Cheeky Kiko Turned 2

Kiko reminds me to always thank God for making it through another day.

I almost forgot how to have a (boy) toddler until Kiko came around.

I forgot how much mess they can make.

I forgot how much tantrum they can throw.

I forgot how much diaper I need to change (his appetite is insatiable).

I forgot how much sticky they are.

I forgot how frustrating it is for him to not find the words yet.

I forgot that it takes so much energy to raise a toddler.

I barely have any left.

But his enjoyable laughter, his cute face, his blissful existence is like communion to my soul.

Thank God I have little helpers around.

I’m grateful.

Everyday with him proves that I can’t rely on my own strength anymore.

It can only be from God.

Happy birthday Kiko. I can’t wait until you’re 3!

Pio Turned 9

I usually ask the kids what they want for their birthdays. This is the only day in the year when most of their whims can be granted.
True to his nature,  Pio has no idea what to do or ask for. While his siblings already had grand plans for their own birthdays (i.e. overnight at Mt Bawbaw, trip to Red Hill, Puffing Billy train ride, etc). We had to coach him to ask for the moon.
So he had a lunch date with the Captain, watched the Return of the King  (Lord of the Rings), frosted his favorite Chocolate Cake and had a boisterous dinner with his big family. I served sausages,  pizza and chips as per his request.
Pio is too easy to please.
He’s not one to ask for grand things so we decided to drive the entire crew to Philip Island on Anzac Day. It reminds them of the best ever holiday we had there with their cousins.

It’s All Good

Whenever I get words of wisdom from parents of big families with grown up kids,  I cannot help but take it to heart. Our lives are not and will never be easy but it doesn’t mean it will not be joyful. As a matter of fact, we have been enriched with an abundance of blessings. Now I get it when they say that every child is a gift. They bring their own life, character, and meaning into the family. Then God orchestrates things behind our understanding so that we can raise and provide every child not only with their material needs but more specially to fulfill each child’s longing for unconditional love and acceptance.

It’s not always easy. Failure abounds. But with grace, love prevails.

My 80-something friend from the parish with 13 grown-up kids told me “It’s all good!”

He’s right. Everything always turns out for the good.

@ Emerald Lake Park

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Oh No!!!

Kiko, who is not even 2 yet, is a hybrid of Pio and Luis when they were his age. Pio was the tasmanian devil turned toddler (everything you can possibly imagine within his reach ended up thrown into the floor or broken). Luis was the dare devil kind (climbed kitchen tops, hid in dungeons, played with electricals).
After all those trainings, I find Kiko rather amusing.
Just yesterday while I was busy changing Jose’s nappy…
Pio: (laughing loudly) Mummy guess what Kiko threw into the toilet this time?
Me: A cup?
Pio: No.
Me: A toothbrush?
Pio: No! His very naughty!
Me: What is it?
Pio: You have to come here and check it yourself.
And this is what I saw.
He plugged the newly opened wipes packet down the drain. While I was taking a picture of the evidence, Kiko flushed it. I had no choice but to pluck the entire thing out with my bare hand.
I saw Kiko laughing his heart out.
Nice.
I’m not amused anymore.

Autumn School Holiday

I love having all my kids at home.

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(The mess they bring is another matter. Let’s ignore that for the meantime.)
I don’t dread school holidays. I look forward to it. I enjoy them now more than ever. More than half of them are in school age. I never thought the time will come when I can bring all of them out and actually enjoy it.
We mostly went out to the woods. It’s a great time to be outdoors.

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Libraries are one of our favorites too. I resumed teaching them swimming then got severe skin allergies as a result. We need to have mini crosses in life. Can’t be always parties.
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My best time this school break was actually at home with the kids while watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. We never watched a movie as a family before because someone will start crying or will jump here and there or will spill something or will start a fight. You know what I mean, life with little people.
Now movies are possible. Questions from all ages were relentless though.
 Thank God for subtitles.

The Return of the Cake Stand

We all lost a few kilos during Lent.
Thanks to minimizing sugar and butter.
But now is a  great time to celebrate.
So let’s call back the cake stand.
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First thing Nina and I baked was this delicious Raspberry & Dark Chocolate Muffins. The recipe calls for white chocolate but I don’t have it. That will never stop me from baking. I substituted it with dark chocolate chunks and it turned out to be a hit. Or maybe everyone else was craving for baked sweets like me.
The birthday season is coming soon…

Forty Days of Lent

I kind of like it. How I lived Lent this year. I toned down on my social media. I gave up baking sweets for the family. I controlled my temper more.
I’ve been quite good on my first two resolutions but the last one was really hard to keep and proved to be the ultimate sacrifice. I realized (time and again) that patience is not an act of the moment. There has to be sufficient investment to acquire it. Primarily, I have to invest in my time with and for God. Protect my time of prayer. Lock myself in a room and be in complete solitude with God. Everything else fails without this time with God.
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What helps me more is keeping a rosary in my pocket. I can grasp it when the tide of my pride is rising. It’s my remedy to the constant temptation of frustration.
Peace. Be still. God is in control.
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My life has to be like that. An unceasing embrace to praying, to being with God. I cannot find happiness otherwise. God is in me and I in Him. I lack nothing. I have everything.
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Easter is here.

Really Delicious Osso Buco with Mixed Mushroom Risotto

I’m loving my slow cooker right now.

I used it once before.  But my boys’ favorite, Once Upon a Chef’s Beef Stew, tasted better stove-top cooked than slow cooked even after 10 hours. The meat didn’t turn tender. It seemed a bit incoherent. I thought beef would be yummier and more tender if slow cooked. I was very disappointed.

To the point that I wanted to give away my slow cooker. I felt bad for asking the Captain to buy it.

Until I chanced upon the Australian Women’s Weekly Slow Cooker (The Complete Collection) book from the library. It was too hard to resist giving my slow cooker one more try.

It never disappointed me this time.

Cooking is about taking second chances.

I tried this Osso Buco with Mixed Mushrooms recipe. It looked really tempting in the picture. It doesn’t take a lot for me to be tempted especially when it comes to new dishes.

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I had extra mushroom of 3 different kinds bought from the Asian grocery store so I decided to cook Mushroom Risotto. I asked Anton to stir it.

Now Osso Buco + Mixed Mushroom Risotto = Fine Dining experience!!!

Just serve it with a glass of red wine.