Cebu Stories – The Adorable Koko

The reason why we went to Cebu was to meet Koko in person, the kids’ new cousin from Tita Tei and Tito Kevin.

When we went into their condo, the kids immediately gathered around Koko.  And this was her initial reaction:

I think that this is her first time to encounter a lot of excited visitors so she was shocked.  But minutes later, she’s able to settle and was ready to entertain her visitors.

Here’s the little baby Ate Camilia playing with Koko.

Koko simply being adorable.

Koko thinking about the meaning of life

Seems the little baby Ate Camilia keeps on checking here little cousin from time to time.

It’s cute to see, babies finding another baby cute.

And here’s Ate Cassandra and Ate Camilia.

The big Ate Amanda getting a peek of her new cousin.  This time she plays to be the Ate as they’ve always been the youngest among the Estacio cousins.

Can’t resist pinching those ultra chubby cheeks!

Ate Cassandra reading stories for Koko.

Oops she forgot she doesn’t know how to read yet.

It was also refreshing to take a taste of Cebu’s McDonald’s orange juice 🙂

Rookie Mom Cali helping out carry the big baby.  She’s too big for a two month old baby.

Girl power… no baby boys yet on the Calingasans.  I got an intel though that Koko wants a baby brother soon.

And here’s me with the big boss baby Koko.

The second day we were in Cebu, we were able to see Koko taking a bath.

The Ates cheering for Koko’s dressing up.

After bath time, the next best thing is sleeping time.  Here, Daddy Kevin takes a kiss of her little bundle of joy.

Oh there, she woke up.

It was fun seeing Koko in person, and hopefully we could see her again soon when they go here in MNL.

Happy three months Koko!

Pogi

While driving:

Out of nowhere
Cassandra: Daddy you’re so pogi.
Me: (blushing) wow, thank you.😊
Cassandra: You look like a frog.

​Apparently, my daughter’s standards for pogi is Kermit 😕

Amanda’s First Day

Can’t believe our little Ate is now in a big school.  She’s both excited and anxious on her first day.  Good thing this song from Elena of Avalor boosted her confidence:

Elena:
A new school can be scary at first 
With unfamiliar faces
New rules, new teachers
And lots of unknown faces
But school’s just a new world of problems 
Puzzles for you to solve
So you don’t have to worry
There’s nothing you can’t resolve…

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What’s more encouraging is that she has her little sister Cassandra by her side.
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The little Ate Cassandra showing Ate Amanda their Lego figures that they built.  They already have names for each of the characters.
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And of course, the bunso was there to support her big Ate.
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A great shot by Mommy Cali while Ate Amanda goes to the gate.
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Entering the room, she saw her name tag on the table and quietly sat down on her seat.  As a parent, you can observe different personalities of each kids in the room.  Some are restless, some are quiet and some are just observing as everything seem to be new to them.
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Then it was time for parents the go out of the room but before leaving we said “bye Ate and see you later”.
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On our way out, little Ate Cassandra requested for a picture with Rapunzel.  This is a rare picture of her smiling.
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It was a great experience for us parents to have one of our kids go to a big school.  Here are some things I realized: 

  1. Facing Fears – In life, we face a lot of challenges where there are a lot of unknowns yet we have to brave through it in order to grow.  Nelson Mandela said “…courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it”.  And this was what Amanda did to bring up her life skill a notch higher. 
  2. Lifelong Learning – When I was studying, I was used to cramming and playing the school game in order to get good grades… Hopefully that changes with my children so they would go to school because of learning and not because of grades. 
  3. Changing Times – I was used to OHPs when I was in College, but now Amanda has LED screen in their room.  Well, regardless of the technology, what’s important is on how the lessons come across the students.  Even if Augment Reality becomes a basic educational tool in the future, what’s vital is that kids learn faster and better.

Our Artsy Long Weekend

Our long weekend started with Ava’s vaccine with Doc Yan.  Ate Cassandra was prepping our bunso for her challenge.
They goofed around and pretended to be minions.
It seems Ava’s all set and relaxed here…

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What could be more comforting than a mother’s kiss.
The two Ate’s imagination at work again.
How about a wacky pose before heading to our next destination.

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So on to our Artsy adventure to Art in Island, an art museum where you could be part of the art, a haven for selfie enthusiast located at 175 15th Ave., Brgy. Socorro, Quezon City, Philippines.
I heard Ate Amanda said that they might find Lolo Ador and Lola Ludy there at the gates of heaven.
These ladies are natural 🙂
When the kids became bigger than mommy.
Good job mama!
…the most beautiful mermaid ever 😉
The following day, the kids attended Dasha’s Royal Princess Tea Party.  They’ve been so excited to attend and wear their gowns when they got invited two weeks ago.
It was a tiring long weekend but we’re blessed to add beautiful memories in our kids’ childhood.

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Father’s Day 2017

This year was different as it’s our first time to celebrate Father’s Day without Daddy Ador.  So as our first stop, we went to Heritage and visit both Mommy and Daddy.

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Somehow the three months seem to be long as many things happened after he passed away.  Or maybe, all of us were subconsciously immersing ourselves in our daily activities to somehow dilute the sorrow of losing Daddy. But in hindsight, our family has become much closer and stronger.

My kid’s favorite after the Heritage visit was breakfast time and bonding moments with their cousins.  We went to Burger King, just a few kilometers away from Heritage.
Of course, Camilia showed her killer smiles and awesome cute moves to her Kuya, Ates, Tito and TItas.
The kids went on to play hide and seek.  Good thing there are only a few customers so most of the dining area became their playground.

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Ate Julianna and Ate Champee posing for the camera.
 After the simple breakfast celebration, we went home and I got these priceless gifts from my babies.
Nothing melts my heart than seeing my kids taking their time and effort to make these personalized greeting cards as it unleashed their creativity and more importantly, their love for our family.

A Special Christmas Eve

Last December 24, 2016, we had an extra special Christmas eve.

Our third baby, Ava Camilia didn’t want to be left out on the family’s Noche Buena. It was about 2 in the morning when the rookie mom complained that she’s having a hard time sleeping and that her tummy is slightly aching.  She tried not to let Ava go out since Ate Amanda and Ate Cassandra are all excited for their gifts on Christmas Eve.

So we got back to bed, but little did I know that I was the only one who slept.  Cali was up all that morning until the tummy aches became frequent.  That’s contraction already so when we got up about 5, we know that she’s getting into labor.

Good thing it was holiday so the drive from south was just about 20 minutes using the skyway.  This is where experience kicks in. The regular contraction interval… being calm while driving… taking the fastest route.

I was used to waiting for 8 hours or more for the delivery but this time it was different.  Just about 2 to 3 hours, they already called me to be in the delivery room so I can take pictures.  Good thing I got my camera bag with me.  So here I am all suited up to see Mommy Cali and Ava.
Here’s our first picture with Ava Camilia with my fancy bag 🙂 Then the doctors have to clean her up…
It’s also important for newborns to have their first latch to their mommies to get the colostrum and have that special connection that only mothers can give.
Kudos to Dra. Gali’s team for the successful delivery.  Thank you for ensuring both mommy Cali and Ava’s safety all throughout the operation.  She said that Ava has two cord coils when they saw her.
The Noche Buena
After we were settled in the room, that night the whole gang came.  Of course, the newly promoted Ate Cassandra (formerly the bunso Baby Cassandra) and Ate Amanda were very excited to see their baby sister.  But looking at this picture, it seems they’re more excited on their Christmas gifts 🙂
Even though we spent our Christmas at the hospital, the most important thing was we were with our family.
And here’s our first Christmas photo with Ava and Peppa 🙂
It was Christmas morning and it’s already time for Ava’s first bath time.
Here’s Ava… all tucked up after bathing.

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During our last night, the two ates decided to have a sleep over.  Good thing they have their pjs ready.

One of the tests done for newborns is the hearing test.  Good thing she passed.
And before we left, Ava lead the prayer.
Babies are truly God’s gift.  And Ava Camilia was the best present He was able to give us on His birthday.

Learning from Moana

I’m excited as much as my two daughters when we watched Moana, the last animation film from Disney we watched last November.
If my kids are excited with the cute Moana baby (who had some resemblance to Cassandra), me and the rookie mom were anxious if Cassandra can make it through the ending without crying.  But she was brave and finished the movie ’til the end.

​Here are some of the things I learned from the movie:

The saddest part of a man’s journey in this world is not dying but rather having not lived.
Both the short film and the movie talked about our individual calling. You hear lines such as “the ocean is calling…”
In life, one of the best things that could happen to a man is when he finds his purpose. In the short film, there was a boy who is caught in the rat race.  Always doing what is  A lot has been said about time management but sadly, managing time is not at fault but rather our laser focus to our purpose.  When we know our reason for living, time won’t matter anymore.

Narcissism
Maui’s intention of stealing the Heart of Te Fiti was to be able to give everything MAN wants.  Not because he loves humankind, but rather he wants acceptance.  He wanted the applause… the feeling of being depended upon. 
Well, that’s a classic example of what we dads, should be mindful of.  Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to do everything for your child?  Like tying her shoelaces, drawing a better stick man or solving her math assignments?  Well, if your kid knows how to do all of these yet you still do it for them, what you’re showing is not love but rather you are intoxicated with the feeling of being depended upon.  This leads to the child not learning or being too dependent .
Going back to Maui’s story, his insecurity came from his parents not wanting him and giving him away… that giving everything to mankind will give him glory as he’s hungry for attention.

Bitterness
When someone steals your heart and use it for his own interest, this leads to bitterness.  As with Tafiti, she became the evil lava monster when she lost her heart.
We become a monster when we give up on love.  The green grass turns into arid lands.  The lush and bountiful forest becomes destroyed by the red hot lava.  Anger. Sadness.

If we fail, we cannot assume our kids will suffer the same fate.
Moana’s dad prevented her to explore the sea beyond the reef.  Simply because he lost a friend when he was young while trying to pursue his own dream of going beyond the reef.  Then he trained himself on accepting the status quo.  To be happy where you are…
Well that is good.  To find happiness wherever you are.  But not to the extent of killing your purpose.  Because when you don’t pursue your purpose, despite being happy on where you are, your heart will always yearn to where it is called.
As a dad, I had a lot of failures.  Some of them, I wasn’t able to overcome.  But I have to be mindful now on not transferring these fears to my kids. Because I want them to be free to pursue their purpose… their dreams… their greatness.

Training
When Maui yields to Moana’s desire to be  a good wayfarer, he was able to mentor her well.  Being a mentor means partnering with your trainee to properly understand on how to become great. It also needs a lot of humility both for both the mentor and the mentee. For the mentor, being sensitive to the person you’re mentoring knowing that you also started without any knowledge.  For the mentee, having that opened mind that your mentor will be able to fill your learning cup.

​Overall, the movie was great.  Knowing Disney and Pixar, they always try to embed good and inspiring values in their stories.  I have a feeling that my kids’ generation are very fortunate as they are exposed to finding their purpose earlier in their lives so they could reach their full potential.