Weekend Wonder | A Gracious, Summer List

Summer officially started for us yesterday. “Happy last day of school!,” kids greeted each other as I picked up my son in school. Late mornings, sleeping in, lazy bits of time, a free-flowing daily ride. Only a few of what I am looking forward too.

I looked at our previous summer escapades and was instantly refreshed and excited.

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This year, I am bent to create new summer memories while I embrace the presence of the children. They’re just growing up too fast!

Here’s a summer list to get me by…

Hold a picnic under a mango tree. Soda and sandwiches for everyone. Wine and cheese for me on a summer afternoon breeze.

Run in the field. From the home to the nearby field, to walk to it, to leave behind our slippers and just feel the grass, to run through it and be free!

Encourage the kids to go out and play their sport. One is into volleyball. One is into football. Another will play basketball. Before they go out to the world and get busy, I want to prod them to nurture this side of them. Until today, I am wondering how they are quite athletic when my husband and I are so not. But how we love watching them! Fortunately, the little one is playing in the youth pro league of football. That brings on more family bonding moments.

Take a road trip. The eldest is going off to college so a road trip is a sure thing but I’d like to take an unpalnned detour along the way, to make them feel a little bit uncertain, anticipating, to make them feel how it is to adjust, how it is to be flexible given life’s unplanned circumstances.

Take a hike. I am so bent on doing this with the kids. A short hike will do. Among the trees. Up to the mountains. Through paths in the woods. A couple of years from now, I doubt if I can still drag my kids with me to take a walk in the woods. So, now.

Teach the kids more household chores and make them own it! After a long time of not having a helper, the kids have been pitching in every now and then. This time, since they’re really growing up…it’s about time they have their own turf, when it comes to chores.

Create opportunities for story telling within the family. Over coffee. After tv. Before sleeping. While just chilling. If you get the feeling that I am racing against time to create cherished moments with the family, you are right! Someone is off to college. There’s a girlfriend to speak of. We’re almost ready to leave elementary school. I just know soon enough, they will be out of my hands. So I want to listen to their stories, tell them stories of my own.

Hopefully, these summer memories will come in handy to them someday.

So, hello summer!

Family Fridays | Wondering About My Worth as a Mom and Wife

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Have you ever wondered about your worth as a mother and wife?

I do. Sometimes. When the chores just get too much, when the children’s shrieking overwhelms, when thoughts on providing their needs press their way into my day, when it seems my system and efforts are not enough to be at par with the ‘supermoms’ of the world, I wonder.

While this doubt creeps into my system, it fades away easily, thank God. Everyday, the heavens send me daily reminders of my purpose in my children’s lives, in my husband’s life. This is how I bounce back into the family realm, giving it the best way I could, loving in the best way I know.

Just recently, two of these daily reminders wonderfully caught me by surprise.

Daily Reminder Number 1

Last night was a summer night’s affair with my husband.  I had to dress up and play the military wife duties. I had to be present at the Commandant’s Night, where officers will be inducted. He was elected president of his class in a mandatory course for his military career. I helped him with his speech and held his hand all throughout. Every time my husband dons on his uniform, I can feel how right it is for him to be in the military service. I see him walk with much honor and much heart. I was surprised though when it was time for him to deliver his speech. I felt this funny feeling of being nervous, happy and excited at the same time. It’s the same feeling I get when my son is in a soccer game. I said to myself, Oh no, the feeling has transcended to my husband’s territory! I have attended numerous ceremonies as a military wife but it was only last night that I had this feeling. As his big, bold voice filled the cold, summer night, I looked around at the audience. My heart marveled as I saw them listen, really listen. My mind spinned when I saw faces react to the words he said. I saw him deliver his message perfectly, word for word. I know! Because I was with him as he practiced it in the car earlier! Until now, his voice fills my ear,

Let us expect nothing less of ourselves. Let us do our roles as a CGSC student —

         To act and not to just gripe.

         To ask and not just to question.

         To standardize and not just to submit.

         To experience education and not just learn.

         To excel and not just comply.

 

I saw that he gave his best. He did well. The applause and the admiration were all a bonus. What mattered to me was that he did it right. I knew that made him happy. This is sort of what I feel too for the children when they do things right.

www.pocketfulofdreams.co.uk

Daily Reminder Number 2

This was a weird daily reminder but I happily embraced it. As I was walking inside camp after paying our utility bills, an enlisted soldier approached me. He said, “The Commander started his staff course already, didn’t he? The Commander is really something. He’s snappy and has standards. Good luck to you both Ma’am. I shall look forward to him being one of the navy’s admirals.” He smiled as he said that. I smiled back at him, wanting to ask if he knew my husband personally, in whatever way or assignment but he quickly went on his way.

I sobbed when I sat back in the car. I felt proud all over again and worthy. It felt good to be recognized because of the children, because of the husband, so opposite of how I was known in the younger years. I knew that whatever it is I was doing everyday as a mom, as a wife are part parcel of what he is, of what the children are. There are days that I miss working, wondering what I could be, how much more I can achieve career-wise. There are days when I don’t have enough time for myself but all this will come to an end, I know and all I will have left are the fond memories of how the family has grown. I know I am not missing out on this. I know because everyday reminds me of it. I bounce back and know that all is really worthwhile. When it isn’t, you’ll feel it too.

 

 

Weekend Wander | Cebu, A Prelude to Summer

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Slowly, the heat trickles down our everydays. Slowly, the monsoon wind says goodbye as the hot, humid weather patiently creeps into our days. In a heartbeat, it’ll be summer.

The Thirsty Cup in Cebu allowed me to experience a sweet prelude to summer. Thirsty Cup is a football tournament in the Visayas region bringing together football teams all over the Philippines with promising players competing in one exciting sports event. This is my first time to bring my son to a football tourney outside of Manila. I’m sure to do it again because it was so much fun! I enjoyed being part of a parenting group that is bent on supporting their children’s passion for the sport. I was amazed at how everyone cooperated and coordinated with each other to make sure that the trip was worthwhile and fun in terms of both learning and experience. It was great to see other teams from Manila competing,too.

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On the side, the parents and kids came together to experience Cebu, visiting landmarks and resorts, famous lechon restaurants and dining places. It was such joy to listen to the chatter of doting parents, to the wails and shrieks of children, excited about the whole thing.

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I was specifically pleased that we got to visit Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort. It was a resort that offered a Cebu beach experience with clear waters, lush landscaping, beautiful swimming pools and a delicious buffet spread! Alas, it was also during this visit that my son caught a fever. Oh well, everything can’t be perfect. I was just glad his fever was gone before the games.

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The family also spent some quiet time together at Marco Polo Cebu. True to its brand, Marco Polo allowed for a well spent break for relaxation — luxurious nights of sleep, waking up to heavenly breakfast spread, chill time at the Penthouse Bar, the bar by the pool or the lounge. I made sure to try each of them and had a nice, happy feeling doing so.

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I made sure to visit pretty food stops too namely Country Basket and Dolce. Both offered coffee, shakes and sweet treats. My daughter and I had a lovely time drinking in the pretty ambiance.

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Thirsty Cup in Cebu was a perfect summer overture. It was a much deserved break for the first quarter too.

 

Madrasta Mondays | 5 Awkward Questions I Am Asked as a Stepmom

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Over 10 years of being a Stepmom, I have been judged a lot. I have been stared at a lot. I have been asked a lot. Here are some questions that I encountered and how I respond to them. Initially, I was taken aback at questions until this hesitation turned into amusement until the answers just came naturally as being the stepmom unfolded naturally as well.

Where’s their mom?

Before, I’d like to answer: Really? Is it any of your business?

Now, I say: Hmm, she has her own family somewhere in _____________.

How come he doesn’t look like you?

Before, I’d like to answer: Doesn’t he? What are you insinuating?

Now, I say: He looks like his dad.

How old were you when you gave birth to him?

Before, I’d like to answer: Why don’t you ask me what you REALLY want to ask me?

Now, I say: I didn’t give birth to him. I’m his Stepmom.

Is it hard? Buti kaya mo. (Good you can take it?)

Before, I’d like to answer: Try it.

Now I say: It’s not as hard as you think if there’a a lot of love that goes with it.

How did that happen?

Before, I’d like to answer: You really want the whole story?

Now I say: It just happened and before I know it, everything falls into the right place.

Most though, don’t dare ask the questions but when a window opens where I can share my stepmom stories, I can talk about it graciously. Like any parenting experience, my stories are a gift of its own. The rich experience of being a stepmom is worth sharing. It has taught me to be gracious, to have a big heart (bigger than I thought I had) and to love all the way without any expectations.