(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.


Wicked In Manila!

Wicked In Manila!

Last Saturday, my family and I went to see Wicked, The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.  This was our second time to see this musical (the first time was in Singapore in January 2012) but when we found out that this was going to be staged here in Manila, we all wanted to watch it again!  We booked our tickets as early as August 2013 and it was worth the wait! 

You see, we are such a musical family.  We try to catch productions, local and international, as much as we can, and every year, we find ourselves making a trip to the theatre at least once. Aside from the pleasure, the entertainment, the experience of being transported to another kingdom or era, we find it a good time to unwind, to “sit back, relax and enjoy the show”.   Musicals keep all of us engaged when we have our family conversations and listening to the soundtracks in the car is enough to keep us in high spirits while on the road.

Arielle is such a “theatre gal” (She came up with that name herself a few years back).  She really is serious when it comes to stage performances and Broadway! She reads about them, researches, and does her best to find as much info as she can about a production, and learns the songs on her own.  And Kayla just loves bonding with her Ate (big sister) when they talk about the plot, their favorite characters, when they sing songs at the top of their lungs, and even attempt to play a piece or two on the piano or guitar, just by ear.   That’s why Mike and I think that theatre tickets are worth spending on.  

Arielle with Suzie Mathers (as Glinda)

Kayla with Glinda
Suzie Mathers actually “liked” our photos with her
on Instagram!

Kayla and Arielle with Ali Calder
(as Elphaba)

Arielle with Steve Danielsen (Fiyero)

Arielle with Steve Danielen
(as Fiyero)

Autograph of Suzie Mathers (Glinda)

Autograph of Ali Calder (Elphaba)

Autograph of Steve Danielsen (Fiyero)

Wicked has become a personal favorite of mine because of the characters, Glinda and Elphaba, and all of the songs made me love the musical from beginning till the end (the whole 3 hours of it)!  It really is one “wicked” show to watch!

I will not attempt to make a review  (I am not a professional theatre critic, but if you’d like to read one, click here and another one here by Ms. Lea Salonga) or do a synopsis (link already shared at the start). What I’d like to do instead is share with you the lessons I personally have learned from the musical: 

1.  Don’t judge a person by his or her appearance.

2.  It is OKAY to be different.  

3.  It’s true that first impressions count, but they shouldn’t be the last impression.

4.  Be one of those people who care for and love those who are different and treated differently.  

5.  People deserve respect and love, no matter how different he or she is.

6.  There is good in every person.  Just as there is also wickedness in human nature.

7.  Do not push people too hard.  Don’t be a bully.  Don’t push them to their limits.  You can be the reason why they change their character and become a bad person.

8.  Totally different persons can actually get along.  It can be fun to have a friend who is your total opposite.

9.  Do not be a phony!  Be true to yourself!

10.  Every person can be some kind of wonderful.

11.  Stand up for what you truly believe in. 

12.  Speak up your mind.  

13.  Have courage! Believe and fight for what’s in your heart! Take that leap! Defy gravity! 

14.  Take challenges and do hard things.

15.  Go for your dreams.  They really can come true!  Just make sure that you do not lose sight of what really matters.

16.  People can do crazy things in the name of love. And there are people who do have the heart to love those who are considered outcast and different. 

17.  Sometimes, you do have to let go of the person you love.

17.  You reap what you sow.  Do evil and you will pay the price.

18.  Sometimes, we just have to dance through life.

19.  People do come into our lives for reason.

20.  And may the reason that we come into and touch another person’s life is to change the other for the better, for good. (I just love that song!)

May the magic of “Wicked” touch you with these not-to-be ignored life lessons! 

Have you seen “Wicked”?  What play or musical have you seen last?  Share your insights with me!

If you haven’t gone to the theatre lately, then I highly encourage you to do so!  The experience is rich and stimulating…culturally, artistically, visually, auditorily, linguistically, musically!  Such a great learning venue for the kids, bonding time for the whole family, and a conversation piece that could extend even after the show has ended (way, way after the show has ended 😉 ) Now that to me, is real learning.

* On the blogging side of this post, may I just add that as I was finalizing this article, the closing was inspired by Make It Blissful.com’s Tell Stories On Your Blog 🙂  

* Also, this post is a participating blog in Let’s Homeschool High School’s Blog Hop. Just click the link below if you want to join and link up with rest or if you simply want to read the other posts! 

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