Posts Tagged ‘family life’

♫♪And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart♪♪♫

Yes, my favorite time of the year is almost here.  Next Sunday is the start of the Advent season, the beginning of another liturgical calendar, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the Nativity of Jesus.  I love the ritual of praying and watching the lighting of the first Advent candle, it signals the official start of the most joyous season of the year.

I am glad there is always YouTube to provide the music, I won’t have to take out all the Christmas CDs  which are usually mixed with other DVDs the kids have accumulated through the years. Listening to Christmas carols all day long, singing  along and belting out those familiar tunes and inspiring words. Truly, it warms the heart. I love the Christmas album of the Günter Kallman Choir, the cool voice of Johnny Mathis, the romantic way our very own  Jose Marie Chan sings his Christmas compositions, Jason Mraz’ version of Winter Wonderland and the Pilipino Christmas songs from way back which speak of how we Filipinos celebrate Christmas. The latter would make you dance, stomp your feet and sing the familiar Tagalog lyrics.  Talk of tinolang manok, lechon, salabat, bibingka, puto bungbong, hot tsokolate and such recipes and delicacies that you can only find here. The joys of meeting friends and relatives, the fun of watching little kids singing their versions of Christmas carols and shouts of “namamasko po” and your shouts of “patawad” because there are no more loose coins in your pocket.

Gifts are wrapped finally but I think I would have to make another trip to the mall for those I haven’t marked on my list yet. We have put up some Christmas decorations but don’t have the lights yet anywhere outside the house. And it is this time of year that I am sure Nate would love to celebrate with us. He is three years old now and can appreciate even small gifts that he receives. I love how his eyes light up and his whole face transforms into a smile while uttering a single word “wow”.

Hmmm….now I’m counting! Did I say there are twenty-nine days to go before Christmas?


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I thought it would be easy to buy a gift for Nate now that he is turning three (next Sunday) but I was in a quandary what to buy for him, a choice between books, toys or something he can wear. I was like a top toy on a slow spin while choosing what to buy for him that I know he would like. He loves toys but those race cars would only stay good for a few days then it would just be the remote control that is functioning. He loves caps and bonnets and face mask toys for kids. Make them all represent his favorite characters this side of the planet.  Last year, his favorite was Mickey Mouse, he even had a Mickey Mouse designed cake on his second birthday then Nissa bought him a big  Micky Mouse stuff toy (bigger than he was) for Christmas. Next thing I learned he loved Spider Man then  it was Minion toys.  He has two favorites though,  two small plastic robots that he plays with when he is here. No harm with breaking except perhaps an arm twisted too much because he makes them fight each other. Next thing you know, he will probably be asking for an astronaut suit because being an astronaut is his dream at the moment. He was happy with the F1 racer suit that Nissa bought for him to wear last Halloween.


Sorry, I got lost there somewhere. After a few rounds of going here and there inside the children’s section of the department store, I finally found it.  I know he would love this , he can use it when they travel. It’s unfortunate though that he can’t  use it  yet when they go up to Baguio tomorrow for a three-day trip. Maybe, he would be able to experience pony-riding again and enjoy  a boat ride at Burnham Park. The cool weather there is just perfect for activities outdoors.

I was supposed to buy some Christmas gifts too for the family but I can’t stand Sunday when there are so many shoppers in all corners of the mall. I ended up buying  a birthday gift and a Christmas gift just for him. It’s one item off my list.

Celebrating birthdays and Christmas, the heart is glad.









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Ah, to remember those days of old. They make you smile  and nostalgic of course. Taking a trip  down memory lane to the max :)

Nissa called me up early this morning looking for a box where she put some CDs, a copy of their wedding invites and baby pictures which their official photographer used during their wedding reception. All of our photo albums were flooded six years ago when typhoon Ondoy hit Metro Manila. My son painstakingly wiped dry all our photos and collated those which can still be saved.  I looked at the photos she chose for the video, some are frayed at the edges but they evoked memories.

Nissa was around five or six here and Josef was 3.

Nissa was around five or six here and Josef was 3.

Then I found this too, mixed with their baby pictures.  A former office mate took this shot years ago when I was still with BPI.


“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
– ansel adams

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Yes, I know a lot of you would probably react and say “it’s too early yet”. I know, I know. Yesterday before my son left for work he asked me to listen to the new downloads on his tab saying that I would surely like it and adding that it’s my favorite album of all time. I was surprised. He downloaded the whole album of Gunter Kallmann’s  Christmas Sing In. Around this time every year, I would bring out the various CDs and play them randomly and one of them is the album Christmas Sing In. As if that was not enough, son said, “listen to this Ma”. We smiled, remembering those days when they were younger and we would listen to the Jackson Five belting out ♫♪Santa Claus Is Coming To Town♪♫.

Did you ever believe in Santa Claus? Did you let your kids believe that he comes on Christmas Eve bearing gifts that they asked and prayed for? I don’t remember my kids ever having asked Santa about what gifts to receive for Christmas although they each had a picture with Santa Claus, a perfect capture of smiling kids on Santa’s knee.  Those were the days when parents and their kids line up at one section of the mall  to wait for their turn to be pictured with Santa. I wonder if they still do that these days. Since I resigned from work more than fifteen years ago, my check list on buying Christmas gifts has dramatically narrowed down to just family and close friends. I do my Christmas shopping early depending of course on available budget and finding gifts for family and friends that they will truly appreciate. It’s not the cost that counts really, but the thoughtful gestures behind the gifts.

I remember our Christmas celebration last year with Nate’s infectious smiles while  embracing a Mickey Mouse toy which was larger than he was.  Back then, Mickey Mouse was his favorite. Now he is into Minions and large Lego blocks. I wonder what will be next when he celebrates his third birthday come November.

I bought a food magazine on home-cooked Pinoy classics. Chanced upon it when I went grocery-shopping. I would love to try those luscious local fruit pies (at least one on their list), recipes using coconut, and locally famous desserts. One can always buy them here (Cainta is famous for kakanin) but the challenge of course lies in learning how to cook them in one’s own kitchen. I would love to try the good old-fashioned Bibingka wrapped in banana leaves, topped with grated coconut, a little amount of sugar and butter and those cheesy Ube-Cassava cakes…heaven.

Oh, I am listening to the remastered Christmas album of Johnny Mathis. I think of Dad when I listen to this, he used to have an LP (a long-playing record) way back then.  It makes me smile and a little thoughtful listening to the catchy and lovely Christmas songs in the album.

I know, it’s that time of year again!

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It’s one of those  relaxed and lazy days of the week.  I asked Josef if he could accompany me to the newly opened library in our town and he readily agreed. I told him bringing the car was probably a mistake because of the horrendous traffic. Such common daily routine of  everyone ….traffic. He had all his IDs laminated while I waited at the library to talk to their assistants there. There is no licensed librarian yet and most of the volumes on the shelves were donations from the National Library.They have a sizable collection of National Geographic and several children’s story books, various local publications of food mag, travel and leisure. I had a good time chatting with the library assistants and I promised that I would donate some fiction/non-fiction books to add to their shelves. Finally, we have a modern and lovely town library with lots of computers and free wi-fi.Most shelves are still vacant though.




Nissa gifted me with a lovely Zen Mandalas coloring book complete with a  set of Faber-Castell  colored pencils, sharpener and eraser. The designs look so complicated and challenging.  I was happy before having an ordinary coloring book, this one needs a lot of time before you finish a page. Coloring is a stress-buster. Josef  told me early this morning that I could upload Mandala on my tab. Practice, practice, practice. It is so addicting.  The final picture depends on how creative you are in choosing a combination of colors. Here are some photos that I practiced on before we went to the library.

image1image2image3image4image5image6   I  set aside reading again. I can’t wait to start coloring on an actual page.

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The first words I heard from my son when he came home from a week-trip to Boracay were,  “Enjoy talaga,  umitim ba ako Ma?” I laughed and he embraced me and said, “I’ve missed you Ma”. Of course I’ve missed him too.

He said he was sorry he was not able to find sea glass for me. It was just a lovely powder-white  sand all throughout. That’s okay though because based on his accounts, he enjoyed his one-week stay there and that what really counts. He didn’t take pictures but took videos of the activities they did there. Aside from swimming and exploring the place,  he enjoyed parasailing, one of the many things they did with his friends. When I saw the video, it was really, really beautiful.  Imagine yourself high up in the air with just the blue ocean underneath.  One thing that he would like to experience again if he ever has the chance to come back was the helmet diving. It was his first time to dive. They  were briefed on how to equalize pressure in the ears,  taught  hand signals to the divers and just enjoy the gifts of the sea. They gave a small packet of bread to feed the different species of fish they saw there and he enjoyed that too. The corals are just so lovely. The diving package comes with a CD where you will see yourself  feeding a school of fish and admiring the lovely corals. They tried the ATV ride (buggy cars, one of the many options to go around the island) but it was not much of a challenge compared to helmet diving and parasailing. The place is open 24/7. The whole story-telling itself was just as exciting.



Banana boat ride...

Banana boat ride…

About to experience the best of all....helmet diving!

About to experience the best of all….helmet diving!

So there is a grotto there, an image of Mama Mary..

So there is a grotto there, an image of Mama Mary..

Boracay is one of the many (if not the best) tourist attractions in our country. A lot of tourists, foreign and local visit this place throughout the year. To view some photos of the place, just click this link. It is one of the world’s top beach destinations.

He brought home sweets, lots of key chains for me, for Nissa and for his office mates and t-shirts.

My Boracay loot

It’s more fun in the Philippines.

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♫♪♫Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
I don’t remember growing older
When did they?

When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn’t it yesterday
When they were small?

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as they gaze

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears
Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset♪♫♪

It’s crazy. There is a particular song playing in your head for quite sometime and then you suddenly hear  it on the radio. You smile and remember and the good feeling remains for the rest of the day.

When my daughter and my son-in-law were just planning their wedding, my thoughts kept going back to this particular song. Those were the days – the days when you were so excited to hold her in your arms, the days that you watched her grow up to be a very smart lady, the time you cried when she whispered “This is it Ma, I found the right man for me”.  A caring, nurturing and loving mother that you are, you  thought that she was still too young to enter married life. Is 29 nowadays still too young to get married? We wouldn’t have our little Nate now if she didn’t.

You remember the journals she painstakingly filled up that were kept under lock and key. That tiny key was kept somewhere safe. You remember her fascination for collecting stationeries in all sizes, colors and shapes, the small notes and letters attached to the door that you eagerly look forward to when you come home.  Same goes through with your unico hijo. You wait sometimes at the gate when he fails to come home on time. You are anxious when he does not answer your text or message on Skype or Viber. Goodness you say, he is now 31. But such is a heart of a mother, always praying for the safely of her kids.

♪♫♪When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn’t it yesterday
When they were small?♪♫♪

Yes, gone are the days when they were small but they will always remain happy memories that you treasure until you grow old.

You sing the song in your head once again and you smile.

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