Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

There's so much to blog but I don't have time to post anything. I just wanted to share the Christmas Greeting Card that I sent to family and friends which is timely because it's almost Christmas. Merry Christmas to all and may you experience the true meaning of Christmas - "Christ" -> God's love today and everyday.
Happy 11th Birthday to my firstborn. The eleven years were so meaningful and I will cherish them always. To my son Aloysius, thank you for giving me that chance to be a mother. I may not be the perfect mom, but I will try my best to teach you the things you ought to learn in order to become a person of great value and purpose, not only for this world but more so for God. We love you Aloysius.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Reaping what was sown

I admit I didn't spend too much time teaching my kids at home especially when it's also a workday for me.  Here in Canada, working mothers are expected to balance the time spent for the husband, kids, household chores and other errands because there's no household help. Our mornings are crazy - from waking them up, to eating breakfast and trying to make them wear appropriate clothes for the weather.  Sometimes I would shout so loud that my voice is heard in the whole neighborhood trying to make the three boys listen.

Lately, the kids were comparing Progress Report Cards and I couldn't help but smile.  It was also a parent-teacher interview this week and what a revelation. First, I got excited upon seeing my second son's teacher, she looked like Pippa, so gorgeous, can't take my eyes off her LOL! We had a nice chat. She told me nice only good things about Kyle. He really is very good with his handwriting, it's like the model's, straight and in-line, almost the same as what you see in books as patterns. He was a perfectionist that each time there was something off, he would erase it and start all over again. Pippa said that sometimes he gets frustrated and cries because he doesnt want to make mistakes. An opportunity there.  He was also recognized for his nce drawings and the teacher asked me if there are artists in our family hahaha. Pippa showed one of his drawings and another book which looked exactly the same.  I told her about my eldest who is also an artist and wants to go to the Etobicoke School of the Arts in Grade 9.  Pippa knows Aloysius because of him being a bright boy (he graduated with Honors and Best in French in the same school last year) and also being one of the kids who were called in office for a little misbehaviour they committed - yes, I consider it not being popular in a good way (notorious?) Anyway, because Kyle was Pippa's student and she was excited to tell more about his progress, we talked more about Kyle.  She said he was almost perfect for him and an advance reader for his age.  The average reader's level for his age bracket is only 6 but Kyle is on level 14.  He is now starting to read chapter books like Hardy Boys (inspired by his brother, and mother hahaha).  Like Pippa, I am so happy to hear about all these.

My second interview was with Lex' teacher.  She was Aloysius' teacher before so she told me that she already knew that Lex was a bright boy.  She explained that Lex is a good leader, makes friends easily and firm.  He would sometimes say no if he doesnt like to do stuff and  would later join the group.  He wants to play rough with the boys and sometimes makes the girls cry (I hope this doesn't happen in another way when he is older).  He is always sleeping in school and sometimes gets tired easily because of his energetic behaviour.  There are some things to improve but not really significant because he is still too young (only 3 years old when he started school) and adjustment will come later. The  teacher said that all the things she mentioned are nothing compared to the sweet and thoughtful ways that Lex expresses.  She said that every morning, Lex would hold her hand before going inside the room or if she is not outside while they are waiting in line, he would go and find her in the room and greets her "good morning".   I feel so proud of my baby.

Lito and I went to Aloysius school together and met another gorgeous teacher.  I feel like I'm in Hollywood, hahaha.  As expected, Aloysius gets excellent remarks from the teacher. He really stood out from the class because he is only 10 years old and already in Grade 6 and joining the advance class with the Grade 7.  What's unbelievable is, he is also making presentations and teaching these grade 7s.  Lito is so happy because he said that that is the least thing he would do to stand in front of a lot of people and speak. I couldn't believe it either but the teacher said that he is confident, knows the subject very well (French - he took Extended French at Briarcrest)  and articulate.  My kind of boy...following Mom's footsteps and exceeding, he is starting early eh!  His social skills are also improving and the effort done on every homework are recognized as well-thought of and brilliantly executed.  If it were not for the bell ringing and the PA system telling us that it's wrapping up time, I wanted to hear more success stories. But I guess they can wait till the next time. The hours spent with reading, math exercises, Picollo in between the videogames paid off.

I can only say is that my prayers are heard and my God is an awesome God.  Establishing a good and regular study habits at an early stage is something I can give as a tip for parents with children struggling with school.  Let them cultivate that habit and when the time comes that you will have less time to spend with them, you will be confident that they will become successful because you have planted the seeds.  A little watering will do in checking and reviewing them every now and then. But also don't forget to pray and seek God's help.  Our children are God's gift and He also wants the best for them.

Here are some of the comments from the Progress Cards:

Aloysius Miguel responds to challenges with a positive attitude. He follows daily routines and instructions with no supervision.  He strives to carefully complete assignments and homework on time and uses an agenda to record what needs to be done. He observes, questions and explore options before starting to work.  Excellent marks in all learning skills and work habits

Achilles has adjusted to the rules and routines of the grade one program. He approaches new learning situations with confidencs and enthusiasm.  He completes all assignments conscientiously, paying careful attention to detail and with a high level of organization. PE, Drama and Music are the only subjects marked Progressing well, all others Progressing Very well.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

BHAG and BHAP (Goal setting and prayers)

BHAG is a corporate buzzword. Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal. We set goals to improve continously. Since I belong to the department in charge of continuous improvement, goal setting- meeting and exceeding them is one of our normal activities.

To come up with a plan to be successful in reaching the goal, it is important to follow these guidelines: PBANR

1. Determine the PURPOSE -ask yourself  "why am I making this my goal? What is it for?"

2. Consider your BASIS - these are the numbers or statistics that can help you in setting the goal.  What was the earnings / savings last year? How can I increase profit? Based on last year's consumption, What months can I start conserving electricity?

3. Develop the ACTION PLANS - List down the strategies in meeting your targets.  Use Visual strategy, display reminders to keep you focused on your goals.  Think of the roadblocks, things that prevent you from meeting the goal and stay away / prevent them. Be mindful of the tasks you need to do, list and review frequently. Raise the awareness levels, use checklists.

4. NIKE - Just DO it! Do everything to keep you meeting the target, once you reached the goal, move on to the next higher level, exceed the expectations and be successful.

5. REVIEW the results, see how far have you come. Exceed, repeat the cycle.

Now for a Christian who believes that God answers, goal setting and prayers are used interchangibly and the power of Divine intervention works.

BHAP - Big, Hairy, Audacious PRAYER is something every Christian need to have in order to keep and increase faith in God. We know that God is a gracious God and whatever the prayer is, as long as God wills, it will happen. Mr. Wiersebe, the author of the book "Pray Big" mentioned in his book, the story of a Pastor who always pass by a land in his hometown and praying for it to be the site of their new church until the land was awarded to him and eventually became their church.

PBANR guidelines are applicable to BHAP but enhanced to fulfill God's words:

1. PURPOSE - Is it fulfilling the "Great Commission"?  What is the impact of my prayer to others?

2. BASIS - What does the bible says about my prayer?Based on Scripture?

3. ACTION PLAN - Pray, Read God's words, visual reminders.

4. NIKE -Just DO IT! Attach all actions to Goals, Purpose, BHAPs.

5. REVIEW - Is this what God wants? No Answer, maybe there's another and better answer, WAIT.

Here are other pointers:

SHARE / Find a Partner.
STARTS WITH ME. Change in lifestyle. "You are a new creation, the old is gone and the new has come."
If you can't pray, PRAISE.

We are reaching the end of the year and God answered most of our prayers.  But as we look forward to the coming year, we can start setting our goals for 2013 following the guidelines above.  Take our prayers to the next level by making it our BHAPs. 


WHILE PRAYING                      WHILE WAITING

READ God's words                       READ God's words
BELIEVE                                     BELIEVE
DECLARE                                   TRUST
OBEY                                          OBEY

Maligayang Pasko and maraming answered BHAPs sa bagong taon!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Day Canada!

I once asked my officemate, "What do you do on Thanksgiving day?" And he replied, "Families get together, we eat Turkey, have beer and chat to make up for the one year that we have not touched base." I  felt sad because he didn't mention about saying grace or a prayer to the Almighty God who created everything including our existence. He is supposed to be the reason why we celebrate Thanksgiving- to give thanks to God.

1 Timothy 4:4-5 - For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Whose child is this?

Offline in social networking but online with kids

Our tablet was not functioning for a week because it didn't charge.  It is working now but while it was off, my kids were happy because they didn't see me - as Kyle put it, "Facebooking".   I realized that it took most of my time and less time spent with the kids.  Now they got the chance to play with me, tell their stories from school and heard stories told by me.  We had the time to walk around the block on a chilly night just to go to the library because we ran out of books to read.  I am so happy making up for the lost quality time with them. I know it is still not enough and I hope I will always remember to play with them first before anything else. Parents play a big part in the child's learning and development.  Research indicates that "children whose parents play with them ultimately develop superior social skills."

Here's a poem I found on the pamphlet from Lex Kindergarten class.  This is for the parents and teachers.

Whose child is this?

"Whose child is this?" I asked one day
Seeing a little one out at play
"Mine", said the parent with a tender smile
"Mine to keep a little while
To bathe his hands and comb his hair
To tell him what he is to wear
To prepare him that he may always be good
And each day do the things he should."

"Whose child is this?"  I asked again
As the door opened and someone came in
"Mine",  said the teacher with the same tender smile
"Mine, to keep just for a little while
To teach him how to be gentle and kind
To train and direct his dear little mind
To help him live by every rule
And get the best he can from school."

"Whose child is this?" I ask once more
Just as the little one entered the door
"Ours" said the parent and the teacher as they smiled
And each took the hand of the little child
"Ours to love and train together
Ours this blessed task forever."

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Survivor Philippines 2012 et al.

Today, I was greeted by many of my officemates telling me that they have watched the pilot telecast of the Survivor: Philippines 2012 last night.  I didn’t get a chance to watch it but I assumed it was shot in the Caramoan Peninsula, the same location where Survivor-France and Bulgaria versions were taken.  I feel proud and I wanted to find out how my country was shown. I didn’t like how it was shown in the Bourne Legacy, although it was the true representation of our country, mas maganda pa rin ipakita yung magaganda di ba?  For those who were not  able to see it yet, here’s the video version:
I’m proud that I have been and seen those places, Mayon, Tarsier  monkey in Bohol, Caramoan – WOW Philippines talaga ! Indeed, very beautiful! Something happened though.  I was speechless, I didn’t know what to say when they asked me, your country is very beautiful, why did you choose to migrate here?  I just shrugged and later on told them, I didn’t like the tropical weather.  Now as I am contemplating, I realized that I have not been patriotic - leaving my country and chose to live in a foreign land. We are now applying for Canadian Citizenship after 3 years of stay here and that thought added salt to injury.  If it were not for corrupt government, abusive leaders and selfish, undisciplined people (mostly, I’m not saying all), I could have stayed and raise my family there. I have not given up on these, I always pray to God that there will be change for the better.  I believe that there is still hope and a bright future on my country - the Philippines.   Now, seeing the video motivates me to come back and visit.  I miss the beauty of the places on the countryside, the noise of the city and the smile of the people too. God willing, I hope to see my family and friends soon.

Monday, 17 September 2012

My first Ninang stint

When Hannah asked me to be one of the Principal sponsors in their wedding, I was surprised, not her marrying at a young age, but at the thought of being a Ninang. Di ba mga thunders lang ang kinukuhang ninang? LOL! But the reality is, I'm old enough to be her mom, so I can be her Ninang. My privilege ksi ang ganda naman ng inaanak ko hehehe. Here I am in my first Ninang stint at RJ and Hannah's wedding:

My Hair from the back. Thanks Anabel!
Congratulations Hannah and RJ!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Summer @Finnegan Lake Day 2

I woke up early to meet my God in the midst of His wonderful creation. My quiet time was the best with the mala-postcard scene in front of me and the serenity of the place. I didn't mind singing worship songs, the place is conducive to praising and worshipping God.

Here are the photos I took while the rest of my family and other campers are still sleeping:

Later after breakfast, we had another canoe ride, then the kids went fishing...they caught 2 small fishes that they let go after. We enjoyed the rest of the day swimming and jumping in the lake. Here are the rest of our pictures:

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Finnegan Lake Adventures - Summer is not yet over

We headed East this time with the Tuazon's who invited us to their cottage in Peterborough, ON. We were joined by Henry and Violet to complete the Etobicoke Cell group sans Anabel and Ralph. It was a long drive almost 4 hours travel including the stops we did to have coffee and buy stuff at the Apsley town. It was worth the wait, upon reaching the Finnegan Lake and the mala roller coaster ride at the mouth of the place, our kids got excited when we all saw the lake. It was awesome!

After setting up the tent, we had a quick lunch then we all went down to see the lake and test the waters. It was so cold, but then it didn't take a while for our bodies to adjust to the water temp, as long as you keep on moving and swimming, okay na. Sorry na Lang si Kyle who stayed on the ramp/dock because he was too afraid to jump. Lex and Kuya enjoyed swimming and wading through the deep but very clean and clear lake. We could see our feet and the weeds and the trunks of dead trees underwater. Someone told us that it was 20 feet from the dock and it goes deeper as you go towards the center of the lake, Good thing, we were wearing life vests. My children were very comfortable in the water, Sulit na Yung binayaran ko sa swimming lessons nila hahahaha. Even Kyle enjoyed the next day even requesting his dad for another round before the canoe ride.

I miss the hot summer days at the beach where our family always wanted to frolic! The white sand, the scorching sun and blue seas, but it was also fun here, even though the sun is out the water is still cold, what a contrast! If you have been to Bato Resort in Quezon or the Liliw or Nagcarlan resorts, you know what I am talking about.

I don't remember watching the just recently concluded summer Olympics with Lex but I know he may have watched it for sure especially the diving event because while we were at the dock, he told me he wanted to jump and while he was facing me, he started to put his feet on the edge of the ramp then he jump from that position turning around to face the lake until he makes the final jump, all by himself. I was dumbfounded! There was not a hint of fear on his face, That's my boy! After his famous jump, his dad and ninong Henry follow suit. All their pictures on synchronized jumping makes a good material for a TV ad, hahaha. Here's the video of Lex' jump:

Before dinner, we had a nice quiet time at the bench with the very nice view in front of us. An opportunity to have a reflection and think of God's mighty hand and abundant grace. Nature always give me that wonderful feeling and assurance of His love.

At night time, it was not as many mosquitoes as there was at Liebenzell so we enjoyed the night. We had a bible study before going to sleep, it was a very beautiful day.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Sharing one of my cherished possessions

In the movie The sound of Music, there was a litany of favorite things that the Von Trapp family sang. I have my own version and one of them is making memories, from planning trips, travelling, taking pictures of the places and my kids, collecting souvenir items and postcards to scrapbooking and making the photo books. Even if the events happened a long time ago, organizing the photos and Journalling bring back the happiest of memories.

My latest photo book was from our Hong Kong Disneyland trip back in 2009. This was our last holiday before we flew to Canada as immigrants. As we celebrate our 3rd anniversary in Canada, It's fun to look back. Here's our Disneyland trip from Summer 2009 - took 3 years to finish. This is for Sharyn too (her first trip outside the Philippines). Enjoy!


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Monday, 6 August 2012

Happy 3rd Anniversary!

It's been 3 years since we landed as immigrants in Canada and we have been blessed. God is faithful. Happy 3rd Anniversary in Canada. Thank you Lord.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20)

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Top 7 Travel Qs

I liked what Benz asked for Nawies to fill up as Sunday Dream Qs .I am writing my travel dreams turning to realities..God willing :)

Here goes:

7 Places you want to bring your kids to in the Philippines
1. Bohol - Danao
2. Norte - Vigan, Laoag City, Batanes
3. Yung Casas na pinuntahan Nina Clarice
4. Intramuros Luneta at Divisoria
5. Yung pinagshootingan ng movie ni KC at Sam Milby sa CDO ba yun?
6. Palawan - Coron at El Nido
7. Banawe / Sagada

7 Places you want to bring your kids to outside the Philippines
1. New Cars land in Disneyland California
2. Paris at Nice France, London at iba pang European cities...Europe na Lang kaya? Lol
3. Beijing - Great Wall of China
4. Disneyland in Tokyo Yung me underwater park
5. Disneyworld at iba pang parks sa Florida - Harry Potter ba yun?
6. Australia
7. Grand Canyon, Arizona

7 Places you have been dreaming of going without kids (but with Lito of course)
1. Sanrio Puroland -ako Lang hahaha
2. Amanpulo
3. Bali, Indonesia
4. Greece
5. Italy
6. Yung mga telenovela places sa Korea
7. Hawaii

Top 7 Places you've been to (both in and out of the Philippines)
1. Panglao, Bohol
2. Puerto Princesa City
3. Caramoan
4. Singapore
5. HK Disneyland
6. Texas
4. New York City
5. Washington, DC
6. Niagara Falls
7. Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec City

7 Travel Tips you can share
1. Travel light - can you imagine we are 5 in the family but we only bring 2 small luggages for a 3 day/2N trip
2. Bring chargers, USB
3. Plan ahead, use itinerary and hour by hour schedule to maximize the trip but also be flexible
4. Research on the travel destination for places to visit, hours of operation, fees and souvenir shops
5. Buy postcards from the place, mail to your kids, indicate the place you stayed, dates and memorable moments...Benz suggested this before.
6. Bring maps
7. Bring lots of money and credit cards hahaha

7 Memorable Travel Kwentos
1. Our family's first trip was in Bohol. Loved it. Kyle's was diagnosed with Bronco- Pneumonia and the doctor gave us a go signal even if he is sick. The fresh air helped and he was completely healed when we returned to Manila.
2. Puerto Princesa trip - our first getaway trip without the kids, parang honeymoon hehehe. Enjoyed The underground River.
3. HK Disneyland Trip - first time to see the wonder in my kids eyes upon arrival. Sulit na Sulit ang trip na Ito.
4. Caramoan trip - my first all girls weekend getaway leaving a 5-month old baby Lex in the hands of Ces and the nanny...Sobrang guilty ako dito but I knew mothers have to have a timeout. when I came back, I was recharged and the post partum blues gone.
5. Manhattan, New York City Trip - happing happy ang family namin when we saw ourselves in one of the billboards in Times Square sa live camera. Haha ang babaw!
6. Washington DC - Smithsonian Museums, my kids enjoyed this pero ang pinaka memorable para sa kin Ay Nung sinabi nila na this is where Megatron sat - dun sa Abraham Lincoln Memorial.
7. Texas and Upstate New York - my second business trip (Singapore Yung first when I was still single) where I had the chance to train Americans on the ISO Systems and my system AIMS in ADEC. It was a career milestone for me. That was also where I found out that I was pregnant with my 3rd child and that meant giving up on my working visa in the US and wait for our Canadian Immigrant Visa Approval.

Friday, 27 July 2012

10 ways not to be poor

I liked this article so much that upon reading this in the Toronto Sun newspaper today, I tore the page and brought it home for this blog. This is much more of a Filipino trait because we are really poor, but when you think of all the OFWs around the world and the money they send to their families, it's about time that they have moved on or progressed. Basta lahat ng Ito Ay para sa mga kababayan ko, please share to my fellow Filipinos working abroad and their families.

This is from Jerry Agar of the Toronto Sun:

The perpetually poor are not blameless. Anyone can find themselves in unplanned and unforeseen unfortunate circumstances. Most people by their own effort or with the help of others, overcome adversity. Some people, however, are perpetually poor. Why? Because they don't do the things required of them to move up and out. there are 2 parts to this , the first are the Seven Habits of highly UNSUCCESSFUL people:

1. Mismanaging the money they have. Some low-income people find a way to save for the future, but they do so by foregoing $300 Nike shoes or a 30k pesos cellphone.

2. Believing in the quick fix. The lottery is not the ticket to the future and it would be helpful if the government didn't advertise as much. sabihin pa para sa Philippine Charity.

3. Believing life itself is a lottery. Life isn't fair, but the accident of our birth, regardless of circumstances, is no guaranteed predictor of success or failure. Successful people weather the storms, while unsuccessful people see themselves as victims with no options.

4. Inability to manage emotions. Totoong totoo Ito sa Pilipino, masyadong EMO, di tuloy naka move up. Unsuccessful people get stuck in feelings of hopelessness, frustration and anger, letting those emotions rule them.

5. Picking the role model. Pinoy na Pinoy din Ito...grabe- sa artista sa politico, sa mga maraming asawa at mga mandaraya. Kung Sino Yung mga popular pero questionable ang character, yun ang idol nila, di ba tama? They let the unsuccessful people school them on the ways of life, rather than seeking out people who have overcome the same challenges they face.

6. Setting low goals. The problem is that once a low goal is achieved, the person feels that is all he or she can do. Pwede na ang pwede. setting unrealistic goals is also harmful, but goals should always be a bit higher than what has already been accomplished.

7. Believing in wishing and hoping. Pop culture self help programs encourage people to wish hard for success and claim it will simply happen. That is dangerous because it is appealing, something for nothing. It's like praying for success while forgetting God helps those who help themselves.

Everyone has a moral responsibility to provide for themselves as much as possible. The bible says- 2 Thessalonians 3:11-12 "We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat."

Here are the remaining pointers to avoiding poverty: Mga kababayan ko, Kung Hindi na natin kayang Gawin ang mga Ito, para na Lang sa mga anak natin.

8. Stay in school to at least to obtain a high school graduation.

9. Do not have children until you are able to financially care for them. To do otherwise is a form of child abuse. Anyone can fall on hard times, but if properly prepared before having children a person will recover for their own and their children's benefit.

10. Stay off illegal drugs and alcohol. It will not solve your problems, but are causing them.

Poverty is no excuse for crime, but violent crime tends to emanate from impoverished neighborhoods.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Siblings without rivalry

The complete title of this book is Siblings without Rivalry - How to help your children live together so you can live too., I've reading this book by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish and as I'm about to finish, I want to keep and remember the important points I learned. The skills parents need to maintain harmony, peace and love among their children. When a family establishes this kind of relationship among the children, it will have a domino effect on others and eventually in the world we live in. I hope every parent who read the book applies what he learns and contribute to the world peace we need.

Bulliyng - Bullies and victims of bullying are created from home so we should be cognizant of how our children act with their siblings.
For the bully
1. Instead of the parent treating the child as a bully, He can help him see that he is capable of being evil.
2. when the other siblings treat him as a bully, the parents can give the siblings a new view of their brother.
3. When the child sees himself as a bully, the parent can help him see his capacity for kindness.
For the victim
1. Instead of the parent treating the child as a victim (kakampihan), the parent can show her how to stand up for herself.
2. When the other siblings treat her as a victim, the parents can give the siblings a new view of herself.
3. When the child sees herself as a victim, the parent can help her see her potential strength.

When children fight - here are the steps how to intervene helpfully:
1. Start by acknowledging the children's anger towards each other. That alone should help calm them.
2. Listen to each child's side with respect.
3. Describe the problem with respect.
4. Express faith in their ability to work out a mutually agreeable solution.
5. Leave the room.

When the fighting is heading towards hurting:
1. Describe what's happening. Example I see one boy on a chair about to throw a truck.
2. Establish limits. Example This is a dangerous situation.
3. Separate them.

Children should have the freedom to resolve their own differences. Children are also entitled to adult intervention when necessary. If one child is being abused by the other, either physically or verbally, we've Got to step in. If there's a problem that keeps coming up tha hasn't yield to their solution, we've got to step in.

Helping children resolve a difficult conflict:
1. Call a meeting
2. Explain the ground rules for everyone.
3. Write down each child's feelings and concerns.
4. Allow each child time for rebuttal.
5. Invite everyone to suggest as many solutions as possible. Write down all ideas without evaluating. Let the kids go first.
6. Decide upon the solutions you can all live with.
7. Follow up.

More ways to encourage good feelings between siblings:
1. Make sure that each child gets some time alone with you several times a week.
2. When spending time with one child, don't talk about the other.
3. Don't withhold your affection or attention from your favorite child to make it up to a less favored child.
4. Don't lock the children into their position in the family order - oldest, middle, youngest. Allow each child the opportunity to experience some of the privileges and responsibilities of the other.
5. Let each child know what it is about him that his siblings like or admire
6. Schedule family meetings.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Facing the Giants

If God is for us, who can be against us?
Romans 8:31

Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder
Just guessed it but when I look it up on Yahoo, it was confirmed. I've been listening to a Christian radio station KLVV Praise based in Oklahoma City and I heard they were praying for their home team Oklahoma City Thunder. Kevin Durant, the star player of Thunders is indeed a Christian, praying and reading his bible before a game. I remembered the movie Facing the Giants where a never heard High school football team went into the finals and faced a more popular and strong team Giants because of the faith of the coach. God made miracles in the movie and This can happen again, in real life. The Miami Heat is a star studded team but like what the verse is saying, who can beat the Lord? I'm not forecasting here or saying that Thunders will win, the Lord has great plans for everything. Winning the championship is not really everything but the limelight focused on a Christian athlete is something that God will use for His glory. Many will know that behind this great athlete is a man of God.

Read more here...

Manny Pacquiao may have lost the last game with Bradley but he has not lost the real battle. He has continued to remain in His faith and still acknowledged God in the interview after his defeat. In a country were there are many religions some even are cult, a boxing champion and a popular personality becomes an instrument to declare what God wanted the Filipinos to know and accept as Lord and Savior - Jesus Christ.

More on Pacquiao' s faith and transformation.../

Nik Wallenda
Would you believe that Nik Wallenda, the man who just recently walked across the mouth of Niagara Falls from the US side to Canada side is also a believer in Christ? I knew it when I found out he knelt down after completing the stunt, giving reverence to God. I felt so proud for him and the athletes mentioned above, being bold in their faith and continue to spread about the good news through the lives. God will bless them and use them for His glory.

Nik Wallenda's faith here

Tony Dungy
Although not all have continued to win their games, they were able to fight the real battle and God helped them. Sometimes, a defeat or loss is what you need to come to your senses and accept that you cannot do it on your own. You need Christ, not just know but believe and live a life with Him in the center of it.

Tony Dungy -a NFL football coach has his story to share.

All it takes is to putting your trust in Jesus Christ and making Him the First and then you will be able to face your 'giants'.

Like what Durant, Pacquaio, Wallenda, Dungy are saying --To God be the glory. Be counted in the ever increasing multitude of Christians.

Monday, 11 June 2012

God tube videos

I just discovered this and I can`t help but share. You will find music videos from Christian artists and sermon videos too. Here is my latest favorite from Building 429 -Where I belong. I also embedded the you tube version to see the lyrics. Enjoy!

Building 429 - Where I Belong (Official Music Video) from building-429 on GodTube.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

A Kid's must-watch series

If you like to talk to tomatoes,
If a squash can makes you smile,
If you like to waltz with potatoes
Up and down the produce aisle -
Have we got a show for you!

Veggie Tales, Veggie Tales, Veggie Tales, Veggie Tales
Veggie Tales, Veggie Tales, Veggie Tales, Veg-gie Tales

Broccoli, Celery, Gotta be, Veggie Tales!

My kids received their very first veggie tales DVD two years ago and eversince it became their favorite children's movie series to watch. They watched it during our long trips to the US and every time we go to the kids church at Queensway. I highly recommend this to parents with young children. Not only will the kids be familiar with the vegetables that they are supposed to eat, but also the stories are about God --biblical stories that are kid-friendly. The plot are always simple and the words are encouraging and inspiring to a child's point of view.

Example of titles:
Babysitter in De-Nile
The search for Samson's hairbrush
Sheerluck Holmes and the Golden Ruler -a lesson in friendship
Big river rescue-a story about kindness

Would you believe that I found the queen Esther story here very interesting that prompted me to read the bible version? Like my kids, i fell in love with the veggie tales characters. They remind us about the virtues that everyone should learn and practice, not only for the kids ha. Bible verses are always emphasized so that kids will remember them. They also teach the children to pray because they also ask the kids to pray with them. The biblical truth is taught to our children at an early stage and what a great confidence for a parent like me to be assured that they are not exposed to superficial stories like what the mainstream stories and songs suggest. The songs, sometimes called The Silly Songs are funny but with substance.

I hope all the parents out there will get a Veggie tales movie soon so they can relate to what i'm saying and their children be blessed. You can learn more at

Like what they always say, "With God's help, we will all be victorious." Victorious in bringing our children to God.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Don't sweat the small stuff - it's all small stuff

I haven't finished reading this book but it taught me a lot of things. There are simple things that I make complicated. I want to share a story, something that I can't believe happened. Thanks for the Divine intervention. Here goes: My son's classmate invited him and my other son Lex for a birthday celebration. I was on leave one day and the mother also mentioned it to me when we met in school but the celebration is only 2 days away. Since we didn't had the time to buy a gift, Lito just got whatever he can find in a toy store in downtown. He got him an Avengers set of Matchbox (Iron Man, Captain America and another one). We usually decide which one is good for the celebrator but it didn't happen for Kyle's friend. On the actual birthday, they went to a playplace and then ate at McDonald's. Then they gave the gifts. Upon opening of the gift, the mother told Kyle "I was disappointed with your gift". Kyle told me later that she told him "I invited 2 of you and that's your only gift?". My nanny told me that Kyle cried and it looked like she is scolding Kyle. She was on the other side of the room, putting Lex jacket on. Upon hearing the story and imagining how Kyle felt, I got pissed. Lito wanted to talk to the mother so I gave her number. He was not able to contact the mother but talked to the father instead and told him what happened. The father only said "No worries, I will handle it."

The next day, Kyle told me that his classmate told him that they cannot be friends anymore. I told him it's going to be okay. I realized how different it is here where in the Philippines, parents give grandiose parties without expecting expensive gifts. She only treated my sons to a playplace and McDonald's and thinks she can demand the gifts she wanted to get. I was also disappointed because Kyle said they were having real fun, the celebrator was very happy. But it was ruined by unnecessary remarks. Some people go after material things rather than the real joy that their children wanted.

We met this family again on my nanny's wedding. She was invited because she presented her daughter to be one of the flower girls. First on the rehearsal day, I already saw her in the parking lot and then while were waiting inside the church. I was playing the iPad and she approached me and said "Hi" I said "Hi" too but continued playing, my eyes glued to the iPad. She started talking but all she got was cold shoulder because she didn't even bother to apologize to her being rude to my kid. I knew she noticed it because when she saw another acquaintance, she talked to her instead. On the way home from the rehearsal, we saw them in a phone booth, maybe calling the husband to fetch them.

On the wedding day, because of the nice gown and being made up, I was high-spirited and didn't want to ruin my day. It's Annabel's day and I just wanted to enjoy too. I talked to her, in long sentences and not just nodding haha. I even commented on her daughter being cute and brave to walk the aisle without her. I thought about breaking down the walls, and whatever it was that hurt me, I'll just melt it by being nice to her. She asked us if she can ride with us going to the Reception and I told her, there's only one seat left because we have another friend coming with us. I guess she was able to find a ride because I saw her in the Reception Hall. We talked more while the program is going on and while lining up for the photobooth.

The dinner was superb but the program was long so the kids had to sleep and skip dinner. Lito wanted to leave but I told him we will just finish the speeches (and the dessert LOL!). When finally it was time to go, Lito asked me to ask the Mother to ride with us going home. I didn't have second thoughts and I felt that it was the right thing to do. Like a candle, the barriers melted away when I approached her and told her if they didn't have a ride yet, they can ride with us. She asked if we were going at that time and then she readied her daughter who was also sleepy. Her smile at that time meant a lot to me. During the ride home, we talked again like before, talking about the Koreanovelas and struggling in Canada as immigrants. When they got off, she was very thankful. She also told me that she is thankful because if not for Kyle, she will not meet Annabel and her daughter will not become a flower girl. I hoped that she will realize that what we did to her that night doesn't match any expensive gifts anyone could give.

Richard Carlson (author of Don't sweat the small stuff) enumerated strategies to simple ways to keep little things from taking over your life and it included this:

"Choose being kind over being right." We are given many opportunities to choose between being kind and being right. You have chances to point out to some one their mistakes, things they could or should have done differently, ways they can improve. You have chances to "correct" people, we have the tendency to put others down, correct them and tell them we are right. Our ego mistakenly believes that if we point out how someone else is wrong, we are right and we feel better.

But our heart says the opposite. It knows it's impossible to feel better at the expense of someone else. When your goal is to build people up, to make them feel better, to share in their joy, you too reap the rewards of their positive feelings. What you want is a peaceful interaction where all parties leave feeling good. You resist being right and choose kindness because you'll have a peaceful feeling within.

Richard warned not to confuse this strategy with being a wimp, or not standing up for what you believe in. He is not suggesting that it's not okay for you to be right - only that you insist on being right, there is a price to pay - your inner peace. In order to be a person filled with equanimity, choose kindness over being right. God will be smiling each time you do.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Running with the Giants - a book review

I've been reading so many books but this is my very first time to write something about a book (in my blog and voluntarily, I remember the countless book reports I did). It's my dream to write my own book and I wanted to write something like this - a book about God, something that inspires and give practical tips about life in general without the use of highfalutin words.

The full Title of the book is "Running with the Giants - What Old Testament Heroes want you to know about Life and Leadership". John Maxwell is a best selling author of leadership books. His readers are mostly of management calibre and those who are called to become leaders. I was hesitant to read his books at first because I thought it doesn't apply to me because I didn't have a "position" anywhere. But I was wrong, his writing style is so good that you will feel that he is talking to you face to face without qualms, as if he is not a John Maxwell. God used him to help readers like me understand and face life's challenges and win them. I can't wait for my children to read this book.

First, the size of the book is so small. It's hard bound but so handy that it's easy to bring anywhere and put in a bag. Second, the words John used were simple but full of impact. Inspiring and makes you feel excited every time you will move on to the next chapter. It's like reading a novel but with the biblical truth. I want to put here what the giants gave as words of encouragement to us. Honestly speaking, I didn't know some of the bible characters here until I read this book. You could also use some browsing in your old testament. Be inspired!

Noah - "One person can make a difference"
Esther - "God has a place for you"
Joseph - "Don't give up on your dreams"
Moses - "Live in the faith zone, not in the safe zone"
Rebekah - "Give generously to others"
Abraham - "God always does the right thing"
Nehemiah - "No problem is too big when you have help"
The Servant Girl (Naaman's) - "One small act can make a big difference"
David - "You can overcome the limitations others put on you"
Jonathan - "Strengthen a leader and save a nation"

As I am writing this, I browsed the book again for the Discussion Guide and reflection portion. The book can be a guide to a bible study and the practical application of the lessons learned are endless. If you could get a copy or borrow from the Library, please do so and start reading. As Pat Williams (SVP, The Orlando Magic, NBA) said "This book is to be read, savored, applied and then shared with others."

God bless John C. Maxwell and the readers of this book. Be blessed!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Congratulations Annabel and Ralph

Our dear friend and the second mom to my children got married today. It's a festive atmosphere and we are all looking good. My kids are wearing formal attire. Here are some of our pictures:

The wedding reception was fun. Aloysius was also formal during dinner, he liked the food and even tried the champagne and the red wine. He was acting like a little grown up, listening to the speeches and watching intently at the performers. I'm so proud of my first born in his first formal event.

To the new Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Francis Calaguas - Welcome to the complicated and challenging world of marriage. May God be with you always :)

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Mother's day is different every year

Mother's Day should not be the only day to appreciate and greet our mothers. Everyday is an opportunity to thank them for bearing you, taking care of you and your children. Kiss and hug them often and most of all, thank God for them so that they will always be blessed and loved. Praise God for all mothers!

My kids surprised me with their cards. Here's one from Aloysius, I was so touched by his message, our travels (and shopping) paid off...hahaha!

"Dear Mom,
Thank you for doing the great things you did to me. Thank you for helping me with my homework when I needed help. Thank you for giving me what I need when you go shopping. Thank you for cooking for me when I need to eat so I would have something to eat. Thank you for taking me to new places and making me see the awesome tourist attractions like in Washington DC, when I got to see Abraham Lincoln. I like how you sent the postcards from those different places. Thank you for everything. I hope you enjoy this Sunday. Happy Mother's Day!"

Here's the card from Kyle and the picture I took when the big flowers bloomed. Both he and I are fond of flowers, that's why his card is full of them:

Here's my message to all moms:
Happy Mother's day to all mothers..reminisce the moment you first became a mom, the first cry of your baby who changed your life eversince. Hats off to you for bearing that pain in giving birth and bearing the pain that motherhood brings. There is also fullness and joy in being a mom. The journey is exciting. I love being a mom. Three times a lady.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Tulips at High Park

Spring is not complete without going to High Park. Although we missed the full-bloom Cherry Blossoms this year, it was still worthwhile to visit our favorite park during Spring. This time we see tulips in bloom.
Some of the remnants of the late-bloomers "Cherry Blossoms"

Play Dough Recipe

I used to buy Play Doh tubs for my kids, but they easily harden and I realized that I'm just wasting money on them. It's true that kids needs to develop motor skills and one of the ways to prepare the children in writing is by playing 'dough'. I was in the middle of Spring Cleaning and I got this piece of paper from the school that contained the recipe for a home made 'play dough'. Now my kids can play it anytime without me spending too much. Play Dough Recipe Ingredients: 1 cup flour 1 Tbsp oil 1 cup water 1/2 cup salt 2 tsp cream of tartar food colouring Procedure: 1. Combine ingredients in sauce pan. 2. Stir constantly over medium heat until mixture forms into a ball. 3. Remove from pan, knead and let cool before covering.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Gardening 101: Shrubs and Trees

We have lots of gardening to do. Our front and back yards need attention and we started to see our neighbors fixing their gardens too. They said that they usually do gardening after Victoria Day but since the weather is changing, imagine the Cherry Blossoms in High Park bloomed last week, we can start because the weather is great.

Last year, we started to buy the Emerald Cedar trees and plant them beside the neighbor's award winning garden. Lito wanted to build a fence using the trees to make that side more private and the kids can play around. This weekend, the trees were on sale so we bought the trees to complete the fence. I just hope they will all live. This is how it looked:

Lito planting the trees. The yellow shrubs are called Northern Gold Forsythia (Perennial)

When Spring came and the sun showed up, there were lots of bulbs sprouting in our front and back yards. We were just surprised at the yellow Daffodils that sprouted and the leaves of the roses, peonies and hydreangea started to come out. I'm so excited at these perennial flowering plants to bloom.

Tips in maintaining the Shrubs and Trees

1. Trim the branches before the first frost. Maintain the form by cutting the branches only a few inches on each.
2. Rake the leaves near the roots, you can leave some grass trimmings but the leaves should be cleared out.
3. Apply fertilizer specific to shrubs and trees during spring.
4. Have a professional cut the trees.
5. Do not cut when the buds come out.

Last winter, there was this ugly plant that only showed the branches. It was opposite the nice trimmed yew, so you could imagine how it looked compared to the evergreen. This ugly plant has leaves now and there were buds starting to show. Our neighbor in front approached me one day while the kids are biking. He asked me if I knew the plant opposite the Yew. I said no idea. He said that in the whole street, our house got the nicest set of flowers and shrubs in Summer when they are in full bloom. he told me that the plant he is referring to was his favorite because its flowers grow as big as a plate and they look good. They are called Peonies. I googled it and got excited to see the flowers in my garden.

Honestly, I don't like gardening because I didn't want to get my hands dirty. Hahaha. I don't like to see worms much more touch them. I don't know if I have a green thumb because I already killed some of the plants I brought home from the office.
But Lito is a proven green thumb so I will just rely upon him to tend our garden and I will just do the weeding and watering hahaha.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Pata Tim with Pineapple

I was craving for a Paksiw na Pata but I didn't have banana's heart so I ended up doing Pata Tim using pineapple juice and tidbits as added flavor. here's the recipe: Pata Tim Ingredients: 1 kilo pork’s leg (pata) 1/4 cup soy sauce 3/4 cup pineapple juice 3/4 cup oyster sauce 5 cloves garlic; crushed 1 tablespoon rice wine 1 tablespoon pepper corns 1 red onion; chopped 3 bay leaves Lettuce (fried in 2 minutes) Pata Tim Cooking Instructions: In a stock pot with enough water, simmer the pork pata with all the ingredients until fork tender.  Add hot water if necessary to replace the evaporated liquid. Drain and cut the meat from one side and separate the bones. Save 1 cup of broth. Place lettuce in a platter. Put the pata over the lettuce. Set aside. Pata Tim Sauce Ingredients: 1 cup broth of pata 5 tablespoons cornstarch Salt to taste Pata Tim Sauce Cooking Instructions: In a skillet, combine broth, cornstarch, and salt to taste. Bring to boil until sauce becomes thick.  Pour the sauce on top of the pata. Serve hot!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Great Teacher

The mediocre teacher tells.  The good teacher explains.  The superior teacher demonstrates.  The great teacher inspires.  ~William Arthur Ward

These teachers are our parents, school teachers, relatives, friends, mentors, boss, church leaders. They have molded us into what we are today and still continue to teach us. I have met all kinds of teachers mentioned above but only those I remember are those who inspired me to apply the things I learned, Some of them also challenged me to do better and excel. I am grateful to those who really made an impact in my life. I am also inspired to share all the good stuff to those I can especially my children.

I realized that it was hard for my Mama And Dadilo to teach me when I was growing up I was a stubborn kid and learned most thru trial and error. Now that I am a parent, I find it also challenging to be teaching my children. But like what my mentors and leadership gurus say, the best way you can teach someone is by walking the talk, doing the deed, setting a good example. It's really hard but that's what parents Are supposed to do - to inspire the children in applying what they learned.

Great teachers reap great rewards because those who learned from them didn't stop from learning, but moves on to teaching others and inspiring them as well.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

First Easter Egg Hunt

From Wiki: An egg hunt is a game during which decorated eggs, real hard-boiled ones or artificial ones filled with, or made of chocolate candies, of various sizes, are hidden for children to find, both indoors and outdoors.

The egg is seen by followers of Christianity as a symbol of resurrection: while being dormant it contains a new life sealed within it.

This is our very first egg hunting in our own backyard. The first batch of "eggs" was eaten by the squirrels. Ksi naman nilagay na agad 2 days before Easter, hahaha. Imagine the plastic eggs were broken and the wrappers of the Swiss Chocolate mini bars (favorite ko pa naman ang mga ito) scattered in our lawn. Anyway, I had to secretly buy the goodies and plastics eggs and prepared them after they had gone to sleep to keep the surprise.

Here are some of the photos from the fun activity they had:

Before the egg hunt


Saturday, 7 April 2012

My Fear

“Daily I live with [one] fear--a healthy fear if there is such a thing. [It is] that I will miss something God has for me in this life. And it is mind-expanding to contemplate all that He wants me to have. I don't want to be robbed of even one of God's riches by not taking time to let Him invade my life. By not listening to what He is telling me.”
― Carole Mayhall, From the heart of a woman

Friday, 6 April 2012

Be blessed at the Queensway Passion Play

This Good Friday, we watched the Toronto Passion Play at the Queensway Church. Not only did we witness the good performance of the cast but also we were blessed as we marveled through the scenes that brought us back to the time of Jesus. We experienced the deep meaning of our Christian roots. The Passion play is being presented around the world, in the Philippines it's called Cenakulo. This year, the calendar coincides with the Jewish celebration of Passover. As we journey through the scenes, the meaning of the Passover Lamb and the coming of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem made sense, he was the true Messiah and the spotless, pure and best Lamb for the offering. I learned that in those times, they use the best lamb which came from Bethlehem. Jesus was born in Bethlehem. When He died on the cross, He redeemed us. The blood from the Calvary that spread to the city when it rained became the atonement. Atonement means to cover sin or to be reconciled to God through Christ's sacrifice.

All the scenes in the play are awesome. It's like watching the pages of the bible come to life. They even have a donkey in the stage. What really struck me was the perfomance of Mary Magdalene. The role was played by Jodi Jahnke, she was so good. She played Kim of Miss Saigon and as Rosemary Pilkington in another play. I learned new things like the women of Judea who keep their tears in a jar and put perfume in it. The scene where the jar of tears and perfume was poured at the feet of Jesus meant a lot to me. The tears meant life's burdens, disappointments, cares and problems but when you pour it out to Jesus Christ, you trust and believe that He will do something about it. The act brought tears to my eyes because I know sometimes I am keeping the cares of this world to myself and not pouring them all to God. I remember all these verses now;
1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your cares because He cares for you
Psalm 55:22 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.

Come to Jesus Christ, Believe and accept Him as your Lord and Saviour. John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Be blessed. The Toronto Passion Play at the Queensway Church runs today 7:00 PM, tomorrow 2:00 and 7:00 PM and on Easter Sunday at 4:00 PM

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Lex First Swimming Lessons

Spring is here and so we are back at Etobicoke Olympium for the kids swimming lessons. It's the first time that Lex went on his own, he joined the Pre-school 1 class for 3-5 years old. Actually, he was crying the whole time while his elder siblings were on the pool. Aloysius and Kyle schedule started from 10:30 and 10:45 AM respectively. Lex class is in the afternoon at 1:30 so you could just imagine how cranky he was while we were at the view deck watching his brothers. Today was just a review of what the older boys learned last summer.

After lunch, we headed back to the Olympium and he was so excited that when his name was called and the instruction motioned them to go near the pool, he waved at me and said,
Bye mommy..
Then, I was shocked to see him go straight to the pool and jump into the water while the other kids were waiting for the instructor. The instructor immediately rescued Lex and asked him if he was okay. I was relieved to see him smiling. He was just too excited to go into the water. LOL! The photos here say how he enjoyed his first swimming lessons. Shots that Lito took from the view deck:

Friday, 16 March 2012

A child's view of Manhattan New York

It's our first time to visit Manhattan with the kids in tow. It was a walking tour because taking a car is complicated - high parking fees, attractions are scattered everywhere and the subway is more challenging. Lito and I already did this 3 years ago with Irvin and Faye but this walking tour considering what would be interesting for our children ages 10, 6 and 3 is another adventure. This blog post can also be called "What to do in Manhattan, NYC with kids" but it's more of seeing the city from a child's perspective that I opted to use the title above. It's also a Toy Tour as we visited toy stores in the city. Our first stop was Rockefeller Center. We ended up exiting from the 5th Avenue coming from the subway and it was pure luck that the first store we saw in the Rockefeller Plaza was the LEGO store. The kids had a great time looking at the different toys formed out of Lego blocks from their favorite Disney Cars, Star Wars and Harry Potter. The replica of the Rockefeller Center was amazing that when it was time for them to see the real thing just outside the building, they can identify the parts from the miniature Lego creation. My kids were playing "Guess the flag" and took turns in identifying as many flags as they can around the center. Of course, they didn't miss the US, Philippine and Canada flags. Kyle even asked me why is the US flag in the center, LOL! Next destination is the Apple Store so we walked towards north in 5th Avenue. The Rockefeller Center is at 50th St. and our destination is at 58th St. so we had to walk 8 blocks to get there. The kids had fun seeing the busy street with people, some with shopping bags, some in business suits and mostly tourists like us but in groups and with a guide. There were food carts and those selling I Heart New York souvenir items in some corners. What attracted them are the tall buildings some shaped differently with American flags everywhere. Most of the time, I saw them looking up and staring at these buildings. I remember telling them about the Chrysler building and the Trump Tower. Aloysius said "I want to have my own building named after me." Hahaha, parang ang dali lang bumili ng building ano? So maybe in the future when you see a building called ALOYSIUS, it's probably his. hahaha. My wish! When we get near the Apple Store, they already recognized it because I already told Aloysius that it is an all-glass building. He was telling me, it's not a building because there's nothing in it. His comment is valid but when he saw where the people were going and all the Apple products on the floor, he said, Now I get it. Kyle and Lex were overwhelmed at the all-glass elevator and stairs. There were lots of people at the time we entered and there were also some people lining up for the next day's sale of the new IPad. We just stayed at the IPad station and the kids automatically got hold of a demo unit and played to their hearts desire. Even my youngest was shouting, they have Angry Birds here too Mom! One lady customer looked at them one by one as if saying, "Ang babata pa nito, mga addict na sa IPad!" After the encounter with the glass building, we went to the store next door - FAO Schwarz. This toy store is the oldest in the US founded in 1862. This part of the trip was a treat to our children. This store looked small on the outside but upon entering, a vast array of toys await the kids, grouped and displayed in a different way that attracted tourists like me. By the door stood a man dressed in an English Royal Guard attire and greeted my kids in a fancy manner, sending them to giggles. On the mezzanine, Spiderman and Captain America are waiting for customers who wanted their pictures taken. We had stolen a shot when Spiderman came near Lex because we didn't want to pay, hahaha, cheap talaga! We lingered in my boys favorites spots: Star Wars Station, Thomas the train area and the LEGO area (again, they couldn't get enough haha). The Big Piano experience made an impact to my kids because when I asked them the Top 3 memorable in this trip, this was one of them. Central Park was one of our stops but we opted not to go anymore because it was cold and they can see the mouth of the park from the Apple Store (59th Street). The horse-driven carriages that will tour you around the area make a nice photo opp but the kids couldn't stand the smell of the horses so we just proceeded east to Lexington Ave to take the No. 6 train that will bring us to our next destination. Grand Central Terminal is a popular NY attraction because it is always featured in Hollywood movies even in animation. For the kids, they remember this place as where the Madagascar animals went and broke the clock. By the time we got to the Grand Central Terminal, it was alreay past 5 and we experienced Rush hour. We were carried away by the surge of passengers getting in and out of the trains. When we reached the Main lobby, we had a picnic in the middle just in front of the clock. While nibbling on cookies and chips, we were looking at the ceiling to watch the constellation of the stars. After that, we went to the East Balcony where most part become the Apple Store. After posing, we tried the Macbook Air and the kids tried the IMac. Whispering Gallery - I discovered this in another blog and it was amazing after truly experiencing it. The arch just outside the Oyster Bar is an area where you can hear the whisper of another person from the other end of the arch. The kids enjoyed this but Aloysius just listened to his dad and never whispered. Kyle on the other hand heard the whispers of a couple from the other end asking for his name, he replied once but after that, asked us to go na. It was truly awesome. My pictures are not clear but you can see the arch on the background and maybe try it on your next visit to the Grand Central because not too many people know about this. Grand Central and Times Square are both on 42nd St. so we just walked towards west to get to our next destination - Times Square. On the way there, we already see people coming out of the buildings and walking past and fast - the New York Rush. I think we reached our destination early because we were walking in the same pace as the New Yorkers hahaha. The main reason why we had this trip to Manhattan is because Aloysius wanted to have a picture taken at the street in New York where all the buildings have big TVs. That is how he described the place when he asked me if it's in New York and if we can go on our next visit. We chose to make this our last stop so the kids can appreciate the lights more at night and we were right. The moment we turned right from 42nd street to Broadway, they were awestruck. Our pictures show that they were looking everywhere because of the flashing lights in the buildings. The kids had an opportunity to have a picture taken with NY Police Officers and with a police car, but Lex was not too interested, he just wanted to check out the buildings. hahaha. Aloysius' request was granted. He had pictures with the billboards. My six year old Kyle's description of the place was a street with big TVs, people walking in the middle of the street, carrying a camera and taking a picture of the buildings. Lex who is 3yrs old described Times Square as Big TVs with Spiderman, Iron Man and M&Ms. On the street, there are mascots everywhere, Elmo, Mickey Mouse, Woody and Iron Man. Later did we realize that there's a big Toys R Us store along Broadway and guess what we did next - we went inside for more Toy visits. In this store, there's a big ferris wheel inside with the different character in each wagon. As usual for the kids, a toy store trip is not complete without going to Star Wars, Lego and Disney Cars areas, but the Transformers and Angry Birds got their attention that they had a photo taken there. It was tiring but a fruitful trip to Manhattan knowing that the kids enjoyed it. Here are the Top 3 Manhattan Trip Favorites of my kids: Aloysius (Age 10): 1. Rockefeller 2. Times Square 3. Whispering Gallery - Grand Central Ceiling Kyle (Age 6): 1. The Big Piano 2. The Glass Building 3. The Street with many lights and our video in one of them (My favorite too) Lex (Age 3): 1. The Big Piano 2. Toy Store with man in red (FAO Schwarz) 3. Lego (Star Wars and Iron Man) My favorites: 1. Whispering Gallery 2. FAO Schwarz 3. Times Square (our own billboard hehehe) Here's the picture and video taken while we are being shown in one of the billboards in Times Square. Kyle's and my most memorable and favorite Manhattan experience: