boy to think of what Mommy will like :)

Christmas Shopping at Taste Central

Yet again, I started late in my Christmas shopping this year. HOWEVER, unlike all the past seasons where my legs and feet hurt, and I struggled with dozens of boxes and plastic bags, I am so pleased now because I literally broke no sweat at all!

THANK YOU, ONLINE SHOPPING!!!

I especially want to give big, fat hugs to TasteCentral.com because this is where I bought about 80% of my gifts this year. And if you know how well-curated Taste Central is (they really got taste over there!), you'd be excited too ;) (No, this is not a sponsored ad)

Anyway, as I was browsing for gifts for my loved ones, I can't help but come across stuff that I myself swooned over. It took all of my self-control not to click "Add to Cart" and re-focus myself on the task at hand (sabay chant "It is better to give than to receive!" Hehehe).

Some of those things that I mentally added to my wish list was from RMK, a Japanese skin/makeup line that I've heard of since almost 3 years ago from a top makeup artist here in Manila. I was impressed that Taste Central carried several RMK items!
Halos mangiyak-ngiyak ako when I proceeded to checkout without these items! Pero ganon talaga. Woman for others. Naks. Hahahaha. #mapagpanggap

Kidding aside, nasa isip ko pa rin tong mga RMK na 'to hanggang ngayon. I will not buy everything, obviously, but maybe I can save up for one? That is, IF someone can vouch this brand to me. So far, all I've gotten from Google is that it's a top Japanese brand, blah-blah. I'd like to hear from the real girls, y'know.

Maganda kaya talaga? I'll wait and see! :)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Anniv With My Ex-BF

Happy BF-GF Anniversary to my ex-boyfriend, Mister Teapot!!! Alam kong sobrang saya mo na sinagot kita ng matamis kong oo dahil hanggang ngayon, thank you ka pa rin ng thank you sakin!

Kaya naman... you're super welcome, Aims!!! :))
Pre-Mr. & Mrs. in Sydney, Australia (2009)
I just realized that since getting married, Julz and I don't really celebrate our December 17 anniversary anymore. I guess we both felt that marriage being more serious/significant/enduring, we shifted to celebrating only our wedding anniversary. Besides, the two annivs being a mere 2.5 weeks apart, 'di pa kami ganon ka-atat mag-celebrate ulit. Haha.

But now I'm having a change of heart. I want to celebrate our "informal" beginning, too... the commitment we made to each other, sans fanfare, legalities, and what-have-you's. After all, that's where it all started.

So to my dear handsome husband, you know what this means! Date tonight with gift-giving! Hahaha!
Hmm... I should grow my hair long again #SuperOffTopic
I luuuurrrvveeeee you, Boy JackPOT!



PS: To those who aren't familiar with our story, you can read it right here! Feel free to browse through the prequel and sequel too, okay? :)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Weekend Sniffles (and my Christmas wish this year)

Happy Monday, everyone! Did you enjoy your weekend? Or were you stuck in traffic/malls/endless Christmas parties? ;)

I had a loooong weekend. Not the good holiday-kind, mind you. I was quarantined at home because I fell ill! Just when I thought I would go through 2013 without getting sick... this! Wahh! The worst part is, even my little girl Sophia caught the bug as well! :(

Naturally, I was super worried at the onset of her cough. It took me back to her hospitalization just over a month ago. Oh my. I dread the memory of it, and especially the thought of it happening again! 

But I couldn't get stuck in dread, right? So I did what I could. I took her to the doctor the very afternoon her cough began (took no chances!). Sophia was prescribed medicines that would treat the symptoms of the virus. The meds were also meant to prevent asthma and bronchulitis, which were the main culprits of her hospital admission before.
Sophia waiting for her turn at the Doctor's Office. Still happy despite her cough. This is, by the way, her pa-demure smile :))
More importantly, I prayed and prayed and prayed! While I can give my children the best treatment for their ailments, ultimately, it is God's healing power that will make them well.

Thank God, both Sophia and I are better now. We're at the tail-end of the virus and it looks like it'll go away soon. Crossing my fingers our recovery will be swift!

I pray that after this bout of infection that hit everyone in our fam (Julz and Jaden caught it last week), we will all have a respite and just enjoy good health for the (many) months to come. That's my wish for Christmas.

I pray that all of you will be blessed with strong bodies, too!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Brunch at Antonio's

It was a lovely December Sunday when Julz and I, together with our friends The Pats and the Catilos, drove all the way to Tagaytay to have a fancier-than-usual celebration of love and thanksgiving in the famed Antonio's :)

Every time I go here, I convince myself all the more that Antonio's is my favorite restaurant in the whole country! Wonderful place, awesome food, and uber relaxing ambiance. Who wouldn't fall for that?

Check out our group giddiness from the snapshots taken from my trusty point-and-shoot!
It had been a tough year, but having friends like Patty and Pat, and Sheila and Jorem really help make our burdens bearable. For the past few months, we have been praying and studying the Bible as a group. It definitely has made our bonds a lot stronger and our faith a lot more powerful :)

Our little celebration in Antonio's is probably the best icing on the cake for us! Looking forward to a happier, more awesome 2014 :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

10 Reasons for NOT Getting a Dog


  1. A nice dog costs a lot.
  2. A nice dog that costs a lot will need stuff: food, collar, chain (or whatever you call it), shampoo, dog house, and last but not least, space in my garden where we will put its house. As if it can pay me rent!
  3. It poops. Eeew.
  4. Mabaho. Eeeew eeeew eeeew.
  5. It barks = Maingay.
  6. Mabalahibo = Potential threat to asthmatic, allergen-sensitive people like me and my son.
  7. It can bite and destroy my slippers and stuff. Grr.
  8. It can bite me and the kids = Potential threat to life!!!
  9. I will get very, very stressed and sad when it is hurt, or worse, when it dies = Emotional stress!
  10. I AM DEATHLY AFRAID OF DOGS.
Aaaaaaand yeeeeeet...
Sorry, hindi ko siya mapaharap sa camera. Actually, hindi na ako makagalaw sa takot jan. Hahaha.

Everyone, meet our dog, Disney!!! (Can you guess who named her? Haha). I was told she's of the German Shepherd breed and is a real beauty. As of now, I cannot attest to that yet because all dogs look the same to me: SCARY. Mwahaha.

It was our first morning with her yesterday. I made it a point to introduce myself and make my smell familiar to her para NEVER niya ako kagatin!!! Disney, ako ang amo mo!!! Let's be pals.

#stress




Monday, December 09, 2013

Hmph


This is Jaden and his new "pose" when he's upset, complete with the nguso and "Hmph!". 

Apparently, he got it from the cartoons he watches on Disney Junior. Since cartoons sila, they couldn't actually cross their arms, so their illustrators draw it exactly like this--parang nakayakap sa sarili. Hehehe.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Project Mom... of Two!

I dropped by the launch of the newest mommy bible on the block, Project Mom, written by fabulous mothers Amanda Griffin-Jacob and Bianca Araneta-Elizalde. I went with my friends Patty and Sheila :)
My photo with Amanda... fan na fan ang dating ko. Hahaha. The other photo is of me & my mommy BFF Sheila signing autographs. JOKE. We writing our names for the raffle! Hehe.
Patty, Sheila, and I also saw our friend Krissy of Little People Photography :) Photo grabbed from Patty's Instagram page 
Grabe lang ang kagandahan nila Amanda and Bianca! I kept on thinking, how is it possible to still be that gorgeous when you're a mommy to little kids?! I only have 2 and I've got help for both, and yet... Haggardo Versoza pa rin talaga ang peg ko on most days! Ugh. Someone please tell me the secret!!! (Ooohh maybe they wrote it somewhere in the book! hehe.)

I sifted through the book while we were there. I was impressed by the quality both of the content and the aesthetics, including the material used! I honestly believe it's the perfect gift for new moms and moms-to-be.

Actually, it'll be great even for second-time moms like me ;)

You know what (and here's a confession), before I gave birth to my 2nd child, I thought it would be easier since I've been through it just 3 years ago. Boy, was i very WRONG!

Eight months into taking care of 2 kids, I am STILL learning the ropes of it all. And I feel like the most amateur of all amateurs! Seriously. How do the other moms do it?! Nakakabaliw kaya.

For me, bedtime is really the most challenging. How can you put 2 kids to sleep in one room? I truly want to know and learn. Right now, it's just chaos!

You see, Sophia goes to bed so much earlier than Jaden. She's asleep by 8pm, which is good, right? The thing is, as soon as Jaden enters the room, PARTY mode na. Ayun, gising si Sophia.

Even if we tell Jaden it's "Quiet Zone" inside and to be fair, he does try to whisper only, it's inevitable that he will do something to wake his sister. Either matatawa siya ng malakas, or he will go down from the bed with a big thump. It really escapes me how a little person can make so much noise even when trying to be silent! Hehe!

So then I end up carrying Sophia again and nursing/cudding/singing to her until she falls asleep again. This means Jaden is left to wind down on his own (like what happened here) or with his yaya in the other room. Obviously, I don't want that.

Bedtime used to be my special bonding time with my son. That's when we play, sing songs, read books, hug and kiss, pray, watch tv, and fall asleep.

It's so different now, and I terribly miss it :(

"I love you even if you always get Mommy from me." - Sometimes, I think this is how my son feels!
Mommies of 2 (or more)... I need your help here! How can I enjoy bedtime with each of my wonderful kids??

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Gian + Chesa

Last Sunday, my dear friends Chesa and Gian finally tied the knot! I say "finally" because ang tagal kong inantay ang wedding na ito! (Click here to know how excited I was! #atat)

Because I had the great privilege of being their Matron of Honor, I got myself ready early and went to Chesa's hotel suite hours before the actual wedding. There, I saw my cool-as-a-cucumber friend being made up and later photographed. If she was nervous or stressed, it didn't show at all. She was just... chill! Happy lang!
Even sans makeup, Chesa was already glowing that day :)
Speaking of photographs, the famed Catilo Photography covered Gian & Chesa's wedding! I was so happy! Chesa will surely have wonderful photos of her big day... aaaaaaand I got to see my good buddies Sheila and Jorem in action!
O ha! CATILO PHOTOGRAPHY in action! Hehe! Do you see Jorem? :P

Monday, December 02, 2013

Our Secret Garden Anniversary Date

As I have so happily broadcasted in a previous post, Julz and I celebrated our 4th anniversary last Thursday. Incidentally, it was also the day America celebrated Thanksgiving. Serendipitous, huh? After all, despite challenging times this year, my husband and I have much to thank the Lord for... beginning with our marriage and the two wonderful people it produced: Jaden and Sophia.

Anyway, for our anniversary, I thought of giving Julz (and myself) something rare and precious: an unhurried date :)

Isabelo Garden Restaurant was the choice venue. I felt it fit my criteria perfectly: romantic ambiance, good food, and new to both of us. Because I absolutely love the magic of discovering and being in a "secret" place, it was a wonderful bonus that the place is tucked in the heart of Marikina.
The restaurant also serves breakfast/brunch under Rustic Mornings. I can imagine how very pretty this place is in the morning! 

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