2016 was a BIG year for our family, especially in homeschooling and parenting. Well, that’s how I see it, being the Mom Organizer in-charge.  I knew what was happening to each member of my family and what I had to do for each of them.

Slowly easing my way through the new year, I can’t seem to be in the 2017 zone just yet. I feel I have to spend a a little more time looking back at 2016, the year that was.

So this is how I see the year that had just passed. 2016 was…

  1. A year of CHANGE
  • Arielle moved up to college and moved to Hong Kong, her new home
  • Kayla transferred to a U.S. homeschool program, Seton Home Study School, after being with a local homeschool provider, The Master’s Academy (now Homeschool Global) for 9 years.
  • Mike ran as city councilor in the last May elections but learned and accepted that politics or holding a public official position may not be for him. The valuable lesson we all learned was what matters most is he played fair.

 

2. Both FEAR-full and FAITH-filled

  • With the changes I just mentioned, how could I not be both afraid and keep my faith, as a mom and a wife?

 

3. EASY and DIFFICULT at the same time

  • After homeschooling Arielle for 8 years and taking a gap year after that, letting go of her was easy because deep in my heart, I KNEW and FELT CONFIDENT that I’ve spent those 8 years + 1 year well with her. Mother-daughter relationship was cemented. Seeds of trust and communication were planted.
  • But I also realized that no matter how much you prepare your daughter for college, adult life, and independent living, being separated from her DOES LEAVE a hole in your heart. My life was not the same (and will no longer be) after Arielle left last September.

 

4. Both LETTING GO and HOLDING ON

  • It was LETTING GO of our eldest homeschooled child and HOLDING ON to the FAMILY that we’ve raised, the identity, the values, the dynamics, the traditions, the ways only the four of us will understand and cherish.
  • LETTING GO of what is old and comfortable and yet, HOLDING ON to our core, what we believe in deep inside and what kept us going.

 

5. Having ROOTS and WINGS

  • No doubt, Arielle’s roots and wings were evident this year as she adapted to the HK culture and fast-paced lifestyle as an international student and stayed true to herself and remembered the things we’ve taught her all these years.
  • It was also Kayla’s turn to firm up her own roots onto the ground as she did her best to develop the gift that she has in golf and we are happy to see her steadily improve her performance in the sport. I continue to pray that soon, she will flap her wings and ready to take off.

 

Oh what a year!!! 2016 was not a year that ended but only the beginning of the next stage in my parenting, a new phase of my life, which is slowly releasing our daughters to the big and real world with high hopes that they will be living happily a life of purpose uniquely designed for them by God.

 

 

 

 

 


 

After AAALLLL the thinking and planning we’ve been doing these past 12 months in our gap year, this is a no-brainer post.  Just all-heart <3!  I just wanted to share with you what I’ve come up with for Arielle’s college care package.  I’ve never heard of the term until we were getting down to details on her transfer to Hong Kong and I came across the term in an article.  A college care package is basically a package of items put together that your son or daughter needs (or YOU THINK your son or daughter will need!)  For us Filipinos, I think we’re familiar with this tradition or gesture as “padala” or “pasalubong”.  But in other countries, care packages are just sent via mail, while we would most often ask a friend or relative to bring it over or if not, via couriers like LBC.

Since I needed to make the care package as light as possible, I reused an old bubble wrap envelope (yes it was an envelope and not a sheet) used by my sister in the U.S. to send over something to us.  The items I had been putting (and hiding) together fit PERFECTLY!  Take a look!

Bible verses and quotes from Padre Pio and St. Therese which I hand-lettered and painted myself

Bible verses and quotes from Padre Pio and St. Therese which I hand-lettered and painted myself

 

 

Printed photos of each one of us, our family, and Kayla and Arielle with wooden clips, jute string, and 2 rolls of washi tape to decorate her room with

Printed photos of each one of us, our family, and Kayla and Arielle together with wooden clips, jute string, and 2 rolls of washi tape to decorate her room with

 

 

Crucifix for her bedside, an engraved pen, manicure set, room and linen spray, Korean face masks, and over-the-door hooks

Crucifix for her bedside, an engraved pen, manicure set, room and linen spray, Korean face masks, and over-the-door hooks

 

 

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (a must natural therapy!), more hooks!

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (a must natural therapy!), more hooks!

 

Just wrapped the printed photos in paper

I wrapped the printed photos in paper

 

 

The next photos are to show you the Post-It notes I had written on each 🙂

I had her name engraved on a pen.

 

A bottle each of room and linen spray

A bottle each of room and linen spray

 

A vanity mirror

A vanity mirror

 

Something that the two sisters bond over!

Something that the two sisters bond over!

 

The crucifix

The crucifix

 

Half-pans to store tube paints and be on-the-go!

Half-pans to store tube paints and be on-the-go!

 

The final care package now looks like this!

Store-bought and handmade masking tapes with messages

Store-bought and handmade masking tapes with messages

 

The back part of the package

The back part of the package

 

The only items I wasn’t able to take pictures of are bars of Kit-Kat chocolate, 2 packs of regular and mini M&M’s and a pack of mints.  I was planning to add packs of chocolate chip cookies (her favorite!) but she had already grabbed 2 packs for herself when we went to the grocery last weekend.  She told me those will be for Hong Kong!

After packing all sorts of things (and we’re not yet done!), this is going to be a surprise package we will put on Arielle’s bed on her moving-in day!  (Kayla also has “something” for her Ate.)

Now I see the value of care packages.  It is a way to keep in touch with your son or daughter who has left for college and to make them feel that family is not too far away.  Whether or not someone’s love language is gift-giving, I think care packages, big or small, are a sure way to let someone know that we’re thinking about him or her.

 

 

 

 

 


 

(Photo from colorful.bigbangfish.com)

(Photo from colorful.bigbangfish.com)

 

They say that Christmas is the time when everybody goes back home to their families.  Well, I had the chance to feel this heart-tugging moment with our two teenage girls a couple of weeks ago, way before the month of December had set in.  I didn’t have to wait for Christmas.

Arielle went to a dinner party with some old friends and I was expecting her to be home past midnight.  She doesn’t go to parties often and I thought that this would make up for all the parties she missed as a homeschooler.  I was having a bad, bloated tummy that evening, was tossing and turning in my bed when I finally decided to get up and find something to eat to hopefully make me feel better.  That was around midnight.  To my surprise, I saw Kayla AND Arielle, both lying down on the sofas and awake.  Kayla was apparently waiting for her Ate to come home so she could open the gate and door for her.  Arielle greeted me and asked if I was surprised to see her home early.  I actually was. So I asked her how the party went as I was preparing myself a bowl of cereals with milk.  Then, both my girls joined me at the dining table and Arielle started talking.  I was waiting for a non-stop storytelling session…with all the animation…and excitement.  But to my surprise, it was the total opposite!  She shared with me how disappointed she was.  She was disappointed seeing how her old friends were not able to carry a “smart” conversation.  How “shallow” they were in their ways and thinking.  How they preoccupied themselves with selfies!  She honestly felt that they just didn’t connect anymore and that she felt she had matured and grown up faster than most, if not all, of them.  What I didn’t expect to hear from her was this:  “Ma, see???  Eating cereals with you now is so much better than the party!!!”   AWWWW…my HEART!!!!!

That moment with Arielle and Kayla at the dining table.  Past midnight.  In my jammies.  In Arielle’s party clothes.  In Kayla’s casual, don’t-care clothes.  With a bowl of Koko Crunch and milk.  The three of us gathered around the dinner table.  THANK YOU, DEAR GOD, FOR THIS MOMENT!!!

Here’s more.  The next day, when we went to church to hear mass, in our family huddle-time prayer, Arielle made sure she spoke up with a prayer to the Lord, thanking Him for FAMILY.  That she has her FAMILY to always run to…where she can be herself…and a FAMILY to always have and keep.

As I write this, my HEART is FULL.  FULL of LOVE.  FULL of WARMTH.  FULL OF GRATITUDE. THANK YOU, LORD, for my FAMILY and for this WONDERFUL AFFIRMATION that we are doing the right thing for and with our children all for your greater glory!

May God bless your families and homes for your children to always come back to…not only during Christmas season but everyday of the year and everyday of their lives, no matter what they go through and how old they become.


 

I was planning on writing about something else but a scene I caught this morning of Kayla made me write this instead.  This is what I saw:

As I walked down the stairs, I saw Kayla on the couch looking at our photo books, flipping through the pages, smiling and laughing at her photos when she was about 7 yrs old (7 years ago!).  I think what prompted her to look at our photo books again was my telling her and her Ate Arielle two days ago that we will be going back to the resort we went to last 2008.  That got them super duper excited (Actually, any beach trip excites them!  We are one beach family 🙂 ) and it looks like Kayla is showing her eagerness more than her Ate.  Maybe because Arielle still has to go through her mock interview and portfolio presentation to SCAD-HK this Saturday, Nov. 28. She’s probably still feeling the pressure.

Anyway, I couldn’t help but sit down beside Kayla for a good 5 minutes and “be in the moment” with her.  That moment was something important to her and it was a very brief but special bonding opportunity with her.  Only a few words were said but I was able to capture the essence: She fondly recalled our family vacations, especially to the beach.  She couldn’t believe how “awkward” she looked when she was 7 years old and how tall she is now.  And she is SOOO EXCITED to go back to the beach in March 2016, to the same resort we were at 7 years ago, and hopefully do the same fun activities again that we did back then.

Then, I realized that family vacations was something we’ve been doing since 2007.  We only missed one year and that was in 2010.  And now I see the value in it and that family tradition matters. For us, it was traveling especially during summer and the beach is a favorite destination. We are normally away just for 4 days but those days are uninterrupted bonding time with one another and a time to get away from our normal routines, explore new places, do outdoor activities together, unplug from technology, and plug in nature.

We have no other family tradition that we hold close to our hearts as much as this one, and I’m happy to be able to do and keep this!  It may just be one tradition but it is truly something that keeps our bond as a family stronger.

Now that Christmas is just around the corner and it is usually a time for traditions, what family traditions do you have?  Whether it’s a one-on-one date with each of your child and your husband, birthday celebrations, visit to the province, yearly reunion with Lolo, Lola and cousins, I think it is important to keep one because family tradition matters.


 

I know, I know.  I haven’t been blogging and I’m now having a difficult time getting back to the rhythm.  I’ve attempted a number of times to start writing but only ended up staring at a blank page and going to bed instead.  I was just too tired at the end of each day!

You see, we’ve moved in to our new place and we four are still adjusting in our new space and territory.  We don’t have a helper YET and we’ve been on our own.  I admit, I’m not one of those do-it-all SAHMs.  I’m not cut out for it, and I don’t intend to stress myself out to be one. I must have an ample Me time in order for me to be the best kind of wife, mother, woman I can be, in my own standards and not anybody else’s.

It’s been months and months of shuttling back and forth, packing, unpacking, buying, sorting, wiping, washing, cleaning, arranging wares, testing appliances, repairing and retouching.  These days, it’s all about grocering, cooking, dishwashing, cleaning up, and throwing the trash.  Our washing machine still needs some fixing so we can’t do our laundry just yet.

I’ve been living a more domesticated life and I still do.  There are times when I feel overwhelmed and wish I could go back to the kind of life I’ve been used to.  Everything was predictable.  Things were running like clockwork.  We had a cook and helpers which spell out the huge difference! 

But I can’t complain. Our new house is a blessing.  Everything in it is a blessing. THIS CHANGE IS A BLESSING!

What I love and treasure these days with this change is seeing my family growing in and with it. We’re all learning NEW house chores hands-on.  Yeah, our tiredness sometimes leads to squabbles, but we’re doing things together.  And as we do things together,  I see each one of us growing individually in character.  Being more helpful.  Considerate.  Understanding.  Patient. Giving.  Selfless.  Cooperative. Flexible. More responsible.  Respectful. Taking Initiative.  Joyful. Supportive. Appreciative.

I also embrace this change as a good training ground for our girls to be more independent.  The repetitive chores can be boring and mundane but these are exactly what they need to make them more mature and be prepared for life’s realities.  Arielle will be in college in two years and this is what she needs to learn, not found in textbooks or commonly taught in school.   Kayla, on the other hand, is also learning how to do hard things.

So this is where my family and I are at now.  We are in the midst of change and each one of us is doing his and her best to adapt to what’s different and new.  I think this change is doing us good. Yes, change can be good.

Have you been going through changes lately?  How are you taking them?


 

This post is going to be short.  I don’t even know exactly what to write here.  All I’m certain of is I’m feeling numb and “just floating” these past days since my mother-in-law passed away.  Add physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion to that. 

Our normal homeschooling life is on pause-play-pause mode these days.  Tomorrow will be Day 1 of Mommy’s wake and interment will be on Saturday.  We’ve been busy taking care of memorial arrangements, rearranging our schedules,  cancelling and rescheduling appointments, making back and forth trips to Manila. The shift in mindset and focus on the different things to take care of and pay attention to has taken its toll on me.  I really feel numb and unfocused these days.  I don’t even have the brain power to teach to the girls the life lessons to be learned from our present circumstances. 

As much as I’d want to finish our 3rd quarter already (we are behind our end-target date by 1 month), it’s been a slooow progress.  I have to sheepishly admit that I’ve been pressuring the girls to answer more exercises, work on their portfolios, and finally submit them to me.  Result? Not good.  We are not getting the kind of results we want and worst of all, we all end up stressed and cranky.

Well, this is life, I realize.  There comes a time when we really just have to take the time to pause. Maybe even drop everything we’re doing.  

I can’t wait to be “back to my senses” again.  I can’t wait to feel and be my “normal” self and get back on track.  This isn’t a great feeling to have but then again, it’s one of those “That’s life” moments.  

How do you cope up with life’s unexpected interruptions and when things are simply not going as planned? 

 


 

Last Saturday early morning, we were all awakened by Mike’s voice in the living room. One by one, we went out of our rooms to check what it was all about.  It was me first.  Then, Arielle.  Then, Kayla. That was before 5:30 a.m.  He was talking with his sister in the U.S.  Mommy’s gone.  Lola’s gone.  She passed away, January 25, Saturday, 3 a.m. (Philippine time).   She was diabetic and a mass was found in her kidney.  It was cancer. 

We knew Mommy/Lola was getting weaker and was in her old age.  She was in her late 70s or early 80s.  We were praying hard for her to get stronger and for her healing.  She’s been in our daily prayers ever since we knew that she wasn’t in the pink of health these past recent years.  We were even planning on flying to California when we found out last week that her organs were already failing. Mike had expedited the renewal of Arielle’s passport.  It was going to be too expensive but Mike wanted all of us to go.  He knew that this could be our last chance to see and be with her. Last year, he went on an emergency trip and was able to spend a few weeks with her when he learned that she was getting weak.  That was his last opportunity to be with her.  But she had gone too soon.  She took her one deep breath and that was her last.  At least, God answered our prayer to spare her from pain and suffering.

I had a WordPress workshop that day by TheHappy Wahm and The Technie Mom and to be honest, I wasn’t able to fully concentrate.  I don’t even know if I remember everything we discussed that day.  My mind was just floating.  Everything felt and still feels like they are floating.

During breakfast, I tried to lift up everyone’s spirits and the only way I knew how was to tell them to think of their fondest memory of Mommy/Lola.  Arielle remembers Sunday lunches with her and other family members gathered around the table.  Kayla remembers her reminder to drink milk and eat crackers during snack time.  Mike and I will not forget how she took care of the girls when they were still babies, especially during bath time.  She was very hands-on.  Those memories made us laugh and smile, lifting the burden off our chests.  Another fond memory of her was our conversations about food, recipes, theatre, and musicals.  She really loved talking about those! (As I write this, Arielle just posted a recording for her in SoundCloud, especially dedicated to her. Mommy was so, so supportive of Arielle in her theatre endeavors and dreams! I can tell that Arielle is really missing her so much already.)

We are trying to cope with the death.  Mike seems to be able to handle it well, except when I catch some moments of him quieter than usual.  Arielle cried during mass yesterday.  She said she could hear Lola singing.  She really cried.  Kayla seems to be okay…for now.  And I am in a daze.  She was a good mother-in-law.  Very caring.  Family and God have always been her priority.  

Mommy will be cremated and we are waiting for her ashes to be brought over this February by Papa and Mike’s second sister.  Life goes on, but this time, with much grief and sorrow, heaviness and bittersweetness in our hearts.

Mommy’s passing taught me these life lessons which I felt deserve space in my 365 notes challenge.  It is especially inspired by Mommy. 

Mommy/Lola, thank you for all the care, love, and support you’ve given us, especially to Arielle and Kayla.  You gave them overflowing love with all your heart and with your selfless hands.  Thank you for the wisdom and lessons you have imparted to each of us as a person and as a family.  WE LOVE YOU and WE WILL REMEMBER YOU FOR THE HAPPY MEMORIES WE ALL HAD WITH YOU.  Your life story was a good one!  Rest in peace and smile down on us, ok? 


 

A Milestone in Homeschooling

A Milestone in Homeschooling

Last Friday, October 11, it was TMA’s 2012-2013 Commencement Exercises.  Yes, TMA holds their graduation ceremonies twice a year, one in April and the other in October.  Since I felt that joining the April batch would be too hectic for us and we would only end up rushing as we close our schoolyear, I decided to let Kayla join this October batch of graduates instead.  Kayla graduated from elementary (Grade 6) and that makes it six years of homeschooling her! It is truly a milestone to celebrate!

The day, despite having a storm signal in Metro Manila and in some provinces, started well with my morning devotional which was perfect for the occasion.  I couldn’t help but post it as a status in Facebook.

After having our usual early breakfast, from Alabang in the south, we headed to our first stop in Mandaluyong and I didn’t expect the traffic along the Skway to end up looking like EDSA!  The girls and I had a quick makeover at the parlor, which I felt was the perfect way to de-stress me from that morning traffic…UGGGHHH!!!

The ceremonies went well with prayers, brief talk by key speakers, and the graduates’ marching and walking up on stage.   There were a total of 45 graduates from pre-school, elementary, and high school.  Three things I particularly like about TMA graduation ceremonies are (1) toddler and homeschooling photos flashed as a presentation for each graduate, (2) the Character Trait award given by the parents to their child, instead of the honors based on grades that I have been accustomed to, (3) letter by the graduate to their parents which each of them read up on stage. For me, it was really a momentous occasion to remember both our triumphs and defeats as we made learning more personal for our children and personally, go beyond books and walls.  Looking back, it was really a challenge for me to homeschool Kayla whose kinesthetic learning style is so opposite of mine and my teaching style!  Having been able to graduate Kayla after six years is no doubt, a milestone!

Proud of our graduate!
And thanks to Ate Arielle,
the designated photographer of the event 🙂

My parents, who came all the way from Batangas, joined us to celebrate this homeschooling milestone. They weren’t actually for it (totally not for it!) when we started out but I believe that with God’s hand at work through the years, they somehow have accepted and now respects our decision.  They probably still don’t understand how this whole homeschool thing really works but if there’s a blessing I will never forget, it’s them witnessing how Arielle and Kayla have grown to bond and love each other as if they’re BEST FRIENDS and not sisters.  Those were the words of my dad (my conservative, traditional dad!)

Best Friends :)

Best Friends 🙂

By 4:30 p.m. (The ceremonies started a bit before 2:00 p.m.), we were all starving!  After a few more photo ops, from St. Francis Square, we immediately headed to Shangri-la Mall to eat at this new resto I wanted to try on my birthday.  It was, unfortunately, packed with customers that time and so, we opted to make reservations as a celebration of Kayla’s graduation, the week after.  We ate at Green Pastures, which turned out to be a super-duper late lunch for my parents and a super-early dinner for all of us.  

Overall, I would say that their food was good!  Something to really try and worth going back to a couple more times!  Since we were all very hungry, I don’t think I’ll be able to give an objective review of our orders.  Anything tastes uberly delicious when one’s starving 😉 But from someone quite particular and meticulous with the food she eats these days, I can say that the food and beverages in Green Pastures really taste more natural and organic, with less hint of the seasonings you would taste in the food other restaurants serve to make the flavors more pronounced. I just wished though that their pasta and bread would also be the more healthful kind, and I also forgot to ask what kind of sweetener they use.  Something to take note of when we go back. 

Just feast your eyes with these!

Farmhouse Salad

Farmhouse Salad

Combination of Ricotta and Stracciatella Cheeses (fresh cow and carabao's milk)

Combination of Ricotta and
Stracciatella Cheeses (fresh cow and carabao’s milk)

Their version of Salpicao named as Sloppy Cow

Their version of Salpicao named as Sloppy Cow

Crab Meat and Sea Urchin Pasta

Crab Meat and Sea Urchin Pasta
(Mike’s adventurous taste)

Spicy Organic Tripe

Spicy Organic Tripe
(My dad’s choice; at least it’s organic)

Grilled Blue Ribbon Burger with ground wagyu blend

Grilled Blue Ribbon Burger with ground Wagyu blend

80/20 Burger (80% Wagyu, 20% organic pancetta)

80/20 Burger (80% Wagyu, 20% organic pancetta)

Homemade Ketchup

Homemade Ketchup

Organic Melon Green Tea

Organic Melon Green Tea
Mike also tried their Kombucha Tea,
a detoxifying and probiotic drink.

Strawberry Banana Almond  Smoothie

Strawberry Banana Almond Smoothie

Salted Caramel Smoothie (Salted Caramel seems to be the new flavor being offered by different restos and cafes these days!)

Salted Caramel Smoothie
(Salted Caramel seems to be the new flavor being offered by different restos and cafes these days!)

 

* One dish I failed to take a photo of was their Organic Mushrooms with house made ricotta on toast.  That was YUMMM, too!

What started as a surprisingly stressful morning ended with a relaxing afternoon until evening. After our tummies have been filled, my parents braved the rush-hour traffic and the rains and arrived home in Batangas safely while we stayed on in the mall to watch a movie 🙂

This was one happy and blessed day to celebrate a homeschooling milestone.


When we started to homeschool almost seven years ago, my husband, Mike, and I agreed that he would also teach, that it won’t be my sole job to do it and that he would also take on roles of a HOMESCHOOL father, and not just be a ‘regular’ father.  I think it was on our 3rd year when he had to let go of his teaching role because the needs of our family also started to grow.   He needed to spend more time outside of the house to work and make sure that he is doing his primary responsibility of being the provider of the family.  That made me a full-time homeschool mom to our two girls up to present.  Now that we are about to start our 7th year in homeschooling, it made me look back at the past six years and feel really blessed and thankful for the support that Mike has untiringly been giving us all these years.

What are the top 7 roles of the HOMESCHOOL FATHER in our family?  Below are Mike’s roles in our homeschool life, which come in no particular order:

1.  FINANCIER — Mike has been working really hard to be the breadwinner of the family.  He does not only give us our basic needs but he also has been able to give us opportunities to go on vacations, trips, breaks, and have other perks or extras which make our homeschooling and our life, in general, more fun and something to be really thankful for.

Photo Source: http://www.settewriter.com/top-10-must-have-items-startup-freelance-writers/

2.  APPROVES BOOKS, MATERIALS, AND OTHER ACTIVITIES that support learning and each of our child’s individual development, even if it would mean working doubly hard for them — Mike actively reviews the books we want to use that I feel matches Arielle and Kayla’s learning styles and which they would enjoy using, PLUS other classes or programs being offered which we both think would ultimately contribute to our girls’ growth and well-being, physically, spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, socially, and financially.

Photo Source:
http://www.timberdoodlecompany.com/
Homeschool_product_reviews/2010/03/23/
teaching-textbooks-math-curriculum/

3.  DRIVER — I’ve stopped driving and so, Mike patiently drives us and the girls to their classes outside the house or to wherever we need to go and fetches us afterwards.  If he cannot be our personal chauffeur because of a meeting or conflict in schedule, then he looks for someone who can drive us and makes sure that we get to do what we need to do.

Photo Source:http://www.mathworks.com/
company/newsroom/Scania-Develops-
Fuel-Saving-Driver-Support-System-
With-MathWorks-Tools-For-Model-
Based-Design.html

4.  SUBSTITUTE TEACHER / TUTOR — When I don’t anymore know how to explain a lesson or topic to our girls in a way that they would really grasp it or in a manner that spells F-U-N, or simply when I do not understand a lesson, then that’s when I give Mike an SOS call and he takes over as soon as he can.  

Photo Source:http://blog.sysomos.com/2010/05/19/
twittera-as-a-resource-tool/question-mark/

5.  COACH — Since I tend to be organized, detailed, sometimes very rigid or structured, Mike’s role as a coach helps Arielle and Kayla solve problems or setbacks from a different perspective. His simplified, relaxed, and sometimes, humorous approach makes situations more manageable and bearable for Arielle and Kayla, teaching them (and me, too!) to be more flexible, optimistic, and resilient in life.

Photo Source:http://phimages.blogspot.com/
2010/07/silhouette-fun.html

6.  SPIRITUAL LEADER —  Mike makes sure that we ALL go to church together to hear mass every Saturday (for an anticipated mass) or Sunday and leads us into prayer as a family every Holy Communion time, when we’re traveling in the car, and at night before we go to bed.

Photo Source: http://kindergartenquiver.blogspot.com/2012/01/plea-for-help.html

Photo Source: http://kindergartenquiver.blogspot.com/
2012/01/plea-for-help.html

7.  CHEERLEADER IN SPORTS — Whether it’s swimming (for both our girls), scuba diving (for Arielle), or now, golf (for Kayla), Mike’s been very supportive of the girls’ P.E.  As a matter of fact, Kayla’s back to golf and is now really more interested in pursuing it because Mike’s been going with her to the driving range.  Since he himself has gone back to the sport, it makes Kayla feel more secure and confident.  I can clearly see that Mike’s BEING WITH Kayla is building her confidence, teaching her to have focus, discipline, and character training, not only in golf, but in her studies and life as well.  

IMG_3863.mov

I can only thank God for a very patient, hardworking, supporting, and open-minded husband who makes his family his priority and vocation; for a husband who doesn’t mind being a very hands-on father to our two girls.   We would have given up homeschooling and probably didn’t push through with it in the first place, if Mike weren’t all these.   How about you?  What tasks or duties does your husband have in your homeschooling family?  I’d like to know the other roles of the homeschool father in your home.


“Ma, aren’t you glad Kayla and I get along?”

“I don’t understand when my friends tell me that they don’t get along with their brother or sister.”

“You two are not sisters.  You are best friends.”


The first two were remarks I’ve been getting from Arielle lately.  The last one (which I would cherish the most!) was by my dad. 

Seeing Arielle and Kayla bond these days is one of my greatest joys.  I used to wonder when these two girls will get along when all they did before was tease each other and bicker.  Yet things have changed.  For the better.  Into something beautiful I probably won’t be able to put down in words.  

How did this come about?  The only answer I can think of is because of the lifestyle we’ve chosen. The decision we’ve made six years ago…to homeschool.  

With homeschooling, they have lots of time together.  To interact.  That includes the quarrels, misunderstandings, arguments, and coming into an agreement.  To have family meals together.  To tell stories.  To tell jokes. To share secrets and dreams.  To pray.  To laugh and cry.  To do high-five’s and other gestures only the two of them could understand.  To do hobbies.  To shop.  To read.  To doodle. To watch shows.  To share a glass of milkshake or a slice of cake.  To defend and cover for each other.  To encourage.

Arielle and Kayla spend most of their time together, even if they have their own set of friends.  They have each other as playmates.  As each other’s number 1 fan.  As each other’s cheerleader.  

Yes, they are sisters.  And they are best friends ❤