Increase Your Faith!

As with most parents, I felt really concerned and disturbed about last weekend's school shooting. Before going to bed on Sunday night, I started to think about the implications of sending our son to a 'big' school next year. I researched frantically about the school's security and even looked up on homeschooling options. Needless to say, i felt anxious and stressed and I almost lost sleep over it. I finally fell asleep at 2am.

Then i had a dream. I dreamt that a lady approached me (i wasn't sure if it was my sister or a stranger) and told me that she had a message from the Lord. She said 'The Lord wants me to tell you to increase your faith'  - and then i woke up!

I wondered about the dream for a few minutes as i've never really had any dream before with a clear message from the Lord. Then i remembered my worries the night before about my child's school options. So i prayed and asked God if my dream was really a message from Him. Did He really want me to be still? Is He asking me to just go with the plan (i.e. school of choice) and increase my faith? I prayed and asked God to send me a confirmation of His message.  So I opened my devotion for that day and saw God's confirmation.
I was anxious for nothing. I should have known that right from the start of our school hunting days that God has made his choice to me very clear. I was just being stubborn and fretting unecessarily because of my own desires and worries. God reminded me to trust Him and to 'Increase my faith' in Him. Sometimes, all of us need that reminder, don't we?

Whatever you're going through right now, increase your faith in Him. Worry is not of the Lord. Trust that He will see you through.

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The Christmas Miracle

Troy is just 4 years old and he still believes that Santa brings the presents for the good little kids. Whenever we'd see Santa in the malls or in his school, he'd be excited to talk to him and take pictures with him. We indulge him but also make sure that he understands that all things come from Jesus. He is still too little to fully comprehend but i know he eventually will.

Troy and Santa (i think 'Santa' slimmed down a bit this year. hehe)
I received an email from my aunt over the weekend about a Santa story. I read it this morning and thought i would like to share the story with you too.

a little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at the mall bringing a
picture of a little girl.

Who is this?" asked Santa, smiling. "Your friend?

"Yes, Santa,' he replied. "My sister,  Sarah, who is very sick," he said sadly.

Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby, and saw her dabbing her eyes. "She wanted to come with me to see you,  so very much, Santa!" the child exclaimed. "She misses you," he added softly.

Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy's face, asking hi m what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas.

When they finished their visit, the Grandmother came over to help the child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but halted.

"What is it?" Santa asked warmly.

"Well, I know it's really too much to ask you, Santa, but.." the old woman began, shooing her grandson over to one of Santa's elves to collect the little gift which Santa gave all his young visitors.

"The girl in the photograph... my granddaughter... she has leukemia and isn't expected to make it even through the holidays," she said through tear-filled eyes. "Is there any way, Santa, any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That's all she's asked for Christmas, is to see Santa."

Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave information with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could do. Santa thought of little else the rest of that afternoon.  He knew what he had to do. "W hat if it were MY child lying in that hospital bed, dying," he thought with a sinking heart, "This is the least I can do."

When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that evening, he retrieved from his helper the name of the hospital where Sarah was staying. He asked the assistant location manager how to get to the Hospital.

"Why?" Rick asked, with a puzzled look on his face.

Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah's grandmother earlier that day.

"C'mon.....I'll take you there." Rick said softly.

They found out which room Sarah was in. A pale Rick said, he would wait out in the hall.

Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and saw little Sarah in the bed.

The room was full of what appeared to be her family; there was the Grandmother and the girl's brother he had met earlier that day. A woman whom he guessed was Sarah's mother stood by the bed, gently pushing Sarah's thin hair off her forehead. And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah's aunt, sat in a chair near the bed with a weary sad look on her face. They were talking quietly, and Santa could sense the warmth and closeness of the family, and their love and concern for Sarah.

Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on his face, Santa entered the room, bellowing a hearty, "Ho, Ho, Ho!"

"Santa!" shrieked little Sarah, weakly as she tried to escape her bed to run to him IV tubes intact.

Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug.

A child the tender age of his own son gazed up at him with wonder and excitement. Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald patches from the effects of chemotherapy. But, all he saw when he looked at her was a pair of, huge blue eyes. His heart melted, and he had to force himself to choke back tears. Though his eyes were riveted upon Sarah's face, he could hear the gasps and quiet sobbing of the women in the room .

As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept quietly to the bedside one by one, squeezing Santa's shoulder or his hand gratefully, whispering "Thank you" as they gazed sincerely at him with shining eyes. Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told him excitedly all the toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she'd been a very good girl that year.

As their time together dwindled, Santa felt led in his spirit to pray for Sarah, and asked for permission from the girl's mother. She nodded in agreement and the entire family circled around Sarah's bed, holding hands. Santa looked intensely at Sarah and asked her if she believed in angels.

"Oh, yes, Santa... I do!" she exclaimed.

"Well, I'm going to ask angels watch over you." he said.  Laying one hand on the child's head, Santa closed his eyes and prayed. He asked that, God touch little Sarah, and heal her body from this disease. He asked that angels minister to her, watch and keep her . And when he finished praying, still with eyes closed, he started singing, softly, "Silent Night, Holy Night....all is calm, all is bright."  The family joined in, still holding hands, smiling at Sarah, and crying tears of hope, tears of joy for this moment, as Sarah beamed at them all.

When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed again and held Sarah's frail, small hands in his own.  "Now, Sarah," he said authoritatively, "you have a job to do, and that is to concentrate on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your friends this summer, and I expect to see you at my house at McAllister Mall this time next year!"

He knew it was risky proclaiming that to this little girl who had terminal cancer, but he "had" to. He had to give her the greatest gift he could --  not dolls or games or toys -- but the gift of HOPE.

"Yes, Santa!" Sarah exclaimed, her eyes bright.

He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead and lef t the room.

Out in the hall, the minute Santa's eyes met Rick's, a look passed between them and they wept unashamed.

Sarah's mother and grandmother slipped out of the room quickly and rushed to Santa's side to thank him.
"My only child is the same age as Sarah," he explained quietly. "This is the least I could do." They nodded with understanding and hugged him.

One year later, Santa was again back on the set in Saint John for his six-week, seasonal job which he so loves to do. Several weeks went by and then one day a child came up to sit on his lap.

"Hi, Santa! Remember me?!"

"Of course, I do," Santa proclaimed (as he always does), smiling down at her. After all, the secret to being a "good" Santa is to always make each child feel as if they are the "only" child in the world at that moment.

"You came to see me in the hospital last year!"

Santa's jaw dropped. Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little m iracle and held her to his chest.  "Sarah!" he exclaimed. He scarcely recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were rosy -- much different from the little girl he had visited just a year before. He looked over and saw Sarah's mother and grandmother in the sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.

That was the best Christmas ever for Santa Claus.

He was blessed to be instrumental in bringing about this miracle of hope. This precious little child was healed. Alive and well. He silently looked up to Heaven and humbly whispered, "Thank you, Father. 'Tis a very, Merry Christmas!

I especially like the part in the story where Santa prayed for the little girl. It gives the message that "Santa" was just, after all, an instrument of the Lord in this story. The real miracle came from God. 

After reading this story, i did a little research on to find out whether this story is true. The Truth or Fiction website (http://www.truthorfiction.com) confirms that it is. It is said to have happened in 1997-1998. I do hope that is true.

What an amazing God! May we all experience HIM this season. Have a Merry Christmas, everyone! :)


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The Unintentional Parenting Lesson

I have a little story to share.  You see, we have been renovating our home for almost two months now. It has been pretty chaotic lately with all the dust and furnitures moving around. Dens and i couldn't wait to get everything done. We're already very excited to see our furnitures out of the hallway and into the bedrooms once again.

photo source 
 Being the master planner in all this, Dens has scheduled the work of the carpenters and painters so that we can make sure they will finish on time. Last Monday, Dens asked them to apply polyurethane on the floor of the rooms so that our furnitures can go back in today.  That was the plan...until i got home in the afternoon and hurriedly went inside the room. I totally forgot about the wet polyurethane and stepped inside.  I looked at my footprints marked on the floor and thought 'oh no, lagot ako kay dens'...so i courageously called up dens and told him what happened. But instead of getting upset, Dens' reaction was 'naku, nasaktan ka?' [are you hurt?] I was very surprised and touched by his response. He was more concerned about how i was rather than getting all upset about the floor damage and disruption of the renovation schedule.

This got me thinking. We experience a lot of similar situations with our kids. More often than not, they get into trouble simply because they are too playful. They either knock something down or fall down themselves from too much running and jumping. Just yesterday, i almost got angry at Troy for something quite similar. We went to visit a friend and received a box of sweets which i placed at the backseat of the car right beside Troy's carseat. As soon as we got home, Troy was hurrying to get out of his carseat when he tripped over the box beside him (almost sitting on the box!). My first reaction was to save the box and ask Troy to be more careful next time. Then I remembered the 'parable of the polyurethane footprint' and stopped myself. I immediately asked Troy if he was hurt to which he replied 'I'm okay, mommy!'.

I am a work-in-progress in this area but I'd like to be better. I'd like my children to know that no material thing is ever more important to me than them. I thank God for my wonderful husband who never fails to show me how much he loves me...and for unintentionally teaching me this parenting lesson. You rock, love!

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One Sad December Morning

I still remember it vividly. The dreaded phone call that woke us up on that early December morning. I answered the phone and the nurse told me 'Mommy, punta na kayo dito. Nahihirapan na huminga si Tyler' [Mommy, you have to come quickly. Tyler is having difficulty breathing]. I immediately shared the news with my husband who was axiously sitting beside me. Without saying a word, both of us jumped out of bed, grabbed the nearest set of clothes we can find and rushed out to the car.

We hardly said anything on the way to the hospital. I remember how my hands felt so cold wrapped in Dens' hand. When we got to the parking lot, Dens' cellphone started to ring. I looked at the screen and saw that it was our pediatrician calling. Both of us were already out of the car but the doors were still open.  My heart sank and i gave Dens a terrified look. He stared at me and slowly answered the phone. He just said 'hello, dra?...okay...okay...bye' then he looked at me and i knew he wanted to embrace me and tell me it's going to be okay. But the car was between us and Dens looked stunned and couldn't move. I immediately knew what the pediatrician said. I collapsed to the ground and kept on asking Dens to call the pediatrician back and tell her we're already here. I wanted to tell her 'Please, wait for us! not yet!'

After those few seconds that felt like forever, Dens and i closed the car doors and started running up the hospital to the NICU. I was running and praying but i really didn't know how else to pray. When i got to the NICU, all the nurses and pediatrician were in Tyler's room. They were huddled around his little crib crying. I saw our lifeless baby boy wrapped in the light blue blanket that we had excitedly bought for him several happy months ago. He looked like he was just sleeping. I carried him and cried like i never cried before. I asked him to wake up but he never did. It was the saddest day of my life.

That was six years ago on December 9. Four days before my birthday. 16 days before Christmas.

Last night as Dens and i were about to go to sleep. We were laughing as we were viewing some pictures and videos of Troy and Dawn on my iPhone. I told Dens how blessed we are to have them. As i was about to sleep, i just couldn't stop praising God and thanking Him for our two beautiful children. I closed my eyes and smiled - God truly loves me. And my children are His reminder to me every single day. I just felt so happy.  Yesterday was December 9.

It's amazing how God restores. He restored my joy and my peace. He has turned our lives around by His love and grace.

Some of you may be going through a difficult time right now. Just like me, you may be thinking you will never be sincerely happy ever again. Know that God is amazing. He can touch your heart like you never thought possible. Don't lose hope.  Have faith in Him. I assure you He will never fail you!

Psalm 30:11 "You turned my mourning into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy"

I leave you with the best Christmas presents i can ever receive!

Best holiday store display in my opinion



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Sharing is Caring - Caught on Cam!

I shared the picture below on my Instagram a few weeks ago and so many people commented on how sweet the siblings were. I thought so too.
They are not this way all the time, you know. These are moments when i have to put my 'mommy paparazzi' skills to good use.

A little background before you watch the video. Troy ordered ice cream and gave Dawn a little wooden spoon to share with him. After Troy noticed that Dawn was getting more than her alloted share, he told his sister that she's had enough. No more ice cream for Dawn.

So when the sneaky little girl noticed that her older brother went running around and left the ice cream on the table, she immediately took the chance to get some more.

What happened after Troy came back to the table was truly heartwarming for dens and me. Check out the video.
Instead of getting angry at his sister for taking more ice cream (which was what i expected to happen), Troy went back and shared the first spoonfull to Dawn. I love that in his own little way, he has learned to put others before himself.
Praise God for simple joys.

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Finding The Balance: Love and Discipline

It usually starts out as a perfect sunny morning. My little girl would wake up first and immediately wants to play with her older brother. She squirms herself down the bed and walks over to the other side of the room where her older brother is still sleeping. She wakes him up and he embraces her and and asks what she likes to play. They would then go to one side of the room playing with their toys and laughing to their hearts' content.

This is the wonderful scene almost every morning in our home. How I wish it stays that way the whole day.

I normally go home from work around 5:30pm. The two kids would come rushing to me with their arms wide open. The little girl immediately asks me to carry her while her older brother starts enumerating what his little sister has done wrong during the day. From hitting him to throwing his toys. Our yaya would then defend the little girl saying the older brother refused to share which caused the hitting and throwing in the first place. What happened to the loving siblings just 11 hours ago???

It is sometimes very overwhelming, isn't it? Moments of sweet quiet joy quickly turns into utter chaos. The inner mommy monster within you is unleashed to your dismay.

Throughout my journey as a new mom, i have been constantly on the lookout for books that would help me raise confident, respectful, and God-fearing children. From my countless readings, i am convinced that before you can discipline effectively, your child must first have the assurance that he is loved by his parent unconditionally.

My parenting equation is:
LOVE + DISCIPLINE = CONFIDENT, RESPECTFUL, and GOD-FEARING KIDS

And with that, i would like to share with you two wonderful books that have really helped me be a better parent.

1.  The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell, M.D.
If you are familiar with Gary Chapman's other books (The Five Love Languages), you will already understand the concept of this book. All of us communicate love differently. It can vary from (1) Acts of service, (2) Quality time, (3) Physical touch, (4) Words of affirmation, (5) Receiving gifts. It is very important for us to determine what our child's love language is in order for us to align the way we show our love for them with their love language. For example, your child's love language is Quality Time but you have been so busy with work. You think giving him gifts (a.k.a. pasalubong) from the office will compensate. But since his love language is Quality Time, he will have a hard time relating that the gifts you are giving him is a sign of your love.

The book is truly an eye opener. I bought my copy from Amazon since i can't find it here in the Philippines. I assure you it's worth your time and money.

2.  Taming Your Family Zoo by Donna Jones

I love this book! It gives very practical and simple tips on how to raise well-mannered kids. This book promises results in six weeks! I haven't been as diligent to apply all that i've learned so I cannot attest to the six-week guarantee, but I know for sure this book has already helped us a lot.

This is a great book not only for parents of toddlers but also for those with difficult teenagers. It guides parents how to turn everyday activities into 'teachable moments' that children will remember for the rest of their lives.

I got my copy of Taming Your Family Zoo from last year's book fair at the SMX.  I think it was being sold at one of the Christian bookstores (either OMF or CSM). Hope you find a copy too!

Enjoy your journey to becoming the best parents for your children!

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Boracay Through a Mother's Eyes

I have been to Boracay so many times in my lifetime but my last three visits were a little bit different.

In the past, when you say 'Boracay', images of Henna Tatoo and massages on the beach comes to mind. In 2009, i saw Boracay in a different light.  I visited Boracay for the first time as a mom.
Troy's first trip, 2009
 
Dens and Troy's Jump Shot, 2011


Dawn's first trip, 2011
I remember telling Dens how different Boracay is each time we go there with our kids (sans yaya).  You can say goodbye to partying until the wee hours of the morning or doing any type of water sports together (i say 'together' because you can still go one at a time while the other parent takes care of the children...but where's the fun in that?!). 

But you know what? Different does not always necessarily mean 'bad'.  During our recent trip, I saw how Troy was laughing non-stop with his cousins while riding the waves on the speedboat...I witnessed how Dawn was happily running around the cool white sands without a care in the world.  Watching my kids have the time of their lives is my new fun thing in Boracay. The smiles on their faces is enough for us to skip that relaxing massage or wild water activity any day.

Our children are growing up so fast. I will not be honest if I say I don't miss those wonderful beach massages...but they will just have to wait for now. My kids will only be children once. I am not going to miss these moments. Time is fleeting. I choose to spend mine with them.

Speed boat, 2012
 
Cousins, 2012

Sunset, 2012

 
 Dawn on the loose, 2012
Family, 2012

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Mustela Giveaway Winners!

Thank you to everyone who participated in New Beginnings's Mustela Giveaway. It's wonderful to have 'met' a lot of new friends through this contest.

Congratulations to Kristine Go and Cecile Ong for winning P2,500 worth of Mustela products! We shall be contacting you separately on how you can claim your prizes.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Until the next contest...God bless, everyone!

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Starbucks Drive-Thru

The first Starbucks drive-thru in the Philippines opened 2 years ago at the Bonifacio Global City. I have been eyeing it for so long but never really got the chance to try it.

One morning, about two months ago, i was happily driving by the area and thought of checking it out. If you're coming from Serendra/Market Market going towards the Buendia flyover, you'd only get one chance to turn right to get to the drive-thru and that's it. I missed that and turned right at the next corner...long story short, i got pulled over by a cop for going through a one-way street.  So after my long discussion (read: super makaawa) with the cop, i was finally on my way to fullfill my starbucks cravings once again.

It looks very much like a regular fast food drive-thru. There is a menu board and an LCD screen with speakers where you give your order.
You drive along further and are greeted by cheerful Starbucks baristas who hand over the drink to you. I'm not sure why but they prepared the drink really really fast! It was already ready by the time i reached the window and i'm pretty sure i wasn't driving 5 kph.
I happily drove away contented with my tall Chai Tea Latte (non-fat, extra-hot, extra-pump). It's my comfort drink forever!


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Are You Ready For Your Date?

When was the last time you went out on a date........with your kids?

Before I got married, I have read so many books saying couples tend to forget each other once the children are born.  The focus would normally shift from the spouse to the children and the schedule would usually revolve around them.  With that, Dens and I promised to have a date night every Friday to also make sure we have time for ourselves.
 
Last Saturday, i learned something new from our New Beginnings talk with Coach Pia. You will also need to schedule date nights with each of your child. Just like your spouse, you're together most of the time at home but the bonding is also different when you go out on dates and experience new things together.
 
Then I remembered seeing some parent-child date pictures on Facebook from my good friends Jackson and Ann.  Their date nights are particularly special because they have 7 kids! Imagine that! Joshua (11), Jericho (10), Ariana(9), Jacob (7), Jonah (6), Andrea (16 months), Angela (1 month). I truly admire how they have raised very behaved and well-mannered kids. Ann stays home to take care of the kids and tutor all of them. You would think their home would be chaotic but it's amazingly not. Both of them have done a wonderful job raising confident and happy kids.
I decided to interview Jack and get a dad's perspective on how he manages to let each child feel unique and loved.
 
How do you manage to provide individual attention to all 7 kids?
 
[Jackson] I make sure we have simple bonding moments after their school activities. Joshua has guitar and math classes, Jericho has student council meetings, and Ariana has piano classes every Saturday morning. I would pick them up and it would be a good opportunity to spend time with them.
 
Jacob and Jonah usually spend time with me a home, playing and enjoying games. Our favorite right now is working on our Lego collections and our "Tickle Time".  For Andrea and Angela, I make sure to provide time to bring them and Ann for a stroll during Sundays. 
 
I remember seeing pictures of your dates with your children, why did you think of having this?

[Jackson] Presence matters. What I have learned is that ordinary moments may become the biggest treasured memory for our children. Having one-on-one dates with our kids provide them our full attention which they so desire. This gives them a sense of security that they are important no matter what their place in the family. They know that you care for them and love spending time with them individually. 

Date with Joshua
Love for them is spelled as "Quality Time" and you cannot do that with all of them at the same time! It is during these one-on-one dates that we can fully understand their personalities, behaviors, and even their secrets.

As a father, you get to instill the right values in them. You get to talk about faith and help them have strong convictions when they grow older. You get to really know them and allow them to also get to know who their dad is.  But most of all, to plant in each one of them a strong family identity built around Christ. I want my sons to know they can approach me anytime they want, with full access and no inhibitions. I want my daughters to know that her first love is daddy, and that the word "I Love You" is spoken every time at home.

Besides getting to know them more, what other benefits do you see in spending individual time with each child?

Date with Jericho

[Jackson] Wow, the benefits are life changing! You begin to better understand the call for fatherhood.  I want to build a legacy based on my faith in God and His instructions.  Our kids will grow in confidence and in love. That will be their guide as they grow older. You put the matter of self-worth in its proper perspective - that is, Christ's great love for our sons and daughters. 

 
Doesn’t the other child feel jealous when it’s the turn of his/her siblings?

[Jackson] There are sibling rivalries once in awhile.  But as long as we explain that everyone gets a chance to be with daddy, everything turns out to be okay, I guess (hahaha).  Ann is doing a great job educating them about time sharing.  They get to do fun things while their brother or sister spends time with me. 

Any other tips on giving attention to kids?

[Jackson] Share A Hobby! We love Lego's! And this is where we get to spend time together.  We also use it as a teaching tool for kids!

Thank you, Jack, for sharing your fatherhood experiences. 

I personally like what Jack shared about self-worth. I find this especially true when dads go on dates with the little girls. By the time our daughters grows up, she will already know how a lady should be treated on a date because her dad has set the benchmark. She will have more self worth and not be attracted to guys who disrespect her. Sometimes, uncles or grandfathers can also step in as the father-figure when the father is not present. (Think Rory of Gilmore Girls).

Here are some additional tips i have learned from our New Beginnings talk with Coach Pia:
  • It should be one-on-one. This means that either Mom with child or Dad with child. If both parents go, the tendency is for the parents to talk most of the time so the value of the date with the child is diminished.
  • Let the child make the agenda for the date.  Ask them what they want to do and where they wan to go.
  • Start your dates when the child knows how to communicate already. This is usually around 1.5 to 2.5 years old.
  • Don't use the dates as a bargaining tool for discipline. Some parents might say 'If you do not do your homework, we will not go out on the date!'. The child has to know that this is something that you personally look forward to and are not just doing it for them. It's better to say 'Please finish your assignments already. Mommy will be so sad if we can't go out on our date tonight'.
  • Label It! Let the child know that this is a 'date'. If you don't tell them, they might not recognize that it's a date with them.
  • Finally, thank them for the date when you get home! You can say 'You know I really had fun tonight.  Thank you for going out on a date with Mommy'.
So what are we waiting for? Start scheduling your week and planning your dates with your children. I know it takes some effort to consistently do it but i can assure you that it's tremendously rewarding.

Happy Dating!
 




 

 

 

 






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What Is Your Faith Story?

A couple of weeks ago, i received a text from our Pastor's wife with the following verse:

Exodus 13:8
"On that day tell your son, ‘I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt."

I opened my Bible to get a better background of that verse. It was Moses speaking to the Israelites and reminding them to tell of God's faithfulness to their children - specifically during the time God lead them out of Egypt and into the promise land.  The Israelites witnessed countless miracles during the exodus, the most famous of which was crossing the Red Sea.   

What about you? What is your faith story?

I will never forget how God has healed me emotionally after we lost Tyler...how He blessed us with two beautiful children after being told that i may never conceive again...how He has always given me peace that transcends all understanding throughout these tough times.

I will never forget. And i will share these stories with my children and let them know that they are a product of God's goodness and grace. I don't deserve it but God loves me beyond my wildest comprehension. How awesome is He?

Think of all the times God has amazingly touched your lives.  Share your faith stories with your chidren. Strengthen their faith and remind them how much God loves them too! Make that your legacy.

Deuteronomy 7:9
"Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments."

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Our Little Matador: A UN Day Costume

Ole! Yaya Jovy did it again! Remember Troy's UN Day costume last year (If you don't, click here)? Well, his costume this year is once again designed and created by non-other than our resident costume-maker, Yaya Jovy.

Our first hurdle was the plain white long sleeves. Troy didn't have any! I was ready to purchase one already but Jovy had a better idea - she used Troy's white sweatshirt that had a design in front and topped it over with a white sleeveless inner shirt (sando)...and viola!

Next, we were able to borrow a formal black vest from Auntie JoKoo's nephew. Taped some gold foil trimmings on it to make it more 'Matador-ish'. Then we got some red crepe paper for the bow-tie ribbon and used red felt paper for the belt.

Finally, the hat...it's beautifully done using old paper bags and an old black t-shirt. Jovy is just really talented.
We're almost done...except that how can a matador fight bulls without his red cloth? Enter Auntie Chiqui's red shawl...we just made it a little smaller and pinned it on Troy's pants so that he doesn't lose it.

Presenting...our little matador from Spain!

Happy United Nations Day! Toro!!!

Blog Update: I just found out Troy won Little Mister UN again this year! Woo hoo! Back-to-back winner! Congratulations to my little matador and his costume designer :) Great job!

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Contest: Win Mustela Products!

The contest winners have arleady been announced. Thank you for everyone who joined!


Isn't this exciting? You can win your own Mustela stash! I have my own favorite stash as I’ve shared in my blog posts here, here, and here. Now you can have your own set too!

Mustela has partnered with New Beginnings to bring two happy winners their own Mustela stash!

A lot of your have probably heard about New Beginnings and have been wondering what it’s all about. New Beginnings is a community of progressive mums – these are mums who are open to the non-traditional ways of raising their children and are always on the lookout for progressive brands and products.

Mustela is one of these progressive products because it provides natural skin care options for the whole family. Mustela and my family have a ‘love-at-first-use’ relationship. Mustela has helped clear my daughter’s skin rashes and helped us through sleepless nights of ‘kabag’. Read my previous blog posts if you haven’t yet. What’s even more wonderful is that Mustela products has no Parabens, Phthalate, Phenoxyethanol, Alcohol, and essential oils. It is Hypoallergenique which is perfect for your little one’s sensitive skin.

Now for the super good news. You can now win your own Mustela stash!

Two (2) winners will each receive P2,500 worth of products from Mustela, which can be claimed as a one-time purchase only.  The winner can claim the prize from Mustela, Shangri-la Mall Plaza (no delivery).

Just log in to your facebook account through rafflecopter below and follow the steps. Its really super easy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The contest will run from October 11 to October 25. Winners will be contacted and announced on this blog.

As a bonus to expectant mums. Mustela is a partner of New Beginnings in the Belly Buddies program.  Buyers of Frisomum get a P1,000 gift voucher from Mustela when they buy Frisomum and refer 3 other friends to buy Frisomum. http://newbeginnings.com.ph/belly-buddies


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Mustela Products I Love! (Prelude to a Contest)

As promised in my previous blog post about Mustela, I would like to share with you the different products that I am currently using on my kids and how I use them.

Dermo-Cleansing
 
This is a soap-free cleansing gel. that gently cleanses hair and body without stinging the eyes. Dawn has been using this since she 'graduated' from the Stelatopia line over a year ago.  Excellent cleanser for the kids that leaves them smelling like a baby!


Hydra Bebe Body Lotion
 
I loooove the Hydra Bebe Body Lotion! Our familiy is addicted! Even my husband uses this once in a while. He just feels guilty when he does because he knows i got those for the kids.
Stelatopia - Cleansing Cream
 
The Stelatopia line is perfect for those with dry skin with an atopic tendency. I started using this cleanser when Dawn developed rashes when she was just 4 months old (read about that here).  Now that Dawn's skin has completely healed, i have switched her to the regular Mustela cleaser and it has been working just fine.

Once in a while i will still switch her back to the Stelatopia cleanser whenever i feel her skin is starting to get a little bit drier or when we travel to cooler places.

Stelatopia - Emollient Cream
 
Together with the Stelatopia Cleansing Cream, we have used the Emollient Cream on Dawn. We have now moved her to the Hydra Bebe Body Lotion since her rashes never came back anymore.

On the other hand, i noticed recently that Troy has patches of really dry skin on his knees and feet. So i started using the remaining Stelatopia cream on him and have already seen drastic improvement in just a few days.
Stelatria - Purifying Recovery Cream
 
Every mom should have this!  No kidding - it is a natural first-aid cream for the kids. It repairs and soothes the skin. I use it when the kids get insect bites and i noticed that it helps make the swelling go down. I practically use it on every area that looks red.  It's my first go-to instead of reaching for the ointment or cream that possibly has steriods.
Soothing Comfort balm (moisturizing chest rub)
 
This balm contains shea butter, honey, linden, and chamomile extracts that comforts and soothes the child to give him a good night's rest. I rub it on my kids' chest and back when they have cough and colds - before going to sleep.

I have another funny discovery.  One night, Dawn woke up with a really bad tummy ache ('kabag') and wouldn't stop crying. I knew that my mom used to put White Flower on our tummies when we were younger. Other parents use Mansanilya. I didn't have any of those on hand that night. So i got the Soothing Comfort balm which was really meant as a chest rub, and decided to try it on my daughter's tummy.  She stopped crying as soon as i started massaging the balm on her tummy! I was amazed. It happened again a few weeks later and the balm worked like magic.

Afterwards, i decided to see if there was really any truth to this discovery or if Dawn just enjoyed the tummy massage. As soon as i looked up the word 'Mansanilya' online, it is the Filipino word for Chamomile - which is one of the ingredients of the Soothing Comfort balm. It really removes gas on tummies!  Hurray! Isn't that amazing? By having the Soothing Comfort balm on hand, you not only have something to soothe their cough and colds, but also something to aid their tummy aches too!
Mineral Cream very high sun protection SPF +
 
Perfect for the whole family's sun protection! This product is specifically designed to also cater to allergy-prone skin.

Now for the super good news! Mustela has partnered with New Beginnings to grant BwT readers their own Mustela dream stash! Watch out for the next post on how to win.

Abangan


NOTE: The contest is now open - click http://densandfan.blogspot.in/2012/10/contest-win-mustela-products.html

*pictures taken from diapers.com, mustela.com

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65 Days with Tyler

I have never loved someone i've only met for 2 months so much. 

I guess that's the miracle of being a mom.

In 2006, we became parents to a little baby with a big testimony for the Lord. You know how people who go through hard times always say 'I hope i'd wake up from this bad dream'? Well, that's truly how i felt. Cliche as it may be, each day with Tyler in the hospital was another day of denial for me. I kept on wishing it was just a terrible dream that i will soon wake up from. I dreaded every call from the nurses in the NICU and every text from our pediatrician. The Lord took Tyler back after 65 days. It was the most heartbreaking day of my life.

But my story doesn't end there. 6 years later, i am sitting in our bedroom watching our two wonderful kids playing with each other and laughing non-stop. God truly restores. Our family is a testament of God's faithfulness. I may not understand all His plans for me...but I trust His heart.

Happy 6th Birthday in heaven, Anak. Until we meet again...we love you always and forever.

Read about Tyler's life here - http://densandfan.blogspot.in/2011/08/tylers-testimoney-blogged-november-28.html









Tyler's 5th Birthday - http://densandfan.blogspot.in/2011/10/letter-to-heaven.html










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Three Things I Learned One Rainy Saturday Morning

It was flooded in Buendia and the rain was pouring non-stop. But I was determined to join the other moms in a parenting talk lead by Coach Pia Acevedo. I knew it will be worth it.  And I was right.

As with all of our New Beginnings talks, I learned a number of practical things that will guide me to become a better parent to my children. Today, I’d like to share with you a few main points that I took away from our last session.

1.  Fill Your Child with Unconditional Love

This is such a cliché but a very important concept that a lot of parents forget. We get so involved in implementing our house rules that sometimes that we forget to show our child how much we love them.  If the child is filled with love, then he will understand that you discipline because you want to make him a better person. The rules are not there to punish him. When implementing house rules, Coach Pia gave a very important reminder: Never let your child feel that the rules are more important than them.

2.  Respect Natural Consequences

‘I Told You So’ is something that we often hear ourselves saying.  You know that thought bubble in our heads when our husbands make that left turn when you said he should turn right…Yep, that’s the one.  I learned from Coach Pia that saying ‘I Told You So’ is a form of humiliation. It’s like rubbing salt to an open wound. The person already knows he made a mistake – why do you need to reiterate it to him?

It’s the same with our kids. When we already told our child not to climb up the chair because it’s painful when he falls, don’t we often instinctively say ‘See, I told you not to climb!’ when he does fall? When they fall and hurt themselves, they are already reminded of your instruction to them. I am pretty sure they learned their lesson already. They don’t need us to reiterate it to them when they’re already hurting. 

When they feel bad about losing a favorite toy, our kids do not need us to make them feel worse. The natural consequence for them is that the toy is gone. It’s already a moment of learning for them. I love what Coach Pia did when her son lost his favorite DS. She went out and helped her son looked for the toy. No ‘sermon’ was necessary. He already learned his lesson.

3. Give Your Child Their Time in the Sun

What I love most about being a progressive parent is realizing that there is no ‘one size fits all’ method of parenting. Parenting books are there as our guide but ultimately, we need to be sensitive to our child’s needs and encourage them to be unique.  This is also very important for families with kids of the same gender. Don’t force the same activities that the elder one wants to the younger sibling. If anything, it will even be beneficial to encourage different activities. Coach Pia shared with us how her eldest loved to play the guitar. So when her second child started showing interest in playing musical instruments, they encouraged him to try anything BUT the guitar. Why? So that they will have their own strengths.  I thought this was a very smart move and would greatly avoid sibling rivalry.

Let your child shine! Don’t force them to shine under the shadows of someone else.

Join our discussion at the New Beginnings Community on Facebook and Twitter (@NBMums). It's great learning we're not alone in this adventure we call Motherhood.


 

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