3 great reads to reflect over the weekend...

Hello, hello true and imagined readers. Hahaha! Since it is a BER month, I don't have the knee-jerk reaction of muttering my shock that it is already Friday. Since the weekend is coming, I found these good reads over the Internet - just something for us to ponder when we have a little quiet time for ourselves or with our spouses.

My FB news feed are filled with toddlers already enrolled in schools for all sorts of development and I get fleeting moments of panic because I might not be doing enough for S's education. Y and I already agreed that we will never pressure S when it comes to her grades but oftentimes, my motherly pride gets in the way. Before I got to read this post, I remember the first time I tried to teach S to count 1 to 10 and how frustrated I got that despite repetitions, she never got it right. I stopped teaching her because I was starting to lose my cool and at the back of my mind I cannot help but remember my news feed of toddlers being able to count already, which by the way, is completely foolish. And much to my surprise, S counted until twelve. I had an epiphany: my motherly pride was starting to grow horns. This post is a reminder of the much more bigger and important things that I need to teach my daughter. I was humbled by this post.

The line that caught me most was this... "As parents, despite wanting to give our kids everything, one of the greatest gifts we can give is to literally give less, to force decision-making and awareness among all their choices."

Again, I remembered Y and I were doing our afternoon walk with S around our subdivision that we came across a little girl playing with her colorful bicycle. S lingered, trying to plead with her eyes to the girl that she be allowed to ride the bicycle. And yet, the girl did not share. I have to tell you that seeing my daughter with that pleading expression on her face made me want to go downtown and buy her a bicycle without second thought. I felt I was the worst mother for allowing my daughter to feel that way. However, I am thankful for 2 things: we live quite far and my husband is more level headed than me. He reminded me that her honorary Ninong Xy gifted S with a twist car earlier that year and S does not know how to ride the bicycle yet and assured me we will get her one once she knows how to.

I personally believe that there is nothing wrong with buying our kids toys because toys are great tools for their learning. However, I also believe that toys must either be: given on special occassions and chosen well (with careful assessment that they can be used for a long time and for the educational value that they can give). I remember Francis Kong once said in his book (I cannot remember the title,sorry!) that as parents, we do not want our children to experience the hardships that we have been through that is why we cannot help but try to make everything easy for them - WHICH IS ACTUALLY DOING THEM A GREAT DEAL OF WRONG. It is through the hardships that they will learn about themselves. I think there really is value in delayed gratification. I am thankful for that afternoon with the pleading eyes. I am reminded again of my important duty as a parent.

I totally agree with this blog because it is really easy to be "neglectful" of our spouses especially with all our other responsibilities. I found a common denominator among all the marriage articles I've read: Relationship with spouse comes first before our children. I, for one would say that it is very, very, very difficult because our children's needs are immediate and it is always easy to say that our adult partner must will understand. But a good marriage is actually a good foundation for our children. Something that I will always remind myself.

I always knew that marriage will be hard work, I mean, just look at our parents. But I saw the work as their child - not as a spouse. And I knew the work will be harder but definitely enjoyable because after all, I am with my husband, the partner God has blessed me with.

The author of the post said it right: "And a lukewarm marriage, perhaps the worst, filled with idle days, stagnant affection and distant intimacy." I greatly appreciate the 7 habits because no matter how simple they seem, it takes great effort. So tell me how yours went, okay?

So there. I hope you all have a great and reflective weekend :)

PS: I found the links from Truly Rich Mom and Facebook friends and page (Ate Anna and The Learning Basket or was it Alex? Either way, thank you).

The first joke

I have a very funny toddler. I'm not just saying this because I'm her mom or anything, but seriously, I am amazed.

She came up with her own joke. This happened like 3 months ago, but I have forgotten kept putting off to blog about it. Actually, husband told me to blog about S's funny antics everytime but I don't know. Ever since I read about these articles about protecting our children's privacy online, I am beyond hesitant to talk about her. Since I have a paranoid bone in my body, I have painstakingly edited some of my posts, which by the way is no easy feat if you have 300++ posts. So now you know what my rare posting is about.

Anyway, back to the topic.

I was cutting up potatoes for dinner and S was putting them in a cup with water. I told her they were potatoes. She kept saying it and then after a while she giggled and gave me that naughty look of hers.

S: Potato. Potato (insert name of my brother). (giggles)

And I was like, huh?

S: Potato (insert name of my brother). (smiling)

Me: (conversation did not entirely go like this, I'm improvising a little) I'm sorry sweetie. Why potato (insert name of my brother)....?

I think it was my husband who got it, or S explained it to us.

Did you get her joke? Well, since I am already lame for not getting it, here's the explanation: S connected the similarity of the word potato to the word Tito. So she said Potato (insert name of my brother). And then I laughed. Not about the joke, but the way she invented the joke (and also the way I did not get it. How lame of me!).

Which makes me wonder where she got this funny bone. Modesty aside, I cannot claim I am a very funny person and I think, neither my husband is that comical (since he reads this, I might as well say he is a little funny, hehe..). But seriously, I am happy that S is showing her own quirks now. Not just people saying that she takes after me or her daddy. S has a lot of antics now, which makes me wonder where she learns them (I can pinpoint things that were influenced by yaya but there are some that really baffles me where she picked them out since she does not watch TV), I just prefer to share this.

My Top 10 Book Challenge: Year 2014

I read this funny article "Stop Lying about your Favorite Books on Facebook" (via Chinie of Fab After Forty) and I was "inspired" to make my list. Nobody nominated me though. But seriously, I do not need a nomination when I can talk about reading books EVERYDAY. Haha. Here's the thing though: the books I picked are not all exactly my favorites but rather the books that either really got me/changed me/made me reflect and think deeper about life in general. And also I greatly believe that this list will change in 5 years time because I will be able to read more books. So, I am planning to write another version of this in 2019.

So here's my top 10...

1. "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
(Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling)

The Harry Potter series is one of my favorite reads but this line - allow me to go cliche here - is the one line that struck me most.

2. "I believe love is about dirty hands, not beating hearts. The essence of love isn’t feelings but service." (How to Build A Happy Family: Renew, Bless and Heal your most important Relationships, Bo Sanchez)

If there is one author that will always have a good effect on me, its definitely Bo Sanchez. His books and works never fail to inspire and move me. 

3. "It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you." (Augustus Waters, The Fault in Our Stars, John Green)

I just finished reading this book and I feel it deserves a slot now because I am typing this over swollen eyes because I.CANNOT.STOP.CRYING.OVER.THIS.BOOK. The Fault in Our Stars reminded me (and also because I read it in a wedding while I was reading this book) of this Bible quote:

"If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing." (1 Corinthians 13:3).

I am amazed to realize that love is truly a decision. A decision to give and experience it, even in the most bleakest circumstance, even when we know its loss is painful and inevitable. That is why, I like Green's (spoken through Hazel Grace) analogy of infinities for their relationship.

Yes, this book is heartbreaking and will definitely make you cry (except of course for those who are not easily moved to well-up like me) but the star-crossed story of Augustus and Hazel Grace is NOT sad. It is anything except sad. It is actually a celebration of how wonderful it is to experience love. And that is why, love is the greatest of them all.

4. Helga's Dowry: A Troll Love Story, Tomie de Paola
Yeah, yeah, its a children's book. But, it is a very insightful children's book. It tells the story of Helga, the most beautiful troll who cannot marry because she has no dowry. Girl power, y'all. This is the kind of book that I want my daughter to be reading.

5. Zen Shorts, Jon J. Muth
Yes, I have discovered the beauty of children's books. I love collecting them. In fact, my daughter has more books than my husband and I combined. And this one will always be a treasure because of the bear with a panda accent.

6. 40 Stories of Passion, Bo Sanchez
If you want to be really inspired, read this. And read it as often as you can.

7. A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett
I am late into reading classics although I've read some of them but I cannot seem to remember them anymore so I am slowly rereading. I always said that to control princessy stuff for my daughter (more about this on another post!) but this is one princess to emulate. One of my favorite reads!

8. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
I also love the Narnia series and this is not my #1 book if I were to rank them (probably the second, after The Silver Chair) but this book is the most remarkable for me because I had to read this book in two stages: the one where I was unaware of the symbolism and the one where I had full knowledge of them. The Narnia chronicles is a must read.

9. The Runaway Bunny (Margaret Wise Brown)
Nothing can be more heartwarming than reading about a mother's love.

"If you run away, I will run after you. For you are my little bunny."

Excuse me....*wipes tears*

10. Motherhood Statements (Rica Bolipata-Santos & Cyan Abad-Jugo)
I laughed, I cried, I felt nostalgic over stories about their mothers, about them being a mom....I loved it. Among all the motherhood stories I've read, this is the most closest to home because the essays were all written by Filipino authors. I'm saying Filipino because its more relatable due to some cultural practices.

So there. I feel bad for the other books that did not make the cut, honestly. Haha. I mean, I enjoyed every one of them, whether they were good or bad reads. Its just that I cannot remember all of them. In fact, my Read books in Goodreads is not accurate because I have not yet placed all the books I've read. Oh well, silly problems. If you are in Goodreads, please add me and let's be giddy together for our love of books.  Hehe. I am looking forward to how much this list will change in the next years :)

PS: I have a copy of all the books I mentioned here, except The Fault in Our Stars and Motherhood Statements. But I am planning to buy a copy of it. Or since malapit na din ang December, you can help me out. Hahaha.

- FriendS -