I have been waiting to make this announcement:

pregnancy test

We’re pregnant! :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

I would do a happy dance, or at least a giddy jump….but I am currently on bed rest….so happy faces– lots of happy faces, will do for now. :) :) :) :) :)

I actually took the test before missing my period, because I really wanted to see if I was pregnant. We decided to hold off on telling people until we did the ultrasound, though.

Two weeks ago, we finally saw the heartbeat. But there was also some subchorionic hemorrhaging. The past weeks, I’ve already been on bed rest because I would feel contractions every so often. This time, I have to continue to slow it down because of the bleeding.

God is just so good though. There is an inexplicable peace that only He can give….the kind of peace that transcends all understanding, and is possible only because of the hope that I have in Him. He reminded me that this pregnancy, the life of this baby, and our lives in Christ– is by faith from beginning to end. And living by faith is a lifestyle. It is not something we try to see if it works. It is not something we do when it’s easy. It’s not something we choose when it makes sense. It’s not something we do to  get the benefits we wish to have.

On the contrary, we live by faith even if it’s hard. We live by faith even it doesn’t seem to make sense. We live by faith whether or not we will get to experience  the blessings that come with it. We live by faith to overcome. We live by faith because we know it pleases and honors God.

Another thing that’s been a challenge for me the past weeks is the concept of rest. The fact that I feel really nauseated, experience headaches, get fatigued easily….basically, the fact that I am semi-nonfunctional in terms of sharpness of mind and agility…it’s been hard not to feel guilty. There’s always that choice to start thinking of all the things I’m supposed to be doing but I don’t get to do because I am currently unable to do so…and then start feeling guilty about it. No homeschool, no work, cannot carry Isaiah, can not go out and play with the kids, can not meet the women and couples we were supposed to meet, cancelled speaking engagements, and so on and so forth….

….and then I am reminded that REST is not a curse. It is a gift.

It is not only a gift, it is a command.

God desires and commands us to always enter His rest. And one reason why I fail to rest is because I fail to trust. I fail to trust that God will take care of all that need to be taken care of as I obey and rest. I forget that I am able to do all that I have to not on my own strength, but by His grace. I forget that the same grace that enables me to accomplish all that I have to is the same grace that allows me to rest when I need to.

This season is a gift He has given me to enjoy His rest….and to stretch my faith.

I pray the same for you, friend: that you will live each day entering His rest, and allowing Him to stretch you faith. :)

PS:

I would have made this announcement two weeks ago, right after we got the ultrasound results, but this site got a virus and was “offline” for the past couple of weeks.


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Since a lot of my friends’ kids have been getting sick, I decided to write a short post on what supplements we take to try to boost up our immune system.

For the grown-ups:

  • Malunggay capsules

I think all of us know by now that our very own Malunggay is known all over the world as a superfood. You may google all its benefits, but here’s a short list for you: (Gram for gram) Malunggay leaves contain seven times the amount of vitamin C in oranges, four times the amount of vitamin A in carrots and, four times the calcium and two times the protein in milk, and three times the potassium in bananas. (source: Moringa4all.com)

I take one to two capsules in the morning. I know taking this more frequently would be better, I just can’t seem to remember to take them at any other time during the day!

  • Turmeric capsules

Turmeric has been used for thousands of years as a remedy of various ailments. It has been linked to over 600 health benefits– more particularly,  as an antioxidant, treatment against inflammation, cancer prevention, help against diabetes, blood thinning, and pain relief.

Suggested dosage: at least two capsules/day

  • Usana Essentials (Chelated Mineral & Mega Antioxidant)

According to my health-geek dad’s research, Usana ranks among the top in the field of herbal supplements.

Suggested dosage: one of each capsule in the morning, and another set (one of each again) at night

  • Vitamin D3

Especially for most of us who live in the city (where tall buildings and pollution block out most of the sunlight), who stay indoors most of the time, and work longer hours inside the home/office– this supplement is, according to my health-geek dad, a “MUST.”

Vitamin D has several health benefits, but for me, the most important benefits include regulation of calcium absorption and facilitation of normal immune system function.

  • Calcium

I think this goes without saying…especially for us women who have gone through pregnancy and breastfeeding.

supplements

For the kids: 

  • Bee Propolis

Bee propolis known for its potent antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. It is also used for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity. Personally, I have seen how effective it is in boosting the kids’ immune system, and how much quickly they recover from viruses and even allergies when they take Propolis.

NOTE : I do not give Propolis to my kids below three years old. Please consult your pediatrician should you consider giving this to the younger  ones.

  • Chewable vitamin C tablets

More than boosting the immune system, vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant the helps support the tissues of the body.

  • Propan TLC

Propan TLC is a multivitamin that contains the following:

  1. 100% of the vitamin C daily requirement
  2. lysine- a building block of protein and helps with growth and calcium absorption
  3. chlorella- a superfood that is great for supporting detoxification, improving  digestive health, helping with immune function inflammation reduction
  4. taurine- an amino acid that helps support brain development
  5. vitamins A, B, E- support eyesight, help regulate the body’s metabolic activity, and help protect our cells and tissues from damage, respectively

 

 

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For more information about Propan TLC, visit their website: www.propantlc.com  or join their community on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PropanTLC.

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.


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There are two reasons why I chose to be silent here for over a month. One, our helpers went on leave starting the holidays. And reason number two, I had to help the kids re-establish their routines since we were either out of the country or out of town for the most part of the latter half of last year.

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The past season has been a good learning experience for the family, though. Here are the top five things we were reminded of:

1. Everything is homeschool.

This is my daughter’s favorite line. Well, she really uses this as an excuse to just keep playing all the time, but she still has a point. The past months of seeing different cultures and having to do chores proved to be some of the kids’ richest experiences. Did we even have time to turn to their books and take care of their academics? OF COURSE!!……..Not. Not at all. But in my opinion, they learned way more than any book can teach them.

 

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2. Do not underestimate your kids.

They are capable of much more than what we give them credit for. Since I cannot be in two places at the same time, I really had to delegate work to the kids, and trust that they would do it well enough. In short, once a particular job was delegated,  it became their problem to worry about, not mine. You know what I realized? They will not make anything their problem to solve as long as it is still mine. But once I let go and let them be, they all did a pretty good job.

 

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Confession: Seeing them help each other made me tear up a bit.

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Tip: Watch something while doing this— and you won’t even see this as a chore! 

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Why, even the little one was capable of putting the food containers back in their proper place!

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Here, the girls were in charge of table setting. I say they did pretty well.

 

3. Know your win and celebrate it.

When the kids helped me clean the house before leaving for another trip so we could come home to a clean-enough house, that was a win. It didn’t matter that the kids had to take a bath late at night thereby destroying a previously-established routine of taking a bath and sleeping earlier.When the kids all woke up and even helped carry some bags at at 3 or 4 a.m. without whining (especially if they slept past midnight because of parties and family celebrations), that was a win. It didn’t matter that their movements were a bit slow once we got to the airport. When the kids helped take care of their little brother even if they only had 4 hours of sleep the previous night because of the airline’s crazy flight schedules, and when they try to keep up without complaining, that was a win. It didn’t matter that their hair was a mess and their headbands kept moving out of place.

 

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Messy hair?? What messy hair?? All I notice is that precious smile and good heart.

10991208_10153805617070021_3216058131780664320_n Obviously, the one who took this photo was still sleepy!

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 The sleepiness slowwwly setting in…..but I admire the effort to stay awake and alert.

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After-dinner chores

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In fairness to us, we managed to keep the house tidy enough to welcome dad each time he came home from work!

 

…..Know your win and celebrate it with your children. Let them know that they just won.

 

4. Choose your battles. 

Something’s got to give.

Although I would have loved for the house to be spotless all the time while still being able to spend enough time just playing with the kids, I had to lower my expectations most of the time. Although I would have loved my kids to stay well-groomed after a whole day of cleaning and doing chores with them, I had to be happy with them having clothes on!

Knowing how easily I can get lost in chores, and knowing how I prefer to have things all ordered and nice, I had to always choose my battles. Do not lose sight of what really matters at home– our relationships.

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 Taken during one of our advent nights. 

 

5. Life can be simple. 

Life doesn’t have to be as complicated as we make it to be.

We buy things we do not need, and now we have more stuff to clean up.

We fill our schedules with too many activities, and now we feel stressed and rushed all  the time.

We try to keep up with so many people, try to manage so many things….we end up doing more, and come home depleted.

 

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Life can be simple, and at the rate the world around us is going, we have to fight to keep it simple.

 

 

 

 


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After three weeks of not having a date with Dennis, we were both looking forward to some couple time.  It was just perfect then, that we were given a free overnight stay at Acacia Hotel as soon as we got back from our trip.

This explains why I am inspired to write this post.

Our marriages take a lot of hard work. Intimacy is a product of intentional effort. With everything else that requires effort, what do we put effort into when it comes to our marriage?

1. Put effort into cultivating your friendship with each other.

When all is said and done– and the kids are off to start their own careers and families–  it will just be you and your spouse left at home. When that time comes, you will be living with only one of two kinds of people: a stranger or your best friend.

I choose to live with my best friend.

And there’s no better time to cultivate that friendship than NOW.

2. Put effort into the process of discovering things with your spouse and about your spouse…And enjoy it in the process.

We are married to human beings who inevitably grow and change in response to changing situations and seasons. Right when we’ve figured each other out, things change…and we once again learn, grow, and change in the process.

Then we’re back to square one.

And the whole process of discovery and rediscovery happens again.

Just this year, Dennis and I took the Five Love Languages test (by Dr. Gary Chapman) again. We took it ten years ago, even before we got married, and so we were both confident that we “knew” each other well enough in this area. We were even expressing how happy and relieved we were that we both had the exact same primary and secondary love language. We both understood that TIME and TOUCH meant I LOVE YOU. So easy!

And then we computed our results. Mine was basically the same– time and touch. But his turned out to be so different. His primary love language was Acts of Service, and touch fell far down the list! He then realized that he really gave and appreciated time and touch to express and receive love, only because he knew those were my ways of expressing and receiving. So that was his way of serving me– to give time and touch.

After ten years, we thought we knew what seemed to be so simple to figure out!

3. Put effort into making romance a priority.

The first year of marriage— well, no one has to remind us of this, right??

It is when the kids come, and there are more responsibilities….and challenges get the better of our time and energy….this is when we need to make a decision to make romance a priority. And we need to remind each other of this, too.

Making romance a priority means I will be deliberate in saving my energy for my spouse. I will find a way to pace my day such that I don’t end up just plopping on the bed at the end of the day– tired from giving all my energy to my kids, the household, homeschool, or ministry.

It means that I will keep our bedroom free from distractions and make it a restful place–conducive for two S’s– sleep and sex.

It means that we take our date nights seriously, not just because we want an excuse to eat out without the kids (though it is really nice to be able to eat out in peace). It is not just to fulfill a marital obligation either.

We make date nights a priority because it is one of the ways we can connect and build on our friendship. It is when we can process our thoughts and emotions in a safe environment– a time to communicate, and a time to just enjoy each other’s presence and be reminded of the gift of being together. It is an avenue where we can best discover and rediscover one another. It is a statement that tells the other “You are important to me. You are my priority.”

 

Having said all that, I want to thank you again, Acacia Hotel, for the very pleasant stay we had. It had all the ingredients of the break with Dennis that I’ve been asking God for weeks.

acacia room

Ingredient #1: Clean, cozy, and spacious room 

I would have to note that their orthopedic mattress, memory foam pillow and goose down feather pillows made it REALLY easy for me to unwind and REST.

acacia foodIngredient #2: Good food

We got to try both Acaci and The Lobby– Both good. :) Acaci serves buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinner, while The Lobby offers ala carte dishes that are of good quality, yet are pretty affordable (considering the quiet date-friendly ambience, really worth it!).

acacia spa

Ingredient #3: spa treat at the Lurra Wellness Spa + Complimentary welcome massage (Yep! They go to your room and give you a 15-minute complimentary back massage!)

Ingredient #4: Great service and staff

acacia breakfast

xmas traditions

back to acacia

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Ingredient #5: Accessibility…so accessible that we got to invite one of our favorite couples for breakfast on short notice, then go to Festival Mall to attend Victory Alabang’s annual Christmas Traditions after we checked out (which was great because we saw some friends!)….then go back for their dinner buffet and late night tea before heading back home. :) (Acacia Hotel has a shuttle service that can bring guests to nearby establishments around Alabang.)

Final, most important ingredient: Exclusive couple time!!! :) :) :)

Thank you, thank you again Acacia Hotel for being an answered prayer! :) We had a really, really great stay! :)

FYI:

Acacia Hotel is located at 5400 East Asia Drive corner Commerce Avenue, Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang. For more information, please check out their website www.acaciahotelsmanila.com or get in touch with them through enquiry@acaciahotelsmanila.com or 720-2000 and 588-5888. :)


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Taking on from our previous post on packing for your family trip, I basically follow the same rules in preparing my carry-on bags for a long plane ride.

 

As a review:

  1. Make a list.
  2. Color code.
  3. Compartmentalize.
  4. Make use of resealable bags.
  5. Label.

 

Okay, so let’s assume you have your list ready. You also have all your documents ready. Let’s move on to how we can best prepare for a long flight with children (plus a toddler, to be more specific) –and still keep your sanity and peace as much as possible.

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  1. Prepare the essentials. 
  • Documents
  • Wallets
  • Gadgets
  • Change of clothes
  • First-aid kit

 

Make sure the ones you’ll be needing the most are most accessible.

 

  1. Prepare the entertainment.

Keep kids entertained and busy as much as possible, as long as possible.

 

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Prepare a kit for each child. Here are some of my kids’ favorites:

  • Notebook
  • Coloring materials
  • Pencil + small sharpener with cover + small eraser
  • Origami paper
  • Tiny portable versions of board games
  • Clay

 

For your toddler:

  • Clay
  • Some toy cars
  • Favorite toy animal
  • Action figures/ small doll
  • Notebook
  • Coloring materials

 

Ipads and tablets can be your lifesavers, but I prefer these to be the last resort—when all else fails, and you have come to the point of desperation in keeping your toddler still and quiet!

  1. Prepare the eats.

Sometimes our kids act up because they are tired, thirsty, and/or hungry. Make sure you have enough snacks to keep your kids satisfied. I prefer not to rely on airline food when I’m with the kids.

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  1. Prepare the encouragement.

By this I mean treats and rewards. Bring some of your kids’ all-time favorite treats as an encouragement for them to cooperate with your during the flight.

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  • I usually offer the sweet stuff towards the end of the flight, just in case they have a hard time handling the sugar.
  • I also make and print out a rewards chart (applicable for preschool kids and older). This simply includes a list of previously agreed-upon behavior and expectations and the corresponding reward/s when you reach your destination. (Some might disagree with this and call it a bribe, but in this case, I am willing to make an exception and I’d prefer to call it an encouragement!)

 

       5. Prepare for the environment.

Since you really have no control over your environment for the next couple of hours, it is best to prepare for the environment.

  • Let your kids (especially your toddler) expend their energy prior to boarding the plane.
  • You may let them eat gum or suck on a lollipop (or hopefully you’re still nursing your toddler at this stage) during take-off and landing.

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  • Assign travel buddies—who sticks with whom.
  • Assign carry-on responsibilities. Because we usually end up having a lot of carry-on luggage whenever we travel with kids (which I discourage, by the way), it is the best time to teach the older kids responsibility by assigning who carries what.

Here are our carry-on assignments:

DENNIS:

1. One bag, which includes the gadgets (since they’re heavier) and important documents. He’s in charge of the passports and tickets, while I’m in charge of the kids.

2. Stroller

ME:

1. My tote bag, which includes other essentials for the family plus the toddler’s essentials (what’s included here is first-aid, Isaiah’s diaper-changing needs, and anything I need to be able to grab easily). I don’t have a separate diaper bag dedicated to Isaiah anymore.

2. Kids’ bag, for holding all sets of clothes they might need for freshening up or just in case.

KIDS:

1. They each have their own food/snack bag.

2. They are in charge of carrying their toys/entertainment packs.

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Finally, be realistic. Lower your expectations. You’re traveling with kids, so rejoice if you get at least 15 minutes of shut-eye (I may be exaggerating, of course….or not.)


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