Utter Mess

Everything was wrong yesterday.
I didn’t get enough sleep because Kiko had diarrhea and horrible rashes.
The Hills (my homeschoolers) were asking for too many things.
The Harkies (my kids who go to Harkaway Hills College) were not following their schedule.
Anton was too noisy, he woke up Kiko.
I missed my afternoon nap.
My back hip was extremely sore. I couldn’t even stand up.
The Captain found me hostile. Grrrrr….
I was cranky, moody, miserable and impossible.
I wanted to evaporate completely.
Then I realized that I missed Mass that day. I never got to be with and touch Christ. I never got to mark my day as His. I missed that irreplaceable consolation, those infinite graces which give me so much peace and strength throughout the day.
I did it differently today.
I didn’t miss Mass and spent a good time of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
It was transforming.
I felt understood.
Christ, and not myself, became the center of my day.
I was serene. I was joyful.
Thanks be to God.

The Corner Post Cafe

I was walking around town when I chanced upon this cafe.

It was unassuming from the outside.

But when I entered in, I was drawn by the aroma of freshly baked bread and the French deco of the place. It was tastefully done. Too chic.


I can’t help but wander around…


and around…


and around.


I was trying to find a quiet place to have coffee. I certainly found my spot.

I’ll be back Corner Post Cafe.




A Perfect Sunday Afternoon

We just finished Sunday lunch of Tony’s Chicken Tenders with Potato Salad and frozen lemon tea. We topped everything off with ice cream. It made the kids scream out of joy.

We were enjoying a perfect spring weather. Tatay was Facebooking. The Captain was having his siesta while I’m massaging his head at the pergola.  I was enjoying looking at my babyccinos. Everyone was into something they like. Pio has his Lego, Luis has his gadgets, Anton was gardening, Kiko was taking his nap. The girls were giggling in the hammock.
You just want to freeze this moment. If possible, for life.
So I wished.
Not more than 30 minutes into this heavenly bliss, Nina came to me crying, screaming and bleeding. She fell off the hammock and cut her chin. She was inconsolable.
We rushed her to the (Emergency) hospital as advised by my (doctor) sister in law.
The one at Casey was so packed, I think her cut would have healed on its own even before we’d be served. So we went to Angliss Hospital at Upper Ferntree Gully as suggested by a family friend. We were treated quickly and decently. Now we know where to go next time.
Our life is mostly like this. You can’t sit down for a long time. The adventures never end.
I want to have more of those frozen lemon tea please.

How to Really Love Your Child

I read this book by Dr Ross Campbell while I was on an annual course. I was swept away by his words of wisdom and practical advices to struggling parents like me.
We are expecting baby no 7 by month end but that is never a guarantee that we’ve gotten everything right when it comes to parenting. It is first and foremost the greatest lesson in love for me and the Captain. It is an evolving, adaptive process where our ultimate dream is to make our children as holy as they can be. Unknowingly and not admittedly at times, our kids are actually the ones bringing us closer to God.
I’ve taken down some notes from this spectacular book which I jotted down below.
I assure you, it is better if you get a copy, devour it and keep it for life.
1. Every child needs sufficient physical affection. Hugs, kisses, caresses, back rub, massages. I noticed this need easily in my children. The moment some of them wake up, they instantly go near me for a hug.
Some of them rub their heads to my arms. Clue that they want some motherly love.
2. Every child needs enough eye contact. In a family with many kids, it is difficult to focus on one child trying to tell me the highlight of his day when an urgent need arises. Urgent needs like a toddler screaming to get mom to wipe his bottom, a baby who is on the loose and about to fall over a chair, two boys trying to rip open each other’s heads.
It is hard but possible. I’ve chosen the dinner table as one of the best places to connect via eye contact. Every child gets to have her time of glory to talk and mommy will listened as if it was only the two of us in that room.
Of course there are many down times too when the smaller ones are napping or we are having quiet time. I usually pull one child so I can spend that special time with him or her.
3. Undivided attention. Where in the world will you find time to give each and every child focused attention?
The Captain is very good with this. He either bring one of them for a bike ride, grocery trip, or lunch at McDonalds.
I go out for a walk or coffee with anyone of them whom I felt didn’t spend enough time with me that week.
Giving a bath, baking, painting with them are means and ways of spending one on one time.
You will realize that your time multiplies with the number of children God gives you.
4. Punishment is different from discipline. Hardly any child benefit from physical punishment. Disciplining them requires patiently instructing them in ways they should and ought to behave. It will take years to raise a child to become mature, responsible and loving.
I would like to end with the best thing I learned from the book. Every child needs to be love and they need it unconditionally. While it is easier to like children who are obliging, nice and kind, that is not an excuse to not love our more challenging children any less.
Those who need most love deserve it the least.
Parenting after all is a matter of charity.
Do I see Christ in my children? Or do I just want them to do whatever I want because I am their mother and I am already fed up with all the noise and chaos?
Am I the kind of person my children would like to hang up with for the rest of their lives? Or does my temper and impatience drive them away?
Do I teach them to love unconditionally by my example?
I had to face many issues while reading this book and I continue to face new ones. The important thing is that we have tools now to help us and invaluable advices to become the best parents that we can be.
Let’s seize the day.

What Makes You Laugh?

We had that question in our Catechism class?

What makes you laugh?


It’s my little, silly, cheeky munchkin, KIKO.



He eats like a monster and sleeps so well.

He’s beginning to walk now. Baby steps.

We all find that too exciting.


Words will have to wait for a while.

He’s total cuteness.


Bread and Jam for Me

I’m in the last few weeks of pregnancy.
Funny how this pregnancy just passed so quickly. Before I knew it, I’m about to give birth.
I have no idea why I wanted to accomplish so many things before delivery. I want to finish homeschooling for the year, I want to paint our bedroom set white, I want to organize the kids’ clothes, I want to clean the study, I want to declutter the workshop…
I’m going berserk. I needed a break.
I’ve requested the Captain to go on a date with me.
Where?  Hawthorn. We haven’t been there for a while. So off we went.
We had lunch at Vietstar which I think is the best value for money Vietnamese restaurant this side of town.  Then we had dessert at Bread and Jam for Frances, one of my personal favorites.
Brings back great memories.
I finally relaxed.
With my ever elusive date…
We stopped by the Immaculate Conception Church to complete our pilgrimage.
October will not be complete without a special tribute to Our Lady.

Shabby Chic Bookshelf

I’ve always thought that an entry decor should be something captivating.

It is a sneak preview of the house.

I’ve struggled to put something which I can afford in our small foyer.

Until I saw this old, dilapidated ladder in ebay. Bought it for $40.


I thought it had potential.

I’ve asked my handyman, aka Tatay, to cut it shorter, paint and sand it.


The end product is something I am extremely pleased with.

Our shabby chic bookshelf:


I’ve retained some parts of the ladder unpainted, untouched to keep it authentic.


Our living room has never looked this appealing to me.


Love it.



Reminiscing Lysterfield Lake

You know us.
We have to be out on a sunny winter day. What’s the point staying at home?
Off we drove to Lysterfield Lake. About 10 minutes away from home.
I only have one word for this place.
The tranquil lake, the unassuming bridge, the beautiful horizon, the idyllic scenery satiate your senses to an ultimate degree.
Oh Lord. How can I not be grateful for all these?
Did you see the kangaroos?

Back in Castlemaine

I was back in Castlemaine some time in July and August.

I attended my annual retreat and course there minus the kids.

It is one of those places you would want to go back to again and again and again…

It’s country living spoiled with great local shops, art galleries, historical buildings, and more…

Plus the joy of being alone with God is unimaginable.

Any walk around town is worthwhile.

Even the Old Castlemaine Gaol turned out to be a great find.

You have to try Governor’s Cafe located inside the old prison’s premises.


I brought my friends to Das Kaffeehaus just across the Botanical Garden.


Oh what a lovely time we had!

Priorities Changing

I haven’t been writing.
I love blogging but I find it harder lately to squeeze it into my days.
I even stopped checking my Facebook account. Signs of aging I guess…
I promised that I will prioritize my prayer life first then my family.
The rest will have to wait.
I think it’s a good choice.
I am more focused on the children and more interiorly recollected.
Peace reigns more in the house.