I just put Rafa to sleep and as I was singing to him I got weepy. Definitely not hormones but a genuine mommy moment. 

At night I hum traditional hymns like Amazing Grace or Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. But in the afternoons (now that our nanny has been away for more than a week and I'm in-charge of his naps), I sing the Beatles' I Will and a string of Carpenters songs (We've Only Just Begun seems appropriate too for a mom and child, no?) and Edelweiss. Please don't ask why. Haha. 

I think it's one of the most touching moments of my day. 


Little Traditions

C took this photo one Sunday morning. Rafa and I are praying here. 

Every morning, I sit him on my lap this way and we thank God for the good night's sleep and pray for protection and guidance for him throughout the day as he learns and plays and for guidance for me and his other caretakers as we care for and teach him. 

He really listens to the prayer and puts his hands together to say Amen at the end of the prayer. I hope he will remember these little moments when he's older.

I love you, Rafa. So much.

Made Me Smile Today

I love short features like this one. And I think everyone has something interesting to say, if only we take time to ask and listen.


Little Boy Treats

Rafa's at that stage where I can take him out on grocery and sewing supply runs without much trouble. He loves being out and he's easily entertained. It helps a lot too that he now eats whatever we eat. 

Today we spent the morning buying fabric and notions. We had pinakbet and rice for lunch and I had time to spare for a cup of coffee too! Imagine that. After lunch we bought some groceries (thank God for this cute car-cart!) and then headed home. We weren't out of the mall parking yet and he was already zonked out. I'm glad he enjoyed our day out and I'm soooo glad he's tired enough to nap. 

My dream come true: having mini dates with my child. :)



I don't know why I suddenly remembered Masbate tonight. Specifically that night time boat ride that we took from Masbate to Bicol. 

We went to Masbate to check on their water problem. We brought people from the ad agency who were going to make a fundraising mailer for us, on access to safe drinking water. 

That trip was one of the most memorable ones in my years with UNICEF. It was heart wrenching to see a severely dilapidated and horribly undermanned municipal hospital. There was only one doctor when we got there and he showed us makeshift beds composed of pieces of plywood atop office tables. It was so depressing. 

When a woman giving birth required more medical attention, they had to transport her to Bicol via banca. A couple hours of rough sea. 

That rough sea will forever be etched in my memory. 

It was night time and raining very hard as we crossed the sea to Bicol. I don't know why we were even out at sea that night but we were. Maybe we all really just wanted to get home so badly that we took that risk (an office vehicle awaited us in Bicol). Or maybe the weather was fair when we left Masbate. But why a night time boat ride, right? Anyway. 

So there we were on that long boat ride. It was raining so hard we could hardly hear one other. The waves were so huge there would be a few seconds of free fall before we landed hard on water again. I remember I had no life vest on as there wasn't enough and I knew how to swim while one of the agency girls didn't. I remember being scared and trying not to look scared. I remember worrying that the agency girls would be mad at us for putting them through such an ordeal. 

Then finally the boatmen sighted land. What a huge relief to see the port lights. I kept my eyes on those lights and felt hope slowly warming my heart. We were drenched to the bone but finally you could see smiles and feel a huge weight being lifted. 

I don't remember praying but I'm sure I did. I think I was having a dry season then in my walk. Otherwise I would've remembered praying and finding some relief there. What I do know for certain is that God was there in the midst of that rough sea, steering our boat and making sure we were safe. 

It's been many years since that night but I don't think I've ever thanked God enough for seeing us through. I feel so blessed I got to experience that. My life would be less rich had I not faced that rough sea. Thank You Lord for saving us and for reminding me constantly of that night and the many dangers seen and unseen that you have saved us from. 


Will To Love

Rafa will be 16 months at the end of the month. 

Just this weekend we observed some significant changes in his behavior. This Saturday I felt like a failure because I couldn't get him to have his teeth brushed. Shallow, I know. 

I'm realizing that I feel the fullness of love not in the cute or tender moments, but the times he is willful and won't let me put him down even if I oh so need to pee. Or when he insists to pretend drink from an old, crusty plastic cup, despite repeatedly being told no. 

Those moments are a test of will, also for me. A test of willingly loving him, despite the urge to get angry and just "letting him have it". 

I can't believe he's not even two! Hahaha!



Hi! How are you? I know I have been remiss in writing. I miss it too, but mommy duties are never ending, that's what I've discovered.

Rafa is now a year and three months old. Wow! Can you imagine that? He's able to walk well, run a bit, climb up and down the sofa (yikes!!!), say some words like car, 'ter (for water), there, dada, mama and he has also started doing more imaginative play. I hope I got the term right. But yes, he's starting to make a little world for himself. Lately he learned to give his pet animals some snacks and water. And has also taken to feeding me and his dada with bread. And yes, we take the bread from him and eat it. How could we not?

So anyway... I have finally found a bible study group and I really am thankful for it! Joined the group late last year and we've finished two study guide books by Beth Moore. The first one was on Daniel and the second one was on Esther. Both timely and very enriching.

We are on a sort of summer break so now we're studying with some videos by Rob Bell. It was my turn to facilitate today and the material was, I think, perfect for me.

The title of the material is Noise. It tackles the things that fill out our lives. The noise (audible and visual) that may hinder us from hearing God.

We're all constantly wired, connected. Constant SMS, updates on Facebook or Instagram, etc.

Personally I am so thankful that C and I decided not to get cable (although the recent epic Nadal-Djokovic match had us yearning for a sports channel). We get to spend more time talking and reading. And eating at the table properly. That, to me, is a huge luxury.

One thing I think that I'm also trying to work on is resisting the urge to document every special thing we encounter. Two weekends ago we were in Tagaytay and we had a wonderful view of pine trees and the incessant, beautiful sound of crickets at night. There was also of course the truly breathtaking view of Taal Volcano. C kept urging me to take a picture and I just refused. I told him I wanted to enjoy the view and not be disturbed by trying to get the right framing or angle or light.

Even with Rafa, I have missed documenting a lot of milestones and cute moments because I was busy savoring them just as they were happening. I regret not having a record sometimes but then I know I wouldn't have completely enjoyed those moments with him and I wouldn't have been completely present in those moments with him had I fiddled with my phone cam.

This week I pray for wisdom to discern what unnecessary noise I have in my life and the courage and discipline to take those out.



So sorry I have been so quiet.

I have finally succumbed to parental guilt. Haha. Every free time I get, I feel guilty spending it on things that don't concern Rafa. Uh-oh, right? I'm trying to figure out how to strike a balance. Let you know when I succeed. Don't hold your breath. Haha.

Anyway... Rafa has recently figured out how to use his charms to control us. When we're carrying him and he wants to go somewhere or touch something, he'll plant a big, wet and noisy kiss on our cheeks or mouths. Instant heartmelt.

A bit of news. One of my good friends and I decided to put up a little support group for women who have reproductive immune issues.

I know how helpful other women's advice was to me when I was going through my miscarriages. It helped so much to know that a lot of these women had gone on to have successful pregnancies. My friend and I just want to give back.

So if you're reading this and you want to share a story or maybe hear some stories, please do search Campfire Manila on Facebook. We'll be there for you.



Happy first birthday, Rafa!

This will be short and probably not so coherent as we are in Singapore at the time of this writing and really exhausted from squeezing in so much in just four days. But I know I have to write something to mark this important day.

As I was putting Rafa to sleep tonight, I thought about how my love for him has increased (if that is even possible!) now that he is one. I am re-learning that love isn't steady and that it increases in intensity over time.

I am amazed at this because I probably feared my love and interest in Rafa would wane or settle into a comfortable plateau as the "novelty" of having a "new" child wore off. I'm saying this because I'm the type of person who gets all excited about a new toy, hobby, food or place, only to grow tired of it after a few weeks or months. I know... How can I compare Rafa to a toy?

It's difficult to explain so I won't. I just know that my love for this little boy has grown with him. And I am so thankful to God for trusting us to be his parents.

I am overjoyed and filled to the brim with love and gratitude.


Also, when I lay him down on the bed, he squirmed and crawled towards me and finally settled on my chest. I thought about how long it will be till he won't want to sleep on my chest anymore. And this got me reflecting on my own relationship with my Father in heaven. If I, a human parent, with so any flaws, so long for my son's affection and closeness, how much more does God long for me to draw near to Him?!

Oh what joy it must bring our Father when we His children draw near and love Him.


Bottled (blogged) moment

Rafa is just recovering from stomach flu (first time he's sick since he was born, and just shortly before he turns one at that!) and I know I should write about our experience with that but I just got so giddy with the goodness of the moment that I thought I'd write a quick note about it.

C and I were reading the Sunday paper and discussing an article on the Oscars (which will be tomorrow) and the merits of each nominee and it was just such a comfortable, engaged and happy moment. You know that feeling where something's happening and part of you is in that moment and part of you is like hovering above, observing? Well, that happens to me a lot (I know, weird, right?) and our Oscars moment just seemed so ordinary and yet so special. I knew at that precise moment that there was nowhere I would rather be and no one I would rather be with.

For that, I am thankful for, today.