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.
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The Best Part

I finally get it.
After all these years of being a stay home mum, concurrent with the multiplication of my babyccinos, I realized that the best part of being at home is you have always something to look forward too.
With more babyccinos come more things to manage but that is tantamount to greater excitement in life. I said manage (not do) because there will come a point when most household jobs can be done by the kids. Which is awesome. The exciting bit comes from the many projects that pop up which I wouldn’t have bothered considering if I continued working as a banker.
Now, I love cooking. Don’t even get me started on baking. When we moved to Melbourne, I can’t even fry an egg. Now I’m discovering the melt-in–your-mouth dishes cooked through a slow cooker. It is opening another galaxy for me. So this week has been filled with slow cooked meals.
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There are the chalk paint projects which we want to finish. We already have a line up. I’m setting my eye on this dining set I want to refurbish and sell to raise money for Harkaway Hills College.
There’s the veggy patch which the kids started and we’re seeing the first sprouts. It’s giving us all a high. I’m praying that it rains soon because its been too dry lately for the plants.
Homeschooling is becoming blissful. With two kids who can study on their own and can follow a schedule, what more can I ask? They are around too to help me execute household chores. What I love about Sasha and Pio is they seldom complain.
Then there’s Kiko, my toddler, who messes twice faster than my clean up rate. He giggles uncontrollably every time he commits a mischief. Too darn cute.
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The baby, Jose, takes away all my tiredness. Completely adorable. He sleeps for hours, feeds well, laughs when someone gives him some attention. He’s almost saying “Thank God someone finally noticed me!” I have never seen him fussy yet.
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It will take forever to finish this journal as I haven’t started on the rest of the family.
If all else fail, we can always take a hike and go on a staycation.
Sufficed to say, I have so much things to do and I’m feeling good.
Really good.

One Fine Day

Sometimes God arranges things so that I can be alone on a Saturday morning. When most families are eating brunch or driving together, I cherished this moment by myself.
I was able to hear Mass and afterwards spend a holy hour in church.
My body was craving for coffee so I tried this new cafe, One Fine Day, @ Beaconsfield. I’ve always wanted to try it but as usual with young kids, its hard to get those wishes come true instantly.
But now that I have that time, this moment never felt so good. What a delicious reward for a long week.
Thank you Mama Mary.
I know this treat was arranged by you on your Feast Day (Our Lady of Lourdes), no less.

Lost For a While

Some time back, my Harkies (i.e. Luis and Nina) started school. After being at home for almost 6 weeks, they are leaving the fort again. I always get separation anxiety whenever they leave for school. I’m just so used to them being all around that you don’t want to change that anymore. Our house is full and the dynamics is at it’s peak.
I was so lost that we ended up at Little by Little Cafe to find my orientation back.
When we reached home, the activities mellowed down. The typical noise wasn’t there. Suddenly, life became easier. Just two kids out and our house became lethargic. I was able to accomplish more in terms of homeschooling, housework and prayer though.
I can tell that Luis and Nina were missed by their siblings.
When the two Harkies reached home, the house turned alive again. They said they always miss me when they’re in school.
I miss them more.
Baked brownies to pick us all up.
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My Kitchen Rules

These days I find my days too packed.
With homeschooling back to normal, a toddler who is trying to test every limit and a baby who needs a quiet house to sleep longer.
It’s all up to my eyes.
To manage my cooking load, I usually prepare my ingredients at night for the next day’s meal.
Suddenly, I found my girls in the kitchen. Or more like they found me swamped there. They raised their hands to help me. Almost insistently. Sasha helped me cook rice and a simple fresh tomato-capers-basil pasta while Nina marinated and bread coated the pork chops for next day’s dinner. They do it well too. We were finished in half the time it would usually take me.
Today, they helped me cook corn soup, prepare the ingredients for tomorrow’s lumpiang shanghai and load the dishwasher.
WOW!
Here’s my boys tickling each other while shredding veggies using the food processor.
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I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Perfect Moments

I don’t have a perfect year.

Not even a perfect day.

But I have many perfect moments in my life as a mother.

Countless.

They make up my life.

They make me stick to my job.

They make motherhood the best job in the world.

One of this moments happened around 11.30 am and I captured it.

I was busily cooking two dishes, Cordon Bleu and beef tapa.

Then I took my focus off the stove and saw this:

Sasha drawing something while feeding Kiko.

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Nina reading to Anton and Jose,

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while my big boys, Luis and Pio, battle each other in chess…

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I love these times.

They make me smile inside out.

Revive My Soul

It’s finally hitting me that I have 7 kids. I was telling my good friend, Rafela Sim, that the only rest I get is my prayer time. In short, I’m exhausted.

I was begging God to revive my soul.

So when I woke up late that Saturday morning, I was looking for a more leisure kind of day since my good husband was around. Little did I know I was in for a spin.

The Captain has always driven me crazy. I love that about him.

He asked me if I wanted to come with them for the usual Saturday piano class, etc. I don’t know why I said yes. I normally stay behind to have a break from the madness.

Lucky me for saying yes. He brought me to Kew to hear Mass at the Carmelite Convent. The nuns were so serene while Kiko was his usual mischievous self. Noisy and was not accommodating the silence. What a sharp contrast?

He invited me to have lunch at SoJo. Who can refuse that?

Then had my first cup of coffee after birth at Proud Marys. I wanted to have another cup but that’s too much of a good thing.

We ended the day with an indoor camping. Don’t ask me why? It just happened.

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Sunday was for Mass, family and Mornington Peninsula.

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Awesome.

Did I tell you that the apple pie and donuts from Johnny Ripe are worth the trip? Well of course apart from the beach.

So who’s feeling flat now? I’m all pumped up.

Deo gracias.

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.
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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.

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.
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Peace reigns more in the house.

Beyond Winter

Winter and I don’t get along well.
I’ve lived 35 years of my life without it.
Although it doesn’t snow in Melbourne, temperature can reach close to zero C.
There are days when its just rainy, cold and gloomy. I mean days in a row!
Then it will repeat the following week.
What am I to do?
I don’t want to sulk in depression during this time of the year.
I might have to face it every year until I die.
While I am finding it hard to embrace it, I am coming up with ways to survive the winter blues.
1. I will still go out for walks regardless of the number of layers I need to wear.
My Saturday Walk With Nina…
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2. I will try new cake, bread, pastry recipes.
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3. I will cook different kinds of soup to keep us warm.
4. Doesn’t hurt to drink coffee with my babyccinos.
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5. I will keep on writing.
6. I will read more books.
I am currently reading Diane Levy’s Of Course I Love You, Now Go to Your Room.
What’s yours?
7. We will keep on inviting friends and family over.
8. I will experiment with dinner.
My own take on Spicy Prawn with Fresh Tomatoes, Coriander and Linguine.
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9. We will GO OUT and discover new places even if its sub 10 degrees C outside.
@Fitzroy Garden
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10. I will work on my Parenting Strategies.
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You can’t put me down.