More than a Can of Cookies

It’s amazing how Cali, Amanda and Cassandra prepared for Father’s day.  Days before dad’s day, Amanda walked up to me with a treasure map saying that this is the place where she hide the surprise for me.  But then she warned me that I can only open it during Father’s Day.  No peeking!
First thing in the morning, when Amanda woke up, she immediately reminded me of the surprise.  Well the map didn’t say that much so she just handed me over this can of cookies.
This can is priceless as it contained a collection of her drawings and letters. THey’re all about our small family and the big love she’s seeing everyday.  

The Daddy adventure didn’t stop with the treasure hunt. We had a pre Dad’s day celebration the night before for our Daddy Felix.  And on Sunday, to beat the Father’s Day crowd, we celebrated Daddy Ador’s in the early morning together with my siblings and my nieces and nephew.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but my observation this year 2015 is that a lot of people are already celebrating Father’s Day.  Good thing we celebrated early in the morning where everyone’s still at home 🙂

At the end of the day even though there were lots of not-so-nice things that happened after the morning celebration, I still feel blessed:

One, that God chose me to be a dad, that despite having my already little hours of sleep being cut into half (about 3 to 4 hours) I gained a lot of wonderful memories spending those time with my little girls.  Just seeing how both of them expressed their love to me and Cali is more than enough to last a lifetime.

Two, even though we lost Mommy this year, any occasion brings about reason for the whole family to get together.  It’s nice seeing them play and bond together.

Three, making Daddy happy during this time affirms us of God’s hope.  I always remember the movie “Up” for Daddy Ador since he’s in the same situation. We’re happy that somehow we’re part of his new happy adventure so he can live life to fullest.

Cassandra’s Eight

We’re celebrating Cassandra’s eight months already!

It was good to finally spend more time with her during the independence day weekend and bond with the whole family. Truly, family time is the best time 🙂

For Cassandra’s eight month, these are the things she could do now:

Learning how to stand on her own.
This is good as her big legs are being exercised everyday to be stronger.  Thinking ahead, 23 years from now (wow advanced), I do hope that even if she’s an adult, she would still depend on daddy or mommy to do some things, not because she can’t do it, but because she loves us to still serve her (this is respect)

Using the “andador”
Remember the bamboo andador (walker)?  Well, Cassie is not using that, but rather, she’s using Ate Champee’s,  I want to buy one though so we could compare its effectiveness vs. the modern ones.  I’m just thinking that if the results were the same, we may have been over complicating our lives with modern tools only to find out that the end result is similar.  In life, we may have to slow down and weigh things first before going into the next big thing.

Eating more.
Cassandra is eating solids more. She can eat twice the amount she’s taking from when she started. At first, BLW (baby led weaning) may seem to teach kids gluttony since they tend to eat a lot, but studies show that when they grow up, they would eat the right amount and proper nutritious food.

With all these developments, we can’t wait for her ninth month already.

2014 Insights

This is a super late post.  It was supposed to be a summary of my 2014, but while I was finishing this article, I got the news that my mom passed away and all these were buried in my drafts section.

Since it’s mid year, might as well share it to the world, and hopefully things would be much brighter this remaining half of 2015.  It’s a long read but hopefully you learn something from it.  Please read on:



***

So it was a crazy roller coaster ride for 2014… a mix of super happy and ugly sad moments this year.  In fact, it’s just now that I’m able to write again after my last article, considering there’s my wedding anniversary, Amanda’s great job on her school Christmas party and of course the long Christmas celebration (which by the way, I missed all of the major parties due to my chickenpox).

Just would like to start my first blog this 2015 by remembering  my top insights for the year:

It all boils down to the essentials.
When my good friend Bong passed away, I’m reminded that the important things in life are not things but people.  When he worked, he didn’t just complete his tasks but rather created lasting relationships not only with the bosses but also with the clients and staff.

As a rookie dad, last 2014 I realised that I spent 2/3 of my time in work and business and just left 1/3 to my family, service and health. I often read that we should give quality time to our family.  But I believe that if my family is my essentials, then I should be giving both quality and quantity time.  No one goes in his deathbed and asks about his work items.  Rather, he looks for the one dearest to him… his family. 

Learn from your mistakes.
I’m sure everyone read this in another book, article or blog, but too often when we’re busy, we forget this. I remember during Amanda’s UN Celebration, I was too excited in having her lines captured in video.  When it was her turn, I focused the camera, pressed the record button and watched her say these lines “Konichiwa, I’m Amanda… from the land of the rising sun, Japan.” (complete with the hand gesture ala Miss Universe) then followed by these lines “Gu me na sai, that’s how you say sorry in Japanese.  Thank you.”  Why did I type all her lines, simply because I wasn’t able to record it 🙂  I thought I pressed the red button but I didn’t.  Big mistake.

So on her Christmas party, since I think they saw her potential in public speaking, she was given a much longer line.  And this time I made sure I’ll be able to capture it.  So here it is:

What I learned was not to be too excited and focus on what I’m doing.  

Five years is a milestone
Last December 2014 we celebrated our fifth year wedding anniversary.  There was no big celebration.  Just a simple breakfast at mini stop and a good lunch date in the weekend after.  Sure both of us were hoping for a good and nice weekend escape out of town or even out of the country.  But circumstances lead us to stay and make it simple.  I believe it wasn’t an accident that we had a simple celebration.  It was God’s way of reminding us as a couple that what is more important is the love we have for each other. 

I would just like to honour my wife for her great sacrifice of being a mom and a wife.  Since we’re an advocate of exclusive breastfeeding, she wakes up more in the odd hours of the day to provide milk for Cassandra.  When I was sick, she took the challenge of both being the dad and mom to the kids and always prepared my meals to speed up my recovery.

Baby number two
I noticed that when we ask couples about why are they not having another baby, they always say, “Naku, magastos!” (It’s expensive)… Well it’s true, but at the back of my mind, why are we so worried about the expenses but tend to forget how to think long term.  Imagine a better nation if we duplicate ourselves for the future.  There would be two, three or more of us who’ll continue our legacy.  Being a part of a CFC household where all of their kids are grown up, I could see the beauty of having more children.  Sure it’s about a decade or two to prepare them for life.  The diapers and milk, tuition fees, toys, teen mood swings (which I have to prepare to about 10 years from now)… But isn’t this the mission we have embraced when we got married?

Roots

Last February 22, we attended the first Robles family reunion.  I would like to think that this was inspired by  mommy’s passing as our Tito Exie (mommy’s first cousin), realized that the family has grown so much that even the closest relatives don’t know each other.  Btw, mommy’s the eldest among the Robles cousins.

For me, the highlight of the celebration was the mass lead by Fr. Alex Balatbat.  Where he stressed that families fall apart when they want to get from others, what they can only get from God.

Three realizations I had during the reunion:

  1. No comparison.  When we love our parents, or anyone in the family, there should never be comparison.  I realized that if we keep count of what we give to our parents, there will be more reasons on comparing what we did with what our siblings are giving.  This would form conclusions that we are giving MORE than what kuya or ate is capable, thus leading to resentments. To prevent this, have the initiative to give without expecting anything in return…love unconditionally.
  2. Celebrities.  A lot of people asked me why I had pictures of celebrities and businessmen during the reunion.  I know that at the back of their mind they were asking if they were Cali’s relative or mine (of course, I would say mine but no one believes me)
  3. Legacy.  In the end, all our actions while we’re alive will be carried on by our kids, grand kids, great grand kids, etc. This means that in all the decisions we make, no matter how tiny or big, it will always have an effect to the future generations.  I just realized, when was the last time I chose to sleep instead of playing with Amanda or Cassandra?  Maybe this tiny act might grow some seeds of deprivation of a dad’s attention that could potentially make them insecure… which could lead to their inefficiency in leading people when they grow up… which could then lead to our country’s downfall if for some reason they became president of the Philippines :).  Well, maybe I’m exaggerating but it is a possibility.  

It was fun that even in a small amount of time, we’re able to connect with each other.  Hope this becomes a tradition so that even our great grand kids could still be connected to our roots.

Giving Back 2015

#latepost
Love more. 

They said that God surprises you when He wants to teach you something.  As this year’s theme for CFC is to love more, there were numerous times already that I needed to go back to this teaching and really love more.

One of these is knowing if we’re going to push through with Amanda’s Giving Back project which we do every year on her birth month.  And true enough, God tested our character if we would be willing to love more.

Time, budget… and a lot of worries.

These were the things that brought our family to have doubts in doing Amanda’s Giving Back birthday activity.  Cali and I were touched by God that there’s no other greater assurance in this world except to hold on to His words.  And so we decided to cast all those worries and sponsor one of the kids’ weekend.

So finally we’re able to do it again this year on Champee’s 4th birthday.  We were able to have a simple fun-filled activity with the Caliwag kids on May 3 with the help of our loving kuyas and ates from Singles for Christ.

Some things we learned during the activity:

  1. Playtime.  Since she’s a big baby now, she joined the activities already and learn how to play with the bigger boys and girls.
  2. Gratitude. Before we left, the kids and the ates and kuyas said thank you.  But we replied, thank you instead of You’re welcome.  Why? Not because we’re Filipinos 🙂 (do you notice how many of us respond thank you with a thank you also?) but because I believed they gave me more than what we’ve given them. They gave us the opportunity to serve and to learn life’s simple pleasures.
  3. Osmosis. That despite of all the challenges for the family, we chose to push through with it so that our babies could absorb the rationale behind helping others and loving more. We do hope that when they grow up, they’ll always remember to share and love.