Growth

My kids were hooked this week with the Kung Fu Panda series. I must admit that even though this movie is for kids, it’s filled with words of wisdom.

“If you only do what you can do, you’ll never be more than you are now.”

– Master Shifu

Master Shifu told this to Po when he failed big time on his new role as a teacher. This came at a time when he is comfortable already with fighting, thinking that being a “Dragon Warrior” is only about punching, kicking, and giving high fives to bunnies. He has no clue about his powerful destiny.

In the end, he was forced by circumstance to become a great teacher by enabling everyone in the Panda village to reach their full potential. Not by making them like him, but by harnessing their strengths.

In my life, I wouldn’t have been blessed with my three little princesses if I didn’t have the courage to propose to Cali despite the financial obligations way back then.

Growth only happens when you are forced to do things out of your comfort zone. When you face the unknown head-on even when you’re scared. Even when you think it’s way beyond your expertise and your resources. Even when it doesn’t make sense…

As long as you know that God has called you, like Master Oogway’s prophecy of Po’s destiny, take a deep breath and do those challenging things… we are all destined for greatness.

Thankful Things

About two months ago, our family decided to develop a habit. In our nightly prayer, each one of us will give a shout out to God about our thankful things that happen for that day.

In one of the talks I’ve heard before, Gratitude and Anger (or any negative feelings) can not reside together in our hearts. When you see that you are blessed beyond what you know, all you can do is sit back, relax and wonder about God’s divine providence.

So fast forward, two months after, as much as we thought we’re doing this for God, we were the ones who got more out of it. It’s true that we really can’t outdo His generosity. Let me summarize our top wins ever since we start this habit:

Lesser Arguments

Well, of course, in all marriages, there are disagreements and arguments. What we noticed was that during the course of the pandemic, the closeness also brings about, getting into someone’s nerves more often. We are happy that we developed this grateful routine. This saved a lot of time harboring hatred in our hearts. After all, gratefulness and hate cannot coexist right? Knowing you have a lot of happier things to celebrate, washes away our energy on placing them to unlovable actions.

Lesser Whining

I’m sure if you have kids in your house, it’s easy to hear them whine about almost everything. When we started this routine, we heard them whining on what they are going to be thankful for. But as we continue doing this, they’re now super excited to go first on doing their thankful shoutouts. There’s still whining now if they didn’t go first. But it’s cuter now.

This quarantine period, being together with the family is both an advantage and a disadvantage. It’s good that families are now much closer. But of course, it also tests our tolerance for each other’s quirks and imperfections. Having our Thankful Things in our night prayer reminds everyone in the family that despite our arguments, we are always blessed beyond what we are feeling at that moment. That no matter what bad thing we have said during the day, it doesn’t matter because it’s overpowered by the happy thoughts of the blessings we received.

Unlimited Blessings to Unlimited Patience

When something bad happens during the day, the grateful disposition somehow molded us to have longer tolerance on each other. I remember Fr. Paulino’s homily on patience as he said “Huwag kang matakot magbigay ng pasensya, hindi yan mauubos…”

Knowing that God has unlimited blessings, it makes the heart more generous. And what better way to show generosity is by giving more patience and tolerance to your own family.

So how do we do our Thankful Things?

Every night after everyone washes up, we start our prayer and each person recites his/her thankful things that happen that day. No item is too small nor too big. This allows our hearts to open up and see blessings no matter what the size is. This also trains our minds to focus on the good things and lift other concerns to God where we have no control. Then we proceed with the rest of our prayer and end with hugs and kisses.

Hope you develop your daily gratitude habits too. It works.

Breaking Free

It was my long time dream to jam with my kids. It came true this week when we had an impromptu jamming session with them.

My Past is Not Today

I was surprised by this kid’s song from My Little Pony. From what I’ve seen in the movie, it was about Sunset Shimmer’s story where she was bad before then eventually became good. However, she had a hard time getting friends as they still have doubts on her. This song reminded her that she has changed and that she can take charge of her future.

I may not know what the future holds… But hear me when I say…That my past does not define me, ‘Cause my past is not today

Sunset Shimmer singing My Past is Not Today

This is very much true with all of us. We seem to can’t get over the failures of our past which dictates the actions we are choosing today. It’s funny that biologically, our brains can better do instant replays of all these failures vs. the happy events that propel us to success.

With this pandemic, since we are confined in our own homes, we are more prone to these blockbuster replays in our minds. It takes a lot of mindfulness to press the stop button, take deep breaths, and then focus on the present.

I have been through a lot before I had a family. And with these experiences, I thought that I would be better at focusing on the present than any of my past failures. But the force of human nature is always stronger so it’s not easy to stay positive. Good thing we had this jam and my kids reminded me that “my past does not define me…” The future has a lot in store, and today is a testament that I can steer through any difficulties as long as I focus on God’s promises and not be tied to the weight of my past failures.

Cassandra the Artist

As she’s fond of watching artists vlogging their work, she got inspired making her own. So we made this right after Ate Amanda’s Gaming Vlog. It was so amazing to see her talent in drawing and what’s more surprising is on how she was directing us on what she wanted to see in her video. A very good example of beginning with the end mind.

One of the blessings on being on ECQ was that me and the rookiemom are more conscious on making sure our kids are having a strong appetite on learning. Much more than teaching them assignments from school, we get to focus on their passions and documenting them so that other parents and kids can also learn from them.

Every night, one of the things we do as a family is to include this prayer after giving thanks. “… so we could always be a blessing to others.” Hope that aside from learning, we’ll be able to inspire parents to support their kids’ passion as well.

Claire Gaming

Last year, I made a very good business proposal to the Rookie Mom. I said that our family really needs a device that would support our health and at the same time entertain the whole family. It’ll also develop our kids’ eye-hand coordination which is a very important life skill. So I said, I’m willing to trade my gym membership so we can buy the Nintendo Switch 😊… Great deal right?

She agreed… So we bought the titles aligned to our goals. Mario Maker 2… Not just for eye – hand coordination but logic formulation and coding skills when creating the courses… And of course for my health, I had NBA 2k19 to keep me fit… Basketball is a great whole body workout 😄

So a year after, Amanda has now uploaded her courses and is able to complete some complex speed runs. She asked us to help her create this gaming vlog as she wants to share her courses and tell stories on her adventures on playing her Mario Maker 2 stuff.

Here’s her first gaming vlog using her custom courses:

Please don’t forget to subscribe to their channel Estacio Sisters

As for me, I still think I’m healthier. Kidding aside, I’m doing daily 25 -minute workouts using this game Fitness Boxing which gives me a dose of my recommended cardio exercise.

Happy Mother’s Day

It’s been more than a year since I posted my last blog. What a better way to get my writing groove back by starting with this simple greeting we made for the very special person in our family. Happy Mother’s Day Mommy Cali!

I was fun talking to the kids and get their views about Mommy.

And of course, to the other Moms in my life, Mommy Ludy, Mama Marilyn, Ate Loudette, Ate Lilibeth, Ate Lolay & Tei, may your love continue to shine in our family.

Amanda is Eight

So should I still call myself a rookie dad?Yes of course. It’s an endless journey to the unknown and all you could hope for is that you make the right loving decisions so she could grow up to be a fantastic lady.

Career day as a detective

Date with Amanda taken during mommy’s birthday

Happy birthday to our Ate Amanda! We thank you for being a loving Ate to your little sisters. We’re so blessed and proud of how you’ve been always a good example to them.Mommy and daddy love you so much.

Ninth

Me and the rookie mom spent our ninth year anniversary last 12-12 in isolation.  It’s our first time to go on a getaway without the kids and disconnect to the world so we could reconnect. We realized this was the first time we were really able to be alone together (weird – alone together – but couples would get it). 

Just a summary of what happened to that nine years.  2009 was when we got married. 2011 when Amanda was born and ever since we weren’t able to set aside our time together.  2013 Cali went out of the corporate world and had miscarriage. 2014 we had Cassandra.  2015 we lost Mommy. 2016 we had Camilia. 2017 we lost Daddy. 

So many things happened in a span of nine years.  And what happened in the past anniversaries we had was to either spend it with the kids or with them more 🙂  Not that we don’t want it, but there’s truth to the wisdom that couples should really take time off to reconnect with each other.  Specially in our case where our bed is taken over by the three kids and the demands of work made it more difficult to get that divine time to talk deeper with each other.

When we arrived at the place where they specialize on Doing Nothings, we went to our room. It has that old Hispanic Filipino feel that takes you back to that old country living.  Where life is simple and that technology takes a back seat.  So we did nothing here 🙂

Night time… we had our healthy dinner.  Started out with fresh organic salad. Then onto freshly baked breads with spreads.  You should try out their pesto spread.  It was so tasty I can’t believe they didn’t use magic sarap.  So it’s really magic.

The main course was their pasta with both red and white sauce.  

At first, since they’re going to serve healthy food, I thought we won’t be full.  But by the middle of the meal, I already have a big belly (well it’s already big even when we started, but it got bigger:) ).  I thought we’re done after the pasta but they still served desserts.

And to end the dinner, they served this tarragon tea.  They said it aids in digestion, so I was hoping to get my six pack abs back after taking three cups of these.

This was the dessert made of organic chocolate 🙂After dinner, we went to the Proposal Garden as advised by the very accommodating waiter.  I took time to take this beautiful site.  I didn’t have to direct this shot, as my model is a natural 😉

The next morning, we took the time to smell the flowers.  Again, no need for posing her as my model’s really a natural.

Well, here’s another natural.  The adorable Wilbore.  He’s a really fat pig.  Was wondering though if pigs can get  a heart attack if they’re too fat.We went back to the cafe to eat our healthy breakfast.

And of course, took another couple pic.After breakfast, we went to the secret lake to relax even more.

Although it was barely a 24-hour vacation, it was nice to finally set aside a time for our marriage, to bond and deepen our relationship more.  After all, the best legacy we can leave to our kids is a wonderful marriage where they can see and feel LOVE.